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!

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.

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. 

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! 

Bread Feast for Dinner

Focaccia is one of my favorite Italian Breads! You can bake it in no time. Tons of herbs and toppings, gives you tons of flavour. A wonderfully easy recipe, i usually end up making Focaccia and Soup when my husband’s not home for dinner (which is almost everyday, not that i’m complaining) or when I’m too lazy to cook! 

A big bowl of Tomato Basil soup and a Focaccia all to myself… gives me a great sense of comfort. 

 

Here’s the recipe. You will need:

  • 250 gms Refined
    Flour 
  • 5 gms Salt 
  • 5 gms Sugar 
  • 1 gm Improver   
  • 7 gms Fresh Yeast   
  • 15 ml Olive
    Oil/Garlic Oil 
  • 150 ml Water   
  • Kosher
    Salt as per taste
  • Freshly cracked Black Pepper 
  • Herbs 
  • Toppings (any topping will do – sun dried tomatoes/dried veggie mix/onions/olives/jalapenos/dried garlic/caramelized onions etc. This completely depends on your taste and how experimental you want to be with your bread). I go wild when i cook 😉
  1. Sieve the refined flour, salt and improver together.
  2. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in water and make a dough. Rest the dough for 10 mins.
  3. Add oil (you can even use garlic oil, gives it a great flavour) to the dough and knead with the help of knock back process. Cover and keep aside for proving.
  4. Lift the dough ball and place on a greased and dusted pan. 
  5. Now, dock the dough with oily hands and press them towards the corners, just how we make a fresh pizza. 
  6. Add herbs like rosemary, fresh oregano, chopped basil, thyme, chilly flakes or any herb of your choice.
  7. Add toppings – I used the dry vegetable mix that got from Turkey. You can read my blog and you’ll know which one i’m talking about. 
  8. Add Kosher salt and crack some pepper on top. Bake in a pre heated oven at 175°C for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Finish it with a drizzle of extra virgin Olive Oil, cut into wedges and serve warm. 

 

Focaccia makes a great bread for sandwiches. You can even serve it as a starter with some Hung Curd and Cheese dip at your party. Load it with cheese and broil till the cheese melts and… your cheesy pizza is ready, one to die for. I’m telling ya.. be careful! 

 

Hope you will try out the recipe and leave your comments. After all, blogging is all about learning from new people, new experiences, everyday. 

Breakfast Stories

Breakfast! My favorite meal – and you can be so creative. Breakfast is the time I splurge with calories, then I spend the rest of the day thinking how to get them off! Whether you friends and family around, a quiet little brunch for two, or an even quieter little brunch just for yourself, breakfast can set the mood and pace for the whole day.

My husband is picky when it comes to food and I have to decide the menu a day in advance giving me time to prepare for it. The husband is fond of heavy breakfast; so we have all kinds of Paranthas, Sandwiches and Poha cooking throughout the week. But what next… where is the change? What do I cook that is different? Something I haven’t made in a long time. And voila! Why not make Vegetable Uthappam with Green Garlic Chutney! Uthappam, a very popular South Indian dish is a pancake lookalike but in a savory form and is made with rice. A humble breakfast, Uthappam is filling and super delicious.

I’ll share my recipe with you, it is simple and easy to do.

To make the Uthappam Batter, you will need.

  • ½ cup Urad Dal (split black lentils)
  • 1 Tbsp Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
  • 1 cup Raw Rice
  • 1 cup par-boiled rice
  • 2 Tbsp thick beaten rice (if available)
  1. Combine the Urad Dal and Fenugreek Seeds in a deep bowl, soak it in enough water for 4 hours.
  2. Combine the Raw Rice, Par Boiled Rice and thick Rice Flakes in a deep bowl, soak it in enough water for 4 hours.
  3. Drain the Urad Dal and Fenugreek Seeds and blend in a mixer to a smooth paste using approx. 1 cup of water. Transfer the mixture into a deep bowl and keep aside.
  4. Drain the rice, parboiled rice and thick rice flakes blend in a mixer to a smooth
    paste using approx. 1 cup of water. Transfer the mixture into the same bowl (as
    the Urad Dal mixture), add salt as per taste and mix well.
  5. Cover and allow the batter to ferment in a warm place for 10 – 12 hours.
  6. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Use as required. However, ensure that you use the batter within 3-4 days, else it will turn sour.
  7. With this batter, you can make a variety of Uthappams, Dosas and Idlis.

If you do not want to go through the tedious process of making the batter on your own, you may want to buy the fresh batter at any grocery store. You could also buy any Ready To Eat, dosa/idli mix. It’s the same thing.

To make 4 medium sized Vegetable Uthappam, you will need.

  • 2 cups of the Uthappam Batter 
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tomato, finely chopped
  • ½ Capsicum, finely chopped
  • 2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped
  • Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
  • Oil for cooking
  1. Heat the tava/griddle/flat bottom pan. Lower the heat and sprinkle some water to
    bring down the temperature.
  2. Remove from heat and pour a ladle or two of the batter, depending on how big you want your Uthappams to be. Spread to about 5”/6” circle and the thickness should be little less than that of a pancake.
  3. Quickly sprinkle the finely chopped veggies and fresh coriander. This is optional and as per taste – you can use any veggies of your choice, just ensure it is very
    finely chopped.
  4. Add about a tsp of oil/butter on top and a little around the sides for crispy edge.
    Let the Uthappam cook for about 3-4 mins on each side (on low heat).
  5. Remove from heat and serve hot with ketchup/coconut chutney/onion
    chutney/coriander chutney/garlic chutney/idli podi.

 

 

If you like the recipe and want me to post a blog on various types of chutneys/accompaniments, please do let me know. I’ll be more than happy to share my recipes and cooking experiences with you. 

After all, food connects us. It brings families and friends together, and makes us happy. It can be our comfort and also our worst enemy (ask me). Food is a necessity. And for that reason, it will continue to be a topic of conversation for generations to come.