Monday, December 17, 2012


Its getting colder and so my appetite for soup/stews has begun to increase. Chili fits the equation perfectly. It usually is non-vegetarian; however can easily be 'veganised'.
          Chili is basically a mixture of vegetables,beans, meats and spices stewed together for a long time. Longer you simmer chili, better it tastes! I would hardly call this as a recipe as this changes from person to person. Feel free to adjust according to your taste with veggies and beans of your choice!

2 cups kidney beans (soaked overnight in plenty of water)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper,seeded and minced
1/2 carrot, cubed into bite size pieces
1 cup diced bell peppers (use different colours if available, go with green if using only 1 colour )
1 tb spoon canola oil
1 tb spoon chopped garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes (or use 1 14.5 oz can of no salt added diced tomatoes)
2 cups vegetable stock/water
salt and pepper to taste
2 tb spoon chili powder ( I use McCormick, different brands taste different so use according to taste)

Cook kidney beans in pressure cooker with plenty of water with just 1 whistle (the rest of the cooking will be completed while its simmering with spices and veggies). Heat a pot on medium high heat and add oil. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.Add carrots,season with salt,pepper and 1 tb spoon chili powder. Add 1/2 cup stock/water and let the mixture come to boil.Add chopped tomatoes,beans (with their cooking liquid) and remaining 1 and 1/2 cups stock/water and again bring mixture to boil. Switch heat to medium, add remaining 1 tb spoon chili powder (add more or less according to taste) ,cover pot with lid and let it simmer for at-least 20 minutes stirring in between.
            Serve with your choice of topping. Some options would be sour cream,cheddar cheese,chopped avocado,chopped cilantro or guacamole! Serve and eat hot.
Note: To cook beans, I usually take 2:1 ratio for water to beans. Basically beans should be completely covered in water to cook!

Friday, December 7, 2012


Jamie Oliver does it again! If you have some spare time on hand and are ready for an experiment, here is the one! This is a must try. It does require little more time to make it but it looks stunning and tastes amazing.
              In his book 'Jamie's Italy', he has given rotolo recipe for butter-nut squash and spinach. However, I read the book in summer when farmers markets were overflowing with tomatoes and basil. So here is the summer version of rotolo adopted from Jamie's Italy.


 For Pasta dough
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/4  tea spoon salt
2 tb spoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lukewarm water

For Filling
2 cups cherry tomatoes,halved (marinated in 1tb spoon balsamic vinegar,salt and 1 tea spoon sugar for at least 1 hour)
1 cup pesto (has to be thick)
1/2 cup asiago cheese , cubed into bite size pieces
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Start with pasta dough because it needs time to rest. To make the dough, mix together all ingredients except for water and mix well. Add little water at a time to make a stiff dough. You may have to adjust the amount of water required. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes,wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for half an hour. Divide pasta dough in 2 balls. Roll out each ball (using rolling pin) as thin as possible in a rectangular shape.
      Before building rotolo, make sure you have a clean dish towel and kitchen twine ready.Carefully transfer one of the pasta sheets on a clean dish towel. Make sure to take a bigger dish towel than the pasta sheet. Arrange 2 rows of cherry tomatoes on the long side of pasta sheet closest to you. arrange pieces of asiago cheese next and spread half pesto and sprinkle half of parmigiano-reggiano cheese on pesto,leaving 1 inch margin on all 4 sides (as shown in photo). Brush the sides of pasta sheets with water and start rolling pasta sheet from nearest side to you. Roll the sheet up and away from you. Wrap the pasta sheet log in kitchen towel and seal both ends of the kitchen towel with kitchen twine. You can secure it more by tying twine around the middle of the roll.Make sure to seal it properly otherwise, you will have a big mess in boiling water!
       To cook rotolo, fill a big pot with water coming up-to half of the height of the pot. Bring this to boil, season generously with salt and 1 tb spoon oil.Gently transfer rotolo (wrapped in kitchen towel) into the boiling water and make sure to keep it submerged in water while it is cooking.Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check if pasta is cooked by squeezing rotolo between your fingers,if it feels like a marshmallow it is done! If not, continue cooking. Once cooked, remove from water and cut all the strings and roll it out of the kitchen towel. Cut in 1/2 inch thick pieces with a serrated knife. Serve hot with the mixture of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Daal Dhokli

Daal - dhokli or chakolya is probably the most comforting food ever. I am not saying that this is 'the' way to make it but this is how I like to make it! Proportion of spices is merely a guideline. Adjust the daal suitable to your taste.The term dhokli refers to strips made form a spicy kanik/atta, almost comparable to fresh pasta. It is 'dhoklis' cooked in daal!

For daal:
1/2 cup toor daal cooked in 1 cup water
1 tb spoon oil/ghee
1/2 tea spoon cumin seeds
1/2 tea spoon mustard seeds
1/2 tea spoon asafoetida
1/4 tea spoon turmeric powder
1/2 tea spoon cayenne pepper
1 tb spoon tamarind paste mixed in 1 tb spoon water
1/2 tb spoon grated jaggery
1 cup water
1-2 tb spoon chopped cilantro

For Dhokli
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tea spoon carom seeds (ajwain)
pinch of salt
1/2 tea spoon each turmeric powder and cayenne pepper
1 tb spoon oil
1/4 cup water

Make dhokli dough by mixing together all the ingredients. Add little water at a time to make a soft dough. Knead until soft (but not sticky) and set aside.You may require little less or more water.
Cook daal in a pressure cooker with a standard 4 whistle rule. Heat oil/ghee in a deep pan and add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Once they pop, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and cayenne pepper and let that fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant  Add cooked daal,water, tamarind, jaggery and salt and let the daal boil on a medium heat. In the meantime, (to make dhoklis) divide the dhokli dough in 2 balls. Roll out each ball into a circle as thin as possible, divide the circle into 2 and cut into stripes of 1/2 inch width. Add dhoklis into daal and boil everything together for 3-4 minutes or until the dhoklis are cooked.Add chopped cilantro at the end. Serve hot with desi ghee.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tomatoes overload !

It is almost end of summer here but farmers markets are still buzzing with beautiful coloured tomatoes and basil. I am using these 2 things in as many ways as possible! Usual preparations being caprese salad and pasta. Summer version of Jamie Oliver's Rotolo is my addition this summer (more on that coming up soon)  and so is this pizza. Although, making pizza was an impulsive decision but a really  tasty one.
            Addition of lemon and basil flavoured ricotta cheese acts almost like 'pizza sauce' with goat's cheese on top. A new combination but now my favourite!

1 8" pizza base ( refer here)
1 tb balsamic vinegar mixed with 1 tb spoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tb spoon lemon juice
1/2 tea spoon lemon zest
1 tb spoon finely chopped basil
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes of different colours,halved
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tb spoon pine nuts (optional)
1 tb chopped basil to sprinkle on top of pizza

Make the pizza base first (refer here.). Once you have a rolled pizza dough, transfer dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush the top of pizza base with the mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Bake the base in a 450 F pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. The base should almost be cooked at this point.
    To make the 'sauce', mix ricotta cheese with lemon juice,lemon zest,chopped basil and season with salt and pepper and set aside. Remove the base from the oven and spread the ricotta mixture on a hot, almost baked dough. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer and top it up with crumbled goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper again and put tray back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle chopped basil and pine nuts on top. Serve immediately.

Note- Add 1/2 tea spoon chilli flakes on tomatoes if like!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

chhole with naan

Chhole, chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a part of legume family. I usually cook other legumes like matki,moong,black eyed peas. This one comes every once in a while. I make poli/roti with it but this time an opened packet of yeast was on the counter so instead I gave a shot at making naans! Result was very soft and tasty! I am never going back to store bought naans.
                          Making chhole couldn't be simpler . Ask her. So simple and yet so tasty. I am noting down recipe here with my additions/alterations.

For naan
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
1/2 tea spoon dry yeast
1 tb oil
1 tea spoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 tea spoon minced garlic
1 tea spoon minced chillies
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tb yoghurt

For Chhole
1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1 bay leaf
1 tea spoon red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
1 tea spoon amchoor powder (dry mango)
1/2 tea spoon cumin powder
1/2 tea spoon coriander powder
1 tea spoon chana masala
1/4 tea spoon garam masala
1 medium size onion grated (optional)
1 medium size tomato (grated or use 1/2 tb spoon tomato paste - optional)
salt to taste

To make naans, mix together 1/4 cup warm water,yeast and sugar and set aside for 10 minutes. The mixture should bubble up in 10 minutes. If not, the yeast is not active. Discard the mixture and start again. In the meantime, mix together flour,minced chillies and mined garlic and blend everything together.Add yoghurt and yeast mixture and pulse again. Add oil and salt and pulse again until the ball is formed. (You may have to add 1-2 table spoons extra water to make dough.)Transfer the dough onto a plate and knead for 4-5 minutes. Coat the dough with oil and transfer into a well oiled bowl and keep the bowl in a warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, dough will double in size.Punch down the dough and divide it in 4 equal balls. At this time, you can make the naans immediately or refrigerate the dough for using later. Roll each ball into 1/4 inch thick oval shape. Transfer rolled dough/naan onto a greased baking tray and broil in 400 F oven for 5-7 minutes or until naans are golden brown. Remove from oven, spread 'ghee'/butter on hot naans and serve immediately.
                To make chhole, start with soaking garbanzo beans in water for at-least 8 hours. Rinse and cook them in enough water to cover the beans and a bay leaf in pressure cooker with 2-3 whistles. Drain the beans in colander and transfer warm beans into a mixing bowl after discarding bay leaf. Add all the spices and toss everything together. Heat oil in large pot, add cumin seeds and mustered seeds. When they start to pop or sizzle, add the 'spiced' beans and stir. Add little water at a time to make the gravy. Adjust salt to taste. Serve hot!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Malai Burfi

Malai burfi is best known for its melt in the mouth texture. Malai is milk fat! So a burfi made out of pure fat. How bad that can be? It is one of the most scrumptious burfis that I have tasted and loved. If you know your way around making paneer, this is a piece of cake. (not literally!).  :)

6 and 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%, use anything more than 2%)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tb spoon milk powder (dry milk)
1/4 tea spoon cardamom powder
2 tb spoon sliced nuts (almonds or pistachios)

In a heavy bottom pan, bring 5 cups milk to a full boil. Lower the heat and add lemon juice; little at a time, stirring  the milk continuously. Switch off the heat once the milk is fully curdled. At this point, you will be able to see whey and paneer (milk fat) separated. Transfer the mixture into a colander lined with a cheesecloth and drain the excess whey. Run cold water on paneer and squeeze out maximum water you can. This helps getting rid of sour taste of lemon.
              Transfer paneer into a heavy bottom pan with remaining 1 and 1/2 cups of milk and simmer this mixture on a low heat until almost all the milk is evaporated stirring occasionally. Add sugar and cook the mixture until all the sugar is melted and the mixture starts to leave the sides of pan and turns into a soft ball. Add cardamom powder and milk powder and stir everything together until you get a very soft ball. This should not be very dry. Do not overcook this mixture to remove any excess liquid, else you will end up with chewy burfi. Transfer the mixture onto a greased plate and form a square of 1/2 inch thickness,using a spatula.Garnish with chopped nuts while the mixture is warm. Allow it to cool completely before cutting into desired shape.
                 Store in air tight container in the refrigerator. This will last for couple of days only.

Note- Always cook paneer mixture on a low heat to prevent it from burning or changing its bright white colour!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I always thought making pizza from scratch could be daunting. But when you have Ina Garten to teach you , all you say is "how easy is that"! Follow the recipe as it is and you will have a nice,soft pizza dough. Get the recipe for the pizza dough here.  Addition of garlic in the dough was  not bad either! Pesto and mozzarella cheese made fabulous topping.

Ingredients for the base
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tea spoon active dry yeast
pinch of salt
1 tea spoon minced garlic
1/2 tb spoon honey
1 tb spoon olive oil.

1 cup pesto
2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

To make the base, mix dry yeast,honey and olive oil with 1/4 cup warm water and set aside. Mixture will foam up (if it doesn't, that means yeast is not active. Discard the mix and start again after changing the yeast). Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and minced garlic in food processor and pulse a few times. Add yeast mixture to the flour and pulse a few times until the mixture comes together. Add remaining 1/4 cup flour and salt to the processor while the processor is running to make a smooth ball. Transfer the dough onto a plate and knead for 3-5 minutes. Dough should be elastic and soft. Coat the dough with oil and transfer into a bowl. Keep the bowl in a warm place for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the dough will be double the size.Punch down the dough,form a ball and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes by covering with a damp towel. At this point, you can make the pizza. If you want to wait for a while , keep the dough in the refrigerator.
                  To make the pizza, roll the dough into a circle. Transfer rolled dough (base) onto a baking sheet sprinkled with semolina or cornmeal.  Brush the base with olive oil and bake for 5-7 minutes in a 450 F oven. Remove the base from oven after 5-7 minutes, top it with pesto and cheese and bake again for 10 minutes or until the base is cooked and cheese is melted. Serve hot!

To make the base, add lukewarm water spoon by spoon to form a ball if the yeast mixture is not enough.You may need maximum 1-2 tablespoon extra water.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Idli or is it?

Making idlis  is a long process. Soaking dal+rice, then grinding then fermenting. This is an instant version of idli similar to rava idli. Use cornmeal (used for polenta) instead of rava and result is equally good!

1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1/4 cup fine rava
salt to taste
1/4 cup thick yogurt
3/4 cups water (depends upon the consistency of the yogurt)
1/2 tea spoon baking soda
1 tea spoon minced chillies(optional)

Mix together cornmeal,rava and salt in a mixing bowl. Add yogurt and minced chillies and 1/2 cup water and mix everything with a whisk. Set aside this mixture for 15 minutes. Grease the idli
 moulds with little oil. Just before pouring the mixture into the moulds, add additional 1/4 cup water and baking soda to the mixture and whisk everything together. Mixture will bubble up a little. Pour into the moulds and steam for 18-20 minutes on medium heat. Remove idlis from the moulds once they are cooked. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ministrone soup and Jamie's Italy

Jamie Oliver is becoming my favourite for Italian food. Jamie's Italy is the book I am talking about. I borrowed it from library and read it in about 2 days! He has some wonderful recipes. Although I have limitations on how much I can try as I am a vegetarian. Still it is one of the best books I have ever read.
                 He has described minestrone soup in such a good way that I could almost smell it from the book. As he says, use seasonal ingredients to get the best taste. My version is summer minestrone with peppers,roasted corn and fresh basil! It was de-le-ci-ous.

1 tb spoon olive oil
2 medium size multi colour bell pepprs, roasted and sliced (I had red and green)
1 medium sized onion,sliced.
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted corn (1 big corn ear)
5-6 medium size tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tb spoons finely chopped basil
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dried pasta (any short pasta would work or even broken noodles)
parmigiano reggiano  cheese to garnish

Before starting to make soup, roast the peppers,corn on the cob and tomatoes in 350F oven for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and peppers are charred. Corn on the cob needs about 25 minutes , but 5 extra minutes wouldn't hurt. See here for how to roast corn in the oven. Cool everything to room temperature. Add olive oil to the pan. Add sliced onion and chopped garlic and fry until golden brown.Add 2 cups vegetable stock and let the mixture come to boil. While the mixture is boiling, purée the roasted tomatoes and set aside. Add puréed tomatoes and sliced bell peppers to the pan and let it boil for a minute. Add remaining vegetable stock and pasta and let the soup boil again until the pasta is done (about 8-9 minutes depending upon the size of pasta). Add roasted corn and chopped basil. Stir everything to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.Garnish with parmigiano reggiano and serve hot. A side of garlic bread would be perfect!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The tale of the green papaya

I bought a green papaya to make this. Vegetarian version of course, but more about that sometime later.
    Papaya was so huge that ended up using only half of it. Leftover papaya was staring at me for a while and was stacked up in the refrigerator.I just had to use that up and salad again?! was the question asked by significant other or  the taste tester! So this recipe is out of sheer desperation to try something new with the papaya. It is similar to 'Gulamba'. Substitute green mango with green papaya and you have a tasty relish! It actually tastes better a day after making it.

2 cups shredded papaya
1/2 cup shredded jaggery (as per taste)
1/2 tea spoon cardamom powder
1/8 tea spoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup water

In a pan, add water and jaggery and melt the jaggery. Once jaggery is melted, add shredded papaya and stir to combine. Cook papaya in jaggery syrup until the papaya is tender and syrup is 1 string consistency on low heat. It will take about 15 minutes. Add cardamom powder and nutmeg and mix everything. Cool to room temperature. Store in clean glass jar in the refrigerator. This will keep for  a week.

Green papaya is not as tangy as green mango. So you don't need lot of jaggery. Also, papaya contains less juice compared to mango. So you will have to add little water to make syrup.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mango and ice cream

Making most of the mango season with this ice cream. One of my favourite ice cream flavours. All natural ingredients and very easy to make. It requires only 5 ingredients, so use absolutely best quality ingredients.

Ingredients :
1 cup mango pulp (pulp of approx.2 mangoes)
2 cups half and half (or use 1 cup milk + 1 cup heavy cream)
1/2 tea spoon cardamom powder (preferably freshly ground)
pinch of saffron strands
2 tb spoon sugar (adjust according to your taste)

In a pan, add 1 cup half and half and sugar and heat over medium heat until sugar is melted. Switch off the heat and let the half and half cool to room temperature. Add remaining 1 cup half and half,mango pulp,saffron strands and cardamom powder and mix everything together with a whisk/spatula. Transfer the mixture to a freezer proof bowl/container and freeze for 4-5 hours. This will give a smooth,soft scoop.

If you need to freeze it for more time, remove ice cream from the freezer and whip the mixture every 3 hours or so and freeze again to get the smooth crystal free consistency.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Risotto n Rasam

You read it right!! Risotto is an Italian dish cooked by slowly adding hot water/stock to uncooked rice until you get the creamy texture. Adding rasam instead of the usual 'veg stock' gives risotto very nice taste.
       Rasam recipe came form a dear friend of mine. I did change it a bit because once the risotto is cooked , the flavour gets concentrated and if you use the usual ratio of rasam masala to water, you will end up with very spicy risotto.This may not be my everyday rice dish but its a pure comfort food!


Ingredients :
1 cup arborio rice
1 tb spoon chopped onion
1 tea spoon minced garlic (optional)
1 tb spoon oil

For the Rasam:
4 cups water
1 chopped tomato
1/4 tea spoon turmeric powder
1 tb spoon rasam masala (use as per taste)
1/2 tb spoon tamarind paste
1/4 cup cooked toor dal
salt to taste
1/2 tea spoon oil
1 tea spoon mustard seeds
1 spoon cumin seeds (optional)

chopped cilantro (as per taste)


To make rasam, bring 4 cups water to boil with chopped tomato,turmeric and tamarind. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes, then add rasam masala,cooked dal and salt and let it boil for another 5 minutes. Make the tadka (tempering) by heating oil, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them pop. Add tadka to the rasam and let the rasam stay warm on a very low heat. Add oil to a different pan (for cooking risotto) and add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Add the arborio rice and stir everything together and toast the rice on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of rasam at a time and stir occasionally until the rasam gets absorbed into the rice. Keep adding the rasam in 1/2 cup intervals stirring almost every other minute to cook the rice. It will take about 20-25 minutes for risotto to cook. Add chopped cilantro at the end. Serve hot with a spoonful of desi ghee!

Note: The ingredients for the rasam are just a guideline. Adjust rasam to suit your taste.
Strain rasam and then add to the rice if you don't want tomato in your risotto.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Orzo in Thailand.

It was friday night and better half was out for dinner! My fridge had very limited stock of veggies and nothing was sufficient alone as a full meal. I decided to whip up something out of the available stuff and came up with this. It was really tasty and my husband surely missed out on this one.
                It is a quicker version of stew with some added pasta and tofu for a full meal.

1/4 cup orzo
2 oz firm tofu (cut into 1/2 inch thick slices)
1 small red bell pepper (sliced lengthwise)
1/2 onion,sliced
1/2 tablespoon oil
1 cup basil leaves (reserve 5-6 leaves for adding at the end)
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 chilli (adjust according to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tea spoon lemon/lime juice
1/2 tea spoon sugar
1/2 cup coconut flakes ( I had dried coconut on hand , use 1/4 cup if using fresh)
1 cup boiling water

In a blender, blend together basil leaves,ginger,garlic,chilli,coconut,lemon/lime juice and boiling water. Sieve the mixture through a strainer to get 1 cup of broth.
           Heat a pan on medium high. Add oil,sliced onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add orzo and toast everything  for 2 more minutes. Add 1 cup broth, let the mixture come to full boil and cook it covered for 5-7 minutes or until orzo is done. Add tofu,chopped basil leaves and season with salt and pepper as per taste. Cook for just a minute. Serve hot.

Note: Use Thai green/red curry paste if available. Blend together coconut, Thai curry paste and boiling water to make broth.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I have got the broccolini!

Broccolini is my latest love affair! These tender strands are very simple to cook and are good as a side dish or as a main course tossed with pasta like this.
        This is easily available in summer and makes a quick and wonderful meal. The thing that I like the most about broccolini is that you don't have to clean it or cut it like broccoli. The entire strand is edible!

1 bunch broccolini ( or 1/3 pound by weight)
1/2 pound angel hair pasta (I use whole grain)
1 table spoon finely chopped garlic
pinch of chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 olives (preferably from the olive bar and not canned) sliced
2 tb spoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano / romano cheese
1 tea spoon lemon zest (optional)

Bring a big pot of water to boil. Once water starts to boil, add the washed broccolini and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Remove broccilini from hot water and transfer it to the bowl filled with ice to stop the cooking process.
           Add salt to the boiling water and add angel hair pasta. Cook according to the package directions. Angel hair pasta cooks very fast so start the sauce once the pasta is cooking. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil into the skillet. Add chopped garlic and chili flakes and fry until fragrant. Add broccolini and toss everything together. Add cooked pasta and olives and season with salt and pepper as per taste. Add lemon zest and mix everything together. Add cheese in the end and serve hot/warm.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Strawberry mousse in chocolate cup!

Strawberry is one of my favorite fruits. I prefer to eat it in its natural form however, I had this recipe on my mind for a long time. So when I had a heap of strawberries from my trip to farmer's market, I decided to give it a try.
        Making chocolate cup sounds difficult but it is not. This delectable dessert requires a little patience, but I would absolutely do it again and again!

For chocolate cup:
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 tea spoon vanilla extract (optional, use orange zest if like)
3 normal size muffin liners
pastry brush

For mousse:
5-6 medium strawberries,quartered
1/3 cup water
1 tb sugar
1/4 heavy whipping cream
1 tb spoon sugar
1/4 tea sp vanilla extract
1/2 tea spoon agar agar powder
2 tb spoon water

To make the chocolate cup, melt 3/4 of the 1/3 cup chocolate chips on a double boiler.Once the chocolate melts, remove from the heat and add rest 1/4 chocolate chips and stir well until smooth and glossy. Add vanilla extract/orange zest and stir everything. Take a muffin liner.Pour 1 tb spoon warm chocolate into the liner and coat the entire liner with chocolate using a pastry brush. Make sure to have even coating throughout and a relatively thick layer at the bottom of the liner. Freeze for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, coat again the frozen chocolate muffin liner with remaining molten chocolate and freeze again for 30 more minutes. Next, remove the cups from the freezer and leave them out at room temperature for a minute. Remove carefully the paper liner. If the cup is set, the liner will come out smoothly.You will have to work quickly else the cup will start to melt.
             In the meantime, boil together strawberries,water and 1 tb spoon sugar for 5 minutes. Puree it in the blender and sieve the puree to get 1/3 cup total smooth puree. Heat the agar-agar powder with 2 tb spoon of water and mix together warm strawberry puree with warm agar-agar mixture and set aside until it starts to thicken or starts to set. Whip the heavy whipping cream with 1 tb spoon sugar and 1/4 tea spoon vanilla extract until firm peaks. Gently mix strawberry mixture and whipped cream. Mousse is ready.
                    Pour the mousse into frozen chocolate cups and refrigerate for at-least 2 hours before serving.

Note: If paper liner sticks to the chocolate while removing, do it slowly even if the paper liner starts to come off in pieces.
 Handle the cups carefully as they are very very delicate and can break. ( take a hint!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

soft polenta

I had never even heard about polenta until couple of years ago when food network's Alton Brown ran an episode about it. I was looking for more recipes to try and I stumbled upon this. This is a sure winner. Thank you ET for this wonderful recipe!

1/2 cup polenta (I use whole grain)
2 cups water
1 tb spoon olive oil/butter
salt and pepper to season
roasted brussel sprouts (with olive oil.salt and pepper)
1 tb spoon grated parmigiano- reggiano (optional)

Bring water to boil. Add butter/oil, and the polenta slowly, continuously whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat until it starts to thicken (about 10-15 minutes), whisking every once in a while. 
           To roast the brussel sprouts, cut them in half and coat them with olive oil and salt,pepper. Roast on 350F for about 30 minutes or until fork tender.
          Top the cooked polenta with roasted brussel sprouts. Add parmigiano- reggiano and serve warm. Roasted eggplant is a good substitute for brussel sprouts.
          This makes 2 decent sized servings.

Monday, July 9, 2012

bell pepper raita

I remember eating this raita in my grandmother's kitchen. There were some impromptu guests coming over and she had made this along with everything else. It is so easy to make that I had to post it here.
                It is a nice change to everyday koshimbirs/raitas often made with cucumbers/tomatoes/carrots etc.

2 medium sized green bell peppers (roasted)
1/2 small onion finely chopped
1-2 tb spoon roasted peanut powder(danyacha koot)
salt to taste
1/2 cup thick yogurt
pinch of sugar (optional)
1 tb spoon chopped cilantro

For tampering:
1/2 tb spoon oil
1 tea spoon mustered seeds
pinch of asaphoetida
2 dry red chillies

 To roast the bell peppers, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with a foil/parchment paper and broil them on 400 F for 10-15 minutes, turning them midway. Peppers should be cooked but still have firm texture (not like store-bought roasted red pepper texture). Let the peppers cool. In the meantime, mix together chopped onion,roasted peanut powder,salt,sugar and yogurt and set aside. Peel the skins off the peppers and chop the peppers into bite size pieces. Mix peppers into the mixture.
       Heat the oil for tampering. Add mustered seeds,asaphoetida and red chillies. Add the hot oil mixture to the bell peppers mixture and mix everything. Add cilantro at the end. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to eat.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Coconut walnut roll

Making burfi at home is simpler than I thought it would be. When mom handed over the bag of walnuts that she bought from Kashmir, a major walnut producing region of India, I just had to make this roll. Coconut and walnut is my favorite combination.
                     This roll is really simple to make if you know the right consistency of sugar syrup. You may require some practice for that. You need to work quickly to roll the 2 layers otherwise it will set as it is and you will have multi-layered burfi rather than a roll ( not that it will taste bad!).


Coconut layer:
1 cup shreded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tea spoon cardamom powder

walnut layer:
1 cup ground walnut
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
pinch of saffron

Foil for spreading the burfi
ghee/butter to grease the foil

To make coconut layer; add sugar and water to the pan and bring to boil until one string consistency. (To achieve one string consistency , boil the syrup until the drop of syrup leaves one string between 2 fingers). This will take about 5-6 minutes. Once the syrup is done, add cardamom powder and coconut and stir until it starts to form a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. In the meantime, grease the foil onto which you will set the barfi. Pour hot coconut mixture onto a greased foil and spread with spatula to get 1/4 inch thickness.
       To make walnut layer; add sugar and water into the pan. Make one string sugar syrup, add saffron and ground walnut and stir until it starts to form a ball and leaves the sides of pan. Pour hot walnut mixture over warm coconut layer and spread as evenly as possible. carefully roll everything into a log when both the mixtures are warm and set in the fridge for about an hour. Roll will harden. Cut with a serrated knief and serve. Store in an air-tight container for couple of days in the refrigerator.

Note: Start the walnut layer before adding coconut to the sugar syrup for coconut layer. That way, when you are done with pouring the coconut layer onto the foil to set, sugar syrup for the walnut layer will be ready. It is important to keep everything warm so that you can roll the burfi.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Insalata Caprese

Couple of years ago, I tasted this salad for the first time (thanks to her!). I am making it ever since. Caprese salad is made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese,basil and seasoned with salt,pepper and olive oil.
        I love to make this salad in summer when tomatoes are at their best. Although various varieties of tomato are available throughout summer, heirloom tomatoes are my favorite.

2 medium sized heirloom tomatoes
2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (1 small ball)
7-8 basil leaves
big pinch of salt
big pinch of cracked black pepper
1/2 tb spoon extra virgin olive oil

Slice the tomatoes into rounds. Slice the mozzarella cheese into rounds. On a serving plate, arrange tomatoes,fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. Season with salt,pepper and drizzle with olive oil just before serving.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tomatoes,Basil and PASTA

This is one of Ina Garten's gems. I found the recipe here. I had cherry tomatoes from my trip to farmers market so decided to give this a try and am glad that I did.This is the easiest summer meal ever.

1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
handful basil leaves, chopped
1 tb spoon minced garlic
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tea spoon crushed red chili flakes (adjust according to your taste)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (adjust according to your taste)
salt and pepper to season
1/2 pound dried angel hair pasta

Combine tomatoes,oilve oil,chili flakes,salt,pepper,garlic and basil in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours.
         Cook the pasta according to package directions. Toss together cooked pasta and tomato mixture. Add extra cheese and more basil just before serving.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kanda kairi chutney

Kanda kairi chatnee (chutney)  is a quick side dish. It requires handful of ingredients and can be prepared in 5 minutes.This is how my mom makes it.

1 cup grated raw mango
1 small onion  (1/4 cup grated onion )
1/4 cup grated jaggery (more if the raw mango is tart, maximum you need is 1/2 cup)
1 tea spoon cumin seeds
1/2 tea spoon red chili powder
salt to taste

Grind together raw mango,onion,jaggery and cumin seeds.Add red chili powder and salt and grind again.Chutney is ready. If you like, you can add tadka of fenugreek seeds once the chutney is done. Store in the refrigerator.
      My Grandmom has her own version of this. Add 2 tb. spoons roasted peanut powder and 2 tb spoon freshly grated coconut and omit the onion. No tadka is needed.
     Both versions are equally tasty! Chutney will last for couple of days in refrigerator.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Making ice cream at home is possible !

This is a quick no churn recipe made with fresh strawberries which are available throughout summer. It is a summer in a bowl!

1 cup fresh strawberry puree
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar ( depends upon sweetness of the berries)
pinch of salt
1/2 tea spoon vanilla

Mix together milk,strawberry puree and salt and set aside. Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture. Pour in a container and freeze for at least 4 hours. This will give a soft scoop. Freeze more if you like, but this is a no churn ice cream so if frozen more, the ice cream could crystallize.

I use whole milk for the no churn ice creams as it helps in minimizing the crystalization.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mango and saffron-cardamom parfait

Summer is here and so are mangoes! Alphonsos are one of my favorites. Although typically eaten fresh, there are some sweet treats that can be made with these. Here is one of them.
             This really is a panna cotta parfait. Panna cotta is a italian dessert made with cream,sugar and set with gelatin. This one is made with agar-agar powder(a vegetarian gelatin) , mango and saffron-cardamom.It is very easy to make but requires little bit of patience to layer the 2 mixtures.

Mango layer :
1/2 cup milk (2% is fine, use cream if you like)
1/2 cup mango pulp
1 tb spoon sugar
1 tea spoon agar agar powder soaked in a tablespoon of hot water

Saffron-cardamom layer:
1 cup milk
1 tb spoon sugar
1 tea spoon agar agar powder soaked in a tablespoon of hot water
pinch of saffron strands
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
4-5 chopped almonds.

To make the mango panna cotta, add the milk and the sugar in a pan and bring the mixture to simmer on a medium high heat. Mixture should not boil. Once it comes to simmer, turn the heat to low and add mango pulp stirring continuously. Warm the agar agar mixture if it is at room temperature and add warm agar agar mixture to the milk and mango mixture and cook for a minute stirring occasionally. Switch off the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly. Pour half the mixture into a ramekin and refrigerate for 15 minutes. The mixture will set.
     In the meantime, prepare the saffron-cardamom mixture by simmering the milk and sugar. Add the cardamom powder and saffron,chopped almonds and agar agar and cook for a minute stirring occasionally. Let the mixture cool slightly. Remove the ramekin from the fridge and pour half of the saffron-cardamom mixture over the set mango layer.and let this set for another 15 minutes in the fridge.Repeat the process for 1 more time. Chill the parfait for 3-4 hours.
     To remove the parfait from the ramekin, run the knife along the sides of the ramekin and flip the ramekin onto a plate. Serve immediately.
While layering, once you pour half the mixture into a ramekin, remaining half can be stored at room temperature until you are ready to form the second layer. If the yet-to-be-layered mixture sets , warm it on a low heat to melt and then pour to layer.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sticky toffee date cake

Best cake ever ! Ina Garten is the way to go when it comes to baking. This is my most favorite cake that I ever made with her recipes. I had made this for a friend's birthday and it was a big hit. I have been baking this cake ever since. My baking is egg-less and use of flax seeds goes well with the taste of dates.
       The original recipe can be found here.I quartered the recipe and made one 6 inch round cake. I have baked the original recipe as it is . It is too sweet for me. So here is the updated version.

For the cake :
1/4 pound dates, pitted and chopped
3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4cup softened butter
1 tb spoon granulated sugar
1 tb spoon ground flax seeds + 3 tb spoon water (1 egg)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 tb spoon baking powder

For the sauce:
1/8 pound butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Mix together flour and salt and set aside. In a sauce pan add together water and dates and let the mixture come to boil. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg re-placer(flax seed and water mixture) and vanilla extract and beat again.Add the dry ingredients and mix to make a lumpy dough. Once the date mixture come to boil, remove from the heat and add baking soda to the date mixture. This will cause mixture to bubble.Pour the hot date mixture carefully to the dry mixture slowly and mix well.Add baking powder in the end. This will also cause mixture to bubble. Pour into a greased round cake pan and bake on 350 F for about 30-35 minutes.
     To make the sauce, mix the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar melts, add heavy cream and vanilla extract and salt and stir everything together . Sauce is ready.
     Once the cake is baked , let it cool for a while. Remove the cake from the cake pan and poke a few holes throughout the cake. Pour warm sauce on the cake. Cut and EAT.

1)Ina's original recipe does not call for salt in the toffee sauce. I like the combination of sweet and salty, so I added it.
2)I don't like desserts that are over the top sweet. So I did adjust the sugar. I have made this without adding any sugar and it works perfect. Toffee sauce is sweet so the cake can be little less sweet. And the dates are sweet enough for the cake.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brownie pudding

Ina Garten'sbrownie pudding is a pure bliss.When I watched the video, I couldn't resist making it. However, her recipe has fair amount of eggs. For someone like me, who does not eat eggs, this brownie pudding is far from reachable. I did play with the recipe numerous times to get the perfect texture. Finally had a success! This is a recipe inspired by Ina's pudding.
Very easy to make and very rich and chocolate-ey. I had some homemade caramel sauce to go with it, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be good too. This is in between a fudgy brownie and a molten lava cake. Whatever you call this, it is surely a treat.

Ingredients :
1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/2 tea spoon baking powder
1/8 tea spoon baking soda
1/4 tea sp salt
1/2 tb sp cocoa
1 oz dark chocolate (anything above 70% cocoa)
1/2 tb sp butter
1/2 cup water/milk
1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract
1/2 tea spoon instant coffee powder
1 tb spoon yogurt
2 tb. honey/agave
Method :
In a mixing bowl, mix together flour,baking powder,baking soda,salt and cocoa powder and set aside. In a double boiler, melt chocolate,butter and water/milk together.When the mixture melts, remove from the heat. Add vanilla extract,coffee powder,yogurt and honey and mix everything together. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix well.  Do not over mix. preheat the oven at 350F. Transfer the mixture to the greased ramekins. Arrange the ramekins in a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot water so that water reaches half the height of the ramekins. Bake for 10-12 minutes.Check after 10 mins. When the cake is done the outer border will be cooked but center will be just set.  Remove from oven and serve warm. This recipe makes 2 descent size servings.

1) This is very dark chocolaty brownie pudding. Adjust the sugar/agave/honey as per your taste.
2) I bake these in a water bath so that they cook slowly.I have tried this without a water bath, it turns out like a normal brownie.It does not have gooey middle texture when not baked in water bath.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I adore this classic Italian dessert. I tasted this once and am in love with this. Deep fried tube shaped pastry shell stuffed with the mixture of ricotta cheese and sugar and dipped in nuts. Who won't like these!! I am not a big fan of deep frying. So I was trying to bake cannoli pastry shell for a while. Finally after several tries here is the perfected recipe !
          I have made various types of stuffings.This recipe (stuffing only) is just a guideline.You can add  any flavor combination that you like. These 3 happen to be my favorites. Here I am sharing the recipe for mocha flavored stuffing. Generally the filling is made with ricotta cheese, however I have stuffed cannoli with custard, ice cream, whipped cream and they all taste equally good.

Kesar Ilayahci kulfi with almonds
Mocha fillling with hazelnuts

Orange with pistachios

Ingredients :
For the pastry :
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 and 1/4 tea spoon baking powder
2 tb spoons sugar
1 and 1/2 tb spoon cold butter
2 tb spoons sour cream
1/4 cup cold water

For the filling ( Mocha)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tb spoons sugar
1 tea spoon instant coffee powder
1 tb spoon warm water
2-3 tb spoons grated dark chocolate

mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts to decorate.

Method :

For the pastry, add the flours,salt ,sugar,baking powder in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add cold butter and sour cream and pulse again for a minute. After a minute, keeping the food processor running, add water slowly to incorporate everything into a ball. Once mixture starts to come together, stop pulsing. Remove from food processor, knead the mixture a few times to form a ball, wrap in a plastic wrap and chill for atleast half an hour.
               You get Cannoli forms in the market that you can use or else you can do what I did.Tightly roll the heavy duty foil into a cylinder shape and use that as a cannoli form. Divide the chilled dough into 20 small balls. Roll each ball to make a thin circle.Wrap this rolled dough around the oiled/buttered  'cannoli form' and set aside. Make the rest of cannoli. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place cannoli onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes and remove the half baked pastry shell carefully from the form.It comes off very easily. Bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature before stuffing them. These empty shells can last up to 2 days at room temperature.
             To make the stuffing, dissolve a teaspoon instant coffee powder in a tablespoon warm water and set aside to cool it down. Whip the cream with sugar and the dissolved coffee until firm peaks. Add ricotta cheese and whip again. Add grated chocolate and mix. Fill the piping bag with the mixture and stuff the cannoli shells from both ends. Dip the stuffed shells into mini chocolate chips and hazelnuts and chill for half an hour so that the filling hardens a little. They are ready to serve!

Stuffed cannoli will stay crunchy for 3-4 hours. After that it turns soggy.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kariche Panhe

Nothing screams summer more than a chilled drink. Kariche panhe / raw mango drink is a perfect solution for a hot afternoon. This is a quick recipe and does not require lot of ingredients.

2 raw mangoes (Kairi)
3/4 cup grated jaggery
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
pinch of saffron
pinch of salt

Method :
Pressure cook the raw mangoes for 3 whistles.Remove the skin and the seed when they are warm and puree it in blender. Transfer in a bowl. Add grated jaggery when the mango puree is still warm.This allows jaggery to melt. Add cardamom,saffron and salt. Stir to mix everything together. Allow it to come to room temperature.Save this in a clean dry container in a fridge, It stays for a week.

While making the drink, Take 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the glass.Fill the rest with water and stir. Add ice and touch of salt just before serving. You may add 1/4 tea spoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

You may require slightly more or less jaggery depending upon the tartness of raw mango.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Samosas (Baked!)

Traditionally samosa is a deep fried pastry shell filled with a spicy filling.The filling is generally made of potatoes and peas and spices.You can fill these shells with almost anything.I make various types of fillings with vegetables,tofu,paneer; The list is endless.

Ingredients :
For the pastry
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup regular oats ( not the quick cooking variety)
pinch of salt
1 tea spoon carom seeds
1 tea spoon baking powder
1 and 1/2 tb spoons diced cold butter
2 tb spoons sour cream/yogurt
1/4 cup cold water.

For the filling

1 tb spoon oil
1 tea spoon mustard seeds
pinch if asafoetida
1/4 tea spoon turmeric powder
2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tea spoon grated ginger
1 tea spoon minced green chili
1 tea spoon dried mango powder ( Amchoor)
1 tea spoon ground fennel seeds
3 medium size cooked potatoes cut into small cubes
1 small onion
1/2 cup of peas
salt to taste

Method :
To make the pastry, combine flours, oats, salt, baking powder and carom seeds in a food processor. Pulse it a few times to mix well. Add cold diced butter and pulse until butter is well mixed into the flour. Add yogurt/sour cream and pulse again. Add tablespoon of water at a time and pulse to combine everything into a ball. Once the mixture starts to come together, transfer the mixture onto a plate and form a ball. Wrap the pastry with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
    While the pastry is resting prepare the filling. Add oil into the skillet. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic and minced chili. Let it fry for couple of minutes on a medium heat. Add onion. Fry until golden brown. Add cooked cubed potatoes and peas and cook it for 2 minutes. Add amchoor powder, ground fennel seeds and salt. Mix well. The filling is done. Let it cool completely before filling the pastry dough.
    Take the chilled pastry dough and divide it into lime size balls. Roll each ball into a circle with about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the circle into 2 halfs. Take a semi circle, place a tablespoon of mixture in the center. Fold one edge to cover half the filling, then fold the other edge to cover the rest of the filling. Seal the edges with water to avoid leakage. Fill rest of the samosas and arrange them onto a greased baking sheet. Preheat the oven on 350F.Brush samosas with the mixture of oil and milk to get golden brown color. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with coconut-cilantro chutney or tamarind chutney.


 Samosa pie anyone?! I used exactly same ingredients and same proportions to make one 7 inch pie. Bake for 30-35 minutes to get golden brown color.


Saturday, April 21, 2012


Rasmalai is one of my favorite desserts.I had never made it earlier because it is a little time consuming.It can be described as soft paneer balls soaked in cardamom flavored thickened milk .It is served chilled.
        I make paneer at home very often to make north Indian paneer based sabzis, so decided to give this a try and it worked out pretty well.You can buy can of Rasgulla's and make the 'ras' at home.But for the best taste, homemade paneer is a way to go.

Ingredients :
For 'Malai' (Paneer balls)

5 cups milk ( I used 2%)
2 tb spoons lemon juice
2 tb spoons orange juice (Freshly squeezed)
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar

For 'Ras'

3 cups milk (2%)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
pinch of saffron
2-3 tb spoon chopped cashews,almonds and pistachios

Method :
In a heavy bottom pan bring 5 cups milk to boil.Add lemon and orange juice slowly to curdle milk.You may require little less or little more juice to separate milk fat and whey.Once the milk is curdled , transfer the mixture into a  colander lined with a cheesecloth.Let all the whey drain.Run the paneer through cold tap water to remove lemon/orange flavor.Squeeze the excess water and hang the cheesecloth with paneer onto the tap for at least  30 minutes.Once the excess water is drained, transfer the paneer into the plate and knead it for 2 3 minutes until paneer becomes very soft.Take little paneer between your palms and roll it into a ball.If the ball is very soft and smooth , the paneer is ready.Divide the paneer into 20 equal parts.Roll each part into a smooth ball and flatten it slightly between your palms.In the meantime, in a heavy bottom skillet , add 3 cups water and 1/2 cup sugar and bring it to boil.Once the syrup starts to boil transfer the paneer balls into the syrup and cook for 5-7 minutes.Paneer balls absorb the syrup and become almost double the original size.Switch off the flame after 5-7 minutes and let it stand for couple of minutes.

For Ras, bring 3 cups milk to boil.Reduce the flame to medium and stir occasionally to prevent from burning at the bottom.Reduce the milk to 2 cups.This will take about 15 minutes.Add sugar and let it dissolve .Once the sugar is dissolved , switch off the flame and let it cool for a 15 minutes.Add half and half,saffron,cardamom powder and nuts.Ras is ready.

Lightly squeeze excess syrup from paneer balls and transfer these balls into the ras.Chill for at least 8 hours.Paneer balls will soak the thickened sweetened  milk and become plump.Rasmalai is ready.

1)While making panner, I normally use lemon juice.But sometimes,it overpowers the taste of paneer.So for this particular recipe I used orange juice along with the lemon juice.You can use only lemon juice as well. Don't forget to wash paneer thoroughly before going to next step.
2)When milk is reduced, there is lot of 'Saay' or milk fat that comes to the top.You want a creamy,smooth thick milk for this recipe.So sieve the reduced milk,then Add half and half and everything else.
3)I did add 1/2 cup sugar while making the syrup to cook the paneer balls.You can add more sugar if you like.Later paneer balls will soak up the sweetened milk.So for my taste, this much sugar was perfect.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Suralichi wadi

I love Suralichi wadi.Thin layers of cooked chickpea flour stuffed with the mixture of coconut and cilantro is how I will describe it.It is fairly easy to make and finishes in no time!

Ingredients :

For the outer layer
1 cup of chickpea flour ( besan)
2 and half cups of buttermilk
3/4 tea spoon turmeric powder
1 tea spoon red chili powder
1/2 tea spoon asafoetida
1/2 tea spoon granulated sugar
salt to taste
1/2 tea spoon oil

For Filling
1/2 cup of grated coconut
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

For Tempering
1 Tb Spoon oil
1 tea spoon mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chillies ( fresh green chillies would work too)
4-5 curry leaves

Method :

Mix the chickpea flour,buttermilk,sugar and spices together and make a smooth batter.Heat the skillet with a 1/2 tea spoon oil and add the prepared mixture into the skillet. Cook the mixture on medium heat, stirring every minute or so to prevent lumps. It requires about 10 minutes to cook. Pour little bit of mixture onto an non-greased  surface, spread it and let it cool for a few seconds. Try to remove the mixture in a shape of a roll. If it comes off as a roll, it is done. If it sticks to the surface, cook it for more time.
Once the mixture is cooked, divide the hot mixture onto 2 non greased plates. Spread the mixture while it is warm to form a very thin layer. Sprinkle the coconut and cilantro mixture onto the spread mixture. Cut the mixture into strips. Roll each strip into a shape of a roll and transfer it to serving plate.
   Heat the oil for tempering , add mustard seeds,curry leaves and chillis. pour the warm tempering onto the rolls.
Suralichi wadi is done!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Jilabi or Jalebi , as it is known in most parts of India, is a very popular sweet dish especially during weddings.
    It was not really my favorite dessert until my Aunt gave me this recipe.I tried it once and loved it.You need little bit of planning ahead of time to make it but it is worth it.

The recipe has 3 steps.Fermenting the batter,frying the Jalebis and dipping them in sugar syrup.

Ingredients :

For the Batter 

2 cups of Rava (Semolina )
1 cup of Maida ( All Purpose Flour)
2.5 cups of boiling water
3 tb spoons very sour buttermilk
1 tea spoon Saffron Strands
Oil to coat the batter

For the sugar syrup
1.5 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
Half tea spoon of cardamom powder
Pinch of saffron
Half tea spoon of lemon juice

Method :

You need to plan in advance to make Jalebis.The batter needs at least 8-10 hours of fermentation.

Mix Rava,Maida together.Add the buttermilk.The buttermilk has to be very sour. It acts as a fermenting agent.Mix the boiling water into the batter and stir gently to make it smooth.Do not over-mix.If the batter is too lumpy and needs more water, add little bit at a time.You will require at most 1/4 cup of extra water to get the final consistency.The consistency of the final batter should be slightly thicker than common pakoda batter.Once the batter is mixed, coat the entire top of the batter with oil.Cover it and let it ferment for at least 8 - 10 hours.Depending upon the weather and sourness of the buttermilk, batter will almost be double the original size.If it is not double , but increased slightly that's fine too.Once you are ready to fry,mix oil that is coating the batter into the batter to obtain 'ribbon consistency'.Add saffron strands just before frying to get maximum color.

For frying, heat 3-4 inches of oil in heavy bottom pan. When it starts to bubble, the oil is ready.Pour the batter into the sauce bottle or a 'ziplock' bag.If using ziplock bag,cut the corner and pour the batter into the hot oil in circular swirling mode.It takes about 1-1.5 minutes on each side for Jalebis to fry.Fry until golden brown .Put the fried jalebis on paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Meanwhile prepare sugar syrup by combining sugar and water.Boil it to make it 2 strings sugar syrup.Add cardamom powder,saffron and lemon juice and the syrup is done.

Fry the Jalebis and dip them into the sugar syrup while they are still warm.Once Jalebis are coated evenly with sugar syrup , transfer them on a serving dish.

1) If the buttermilk is not very sour, leave it at room temperature for 4-5 hours and it will turn sour.In winter, leave it out for 8 hours.
2)Adding saffron at the end while preparing the batter helps to give the batter beautiful golden color.If you add saffron at the time of fermentation, saffron loses its taste and Jalebis turn out slightly dark.
3)Adding lemon juice prevents sugar syrup from crystallization.
4) Jalebis turn soggy fairly quickly once dipped in sugar syrup.If you want to keep them crispy for a long time, after dipping Jilabis into the sugar syrup arrange them onto a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet .This way, excess sugar syrup will fall into the baking sheet and Jalebis will stay crispy for long time.
5)To get ribbon-like consistency,mix batter for 4-5 minutes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dalia / Daliya / Wheat pudding

Wheat pudding is one my favorite desserts.This recipe is truly heirloom.I ate this pudding in my grand mom's kitchen. It is her recipe that I follow blindly.This dish is made with cracked wheat.Its a good change from normal Vermicelli pudding. The taste is very earthy and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients :
1 cup of cracked wheat
1 and 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of milk ( preferably at room temperature)
6-7 tb spoons of grated Jaggery or dark brown sugar
1 tb spoon clarified butter (Ghee)
1/2 tea spoon cardamom powder
1/4 cup grated coconut ( fresh or dried)
2 -3 tb spoons of chopped almonds/cashews/walnuts

Pressure cook cracked wheat with water for 2-3 whistles.In a heavy bottom skillet, add clarified butter.Let it warm for little bit,  add cooked cracked wheat.Saute it in clarified butter(ghee) for 2-3 minutes.Add milk and stir generously to avoid any lumps. Once the mixture starts bubbling, add jaggery or dark brown sugar and stir again. Make sure to stir once in a while.(This prevents the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.)
Add cardamom powder and nuts. If using dry coconut, roast the coconut in a dry pan until golden brown and then add it to the pudding.If using fresh, add it as it is.Serve warm.

Notes :
1) If you don't want to pressure cook the daliya, toast it in clarified butter just like you toast vermicelli.Once it is toasted , add milk and follow the procedure as it is. You can add all milk and skip the water.This method will require more time to cook the pudding.
2)If you want to serve the pudding after some time, make the pudding but do not add coconut.Add coconut just before serving.That way it tastes fresh and coconut does not loose its taste.
3) Milk should be at room temperature.If you add cold milk to hot mixture, there is a chance of curdling.