Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kaju katli/Cashew Fudge

Kaju katli is one of the sweets which is loved by almost everybody and off course makes an ideal hostess gift when you're invited to dinner in an Indian home. Made from ground cashews and sugar syrup kaju katli is essentially a cashew fudge, dense and sweet. Cashew has been considered as the king of Dry fruits in India though now days we can see many types of sweets coming up with different flavors and versions like Anjeer ki barfi, Badam Pista barfi etc..but Kaju katli is my all time favorite and this time its home made so it has to be more than favorite to me ;-)





Ingredients:

Cashew nuts- 500 gms
Sugar- 250 gms
Water- 200 gms
Ghee- 1 tsp for greasing

Method:

 - Ground the cashew nuts in a mixer until it becomes smooth and powdered.
You can ground them in small quantity multiple times as grinding them in one large batch will not make smooth powder.
- Take a heavy bottomed/ non stick pan and heat water in it and add sugar to make sugar syrup.



-

Keep stirring on high and then low heat until you get a consistency of one thread. To check this dip a spatula in the syrup and lift out. Allow to cool for a few seconds as it will be very hot at first. Now touch the syrup with a clean forefinger and then touch your thumb and forefinger together and pull apart gently. Keep boiling the syrup gently till you reach the consistency.Stages progress fairly quickly after a point, so check frequently. One-thread consistency is when a single thread is formed (and does not break) when your forefinger and your thumb are pulled apart gently. - Now add in the Cashew powder to this sugar syrup and mix well until all lumps are dissolved and it starts looking like a semi liquid dough.





- Meanwhile grease the counter with Ghee where you can roll the cashew dough using greased rolling pin.

 - Take the dough OFF the flame and cool it for few minutes as it will be too hot to roll.

 - Now roll it into thin layer of approx.1 cm.

 - After few minutes cut the fudge in diamond or square shapes and serve.

 Notes:

 - This recipe makes around 50 pieces of kaju katli.
 - If you feel your katli is not setting properly or still runny or loose then you need to cook it for few more minutes on low heat.
 - This sweet can be stored and refrigerated for one week.
 - you can add saffron for flavour and color if you want.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Diwali special!

Diwali is the popular most Hindu festival for Indians and I had been brought up in a place where all small to big festivals are celebrated with lot of colors and special foods.

For every festival there will be a menu of sweets, snacks and a detailed main course menu. Though now things are changing and people have started celebrating the festivals a bit differently like going to restaurant for dinner, buying sweets from shops etc ..even I do it sometimes but for me festival was always meant to be a hectic day for my mom. She always used to prepare lots of sweets, an array of snacks and later special dinner for Diwali night.We siblings will be busy with putting rangoli, painting the flower pots with 'Geru'-a kind of mud paint and then decorating whole house with flower garlands. every year we used to have same schedule but we were enjoying doing it so much that now its like mandatory for us to do, if not same but at least few of those activities, to mark this festival.
We used to get tired by the night but there was a sense of satisfaction that we did it.

Now role has reversed, I am a mom and want to share my childhood fun with my daughter so just trying to do what mom used to do though I know I can't beat her energy level but can only just TRY!

But it gets difficult when it comes to choose what should I cook on the D-day?
So here is a list of few of my favorite recipes which mom used to prepare for Diwali:

Sweets:
Snacks:
Main course:
Side:

So have a safe and best Diwali ever and don't forget to cook and express your love to your loved ones.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome. 

Cya soon
Tanu

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kex/Biscuit cup cakes-no eggs

This time I am posting a recipe of egg-less and very easy-to-make cake which I got from my SIL.
With little variations, this cake is not only tasty and hit but also required minimal and easy-to-find-in-kitchen ingredients. i.e. Normal tea time biscuits or kex. In India people use Parle G brand for this cake but I used some digestive biscuits and normal local made tea biscuits.

I baked it in Electric oven but my SIL prepared this cake in a pressure cooker and believe me the results were very close. So vegetarian people with no oven still has chance to show off their baking skills. ;)





Ingredients:

Tea time biscuits and digestive biscuits (powdered)-2 cups
Sugar grounded-1&1/2 cups (you can vary the amount of sugar on the basis of which brand biscuit you are using as it will also have sugar in it!)
Baking powder-1 teaspoon
Baking soda-1 small pinch
Vanilla essence-1 teaspoon
Milk 1& 1/2 cups
Cashew nuts or any other dry fruit of you choice.

Method:

Preheat the oven on 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
Add powdered biscuits, powdered sugar, and baking powder in a bowl and mix it well.

Pour in milk and vanilla essence and whisk it properly for few minutes till you get a smooth batter for cake.
Now prepare the cupcakes mold and fill them up to 1/3rd with this batter.
Garnish with broken cashew nuts and slide into the oven and bake it for 20 to 30 mins.
Keep a check on cupcakes by inserting a toothpick or knife in the middle of cake, if it comes out clean then remove it from oven otherwise let it bake for few more minutes.
Once the cupcake is out of oven let it cool for 15-20 mins on the wire rack. Don't make efforts to cool it under fan or so otherwise it will turn dry.
Now put it upside down pat a little on the bottom and let the cupcakes cool down completely.

In Microwave:
Batter will be same as above. Just pour in this batter to a glass bowl or silicon muffin molds(but no metal vessel) and put it in microwave mode on high power for 4-5 mins. Take out your cake from microwave and wait for few minutes to get it cool down. Baking in microwave won't change the taste of cake a bit but yes it wont get the same smoking brown effect of oven-baked cakes.



In pressure cooker:

Take a pressure cooker, remove the gasket (ring) and place the prepared metal tin in the cooker.
Cover the cooker lid with the weight/ whistle on.
Bake the cake in the cooker, initially on high flame for 5 minutes and later on medium flame for 15 minutes. Check once by opening the lid. If a skewer inserted comes out clean the cake is done.
For the cake to bake from the top, turn off the gas for some time so that the steam inside the cooker helps the top side of the cake to bake.
Remove it out and let it cool completely.

Notes:-

Milk is added to get desired consistency of batter.So you can vary the amount as per your batter.
Baking soda has to be very little otherwise it can spoil the taste of cake.
You can add cocoa and chocolate chips for a chocolate cupcakes or use chocolate biscuits.I have not tried it yet but I think its doable for choco-lovers.
Do not keep any water in the pressure cooker. See to it that you remove the gasket.

I would like to mention that avoid  using this pressure cooker technique if you are abroad where hot plate or coil is used. You will have electric oven attached to the stove, make use of it!
and Usually this kind of electric stoves gets highly heated and can spoil not only your cake but also the precious pressure cooker.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread with cheese and green chilies topping or simply with herb seasoning..which one you like most?Ask me I am the die hard fan of this dish.
I had my intro with this delicacy in Pizza hut in 2005 and from that day I never forget to order it with pizza.
Now since my cravings are getting stronger day by day I need to find other way to sastisfy it.
I searched many recipes for garlic bread but officially it asks for a loaf of french or Italian bread. As I wanted to use something which is very handy in my kitchen so I used our simple white sandwich bread.

Ingredients:
5-6 bread slices.
1 stick softened salted butter
2-3 garlic cloves crushed finely
1 tablespoon herb like parsley, basil (optional)
1/2 cup grated cheese (for cheese topping)
2 green chilies chopped

Method:

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. 
If you are using convection microwave then set the microwave mode to convection and start preheating on 180 degrees for 10 mins.
Now add herbs and garlic to the butter and  mix well till it looks like a spread.
Spread this butter onto all bread pieces and put it in the oven to bake for 10 mins.

You can see the crust of bread will turn crispy brown in color, now sprinkle grated cheese and green chilies on few of the slices and slide them back in oven for 2 more mins.
The time can vary depending your oven heat So keep an eye on it.
Take them out and serve with tomato ketchup.

Notes:
Toppings can be done as per your choice.

Tawa Pulav

When you are out of your country and still got lucky enough to carry readymade masalas with you like kitchen king,chat masala and pav bhaji masala then it can do wonders for your tastebuds.
I did the same! I have pav bhaji masala and while browsing on net I found a pretty simple yet different recipe for rice delicacies.

Yes it is Tawa pulav! very famous among Mumbaikars. In almost all corners, junctions or roads of Mumbai you will find Tawa pulav. Just like Pav Bhaji people have craze to eat Tawa Pulav In Mumbai.

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup Green Peas Boiled/thawed
1 medium sized bell pepper chopped
2 Onion chopped in slices
1 Tomato chopped
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds/Jeera
3 tbsp oil
2 Green Chillies chopped finely
1 teaspoon Turmeric /Haldi
2 tablespoon Pav Bhaji Masala
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
Salt as per taste

Method:
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and let it splutter. Stir in ginger-garlic paste and green chilies on low heat.

Now add chopped Onions. Fry until crisp and golden brown.
Add all spices and then add tomatoes to this and let it cook for 2 mins till it leaves oil.
Add green peas and bell pepper to the pan and cook it for 2-3 mins. Stirring in between.

Add cooked rice to this mixture and mix gently so that whole masala can cover the rice and cook for 7-8 mins on low heat with cover on.
Garnish with some cilantro and serve hot with raita.
Notes:
You can add your choice of vegetables in this pulav but just make sure of cooking timings of each.

Besani Karela (dry Bitter gourd with chickpea flour)

Well this recipe's credit goes to only n only to my mom-in-law because she taught me to cook a bitter gourd sabji without much fuss and with almost no bitter taste. Yes I m serious! and moreover this sabji is a good travel food, it can remain fresh till 2-3 days. Though I never liked this vegetable in my whole childhood and it used to be the last pick when I go for sabji market. But after knowing its nutritional values I have started cooking it in our home and luckily everybody simply loves it.

Ingredients:
250 gms or 3-4 pcs bitter gourd/karela
4 tablespoon besan (chickpea flour)
2-3 Green chilies chopped
a pinch asafoetida hing
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds jeera
1/2 turmeric powder haldi
1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhania powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
3 tablespoon oil.

Method:

First peel and cut the gourd in thin slices, add a little salt to it and keep it aside for 20-30 mins.

Now take a pan and roast on low to medium flame till the color changes a little and you smell the roasted aroma of besan.Take it out in a plate.

Heat oil in a deep pan and start frying sliced gourd in it in batches till it turns tender and golden in color.Take them out in plate.

Use same oil and add cumin seeds and asafoetida to it and let it splutter. Once done add green chilies and let it cook too for few seconds.

Now add all dry spices except garam masala and dry mango powder to this oil and immediately add these fried gourd slices. Mix well gently and let it cook covered for 2 mins on low heat.

Remove the cover and spinkle besan on the sabji, mix and cook more for 5 mins with lid on.
You can check the gourd after this by pressing it with fingers if it requires more cooking.

Add garam masala and amchur and mix it well.
Serve hot with chapatis or pooris.

Notes:
Soaking gourd with salt takes away bitter taste upto an extent and frying will make it completely neutral.
Do not over mix the sabji or it will turn mushy.

PS- I will try to upload the picture pretty soon.




Monday, January 30, 2012

Instant Shrikhand using Greek yogurt

I never tried the original recipe of Shrikhand in my life. In fact I would say I was not even keen to know about it as I am not so fond of it nor my family members.

When one is out of India and don't have access to Mawa/khoya then we are compelled to satisfy our sweet tooth with few homemade recipes like Halwas and Kheers only. So I keep on looking for alternative options which are easy to prepare with minimal ingredients and can be used anytime and still steals the show!

One of such option which I posted earlier was Kalakand. Now I found one more recipe which is not only easy to prepare but will definitely make your day.
That's Shrikhand!
Yes I know the original process involves a lot of patience,expertise and efforts but I found an easy way out i.e. using Greek Yogurt.



Greek Yogurt is a type of yogurt which is creamy,low fat and thicker than regular yogurt. It is a good health food, as it contains protein and probiotics.
I am using Lindahls grekisk yogurt as it is easily available in Sweden and I am quite satisfy with its texture for Shrikhand.


Serve: 8
Ingredients:
1 ltr Lindahls grekisk yogurt/ Greek yoghurt
200 gms powdered sugar
10-12 saffron strands
2 tsp warm milk
4-5 pods of cardamom powdered
slivers of almond / pistachio for garnish(optional)
1 tbsp charoli/chironji nuts to garnish

Method:
Add Saffron in warm milk and stir till it get dissolved.
Whisk the greek yogurt in a deep bowl till it gets smooth consistency (takes about a minute).
Check the texture of yogurt. Thick yogurt is necessary for Shrikhand.
If you feel greek yogurt which you have is not enough thick then hang it in a muslin cloth for 4-5 hours, discard the whey and then use it.
Next add powdered sugar and blend till it gets dissolved.
Add the saffron milk, cardamom powder and beat it well till the mixture is creamy and rich.
Garnish with Charoli nuts,almonds and pistachios.
Refrigerate it for about 2 hours and serve chilled.

Note:
If you want to make this dessert a bit tangy, add sour cream and stir well before adding the nuts but it totally optional. Or you can refrigerate for a day and it will have that tangy taste by itself.
Many variations can be done with the flavour like Aam shrikhand, Rose Shrikhand, Berry Shrikhand etc..

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Long Break, but I'm back!!

Not only have I not been blogging, I have even slipped from surfing Internet. It's odd- two months goes by really fast.

We had been to our hometown in India. We met our relatives, friends and family shared so much of happiness with them, 
celebrated Diwali,



visited Taj, 


 Nia's B'Day, finished some long time-pending work. We spent two months together as a family for the first time but again with loads of work. Missed mom and tried to bring things back to at least a bit normal and did hell lot of shoppinggggg!



And that dear readers was what I did while I was gone Wish you all a wonderful 2012 :) and hope it brings us all a lot of luck, love and happiness!

FLOP – sesame seeds and sugar bar (Til ki chikki)

Being foodie in Pardes means you are trying new things at home. Experimenting! Cooking something which you've never done before.
Most of the time, it works. You end up with something delicious, nutritious, and guilty for not following your diet.

Sometimes, it flops.

Do not (and I repeat: DO NOT) do the following:

1. Use your 'very precious-little in quantity-brought from India' sesame seeds for Makar Sankranti for experimenting CHIKKI.
2. Use Ghee and Sugar and switch on the heat and stir AND try to make sugar syrup consistency out of it without adding a single drop of water.
3. Add those sesame seeds to it while fantasizing that today you are going to have a chikki with grocery-bought look and then what?

The result is crystallized sugar coated on sesame seeds but no binding. So no Chikki and offcourse no waah waahi but yes some caramalized sesame seeds. :P
Though after two days when I recovered from my trauma of flop show, I microwaved the whole thing with little water and added boiled honey to it till it gets some binding and now 70% of those burfi I have already gobbled up (for tasting while re-experimenting) and some are still left for the Man in house. :)

TIL TIL kar mara is TIL ko ..PJ :P


Later I got to know many things about how I should've done the things.
As they say  Never say, "oops."  Always say, "Ah, interesting."  

What’s your biggest cooking flop? Share it in the comments or on Facebook

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