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Coffee Jelly With Mocha- Mascarpone Cream

A very simple and fun coffee dessert which is one of my favorite. I am a caffeine loving person, if you cannot tell – chai and coffee anything makes me run. I am a huge fan of using the flavors of these beverages in my sweet treats. Coffee Jelly is a very popular japanese dessert. For this dessert I used the recipe from Just One Cookbook. Nami is a seasoned Japanese food blogger and this recipe came out amazing. Now these refreshing jellies do need a creamy element so I made a quick cocoa mascornpne whipped cream and scented it with little cinnamon since cinnamon is one of my favorite spice to pair with coffee.

The recipes are very easy but for the jelly, you have to start a night ahead. Make the jellies and let them set. Make a quick whipped cream next day and serve it. So breezy and your coffee loving guests will love it. If you do not want to serve with whipped cream, a dollop of chocolate ice cream is as good.

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Coffee Jelly With Mascarpone Whipped Cream

A fun summer dessert of coffee jelly served with luscious mocha whipped cream.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Japanese
Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients

For the Coffee Jelly – Please follow Just One Cookbook vegan recipe link here

    For the Mocha Mascarpone Cream

    • 8 oz mascarpone cream , very cold
    • 1.5 cup heavy whipping cream , very cold
    • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 tsp powdered cinnamom or vanilla

    Instructions

    • Prepare coffee jelly base according to the recipe. Pour it in individual cups and let set overnight.

    For the Mocha Mascarpne Whipped Cream

    • Place your mixing bowls and hand beater attachments in the freezer for 30 minuutes.
    • Add the mascarpone chesse, sifted cocoa powder and cinnamon into a large bowl and beat on medium low speed for 45 seconds or so.
    • Slowly start adding heavy cream about 1/2 cup at a time and beating on low speed at the same time. You will first see that the cheese is turning liquid but dont worry.
    • Increase the speed once you have added all the heavy cream, increase the speed and beat on medium high for about 8-10 minutes till you see soft peaks.
    • Add the powdered sugar next and continue to beat on low speed until all the sugar has been mixed. The resulting cream should have soft peaks and appear fluffy & cloudy.
    • Chill till you are ready to assemble.

    Assemble the Coffee Jelly Dessert

    • Add generous spoons of mich whipped cream on top of jelly, add nuts, shaved chocolate or fruits of choice. Serve chilled.

    Notes

    1. The coffee jelly recipe uses agar agar so its suitable for vegetarians. 
    2. Use a good quality instant coffee powder for a delicious tasting jelly. 
    3. You can serve with a scoop of chocolate ice cream instead of whipped cream.
    Appetizers/Snacks

    Chana Dal & Sweet Potato Tikki

    Chana Dal & Sweet Potato Tikki. These crisp outside and soft on the inside tikkis (patties) are made with chana dal (bengal gram lentils) and sweet potatoes. These are fragrantly spiced with cumin, cloves and ground garam masala. The sweet potato does not make them sweet at all, rather gives them an earthly bite. I paired these skillet fried tikks with a simple paneer & kale pulao, spinach raita (yogurt), micro greens and raw vegetables to make a colorful indian super food bowl.

    Having grown up in my grandmother’s vegetarian household, lentils were used a dozen ways from sweet to savory dishes and these tikkis appeared on special occasions. The lentils were ground on sil-batta (stone) with spices to which finely chopped onions, raisins and herbs were added. Sweet potatoes were not used rather grated regular potatoes and a handful of boiled lentils went in for texture in each bite. These tikkis are great with parathas & green chutney or pulao & raita alike. They can be tucked inside burger buns for a vegetarian sandwich or served over a bed of greens.

    A few things to be kept in mind when you make these:-

    • When making tikkis with lentils, the most important thing is the water quantity when you cook them. More water will turn them mushy while less water with leave the lentils dry and chewy. Please refer to the water quantity in the recipe.
    • Its best to use your hands to mix. Unless you are using a sil batta (stone grinder), leave out the blender or processor. If the lentils are cooked properly, you will be able to a make a soft tikki mixture very easily. And the texture of hand mixed is absolutely unmatched.
    • Since onions and chopped cilantro etc go in the recipe, keep in mind that after sitting for a half and hour or so, the mix will loosen a bit since the raw vegetables will release their moisture due to salt. So if the tikki mix feels a bit dry in the beginning, don’t worry.
    • These tikkis have texture, they are soft to bite into but you will taste whole lentils grains here and there.
    • I add roasted besan to the tikki mix. Not for binding or anything, these don’t need a binder because the starches in the lentils are enough. Roasted besan(chickpea flour) lends a nice smoky taste and does make this recipe fool proof.Plus its delicious.
    • There is no need for a coating of any flour etc when you skillet fry them. Fry them patiently, that’s all. If your tikki mix is right, they will not fall apart or anything.
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    Chana Dal (Bengal Gram Lentils) & Sweet Potato Tikki

    Delicious skillet fried tikkis (patties) made with sweet potatoes and chana dal(bengal gram lentils)
    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time30 mins
    Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
    Cuisine: Indian
    Servings: 12 tikkis

    Ingredients

    For Boiling the Lentils

    • 1 +1/3 cup chana dal (bengal gram lentils)
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 small bay leaf
    • 2 cloves
    • 1 small whole black cardamom (skip if not available)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup water

    For the Tikki Mix

    • 200 g sweet potato(boiled, peeled and cut into small chunks)
    • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (or simply add 5 garlic cloves and 1 inch piece of ginger to a mortar & pestle and pound to a paste)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
    • 2 thai bird green chilies or 1 serrano (adjust to taste) ,see notes
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
    • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped golden raisins (optional)
    • 1 tbsp garam masala (used homemade or store bought, make sure its not more than 3 months old)
    • 2-3 tbsp roasted besan (gram flour)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • Oil or ghee for pan frying

    Instructions

    Prepare/Boil The Lentils

    • Wash the lentils 2-3 times under a running stream of water and soak for 2-3 hours.
    • Drain and discard the water in which you soaked the lentils.Add the soaked lentils to a pressure cooker, add cumin, bay leaf, cloves and black cardamom along with salt and 1/2 cup water.
    • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and place it on stove. Let the stove be on high till the first whistle. After that, reduce the stove to low medium and cook for additional 2-3 whistles. After total 3-4 whistles, switch off the stove and let the pressure release naturally.
    • Open the lid, do not mix at once while the lentils are hot, they will turn into a mush. Take 1-2 lentil grains and press between your thumb and finger, if the grain is pressed easily and dosent feel hard, the lentils are cooked. If not, add 2-3 tbsp water and cook for one more whistle.
    • The lentils should not disintegrate, they shoud be cooked through but retain their shape after boiling. Pick out and discard the bay leaf, clove and cardamom, Cover the cooker and let the lentils cool down for a bit, dont let them become cold. We want to make the mix while the lentils are still warm.

    Make the Tikki Mix

    • In a wide dish(avoid a deep bowl), add the cooked warm lentils and boiled sweet potato. Mix gently breaking the lentils and poatoes for about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the ginger and garlic, onions, green chilies, raisins, ginger and garam masala.
    • Gently using your hands start squishing to combine everything together. Gently mix for about 3-4 minutes, if some lentils remain whole, thats okay.
    • Once mixed, add the salt and 2 tbsp of roasted besan. Mix again, you will be able to make a soft ball with the mix. If you feel its too wet, add another tablespoon of besan but dont add more than 3 tbsp total. Cover and let the tikki mix rest for 20 minutes.

    Shape & skillet fry tikkis

    • Oil your hands and divide the tikki mix into 10 or 12 equal portions.
    • Roll the portions into a balls, flatten the balls slightly and shape them using your palm and fingers into well rounded patties.
    • Make all the tikkis this way and place on a plate. At this point you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Or place them on a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze them for 6 hours. After they are frozen, place in a zip lock and store frozen for one month.
    • Warm up a 12 inch heavy cast iron wide skillet or griddle on medium. When nicely hot (not too hot) add 1-2 tbsp oil or ghee and place 3-4 tikkis at a time, don't overcrowd. Let tikkis crisp up for 5-6 minutes on one side. Don't add a lot of oil in the begnning,they will break. Once they are crisped on one side, drizzle 1-2 tbsp of oil or ghee on (uncooked) top and flip to crisp on second side.
    • Pan fry the tikkis with patience. Its takes 7-8 minutes to fry a batch on both sides.

    Notes

    • When making tikkis with lentils, the most important thing is the water quantity when you cook them. More water will turn them mushy while less water with leave the lentils dry and chewy. Please refer to the water quantity in the recipe.
    • Its best to use your hands to mix. Unless you are using a sil batta (stone grinder), leave out the blender or processor. If the lentils are cooked properly, you will be able to a make a soft tikki mixture very easily. And the texture of hand mixed is absolutely unmatched.
    • Dont leave out the green chillies, this is the only heat in this recipe. Garam masala adds a warmth, but do add at least one sharp green chili for heat. 
    • Since onions and chopped cilantro etc go in the recipe, keep in mind that after sitting for a half and hour or so, the mix will loosen a bit since the raw vegetables will release their moisture due to salt. So if the tikki mix feels a bit dry in the beginning, don’t worry.
    • These tikkis have texture, they are soft to bite into but you will taste whole lentils grains here and there.
    • I add roasted besan to the tikki mix. Not for binding or anything, these don’t need a binder because the starches in the lentils are enough. Roasted besan(chickpea flour) lends a nice smoky taste. Plus its delicious.
    • There is no need for a coating of any flour etc when you skillet fry them. Fry them patiently, that’s all. If your tikki mix is right, they will not fall apart or anything.
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    DIY Masala Chai Concentrate

    DIY chai concentrate is basically coveneinent chai any hour of the day. I love making and keeping it around especially during summers because whenever chai cravings (especially iced tea, all I have to do it pour it over ice and mix with some milk and ta-da. I call it a DIY because you can totally make it your own – like less strong chai? brew it for a shorter time, don’t like cinnamon in your chai?, simply skip it, would love to use english breakfast tea, go for it!

    Chai is a loved indian beverage and really I had never tried it iced before coming to the States. But then slowly I started liking it from cafes all around (its a very cool concept actually) and with the aroma of spices and inspired by vietnamese coffee, sweetened with condensed milk, its one of my favorite summer beverage. This concentrate is just not suitable for iced tea, you can use it to make hot tea as well. Just add in super hot milk and make sure to flush your tea cup with hot water before you pour everything in. When schools open, amid the morning rush, I seldom go for a hot cuppa this way! It is simply a chai lovers delight!

    There is simply nothing like a hot cup of chai at the end of day or a tumbler of iced tea in hand while lounging in the backyard, make this recipe your own and have fun. Below are a few more things I wanted to put down.

    • I use loose black tea to make mine, you can use your favorite tea or tea bags – orange pekoe or english breakfast to make it.
    • Add non diary milk to make it vegan friendly. I personally ike using oat milk in chai, other nut based mylks alter the taste of tea but then its your call.
    • You can use any selection of spices that you like – fennel or lemongrass work great as well.
    • If you dont like a strong brew, dont boil the chai for long.
    • I like to leave the concentrate unsweetened but you can add sugar while boiling.
    • This concentrate sits well in the fridge for 5 days, appears a little milky after refrigeration but dont worry. To last longer, you can place it in ice cube tray and freeze for 2 months.
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    DIY Masala Chai Concentrate

    A homemade masala chai concentrate with black tea, fragrant spices that sits well in the fridge for a week and is perfect for iced or hot tea any time of the day!
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time20 mins
    Course: Drinks
    Cuisine: Indian
    Servings: 8 servings

    Equipment

    • Large Pot, Measuring spoons, tea strainer

    Ingredients

    • 1 litre water
    • 4 inch fresh ginger shoot, crush in mortar pestle
    • 15 black peppercorns
    • 4-5 cloves
    • 15-18 green cardamom
    • 6-8 tbsp loose black tea (or use 6-8 unflavored tea bags)
    • To make tea – hot or cold milk, sweetener

    Instructions

    • In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
    • Once boiling, add the ginger, spices and loose tea (or tea bags).
    • Bring to a slow boil again, reduce the heat and let brew for 8-10 minutes. It will be a gorgeous dark amaber color and a beautiful aroma of spices will fill up your kitchen. Switch off the stove.
    • Strain and store in a glass container for up to a week. You can freeze in ice cube tray for upto 2 months.
    • To make Masala Chai – Add 1/3 cold (alomg with ice cubes) or hot milk to about 1/2 cup of the concentrate along with 1-2 tsp condensed milk or sugar. Really make it your own, taste and adjust. Mix and enjoy.

    Notes

    • I use loose black tea to make mine, you can use your favorite tea or tea bags – orange pekoe or english breakfast to make it.
    • Add non diary milk to make it vegan friendly. I personally ike using oat milk in chai, other nut based mylks alter the taste of tea in my opinion but then its totally your call.
    • You can use any selection of spices that you like – fennel or lemongrass work great as well.
    • If you dont like a strong brew, dont boil the chai for long.
    • I like to leave the concentrate unsweetened but you can add sugar while boiling.
    • This concentrate sits well in the fridge for 5 days. To last longer, you can place it in ice cube tray and freeze for 2 months.
    Desserts/Baking

    Mango Rasmalai

    Rasmalai hardly needs an introduction. Sweet chenna(milk solids) patties dunked in chilled, sweetened thickened milk redolent of cardamom and saffron. What’s not to like when biting into a spongy rasmalai on a hot day.

    I grew up eating traditional rasmalai and its cousin sister 🙂 , Indrani (have a recipe here). I was introduced to mango rasmalai a few years back and instantly loved it. Chilled mango flavored milk took the dessert to another level! I like to add sweet juicy cubes of mango as well to the milk for extra mango goodness. If you can lay your hands on kesar mango or alphonso mangoes from India, the pulp and cubes of those are the best thing to use. However, well ripened honey mangoes available here during peak summer in the USA also work great, which is what I use.

    There are few steps to making rasmalai at home though its very easy. Its a four step process which involves making the thickened milk base in which to dunk the patties, making chenna from scratch followed by kneading the chenna and then boiling the chenna patties in sugar syrup. The process takes time but the only tricky steps are proper kneading and boiling the chenna patties for the right amount of time so that they are soft and melt in the mouth. Making good mithai is a learning process, it takes a lot of time and effort to get the right feel of how things should done. Trust me I have wasted many batches over the years while practicing.

    Keep the below things in mind when you make rasmalai and they will turn out soft and spongy every time!

    • Use full fat milk. Dont use skim milk. Boiling milk and curdling it at a right temperature will give you softest chenna. Soft chenna means soft patties. Its simple. Bring milk to a boil and then switch off the stove before adding the curdling agent (I use white vinegar). This is super important else the chenna granules will be tough.
    • Squeeze optimum amount of whey from chenna for a set period of time, we dont want to get rid of all the liquid because we need the fat and moisture both during kneading. When you hang the chenna and it stops dripping yet its moist, this will give the best texture of the rasmalai. Understanding these things comes with practice and patience so don’t give up easily if you mess up a few times.
    • After draining, chenna must not be sticky. It should be crumbly. If chenna feels sticky, hang it a bit longer.
    • Kneading for how long is again a play of feel and impulse. Knead continuously for a good 6-8 minutes atleast to start with. Once the chenna starts feeling soft and lacey, its ready. Depends on the quality of your milk (fat quantity, homogenization, room temperature, etc).
    • If you are using fresh mangoes, grind them to a smooth pulp and sieve to remove any fibers etc before adding to milk. You can used tinned mango pulp as well if you cannot find sweet mangoes. Works well.
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    Mango Rasmalai

    A popular bengali sweet consisting of sweet chenna patties and sweet mango dunked in a chilled mango flavored milk base.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time2 hrs
    Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Indian
    Servings: 10 rasmalai discs

    Equipment

    • 2 large pots, colander, cheesecloth, spoons, 1 large sauce pot

    Ingredients

    For the Chenna Patties

    • 4 cups full fat or whole milk
    • 1 tsp cornstarch
    • 1-2 tbsp white vinegar
    • 2 cups ice cubes

    For the Sugar Syrup

    • 3 cups water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4-5 green cardamom pods
    • 2 cups ice cubes

    For the Thickened Milk

    • 3 cups full fat or whole milk
    • 1/2 cup condensed milk or sugar (see notes)
    • 1/4 cup sliced alomonds & pistachios
    • 1/2 cup smooth mango pulp (see notes)
    • 2 mangoes, diced
    • 10-12 saffron strands
    • 1/4 tsp green cardamom

    Instructions

    Make the Mango Milk base

    • In a heavy pot, add the full fat milk, bring it to boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 25-30 mins until its reduced to 1/3 rd of its volume. We dont want to thicken a lot else it will become rabri. Add condensed milk or sugar and mix well. Let simmer for another 8-10 minutes.
    • Once the milk looks velvety, switch off the stove. We dont want it to reduce or thicken a lot. Mix in the nuts,saffron & cardamom while still warm, mix and cover the milk with a lid to let cool down for 15 minutes. Once a bit cooled mix in the mango pulp. Transfer to a wide dish(wide enough so that chenna discs can be soaked in milk in a single layer when we add them). Refrigerate to chill while we make chenna patties.
    • Make the Chenna
    • Set milk to a boil in a heavy pot. Line your colander with cheesecloth/muslin.
      Once the milk is boiling, switch off the flame,wait for a minute and immediately add vinegar to it followed by ice cubes. Stir gently 2-3 times. You will see that the milk starts curdling. Let the curds form, don’t stir a lot. Once you see that all the milk has curdled and a greenish whey has separated, the ice cube would have melted awaty. Strain the curdled milk through a muslin/cheese cloth. 
    • Pour some cold water to remove the traces of vinegar. Let water flow away for 3-4 minutes and then bring together ends of the cheesecloth and tie into a small pouch. Hang it for about 20-25 minutes over sink to remove some liquid from the chenna. When the liquid stops dripping, chenna is ready to knead.
    • Make the Chenna Patties
    • Transfer the chenna to a wide dish, add the cornstarch and using the base of your palm, knead the chenna for around 8 minutes to a smooth. Use the heel of your palm, press and push the chenna away from your while kneading it. By the end it will feel soft and creamy and come together in a soft dough. Bring it all together, form into a ball, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
    • In a wide pot, add the sugar and water for the syrup, add the cardamom pods and set to bring it to a rolling boil. 
    • Pinch small lime size portions of the kneaded chenna and make smooth round balls.Flatten slightly into discs.
    • Once the syrup is boiling, slowly add the chenna patties in there. Dont lower the heat. Once you have added all the patties, cover the pot and let boil vigrously for 10-12 mins. You will see that the patties will grown in size (almost double or more). Dont reduce the stive else thet will deflate.
    • After 10-12 minutes, when you see that the patties are firm, switch off the flame. Do not open the lid immediately. Let sit for 6-8 minutes. Add the ice cubes next and then let the patties soak in syrup for 1-2 hours.

    Assemble the Rasmalai

    • To the chilled sweet mango milk, add the cooled and soaked chenna balls. Press the chenna balls just a little before adding to sweet milk. Let chill overnight or atleast 8 hours before serving.
    • Add diced mango and extra nuts when serving. Enjoy!

    Notes

    1. If you do not want to use condensed milk, you can use sugar. condensed milk gives a smoother milky taste. 
    2. Use full fat milk. Dont use skim milk. Boiling milk and curdling it at a right temperature will give you softest chenna. Soft chenna means soft patties. Its simple. Bring milk to a boil and then switch off the stove before adding the curdling agent (I use white vinegar). This is super important else the chenna granules will be tough.
    3. Squeeze optimum amount of whey from chenna for a set period of time, we dont want to get rid of all the liquid because we need the fat and moisture both during kneading. When you hang the chenna and it stops dripping yet its moist will give the best texture of the rasmalai. Understanding these things comes with practice and patience so don’t give up easily if you mess up a few times.
    4. After draining, chenna must not be sticky. It should be crumbly. If chenna feels sticky, hang it a bit more.
    5. Kneading for how long is again a play of feel and impulse. Knead continuously for a good 6-8 minutes atleast to start with. Once the chenna starts feeling soft and lacey, its ready. Depends on the quality of your milk (fat quantity, homogenization process etc).
    6. If you are using fresh mangoes, grind them to a smooth pump and sieve to remove any fibers etc before adding to milk. You can used tinned mango pulp as well if you cannot find sweet mangoes. Works well.


    Indian Curry/Stew

    Bhindi Zunka /Besan Bhindi

    Fleshy and sweet summer okra cooked in a masala of onion, garlic and spices and coated in roasted chickpea flour. This okra dish is so delicious as a side with daal– rice or with soft warm rotis and a bowl of yogurt. I love such simple and light meals during summer. The addition of besan(chickpea flour), one of my favorite flours, makes it taste so earthly and spices like mustard, fennel & cumin complement the combination of fresh vegetable and nutty flour.

    Zunka is a Maharastrian (Western Indian) dish which is basically chickpea flour cooked in a tempering of mustard and cumin seeds along with fresh chilies and powdered spices. It is like a slurry or can be dryish. It is usually served with bhakri(flatbread bread) and pickle for a meal. It is a super light dish during summers and quite flavorful like anything made with chickpea flour is.

    Here, I added fresh bhindi to the spiced chickpea flour. I also addd fennel seeds since I love the flavor with okra. Okra isn’t slimy at all once the dish finishes cooking, the dish is perfectly spiced and comes together very quickly. The is my version inspired by the iconic zunka dish, which is usually a slurry. I like this drier version with okra a lot. Here are a few things to be kept in mind while cooking okra and this dish. Keep these things in mind and your okra will never be slimy.

    1. Wash the okra at least 1-2 hours before beginning to cook and let air dry if possible. Quickly washing and wiping with paper or cloth table is okay but I recommend air drying. Do not cut okra until its completely dry else it will be super slimy.
    2. For this dish, cut the okra in longish pieces, don’t cut very thin discs.
    3. Don’t skimp on oil. Some vegetables like okra, eggplant etc cook better if the oil quantity is good. At the same time, besan(chickpea flour)also need extra oil for the right texture post cooking. Right quantity of oil also helps in reducing the slimy texture of okra since it dosent steam but stir fries well while cooking.
    4. Okra is a delicate vegetable and when fresh, it cooks quite fast. We don’t need to cover it for a long time else it loses its color, get overcooked and the texture isn’t right. Just cover for a few minutes in the beginning to get cooking started and then cook uncovered till its tender. Writing the method I follow in the recipe.
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    Bhindi Zunka /Besan Bhindi (Okra Cooked in Chickpea flour)

    A flavorful dish of summer okra coated in spiced chickpea flour. Pairs well with soft rotis or dal and rice.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time20 mins
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Indian

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb (400gms) okra
    • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
    • 5 tbsp mustard oil or any cooking oil you use
    • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
    • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2-3 green or red chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
    • 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
    • 4 garlic cloves,finely chopped
    • 2 tsp coriander powder
    • Red chilli powder to taste
    • Salt to taste
    • 1-3 tbsp water or as needed
    • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)(or to taste)
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or to taste)

    Instructions

    • Wash and air-dry the okra. Trim the ends and cut each okra into maximun of 3 pieces. Set aside.
    • Take a kadai or heavy pan with lid in which you want to cook and set it on stove. First, dry roast the chickpea flour on low heat stirring continously till you smell a nice aroma but it does get not browned a lot. Takes about 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye and stir continously. Once roasted, transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.
    • Add the mustard oil (or cooking oil) to the kadai and heat up till a bit smoky. Temper the oil with mustard, fennel and cumin seeds. As soon as they crackle, add the fresh chilies and saute in oil for 30 seconds.
    • Next, on medium heat, add the onion and let the onions cook in oil till they are a nice shade of golden brown. Add the garlic next and saute for a minute till you smell a nice aroma.
    • Add the coriander and red chili powder next and saute in warm oil for a minute or so.
    • Add all the okra to the onion & spices now, sprinkle salt and mix well. Saute for 2-3 minutes with the masala. You will see that the okra will start to look deep green in color and little moist(its own juices if your okra is good quality and fresh). If you feel its not releasing its juices, add couple tablespoons of water, mix and set the stove to low medium and cover the pan with a lid.
    • Let the okra cook for 5-7 minutes covered without opening the lid in between. Remove the lid and you will see that okra is much softer, let it cook for another 6-7 minutes without the lid till its soft but not falling apart. The okra will be browned and you wont see the slime. Once okra is cooked properly, its slimy texture goes away.
    • Sprinke the besan a few tablespoons at a time and gently mix well. The besan will slowly absorb the mositure from okra and will appear sandy. Add all the besan and keep mixing. If you feel that the sabzi is looking dryish, add a tablespoon or so of water. I didnt need to add any extra water. Taste and adjust the salt.
    • Finish the dish with amchoor and garam masala.Mix well and serve warm.
    Indian Curry/Stew

    Yellow Curry Salmon Bowl

    Disclaimer :-This post is sponsored by Bluehouse Salmon. I was sent over the salmon to try but the recipe, images and opinions are my own.

    After Indian cuisine, my next favorite has to be Thai cuisine. What’s not to love! What I am drawn to the most is how the spices and herbs used in both cuisines bear resemblance to each other but the flavor profile of dishes is so unique.

    No points for guessing that the myriad of Thai curries are my favorite! I love using seafood with fresh vegetables in the curries and this soupy yellow curry bowl is cooked often in our home. The moment I saw Bluehouse Salmon, I knew that the fresh fish would be so amazing in this week’s yellow curry.

    Bluehouse salmon are land raised in Florida practicing sustanability. Think of Bluehouse like a greenhouse. In their land based Bluehouses, salmon farming is done observing ethical practices, as a result, we can feast while our oceans thrive. Their salmon is always fresh, never frozen, antibiotics & hormone free and has a super taste.

    I only have good things to say about this salmon. Being a seafood lover to the core, I have tasted numerous kinds of salmon and trust me I can differentiate. The taste of this fish is clean and rich. You really feel like eating something that is good for your body and mind (cue all the omega acids).After cooking, the salmon turned out to be firm yet buttery. It was nicely moist and flaky and not dry at all. With different kinds of colorful vegetables and steamed jasmine rice, this soupy bowl of superfood salmon goodness is satiating, wholesome and delicious all at the same time. 

    Making Thai curry bases from scratch can be time consuming especially on weeknights. So I use store bought yellow curry paste when I am in a hurry but I pep it up using shallots, a fresh pounded paste of ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric. While the curry base simmers, I prep the vegetables. The rice can also cook in the same time if you start them at the beginning of cooking. If you plan a bit and with little help from the store, this amazing meal can be prepared in 30-40 minutes. 

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    5 from 1 vote

    Salmon Yellow Curry Bowl

    Thai Yellow curry Salmon, vegetables and jasmine rice served in a soupy bowl.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time25 mins
    Total Time40 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Thai
    Servings: 4

    Ingredients

    • 4, 6oz Bluehouse Salmon Portions
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2-3 tbsp tbsp cooking oil, divided
    • 1 shallot, finely chopped    
    • 1 tbsp garlic-ginger-turmeric paste (simply pound 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 inch knob of ginger and a tiny knob of fresh turmeric using mortar & pestle)
    • 2 Thai bird chilies, slit (adjust to taste)
    • 2-3 tbsp yellow curry paste, adjust depending on how strong you like the curry taste
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 cup water (adjust how you like the consistency)
    • 1 can unsweetened full fat coconut milk (400ml/14floz)
    • 2 tsp sugar, (adjust to taste)
    • 1 tbsp lime juice, or to taste

    To plate

    • 1.5 cup blanched vegetables (I used asparagus, broccoli, sliced mushrooms, baby corn and red bell pepper)
    • Cooked Jasmine rice
    • Garnishes – Chopped cilantro, chilies etc, lime wedges

    Instructions

    • Rub the salmon with turmeric, salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp oil to a heavy and wide pot, let heat and sear all the salmon portions carefully on both sides. Do not cook through. 2 minutes each side is good enough. Transfer to a plate and keep nearby. 
    • Add 2 tbsp oil to the pot. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots and chilies and cook for a minute or so. Add the ginger garlic turmeric paste next. Sauté for 30 seconds till you smell a nice aroma. 
    • Next, add the yellow curry paste and sauté in oil for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the coconut milk next along with water.Add the salt and sugar as well. Bring to a very slow simmer, it should not boil. 
    • Once simmering enough, carefully add the seared salmon. Let simmer on low for 8-10 minutes (adjust time depending on how thick your fish portions are). Finish with limejuice and chopped cilantro. Switch off the stove and let the curry rest for 10 minutes. 
    • To Plate :- Take a wide bowl. Place salmon, scoop of rice and blanched vegetables. Pour over about 1 cup of warm yellow curry. Add a lime wedge, jalapeno slices and cilantro. Serve warm. Enjoy!
    Desserts/Baking

    Mango Royale

    Mango Royale or Mango Icebox cake is a Fillipino layered dessert made with graham crackers, fresh mango and sweetened whipped cream. Its an incredibly easy dessert to make and perfect for summer. In my version, I use coconut biscuits(cookies) instead of graham crackers and add a little desiccated coconut to keep the mango-coconut theme going. Cloud like whipped cream scented with ground green cardamom and bites of luscious ripe mango make this easy peasy dessert so delightful.

    What are Ice box cakes? Icebox cakes are simply cookies and whipped cream layered together with nuts, chocolate or seasonal fruit and chilled for a long time or frozen overnight. The cookies get soft after absorbing the moisture from whipped cream and the cake can be cut into neat slices. They are a fun thing to make with kids since no baking is involved. You can add fresh fruits or any kind of cookies or flavors to create the profile you like.

    These cakes are rich and decadent but very delicious. They are messy to eat and I think thats how they are supposed to be enjoyed. These cakes need a handful of ingredients and are really a fun dessert to put together with kids. You can freeze them like a an ice-cream, slice and serve or chill them till the cookies are set and soften.

    Use saffron to flavor the whipped cream, it pairs very well with mango. You can use marie or digestives as well in place of coconut biscuits. Th only thing to keep in mind is to not overly whip the cream. It should be whipped to soft peak consistency.

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    5 from 1 vote

    Mango IceBox cake

    A layered coconut coockies, whiped cream amd fresh mango dessert.
    Prep Time20 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Fillipino, Indian
    Servings: 6 servings

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
    • 1/2 cup condensed milk, cold
    • 1/2 tsp ground green cardamom
    • 18-20 Nice Coconut Cookies (or 10 full graham cracker sheets)
    • 2 cup diced ripe mangoes
    • 2-3 tbsp dessicayed coconut, lightly toasted

    Instructions

    • In a large bowl add the whipped cream amd whip it on low for 3 minutes.
    • Add cardamom powder and slowly start adding condensed milk in parts and whipping at the same time till very soft peaks are formed. Takes about 3-4 minutes on low medium speed of hand beater. If you feel that the cream is getting warm, immediately refrigerate it for 30 minutes and continue again. More chilled the cream, better it whips.
    • Line the container in which you want to make the cake. I used a 7 inch by 7 inch (4.75 cup) glass container. Use ny kind of baking tray or cake pan, rectangular is better since then you wont have to break the cookies to fit.
    • Add a layer of cover to cover the base, followed by 1 inch layer of whipped cream smoothen out with a spatula or back of spoon, sprinkle some desiccated coconut and then add about 1/2 cup diced mangoes. Repeat to form 3 or 4 layers depending on how thick you like the cake finsihing with cream layer on top.
    • Cover with a cling film amd chill the cake for atleast 6 hours. You can freeze it as well overnight. I like chilled version more, its softer, if you like to freeze it, peel away the parchment, slice off using a sharp knife and then let it thaw for 10 minutes since that makes it melt in the mouth 🙂
    • Slice and serve. Enjoy!
    Brunch

    Eggplant & Tomato Chutney Pizza

    I tasted eggplant pizza first time on my trip to Genoa, Italy about fourteen years ago. I was traveling solo and was a vegetarian during those years. Right behind the hotel, overlooking the Ligurian Sea was an old ship docked on the harbor, home to restaurants, shops, cafes and pizzeria. Most evenings after work were spent there to grab a shot of espresso followed by dinner.

    Image

    Being a vegetarian in foreign lands could be a little hard and I used to keep ordering the same things – pesto pizza, cheese & tomato focaccia, eggplant pasta & pizza,lemon linguini etc. If it were not for those pizzeria and the piping hot pizza they served, I would have never learnt to eat eggplant this way. Yum!The pizzas were super delicious, though I must admit a bit lacking on spice levels for my indian palate. There is something about the combination of sweet juicy tomatoes, the eggplant especially their skins after they get cooked in high heat and the melt cheeses- mozzarella & parmesan- its such a harmony of flavors and textures in each bite.

    I am a huge fan of vegetarian pizzas and you can say that this recipe combines the east & west. A robust spicy and tangy tomato chutney is used as a sauce on which I layer grilled eggplant slices, sprinkle parmesan and the flash bake it till the eggplant is just tender, still spongy and juicy to bite into. An amazing fusion recipe which is on repeat all summer in my kitchen since tomatoes and eggplant bounty is at its peak during this time.

    You can make individual pizzas or a large 12 or 14 inch. Add more or less cheese, I leave it up to you.

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    Eggplant & Tomato Chutney Pizza

    Quick vegetarian pizza using indian tomato chutney as the pizza sauce and topped with eggplant and cheese. Its cheesey and spicy & dosent feel like eating vegetables at all.
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American, Indian, Italian
    Servings: 4 personal pizzas

    Ingredients

    For the Tomato Chutney

    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 2-3 whole black peppercorns
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tbsp split urad dal
    • 1-2 dried red chilies
    • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    • 1 tbsp ginger, roughly chopped
    • 1 small onion roughly chopped
    • 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • salt
    • 2 tsp oil
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    • pinch of hing
    • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
    • 6-8 curry leaves

    For the Pizza

    • 4 personal pizza base (or 12 inch pizza base)
    • 1 large egglant
    • 2-3 tbsp oil
    • Tomato Chutney
    • Cheese – shredded mozarella & parmesan (as much as you like)

    Instructions

    Make the Tomato Chutney

    • Heat oil in a pan. Temper the oil with cumin seeds and peppercorns. Add the urad dal and crackle. Add the dried chilli and let brown a bit.
    • Next add onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes everything together and sprinkle salt and sugar. Mix well and let cook on medium heat till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Takes about 6-8 minutes.
    • Transfer everything to a blender jar and blend to a thick smooth paste.
    • In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp oil and temper the oil with mustard & fenugreek seeds. Let crackle, add a pinch of hing and add the curry leaves. Once the curry leaves are crisped, add the tomato paste and cook everything for 3-4 minutes untill its saucy.
    • Let cool and store in a air tight container for 8-10 days refrigerated. Use as you like.

    For the Pizza

    • Slice the eggplant into slices. Dont slice too thin or too thick. Cut into half if the slices are too big. Sprinkle with salt and let the eggplant slices sit for 10 minutes.
    • Wipe eggplant with a paper towel and onn a hot gril pan or regular pan, add 2-3 tbsp oil and place the eggplant slices. Cook for 3-4 minutes on high heat on each side till the eggplant is little soft but not fully cooked. Take out in a plate.
    • Preheat oven to 500F or the highest temperature your oven heats up to.
    • Assemble the pizza- Place the pizza base on a pizza stone or place on a cookie sheet lined with a rack. Spread the 1-2 tbsp tomato chutney on top of the pizza bases, add shredded mozarella cheese. Layer eggplant slices. Sprinkle parmesan cheese. You can add a drizzle of oil at this stage as well.
    • Bake for 5-6 minutes until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with some chili flakes and serve warm.

    Appetizers/Snacks · Brunch

    Besan Toast


    These besan toasts are super easy to make and quite a healthy way to start your day. Just mix up a spiced besan(chickpea flour) batter, dip the bread slices and pan fry or deep fry. The consistency of the batter is the only tricky thing here, it has to be rather thick for a nice coating on bread without making it soggy. Enjoy with chutney and a cup of chai 🙂

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    Besan Toast

    Bread slices dipped in spiced chickpea flour batter and pan fried. These vegan toasts are so delicous for breakfast or snack.
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time10 mins
    Course: Breakfast, Snack
    Cuisine: Indian
    Servings: 8 half toasts

    Equipment

    • Mixing bowls, an heavy cast iron skillet or tawa(griddle)

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup besan(chickpea flour)
    • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water, as needed
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp kasuri methi(crushed)
    • 1 tsp chaat masala
    • Pinch ajwain (carrom seeds)
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped onions
    • 2-3 hot green chilies, finely chopped ,adjust to taste
    • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    • 4-5 white bread slices, cut in half diagonally
    • 1-2 tbsp olive oil per toast

    Instructions

    • In a large bowl, add the besan and start adding water slowly. Stir continously so as to get a thick lump free batter. See video for the consistency. Keep aside for 5 minutes.
    • Add the spices, chopped onions, green chilies and cilantro. Taste and adjust the salt. Mix well.
    • Set a heavy cast iron skillet or tawa to heat on medium heat. Once nicely hot (but not suoper hot), spread 2-3 tablespoon of oil on the skillet.
    • Dip the bread slices in the besan batter to cover both sides. Immediately place on the hot skillet. Let cook on each side for 3-4 minutes without disturbing till the besan coating is browned. Once the besan is cooked, toast will leave the pan on its own. Once you flip the toast, add a litle more oil. Even though we arent deep fryring, these need a little extra oil to not get dry.
      It takes a bit of practice to undertand the right temperature of the griddle. If you will cook on very high heat, the toasts will be cooked outside but will be raw inside. A low medium stove with a heavy skillet that retains heat is good choice
    • Serve warm with yogurt, chutney or ketchup. Enjoy!
    Desserts/Baking

    Chai Mug Cake

    This mug cake is like eating chai in a cake form. Each bite is soft and is aromatic with chai spices like green cardamom and cinnamon.It is an eggless cake that comes together with basic pantry ingredients. Mug cakes are hugely popular with my kids and every time I made them, I always wondered how to make them a bit more unique and adult friendly. If you are a fan of milky chai, this cake is for you. The inspiration for this mug cake came from this recipe on Maria’s blog, I used her amazing idea, but developed my own recipe measurements.

    This cake is so fluffy and it tastes of chai. It is quick to make and definitely a keeper recipe. I like my chai on the less sweet side so this cake isn’t very sweet.

    What are mug cakes? Mug cakes are simple cakes baked in the mug in a microwave. All the ingredients are added to the mug, mixed and cooked in the microwave. They are quick, small portion and satisfy the cake cravings.

    What kind of tea to use? I simply use plain orange pekoe tea bags from the indian grocery stores. You can use english black tea bags as well. Just make sure to use the unflavored ones.

    Can it be made nut free? Yes. I add fine ground almond meal to this cake for a nutty bite and also because I love almonds, but I have tested the recipe with just flour as well and you can skip the almond and replace with equivalent flour.

    What kind of milk? Can I use Mylk? I use regular 2 percent milk here but you can use whole milk as well. Avoid using fat free milk since the fat in the milk does add to taste and moistness of cake. I haven’t tested this recipe with non dairy milk so I cannot say how the taste or texture will be.

    Can I use oil in place of ghee? Yes. Absolutely. But ghee does add to the taste and aroma of the cake. You can use unsalted butter or any neutral oil as well.

    Can I add ginger since I like adrak chai? I tried adding ground ginger to the recipe and I found it a bit overpowering. You can add a few thin slices of ginger to hot milk while you steep the tea bags and a mild ginger flavor does come through.

    How to serve? I simply dust it with powdered sugar but my kids loved it with whipped cream. You can also add a dollop of spiced buttercream as well. You decide 🙂

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    Chai Mug Cake

    Chai in a cake form. A simple cake made with steeped tea bags and flavored with chai spices.
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Servings: 1 mug cake

    Equipment

    • 1 mug tall enough to not overflow when cake rises in the microwave.

    Ingredients

    • 1/3 cup boiling hot milk
    • 2 plain black tea bags, I use wagh bakri
    • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
    • 1 tbsp fine ground almond meal see notes if you want to just use flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 2 tbsp melted ghee or unslated butter or neutral oil
    • pinch of ground cinnamon & green cardamom

    Instructions

    • Add the tea bags to the mug. Pour over boiling hot milk over the tea bags. Alternatively you can first warm up the milk in the mug in the microwave and then add the tea bags to it. Set aside to let the tea bags steep for 8-10 minutes for a strong flavor of tea.
    • Once the tea bags have steeped, squeeze them very well using a spatula or back of spoon to strain all the milk. Discard the tea bags. Do not skip this part else the quantity of milk will be less in the recipe.
    • To the tea flavored milk, add the flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder, melted ghee and ground spices. Using a spoon mix very well until the batter is not lumpy. After adding all the ingredients, your mug should be half full, this will ensure that the cake will not overflow when it rises in the microwave.
    • Microwave for 1 minute + 25-30 seconds in a full power mode (My microwave is 1000 watts) Every microwave is different, so you might need to tweak the time a bit. Use a long skewer inserted in the center of the cake to check for doneness if you arent sure if the cake is cooked.
    • Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy while still warm.

    Notes

    1. If you don’t want to use almonds, simply used 1/4 cup of flour.
    2. Measure the ghee when its melted. Use any neutral oil like canola or vegetable if you don’t want to use ghee.