Friday, December 21, 2012

Mango ice cream

First of all, let me express my apologies for being away all this while. I never planned this hiatus to happen. But then man proposes and God disposes. right? I couldn't help but stay away from my kitchen and my camera for two reasons.
  • We were hit by some kind of viral flu that refused to go way for two weeks. It was one of the worst flus to hit me. As a matter of fact, I am still recovering from the nasty cough.
  • The second reason being, it is the month of December. It is that time of year when we take a vacation to India. So a lot of things are happening around the house. There is cleaning, packing, storing, shopping and more packing. So my life, for the past few weeks has been a complete roller coaster ride.
Now coming to this recipe, if you are one of those, who celebrate Christmas during Summer, then this dessert is just the thing. Right now, summer is in full swing in Tanzania and the produce of mangoes is in abundance. A few days back, my vegetable vendor got these extremely sweet smelling mangoes at my door step. I couldn't help but buy a dozen. Under ordinary circumstances, I wouldn't have made ice cream out of the mangoes. But Purvi had been asking for mango ice cream for a long time. She had been seeing this picture of Mango ice cream in one of Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe books. The recipe looked very easy and more over I had all the ingredients. So there I was making this ice cream.
Although this ice cream is deceptively easy to make, the texture is rich and creamy. More like kulfi. There is something about this sweet scented aromatic fruit. It imparts a luscious texture to this frozen dessert. All you have to do is give this ice cream a lick and you will fall for this hook, line, and sinker!!
Mango ice cream recipe:
Preparation time: 15min
Freezing time: over night
Serves- 6-8

Cream- 1 cup
Mango pulp- 1 cup
Milk powder- 1 cup
Sugar- 1 cup
Chilled milk- 1 cup
Corn flour- 1 tbsp.
  • Blend all the ingredients in a blender till smooth. Pour the mixture in an airtight container. Cover with a cling film, place the lid and freeze the mixture for 2-3 hrs
  • Remove the ice cream to a blender and blend till smooth. Transfer the contents back to the air tight container and freeze for 5-6 hrs till completely set.
  • Scoop and serve immediately.
  • If the mango pulp is very sweet, reduce the amount of sugar.
  • You can use a  cup of any size. Just make sure to use the same cup to measure all the ingredients.
This dessert is my entry for Nancy's YBR- December event

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hakka Noodles

Hakka noodles is perhaps one of the most popular Indo-Chinese creation. A wholesome and nutritious street food that was created by the Hakka immigrants in Kolkata. Hakka noodles is also called as chow mein which literally means, stir fried. This noodle dish, delicious one pot meal that is simple yet gratifying.
As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, Chinese food is S's favourite. He just can't get enough of this cuisine. If it wasn't for S, I would never have leant to cook Chinese the authentic way. Apart from fried rice and cauliflower Manchurian, Hakka noodles is something that I prepare from time to time. It is a simple recipe, with very little cooking time involved. Once the vegetables are chopped, it hardly takes any time to cook this cup. Filled with the goodness of vegetables and whole wheat, this is my go to recipe whenever I have to fix something fast.
This noodle preparation can be cooked either with a variety of vegetables, or bean sprouts or tofu or meat. A colourful and exciting dish, that is perfect for children who shy away from vegetables.
Hakka Noodles recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 10min
Serves- 4

Noodles- 200gm
Sesame oil- 2tbsp
Ginger- 1" piece finely chopped
Garlic- 3-4 cloves, finely chopped
Spring onion- 2, whites and greens separated
Carrot- 1 med, cut into thin strips
Green Beans- 6-7, diagonally sliced
Capsicum- 1 small, cut into thin strips
Shredded Cabbage- 3 tbsp.
Light Soya sauce- 1-1/2 tbsp.
Vinegar- 1tsp
Vegetable stock- 1/4cup
Freshly ground black pepper powder- 3/4tsp
Salt to taste
MSG- 1/4tsp (optional)
  • Heat plenty of water in a large vessel. When the water comes to a boil, add oil and salt and mix.
  • Add the noodles and allow the noodles to cook for 3-4min. When the noodles are almost cooked (al Dante), drain and refresh in cold water.
  • Drizzle a tsp of oil and mix well to coat the noodles and keep aside until further use.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a large wok or skillet and add the chopped ginger and garlic. Fry till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the chopped spring onion white and fry for min.
  • Stir in the carrot and beans and fry on high heat for 2-3 min
  • Add the shredded cabbage and bell pepper and fry for another two mins.
  • Add the soya sauce, vinegar, vegetable stock, MSG, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Stir in the cooked noodles and mix well. Toss for a minute or two and serve hot.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Curried butternut squash and lentil soup

This may come as a shock to you!! But I have never been a big fan of pumpkin and butter nut squash. If you had presented me with a pumpkin or squash a few years back, I would have just turned up my nose and made a sorry face. But off late, things have changed for the better. I have developed a strong liking to these gourds. So much so that, I keep thinking of new ways to use this vegetable.
I wouldn't have thought of making this soup if the gardener/watchman of our apartment building got these two small butternut squashes. They grow on a small patch in our complex. At first I didn't know what to make out of the squashes. I let them lie in refrigerator for almost a week before coming up with this recipe.
I have come to believe that the combo butternut squash and lentils is a match made in heaven. And if these  ingredients are flavored with the humble curry powder, then the soup is taken to a different dimension all together.
This version of the butternut squash soup is fairly simple to make. All it takes is a handful of ingredients and a few minutes to whip up this delicious and rich soup. The addition of curry powder, along with the minced garlic, makes the soup spicy and hearty. The cream gives body and texture and on the whole this is a very filling soup. One bowl of this soup along with some fresh croutons can make a filling dinner for me. Try serving this soup with some Indian breads like naan or Paratha. Or just ladle this soup over a bowl of Basmati rice to make your meal more substantial.
Curried butternut squash and lentil soup recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 15min

Butternut squash-1 med, peeled, deseeded and diced
Masoor dal or orange lentils- 1/3 cup
Curry powder- 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Vegetable stock- 4 cups
Cream- 2 tbsp. for garnish
Bay leaf-1
Garlic- 2 cloves, minced
Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
Croutons to serve

•Pressure cook the lentils for 3-4 whistles or till completely cooked and keep aside
•Heat the olive oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add the bay leaf and the minced garlic and fry till the raw smell goes.
•Add the diced butter nut squash and fry for two mins. Add the salt, curry powder and the vegetable stock, mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down and allow the squash to cook covered for 15-20mins till tender.
•Discard the bay leaf and tip in the cooked lentils and mix well. Using a hand blender or food processer blitz the mixture until smooth.
•Season with pepper and serve garnished with cream and some croutons on the side.

•This soup is extremely versatile. You can add more vegetables like carrots, sweet potato or turnips along with the squash.
•To make this soup low cal, you can use thick coconut milk to garnish instead of cream.
•If you feel the mixture is thick after blending, then add more water to make the soup thin and reheat it.
•I have used the curry powder sparingly. Increase the quantity if you want to make your soup more spicy.
•This soup can also be had along side naan or any other Indian bread

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Deepavali and a recipe for Jalebi

Happy Diwali everyone!!!Hope all you wonderful people are having a fun filled Diwali.
Jalebis. I think this spiral dessert is undoubtedly a hot favorite with most of the people. And I am no exception. This sweet brings back a lot of childhood memories. This dessert takes me back to the  times when me and my baby sister would accompany my mother to the market for the monthly  provision shopping. After doing all the shopping, me and my sis would pester my mom enough to make sure we stopped by this tiny Haryanvi shop that made and sold the most amazing jalebis. We as girls, would be wonderstruck when we used to see this "uncle" swirling the batter into hot oil in coils or pretzel like shapes. To us, it was an absolute treat to watch the uncle convert the white batter to something yellow, crispy, juicy and not to mention sweet within a matter of a few minutes. He would then wrap a dozen Jalebis in a sheet of news paper and pass it on to us. I remember we used to be so impatient that we would eat up all the jalebis even before we could reach home. I think this is one of those sweet dishes that is delicious and habit forming.
Jalebis are best eaten warm as they tend to turn undesirably soft once the sugar syrup is completely absorbed by the crispy fried batter. Jalebi can either be eaten as is or it can be dipped in warm milk or in chilled rabdi for an extra special treat.
Jalebi recipe:
Preparation time: 20min+standing time
Cooking time: 20min
Makes approximately two dozen Jalebis
For the jalebis:
All purpose flour- 1-1/2 cups
Rice flour- 1 cup
Corn flour- 1 tsp (optional)
Sour curds- 1 cup
Warm water- 1/2 cup
Baking powder- 1/2tsp (optional)
Yellow food colour-  a small pinch
For the syrup:
Water- 2-1/2 cups
sugar- 2-1/2 cups
Saffron- 1/2tsp
Yellow food colour- A pinch
Ghee- 1tbsp
Oil for deep frying
  • In a large bowl, combine the all purpose flour, rice flour, corn flour, baking powder, curds, food colour and enough warm water to make a thick and smooth batter. The consistency of the batter should be like vada batter.
  • Cover the bowl and set aside to ferment overnight. You will know when the batter is ready when bubbles begin to appear on the surface
  • Make the syrup by mixing the sugar, water and saffron and bring the mixture to a boil for 10-15min or until is one string consistency is reached. Add the food colour and set aside
  • Heat the ghee and oil in a wok. Do not allow the oil to get too hot. Keep the flame low.
  • Beat the batter again. It should have the same dropping consistency as the pan cake batter. If the batter is too thin then add some more all purpose flour.
  • Using a small holed cloth or a zip lock pouch, or a plastic oil dispenser and make coils of 3-5inches across in the ghee
  • Fry, turning once, until crisp and brown on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain the excess oil.
  • Transfer the jalebis to warm syrup to soak for no more than a minute so that they remain crisp.
  • Drain the syrup and serve warm with milk or chilled rabdi.
  • The temperature of the oil is extremely  important when making Jalebis. If the oil is too hot then the Jalebis will fall apart, if the oil is not hot enough then the jalebis tend to droop and turn mushy So keep the flame at medium to medium low.
  • Deep f ry the jalebis in shallow oil or ghee (about 5-7cm) to ensure that the coils don't droop.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Purple cabbage slaw with hung curd dressing

Cole slaw or just slaw is nothing but a salad that consists primarily of cabbage and is dressed with mayonnaise and buttermilk. Cole slaw is quintessentially a picnic salad There are a lot of variations to the coleslaw. I have seen recipes that include fruits, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, seeds etc. This recipe however, is my way of making this traditional slaw.

Apart from fruit juices, salads also make regular appearances on our dining table. This cabbage salad is something that I make from time to time and we all love it. This salad can be made with white cabbage as well but I love tossing this salad with purple or red cabbage. Simply because of it's vibrant colour.

A versatile salad that makes a great side dish with Indian breads or it can be used as a stuffing in wraps and sandwiches. I normally make this salad in the night. That way, I can use the left overs in my sandwich the next day. Cool isn't it?

Purple cabbage slaw with hung curd dressing recipe:
Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: nil
Serves- 4

Purple cabbage- 450gm, shredded
Carrots- 2, grated
Spring onion whites- 1tbsp, finely chopped
Spring onion greens- 2tbsp, finely chopped
hung curd or greek style yougurt- 1/2 cup
Sugar- 1tsp
Salt to taste
Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice- 1/2tsp

  • Place the vegetables in a salad bowl and mix
  • In another bowl, mix together the curds, salt, sugar, pepper, lemon and finely chopped onion
  • Add this dressing to the vegetables and toss well and chill
  • Garnish with spring onion greens and serve.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rava Kesari- Semolina Pudding

Rava kesari or Sajjige as we call it is one dessert that does not need any introduction. I think this is one of the easiest and most common sweet dish that is prepared in most of the Indian house holds. This halva is a customary offering during Sathyanaraya Pooja. It is also called as Sapaatha Bhaksha.
Needless to say, this was one of our favourite dishes during our growing years. Since me and my little sister knew that this pudding could be conjured in minutes, we would often pester my mom to make it for us. Sajjige used to be our weekend breakfast treat. Even after all these years, I ask my mom to make sajjige for me every time I visit her. 

This recipe for the opulent dessert is just the basic recipe. There are several ways you can dress this dish up. You can flavour this pudding with chopped fruits like banana, pine apple or mango. Or, you can add other nuts like almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts. You can also caramelise the sugar for a contemeporary twist. This is one dessert where you can let your imagination go wild. This pudding when served hot can make an irresistible dessert. No matter how full you are, there is always room for at least two helpings of this dessert in the end

Rava Kesari recipe
Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 10min
Serves- 4-6


Rava or semolina- 1-1/2 cup
Ghee- 1 cup
Raisins- 2tbsp
Cashew nuts- 3tbsp, chopped
Milk- 2-1/2cup
Sugar- 1-1/2 cup
Cardamom powder- 1/2tsp
Salt- a small pinch
Saffron- 8-10 strands

  • Soak the saffron strands in a tea spoon of warm milk and set aside.
  • Heat a tea spoon of ghee in a pan, add the cashew nuts and raisins and fry till they turn brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat another tea spoon of ghee in the same pan.Add the semolina and fry till it turns brown and Fragrant. Take off the heat and keep aside.
  • Combine the milk, ghee and the saffron mixture in a thick bottomed saucepan and allow it to simmer for 3-4min. 
  • Gradually add the semolina and mix gently to break any lumps. Add the sugar and salt and mix well. Cover and allow the mixture to cook for 2-3min umtill all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in the powdered cardamom and the fried nuts and raisins and mix well.
  • Serve rava kesari either hot or at room temperature

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Banana and coconut bread

This recipe should have been posted on my blog on Monday itself. Thanks to the bad internet connection, I had to wait for two days more just to click on the "publish" button. But then it is always better late than never isn't it?

Banana is one fruit that you are sure to find on my dining table on any given day. We have the habit of eating a banana everyday after dinner.  It so happened that during the last weekend, we dined out a couple of times and we went on a "no banana"phase. As a result, the bananas lost all their prime and my husband was all set to trash them. I hate to see food wasted. At first, I thought of baking the oatmeal banana muffins. But I had already baked them so many times, that it seemed to have lost it's novelty. So I googled for some recipes and I stumbled on this bread on I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it egg free as well as to adjust to my pantry requirements. The end result I must say was quite satisfactory. The bread turned out extremely moist and slightly chewy because of the coconut. The use of coconut and coconut milk gives a tropical feel to this bread. 

This banana coconut bread can either be served plain or it can be dressed up with some vanilla or lime glaze (recipe for the lime glaze can be found here). It can be served as a dessert or for breakfast or as a quick snack. It takes very little time to put this bread together and it is a definite hit with the kids. 

Banana and coconut bread recipe:
Preparation time- 20min
Baking time: 30min
Makes- 1 loaf

All purpose flour- 2 cups
Baking soda- 3/4tsp
Salt- 1/2tsp
Butter softened- 1/4cup
Sugar- 1 cup
Mashed banana- 1-1/4cup
Thick buttermilk- 1/4cup
Coconut milk- 1/4cup
Desiccated coconut- 1/2 cup+ 1tbsp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp

  • Preheat the oven at 180C
  • Sift the flour along with the baking soda and salt and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Add the mashed banana and butter milk and beat well.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and vanilla extract and beat until well blended.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix gently till well combined
  • Spoon the batter into a greased 9X5 loaf pan and sprinkle a table spoon of the desiccated coconut on top.
  • Bake at 180C for 40min or till an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10min. Remove from the pan and cool the bread completely on a wire rack. 

This bread will be a part of Nancy's YBR event for the month of October

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Grape Juice

At last!! I am happy to say that summer is finally here. Yes!! The temperature is up since the past week and I have never been happier. As the days are getting longer, my energy level seems to have increased. Even the nasty flu that was caused by weather change could not dampen my spirits.

Summer- A time where the windows are open for the most part of the day. A time where flowers are in full bloom. The season when mangoes begin to sprout. Summer is the time when "madafu" or coconut water is sold in every corner of the street. Summer is also the time for ice creams, pop sickles  sorbets and all things cold. This season is also the time when salads and juices make regular appearances on the table. Apart from all these, one big advantage of summer is that the days are long and if the days are long, there is more time for food photography. Now do you need anymore reasons for not to love this season??

Summer is here and so is my juicer. I have been making quite a few juices since the past few days. But grape juice is something that I have made everyday for the last four days. Yeah it took me that long to photograph this drink right. 
Grape juice is something that I have loved since I was a kid. My mom used to make this juice whenever she brought the black grapes. I loved to watch the way she turned this "ugly" and "inedible" fruit into a beautiful,  nectar like liquid. My love for the juice did not end at the blending alone. I even loved to watch the way my mom strained the juice in the orange strainer. As a kid, even the strained pulp, somehow looked gorgeous in that Orange strainer. It's surprising how these small things always remain etched in your mind.

Did you know that grapes is one of the best nutritional fruits? It is considered to be one of the most beneficial juices. This "nectar of gods" has flavonoids that increase the good cholesterol  This juice has some anti aging properties and it reduces the risk of breast cancer. It relieves acidity and cough and helps to reduce weight. Apart from the health benefits, this pretty drink has the taste and feel of a sophisticated mock tail  A drink that you want to sip while lazing on the beach. Or like me, you can sip lazing on the sofa on a summer day listening to the tinkling of the wind chimes.

Grape Juice Recipe:
Preparation time: 5min
Cooking time: nil
Serves- 4

Grapes-1 cup or 200gm
Sugar- 3tbsp
Juice of half a lime
Water- 1-1/2cup

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
  • Strain and serve immediately

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Masoor dal

The past ten days of my life, has gone by like a whirlwind. First there was the preparation for the festivities and then there was the festivals itself. After the festivities were over, there were a couple of get together that  I attended and a couple more were hosted by me. Amidst all these, there was also Purvi's performance in the school. So with so much happening, I had to unwillingly neglect my blog. Anyhow. I am planning to get back on track with some steady posts and visiting all of your lovely blogs. I have some more interesting recipes coming up. In the mean time I leave you with this simple yet heartwarming lentil dish.

Masoor dal is a staple order whenever we visit the restaurant. Apart from being S's favourite dish, this  can also be given to Purvi along with steamed or cumin flavoured rice. So every time we visit the restaurant, we end up ordering this. Even though, this curry being one of our favourites, I had never tried making this at home before this. The reason being, I always thought that the curry had to be enriched with blobs of butter and cream for the restaurant like taste. So I avoided making this dish for a long long time. It was only when S got these whole masoor dal from the super market that I was forced into making this curry. But instead of loading the curry with butter and cream, I decided to substitute the butter with a equal amounts of oil and ghee and I replaced the cream with skimmed milk powder. These substitutions, seemed to do the trick. The taste was just like the way we have it in restaurant but with much lesser fat content. All though this curry tastes great with rotis, I feel that it tastes absolutely divine plain steamed rice.

Masoor dal recipe:
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 10min

Saabut Masoor dal or whole red lentils: 1 small cup or 125 gm
Onion- 1 med sized, finely chopped
Tomatoes-2 med sized, blanched and pureed
Ginger-Garlic paste- 1 tsp
Green chilli- 1, slit
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Turmeric- 1/2tsp
Red chilli powder- 1/2tsp
Salt- to taste
Sugar- 1/2tsp
Coriander seed powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala- A pinch
Kasuri methi- 1/2tsp
Oil or ghee- 2tbsp
Skimmed milk powder- 2tbsp mixed with 3tbsp of water
Coriander leaves to garnish

  • Clean and wash the masoor dal. Add two cups of water and pressure cook for 5-6 whistles or till done and set aside
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds once they sputter, add the chopped onion and fry for two min till they turn pink.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and green chilli fry for two min till the taw smell goes. Stir in the tomato puree and fry saute for a min.
  • Add the salt, sugar, red chilli powder and coriander powder and fry for 3-4min till the oil separates.
  • Add the cooked lentils and half a cup of water and allow the mixture to boil for 2min
  • Stir in the garam masala and Kasoori methi and let the mixutre simmer for two more min and take off the heat.
  • Just before serving, stir in the skimmed milk mixture and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.

This black and white image of the Orange lentils is my contribution to Susan's black and white wednesday#51 which is being hosted by Cindy of Cindystarblog

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