Hope all of you had a lovely 4th of July. We took a little vacation to LA and Malibu.It was our first road trip ever & could not have been more fun.We spent a lot of time on beaches, sun bathing, chatting and eating fresh seafood. A visit to botanical gardens and theme park rounded off Â the trip. All in all,Â LA was definitely a respite from the over the top hot weather in Vegas right now. Its 113 F/45 C as I type this 🙁
Breaking loose from almost a perfect vacation, our car refused to behave a couple of times in the middle of Mojave desert while driving back. Being 4th of July and with everything closed, we almost reached a point when we decided to stay over in nearby town for the night. However, thanks to few God sent personnel at gas stations,we managed way back home.
I normally don’t binge during vacations,still all the outside food makes me want to eat simple, clean meals for the days that follow. I came home wanting just that. This salad is my go to recipe for those days.
Yellow Mung lentils (dal) are de skinned whole mung bean and have a very mild taste. I have grown eating them in this dryish preparation either as a side with flat breads or mixed with ghee & rice as well as salad.Â Since yellow mung lentils are quick to cook, this salad can be fixed in no time.Once you cook the lentils, it’s just a matter of chopping the veggies and tossing everything together with lots of lemon juice. I added a handful of ready to eat edamame beans & there it was – a hearty, protein packed salad which is so light & summery. And yup..so healthy!
Did I tell you..this is my 150th post…kinda feels good 🙂
Lentils form a big part of indian cuisine – meals are far from complete without them – soups, fritters, flat breads, stews, patties…you will find them used in all ways imaginable. India being a vegetarian country, we get our daily protein dose from them. I cook lentils daily in some way or the other. P is more of a lentil soup person, I enjoy them either way.
I was introduced to edamame after I came to USA. I did not care for them much initially but knowing how good they are, now I try to include them in our diet as much as possible.I am still away from eating them all on their own but have found a perfect way to eat them this way – overshadowed by earthy taste of lentils & crunch of fresh vegetables – hardly making their presence felt.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
1/2 cup yellowÂ mung dal, split
2 cups water (for soaking)
1 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with any oil of choice)
1 tspÂ jeeraÂ (cumin)
1/4 tspÂ hingÂ (asafoetida)
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
3- 4 tbsp water (for cooking)
For the salad
1/4 cup each chopped red onion,cucumber, tomatoes (use any veggies of choice in any quantity you like)
1/4 cup edamame (I used ready to eat, if using raw, see note in method)
4-5 fresh mint/cilantro leaves, chopped
1 green chillies, finely chopped
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
1.5 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice (or to taste)
Olive Oil (to drizzle)
salt to adjust
Cooking LentilsÂ – Thoroughly wash the mung lentils 2-3 times under stream of water. Soak the lentils in 2 cups of water for atleast 2.5 -3 hours.Â Once soaked, drain out the soaking liquid. Set aside.
In a medium pot with lid, heat the oil on medium. Once you see ripples on the surface of the oil, reduce the heat to low. Temper the oil withÂ jeeraÂ &Â hing. Wait for 10-15 seconds till theÂ jeeraÂ crackles & you smell the aroma ofÂ hing. Add the minced ginger & turmeric powder next & saute for another 10 seconds.
Next, add the soaked lentils and salt to taste. Stir well to coat the lentils in the tempering. Add 3 tbsp of water to the pot and cover. Let cook on low heat for 8-12 minutes till the lentils are thoroughly cooked but retain their shape.Â You need to check 1-2 times in between to see that the lentils are not sticking to the pot bottom, if so, add a tbsp of water. Dont peek too much while the lentils cook, the idea is so steam them slowly on low heat.
Note :- If using fresh edamame beans, add them to the pot towards the last 3-4 minutes of cooking, so that they steam with the lentils.This will ensure that they remain green & crunchy.Â
Once cooked, put the stove off and let the lentils & edamame sit covered for another 5-8 minutes till they cool down a bit. Fluff gently using a fork and let them cool off completely.Â At this point, if you want to make the salad later, you can refrigerate the lentils in air tight containers for 1-2 days.Â
Assembling the SaladÂ – In a medium bowl, toss the cooled lentils & edamame with the chopped vegetables, mint, cilantro & green chillies. Squirt lemon juice, add red pepper flakes, olive oil (if using) and salt to taste. Combine well and serve at room temperature.
A sense of rejuvenation entwines me as I hit the publish button.Being out of touch for more than 4 months, a part of me always felt incomplete,unfulfilled. While I was away, I realized the role of blogging in my life – I missed it. Thank you so much for all your kind emails, tweets & messages. I knew I had to be back in action soon. I am doing better than before & hope to update this space often now.
Last few months have been rough, less of ups, lots of down. Keeping health issues aside, my mind was irrational, loud & restless. I had loads to complain & challenge. I denied the things which came my way, I failed to handle them. Sometimes, life takes its own course and no matter how hard you try to tame it, it does not reciprocate. The very fact that I felt a certain way at that point in my life, I had no choice but to understand that this was meant to be.The sooner I did , the easier it got. The more I questioned : “Why me?”, the difficult it became. There was no force within me that could change the situation, no magic wand or a click of fingers to set it all right, all I Â got was inner strength to sail me Â through. When faith falters & hopes diminish, its best to reach out for that simmering potential inside to navigate, exactly what I want to do right now.
For long, I wanted to bake crackers at home,or let me put it this way- Â I wanted to experiment with savory, whole grain flour baking with an indian touch.I tried the cracker recipe below with a mix of whole wheat & fine wheat flour a couple of times, but it left me wanting for more – something more healthy perhaps? and simple,crispy, spicy too at the same time.Not the most fancy looking crackers around- these are spiced similar to deep fried indian snack – mathri andÂ I think I got what I was looking for this time. Bajri or millet is a gluten free, whole grain widely popular in India to make porridge, flatbreads or pancakes. I did not like it much the first time I ate it but now, itsÂ an acquired taste for me especially when I want a break from carbs.
The dip to go along is made with chana (split bengal gram) lentils, which is my new found way to eat them. Rated lowest GI (glycemic index) lentils, these score high when it comes to an earthy, nutty taste.Chana dal yields better amongst lentils to dip-making coz they do not turn into a slimy mush if cooked properly. Easily available in indian stores & tasting similar to garbanzo beans, these lentils are something you would want to stock on.
P,did not care much for the crackers but liked this dip.He polished it off with baked potato chips in the name of healthy food.I found myself snacking on these batch after batch. Somehow the combo is addictive – reminds me of the rajasthani meals atÂ Dilli HaatÂ – bajra roti & masala chana dal.
Yield – About 2 dozen
1 cup fine bajri atta (millet flour)
1/2 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
2.5 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tspÂ ajwainÂ (carom seeds)
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp water (or as required for kneading the dough)
Combine all the ingredients except water in a big bowl. Rub with fingers till the mixture resembles grains.
Start adding water slowly & mixing with hands so as to form a soft, pliable dough. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel & let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 3o0 F / 150 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
Knead the rested dough for 2-3 minutes and pinch into equal portions. Thinly roll out the equal portions on a flour dusted surface or between sheets of parchment.
With the help of fork, pick the rolled dough so that it does not fluff while baking. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into desired shape.
Â Transfer to the cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done & crisp. You will need to check midway & flip the crackers to ensure even baking.
Cool the crackers on a rack and store in air tight containers for upto 2 weeks.
Chana Dal Dip (Makes about 1.5 cups)
1 cup chana dal (split bengal grams)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
3 cups water
4 cloves garlic,chopped
1 ” fresh ginger shoot, chopped
1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds to adjust heat)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil + more to drizzle
Soak the chana dal in water for atleast 6 hours or overnight. Pressure cook the dal along with turmeric powder & salt in the soaking liquid on high for 2 whistles. Alternatively you can cook the dal in a pot with lid (for about 40-45 minutes) till tender.
Transfer the cooked & cooledÂ dalÂ to the food processor along with garlic, ginger, cilantro chili & lime juice. Pulse 10-12 times slowly adding oil until smooth. You can further adjust the consistency using the reserved cooking liquid. Check the salt & adjust if required.
Drain & reserve the liquid (this liquid can be used as stock or to knead savory doughs).Let the dal cool to room temperature.
Transfer to the serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil, garnish with chopped cilantro & serve along withÂ bajriÂ crackers.(recipe above)
Store refrigerated in air tight container for Â 4-5 days.
Note : This recipe has a strong garlic flavor. You can reduce or omit garlic quantity as per your liking.
Well the season of guest posts continues on Sinfully Spicy 🙂 Welcome to another one..this time at one of my super favorite indian cuisine blogs – Indian Simmer!
Prerna from Indian Simmer is one person who never fails to fascinate me with her warmth & energy. Always full of excitement, I would say that she is one of the most cheerful lady I have met in the blogging world. They say that you need an eye for beauty, as much as I have known her, I feel that the kind of emotions & personality you carry around in life tend to reflect in everything you do – be it words, lens or recipes. Beautiful people make beautiful blogs – Indian Simmer is a testimonial of exactly that! Her lens is what personifies indian cuisine to the root Â – Vibrant, colorful & mouthwatering!
I was honored when she asked me to guest post on her blog. Thank you so much, Prerna. Among many of her creative ideas, she came up with this series where she wants to feature her favorite blogs; well the thought of kick starting the series is jaw dropping for me. To make the series fun, she posed me with a little questionnaire, which I tried my best to answer.
Read my little chit chat & recipe for Paneer Jalfrezi on her blog here. You can find the printable recipe here.
IngredientsÂ (Serves 2)
3 tbsp canola/olive/sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 large onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1″ fresh gingershoot, minced
2 Thai green chilies, chopped
2 medium roma tomatoes, quartered & sliced
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1.5 tbsp red chili flakes (adjust to tolerance)
1 cup sliced bell peppers (use any colored peppers of choice)
7 oz / (200gm) paneer (Indian cheese), sliced into 2â€ batons
Salt to taste
Â½ tspÂ garam masala
1.5 tbsp white vinegar / fresh lemon juice
Â¼ tsp sugar
Chopped Cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or pan /wok/kadhai on high. Once smoking, add cumin & coriander seeds and fry for 30 seconds or so till they crackle.
Next, add the minced ginger & garlic along with green chilies and cook for another 30 seconds till you smell the aroma.
Reduce heat to medium and add sliced onions next to the pan and fry till soft and translucent. About 2-3 minutes.
Add sliced tomatoes, turmeric powder & red chili flakes to the pan next and fry for 5-7 minutes till tomatoes begin to sweat & soften but do not turn mushy. You will see oil separating on sides of the pan. Stir frequently to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the sliced peppers next, stir and fry them for 5-8 minutes so that they cook slightly but still hold their shape & are crunchy.
Add the paneer next along with salt, increase heat to high and cook for 2-3 minutes with gentle tossing so as not to break the cheese.
Remove from heat, sprinkle theÂ garam masala, sugar & top up with vinegar. Combine well. Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve with steamed rice or Indian breads.
You can’t beat the taste of homemade yogurt. Its sweetish, grainy and rich. Something, which you are supposed to fall in love with. Eating yogurt is soul satisfying for me- it caters to the senses in the most pure & luscious way. There is something so addictive about the homemade version that I can eat it plain without a speck of salt or sugar. In India, the concept of readymade yogurt or starters/ probiotic cultures & stuff hit the grocery stores only a few years back. Till date, a popular way to get good quality yogurt is from the mithai (sweet) shops – it comes really close to home taste. Still, in most of the Indian families, including mine, yogurt is only bought from outside when there is a dire need to do so. Else, we Indians have all the patience in the world to make our own, at home.
One of my very fond memory of childhood is to eat a big bowl ofÂ dahiÂ (yogurt) with lots of seasonal fruits & honey after every meal. We used to have this large, round earthen bowl in which my grandma made yogurt every night. Before going to sleep, her usual regime was to warm up the milk, dip her finger in there to check the temperature, mix it up with a starter from previous day, wrap up the bowl in a old woollen & set aside to set overnight. Everything was plain impulse and approximation – no thermometers or modern gadgets…as inexact as it can get. Nonetheless, her yogurt came out perfect each morning – ethereal white, milky sweet with a tangy note & thick. She said that the earthen pot sucks away the sourness as the bacteria play with the milk overnight. It didn’t make much sense to a 10 year old then.Only when I learnt science, I understood the fundamental about how & what difference an earthen bowl makes. Rarely, I saw her getting irked when her yogurt did not set in the morning ,we were then kicked out of the house with little bowls to get the starters from neighbors or nearby sweet shop.
Having lived on the homemade version half of my life, I never quite liked the gooey, gelatinous, slimyÂ store bought versions. I understand smooth texture but I donâ€t understand lack of texture! I have my own theories that few of the brands have loads of cornstarch mixed along with emulsifiers & stabilizers. Even though, mostly I make my batch at home but if you should buy, try organic yogurt. Okay, I m not dumping my great ideas about organic milk products on you, but if you are a lazy bum like me at times, organic is certainly the way to go. The day, I discovered my favorite brand at Whole foods, my aversions about store bought yogurt were gone forever.
They say that true happiness lies in simplicity,this mousse highlights that simplicity. This virtually guilt free mousse is a fluffy bundle of joy.It is so airy that you wont realize you are eating a dessert. Such healthy desserts are always delightful – aren’t they? You bet, especially in this hot Vegas weather where the temperatures are still in the hundreds.Not only savory, I am crazy about spices and herbs even in desserts. You may find rosemary intriguing at first in a dessert, wait till you try it, come back & tell me what you feel. The touch of minced rosemary accentuates the feeling of comfort with an added aroma in each bite. Infact, P said that rosemary was the best part about the dessert and called it an “Aromatherapy dessert” Whatever! 🙂 I topped it with a simple mush of fresh berries mixed with lemon juice & sugar. The extra tang from lemon in the topping adds in a layer of flavor. No cooking, No oven, No grill- Just you and the whisk. Top it up with whatever fruit or nuts you are crazy about- I tell you, even chocolate will work wonders.
Home Grown Rosemary 🙂
For the Yogurt Mousse :- [Makes 4 servings]Â
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
3 tbsp water
1-1/2 cup plain yogurt (just take care that the yogurt is not very sour)
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/3 cup granulated white sugar (or to taste)
1.5 tbsp minced rosemary (adjust to preference)
Less than 1/8 tsp of salt
For the topping :
1/2 cup each blackberries & raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (avoid if you berries are very tart)
Sugar to taste
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix yogurt with minced rosemary & salt.
Tie the yogurt in a clean muslin/cheesecloth.Set the tied cloth on a sieve with a bowl placed below it and let the yogurt sit refrigerated for 4 hours.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to bloom.
In a large bowl, tip in the thickened yogurt and whisk it for 3-5 minutes to fluff it up.Set aside.
In another bowl, with a hand beater/electric mixer start whipping up the cream.While whisking, add sugar in parts to the cream till you get stiff peaks.Set aside.
Heat the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds. If you do not have microwave, you can use a double boiler to melt the gelatin.
Immediately, pour the melted gelatin over the yogurt and whisk thoroughly to mix.
Very gently, fold in the whipped cream with the yogurt until everything has combined well. The mix will be thick and fluffy.
Spoon the yogurt mix in bowls or glasses and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to set.
For the topping:-Â In separate bowls, add berries with lemon juice and sugar. Mush them with a spoon or masher to desired consistency.Top the set mousse with this berry mash and serve chilled.
You can increase the quantity of heavy cream and reduce equivalent quantity of yogurt from ingredient list depending on how rich you want your mousse.
If using greek yogurt, since it is already quite thick & sour, reduce the straining time in the refrigerator by half.
Use your mortar & pestle to mince rosemary leaves- add few drops of water if needed as you mince.You can chop them really fine too.
365 days…125 recipes…a few thousand comments..a bag full of memories & a truck load of friends around the globe..I m so elated to welcome all of you to the first milestone of a culinary journey which I embarked upon exactly a year back!Â Sinfully Spicy is 1-year-old WooHoo! 🙂 Traditional & Modern Indian Cuisine with tales woven my family, fusion twists on classic recipes, all coupled with an effort to make Indian food look good through my lens – this is how I envisioned Sinfully Spicy back then..and I am so happy to see it shaping up ..bit by bit..thanks to love buttons pressed by each one of you who lands here.Thank you so much!
A food blog, which was born to kill boredom of sitting at home, then shortly graduated to a hobby and not until few months back when it became a passion,Â Sinfully Spicy was my foray into this VAST community of food bloggers with absolutely no air of anything except that I could cook a decent meal..which by the way, I thought was enough to barge 🙂 Today, I can plainly say that its was a slight misconception …food blogging is so much more than just being able to cook ! The journey had its ups & downs.Similar to so many of you..when you suddenly smile corner to corner seeing comment love, or when your heart skips a beat the moment it sees a mail ping , or those butterflies in the stomach when a reader tells you that they are going to try your recipe & a rush of disappointment when your recipe doesn’t work out for somebody, it’s a sine curve and I have lived it so closely in one year. Then the most precious thing- the bunch of talented people you touch..each different in their own way – sweet, loving, kind & helpful.
Slowly ..I learnt terms like “social media”…”food porn”…”trackbacks”…”subject”…”food styling”…”shot composition”..etc etc etc …each more complicated than the other and frightening for a highly unsocial & introvert person like me. Add to that the photographer who came out of the camera auto mode a few months back 🙂 But the immense love of all my readers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers & blog subscribers brings me out of this cocoon each day. Each morning I get up, open up my mailbox or log on to the dashboard of blog…and see love pouring out from every nook and corner of the computer screen..it is so overwhelming to start the day like this..and no matter how much I write here, only my heart knows how these notes of appreciation have become treasured gems of my life.I may or may not blog forever but the only thing for sure is that even when I will open this page some 15 years down the lane and witness this love & support ..few tears of joy will trickle down my cheeks. Thank you so much all of you ..you have been a source of endless inspiration for me each day – to believe in myself & to be able to recognize & explore the culinary passion that I nurtured in my heart all the way.Hugs 🙂
I would specially like to thank all the readers who tried my recipes.As soon as you inform me or link back, I update my existing blog post with your posts or feedbacks. Maybe I ll do a recipe shout out sometime. Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies with Nutella Filling is the most visited recipe on blog closely followed by BhunaMurgh, Mutton Meatballs Curry & Indian Espresso Coffee.Indian food is considered to be an intricate affair in the western world..Its always my effort to bring recipes to you without stealing their soul..if you get a hang of basic things..Indian food is an experience! Trust me nothing makes me more happy than knowing that Indian food is able to reach your kitchen via my little blog.
Image via Google
Now lets come to the Giveaway. As a little token to appreciate your fathomless love & support, I have decided to give away 1 copy ofÂ Anjum Anand‘s cookbook Anjum’s New Indian.She is lesser known in USA but is a celebrated television personality in UK.If you have seen her shows on The Cooking Channel, you would mirror what I feel about this lovely lady who has been hailed the “The Indian Nigella Lawson” by Vogue.The best thing I like about her is the fact that even though she grew up in the western world, her recipes, story telling and cookery is so close to her indian roots.Her recipes are innovative, combine the best of traditional & modern indian cuisine & really easy to follow. In this cookbook too, she presents more than 100 doable, regional recipes – both vegetarian & non vegetarian.I recently got this book with beautiful photography & have already tried few of her recipes.See the rules of giveaway at the end of Â this post.
Images via Google
I asked myÂ Â FaceBook fans a couple of weeks back about what they would love to see on the anniversary post – and the request was unanimous – GulabJamuns…what better way to celebrate something Indian. A simple sweet which is now synonymous with Indian dessert scenario all over the world. Deep Fried, Melt in the mouth kind dough balls dunked in sugary,rosewater & cardamom syrup – its pure bliss to gobble these up especially when slightly warm. “Gulab” means “rose” in Hindi and “Jamun” is a south asian fruit which has a similar shape & size – that is how the sweet gets its name. Again in India -Â there are two varieties available one is called gulab jamun (which is light brownish in color) & the second one is called kala jaam/jamunÂ – the same thing except that the dough balls are fried till they are deep brown/blackish in color.I love the second variety more coz the crust is quite chewy!
Rules for the Giveaway:-
This giveaway is open to USA residents.If you reside outside USA but have relatives or friends here, you can use the address & still enter the giveaway.The giveaway is open to bloggers as well as non bloggers.
Tell me in the comments section what you like or dislike about this blog, what kind of recipes you would like to see on this blog , scope of Â improvement, your suggestions. Just say anything nice..joking 🙂
Additional Entries:- (Leave separate comments for each )
Follow me onTwitter Â & tweet about this giveaway.Please include my Twitter handle (@gettanvi) in your tweet.If you are already following me, tell me.Â Tweet –Â “Just entered the #giveyway on Sinfully Spicy to win #AnjumAnand cookbook”
‘Like’ Sinfully Spicy fan page on FaceBook.If you are already a fan,let me know.
Subscribe to this blog via email.
Last day of entering this giveaway is 7th August 2011,11 :59 pm (your part of the world). Since I will be away for a little vacation to Florida, I will come back & announce the winner on Monday, 8th of August, picked by a random draw.See you then!
2-3 tbsp whole milk yogurt, at room temperature (or as required for kneading)
Canola Oil for deep-frying
Nuts/dessicated coconut for garnish (optional)
For the Sugar Syrup:-
1.5 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups water
Few saffron strands (optional)
4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
2 tbsp rose-water (use 1-2 drops if using essence)
I take 8-10 mixed nuts (cashews, almonds & pistachios), grind them in coffee grinder to a fine powder.Adding this to the dough gives a terrific, nutty taste in each bite.This is my mom’s trick & I really love it to pep up the texture of theÂ jamuns.
You dont need to buy cardamom powder (its uber expensive), buy whole pods instead from any indian or middle eastern store, just crack open the pods and use your mortar & pestle to grind the seeds into a powder.This is how cardamom is commonly used in Indian homes.
Traditionally,Â jamunsÂ are fried in pure ghee, however I add 2-3 tbsp ofÂ gheeÂ to the oil to add the rich aroma, if you don’t have ghee,then skip)
For the Syrup:
In a large pot,add water, sugar along with cardamom pods and bring it to a boil.We are not looking for any consistency here, just boil & stir till the sugar dissolves.About 6-8 minutes on medium heat.Â If you see some scum on top, remove with a spoon.
Let the syrup simmer for a minute and then put off the stove. After 5 minutes when the syrup has cooled down a bit,add saffron strands & rose-water to the syrup.
Set the sugar syrup aside.
For theÂ Jamuns:-
In a bowl or pastry board ,combine the milk powder, flour, baking powder & soda, green cardamom powder & nuts powder(if using) and mix thoroughly.You can sift this once to catch the coarse nuts or lumps if any.
Next add theÂ gheeÂ to the mix and rub between hands so that the whole flour mix is moistened.Start adding yogurtÂ and mixing simultaneously to make a soft dough.You do not need to knead or over mix because gluten should not form.Mix with gentle fingers. If you over mix, theÂ jamunsÂ will not absorb syrup and will be hard inside.The dough will be quite sticky.Cover the bowl with a cloth & let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan/kadhaiÂ on medium heat. The frying pan should have enough oil to cover the balls completely while deep-frying. AÂ way of testing the oil temperature is to pinch a small ball of dough & tip it in the oil, it should riseÂ slowlyÂ to the top. If using a thermometer, use the temperature you fry doughnuts at.
While the oil is heating, with greasy palms pinch the dough into 18-20 equal parts and roll into small, smooth balls.As far as possible, roll out such that there are no cracks on the balls.This will give the jamuns a smooth look.The balls will double up after frying & soaking in syrup so do not make big balls.Â Line the balls on a plate & keep covered till ready to fry.
Meanwhile if your sugar syrup is cold or luke warm, put it on stove again so that it warms up.We want the sugar syrupÂ warmÂ (not hot) when the friedÂ jamunsÂ are tipped into it. Once warm , transfer the syrup to a bowl big enough to accommodate all theÂ jamunsÂ & keep them soaked.Â Also keep the sugar syrup nearby because the friedÂ jamunsÂ will go straight from frying pan into the syrup.
Once the oil is hot, tip in the rolledÂ jamunsÂ into the oil.Do not over crowd the pan/kadhai.While frying keep flipping the balls gently for even browning all around. Fry until theÂ jamunsÂ become golden brown. About 4-6 minutes depending on size.
Once browned,using a strainer, transfer theÂ jamunsÂ straight to the warm sugar syrup.TheÂ jamunsÂ should sit undisturbed in the hot syrup for at least 30 minutes before ready to serve.
Once soaked, serve in bowl with few tablespoons of syrup & nuts/dessicated coconut garnish.I like them slightly warm.
Do not fry theÂ gulab jamunsÂ too much or on very high heat..they will harden & wont soak up the syrup.
GulabÂ JamunsÂ can keep well in the fridge for up to 20 days.Whenver you want to serve, just microwave for 10-15 seconds.They can be frozen for 3-5 months.
Enjoy ..Have a fun Weekend Everyone & Thanks for stopping by !
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.
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.
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.
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.
The same recipe can be used to make phirni with ground rice or cornmeal.In case of rice flour,do not toast it.
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]
1 cup fresh mango puree Â [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 theÂ LitchiÂ 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 cannedÂ litchisÂ 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 :
Â 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.
Did you send your entry to Culinary Smackdown Battle-Mango Desserts?Please see details of the ongoing event here. Hurry..just a week more to go, contest ends 28th April 2011, Pacific time.
Chicken Dopiaza is a popular indian curry with origins in east india.”Do” in Hindi means two and “piyaz/piaz ” is hindi for onions.So it translates to a chicken dish cooked with twice the normal amounts of onions in a curry or a dish where onions are used two times in the preparation.Wiki tells me that in eastern india particularly in the state of West Bengal which had a lot of muslim travelers then,this dish originated and then got popular in the rest of the country.
The good thing about this curry is that it used simple indian spices and herbs and has a yogurt tomato based sauce in addition to onions.I have used red pearl onions in the curry, you can replace with shallots or even chunks of medium-sized onions.The idea is to use onions in the sauce with as well as include them in the curry on their own.Dont be overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients, these are all easy to find things available in your pantry.The recipe is adapted from here.
Ingredients: [Serves 2]
1 lb chicken ,bone in ,skinned [I used chicken thighs]
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 dry red chillies
Salt to taste
1/2 cup red pearl onions [or equivalent quantity of shallots or thick sliced onions]
3 medium onions
2 fat cloves of garlic
4 fresh mint leaves
1″fresh ginger shoot
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 cup chopped tomatoes
5 tbsp oil [mustard/olive /canola]
Chopped cilantro [for garnish]
8-10 black peppercorns
4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
Dry Ground spices:
1 tbsp red chilli powder[adjust to taste]
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp dry coriander powder
Garam Masala to sprinkle [optional]
Soak the dry chillies in half cup water for about 15 minutes.
Once soaked, coarsely grind them using a mortar & pestle.
Rub chicken pieces with lemon juice,above red chilli paste and 1 tsp salt and set aside for 30 minutes.
Peel the pearl onions and set aside.
Thinly chop the onions.
Coarsely grind the mint leaves, ginger shoot and garlic cloves.Mix them which beaten yogurt and juice of the onion.Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pot with lid, add the oil and let it come to a smoking point on high heat.Once smoking, reduce the heat, wait for 1 minute and add the pearl onions.Fry the pearl onions for 2-3 minutes until they turn light brown.Drain on a paper towel.
In the remaining oil,add the sliced onions along with all the whole spices and cook till onions turn golden brown on medium heat.About 5-8 minutes.
Next, add the chopped tomatoes along with turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder.Cook on medium heat till tomatoes become tender and you see oil separating on sides of the pot.About 5 minutes.
Add the marinated chicken along with marinade,yogurt mix and stir everything to combine properly.Check the salt at this stage.Adjust if required.
Now reduce the heat to low and let the curry cook till the chicken is tender.About 20 minutes for the size of chicken pieces you see in the pictures.
When the chicken is tender, add the fried pearl onions & sugar ,mix well, cover again and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and sprinkle with garam masala if u like.
Serve warm with rice or flatbreads.
You can use lamb, mutton or beef for making this curry.Adjust cooking times accordingly.
I recommend using bone in and dark meat chicken pieces for this curry because the curry cooks for a long time on slow heat.
In a medium bowl, sift flour,baking soda & powder, salt.Set aside
In a larger bowl,cream the butter & sugar thoroughly untill fluffy.To this add the lime juice & vanilla and beat until combined.
To the butter sugar mix, add the flour mix and gently combine with a spatula to bring together into a dough.You might need to add a tbsp or more of milk at this stage if required to make a soft dough.
Divide the dough into 2 small balls.Take a piece of plastic cling film, put the dough balls on it and flatten with palm to make a disc.Wrap the discs with plastic cling film.Repeat the same with 2nd dough ball.Chill both discs for about 30 minutes.
Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.Avoid using aluminium foil as the extreme heating up will burn the cookies from bottom.
After chilling, take one disc out, unwrap it and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Initially, you may find it little difficult to roll because of the chilled dough.It will soften as you go along.
Roll the disc using a floured rolling-pin into a sheet about 1/4″ thk.
Using a floured cookie cutter cut the cookies from the rolled dough.
Using a floured thin spatula, transfer the cookies to the lined cookie sheet.Note: Picking up the cookies with fingers will deshape them.
Preheat the oven to 350F
Chill the cut cookies again for 15 minutes.
Once chilled, bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the sides start turning brown.
Cool completely on a cooling rack.
Tip in the blueberries, water and sugar to a small sauce pan.Cook it on low heat until the blueberries are soft and mushy.Transfer to a blender.Blend on high to form a puree.Dissolve cornstarch into lemon juice.Transfer the puree to sauce pan again and add cornstarch mix.Cook on very low heat for about 5-8 minutes until you get a thick paste.Cool completely before adding to the cream.
Blueberry Cream Filling:
Make the filling by beating the cream cheese & butter with an electric mixer. Mix in powdered sugar until smooth.Add 2 tbsp of the cooled blueberry paste above to make a smooth mix.
Pipe or spread 1-2 tablespoons of blueberry filling in the center of a cookie. Top with a second cookie and press together until the filling reaches the edges of the cookies.Store in an air tight box for up to 3 days.
Use any kind of berries or fruits to make the filling.The recipe remains the same.
I have mentioned the baking times on my oven.Since all ovens are different, please adjust the times as per your appliance.
You will need to adjust lime juice if your berries are really tart.
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 favoriteÂ Â 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.
The mention of Kayani bakery is incomplete without mention of Â 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 toÂ describe the luscious mava tingling on your taste buds,the delectable lively aroma ofÂ 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 areÂ superb, unique, matchless, delicious â€“Â 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 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 Â unsalted butter,softened
1 cup white granulatedÂ sugar
6 tbsp Â 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 Â 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 Â 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,Â 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.
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 getÂ 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.
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.
Â 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.
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 will 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.