Desserts/Baking

Spiced Honey Cake

With its dark golden crumb and flavor of floral honey in each bite, this cake is so perfect with a cup of tea for much needed warmth on a cold fall evening. The cake is refined sugar free and is wholly sweetened with honey. It is nicely dense (as most bundt cakes are) and so very satiating. The warmth from the spices enhances the floral notes of honey as well as makes your kitchen smell wonderful while the cake bakes. Since honey cakes tend to become dry sometimes, the recipe uses full fat greek yogurt, which makes it incredibly moist. A few lashings of whipped chocolate honey on top makes it ideal to be enjoyed as a dessert too. 

I am a huge fan of teacakes. Not only they make teatime special but they are incredibly easy to make. You do not need to make a frosting (less work!) and I mostly make mine without a mixer, this recipe is such. You just need two bowls!

The cake very keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I suggest to warm up a slice when serving, its so delicious when warmed a bit.

Recipe

Makes 1 10-inch Bundt 

Time – 30 minutes (plus baking  & cooling time)

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sunflower/vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon full fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)

For Drizzling

  • 1/3 cup whipped chocolate honey(or you can use chocolate glaze)

Method 

  1. Liberally spray or brush the sides and center flute of a 10- inch bundt pan with oil. Set aside. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the middle. 
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and all the spice powders together. This makes sure that everything is lump free. Set aside. 
  4. In another large bowl, crack the eggs and beat them lightly. Measure oil first and add it to the eggs. Without wiping, use the same cup in which you measured oil to measure the honey. Add to the bowl as well. Also add the yogurt and zest(if using), whisk everything nicely to combine. 
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the honey mixture, stir and fold gently with a spatula to mix everything, don’t over mix. 
  6. Pour the batter into the bundt pan (it is a runny batter so it will level itself) and bake in oven until a skewer comes out clean, 38-42 minutes. 
  7. Take the cake pan out of the oven and place on the counter and let the cake cool for 25 minutes in the pan. . 
  8. Loosen the cake from the pan using a thin spatula or a butter knife and invert on a cooling rack to completely cool down. 
  9. Drizzle American Raw honey whipped chocolate honey letting it drip along the sides. Slice and serve. 
Desserts/Baking

Saffron Shortbread Sandwiches with Almond Cardamom filling (Eggless)

If you were to ask me about my favorite flavors of a mithai in cookie form, this is it! The eggless shortbread derives its beautiful color from saffron and the filling uses ground almonds with balmy green cardamom. They are moreish, buttery bites.

I make a point to add some kind of cookies to my diwali menu each year, in last years I have made nankhatai, cumin cookies and kaaju cookies. This is this year’s version and it hit all the right spots with us and the kids.

The shortbread dough is super easy to make and needs basic pantry ingredients- sugar, flour, butter etc. While the dough chills and bakes, you can make the filling.One hour is all it needs to make these and the guests are wowed.

You can use store bought good quality, almond meal, if you use almonds ground at home the filling might not be very white, but still as delicious.

A few things to keep in mind while making the shortbread.

  1. The butter has to be softened. Its a key to making a good shortbread. Leave the butter in a warm place for good amount of time to soften. Dont rush by microwaving it.
  2. Sift your flour and sugar. It makes a lot of difference in the texture of the shortbread.
  3. Chilling the dough (helps with texture of dough and flavors get time to mingle) and unbaked cookies.

Recipe (Makes 10-12 sandwiches)

For the shortbread

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1/2 tbsp warm milk

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp fine ground almond powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Method

  1. Grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar using mortar pestle into a fine powder. Add warm milk and let infuse.
  2. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Cream them for 2 minutes until fluffy. Add the saffron and orange zest and mix well.
  3. Add the sifted flour to the butter mixture and blend well. Dump onto your work surface and knead well with your hands to mix well and make a soft dough.
  4. Wrap the dough in the cling film and chill for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Line two cookies sheets with parchment.
  6. Unwrap the dough and roll it into a 1/4 inch thickness using rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Using a 2 inch biscuit or scalloped cookie cutter, cut the dough. Place the cookies on the parchment about an inch apart. Gather the scraps and repeat until all the dough is used up.
  8. Chili the cookies for 15-20 mins before baking.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the cookies for 13-16 minutes until they are starting to slightly brown on the edges. Dont overbake.
  10. Pull out the sheets, let cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Making the filling

While the dough and cookies chill, make the filling. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix for 2-3 minutes until well combined. You can transfer to a piping bag to make it easier to fill the cookies.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, fill one cookie with about a tablespoon of filling and make a sandwich with the second cookie.

Store in an air tight container.

Enjoy!

Desserts/Baking

Rose Mawa Pots de creme

This year, among other things, I had this idea to make a luscious mousse or pudding dessert using an indian mithai staple, mawa or khoya. I wanted to keep it free of eggs and gelatin though. If you cannot already tell, mawa is one of my favorite ingredients :), it is so milky and rich and kid you not, I get a little obsessed with it as the festival season approaches.

Pots de creme is a classic French dessert literally translating to pots of cream. Imagine these little creamy pots as eating a piece of burfi with a spoon.These are ridiculously easy to make and because they are quite rich, a quarter or third of a cup portion is more than enough to satiate you. The recipe makes four servings which is perfect for a small family. As the pots chill in the fridge, they set and are fragrant with floral & lemony notes of rose and elaichi (green cardamom). I used rose syrup only that’s why the color is a faint shade of pink, however you can add food color for a more pronounced color.

You cannot use milk powder in this recipe, I tried it and the texture was quite grainy. Also full fat unsweetened coconut milk is the key here, I serve them with a dollop of whipped cream however you can use coconut cream for serving as well. Chilling is an important part of the recipe and I chill them overnight, this gives time to the flavors to mingle and the right consistency to be achieved.

Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 4)

  • 80 gms raw cashews
  • 120 gms mawa/khoya, grated
  • 1 +1/2 cup full fat thick coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 tbsp rose syrup (use few drops of food color for a dark shade)
  • 1/2 tsp rose essence
  • 2 green cardamom pods, seeds only
  • Pomegranate arils, nuts, rose petals and whipped cream for serving

Method.

Dry toast the cashews stirring continously for 2-3 minutes on very low heat. They should not turn too dark color. you will smell a nice aroma. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Once cooled, grind the cashews to a fine powder, do so a small batch at a time, and don’t over grind else oils of the cashews will be released. Use a colander to separate any big pieces form the fine powder and grind the piece again. Repeat till all the cashews have been ground. Set aside.

Return the same heavy pan to stove, keeping your stove to lowest, add the grated mawa. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, keep on stirring the mawa and cook it for no longer than 6-7 minutes (time will vary as per the quality of mawa, please adjust) until the mawa is soft and you can see it glistening. Do not let the color change. Immediately transfer to a plate and let cool down.

Using a mortal and pestle, grind the cardamom pods to a fine powder.

In a large bowl, add the cooled mawa and sprinkle the cashews powder over it. Next add 1/2 cup coconut milk and using a whisk mix gently to make a lump free paste until all the sugar has dissolved.

Add the remaining coconut milk and heavy cream to the bowl and using a whisk, mix rigorously for 3-5 minutes till everything is combined and the mixture gets a little thickish as you whisk. Make sure that the mixture is lump free, you can run it through muslin or a strainer to make sure its smooth.You can also tip everything into a blender and pulse 2-3 times (do not overmix in blender else everything will be be whipped, we want it pourable consistency)

Add the rose syrup, rose essence and ground cardamom and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins, cover with a cling film and let chill for atleast 6 hours or overnight.

Garnish with pomegranate, some nuts if desired and a dollop of whipped cream. Serve chilled.

-Enjoy!

Desserts/Baking

Carrot Zarda

This post is sponsored by Authentic Royal Foods.

Rice is symbolic of prosperity in Indian culture and an integral part if all our festivals.Right from childhood, I can hardly remember any celebrations when rice wasn’t cooked on auspicious days. From festive pulaos to kheer to soaking and grinding rice and using it for decorations of the prayer room, it has always been in every way imaginable.

Diwali is a little over two weeks away and around this time of the year, I start jotting down our Diwali Menu. Over years our menu has evolved into a beautiful amalgamation of old traditional recipes and flavors that I eat and experience around here in the States.Any festival menu in our house is incomplete without basmati rice dishes prepared and my go to always has been royal basmati rice.

Diwali is a little over two weeks away and around this time of the year, I start jotting down our Diwali Menu. Over years our menu has evolved into a beautiful amalgamation of old traditional recipes and flavors that I eat and experience around here in the States.Any festival menu in our house is incomplete without basmati rice dishes prepared and my go to always has been royal basmati rice.

In this recipe I combine the flavors of classic american carrot cake with indian meethe chawal or zarda. Ghee sautéed shredded carrots, orange zest, pecans, candied pineapple and warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon bubble with long grain basmati rice and sugar syrup filling the air of house with enticing aroma. If you serve this wing a dollop of whipped cream cheese(which you totally should),it leaves you with the warm fuzzy feeling after eating a moist carrot cake.

Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup authentic royal basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp food color – orange, yellow whichever you wish

For the Tempering

  • 2 tbsp + 1/3 cup ghee
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar + 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, warm
  • 10-12 saffron strands infused in 1 tbsp of warm milk
  • 1 tsp fresh grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup whole cashews
  • 1/3 cup candied pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Fresh ground nutmeg, a generous pinch
  • Pomegranate arils for garnish
  • Extra nuts for garnish.

Method

Wash rice under 2-3 streams of running water. Set aside.

In a large pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add pinch of salt and add washed rice to the pot.Stir gently and boil for 8 minutes on low medium till rice is 90% cooked.

While the rice is boiling, start prepare the tempering however keep an eye on rice. In a shallow wide, non stick pot /kadai (with lid), first saute the cashews & pecans in a 1 tablespoons of ghee until they are toasted. Transfer to a bowl. Next, add another tablespoon of ghee and add the pineapple and raisins, saute them for just few seconds. Take out in the same bowl as the nuts. Se aside.

On the second stove, set a large tawa or cast iron griddle (larger than the pot you are using for zarda) to heat up. We will use it for dum cooking.

Add 1/3 cup of ghee to the pan. Once the ghee is warm, reduce heat to low and temper it with cinnamon and cloves. Saute for about 20 seconds till you smell the aroma. Next add the carrots and saute for 1-2 minutes. By this time rice would be 90% done, strain the rice. Immediately add the rice to the kadai layering it over the the carrots (do not dump). Add the orange zest and sprinkle both kinds of sugar. Also add the warm milk. Very gently, using a spatula, mix the rice to mix with everything. Cover with a tight lid.

By this time, the cast iron griddle or tawa would have been heated. Place the rice pot/kadai on it and set the stove to low(not very low). Let dum cook for 20-25 minutes till rice is cooked. This time will depend on quality of your rice, please adjust from experience.

Add the nuts and saffron milk next along with pinch of nutmeg. Don’t stir. Cover the lid and let dum cook for another 5-8 minutes. Switch off the stove, take the kadai off the griddle and leave undisturbed for atleast 20 minutes.

Fluff gently with rice spoon from a side and mix everything. Serve it warm in a wide dish garnished with more nuts, pomegrante arils or however you wish.

Enjoy!

Desserts/Baking

Ramdana (Popped Amaranth) Ladoos


The windows of my grandma’s kitchen directly opened into the cemented aangan(backyard) next to which was a huge vegetable patch. Lying just below the window there used to be a heavy, long and wide takhat (wooden bench) one side of which was the resting place for all the pickles and papad she made throughout the season while the cushioned part of was where she sat and chopped vegetables for dinner.

When she popped ramadan(amaranth) seeds for making the ladoos, we climbed over the bench and hung over the kitchen window to witness the process. The amaranth seeds would fly all over the stove off the hot kadai, they made a crackling sound and she held a large brass dish to cover the kadai every now and then.Next, she melted the amber colored soft desi gud(jaggery) in the kadai and it bubbled and bubbled before being mixed with the popped amaranth seeds. At that, time I didn’t have a clue or two about culinary terms, but the drama presented by these simple & rustic ingredients was one of the most delightful and stimulating sights in the kitchen.

It will take a few batches to decide the right amount of heat needed to pop the amaranth seeds without burning them. You can pop a day in advance and keep ready for the day you want to make ladoos. These ladoos can be stored for 3 weeks at room temperature, they are so nutritious and one of my favorite ways is to crumble them in a bowl of warm milk and eat,so comforting 🙂 You can add few crushed nuts to these like peanuts or almonds or dried fruit like raisins to these, but I keep them simple and let the taste of the grain shine.

Recipe

Ingredients (makes 10-12 ladoos)

  • 1 cup ramdana/rajgira (amaranth seeds)
  • 1 cup jaggery (about 200 gms), crumbled
  • 2 tsp softened ghee (or substitute with coconut oil for vegan)
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Method

Clean the amaranth seeds by spreading them on a wide dish and picking out the black ones, tiny stones etc.

Heat up a heavy bottomed kadai or a deep pot (you can use dutch oven) to high. Once pot is really hot, add a pinch of amaranth seeds to test. If they start popping immediately without a time lag, the pot is ready else wait a little more to get it hop. Please check this video link, it explains rightly how to pop amaranth seeds.

Add 1/2 tbsp of amaranth at a time to the hot pot, cover the pot and continously shake the pot itself so that the seeds don’t burn. When popped, the seeds immediately turn whitish in color.

Sieve the puffed seeds from the pot using a colander to separate the un popped seeds from the popped ones. You can grind the un popped seeds and make a flour and add to roti flour.

Pop all the seeds this week and transfer to a large. In the same kadai add ghee along with jaggery and water. Let the jaggery melt on low medium heat for a bit. Slowly you will see the syrup will start bubbling. At that time, turn off the flame and strain the melted jaggery in the same bowl as the popped amaranth seeds. Add (ghee sautéed) nuts or raisins at this stage if using. Using a wooden spoon, quickly mix such that all the seeds are coated in jaggery syrup.

Wet your hands and quickly bind to make lemon size ladoos while the mixture is still hot. Let cool down on a plate. Serve or store in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

Desserts/Baking

Sweet potato(Shakarkandi) Peda

Nine day long Hindu festival of Navratri starts today. These melt in the mouth pedas made with earthly sweet potatoes can be offered as prasad as well as eaten if you are fasting. These are unexpectedly creamy and grain free.The beautiful color is natural from the yams and they are such a breeze to make.

The sweet potatoes are sautéed in ghee, which makes them so earthy and then patiently cooked in milk and mawa until they are caramelized and extra delicious. Peda is one of my favorite kind of sweet and I was so happy how this recipe came out.

Recipe

Ingredients (Makes about 18 pedas)

  • 2 whole sweet potatoes (yield 200 gms of pulp)
  • 2-3 tbsp softened (not melted) ghee
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp finely ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup sugar (can go unto 1/3 cup )
  • 50 gms fresh mawa or replace with 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 10-12 saffron threads ground fine in a mortar pestle and infused in 1 tbsp warm milk

Notes –

  1. Substitute sweet potatoes with any kind of yams you like.
  2. I found that pedas were perfectly sweet after adding just a quarter cup of sugar, however you can add more sugar if you wish.
  3. Add cardamom or rosewater in place of saffron.
  4. Add ghee slowly, I start with 2 tbsp and really, you can add upto 5 tablespoons of ghee, the potatoes will absorb it all. Since I was already using mawa and whole milk, I avoided.

Method

Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes clean. Add them to a big pot and to the pot add 1.5 to 2 cups of water. Do not let the potatoes submerge in water completely. Let water start boiling, reduce heat to medium low and then cover tightly with a lid.Let the sweet potatoes cook for about 20-25 minutes.Check once or twice in between. Don’t let the sweet potatoes cook to very soft and pulpy, once they are fork tender, use tongs and take them out.Let cool down. Peel the skins once cooled enough to handle(you might need a knife, since these arent very soft) and then using medium size of a box grater, grate the potatoes. Avoid mashing them with fork, they will remain stringy and won’t come out good.

In a wide, 12 inch nonstick pan add the ghee. Once ghee melts, add the sweet potato pulp, milk and sugar. Using a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula start sautéing the sweet potatoes, continue to do so for about 10-12 minutes on low heat, until all the milk is absorbed and the moisture from the sugar is evaporated. Don’t completely dry out, but the mixture should not be a slurry. Add the almond powder and crumbled mawa (or milk powder) next along with saffron and continue to sauté on low heat.

After about 5-8 minutes you will notice that the mixture is thick and shiny and starts to clump around the spoon/spatula.If you try to fold it over itself, it does it smoothly. At this point, switch off the stove and transfer the peda mix to a plate.

Once cooled down a bit and is easy to handle, gently knead the mix for 2-3 minutes like you knead roti dough. Pinch little portions and roll between palms of make pedas. Makes about 18 pedas. Decorate as you wish.

Store in fridge for 3-4 days.

Desserts/Baking

Date Apple Pudding Cake

Date Apple Pudding cake with Cardamom Butterscotch sauce. Oooo thats a mouthful. We love pudding cakes. The kids are crazy about them and us too. I start making them as soon as the seasons change and like to keep them frozen as well for a quick treat.

The basic recipe that I been making is same for almost five years now, however I keep on switching things up and this time I added some granny smith apple in the batter. Such beautiful flavors came out of the oven. With the sauce and real dates in the batter, this cake can easily get overwhelmingly sweet, the tart bite that apples added was simply impeccable.

Vanilla is my go to flavor for butterscotch sauce, but few pinches of lemony balmy fresh ground green cardamom makes a lot of difference. I could eat that sauce by the spoonful 🙂

You can freeze these pudding cakes easily, they store well for upto 2 months.Just dont soak them.Cool completely and store in ziplock bags. Always serve them warm. Poke holes in before you add the sauce and let soak for a few minutes before digging in.

Recipe

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 8 oz chopped pitted mejdool dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 medium granny smith apples (chopped in medium size)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground cardamom
  • Whipped cream for topping (optional)

Method

In a medium bowl, add the dates, sprinkle the baking soda and pour boiling water. Let the dates soak for 10-15 minutes. Using a fork or masher, mash the dates into a chunky paste once soaked. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease 6-8 ramekins with melted butter or cooking spray. You can a use a 9 by 9 baking dish as well.

In a bowl, sift together the salt, flour and baking powder. In another medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg one at a time and incorporate. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix using a spatula until just combined.

Fold in the date paste, ginger and apples until combined. Don’t overmix.

Divide the batter into ramekins until 2/3 full and using a spatula smoothen the tops.

Bake the ramekins for 20-23 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If you are baking in a pan, check for firm cake in the middle of the pan, it should be springy to touch. The cakes will pull away from the walls of the ramekin and shrink a bit once done and as they cool.

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes and the poke a few holes all over. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons butterscotch sauce and let soak for 5 minutes. Turn the cakes out of ramekins on to a plate and serve with extra sauce and whipped cream.

For the Butterscotch Sauce

Make the sauce while the cakes are baking. Combine all the listed ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over low medium heat stirring continuously for 7-8 minutes. This makes about 2 cups of sauce and it can be stored for upto a week refrigerated, you can half the recipe.

Desserts/Baking

Panjiri

Whenever I returned back from hostel, I was greeted by aroma of panjiri that mom made earlier in the day to welcome me after months of hostel food. Panjiri is slow roasted atta (whole wheat flour) massaged with ghee till each speck of flour is moistened and then mixed with all sorts of nuts, seeds, and flavors depending on home to home. We make a few kinds, one which is to eaten post partum with edible gum and all, one which is simpler and mostly kept in the house as a snack and another kind which is made as an offering on festivals.

This morning I made panjiri for it is one of my favorite things to keep around the house during cooler months. I am old fashioned when it comes to snacks, I like the snacks that grandma used to make, ladoos, nut mixes and panjiri 🙂 if eaten in moderation(which I tell you is harder than you think), these snacks are quite wholesome things to feed to your body. I want kids to have a taste of these traditional recipes and develop a sense of appreciation.

It is a work of patience to slow roast the atta in iron kadai, till each grain is turned golden brown. Another kind of patience is to wait till the roasted atta is just rightly cooled down and ready to be mixed with ghee, for if too hot you cannot massage well, and if too cold, you won’t get the right texture- those small granules you see, thats the right texture. Use any selections nuts or raisins as you like. You can add cardamom powder to it,I don’t coz I like to keep the aroma of roasted flour.

Recipe

  • 1.5 cups of atta(whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup- 1/2 cup ghee, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, don’t use confectioner sugar, we can’t a grainy texture (can go upto 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup whole alomnds
  • 1/2 cup makhana
  • 1 -2 tbsp mishri (rock sugar)

Method

In a heavy wide pan/large iron kadai, add the atta. On low heat, stirring often, roast the atta. It will take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes to roast the atta. Rushing will give a raw taste to the atta so avoid doing so.
Once the atta is roasted, transfer it to a wide bowl. Let sit. Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp ghee to the same kadai and roast the almonds in it for 2 minutes. Transfer the almonds to the same bowl as you put the atta in. Again add 2 tbsp of ghee to the kadai, and slow roast the makhana in it stirring often. Transfer to the same bowl.

Wait for 5-7 minutes till atta is warm to touch but not cold. Add the sugar. Start adding soft ghee to the atta and massaging it with hands. Incorporate ghee slowly and keep mixing. To check if the right amount of ghee has been added, try to make a ball of the atta, it should bind together loosely into a ball/laddu alike

Mix in the rock sugar and nuts (you can chop or slice or crush the nuts) and any flavorings if using. Store in an air tight container for upto 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

Desserts/Baking

Walnut(Akhrot) Ladoo

Walnut(akhrot) ladoos. Nutty, ghee laden and so delightful. Full of walnuts and scented with addicting aroma of ground cardamom. If you are little bit like me, ladoos stocked in the snack shelf provide you sort of a comfort. They were a huge part of my snacking regime as a child, and even now, it’s hard to keep myself away from them. Given that these are loaded with goodness of walnuts, I am happy to handover them to kids anytime. 
These ladoos are glutenfree, I used a little bit of besan(bengal gram flour) to bind these together however atta(whole wheat) can be used as well if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup raw walnut halves
  • 5-7 tablespoons melted ghee, divided
  • 1/2 cup besan (bengal gram flour)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (boora)
  • 1/2 tsp ground green cardamom

Method

In a wide heavy bottom pan or iron kadai, dry roast the walnuts on low heat for 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool down. Once cooled, using a sharp knife, finely chop the walnuts (don’t powder).

Add 5 tbsp of ghee to begin with to the kadai and add the besan. Continuously stirring, roast the besan in ghee for about 10-12 minutes or until its golden and you sniff a nice aroma. Add the chopped walnuts and mix thoroughly with the besan. Roast everything togther for another 2 mins and then switch off the stove.

When the mixture is cool to touch, add the sugar and cardamom, and mix everything with hands thoroughly. If you feel that the mix is dry, add more ghee and mix well (I used about 7 tbsp ghee in all). Divide the mixture into portions and using your palms and fingers, form into ladoos of desired size without cracks.

Store in an airtight container for upto a week. If its summer, store in fridge. You can freeze unto a month too.

Enjoy!

Desserts/Baking

Mango Mawa Ladoo

Mango Mawa Ladoos. We offer ladoos to Lord Ganesha in our family and even though we didn’t have elaborate celebrations like in other parts of india, my grandmother offered homemade prashad, lighted a lamp and chanted twice a day during this time of the year.

I perform a very basic pooja and made his favorite ladoos as an offering 🙂

I am super proud of this recipe. I used inspiration from my mango burfi recipe and everyone at home likes these so much. Made with mango puree, rava(semolina), crumbled mawa, coconut and coconut condensed milk, this recipe is infused with saffron and nutty aroma of ghee. They come together quickly once you gather all the ingredients.

A perfect ladoo is one which holds its round shape (without flattening at the bottom) and is melt in the mouth to bite into. Since you want the color of the mango to shine, be careful while roasting the semolina and coconut so that they don’t change color. The recipe needs way less ghee than usual ladoo recipes coz the fats from mawa and coconut add to it, that said, its not healthy or guiltfree. Its just like mithai should be – rich and satisfying.

Ingredients (Makes 15 ladoos)

  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 cup fine rawa (semolina)
  • 3/4 cup dried desiccated coconut
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup condensed coconut milk(or regular condensed milk)
  • 1/2 cup mango puree(fresh or canned)
  • 60 grams mawa, grated fine
  • 10-12 strands of saffron (infused in 1 tbsp warm milk)

Method

In a wide non stick pan(I used my 12 inch), add the ghee and let it melt. Add the semolina next and on very low heat, roast it for 8-10 minutes till its starts smelling nice and the color is not changed.

Add the desiccated coconut and continue to roast it with semolina on low heat for about 3-4 minutes until you smell a nice coconut aroma but it does not change color.

Next, add the sugar, coconut condensed milk along with mango puree. Continue to cook on low heat. The mixture will resemble a slurry but don’t worry, the semolina will absorb the moisture and the heat will dry the moisture too. Keep on stirring around, the mixture will become sticky after about 8-10 minutes and start clinging around the spoon that you are using to stir. At this point add the mawa and saffron infused in milk. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the mixture starts to leave the side of the pan and forms a big mass and you can fold it over itself. Another way to check if mixture is ready is that if you bring it all together in one place, it won’t spread too much.

Switch off the heat and transfer the mixture to a plate to cool. When its okay to touch but still warm, knead it nicely for 3-4 minutes. When you knead, don’t squeeze it, rather fold it over itself on all sides (like you would knead a roti dough). You will be able to feel the ghee/fat from coconut and mawa on your hands.

Pinch equal portions and shape into smooth rounds without any cracks between the palms of your hands. Decorate as you wish. Store in a cool place for upto 3-4 days.

Enjoy!