Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cake Truffles and Kit Kat Crunchies

Simplicity, wherever it comes, wherever it goes, just brings smiles. A characteristic hardly found in this charismatic, dramatic world of ostentation, it is perhaps the most important trait required in constituting a captivating personality. The ones who wear the right attitude of simplicity perhaps are the most enchanting, and the ones who are intoxicated with vanity and pomposity rarely appreciate that. Whether your attire or your speech, whether your intentions or your reach, whether you study or you teach, you still need this everywhere. And when I talk of 'Cooking', of course it has to be there to bewitch the toughest recipes. One out of such simplicity-bound recipes is here to awaken your taste-buds and make you dive into the chocolaty river: Cake Truffles. When I came across this recipe at Sugar n Spice of Harini, I was charmed to try it soon. I have made a few variations here and there, and also tried new crunchy chocolates to emerge with different pops and burst, and here are the end results. :)


Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 minute

1. Leftover Cake/ Pastries: 6 slices
2. Butter: 1 tbs (room temperature)
3. Dairy Milk or any other chocolate: 1 big bar
4. Kit Kat: 2 packs


  1. Take 3 leftover cake/pastry slices (without cream/frosting) and crumble them to make a coarse mixture.
  2. Now add 1 tbs butter to it and mix with your hands so as to form a dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and form firm round balls.
  4. Refrigerate these balls for 30 minutes. ( I skipped this step, still they were done!)
  5. Now melt the chocolate in a bowl by microwaving for 30 seconds to 1 minute (see that it just melts and doesn't burn).
  6. Dip the balls in this molten chocolate one by one and carefully transfer them to a butter paper.
  7. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes outside to set or refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  8. When done and set, plate them and serve.

  1. Since I did not have enough Dairy Milk and Milky Bar, so I planned to use Kit Kat.
  2. Melt Kit Kat in a microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute. 
  3. Break the wafers to small pieces using a spoon (do this when the chocolate is hot).
  4. When it's done, let it cool for a minute.
  5. Now add the cake crumbles from the remaining 3 slices to it and mix well.
  6. Form a dough and then shape balls just like how you did for the truffles.
  7. You need not coat them with any chocolate now, as they already have the crunchy, wafery chocolate in them. 
  8. Embellish with leftover molten chocolate by making pearls or so.
  9. Refrigerate for 10 minutes and serve. 
  1. Butter can be replaced by fresh cream/whipping cream as well.
  2. If you have the cake frosting/cream, then you can use it instead of butter. Just crumble the whole pastry with the cream frosting (do not use too much cream here; just that much which is required to bind the balls) and prepare the dough.
  3. You can also decorate the balls and crunchies with coned chocolate (i.e. molten chocolate filled in a cone).
  4. If the cake mixture is not binding up and falling apart, add in a little more butter/cream and reform.
  5. While coating with chocolates, use a spoon or fork to ease out the process. 
  6. If the balls are breaking while coating, they need to be refrigerated and set first, and then coated.
  7. Instead of microwaving, you can also melt the chocolates by double-boiling.

The crunchies take off to:
Tea Time Treats  by Karen and Kate, Sweet Heat at Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops,
Vardhini’s Sweet Luv, Kalyani’s Served with love, Sumee’s Bon Vivant,  
Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's,  Holi Hai at My Cook Book,  
Midweek Fiesta at Food Corner, Love n Chocolate Fest by Vimitha,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Nan Khatai

Writing perhaps is the most difficult task for me, just like how cooking used to be 5 years back. I remember running out of the kitchen every time my mom would ask for cooking anything. She always wanted to have some hot chapatis directly from the skillet jumping on to her plate and unfortunately it remained a dream for her till I got married. I was toooooo lazy to cross that kitchen door and I always used to find excuses for not doing what all she wanted or expected. I was a bad daughter, really, and was spoiled like a brat by my father who would come to my side, rescuing me from all scoldings and tantrums from mumma. Now, when I narrate stories about my cooking this and cooking that everyday, she feels proud and good, because I finally learnt what she really wanted me to. My father always wanted me to be a doctor and my brother engineer, just like how you see in 3 Idiots. Dad is an engineer and for him academics have always been a priority. On the other hand, my adorable mom,  like all women, wanted me to learn the house-hold basics, cooking, cleaning and so on. And me, haha...I wanted to do neither of that. I always wanted to be a designer as I was very fond of painting and creative arts, but destiny takes you exactly where you want to run away from. Believe it or not, I'm a doctor, and also I'm cooking. :) These days, painting is only a hobby that I pursue in my leisure time, and I had a Painting Exhibition in Manila during my stay there, 4 years back. But now I have realized that art is not just about painting or crafts, it's so much involved in cooking, and that's what brings me closer to the unveiled creative world of cooking. Whether baking or grilling, roasting or frying, it's all a matter of your presentation at the end. Delicious food needs to be ornamented in an equally beautiful way, and that makes your recipe artistic and an achiever. Though I'm still in the learning process, but there is still a charm I carry about my final presentation, and that is what keeps me rejuvenated in the whole process of trying out new culinary experiments.
Today's recipe has not much to do with this, but the upcoming recipes will surely show some improvement in my skills, whether related with camera or food arrangement. I'm just learning, learning, and learning.... :)


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 12-20 minutes
Makes 8-10 Cookies

Knowledge Sharing:
Nan Khatai is a fabulous egg-less shortbread style butter cookie without the baking soda aftertaste. This is usually prepared with Maida/ All Purpose Flour and is very soft and melting. Some people also use Sooji and Gram Flour/Besan to it with an additional topping of cashews.

1. Maida/ All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
2. Ghee/ clarified butter: 1/2 cup
3. Powdered Sugar:  1/3 to 1/2 cup (depending on how sweet you want them to be)
4. Baking soda: a pinch

  1. Sieve the maida/APF thrice with the baking soda in it.
  2. Pre-heat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Now take ghee (at room temperature) in a bowl and add sugar to it. Beat it well, like how one does with butter while making cakes.
  4.  Sprinkle in flour slowly while softly mixing/folding with your hands. Do not overmix. Hard kneading (like how we do for chapati dough) will result in hard cookies, so avoid any pressure kneading.
  5. You'll find a soft, crumbly dough. Divide it into 8-10 equal parts and make a round ball with each.
  6. Press the ball between your palms to make it flattened. You could also give different shapes with cookie cutters.
  7. If the dough is too crumbly and you can't make a ball, pour in a little ghee (melted) and try to form it again.
  8. Place these cookies on the baking tray, keeping a distance of 2 cms between the cookies (since they expand) and bake for 12-20 minutes (depending on your oven type) till the bottom of the cookies go slightly brown.
  9. Do not over-bake else they will go hard.
  10. Transfer on a wire-rack and let them cool.
  11. Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

    1. Sugar is directly related with the hardness in your cookies. The more you put, the harder they get.
    2. 2 tbs of Sooji can be pushed in for an extra crisp, but I generally like them soft and crumbly.
    3. Too much ghee will result in greasy cookies, so use only that much which is required to set the dough.
    4. Perfectly baked cookies will have cracks on the top but even if they aren't there, the taste won't differ.
    5. Over-mixing of the dough and over-baking of the cookies, both will result in hardness.
    6. These can be stored for about 2 weeks in an air-tight container.
    7. You can add in a little cardamom powder if you love that aroma.
    8. Cashews can be topped on them, but I prefer the natural form.
     The cookies take off to:
    My event: Cakes, Cookies and Desserts, Let’s Cook ~ Sweet Somethings by Radhika,
    Tea Time Treats  by Karen and Kate, Sweet Heat at Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops,
    Anu’s Bake Fest, Vardhini’s Sweet Luv, Kalyani’s Served with love
    Sumee’s Bon Vivant, Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's, 
    Holi Hai at My Cook Book, Midweek Fiesta at Food Corner, Just 4 Fun  by Sobha

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Pineapple Ice-cream Cake

    Ice-cream Cake!! I had only heard about it on Martha Stewart's Show, and for sure read some on her site too, but making one by myself, woooosh, impossible it sounded at once!
    Completing 5 years of marital bliss and knowing this wonderful person for almost 9 years definitely gives you the courage to ramp up and speed for something as unbelievable and astounding as this. On this special day, I really wanted to create something elysian for my soul-mate, something to snuggle in, and then in the grocery store I see this Sliced Pineapple Tin and vroooooom, my mind bike takes on. At 6 in the evening, I set myself to take this plunge and dive into this creamy cake fun. Antagonistic to my weird imagination, this recipe turns out miraculously simple and undoubtedly scrummy. There were some mistakes that I certainly made in hurry-furry, but still what we had at the end was no less amazing.
    Here's the recipe to shake your minds as well.

    Preparation Time: 20 minutes
    Baking Time: 20-25 minutes
    Refrigeration/Setting Time: 4 hours or overnight

    For Cake:
    1. Maida/ All Purpose Flour:  1 cup
    2. Castor Sugar/ Powdered Sugar: 1 cup
    3. Butter: 1/2 cup
    4. Eggs: 3
    5. Milk: 2 tbs
    6. Baking Powder: 1 tsp
    7. Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp ( I had neither baking powder, nor soda so I used Eno Fruit Salt: 1 tsp)
    8. Salt: a pinch
    9. Pineapple Essence: 1/2 tsp

    For Ice-cream Frosting/Layer:
    1. Vanilla Ice-cream: 1 cup
    2. Heavy Cream/ Whipping Cream: 1/2 cup
    3. Sugar: 3 tbs
    4. Pineapple Gelatin Mix: 2 tbs
    5. Water: 1/4 cup
    6. Sliced Pineapple: 1 tin/can

    1. Pre-heat the oven on 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
    2. Sift the maida/all purpose flour with the baking powder, baking soda/ Eno fruit salt  and salt thrice.
    3. Grease and dust the baking tin and keep it aside. I used a star baking tin this time, so all you can see are starry pics. :P
    4. Take the butter and beat sugar with it till it goes light and fluffy. Do not melt the butter, rather keep it at room temperature.
    5. Beat the eggs separately in a bowl.
    6. Now beat them along with the butter-sugar mixture till fluffy and well whipped.
    7. Pour in the milk, pineapple essence and give a good stir so as to mix well.
    8. Fold in the all purpose flour mix to this mixture softly; do not over-mix. 
    9. Make sure you get a ribbon consistency while folding it.
    10. Now transfer this mixture into the greased pan and bake it on 200 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
    11. Check the cake after 20 minutes by seeing if the cake edges have left the corners and the top slightly browned or golden; if so, then insert a tooth-pick and see if it comes out clean. When this happens, your cake is ready. 
    12. Take the tin out and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Once it has cooled down, invert the cake on a plate, making sure it doesn't break.
    13. In the meanwhile when the cake is getting baked in the oven, prepare the Ice-cream Frosting.
    14. Take the chilled whipping cream in a bowl and  whip first on slow speed and then on high till peaks are formed. Then add sugar and whip again till mixed. For me, nothing happened because the cream was not chilled and hence it went runny, though then I managed somehow by mixing it with ice-cream and getting that appeal later.
    15. Take the ice-cream in a bowl and let it stand for 5-10 minutes till it softens. 
    16. Boil/ Microwave 1/4 cup water and add gelatin to it. Stir till it dissolves completely. Let it cool.
    17. Now add this gelatin mix to the ice-cream. Fold in the whipped cream and whip to get a smooth consistency. Aeration is a must here.
    18. Refrigerate it for the meantime.
    19. By this time, the cake would be ready, so set it at the bottom of your mould. Since I did not have the Spring-form Pan here, so I continued with my Star Tin, though dealing with a spring-form one is way much easier.
    20. After making your cake sit there, frost it with ice-cream layers using a spatula. Do not press it down much.
    21. At last, ornament with Pineapple slices in the way you like. I kept it as a whole, but could trim it and convert in small pieces. 
    22. Freeze it for 4 hours or overnight.
    23. Take it out 10 minutes before serving and release the corners using a knife. De-mold on a plate and cut into slices or shapes as per your wish.
    24. If using a spring-form pan, gently take the ring off and you see your cake all set and ready in two layers: The Cake, and The Ice-cream
    25. With me, the gelatin I used was only 1/2 tsp so it could not set completely. When I tried to dismantle the cake, it wasn't coming out smooth, so we had it from the tin directly, enjoying looking at the star and eating everything within. My hubby said that it was the best cake ever. :)
    26. Perhaps that's why, I don't have any pictures of the cake below and the slices. Also, it was off to our tummy in just 10 minutes. 

      1. Always cut and fold the mixture in a single direction. Cutting and Folding is nothing but mixing the cake in a circular fashion (like how you make a circle) and then cutting this circle into half and again circling.
      2. In some cases, the cake shrinks in the middle and doesn't come out puffy; this happens either when the mixture is too loose or when you keep pricking the cake too often to check if it's done, out of anxiety. So, please be careful with this.
      3. Do not invert the cake before it cools down else it would break (I know you just can't wait to taste it, but take a deep breath and hold on for some time. ;)) 
      4.  The more gelatin you use, the firmer it gets on setting. Also, it gives the mousse-feel that you miss on when it's just ice-cream.
      5. Whether set or not, whether shaped or not, any cake topped with ice-cream simply is enough to entice your taste buds. 
      6. If you can't get gelatin and whipping cream, just layer the cake with ice-cream and top it with sliced pineapple.
      7. Freezing for 4 hours or more is vital to set the piece as a whole. If you go hasty-nasty, you end up eating just 'cream-on-cake' rather than 'ice-cream-on-cake'.

       The cake flies off to:
      My event: Cakes, Cookies and Desserts
      I Love Baking  by Radhika, Let’s Cook ~ Sweet Somethings by Radhika,
      Tea Time Treats  by Karen and Kate, Sweet Heat at Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops,
      Cake of the Week at Casa Costello, Anu’s Bake Fest, Vardhini’s Sweet Luv
      Kalyani’s Serve with love, Sumee’s Bon Vivant, Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's, 
      Holi Hai at My Cook Book, Midweek Fiesta at Food Corner,
      Spotlight- Colorful Holi  initiated by Indrani and hosted by Chandrani

      Saturday, February 18, 2012

      Gulabi Badam Pista Kheer/ Rosy Almond Pistachio Milk Pudding

      Gulkand aka Rose Marmalade, can't tell you how much I love this, and I had been craving for a sweet sight of this for months that felt like ages. And then, suddenly one day, the 'Prince Charming' on that white Equus caballus/ horse arrives, carrying a silly bottle of Rose Marmalade, and shouting, 'Wake up from sleep, my Rapunzel!'. Haha...I always wanted to be one, not because of being a princess, but just that I loved her pretty gowns and beautiful attires!! Keeping all that Fiona fun apart, I really wanted this 'Gulkand/ Rose Marmalade Jar' desperately and a Romanian friend of mine gifted that to me a month ago. I had to be really grateful to her for that because thinking of this dainty delight was like a dream in Nairobi where it's hard to get refined white sugar even (just because they prefer brown sugar here).
      I have a big list of experiments to conduct on this niminy-piminy item and this one is the second successful launch ( after the first one with Pistachio Cookies, if you remember!). 


      Preparation Time: 10 minutes
      Cooking Time: 30 minutes
      Serves: 4

      1. Full Cream Milk: 1 litre
      2. Rice: 1/2 cup (well-washed and pre-soaked for 2 hours)
      3.  Sugar: 6-8 tbs or as per your taste
      4. Almond flakes: a handful
      5. Chopped Pistachio: a handful
      6. Cardamom Powder: 1/4 tsp
      7. Gulkand/ Rose Marmalade: 6 tbs

      1. Take a heavy bottomed wok/kadai and pour milk in it.
      2. Bring it to a boil and then simmer.
      3. Add the pre-washed and soaked rice to that.
      4. Let it cook for around 30 minutes on medium heat till the rice goes tender and mushy.
      5. Keep stirring every now and then to make sure that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom.
      6. Also, keep on scrapping the cream (malai) that layers on the side walls and mix that with the boiling milk.
      7. Once the rice is soft and done, and the milk almost reduced to half, add in the sugar, cardamom powder, almonds and pistachios. 
      8. Cook for 5 minutes on low flame with occasional stirring.
      9. Let it cool and then refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
      10. Just before serving, take a spoonful or more of Gulkand/ Rose Marmalade and pour it over the kheer along with some trimmed nuts.
      11. Let the gourmet mix it and dive in its aroma and flavors.
      1. You can use any variety of rice, but I always prefer Sona Masuri or Basmati. If you are using sticky rice, beware that it doesn't stick and reduce its quantity a little to avoid excess thickening of the kheer.
      2. Full Cream Milk is always the best when it comes to making kheer/rabdi/basundi, but you can opt for versions that lie in your comfort zone.
      3. Saffron can be added to enhance the flavor, but I prefer not to mix two strongly aromatic constituents together, ie. Rose and Saffron.
      4. Alternately, you can also make Kesar Badam Pista Kheer by adding saffron strands during the boil and omitting the Gulkand part. 
      5.  Make sure that the wok/kadai you choose is big enough to avoid any spilling of the milk on boiling.
      6. Gulkand/ Rose Marmalade is added towards the end to the cold milk/kheer and not during cooking/boiling just because we don't want any risk with the milk getting curdled because of it. Rose Marmalade has citric acid added to it and thus by no way can be used during boiling. Gulkand on the other hand has no tangy juice in general, but better to avoid than to spoil. :)
      7. It always tastes better when refrigerated.

      The recipe takes off to my event, Cakes, Cookies and Desserts,
      Show Me Your Hits by Spicy Treats, 
      Let’s Cook ~ Sweet Somethings by Radhika, Vardhini’s Sweet Luv,
      Kalyani’s Served with love, Sumee’s Bon Vivant,
        Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's, Holi Hai at My Cook Book,
      Cook Eat Delicious Desserts initiated by Raven

      Thursday, February 16, 2012

      Rajasthani Dal Baati

      Thinking is an ongoing process that never ends, whether it is for some creative stuff or it's a devil's work; poor brain never takes a pause, no halt, no rest, no peace, no sleep even when you think it is sleeping (In real, your brain is always functioning, and that's why you suddenly shout amidst dark nights after seeing a lady in white with inverted feet and scary eyes; hehe...if it was sleeping, there would be no dreams. ;)).
      This thinking robot has eternal powers to work for hours together unfatigued, but that doesn't mean it's never tired. It also needs to relax, chill-out and have a good time, by which I simply mean release of some 'endorphin', the happy hormone in your body. 
      For me, I have it in abundance, flooding out from my eyes and with each smile, every time I cook. And then there are certain recipes, some cuisines, some delights that make you even more ecstatic and jovial when you work with them. One out of such convivial culinary experiences is when I make this authentic Rajasthani Platter with the utter flavorful 'Dal Baati', and  'Kadi Chawal' ( For sure the element missing here is 'Choorma' and for now I'm replacing it with 'Kheer').

      Baati (Rajasthani: बाटी) is a hard, unleavened bread cooked in the desert areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is prized there for its long shelf life and high nutritional content, as well as the minimal quantity of water required for its preparation. It is always eaten with dal. Bati is also known as litti. Litti can be enjoyed with Chokha (a type of spicy mashed potato mixed with roasted brinjal). Litti and chokha are synonymous with bread and butter in many parts of India.
      Dal Bafla, or Dal Bafle, is a central Indian variation made which is boiled in water before being roasted, it is much softer and more rich in ghee than Baati as the ghee penetrates inside . Baati is also eaten in southern India, mostly by the people of the lambada community, but this form of baati is different. It is made up of jowar and is harder than the wheat bread. It is also eaten with dal, though any curry goes fine with it. Ghee is served along with the curry.


      Preparation Time: 20 minutes
      Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
      Serves: 4

      For Dal/ Lentil Curry:
      Though at home my mom always makes it with Urad Dal, but I prefer going for Panchmel/ Mixed dals to shoot the nutrient content and diversity.
      1. Urad Dal/ Split Black Gram: a handful
      2. Moong Dal/ Mung Bean: a handful
      3. Toor Dal/ Bengal Gram/ Yellow Pigeon Peas: a handful
      4. Chana Dal/ Chickpeas: a handful
      5. Masoor Dal/ Red Lentils: a handful
      6. Tomatoes: 3 (finely chopped)
      7. Onions: 2 (finely chopped)
      8. Garlic pods: 5-6 or Ginger garlic paste: 1 tbs
      9.  Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp
      10. Coriander Powder: 2 tsp
      11. Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
      12. Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp
      13. Garam Masala: 1 tsp
      14. Asafoetida/ Heeng: a pinch
      15. Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
      14. Salt: 2 tsp or as per taste
      15. Water
      16. Oil: 3 tbs
      17. Coriander leaves

      For Baati:
      1. Atta/ Whole wheat flour: 3 cups
      2. Ghee/ clarified butter: 5-6 tbs for the dough and 1/2 a cup for the final dipping
      3. Carrom seeds/ Ajwain: 1/4 tsp
      4. Salt: 1 tsp
      5. Luke warm water: for kneading the dough

      For Dal:
      1. Soak the dals/lentils for 2-4 hours. Then pressure cook them with the turmeric powder and salt for around 15 minutes on medium to sim flame, till they go tender, and not very mushy (like how you boil the dals on a regular basis).
      2. Take a wok/kadai and heat oil in it. Once hot, throw in the cumin seeds/ jeera and wait till they splutter. Now push in the asafoetida/heeng. 
      3. Immediately add chopped onions and fry till light golden on medium flame.
      4. Then add in the ginger garlic paste/ chopped garlic pods and fry for 2 minutes.
      5. Now sprinkle the spices onto it and cook for 2-3 minutes.
      6.  Add in the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking till the oil separates from the corners and the tomatoes go all mushy and done.
      7. Now transfer the boiled lentils into this and give a smooth stir to blend them all.
      8. Shower a pinch of garam masala more followed by the chopped coriander leaves and cover the wok/kadai. Cook covered for a minute and put off the flame. Keep it covered. 
        For Baati:
        1. Take the atta/ whole wheat flour in a wide open dish and add salt and carrom seeds/ajwain to it.
        2. Now add the ghee/ clarified butter and mix it well. The texture should be crumbly. For the perfect one, we normally check by taking a handful of the flour and closing the fist tightly, then leaving the flour gently down and seeing that it doesn't scatter immediately. If it does, add in a little more ghee. The Ghee should be melted. 
        3. Now make a smooth, firm dough with it using water. The dough is not as soft as we make for roti/chapati; it is slightly hard and firm here. 
        4. Cover it with a wet cloth and keep it aside for 10-15 minutes.
        5. On the other hand, keep the dal for boiling.
        6. Also, pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
        7. Now, till the oven is getting heated and the dal boiling, chop the vegetables in the mean time.
        8. Once the dough is ready, knead it well with little ghee on your palms. 
        9. Then divide it into 8 equal parts and make a round ball with each part and flatten it slightly.
        10. Shift them to the oven (on the grill plate) and bake at 250 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes with both rods (above and below) on, till the top goes slightly brown and hard. My oven took 20 minutes, but your oven timing may vary.
        11. Bake for extra 2 minutes if you want them to be hard and crunchy. 
        12. Immediately take out in a casserole and crush slightly with soft hands (don't break them into pieces please) to make some space for the ghee to penetrate the inner core. You can also make vertical slits in them using a 'chimta' or knife and then pour in ghee into the slits generously. ( And I really mean in abundance here!) 
        13. After dipping them in enough ghee, put the cover on and let them sit there waiting for the final go.
        14. Now prepare a plate with a bowl of dal/lentil curry, 1-2 ghee-dipped baatis, a spoonful of green mint chutney, some garlic chutney, chopped onions, a roasted papad, a glass of butter-milk or kairi pani(raw mango squash) and vroooom...there you go.
        15. I also love having them with some 'Kadi Chawal' i.e. Chickpea Flour Yogurt Curry with Rice and then some Kheer/ Milk Pudding!

          1. The authentic dal is made just with the black grams but you can use the lentils based on the way you wish.
          2. 'Choorma' is an intangible part of this meal, which makes it even more delicious and sweet. I have replaced 'Choorma' with Kheer/ Milk Pudding here because I was running short of time then, but for sure, Choorma will add in very soon to the food list.
          3. The ghee used in the whole process should be the melted one. 
          4. Baatis are authentically made in a tandoor, and our oven is just a variation to that. 
          5. The real art lies in getting the right texture for the baatis. They should be crusty and hard outside and soft yet crumbly within. The more time you donate for baking, the harder they go, so be careful with that.
          6. Don't think twice before pouring in the ghee else you miss the real taste. Also, ghee helps in keeping them moist and soft, which is pretty necessary here else you end up eating crumbly, dry mixture. 
          7. Keeping the ghee-dipped baatis covered in a casserole is a must if you want them to stay soft.
          8. Normally, we crush the baati to small pieces, add in ghee, dal, chopped onion and chutneys, and then enjoy with hands rather than spoons (and I still do that :), though it is slightly uncommon these days.

          The recipe takes off to:
          Anu’s Bake Fest, Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's,
          Holi Hai at My Cook Book, Show Me Your Hits by Spicy Treats,
          Kalyani’s Served with love,

          Monday, February 13, 2012

          Luscious Mango Shrikhand/ Yogurt

          Nairobi, as fresh as the sparkling dew, as beautiful as the blossoming flowers, and as amicable as the grazing giraffes; a perfect holiday destination pertaining to its luscious green grasslands and mystical forests. Summer is shining its glory, and sun-rays are penetrating enough to burn and tan your skin. While going out on a Sunday after-noon to the Masai Market for some tribal shopping, I saw a young lady with a small kiddo resting on the road-corner, selling some mangoes. The little one was dancing around her mom, hiding in the surrounding bushes, and playing with the twigs and leaves. And then suddenly I realized that she was the tiny doll my hubby was telling about the last night. The two-some, mommy and daughter, sit in the scorching summers, selling fruits, especially mangoes to earn their daily breads. The first thought that flashed a smile on my face was the fact that they were not begging, but earning to survive. I adore such people who decide to work rather than to beg on the road-sides, and I respect such mothers who take this plunge of raising their kids just on their own without a wrinkle of worry on their forehead. I bought some mangoes from this lady, and I can't measure the  sweetness these mangoes carried, not just in terms of taste, but the warmth with which they were passed on with. My recipe for today has all that sweetness stirred in to the core, and for sure this is one of the best Shrikhands I've had till date. :)


          Preparation Time: 10 minutes
          Cooking Time: None
          Serves: 4

          Fun Facts:
          - Even inedible parts of the mango have interesting uses. The bark, leaves, skin and
            pit have been used as folk remedies for centuries.
          - Mangoes are bursting with protective nutrients. The vitamin content depends upon the
            variety and maturity of the fruit. When the mango is immature the amount of vitamin
            C is higher, as it ripens the amount of beta carotene (vitamin A) increases.
          - Mangoes are distantly related to a few plants that you'd probably never guess: the
            cashew and pistachio.

          1. Fully Ripe Mango: 1 ( Big and sweet)
          2. Hung Curd/ Yogurt: 2 small cups
          3. Sugar: 4 tbs or as per taste (also depends on the amount of sugar contained in the mango by itself)
          4. Milk: 1/4 cup

          1. Peel out the mango skin and cube the flesh, excluding the inner seed. In simple words, take the mango flesh and cut it in small cubes/pieces. Save some finely cut cubes separately for garnish.
          2. Push the remaining cubed mango into a blender/juicer with the milk and sugar, and then pulse it till you get a smooth mango pulp/paste. 
          3. Now add the hung curd or yogurt to it and give a strong stir so as to blend them well. 
          4. For ease, you can use a blender for this too, but I prefer using a spoon to do that, because blending hard and fast can sometimes cause the curd to leave butter if it is too chilled.
          5. Ornament the Mango Shrikhand/Yogurt with the saved mango delights/cubes.
          1. Always prefer fully ripe mangoes for preparing this which are sweet in taste.
          2. If you are using home-made curd, please make sure that it is fresh and not sour. 
          3. Hang the curd in a muslin cloth for 1 hour prior to use, for getting the perfect creamy texture.
          4. Adjust the sugar addition as per your taste and based on the glucose the mango already carries.

          The recipe takes off to my event, Cakes, Cookies and Desserts,
          Just 4 Fun  by Sobha, Show Me Your Hits by Spicy Treats
          Let’s Cook ~ Sweet Somethings by Radhika, Vardhini’s Sweet Luv,
          Kalyani’s Serve with love, Sumee’s Bon Vivant,
          Kid's Delight hosted by Edible Entertainment,
            Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's, Holi Hai at My Cook Book
          Simple and in Season on Fabulicious Food

          Friday, February 10, 2012

          Announcing my first event: Cakes, Cookies and Desserts

          It's been long, really long, that I've been thinking to start an event, and not disclosing the reasons behind my utter laziness, I feel ecstatic in announcing this one finally.
          With Valentine's Day romancing around and Holi showering its scintillating glory, nothing can sensitize my cerebral neurons than the sugary flavors of cakes and sweets. So, here I am, with all culinary weapons loaded, ready to announce my first event ever:

          Cakes, Cookies and Desserts

          The rule lines before you go:
          1. Cook and post a recipe that falls in the category of  'Cakes, Cookies and Desserts' in your blog linking it to this announcement.
          2. It can be any kind of a cake, any variety of cookies or just any sweet/dessert that you have prepared. 
          3. Only vegetarian entries invited, though eggs liberated just for baking. 
          4. Multiple fresh and archived entries are welcome (as many as you can send!), but linking back to this announcement and re-posting for archived ones is a must.
          5. Usage of logo is optional, but I'll feel delighted if you can share this dessert bowl on your page as well. It will do no harm, just make your space more colorful and vibrant. :)
          6. After posting your recipe, just submit your entry to the linky tool provided at the bottom of this post. 
          7. In case you have a problem linking, then send a mail to anjalishukla19feb@gmail.com with your name, blog name, recipe name and recipe url, with the subject line as 'Cakes, Cookies and Desserts'.
          8. Non-bloggers can also participate by simply mailing me their recipe with a beautiful click to the email id listed above. Don't forget to attach the recipe pic here.  
          9. The event starts from Feb 10th, 2012 and ends on March 12th, 2012, so rush in and contribute for as many sweet memories as you can. 
          10. There could be a surprise gift for the winner, who will be chosen by my adorable family. ( My hubby would be waiting for this event more than his cricket leagues now!! :P)

          Wednesday, February 8, 2012

          Firangi Kebab (Baked)

          I had been thinking all night about the name I would give to this innovation of mine, and at least 10 names flickered in my thoughts, dancing here and there, and finally in the morning they all got slashed by this simple one: Firangi Kebab
          To my knowledge, before I got married, 'Kebabs' only meant 'Meat Kebabs' and when my hubby told me that he has a penchant for them, I almost had a set back (of course that proves I'm vegetarian!). Now it took a couple of days for me to gather courage and then line a firing round of questions for him on when did he taste them, where, with whom, and all W's, you see. And this darling fellow, unaware of my ignorance, kept mum and smiling all the while. At last, when he unveiled the truth, I was almost in a shock, not because he was having some meat kebabs, but because Kebabs could be vegetarian, too. He belongs to the 'City of Nawabs: Lucknow' and for them Kebabs are as common as Aloo Ki Subji for us ( haha, I couldn't find a better one to compare with! :P). After my first visit to this splendid city, I surely could sense and breathe his love for them. The street-side small shops selling 'Dal Kebabs' caught my eyes the first, and then nothing could treat my craving well than those melt-in-the-mouth, utter-soft kebabs with audacious flavors of bay leaves and cloves...woooh!!
          Since then, I've been a killer-lover of them and with every visit of mine to that place, Kebabs are sure to rock the Dining Table at least once a week. 
          Now here in Kenya, I do not have ' Masoor Dal' to rock my time, so I came up with a 'Firangi' version of the very famous and notable 'Hara Bhara Kebab'. The name 'Firangi Kebab' definitely has a significance behind because I have baked them in a 'Firangi Fashion' with Mayonnaise and Tomato Salsa, rather than keeping them Tawa/ Shallow Fried. The topping here varied as I was highly keen to introduce just any chopped thing I could in them. 


          Preparation Time: 20 minutes
          Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes ( for steaming/boiling the vegetables)
          Baking/ Broiling Time: 20-25 minutes ( depending on your oven)
          Makes 8-10 kebabs

          Knowledge Sharing:
          Kebab ( or kabab, kabob, kebap) is a wide variety of meat dishes originating in Persia and later on adopted by the Middle East, Turkey and Asia Minor, and now found worldwide. In North American English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer.[3] In the Middle East, however, kebab includes grilled, roasted, and stewed dishes of large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls. The traditional meat for kebab is lamb, but depending on local tastes and taboos, it may now be beef, goat, chicken, pork; fish and seafood; or even vegetarian foods like falafel or tofu. Like other ethnic foods brought by travellers, the kebab has become part of everyday cuisine in many countries around the globe.

          Kebabs in India are more or less similar to most other kebab preparations along with their distinct taste which can be credited to the spices native to the sub-continent. All the varieties such as Sheekh, Doner (known as Shawarma), Shammi Tikka, and other forms of roasted and grilled meats are savoured in this part of the world along with the vegetarian forms which are no less in flavors.

          1. Potatoes: 2 (big)
          2. Fresh Spinach/ palak: 1/2 a bunch
          3. Green Peas/ Matar: 1/2 cup
          4. Fresh Coriander Leaves: 1/4 cup
          5. Salt to taste
          6. Red Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp
          7. Coriander Powder: 2 tbs
          8. Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
          9. Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
          10. Garam Masala: 1/2 tsp
          11. Green Chilly: 1 ( finely chopped)
          12. Ginger Garlic Paste: 1 tsp or Garlic Pods: 2 
          13. Oil/Ghee: 3 tbs ( 1 tbs for the mixture and 2 tbs for smearing/greasing the kebabs while baking)
          14. Corn Flour: 2 tbs (for binding) -optional

          For the Topping:
          1. Mayonnaise/ Cheese
          2. Finely chopped tomatoes, onions, raw mangoes, capsicum
          3. Chat Masala- optional

          1. Pressure cook the peeled potatoes and green peas with not much water.
          2. Steam/boil/microwave spinach leaves separately.
          3. Pre-heat the oven on Max/ 300degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
          4. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper/ grease it well.
          5. Take the boiled vegetables and mash them in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and make a soft dough.
          6. I did not use corn flour, but can do so for better binding.
          7. The dough will be sticky, so grease your hands with oil and then divide into 8-10 equal portions.
          8. Make balls and flatten them between your palms. Make a small dent in the centre for the topping to stand on. Smear a little oil/ghee on all sides.
          9. Transfer them to the baking tray.
          10. Now top them with Mayonnaise/ Grated cheese and the chopped vegetables. Addition of Chat Masala is optional.
          11. Bake/ broil for 20-25 minutes on Max/ 300 degrees Celsius or till you find the bottom brown and crisp. 
          12. Carefully take them out making sure the bottoms don't break on removing from the sheet. If the bottoms stick to the sheet, use a thin wooden khurpi/laddle to detach them. 
          13. Serve hot with Pudina Chutney/Mint Dip. 
            1. If you do not have an oven or you like them to be softer, shallow fry them on a tawa/ skillet. 
            2. The topping is all about the innovation going on in your mind. You could have an Italian Topping by pushing in some diced jalapenos, olives, corn and capsicum or you could go desi by throwing some chopped raw mango and onion with chat masala in it.
            3. In place of mayonnaise, you can also use grated cheese or mozarella cheese, or even a cheese spread.
            4. If you want them crispier, bake for a longer period and vice versa. 
            5. If the dough is too soft to handle, add in more corn flour. But remember, the moisture will all vanish on baking/broiling and too much corn flour will harden them at last. 
            6. If you are interested in plain kebabs, just keep them simple without any topping and sprinkle some lemon drops and chat masala on them.  

            The recipe goes to:
            Anu’s Bake Fest,  Kalyani’s Serve with love Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's,
            Holi Hai at My Cook Book, Celebrating Street Foods by Tomato Blues,
            Kabab Mela  at Cooking 4 all Seasons, Gimme Green by Rosh

              Monday, February 6, 2012

              Pistachio Butter Cookies with Rose Marmalade

              'Baking'...hufff, for me, it's a six letter word which can give me tremors more than what an earthquake with rector scale 6.0 would give. It's not that I can't bake, but baking perfect is what matters to me. If the cake sinks in the centre or if I don't see a crack on the top, I genuinely go slightly depressed. Though this is history and now I know how to bake, at least the basics, but still baking is an art which needs a lifetime learning, and mastering this art will take ages for me. 
              Now for all the amateur bakers and bakers-in-making, I've come up with an extremely easy recipe for cookies which I'm sure your kids and family will die for and you'll be a proud mommy/wify. You just need an oven, my dear, and see how you rock the world around you making it a sweeter, yummier place to be in. :)


              Preparation Time: 10 minutes
              Baking Time: 12-20 minutes ( depending on your oven)
              Makes: 10 -12 Cookies/ Hearts

              Health Meter:
              To me, Pistachio with Rose makes a soothing combo for summers, to keep you cool and refreshing.
              Pistachio, known as 'Pista' in India is a culinary nut that is often used in preparing desserts.
              Consuming unsalted, dry roasted pistachios prevents any addition of unwanted fats and additional sodium in the diet that may affect cardiac health adversely and increase hypertension.

               Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits, boiled with sugar and water. 
              In languages other than English, "marmalade" can mean preserves made with fruit other than citrus. For example, in Spanish the term usually refers to what in English is called jam (and "jalea" is similar to the English jelly). In Portuguese marmelada applies chiefly to quince jam (from "marmelo", the Portuguese for quince).[1][2] In Italian too, marmellata means every jam and marmalade, as it does Mermelada in Italian-influenced Rioplatense Spanish.
              Marmalade recipes include sliced or chopped fruit peel simmered in sugar, fruit juice and water until soft. Marmalade is sometimes described as jam containing fruit peel but manufacturers also produce peel-free marmalade. Marmalade is often eaten on toast for breakfast.

              Rose Marmalade is nothing but what we call 'Gulkand' in India, just with a small difference that 'Gulkand' only has sugar added to the rose petals, whereas, the Marmalade has some citrous juices added to it as well. It is believed to be of great use in scorching summers because of its cooling properties.

              1. Maida/ All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
              2. Castor Sugar/ Powdered Sugar: 1/3 cup ( if you prefer sweet cookies, make it 1/2 cup)
              3. Butter: 1/3 cup
              4. Milk: 2 tbs
              5. Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
              6. A dash of salt
              7. Pistachios/ Pista: 1/3 cup (coarsely crushed)
              8. Rose Marmalade/ Gulkand (optional)

              1. Preheat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
              2. On the other hand, line the baking tray with parchment paper. Since I had none here, so I used muffin papers for baking.
              3. Now take butter (room temperature) and sugar in a bowl and beat till it becomes light and fluffy. 
              4. Take maida /APF, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Sieve it twice. 
              5. Crush the pistachio coarsely. Do not make a fine powder. 
              6. Now add the maida mixture to the butter sugar mixture and mix softly with hands. You should get a crumbly mixture/dough.
              7. Now add the crushed pistachio, followed by milk and bring it all together with very soft hands. You'll get a very soft dough. Do not over-mix.
              8. The dough will be sticky, so avoid adding too much milk which will make it even stickier.
              9. If you are not at ease using this sticky dough, you can refrigerate it for 15-20 minutes wrapped in a cellophane sheet, and then form and cut it into desired shapes.
              10. Since I could not hold my patience for long, I decided to work on this sticky dough by brushing my hands with some ghee/clarified butter.
              11. Now divide the dough in 10-12 equal parts. Make flat balls by pressing between your palms, but don't forget to grease your palms before shaping them.
              12. Also, you can give different shapes to the cookies with a cookie cutter. I had them left back in India so I managed to craft some shapes with my hands.
              13. If you wish to use the Rose Marmalade/ Gulkand, make a small dip/ dent in the centre of the cookie and fill the Gulkand in it. 
              14. Arrange them in the tray keeping a distance of 1 and a 1/2 cms between each other.
              15. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 12-15 minutes or till the base goes golden/light brown. If you want them crispier, bake for 2-3 minutes more. The baking time also depends on the oven you are using because each one has its own specifications.
              16. Cool them on a wiring rack and store in an air-tight box. 
                1. Always use the butter which is at room temperature. Melted butter will not go fluffy. If you have melted the butter by mistake, just refrigerate it for 5 minutes and then re-use.
                2. Greasing your hands with ghee/butter can make moulding very easy for you.
                3. If you want crispy cookies, keep the cookies thin while shaping them. The thicker they are, the softer they stay. 
                4. Rose Marmalade can be replaced by any other marmalade/jam.
                5. You can also make almond and cashew cookies in just the same way. 
                6. If you want the cookies sweeter, add in more sugar, but this will make them slightly harder.

                 The cookies fly off to:
                My event: Cakes, Cookies and Desserts,
                Let’s Cook ~ Sweet Somethings by Radhika,  Anu’s Bake Fest, Vardhini’s Sweet Luv, Kalyani’s Serve with love, Sumee’s Bon Vivant, Kid's Delight hosted by Edible Entertainment, Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's, 
                Holi Hai at My Cook Book, Lets Cook For Valentines- Chocolates/ Hearts By Nayna