Friday, July 26, 2013

Carrot 'no-bake' Pie

Indians love warm Carrot pudding or Gajar halwa specially in winters which is the best time to enjoy it. Some relish it with ice cream and some like to eat it plain and warm.

I had seen this recipe somewhere long back but tried recently. So thought of sharing with you because I feel that everyone look for some different ways of presentations whenever it comes to serve a traditional dessert.



For Carrot halwa:

Ingredients:

1 kg grated carrots
1 cup milk (just to make sure that it is not too dry to stick to the bottom)
½ cup powdered sugar
or
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
½ cup crushed nuts (cashew/almond/pistachio)
1 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
A few raisins
1 tsp. cardamom powder

Method: 

Wash and grate carrots. Heat clarified butter/ghee in a heavy bottom vessel. Add grated carrots and sauté for a few minutes.

Add milk and keep cooking at slow flame till all the liquid is absorbed and the carrots look like a semi solid ball.

Add sugar, the pudding will become liquid again. Cook for 5-10 minutes till it all the liquid is dried off.

Take off the flame and add powder cardamom, nuts and raisins. Serve it as a dessert with a dollop of ice cream or just plain.
This halwa can be made in pressure cooker too for quicker version which reduces the cooking time for carrot and made the whole process lot easier without much compromising with taste(but taste of traditionally made halwa will always be the best and supreme).



For the pie crusts you can use different bases like:

1. Cookie Crust;
1 cup digestive biscuits
1 tbsp. powder sugar
4 tbsp. butter
A few drops of mil

2. Cornflakes Crust
1 cup crushed cornflakes/wheat flakes
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. honey

3. Nutty Crust
 1 cup Almond meal flour
10-12 juicy Dates
A few drops of water

I have used digestive biscuits for this recipe.
All the recipes above follow the same process. Just grind all the ingredients in a blender and make dough. Use more liquid if the dough is too dry to make pies.

Arrange paper cup liners in a muffin tray and fill each with half of the pie crust mix. Press the crumbles slightly to make a firm pie crust.

Top it with carrot pudding and press it with the back of a spoon. Garnish it with more crushed nuts if you desire and serve.

For best results let the guests guess what is the crust made up of!  :-)


Notes:

You could use khoya or mawa in place of condensed milk to make it into more exotic and rich treat but it is subject to availability.
Fry the nuts and raisins in a little clarified butter/ghee, it gives a crunch and wonderful aroma to the nuts.
You can replace bottle gourd, sweet potato and pumpkin with carrots to make the same pudding.
These pies stay good for 5-6 days as there is no water in the recipe.
Try the same dessert recipe with Apple pudding. Replace the grated carrots with apples.
Cup measurements is same as US standard.


Like to experiment with biscuits?
Here you have one more to try out ;)

Kex/biscuit cake(vegetarian,eggs free)




Friday, June 14, 2013

Vegetarian Barbecue

This post is on a request by one of my very good friend M.
Barbecue usually means freinds and family grilling and having good time outdoors in spring. Usually chicken, fish, lambs, sausages etc are used for grilling. Being a vegetarian, I have been asked many times that what exactly you guys grill ! Plants?! :D
Well yeah, kind of, but we have many more options too!
How?
Answer is:
- Paneer and vegetables tikka masala(most popular)
- Potatoes or patties (can make burgers out of it with any burger dressing)
- Soy sausages (make hot dogs)
- Pineapple thick slices
- Corn on the cob with hint of lemon and salt (very much Indian.. umm monsoons :) )
- Sliced Aubergine, button mushrooms, tomatoes (with branches easy to flip..tip courtesy by A ;) )and what not!

So to end your amusement, here is the secret recipe of  Indian Tikka.




Tikka masala has not been only loved by Indian people but by the people from rest of the world.
Be it chicken, Paneer or vegetables, this recipe is everyone's favorite for summer picnics (read BBQ and more BBQ as no tomorrow).

Indians usually have all these spices at home which are mentioned below but if you can't find them all then can use readymade tikka masalas available in most of the Indian stores(or can order it online ).

To make 1 cup tikka masala at home, you will need:

Ingredients:
3 teaspoons garlic powder (Lasun)
3 teaspoons ground ginger (Adrak)
3 teaspoons ground cloves (Lavang)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg (Jaiphal)
3 teaspoons mace (Javitri)(Optional)
4 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin (Jeera)
6 tablespoons ground coriander (Dhania)
3 teaspoons ground fenugreek (Methi)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (Tuj or Dalchini)
3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (Kalimirchi)
3 teaspoons ground brown cardamom (Elaichi)

Mix all the above ingredients (without roasting them first) and pass through a fine sieve.
Store in an airtight container and close the lid tightly after use.
This has good shelf life.

OR
you can buy this product:
Patak's tikka masala paste (easily available in Sweden's Indian stores too)


To marinate:

Paneer cubes or pieces of cubed bell peppers, onion, deseeded tomato, etc according to your preference
1 tsp of tandoori masala or paste
1 tsp Minced garlic and ginger
2-3 tbsp of thick yogurt(Greek is best)
Salt to taste
and you can add more red chili powder to make it spicy.

Mix masala, ginger, garlic and salt in yogurt.(make sure this mix shouldn't be watery)
Add paneer and vegetables(except tomato) to this mix and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
Skewer the paneer cubes and vegetables alongwith tomato and put it on grill.




You can use same marination for non vegetarian dishes like fish and chicken.

Good thing about this recipe is that if you want to serve it as main course with Naan/chapati's or rice then just toss them in a tomato,Onion gravy and it will taste tangy and spicy!

B'day cake with Fall flowers ..err edible flowers!

I have already posted few cake recipes with no eggs on this blog but never had chance to decorate them or to frost them.
And this time I got one! So I decided to bake one for my sweety pie N's B'day party. My mom n dad used to throw parties for my B'days and mom used to bake her special cake decorated with different frosting.
It feels nostalgic when we try to do some thing for our kids which our parents had done for us. I want to try all things with N and want to see her reactions- If its same or not or rather more interesting!

We were thinking of using fall colors for the party theme and the only issue was an Autumn Cake. How to make a Easy-to-do-yet-interesting cake?! :O

Cake decoration was the only option where we could get creative and we didn't miss that chance.
We came up with the idea of yellow flowers on cake top with base of a readymade rolled white fondant sheet.

We decided to make Yellow flowers out of Pineapple Slices.
Yes and we did it as you can see in pictures. It went well with the theme of fall with matching PomPoms and Pumpkins.
Certainly it was fun to do and best part was that everybody in party could not recognize it until they tasted it :-D














How I did it?Here it goes-
2 Pineapples whole
1 sharp knife for fine slices

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. I used the oven shelf directly for baking the slices but you can line two sheets with parchment papers.
Remove pineapple eyes and using a sharp knife ,cut the pineapple crosswise into very thin slices.The thinner the better and faster to bake. 
Transfer the slices to oven shelf. 
Bake until tops look dried about 45 mins. Flip slices to bake the other side too for another 30 minutes or so until it dries out completely.(I know it requires lot of patience but nothing comes without hard work or long electricity Bill!!)
The slices will look like dry flowers but then I switched the oven to grill setting and grilled it for 5 mins to have little darker color on edges.But you really need to keep an eye on them so that you don't end up with charred flowers.
Once you are satisfied with the texture and color, remove them from oven and let it cool on wire rack for some time.

They are ready to go on cakes, cupcakes, smoothies, cocktails or almost anything you can get creative with!


PS:  This method is the best I found so far. I had tried to put them in muffin molds and bake but it didn't give me the expected results.



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