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.