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!

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!

Most definitely, an underrated sweet treat.

A family get together at my place and I’m all twisted in my head. When there is a party, it’s mostly about food… And since my guests were picky (wont name them), I decided to call up my sister Vandana (a brilliant cook) for her suggestion on easy homemade Indian sweet treats. She recommended Chocolate Sandesh – a light, melt in mouth sweet made of cottage cheese and chocolate.  Idea sold.. 

To let you all know, sandesh is a very popular sweet treat Kolkata is famous for and there are endless varieties available. This one is a homely yet delicious take on it.

Like always, it is my pleasure to share this recipe with all of you. It is easy and very very tasty. 

For 10 pieces of Chocolate Sandesh, you will need. 

  • 1.5 liters of Milk (use full fat and not skimmed) 
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • ½ cup Chocolate syrup (i used Hershey)
  • 1/ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Some Crushed Chocolate Oreo (to roll the sandesh in)
  • Some Chocolate Chips for garnish
  1. Heat the milk and bring it to a boil. Patience is a virtue…so, ensure that the milk is kept on low flame.
  2. Cut the lemon into halves and squeeze the juice directly into the milk (through a strainer)
  3. The milk will start to curdle and you will see the whey separate itself from the milk solids.. this is the easiest way to make cottage cheese at home. When they whey separates completely, strain the cottage cheese through a muslin cloth. Squeeze to release all that excess water. Keep aside and let it cool for 5 mins. Cottage Cheese is also called Chhena (in India) and is used across the nation to make paneer and a variety of other delicacies. 
  4. Put the cottage cheese in a  mixer. Add sugar and blend for about 30 secs. Add some of the chocolate sauce to get the grinder going. Once blended, the cottage cheese will resemble a smooth creamy lump. Empty the mixer in a bowl and allow the chocolate mixture to set in the fridge for about an hour.
  5. Take the mixture out of the freezer and add the remaining chocolate sauce. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well. Keep the mixture in the fridge for another 15 mins. 
  6. Take the mixture out and shape them into little balls. Roll them in crushed Oreo or any chocolate biscuit of your choice. 
  7. Garnish with chocolate chips and refrigerate till you serve.

 

PS: You can even make Vanilla Sandesh – just skip the chocolate syrup and add sugar instead (while mixing in the blender). Add vanilla essence and roll into balls. Garnish with saffron strings and pistachios. 

Chocolate Sandesh is a very healthy, protein rich, delicious sweet. It is definitely not as fancy as other sweets available in the market but nothing beats a homemade delicacy.

Before i sign off – Thank you Vandana Di for sharing this wonderful recipe!