Go nuts over Nutella Brownies!

Nutella, a brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa is everyone’s favourite, be it any age. It’s a versatile ingredient, isn’t it? Use it as a spread for toasts, filling for cupcakes, spoonful as it is.. or even Nutella Brownies.

I’m not here to promote it but it’s easier to call a Nutella Brownie a Nutella Brownie and not a Sweetened Hazelnut Cocoa Brownie, right!!! Going nuts over the name.. don’t. Instead, try your hand on these decadent brownies, they are so so so so so delicious that it’s not even funny!

Don’t believe me? Then give it a try now. It’s as easy as i don’t know what..

  • 1 1/2 Cup Nutella
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Castor Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Paste/Extract (use a pure extract pls)
  • 3/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

That’s about it. Now, let’s get on with making the Nutella Brownies.

  1. Line a rectangular pan (usually used for brownies) with parchment
  2. Pre heat your oven to 180 degree celsius for 15 mins.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt and keep it aside
  4. Melt 1 cup of Nutella over a double boiler or in a microwave (for a 1 min) and add in the butter and mix well
  5. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla for about 2 mins – no point using fancy hand blenders and all. A traditional whisk is just fine.
  6. Pour in the Nutella and butter mixture to the eggs and whisk well.
  7. Add in the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined
  8. Pour in the batter in the lined tin and scoop in few tbsp of Nutella here and there.
  9. Bake this in a preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 40 mins.
  10. Cool completely before slicing. Whenever you want to serve, just warm it up and drizzle some more Nutella goodness on top… may be with a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

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Isn’t this a piece of heaven? Or rather pieces of heaven. Pls pls pls try this else you will regret it.. Then do not blame me 😉

Will be back with another recipe soon. Till then, keep cooking, keep loving!

Freshly Baked Whole Wheat Bread!

I am a bread fan and I am a working woman. So, when I’m running late, all i need to do is grab two slices, add peanut butter jam or butter and veggies and leave. But, i just can’t ignore the fact that the industry breads (available in the markets) are whole wheat only for the namesake. They use preservation chemicals and loads of color… Plus it’s not whole wheat.

Anyways, I love eating bread. Period. I need no reason to make a freshly baked whole wheat bread for my family and myself. So, here’s the recipe. All you need is –

  1. Whole Wheat Flour – 200 gms
  2. All Purpose Flour – 50 gms
  3. Salt – 7 gms
  4. Water – 130 ml
  5. Milk – 60 ml
  6. Castor Sugar/Regular Sugar – 14 gms
  7. Active Dry Yeast – 14 gms
  8. Oil – 10 ml
  9. Extra Flour for dusting
  • Sieve the dry ingredients and keep aside.
  • Warm some of the water (lukewarm) and add the sugar and yeast.. Let this rest for 10-12 mins until it starts smelling and foams up
  • Add the yeast water, milk and remaining water to the dry ingredients and need a soft dough.
  • While making the dough, if you feel the dough is tight.. Add little more water.
  • Once the dough comes together, topple the dough onto your kitchen surface $dusted with some flour) and knead for a good 10 – 15 mins (use the heel of your hands to knead and pull back the dough with your fingers – this basically releases the gluten in the flour thereby making your bread soft).
  • Ball it up and leave to rise in an greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling film. Let the dough rest for 45 mins in a warm area.
  • Uncover the dough and knock back to release the air inside. Add the oil and knead again.
  • Grease your bread mould and dust it. Tap outwards and remove extra flour. Roll the dough into a nice ball (close to the shape of the mould) and place it in the bread mould so it fits rights in.
  • Brush the top with oil and cover with a cling film and leave the dough to rise for 45 mins in a warm area.
  • Just before baking, brush some milk on the dough and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 20-30 mins or until the surface is golden (I used middle rack)
  • When you take out the bread from the oven, brush some butter on top.
  • Leave for 10 mins and then take it out of the mould and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Use a serrated knife to slice the bread.

It’s comforting, homely and undeniably delicious. Ohh.. and the smell of freshly baked bread is a trip to heaven !

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PS: you can even add sauted onion + spices/ fried garlic pieces + Italian season etc to make a flavoured bread.

The recipe might seem tedious but it’s not. Trust me and give it a shot. Happy Baking guys!

Eid Mubarak’16

Morning people!

Its been long that I’ve written something and no better come back than today’s recipe. Its Eid-Al-Adah today, a festival celebrated by all my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. This is the 2nd Eid of the year and the most important one. Eid-Al-Adah is a sacrifice feast where in it is believed that if you make any kind of offering, you are brought closer to Allah (as per Wikipedia).

It was indeed a great start to the day when my neighbour rang the door bell at 9 am and gifted me a bowl of Sheer Khurma. Here’s a picture of it!

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Sheer Khurma is mughlai dessert specially made during Eid. And believe me, there is no sugar in this delicacy. It is made rich with nuts, milk and it gets all its sweetness from dates.  I’ve made it a couple of times and here’s my recipe. Do try.

  • 1 Litre Full Cream Milk
  • 3 Tbsp Ghee
  • 1 Cup Vermicelli
  • 10 Cashews (chopped)
  • 10 Almonds (slivers)
  • 1 Tbsp Chironji Seeds (Buchanania Lanzan is the name of the tree that produces this wonderful seed)
  • 15 Dates (soaked and made into a paste)
  • 10 Dates (deseeded and chopped)
  • 10 Raisins (Chopped)
  • 1 Tsp Cardamom Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Rose Water
  • 1/2 Tsp Kewara Water
  1. Heat a heavy bottom pan and add 2 Tbsp of ghee to the pan. Roast the seviyan , dry fruits and chironji till golden and keep aside.
  2. In the same pan, heat the remaining ghee and add the date paste. Saute for a a minute or two.
  3. Add milk to the date paste and allow let it come to a boil. Let the milk simmer for 5-10 mins.
  4. Add the roasted vermicelli and dry fruit mixture to the milk and allow it to simmer till the vermicelli is cooked – another 8-10 mins. The milk will eventually thicken a bit.
  5. Add the cardamom powder for the amazing aroma and flavour.
  6. Remove the pan from heat and cool for 15 mins. Add the rose water and kewara water.
  7. Garnish with silver leaf and few roasted chironji seeds. Serve the Sheer Khurma hot, warm or chilled.

May Allah bless you all with happiness and good health, always! Eid Mubarak!

Sweet Love!

Something’s are best when unchanged. Just like Calcutta’s good old Mishti Doi.

Mishti Doi is synonymous with Bengal and the Bengali’s are renowned world over for this sweet fermented yogurt.

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Fro Yo Love!

It’s been 18 years and i am still hoping to shed off the extra kilos from my body! My weight loss pattern has been a yo yo one. There have been times when I’ve lost 15 Kgs over 3 months and then, I’ve not even lost an ounce.

Over the time, I’ve realized that every individual is different and so is his/her body pattern. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. It is important to keep trying. It is more important to never ever give up! Some people might encourage but mostly, you will come across people who will look down upon you. Ignore all and keep walking.

And to keep myself going, i need to treat myself once in a week. Trust me guys, whether you are on a diet or no diet, a tad bit of indulgence is essential. So, i made some delicious Chocolate Banana Frozen Yogurt. And this recipe is a healthy one and packed full goodness.

The below recipe will serve 4 portions.

  • Bananas – 2 (sliced and frozen)
  • Honey – 3 Tbsp
  • Yogurt – 3 Tbsp
  • Vanilla Extract – 2 Tsp
  • Cocoa Powder – 1 Tbsp

The ingredients are not very many but they are just the right ones.

  1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend it all for 3-4 mins.
  2. Pour it in an airtight container and freeze for about 6 hours. Preferably, overnight… That way, you need not wait for the froyo to set.
  3. I garnished my portion with some walnut caramel crumble but you can enjoy it just like that. I somehow feel that one can never go wrong with Bananas, Chocolate and Walnuts.. it is after all, a classic combination.

Can this recipe get any simpler or what!

As quoted by someone “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” And if it is your favorite fruit whipped up with some yogurt, it wouldn’t hurt at all.

Mango-ey Memories.

Summers are here… And with summers, comes the season of mangoes!  Yes, mango itself can be considered  a season. It is at the onset on spring that the raw mangoes hit the markets and we are all geared up to make pickles, sherbet, chutneys etc.

You will be amazed to know the variety of mangoes available in the market. I don’t know all but I can definitely  name a few – Alphonso, Banganapalli,  Chausa, Dussehri, Totapuri, Langra (my favourite), Kesar, Himsagar, Kishan Bhog..  It’s a long list.

Mangoes are an integral part of our meals – could be a mango shake to beat the heat or in the form of Aamras, that is eaten with chapati/rice in India. I have very fond memories with this fruit – just after dinner,  my dad used to sit with a platter of mangoes and a knife.  He used to cut the mangoes into chunks and feed us with his hands. And whenever he used to feed my mum,  all she said was “no darling,  I’m full.. I don’t want mangoes” and then after a pause, she used to take the piece and relish it! My sister, my dad and I had a great laugh over it..  This still is a ritual in my house.

Now that I live in Mumbai, I miss home. I miss eating mangoes with my family. So,  I cooked a delicious Mango Rice Pudding..

 

Here’s the recipe. This will make for 2-4 servings.

  • Rice – ½ Cup
  • Milk – 750 Ml
  • Cardamom – 2 Pods
  • Mango Puree – 1 Cup
  • Mango Extract – 1 Tsp
  • Sugar – ½ Cup or as per taste
  • Mango Pieces – 2 Tbsp for garnishing
  • Saffron and Almonds for garnishing
  1. Wash the rice and soak it for 30 mins. I used a particular kind of rice available  in East India – these are small grained. You could even use Basmati or any long grained rice.
  2. Pour milk in a vessel and bring it to a boil.  
  3. Add in the rice along with a pod or two of cardamom and cook till it is 3/4th done.
  4. Add in half cup sugar and stir.. Be careful with the sugar as the mango puree will also lend it’s sweetness. ++ when you cook with love,  the food is always sweet. Cheesy, but true!
  5. Cook till the rice is soft but not mushy.
  6. Turn off the heat and let the pudding cool for a bit..
  7. Add in the mango puree along with few drops of mango extract. Stir well.
  8. Let the pudding come to a room temperature and then, refrigerate it for 3-4 hours.
  9. Serve in little ramekin like bowls and garnish with saffron and almond flakes.

 

Now, I’ve  found another Mango fan in my family – my mum in law.  She just loves mangoes.. So much, that she can live on them all summer and if given the option, all her life. 

I hope you will give the recipe a try and create sweet memories  with your loved ones.

Tea and Cookies anyone?

Ajwain a.k.a. Bishops Weed or Carom Seeds is a very popular spice and is used widely in daily cooking. It is known world over for its benefits and soothing effects to our body.

These tiny granules smell like thyme because it contains Thymol, an essential oil present in Carom Seeds. However, the taste is sharp and pungent. A touch of Carom Seed in any dish and the flavour is enhanced. And by touch i mean touch, really! An ounce extra and the taste will change completely.

I usually add Carom Seeds in my morning paranthas (fried flat bread) or to cookies. I love my afternoon tea and i always need something to go with it. A bite or two curbs my hunger pangs and keeps me going. What better option than Carom Seed Cookies.

 

Here’s my recipe.

  • All Purpose Flour (sifted) – 2 Cups
  • Clarified Butter – ½ Cup (you may even use regular unsalted butter, about 100 gms)
  • Confectioners Sugar – 1.5 Tbsp
  • Carom seeds – 1 Tsp and little extra to sprinkle on top
  • Salt – 1/2 Tsp
  • Baking Powder – 1/2 Tsp
  • Milk – 50 ml or as required to form the cookie dough
  1. Take a large bowl. Add sifted flour and baking powder, confectioners sugar, carom seeds and salt. Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly so the Carom seeds are well distributed.
  2. Tip in the Clarified Butter and mix well using your fingers. At this points, the mixture should resemble crumbly and just about to come together.
  3. Add 2-3 tbsp milk at a time and mix well. If the dough seems dry, then add 1-2 tbsp milk and mix. Knead with light hands just until the dough comes together. Cover the dough and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven at 180 degree Celsius – do this when you start the cookie cutting process.
  5. Sprinkle some dry all purpose flour on the counter top or on the surface you wish to roll the dough on. Place the dough on top and roll out until ½ cm thick. Just before finishing the rolling process, sprinkle few carom seeds on top and give it a light roll so as to stick the seeds to the cookie top.
  6. Cut the cookies using a a cookie cutter or even a glass.. i like a variety of shapes and so i used my flower shape cookie cutter.
  7. Place the cut out cookies on a greased and dusted baking tray. Ensure that they are placed at a distance.
  8. Place the cookie tray in oven (in the middle rack) and bake for about 12 – 15 mins until golden brown. Since, all ovens our different, temperature and timing may vary. To keep your cookies from burning, keep an eye on your oven at intervals.
  9. Once baked, open the oven door and let your cookies cool completely. Take them out of the oven and store in an airtight container.

I know it is not time for my afternoon tea. But still, I’m off to munch on my cookies.. see ya!

Aloor Dom!

Born and brought up in Kolkata, I have an inclination towards the typical Bengali
Cuisine. When I say Bengali Food, a variety of fishes and meats might pop up in
your head. But it might strange sound to you like it does to my friends and colleagues,
I’m a vegetarian. Yes, I was born in Kolkata… Yes, I was even brought up there…
Yes, my family stays back in Kolkata… Yes, I love Bengali Food… But, I AM A
VEGETARIAN. For people who aren’t aware, Bengali cuisine offers a whole lot of
variety for vegetarians as well. You will be amazed… believe me!

One of my
favourite dishes is Luchi with Aloor Dom! Aloor Dom is a simple and a very
humble dish – baby potatoes cooked in a spicy gravy. Apart from the key being
the well-cooked baby potatoes, mustard oil is what gives the dish it’s distinct
flavour.

 

To serve about 5 people, you will need.

  • 500 gms baby potatoes (par boiled)
  • ¾ cup mustard oil for frying potatoes
  • 3 tbsp. fresh mustard oil for making gravy
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (Jeera)
  • 1-inch cinnamon 
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 4 to 5 black pepper corns
  • 1 green cardamom (optional)
  • ½ Cup Poppy Seeds (soaked and finely ground)
  • 1 Large Onion (ground to a fine paste)
  • 2 Large Tomatoes (ground to a fine paste)
  • 2 tbsp. of Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tbsp. of Green Chilli Paste
  • 2 tsp of Turmeric Powder
  • 3 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp of Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp of Garam Masala
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Salt as required
  • 1 tsp of Sugar
  • 2 tsp of Ghee
  • Freshly Chopped Coriander for garnishing (optional)
  1. Rinse the baby potatoes well. Take 4 cups water in a pan and add the potatoes. Boil them till it’s par boiled/ half cooked.
  2. Drain and peel the potatoes. This might seem to be a tedious task but it’s worth the outcome! Watch TV or listen to music… do what you wish to. But, enjoy cooking. That’s what makes your food so delicious!
  3. Using a skewer, poke tiny holes in the potatoes all over. This is done so that when cooking on dum (where it gets the name from), the potatoes absorb the flavours of the gravy. Dum actually means cooking for a long time on slow flame.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Add a couple of spoons of water and mix well.
  5. In a deep bottom pan, heat some mustard oil. Add a tsp of turmeric powder and little bit of salt. Add the parboiled peeled potatoes and begin to fry them on a low to medium flame. Keep tossing in between.
  6. Once golden, remove the potatoes on a kitchen towel. Cool the potatoes and prick them with a skewer again. This time, don’t poke much… Let the potatoes be!
  7. Lower the flame, add some more mustard oil. Let the oil heat up once more and add it the khada masala (whole spices) – Cinnamon Stick, Cloves, Cardamom, Pepper Corns and lastly, the caraway seeds. Sauté till you smell the fragrance of the masala.
  8. Add the ginger garlic paste along with chilli paste. Fry for about a minute and add the onion paste. Sauté till pink.
  9. Add in the tomato puree and fry till the oil comes up. That’s how my dad taught me how to identify a cooked gravy base.
  10. Now, it’s time to pour in the poppy seed paste… Cook for another 2 minutes.
  11. Remember, we mixed in our dry spice powders in a bowl?? Add in the dry spice mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt as per taste.
  12. Throw in the fried potatoes and toss well till the potatoes are well coated with the gravy.
  13. Pour in the water. Cover and cook the potatoes on low flame for at least 15-20 mins or even, 30 minutes.
  14. Add in a tsp of sugar and adjust the salt. Cook for 2-3 mins or till the water dries up, not much though. The gravy should be thick.
  15. Time for the finishing touch. Just before taking out the potatoes, add in the ghee and cover for a minute. Let the scent of the ghee seep into the potatoes.
  16. Take the spiced up babies out in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with freshly fried Luchis. You may even enjoy these with rice/roti/naan/bread… anything your heart desires.

 

The dish is rich and full of flavour but it is not a difficult recipe. So, get into your kitchen now and give it a try.

If you eat this kind of vegetarian food, I’m sure you will not regret turning into one!

To new beginnings… Cheers!

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Last day at work today and i wanted to make something sweet for all my friends and colleagues at work place. I made Oreo Truffles. 

 

To make 30 pieces of Oreo Truffle, you will need.

  • 450 Gms of Oreo (original is the best)
  • 200 gms of Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Melted Chocolate for dipping the truffle
  • Sugar Beads for garnishing
  1. Using a food processor, crush together the Oreo biscuits. I bashed up mine in a zip lock and a rolling pin.
  2. Add cream cheese to the Oreo crumble and mix well. 
  3. Add a splash of vanilla extract and mix again.
  4. Shape the truffle mixture into small balls or into mini cups using tart mold and refrigerate for about an hour.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the chocolate over a double boiler or melt it in the microwave. If you are using the latter, ensure that you check after every 30 secs. Temper the chocolate and bring it down to about 35 degree Celsius.
  6. Put in the truffles and coat well with the chocolate. Drain off excess chocolate and place on aluminium foil. 
  7. Sprinkle the sugar beads on top and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or even overnight.
  8. Place the truffles in a mini cupcake liner and serve chilled.

 

Every single journey that I’ve embarked on, I’ve learned something new.
Hope the new journey i’m setting my foot on, turns out to be fruitful and may all of us succeed in all our endeavors. Wish me luck friends!

Twist on a traditional breakfast cereal, Poha.

Poha is a popular Maharashtrian breakfast recipe. Even back home in Kolkata, my mum used to make Veg Poha, often for breakfast or evening snack.

Poha is nothing but rice that has been parboiled, rolled, flattened and then dried to produce flakes. They have uneven edges and a rough texture. Rice flakes have no particular aroma and a bland gentle taste. Depending on the method of cooking, they can be soft or crunchy.

Last evening was windy and it was about to rain. I decided to call over my cousins for a game of Monopoly Deal (my new addiction)..To munch in between games, i made crunchy Poha Cutlets and Chai. 

Poha cutlet is an easy snack and quick to prepare. This is a great recipe to use left over Veg Poha as well.

 

Here’s the recipe.

  • 3 Medium Sized Potatoes (boiled and skinned)
  • 1 Cup Poha (washed and drained) – On washing, poha softens and puffs up a little 
  • 2 Slices of Bread
  • 2 Green Chillies – finely chopped
  • 1 Large Onion – finely chopped
  • 1 Carrot – grated
  • ½ Capsicum – finely chopped
  • ½ Cup Fresh Coriander – finely chopped
  • 1″ Piece of Ginger – grated
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Chilli Powder
  • ½ Tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ Tsp Black Salt
  • Salt to taste – do taste the mixture before adding more salt
  • Oil for Frying
  1. Mash the potatoes with the help of a fork or use hands. Whatever is convenient. You can even grate them.
  2. Add the washed poha to the mashed potato. Tear the bread into tiny bits and add in as well.
  3. Add in the veggies, spices, salt and knead the mixture well until everything comes together.
  4. Take small portions of the mixture and shape it like a cutlet or a nugget (or however your heart desires).
  5. Heat oil in a pan. Gently slide the cutlets into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Keep flipping the cutlets so they brown evenly on both sides. 
  6. Take it out on a kitchen towel to drain off the excess oil and serve hot with Ketchup/Chutney 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed making these golden beauties. Hope you like the recipe too. Give it a try and share your feedback.