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

Categories
Brunch Non vegetarian one pot meals Rice Dishes

Fragrant Coconut-Saffron Rice Pilaf With Minty Chicken Balls

 

 

 

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Dont forget to see the notes in the end.

What I need:

For the chicken balls: [Makes 15-18 medium size balls]

  • 1 lb minced chicken [or lamb or beef]
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves,finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Black pepper powder to taste
  • 1 egg [optional]
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt

You can add any spices you like to the meat balls, I kept them simple.

For the pilaf:

  • 1 cup basmati rice, thoroughly washed 2-3 times in a stream of water.
  • 2 cups coconut milk + 1 cup water/chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 8-10 fresh curry leaves
  • Whole spices: 2-3 cloves,1 cinnamon stick,4-5 green cardamom,2 bay leaves+4 dry red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • generous pinch of saffron strands mixed with 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil + 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Salt to taste

How I did it:

  • For the chicken balls:In a medium bowl,mix all the ingredients with the minced chicken except salt, cover the bowl with cling film and let it sit for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.You may or may not need egg depending about the if how moist your minced chicken is.
  • After refrigeration, mix in the salt and make small balls with the chicken mince.Set aside.Dont make very big balls because the balls with increase in size once cooked.
  • In a wide-mouthed pot/kadai with a lid, heat the on medium heat.Once heated, add the finely chopped onions to the oil and cook until just turning brown.
  • Next add all the whole spices to the onions and saute for about 2 minutes.Add the curry leaves to next.Be slightly careful when you add curry leaves because they will crackle as soon as they hit oil.
  • Once the curry leaves have crackled, add the coconut milk+water/chicken stock, red chilli & turmeric powder and salt to the utensil and let it come to a boil.

  • Once boiling, add a single chicken ball to and see if it retains its shape.If yes, add the rest of the balls.If the chicken ball start falling apart, you will need to add more binder like cornstarch/eggs to the mince and make balls again.
  • Cook the chicken balls in the coconut milk till they are almost done.An easy way to test this is that when you take out a ball and cut it half way , you will see a little reddish centre.
  • Drain the chicken balls from the coconut milk and set aside.Let the liquid cool to room temperature in the pot.
  • For the Pilaf : Next measure out the liquid in the utensil to ensure the quantity of liquid which your rice type needs to cook.For example, 1 cup of my rice quality cooks in 2.5 cups of water.Add the washed rice to the pot and let the rice soak for at least 2 hours.
  • Once rice has soaked,let the rice cook on medium-high heat, lid on,till 90% cooked.Add the chicken balls and saffron to the rice, give it a gentle stir and let steam until rice is 100% cooked.About 5 minutes.
  • Mint -Cucumber Raita[Yogurt]: Add chopped fresh cucumber and 1 tbsp finely ground fresh mint leaves to 2 cups of plain beaten thick yogurt and season with roasted cumin powder, salt/black salt, red chilli powder as per liking.
  • Serve warm with cucumber & mint yogurt!

Notes:

  • Curry leaves are available in dry or fresh forms at all the indian grocery stores.They add great flavor and aroma to any dish/lentils just like herb.
  • Though coconut oil adds a lot of authentic flavor to rice,but you can completely replace it with any oil u want.I used part of it for flavor.
  • Be very careful of the cooking time once chicken balls have been added to the rice pot.They turn hard in no time.
  • You can use cubed chicken also in place of chicken balls,adjust the cooking time of chicken accordingly.
  • The only flaw I saw in the dish was that the leftover chicken balls became little hard the next day when I reheated them.But rice tasted much better the next day.

Enjoy!

Sending this to Hearth n Soul #34

hearthandsoulgirlichef

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Strawberry-Ricotta Mousse

 

 

What I need:

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped + more for topping
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice [optional if you have tart strawberries]
  • 2-3 leaves fresh mint leaves + more for garnish
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp unflavored granulated gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

How I did it:

  • Pulse the chopped strawberries along with lemon and mint leaves in the processor.Transfer to a bowl, tip in the gelatin and whisk well.Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream to thick peakes.This is important coz once you add the crushed strawberry mix,the mixture will loosen out a bit.
  • In another large bowl, beat the ricotta cheese and sugar together until smooth.
  • Gently fold in the whipped cream with the ricotta cheese along with crushed strawberry mix.
  • Transfer the mousse to serving bowls and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set.
  • Before serving top with chopped strawberries and more whipped cream and few mint leaves.Serve cold.

Enjoy!

Sending this to It’s a keeper.

Categories
Baking Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Strawberry-Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

Update 05/31/2011

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

Update 05/14/2011

Another reader successfully tried this recipe.See here.The blog is in a non-english language so I could not read it but the picture says it all.Thank you LILLA!

Update: 03/05/2011

These cookies were tried by 3 people I know of who came back and told me about their experience.I m linking them here and here. One of the bakers, Mindy commented on the post herself that they turned out good for her. But for Rachelle, it didnt work out fine.I am adding these feedbacks to help those people who want to try out this recipe.Thanks everyone.Your suggestions are always welcome.

 

 

 

What I need: [Makes 22 cookies of the size shown][updated]

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter [softened]
  • 7 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder [use aluminium free]
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp thick crushed fresh strawberry mix [homemade by crushing  strawberries with 1 tsp of milk [if required]+2 drops of red food color] [the quantity of strawberry mix will vary depending upon the consistency,please be judgemental]
  • Nutella [for filling]

How I did it:

  • Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.Set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar using a hand-held mixer for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and crushed strawberry to the bowl and combine well with the butter mixture using a whisk.
  • Fold in the flour mixture with the butter mixture gently to form a dough.The dough will be soft and a little sticky but not loose.Do not over mix. You might need to oil your hands and bring the dough together.
  • Once combined, cover the dough with a plastic cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C.
  • Line your cookie sheet with a parchment paper.

  • Take out the refrigerated dough,lightly oil your palms and make small balls with it.Put the balls on the cookies sheet and press down slightly to flatten out.

  • With the help of your thumb or back of a tea-spoon make a small hole in the middle of the cookies where u ll fill the nutella after baking.
  • If at this point you feel that the butter in the cookies is melting, refrigerate again for about 15 minutes.

  • Bake the cookies in the oven for about 8-12 minutes or untill the bottom starts turning brown. Mine took 10 minutes exact.Do not bake them beyond 12 mins.These will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven.
  • Take out the cookie sheet from the oven and using the teaspoon again press out the hole in the cookies.You will not be able to do this after the cookies have cooled.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, fill in the nutella in the little holes in the cookies.
  • Serve with cold milk.

I have adjusted these from a basic recipe here .Notes:

  • The consistency of strawberry mix is of real importance.Make a thick, almost paste like mix in your processor/blender.If some bits remain, it does not matter but the mix should not be runny or watery.
  • The color of cookies/dough can differ depending on how red your strawberries are.I chopped off the white portions and used red part only.
  • I made my cookies less sweet because with nutella filling they could be very overwhelming.
  • The dough can be slightly difficult to work with,but refrigerate and it will be manageable.
  • Since every oven is different, the time of baking may vary from appliance to appliance.
  • You can fill in the cookies with any jam or melted chocolate chips too.

Enjoy! Have a nice weekend everyone.

Sending these to Culinary Smackdown Battle-Cookies

Categories
Beverages Breakfast Brunch Easy Recipes Side Dishes Stir-fry Vegetarian

Indian Spiced Peas(Chuki Matar)& Masala Chai

 

 

 

 

Spiced Peas/Chuki Matar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh/frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup sliced onions
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 2 green chillies. thinly cut (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice [adjust to taste ]

How I did it:

  • In a pan, heat up the oil on medium heat.
  • Once heated, temper the oil with cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pan and let the onions saute till transculent.Dont brown them.
  • Next, add the chopped green chilies and ginger julians and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the peas, red chilli powder, cover the lid and let the peas steam till they are cooked but not mushy.
  • Once tender, open the lid,add salt and garam masala and stir fry on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the fresh lime juice and serve warm with masala chai

Masala Chai

Ingredients

  • 1 tea bag per cup (or 1 tsp of black tea leaves/cup)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 fresh tulsi leaves [holy basil leaves if available] NOTE:Holy basil is totally different from Thai or Italian basil.
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of warm milk
  • ¼ tsp chai masala powder
  • sugar to taste

Masala/Spice Mix  [Makes 1 cup masala]

  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp cloves
  • 1/4 cups whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cups green cardamom
  • 4 twig mace, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 piece nutmeg, grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

How I did it

  • Fine grind all the ingredients under the head “Masala/Spice Mix”.Store this spice mix in an air tight container in a dry place.This lasts for 2-3 years.
  • To make the masala chai:In a saucepan, add the water along with ginger and tulsi leaves[if using] and let come to a boil.After 2-3 minutes, add tea bag or tea leaves. Let  brew for 2-3 minutes.Next, add “masala” and milk and let it again come to a boil.Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.Strain and serve with sugar (or sweetener).

Enjoy!

 

Categories
Indian Curry Non vegetarian Side Dishes

Indian Style Mutton Stew

What I need:

  • 1.5 lb of  [bone-in ]mutton, cut into medium pieces [or lamb or beef]
  • 1.5 cups of buttermilk [slightly sour]
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, grated
  • 2″ shoot of ginger,grated
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • Salt to taste

Whole Spices :

  • 2 cups onions , thinly sliced
  • 10-12 whole dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorn
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 nos black cardamoms, cracked open
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1″ shoot of cinnamon
  • 1 twig mace
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil [I use mustard, you can use olive/canola]
  • 2-3 cups warm water

How I did it:

Marination:

  • Wash and pat dry the mutton pieces.
  • In a ziplock plastic bag, pour in the buttermilk, grated nutmeg,grated garlic & ginger along with salt.Give it a shake to combine well.
  • Next, tip in the mutton pieces into the bag and give it a shake again to make sure that the buttermilk covers all the pieces.Lay the bag flat in a big square tray and let marinate overnight or at least 3-4 hours.

Making the Stew :

[Method 1 : Cooking in an Open pot [with lid]/Dutch oven]

  • Heat the oil in a pot/dutch oven to a smoking point on medium heat.TIP: When using mustard oil, you need to heat it up till the point it starts smoking to ensure the raw smell is gone.For 4 tbsp oil, atleast good 8-10 minutes.If using olive/canola, the heating time will be way less.
  • Once heated,reduce the heat to low and wait for 5 minutes to lower the temp a bit so that spices don’t burn.Add all the whole spices except dry red chillies to the oil and cook until the spices emit their aroma..around 3 minutes.
  • Next add the onions, raise the heat to medium and cook the onions stirring constantly untill they become translucent to light brown.
  • Add the dry red chillies then.
  • Strain the mutton pieces from the buttermilk mixture, retain the marinade.
  • Add the mutton pieces to the pot and on high heat, cook the mutton pieces for 10-12 minutes until all sides of the meat have browned.
  • Next, add the marinade & 2 cups of warm water to the pot, check the salt and cover the pot/dutch oven.
  • Let the water come to a boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to as low as possible.
  • Let the meat simmer in the pot/dutch oven for good 4-6 hours periodically checking to make sure the liquid doesn’t dissipate, and adding warm water if needed.
  • The stew is considered finished when the meat is very tender, just about to fall apart from the bones and the flavor of the gravy is intense. Adjust the salt again if needed.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve with warm khamiri rotis [yeasted flatbreads] and onions.

[Method 2: Using a pressure pan/cooker]

The time taken by this popular Indian method is very less and the taste is slightly different and less intense. The cooking steps remain the same except that you need to cook the meat as per your pressure cooker.To give a rough estimate, the meat will take at least 25-30 minutes with 6-7 whistles on a low heat to become tender.

Enjoy!

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Easy Recipes Indo Chinese Non vegetarian Side Dishes Stir-fry

Chilli Chicken

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochineseAll of you who grew in India in the 80’s would swear to eat or crave this chicken dish every other day.Atleast I did! The best about this dish is that the recipe is so quick that it can make its way to your tummy within minutes.The other day when I felt ultra lethargic,I made a quick chilli chicken & steamed rice.

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

When I say CHILLI chicken,I mean lots and lots of chillies..of all kinds…whole red chillies, black pepper and red chilli powder..Okay dont be scared..this is not some deadly chicken preparation..it is just a really hot chicken recipe.Succulent pieces of chicken in a spicy sauce with onions and dry red chillies.If they say, heaven exists on earth,a bowl of chilli chicken personifies it in some crude distant form! Though I never actually asked Mom the recipe,and only saw her making it while chatting beside the stove,I still prepare it recounting those times and the lingering tastes from childhood.I normally refrain from deep-frying the chicken pieces and settle for shallow frying.A handful of red or green capsicum tastes very good, but P is not a great fan, so though I didn’t use it I m noting down!

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces [even bone in chicken can be used too]
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups sliced red onions [the more onions, the better]
  • 3-4 pods garlic,crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 12-15 whole dry red chillies, broken into 2-3 smaller pieces (adjust to taste, use less quantity or milder variety)
  • 2-3 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp hot & sweet tomato chili sauce (I use this brand)
  • 1.5 tsp – 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 3/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Few chopped green chillies
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp canola oil

Notes –

  1. The dish taste much better when you deep fry the chicken as opposed to shallow frying it.

Method

  • Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel.Sprinkle the chicken with cornstarch, all-purpose flour, salt and black pepper and combine well.Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a wide-mouthed pan, heat the 3 tbsp oil to the smoking point.When the oil is hot, tip in the chicken pieces and saute in oil till they become white on the outside and slightly tender.About 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken pieces and drain on a paper towel.
  • In the same pan, add the 1 tbsp oil and on high heat add the crushed garlic and ginger julians.Saute for 2 minutes and add the sliced onions.Saute the onions till they are soft and translucent but not brown.
  • Next, add the whole red chillies,chicken,soya sauce, hot & sweet tomato chili sauce, salt and red chilli powder to the pan and cook on high heat till the chicken pieces are tender.About 8-10 minutes.Add the diced capsicum now (if using).
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and add the vinegar.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with few green chillies.
  • Serve warm with steamed rice or chow mein/hakka noodles.

Enjoy!