Sunday, June 26, 2016

Banana Cake Tatin

When life gives you too many ripe bananas, you don't just make a banana bread! Instead you make this one.Layers of salted caramel, perfectly ripe bananas and cake batter baked together to get one delicious bite. I have to admit, I am not a huge banana lover. But this is turning me towards buying bananas more often!
         I absolutely love Ina Garten when it comes to baking. This one is no exception. This is an inspiration from her Apple Cake Tatin.

Ingredients: makes 1 8" round cake

2 ripe bananas
1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tea spoon baking soda
3/4 tea spoon baking powder
1/2 tea spoon salt
1/4 cup  butter
3 tablespoons sugar (more if you want really sweet cake)
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup mashed banana (1 large banana)
1/2 cup water + 2 tablespoons if required
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

For caramel-
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon salt

Cut bananas about 1/ 4 inch thick diagonally. Arrange in a well greased round cake pan and set aside.
To make Caramel, add sugar and water in a shallow pan and put it on a medium heat. Cook until the mixture turns amber color. Swirl pan in between to dissolve sugar. Once caramel becomes dark amber color, pour the caramel onto the arranged bananas and set aside.
   To make cake, mix together, butter and sugar until smooth. Add mashed banana and vanilla extract and mix again. In a separate bowl, mix all purpose flour,baking soda,baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients in 1/3 rds and water in 1/2 intervals alternate, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Add lemon juice at the end and mix well. The acidity from lemon juice reacts to baking soda and gives the cake nice height when baked.
     Bake in 350F oven for 30-35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Once baked, remove from oven and let it cool in the pan itself for 15 minutes. Then, loosen around the cake and invert onto the serving plate. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!


Friday, July 10, 2015


Stromboli has become one of my go to meals when it comes to entertaining. It is traditionally made with Italian bread dough. However, making it with pizza dough works just fine.Stromboli is stuffed with various meats/cheeses or almost anything else, rolled and baked. Make a big batch of pizza dough and this will become your favorite too.
           I am sharing the recipe for stuffing of Paneer tikka masala. Some of my other favorites for stuffing are tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese or mutter paneer or even pear and blue cheese. Stuff these with whatever you like and you will have a sure hit!

From left to right- Mutter paneer stuffing, baked stromboli ready to serve, tomato basil mozarella stuffed stromboli, paneer tikka masala stuffed stromboli


Pizza dough (refer here for dough recipe)

For Paneer tikka masala

Paneer 1 cup, cubed
onion 1/3 cup, cubed
green bell pepper 1/3 cup, cubed
chaat masala 2 tea spoon
garam masala 1 tea spoon
kashmiri mirch 2 tea spoon
kasoori methi 1 tea spoon
thick yogurt 1 and 1/2 cups
besan (gram flour) 1/4 cups
ginger garlic paste 2 tea spoon
salt to taste


Make pizza dough per instructions and keep aside.
    To make paneer tikka masala, start with marinade. To make marinade, mix together yogurt, gram flour,spices, ginger garlic paste and salt. Add cubed paneer , bell pepper and onion and mix well. Set aside for half an hour.Heat oil in a pan. Add marinated paneer mixture along with the marinade and fry for couple minutes on medium heat. Season with salt and keep aside to cool completely.
        To make Stromboli, roll pizza dough 1/4 inch thick. Spread cooled paneer mixture onto the dough and roll the dough tightly to make a log. Make incisions on the log to help the steam escape.Bake in 375 F oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and serve warm.
       For this particular Stromboli , serve with mint chutney or tamarind chutney.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pooran poli my way

Pooran poli is a traditional marathi sweet poli or roti made from chana daal stuffing. Making these polis is quite time consuming. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the hot rotis served with ghee and warm milk. But if you have another way of getting the same taste without all the work, why not do that!
Traditional pooran poli.

         Making a pie out of pooran was an impromptu idea that paid off completely. Cardamom and nutmeg scented pie crust is filled with soft pooran  and topped with ghee just before serving. Serve it warm or cold, both are equally delicious. The best part is pie crust can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you are ready to bake it and/or fill it .
         The ingredients makes 1 8" pie.

Pooran Pie!

For pie crust-
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tb spoon sugar
3/4 tea sp baking powder
1/2 tea sp cardamom powder
1/4 tea sp freshly ground nutmeg
4 tb spoon cold butter, diced into pieces
3-4 tb spoon cold water

For pooran filling-
1 and 1/4 cups chana daal
2 and half cups of water
1 and 1/4 cups grated jaggery
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
1/2 tea spoon freshly ground nutmeg

Start by making the Pooran. Pressure cook chana daal with water until soft (4-5 whistles). Once cooked , remove from pressure cooker and keep aside to cool.Once cooled, transfer cooked daal to food processor and pulse a few times just to make it smoother. Don't puree it, you still want some texture. Transfer the smooth daal into a medium size heavy bottom pan. Add jaggery and cook on medium heat until the jaggery is melted and mixture starts to move with the spoon. Add cardamom and -nutmeg powders and mix well. Set aside to cool. Test the done-ness of the pooran by taking a spoonful of pooran between your palms and roll it to make a soft ball. If it becomes a ball, its done. If too dry or crumbly add couple of tablespoons of milk and mix well.

To make pie crust, mix together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder,cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Add diced butter and mix the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers to make crumble like consistency. Add little cold water at a time until you have a dough ball. Transfer the ball into a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the pie, grease the pie plate with butter. Roll the crust about 1/2 inch thick to a circle little larger than the pie plate.Transfer carefully onto the pie plate and gently press into the form on the pan. Trim excess dough with knife . Poke holes at the bottom of the pie (this ensures that pie crust does not rise) and bake in 350 F oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pie crust is golden brown.Cool the crust completely and fill with pooran and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Cut into pieces and serve.

PS- Ignore the flowers on top of the pie. They are made out of the excess pie crust dough.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One caramel - many brittles

Brittle is a hard candy made out of caramel and nuts/dried fruits. As you would have guessed by now, it needs only 3 ingredients- sugar,water and nuts. Making caramel is tricky and temperamental, especially for beginners. After burning my sugar couple of times and making horribly crystallized caramel, I have finally nailed making caramel every single time. I do not have a kitchen thermometer. I use bowl filled with cold water, drop little caramel into it and if it forms a hard ball, caramel is ready; if not,give it couple more minutes.

Once you nail the difficult part - i.e making caramel, making brittle is fairly simple. Few key points to remember-
1) Prepare chopped nuts, any flavorings that you want to add in advance and have it ready for the brittle. Caramelized sugar never waits for anyone.
2) If you take long time to mix the flavorings and nuts with caramel (after you remove pan from heat), chances are that you will end up having burnt brittle.
3)  Grease the baking tray / pan in which you want to set your brittle in advance.
4) Do not move far away from the stove while the sugar is caramelizing. Your going away from that pan might just turn your beautiful golden caramel into a burnt mess.
5) Remove caramel from the heat as soon as it starts to change color. Sugar will keep cooking even after removing from heat. Once you get to the color that you are looking for, add everything and stir vigorously just until everything is well mixed. Pour the hot mixture immediately onto a greased plate/tray and let it cool completely before you break it into pieces.
6) Last and most important, when starting to make caramel, stir just until the sugar is dissolved. Avoid stirring after that (stirring can cause crystallization). You can swirl the pan , but never stir until you want to mix the nuts.

Golden caramel ready for mixing of  nuts to make brittle.

1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water

Combine water and sugar into a heavy bottomed pan. Bring it to boil on medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the pan until sugar starts to change the color. Remove from heat once you see brownish color to the mixture. Sugar will keep cooking and reach the beautiful color in the picture. Caramel is done.

Now onto brittle. Proportions are given for the caramel of 1 and 1/2 cup  sugar. General guideline is to take 1 to 1 and 1/4 cup of nuts / dried fruit for 1 and 1/2 cup sugar. Don't go overboard with the nuts , that makes it difficult to coat everything with the caramel.

1) Orange-Cranberry-Almond brittle
Substitute water with freshly squeezed orange juice to make caramel. Once the color is achieved, remove from heat and add 2 tb spoon orange zest, 1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted almonds, 1/2 cup chopped cranberries, 1 tb spoon butter and 1/2 tea sp baking soda. Baking soda helps to make a "brittle" brittle. Stir everything to combine and pour immediately onto a greased plate/pan. Sprinkle 1/2 tea sp. coarse sea salt and cool to set. Break into pieces and enjoy!

2) Sesame seeds
Caramel made out of 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sesame seeds
1 tb spoon butter
1/2 tea sp baking soda
1 tea spoon ground ginger + 1/2 tea spoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tea spoon salt

Possibilities are endless when it comes to brittle. I am listing few of my favorites apart from the above.
1.Peanuts with cardamom powder
2.pecan with vanilla extract
3. Pistachios and cashews

It takes anywhere form 1-2 hours for brittle to set. Or if you are impatient like me, put brittle pan into the refrigerator and it will set quickly (in 20 minutes).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cranberry rolls

During Thanksgiving I had bought a bag of fresh cranberries to make jam. After the early loot of eating the jam every morning, the leftover in the bottom of the bottle was neglected for some time and one fine 'clean your fridge' day, I discovered the bottle! Now making rolls out of a leftover jam might sound like an overkill, but wow they taste good.
     The idea of this roll primarily came from the classic cinnamon roll. Instead of brown sugar cinnamon mixture, I used the leftover jam. Cranberries, orange and almonds go very well together so the usual bread dough became orange scented bread dough and sprinkling of candied almonds added the crunch.

Follow top to bottom and left to right

2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/4 tb spoon yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
2 tb sugar
1 and 1/2 tb spoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tb spoon butter, melted

1 and 1/2 cups cranberry jam
1/2 cup, chopped candied almonds

Mixture of 1 tb spoon sugar with 1 tea spoon cinnamon to sprinkle on top (optional)

Making cranberry jam is very simple and fairly quick. Mix together 3 cups cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, zest and a juice of 1 large orange. Heat the mixture on a low heat for about 35 minutes or until the mixture gets a consistency of  a loose jam. Making jam at least a day in advance helps it to thicken.

In a small saucepan, warm 3/4 cup milk. Remove from heat and add 2 tb spoon sugar and let it melt. Sprinkle 1 and 1/4 tea sp yeast on the milk and let it dissolve. Keep aside for 15 minutes or until the yeast starts foaming up.
     In a large mixing bowl, add all purpose flour, melted butter and orange zest and mix everything together. Add the foamy mixture of milk and yeast, along with 1/4 cup orange juice and mix until the dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 7-8 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth. Place in well greased bowl and make sure to coat the dough as well. Cover and keep aside in a warm place to rest until the dough doubles in size, for about 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.
When doubled, punch down the dough and divide it in 2 equal size balls. Roll 1 ball into a rectangle. Spread half of cranberry jam into a thin layer. Sprinkle chopped candied almonds on the jam. Start rolling the dough from the longer side of the rectangle near to you. Keep rolling and tuck the ends securely so that the filling won't come out. Cut into 2 inch slices and arrange into a baking dish so that the jam is visible (cut side down). Place slices close together in the buttered baking dish and let it rest until it doubles in size (about 30 minutes). Repeat the process for 2nd dough ball.
 Preheat oven on 350 F. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the risen rolls just before putting in oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Serve warm.
    Store in air tight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Warm it up in microwave before eating.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Adraki lasooni methi

Methi (fenugreek leaves) is in abundance now that the winter is here. Adraki lasooni methi (ginger garlic flavored methi) is at the very top of my list while preparing methi. I ate it for the first time couple of years ago (when my mother in law made it) and I fell in love with the taste.
        Although, it is called adraki lasooni methi, the use of onions along with adrak (ginger) and lasoon (garlic) is just perfect.

Follow right to left.

1 big bunch methi leaves, separated from stems and chopped
1 large onion, julienne sliced
1 tb spoon, chopped ginger
5-6 big cloves garlic, chopped
2 tea sp oil
1 tea sp mustard seeds
1/2 tea sp each asafoetida,turmeric and red chili powder
salt to taste

Heat pan on medium high heat. Add 1 tea spoon oil,sliced onions, chopped ginger and garlic. Saute until onions turn brown, for about 8 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the onions from burning. Set aside to cool down. Once it cools, grind the mixture to turn into the rough paste.
         In the same pan, 1 tea spoon oil. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then, add asafoetida,turmeric and red chili powder and fry until fragrant (just for 30 seconds). Add onions,ginge and garlic paste. Add chopped methi leaves and mix everything together. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes on low heat, or until methi is cooked through. Add salt to taste and mix well. Remove from heat. Enjoy with roti/rice/naan even Bhakri!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Aluchi Wadi/Patra

Alu chi wadi or Patra is made from colocasia leaves. Beautifully shaped leaves resemble 'an elephant ear', a common name for colocasia leaves. Alu wadis can be steamed and stored in advance and fried as needed.A great side dish or in my case just a snack!

Follow from left to right.

6-8 alu chi pane (colocasia leaves)
1 cup gram flour
1 tea sp cayenne pepper
2-3 tb spoon grated jaggery
1/4-1/3 cup tamarind pulp (required to remove raphides, a throat irritant)
salt to taste
2-3 tb. spoon water

Wash the leaves and pat dry. Colocasia leaves have lot of stems running throughout the leaf and so it is hard to roll them. To make it easier later to roll, take a rolling pin and gently roll each leaf to flatten any big stems. Make sure not to tear the leaf.
         In a mixing bowl mix together gram flour, salt,cayenne pepper,jaggery and tamarind pulp. Add water little by little to make a thin paste. Paste shouldn't be runny but should wet enough to apply a thin layering on the leaf. The above given ingredients make 2 rolls (3-4 leaves each.) 
        Take the biggest leaf and lay it flat on the surface (preferably covered with plastic foil for an easy clean up later). Bright green side of the leaf should always be facing down. Apply thin layer of the gram flour mixture on the leaf. Take the second biggest leaf and keep it on top of the first leaf (now with the layer of the paste), again making sure bright green side is facing down. Apply another layer of the paste and repeat the process for 3-4 leaves in total. Its time to roll now. Follow the collage above for procedure of rolling. Each fold gets a coating of the gram flour mixture. Roll tightly to ensure it doesn't disintegrate later. Repeat this process to make another roll with 4 remaining leaves. I never take more than 4 leaves to make these as it gets harder to roll with more leaves. You may tie the roll with kitchen twine to make sure it doesn't fall apart while steaming.
    Steam for 10 minutes and remove from the heat. Let the rolls cool completely before cutting into pieces. Once cooled, cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces and deep fry. Serve immediately as the wadis have tendency to get soggy if kept for a longer time after frying.
   If you don't want to deep fry - heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet on medium high heat. Add mustered seeds and let them crackle. Add cut pieces and shallow fry. Optional garnish - 2 tb spoons each chopped cilantro and shredded coconut

Colocasia leaves are known to cause an allergic reaction to the throat. Its more like an irritation. And so to cure that, you must have tamarind pulp in the recipe. I have an idea about the leaves that I grow, and so the quantity of tamarind mentioned in the recipe is suitable to me. If making this for the first time, add little more pulp just to be extra careful and adjust jaggery according to your taste.Even after this,if you have irritated throat, eat couple of tablespoon yogurt and the irritation will go away!