Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Strawberry Phirni – Indian Semolina Pudding

This recipe was featured on 100 ways to use Strawberries at Endless Simmer

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: {Serves 4-5}

Printable Recipe

For the Strawberry Sauce:

  • 3 cups chopped strawberries [fresh or frozen]
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar

For Phirni [Semolina Pudding]

  • 1/2 cup fine semolina flour [suji/sooji] [available in indian stores]
  • 1 tbsp ghee [substitute with clarified butter/unsalted butter]
  • 4 cups evaporated milk [ Substitute with half n half /whole milk/soy or almond or coconut milk for vegan version]
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar [ adjust to taste]
  • 2 tbsp rose-water [use 1-2 drops if using rose essence]
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios & almonds [Or any nuts of choice] + Extra for garnish.

Method:
For the Strawberry Sauce:-
Add the chopped strawberries and sugar to a sauce pan and let cook on low heat for about 5-8 minutes till they are soft.Once they are soft, I used my spatula to mush them in the pan itself,you can blend them to make a smooth sauce if you like.Once cooked, let cool to room temperature, if you feel that the sauce is runny after cooling, you may need to cook it little more to achieve a thicker consistency.Tip the sauce into the glasses or serving bowls and let chill.
For the Phirni :-
[While the strawberry sauce is cooking]
  • In a skillet, on very medium heat,toast the semolina flour along with ghee till its light golden in color.You will need to continuously stir the flour as it roasts and keep a watch because semolina burns easily.Takes about 5-8 minutes.
[While the semolina flour is toasting]
  • In a wide-mouthed, heavy bottomed utensil, let milk come to a boil on medium heat.Stir once or twice midway to prevent milk from sticking to the bottom of the utensil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and start adding the toasted semolina flour to the boiling milk and whisking thoroughly with the other hand.This is a very important step, if you do not whisk continuously, semolina will form lumps within seconds.
  • Within 5 minutes you will see that the milk starts to thicken as the semolina granules swell up and absorb milk.Continue whisking for about 3-4 minutes until you get a thick but runny consistency similar to ketchup.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.Add the granulated sugar, nuts, cardamom powder and rose-water to the semolina-milk mix and combine thoroughly.You will see that as the sugar dissolves the pudding will thin out.Note that it is important to add the sugar while the pudding is still warm.
  • Let the pudding cool to a room temperature and then add it on top of the already cooled strawberry sauce.Cover the bowls/glasses with cling film to avoid formation of skin on top and let set in the refrigerator till set [About 2-3 hours]
  • Garnish with chopped nuts or strawberries and serve chilled.

Notes:
  1. I used canned evaporated milk because we like the taste and the caramel color that it lends to the pudding.In case you will use milk and half n half, you wont get the same color.
  2. Instead of strawberry sauce, try pureed mango , sliced bananas or any other kind of fruit.Please do not use citrus fruits because that may lead to cuddling of the milk in the pudding.You can avoid the fruit sauce completely & make the pudding on its own only.
  3. The same recipe can be used to make phirni with ground rice or cornmeal.In case of rice flour,do not toast it.
  4. The pudding keeps for 2-3 days, refrigerated.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
Categories
Easy Recipes Lentils Side Dishes Soups Vegetarian

Aamer Dal- Red Lentils With Green Mango

P

Tips on Cooking that perfect bowl of dal:-

  1. Adding salt at the beginning can toughen the grain.So preferably add salt after the lentils have cooked.
  2. Adding tomatoes/lemon juice or any acidic ingredient can lengthen the cooking time.Add these after the lentils have become almost 80% tender.
  3. Very old lentils [6 months or older] can take longer time to cook and may not taste great.Try to use a fresh batch.
  4. Adding a tsp of mustard/olive oil/ghee can really bring out the flavors of the grain.Try it.
  5. Since cooking & soaking time of each kind of lentil vary, its always better to keep a watch so that they do not overcook. A perfect cooked dal has a nutty taste to it.

Ingredients: [Serves 2]

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup red lentils , broken
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tsp ghee (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 large, sour green mango [or 1/2 cup grated mango, or use lime juice at the end for tang]
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • Generous pinch of garam masala
For tempering
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1/4 tsp Nigella seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder/cayenne (adjust to taste)

Method:
  • Peel the skin from the mango and finely grate it.Set aside.
  • In a bowl,wash the red lentils under a stream of water 2-3 times.
  • After washing, tip them in a pressure cooker or large, heavy bottomed pot along with turmeric, tomatoes, ghee and grated mango(if using) and let soak in water.Note: Although I have given the measure of water above,it is totally your call.As a thumb rule, the water should be enough to cover and rise 1.5″-2″ above the lentils. Let soak in water for at least 1.5 hours.
  • Cooking the lentils [Any one of the below]:-
  1. Using Pressure Cooker {this is what I do} :- Cook the lentils [along with soaking water] for 8-10 minutes on medium heat till the first whistle.Immediately remove from heat and wait till the steam completely escapes..Again this time will vary if you are using whole lentils.Once the lentils are cooked add salt.
  2. Cooking in a pot :-Add lentils [along with water] and simmer on medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.Once the lentils are cooked, add salt.
  • Tempering :-In a small sauce pan, heat the ghee till hot on medium heat.Add the cumin, mustard & Nigella seeds.Wait till they crackle.Add the cloves & dry chillies.Cook for 20 seconds.Remove from heat and add the red chilli powder.Immediately add this tempering to cooked dal.
  • Stir in the tempering and garnish with cilantro, sprinkle with garam masala
  • Serve warm as a soup or with steamed rice.
Notes:-
  • If you are adjusting the water after the lentils have cooked, add warm water.
  • You can cube or slice the mangoes too, grating them is a personal preference.
  • Sometimes I add a tomato or two, if my mangoes are not very sour.
  • If soaked properly, red lentils quick very quickly, to keep a watch as they cook.
Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!
Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Litchi/Lychee Pannacotta With Mango Jelly

Litchi Pannacotta [Serves 4-5]

Printable Recipe

Recipe adapted from The Culinary Chronicles

  • 1 20oz can lychees [substitute with fresh pitted litchis]
  • 3/4 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar [adjust to taste]
Mango Jelly
  • 1 cup fresh mango puree  [substitute with store bought]
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar [adjust to taste]
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • a pinch of cardamom powder [optional]
  • 3/4 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water
Making the Litchi Pannacotta:
In a small bowl, pour the water and sprinkle gelatin over it.Let the gelatin bloom for about 5 minutes.Meawhile,tip in the canned litchis in a blender or a food processor along with syrup and crush them.Drain the crushed litchis thorugh a sieve once.In a sauce pan, add the milk, sugar and drained litchis and let warm on low heat until sugar is dissolved.Do not let the mix boil,it should be warm but not hot.Remove from heat and add the bloomed gelatin to the pan.Mix well.You can whisk gently to ensure that everything has combined well.Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and then pour into your serving bowls/glasses.Refrigerate and let set for 3 hours.
Making the Mango Jelly :
 In a small bowl, pour the 1/4 cup water and sprinkle gelatin over it.Let the gelatin bloom for about 5 minutes.Mix mango puree with 1/2 cup water , lemon juice, cardamom powder and 3 tbsp sugar and warm slightly (about 3-5 minutes] in a sauce pan over low heat.Again do not let boil.Mix in the bloomed gelatin and combine well.Let stand to cool off for about 10-12 minutes and add on top of the set litchi pannacotta.Let set for another 3 hours.

Add subsequent layers and keep on chilling.
Garnish with nuts or fresh fruit, mint and serve chilled.
How to create the swirls:
While you transfer the glasses to chill in the refrigerator, tilt the glasses/bowls.I usually use my cupcake pan to do this wherein I stuff little paper towels at the base of cases and rest the stem- tilted on them.Using a cupcake pan makes the handling easier when making a lot of servings but then there are lots of way of doing it.Devise your own.
Notes: It is important to add subsequent layers only after the bottom layers have set.The swirl you see in pictures took me half a day to set in and adding layers.You can do whichever way you like.Keep it simple or make a pattern.
Variations: Use coconut milk & agar agar flakes in place of whole milk & gelatin respectively to make a vegan version.I think litchi goes very well with papaya as well.I intend to add those layers next time I make it.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
Categories
Beverages Breakfast Easy Recipes

Indian Espresso Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

Coffee Sugar Mix [Makes about 1/4 cup paste]

  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 3 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tbsp cold milk + a little more [if required]

Per cup of coffee you ll need :

  • 1 heaped tbsp of the above coffee sugar mix [or adjust to how strong or mild you like your coffee]
  • 1/2 cup luke warm whole milk [substitute with half n half or any flavored creamer]
  • 1/2 cup cold whole milk [substitute with half n half or any flavored creamer]
  • Cocoa powder, ground cinnamon to sprinkle [optional]

Note: You will need a tall mug & a metal spoon to whip up the coffee sugar mix.Please keep away your fine china and pick up a mug which is little heavy.

Method:

  • In a dry, tall and heavy mug, tip in the instant coffee powder and sugar together.

  • Mix well and add milk just enough to moisten the mix [about 1 tbsp].In case you need more, add slowly.The purpose of milk here is just to give you a base moist paste to start working with.

  • The mix will be dark brown at first.With the help of spoon, start beating the mix rigorously.It will start turning pale and pasty.
  • Keep on beating the mix till it becomes pale brown and the sugar has dissolved.The mix will be thick and will flow like a ribbon. Also you would have done away with some of that flab on your arms 🙂

  • You know when the mix is ready and thick enough when even on inverting the cup, it wont drip.

  • Once done, the mix with be a viscous paste.It is ready to use now.
  • Tip in a generous tablespoon of coffee-sugar mix into a “microwave” safe cup.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup of luke warm milk.Microwave on high for 20-25 seconds.

  • Take out and stir thoroughly with a spoon to dissolve any lumps etc.This is an important step.You need to get a smooth coffee-milk mix before adding more milk.
  • Top up with remaining 1/2 cup of cold milk and stir gently to combine everything. [Note: Mixing milk too rigorously will reduce the froth in the final cup]
  • Micro again for about 30-40 seconds or till you see froth rising up.
  • Your coffee is ready.Top with ground cinnamon or cocoa powder.
  • Serve warm with muffins or cookies.

Notes:

  • You can use  whole milk diluted with water if you want.
  • Normally, sweetened cocoa powder is sprinkled over the coffee before serving.I have noted it in the recipe even though I dont like to add it to mine..
  • The paste lasts in fridge for about 2-3 days.You will have to beat again before using it.Ofcourse, the results will vary as compared to the fresh mix.
  • The microwave times I have noted are the ones on my appliance.You will have to adjust and keep a watch as your coffee is inside to avoid spill overs.

Enjoy your cuppa coffee ! Thanks for stopping by.

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Easy Mango Basil Sorbet-Say hello to Spring

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients [Makes 1 quart]

  • 4 large, ripe mangoes [approx 2 lb ]
  • 1 /2 cup simple basil syrup
    [adjust to taste, quantity depends on how sweet your mangoes are]
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp vodka [optional]

Method:

  • Put the container in which you plan to freeze the sorbet in the freezer to chill.I used an air tight plastic storage container.
  • Peel and chop the flesh the mango into cubes.
  • Make the basil simple syrup[ recipe below].Allow it to cool.The recipe makes 1 cup of syrup but you will need only 1/2 cup for this recipe.
  • Once cooled, in a blender combine all the ingredients except zest and process until smooth. You can adjust the amount of simple syrup based on your desired sweetness.
  • Stir in the lemon zest into the blend.
  • Pour into the chilled container and return to the freezer.Check back in an hour and stir the frozen edges back in. You will need to do this 5-6 times after every hour.
  • Let freeze overnight or for atleast 6 hours until firm.The resulting sorbet will be quite soft.

Note: If you have an ice cream maker, your life is much easy.Put it to work according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Basil Simple Syrup [Makes 1 cup]

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 packed basil leaves, finely chopped

In a small sauce pan bring sugar and water to a boil.Add the basil leaves and simmer for 5 minutes.Pour into a cup and refrigerate until cold.Do not drain the basil leaves.

I have adapted the recipes and tips on sorbet making without ice cream maker from here and here.

Enjoy!

Sending this to Hearth n Soul #41

Categories
Beverages Easy Recipes Festival Recipes

Thandai-Fragrant Milk Drink With Spices,Nuts & Mint

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients [serves 4]

  • 4 cups of whole milk (substitute with low-fat/almond milk/soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cashews
  • 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds [or melon seeds if available]
  • 2 tsp white poppy seeds [available in indian stores under the name ‘Khus-Khus‘ or ‘Posto‘]
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns [adjust to taste]
  • 7-8 green whole cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds [or aniseed]
  • 1 tbsp rosewater [use 1-2 drops if using rose essence]
  • pinch of saffron dissolved with 1 tbsp of warm milk
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves [don’t use too many else drink will turn bitter]
  • Sugar to taste
  • Nuts and ice cubes [optional] for garnish

Method:

  • Soak almonds,cashews, fennel, poppy, pumpkin seeds, cardamom & black peppercorn in enough water overnight or for at least 5-6 hours.
  • Once soaked, drain the water and discard it.
  • Tip in the soaked nuts& spices along with rosewater and mint leaves in a blender and grind to a smooth paste.
  • At this point, refrigerate the paste if you want to use it later.The paste keeps fresh for 4-5 days,refrigerated.
  • For making the Thandai: Tip in the milk, cream,dissolved saffron along with sugar to the taste in a blender on smoothie mode and churn for 3-4 minutes on high till everything comes together.
  • Pour into glasses, garnish with nuts and serve chilled.

Variations :

  • You can use the cold milk mixture to make a thandai ice- cream.
  • Blend it with lots of ice and 2-3 tbsp condensed milk and make a smoothie.Adjust sugar in that case.

Enjoy ! Happy Holi Everyone!

Categories
Baking Breakfast Desserts Easy Recipes Eggs

Indian Mava Minicakes With Pistachios & Saffron

Update 05/23/2011

A reader successfully tried this cake.You can see the link here.Thank you so much for trying out.

Tuesday,8th March is our wedding anniversay.I wanted to make something to refresh memories of Pune,a bustling metropolis near Mumbai,India.I couldn’t think of anything else but Mava cake, a unique speciality from Pune/Mumbai bakeries to recapture the moments we spent there.City of Pune has always been special,it is the city from where my career took off with first job and then I met P there for the first time 7 years back.Also referred to as the “Oxford of the East”, Pune is a youthful city with pleasant weather all round the year and attracts a lot of foreign students.I lived in Pune for almost 2 years, and while I was there I got a chance to enjoy the cultural heritage of the city.Due to presence of Osho Ashram ,Pune is a haven for foreign tourists who come here to seek relaxation through meditation and simple, natural living.

The influence of cosmopolitan elements is quite explicit in the city’s culture and lifestyle.Thanks to influx of foreigners, the city has a plethora of world cuisine restaurants and bakeries to choose from. My two favorite  bakeries from the city were Kayani Bakery on MG Road and German Bakery in Koregaon Park[den of the Osho Ashram]. A visit to German Bakery and you won’t feel you are in India.I usually frequented there to catch up with friends over Masala Chai.The place has less of a bakery feel but its more like a mini eatery serving some of the best cheese sandwiches, toasts and burgers.One of the highlight was that except for chai they don’t serve any indian food.

Anyhow, since we are talking Mava cakes here, I want to focus on Kayani Bakery, a reminiscent of Irani/Parsi Cafés specializing in some of the best milk cakes and biscuits [cookies].Wiki tells me that these Iranian cafés were first opened by Persian travellers to India in the 19th century.Iranian cafés used to be numerous and popular but competition from modern cafés and fast food restaurants have left them behind.One of the most popular eating places is the 102-year-old Kayani Café, a heritage landmark in south Mumbai.Though I m not sure but I think from the similarities between the setting and menu of both places that Kayani Bakery in Pune is an offshoot of the same legacy.The bakery is very ordinary looking, always packed with people, with crowds thronging to queue up as early as 6 or 7 in the morning to get their daily quota of fresh baked goodies. The bakery opens at 8 and by noon, they are out of most of their stuff.I have had the best and most unusual biscuits [cookies] and cakes of my life here.To name a few, if you get a chance to visit, you should not come back without Shrewsbury biscuits and wine [yes] biscuits.

The mention of Kayani bakery is incomplete without mention of  Mava cake.Infact, mava cakes have been their shot to fame.A no-frill, milky cake, made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar, cardamom and mava.Mava or Khoya is nothing but solidified milk, quite comparable to ricotta but less moist.It is used in making most of the indian sweets and desserts. You take one bite of the mava cake and you can discern that unique flavor-dense,scrumptious and milky.It is difficult to describe the luscious mava tingling on your taste buds,the delectable lively aroma of sweet-smelling cardamom complete with a delightful sensation of the dense texture rendered by baked flour and butter.It a feeling you want to prolong.You want to take bite, sit back and enjoy without dunking it down with coffee or tea.Trust me it would be a sacrilege if you want to wash down the cake with a beverage.If you must, couple it with hot milk, it doubles the warmth. Mava cakes from Kayani Bakery are superb, unique, matchless, delicious – the best and freshest milky cake in the world.If you are looking for a fluffy, light cake, this cake is not for you.It is the dense and heavy texture along with exotic taste that leaves you with a full feeling when you eat it.

When I told P abt mava cake, I dont know from where he came up with this idea and suggested a twist with pistachios and saffron.He is totally saffron loving person but in this cake saffron did wonders.It made us feel at home 🙂 However, the authentic version is made with almonds/cashews and cardamom.You can replace these if you feel.I saw a lot of recipes on the internet, but I settled for this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Tartelette.I used her cake recipe with my additions.For the mava, I used my own proportions.Though I stuck to using evaporated milk and cream for making mava as done by Helen, you can use whole milk to make it too.I do it many a times and there is not much of a difference in taste.But working with whole milk will take little more time to make mava.Below goes the recipe:

Ingredients [Makes 3 mini cakes of the size shown]

For the Mava/Khoya [Yield 1 cup ]

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup evaporated full fat milk

For the Mini cakes [Makes 3 mini cakes of the size shown]

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder [use aluminium free]
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup mava, softened at room temperature
  • 7 tbsp  unsalted butter,softened
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp  whole milk
  • 2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup fine chopped unsalted pistachios for mixing in cake batter
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios for topping.

Mava making is basically a process involving low heat cooking of whole milk and/or cream till the moisture content of the milk is reduced and it becomes paste like.Once it is cooked for such a long time,the remaining milk solids and fats in the milk take a butterscotch/caramel color.This paste is then poured into moulds and cooled.Once cooled, mava can be cubed using a sharp knife or crumbled with fingers. First important thing to note while making mava at home is that you have to check on the mix quite regularly, scrape it down the sides and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.Second being that the last few minutes in the process are very important, because the paste can turn into a dry crumble within second so keep a watch. I recommend that if you plan to make this cake, prepare mava a day or two in advance because mava making takes about 1-1.5 hours alone and  cooling time is separate.Mava can be refrigerated for up to 4-5 days and frozen for 1-2 months without losing taste and freshness.

Making Mava at home:

In a heavy bottomed, wide-mouthed and preferably non stick pan, pour in both evaporated milk and heavy cream.A non stick pan helps to avoid the milk & cream from getting burnt and sticking to bottom while cooking.Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.About 10 minutes.Once boiled, reduce the heat to medium on your burner. Cook with continuous stirring for about 15 minutes.The milk mix will start changing color slightly and start to thicken.At ths point,turn the heat to low on your stove and let cook with occasional cooking.The milk will keep on thickening and start turning into a sauce like consistency.Another 20 minutes.You have to stir the mix continuously now and scrape from the sides. At the end of 20 minutes, the mixture starts looking like a smooth caramel colored sauce.In some cases, it can turn grainy too.Continue cooking on low heat for another 10-15 minutes with continuous stirring.Cook down till there is very little moisture left in the mixture and its pasty, smooth and little shiny due to fats in the cream.At this point remove from heat.

Mava Making 

What I do is to immediately measure out 1/2 cup paste and pour it into individual bowl.Such pre measured bowl are easy to use anytime.Just run a sharp knife all around the bowl.and unmould.Let the paste in the bowls cool down, cover with cling film and refrigerate. The whole process took me about 1.5 hours with the quantities I have mentioned.

Note: You can also get Mava/khoya at any of the indian stores easily.It can be used to make this cake.You will just need to measure out, soften it a bit in a pot on low heat for 5 minutes and use.

Method:

  • Night before: Let the butter, eggs and mava sit on the kitchen countertop to come to a room temperature.
  • Preparing before cake making :Preheat the oven to 350F.Grease thoroughly the sides of whatever baking pan, cupcake pan, spring foam pan you are using for making these cakes.
  • Heat up the milk for 20 seconds in microwave to luke warm.Add saffron strands to the milk and let dissolve.
  • Mix flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom powder thoroughly and set aside.
  • Making the cake: In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed beat the butter with softened mava and sugar until creamy and light brown in color.About 3 minutes.
  • Once creamy , add the eggs, one at a time and beat to combine well.About 2 minutes.
 Mava Cake Step-By-Step
  • Next add the milk + saffron mixture and blend well on low-speed until a smooth mixture is formed.About 1 minute.
  • Add the flour mixture all at once to the wet ingredients and beat well on medium speed to make a smooth, creamy batter.About 2 minutes.
  • Fold in the fine chopped pistachios in the batter.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly into the pan to leaving some room for rising and top with more chopped pistachios.
  • Bake in oven for 22-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 24 minutes exact.
  • Once baked, remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes to cool and then unmould.
  • Let cool completely before slicing.

Notes:

  • The quality of mava plays and important role in the texture of this cake.Generally, the store bought mava has less oil content so if using one u ll need to adjust the amount of butter so that the cake does not turn dry.I recommend making mava at home to best use the proportions given above.
  • The cake sits fresh for upto two days unrefrigerated.
  • Any kind of nuts : almonds, cashews etc can be used in place of pistachios.

Enjoy!

Categories
Brunch Easy Recipes Indian Curry Non vegetarian Stir-fry

Shrimp Stir Fry With Scallions and Fenugreek Leaves

Cooking with fenugreek leaves-dried or fresh is very popular in India.Infact the typical taste of butter chicken or tandoori chicken is incomplete without dried fenugreek leaves[kasuri methi].Fenugreek seeds are used for tempering lot of dry and wet curries for a typical flavor.Fresh fenugreek leaves are clover shaped and taste slightly bitter [if fully mature].They add a great typical piquant, bitter flavor to curries. You will easily find frozen or fresh fenugreek [methi] leaves in any of the indian store.If looking for a substitute, chopped fresh watercress or celery leaves come close because they also have a biting taste.

Recipe adapted from cookbook, “50 great curries of India”

Ingredients: [Serves 3-4]

  • 14 oz uncooked large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder [adjust to taste]
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 ” fresh ginger shoot, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp oil [sesame/olive or any flavored oil]
  • 2 green chillies [finely chopped]
  • 1 cup chopped scallions,white and green scallion parts,separated
  • 1/4 cup fresh fenugreek leaves,finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped [or parsely]
  • salt to taste

Method:

  • Marinate the cleaned, uncooked shrimp in 1/2 tsp turmeric,1 tbsp fresh lime juice,1 tsp red chilli powder and 1/4 tsp salt for about 15 minutes, refrigerated.
  • Meanwhile,take a wide-mouthed cooking pan/wok/kadhai and put it on low heat.Add the oil along with garlic to the wok and let the oil heat up slowly.The idea is to flavor the oil with garlic.About 3 minutes.
  • Once garlic is crisp,turn up the heat to high and add the white chopped scallions.Saute for about 1 minute and add the chopped ginger and green chillies.
  • Next, add the chopped fenugreek leaves , green scallions along with rest of the turmeric and chilli powder.Saute on high heat for about 2 minutes till leaves start to wilt.
  • Just when about to serve: Add the marinated shrimps [along with the marinade],and cilantro leaves, toss on high heat for about 4 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked.Take care not to over cook the shrimp.Check the salt in the dish at this point and adjust.
  • Squirt some fresh lime juice and serve warm with steamed white rice.

Notes/Tips:

  • Adjust the quantity of fenugreek leaves depending on how bitter they are.
  • To reduce the bitterness of fenugreek leaves, rub whole leaves with little salt and let salt for half n hour, wash the salt away, bitterness will reduce.
  • Another tip which my mom told me was that fenugreek leaves if cooked and left uncovered for 1-2 hours.
  • The cooking time will vary depending upon the size of shrimps that you use.I used large shrimps.

Enjoy!

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Rice Dishes Vegetarian

Kewra Kheer-Aromatic Rice Pudding With Screw Pine Water & Foxnuts

Kewra Jal or Screwpine water is used to flavor a lot indian curries,biryanis,drinks and desserts particularly those which are milk based.It is also used in lot of indian sweets made out of squashes and dried milk.Drinks prepared with Kewra are said to be have a cooling effect on the body during the scorching summer months.Similar to rose-water or orange blossom water, the essence is more concentrated than Kewra water.The essence may be yellowish or transparent in color.

Other than food, if you happen to visit the beach destinations of India, you can indulge in Kewra water bath and spa sessions at many of the resorts and hotels.Perfumes and body lotions containing essential oils made with Kewra are also popular as stimulants to cure headaches and provide general relaxation to body. Ayurveda,the ancient form of medicinal cure with natural products is known to use Kewra for healing joint pains and bone related problems.All in all Kewra is supposed to have cater to those senses of your body which provide calmness to mind and soul.

Talking about “Makhana” or Foxnuts, these are used a lot to make curries and desserts.These are nothing but puffed seeds of the foxnut plant.Some people like to add foxnut seeds to the daily cereal to increase fibre in their diet.In indian cooking, it is widely used as a natural thickener in crushed or powdered forms.When toasted with butter/oil and sprinkled with salt and dried herbs, puffed foxnuts make a great snack with evening tea.Eating a handful of foxnuts daily is considered to strengthen the heart and is very useful in anemia.

Dont get the impression that the rice pudding that I have prepared using all the stuff above is healthy, but it is certainly rich and flavorful.Anyhow, after all that overdose of knowledge, let me come to the recipe which is nothing but “Kheer” or indian rice pudding made by cooking crushed foxnuts and basmati rice with whole milk and flavored with green cardamom powder and kewra water.It is the most luscious and exotic form of dessert for us.Indian kheer is different from the pudding recipes around the world in the sense that it is not egg based.Some people like to add condensed milk to rice pudding for fast thickening, I normally don’t do that and stick to the traditional way of thickening the milk via slow cooking.It is considered auspicious to offer Kheer to God during festivals.I prepared this recipe last week.Below goes the recipe:

Ingredients [Serves 4]

  • 1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 5 cups whole milk [or half n half]
  • 1/4 cup crushed foxnuts [makhana, available at indian stores]
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar [or adjust to taste]
  • 1 tbsp Kerwa water [If using essence put, 1-2 drops only] [Available at indian stores]
  • 1 tsp green cardamom powder
  • handful of golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • For Garnish- chopped almonds, raisins,toasted foxnuts,pinch of cardamom powder, shredded coconut [optional]

Method:

  • Wash the rice under 2-3 streams of water and let soak in 1.5 cups of water for one hour.
  • In a pot with heavy bottom, pour the milk and let come to a boil.Once boiling,reduce the heat to low, drain the rice and tip into the pot.Tip in the crushed foxnuts also along with rice.
  • Cook the milk and rice mixture on low heat for about 30-40 minutes on low heat stirring at intervals, so that the rice does not stick to the bottom.
  • Cook until rice is soft and broken and milk has reduced to about half the quantity and is thick.
  • Add chopped almonds,raisins and cardamom powder and cook for 10 minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for about 5-8 minutes to cool down a bit.
  • Stir in the granulated sugar and kewra water. Make sure that when you add the sugar the pudding is not very hot.
  • Serve garnished with almonds or any nuts of choice.

Variations:

  • You can use rose water in place of kewra water.
  • This pudding can be prepared with foxnuts only also.

Enjoy!

Categories
Easy Recipes one pot meals Soups Vegetarian

Indian Tomato Soup With Chilli Cheddar Puff Sticks

Indian Tomato Soup

What I need [Serves 2-3 ]

  • 4 cups roughly chopped tomatoes [any variety which is not very sour]
  • 3 tbsp yellow moong lentils [the secret ingredient]
  • 3 tbsp ghee [clarified butter] or unsalted butter (or olive oil for vegan)
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 ” stick cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds [bhuna jeera]
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups of water/vegetable stock/chicken stock
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder [adjust to taste]
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Fresh lime juice [to taste]
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped cilantro,butter/cream for garnish

How I did it : Boil the chopped tomatoes,moong dal and salt with of water/stock till cooked.Once boiled, transfer to a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth consistency.Strain the soup through a soup strainer to remove the tomato skins and seeds.In a medium  pot, melt the ghee and add chopped onions to it.Saute for 5 minutes, till onions are soft.Next, add the grated ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.Next add the strained soup mixture, cinnamon, bay leaves, turmeric,roasted cumin seeds,red chilli powder to the pot.Check the salt and add more water/stock depending on the consistency you want your soup.Let the soup come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes.Once cooked, remove from heat and add the sugar & garam masala. Squirt a lemon wedge over the soup,garnish with cilantro and a dollop of butter and serve warm with chilli cheese puffs

or croutons or bread sticks.

Chilli Cheddar Puff Sticks

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder [or paprika]
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 beaten egg, for brushing
  • 1 tsp salt to sprinkle
  • Flour for dusting

How I did it: Preheat the oven to 400F /200 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.On a floured surface, unfold your puff pastry.Brush the puff pastry sheet with egg wash thoroughly.Spinkle red chilli powder and salt over the whole sheet.Now, spread the grated cheese on half of the puff pastry sheet leaving 1″ from the ends and press the cheese down so that it sticks to the surface.Re-brush the left out 1″ with egg wash thoroughly.Fold over the other half of the pastry sheet over the cheese and seal the edges.You can use a fork to pinch the edges.Take a rolling-pin and roll out the pastry slightly.Once rolled out, brush the top with egg wash again.Cut out 18-20 strips of the puff pastry of about 1/2″ width.Twist the strips holding them between your hands. Bake the sticks for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.

Enjoy!

Sending this to Hearth n Soul #35