Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thandai

This holi was all about home-made thandai for me. Every year I drink cups and cups and more cups of ready made thandai on holi so I was determined to unlock the secret to good thandai and this was it. This recipe is inspired by Tarla Dalal and it doesn't disappoint. Disappoint? Its fantastic and you'll love it too.

Ingredients:

To make the Thandai powder:

1/4 cup Almonds
2 tablespoons Poppy Seeds
2 tablespoons Melon seeds
2 tablespoons Fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom powder
20 pieces whole White peppercorns

For making thandai:

1 litre milk (4 1/4 cups)
1 fat pinch saffron
3 tablespoons sugar, measured then powdered
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

Bring the milk to a boil and add the sugar, saffron and black pepper. Stir for two minutes till the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature, stir for a few minutes to prevent a film from forming on the top. The seeped saffron will impart a lovely yellow color to the milk.

While the milk is cooling, grind the almonds, then the seeds and finally the pepper corns. Sieve them all into a air tight container. Re-grind the coarse pieces. You can double or triple the powder recipe and refrigerate it up to a week. 

To make thandai, add the powder to the milk and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best. You can serve it after straining or as it is. 

Serve chilled!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rava Laddoo

As the festive season nears, laddoos, chivdas, chaklis make their appearance. I made these last year during Ganesh Chaturthi and they were an absolute hit. These are very easy to make and the end result leaves everybody gobsmacked and happy! These are very popular in Maharashtra and every household makes these in Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali. Sugary, melt-in-the-mouth with crunch of cashews and little bursts of raisiny sweetness while chewing.

Semolina should be roasted on very low flame till it changes colour to a pale pale pink colour. If the semolina is not roasted enough, it will stick to your palate while eating. That is a tip to check doneness of semolina in this dish.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Semolina (Rava)
1/2 cup grated coconut 
3/4 cup Sugar (measured then powdered)
2 tablespoons Ghee
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
10 pieces cashew nuts
12-14 pieces raisins
2-3 tablespoons milk 

Heat the ghee in a large heavy bottomed wok. Add the cashew pieces till they are golden in color. Drain and keep aside. Next fry the raisins till they puff up. Remove at once and drain. In the remaining ghee add the semolina and roast slowly on low heat for 10-12 minutes. Next add the grated coconut, nuts, sugar and cardamom powder. Roast for 2-3 minutes. Next add the milk and mix well. Remove from heat. Now add the cashew nuts and raisins and mix. Let it cool a little and then form one inch balls by pressing tightly.

Store in an air tight container and enjoy them!


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Pani Puri / Golgappa

How do I introduce this popular and loved street food? You cant go anywhere in the country without finding a stall... Here's my favorite homemade version. Freshly ground spiced minty water with a tasty filling. It's love at first bite.

Ingredients:

For the spicy mint water:

A bunch of mint leaves (2 handfuls of leaves)
3-4 sprigs of coriander
1-2 green chilies
1/2 inch root of ginger
1/2 inch stick of cinnamon
3-4 cloves
3-4 black pepper corns
Salt
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon roasted Cumin powder
Rock / Black Salt (sanchal or kala namak)

For the sweet water:

2 tablespoons packed tamarind
5-6 pieces dates
Salt
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted Cumin powder
Powdered sugar or jaggery as needed

Filling:

3 boiled potatoes
1/4 cup soaked black gram (atleast 6 hours)
Salt
Chili powder
Roasted Cumin powder

Finely diced onion
Sev
Boondi 

Procedure:

Take the soaked black gram, add a teaspoon of salt and boil them. It needs 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker and then low heat for 5 minutes. Let the steam cool naturally. Don't force open the cooker. Strain and keep aside.

Peel and mash the boiled potatoes and mix with the boiled black gram. Add salt, chili powder and cumin powder and mix. Adjust for salt and spices. 

Bring a cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the tamarind and continue to boil till it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped and deseeded dates, remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Mash the tamarind and date mixture once it cools and strain. Add 1 cup of water, ginger and cumin powders to the strained mixture and then salt and jaggery as per taste. It should be tangy and sweet. 

In a dry grinder, grind the cloves, cinnamon and black pepper to a fine powder. In a another blender add the green chilies, ginger, mint and coriander and blend to a fine puree. Add the lemon juice, the ground spices, salt, cumin powder and mix well. Add a cup of water to this mixture and then sieve. Adjust spices and salt as needed.  

To eat:

Make a hole in the puri. Fill 1/4 puri with the potato gram mixture. Then add onions, boondi and sev. Now fill to the top with spicy and sweet water and enjoy!!!



Monday, March 14, 2016

Apple Crumble / Apple Crisp / Apple Cobbler


This month I celebrate my grandmothers birthday and I want to post a dessert recipe for her. I made this apple crisp for a dinner party. I like apple pie but pastry dough scares me. This is just as delicious but a lot more easier. Apple is baked with sugar and cinnamon and the streusel topping is a nice textural contrast to the soft baked apple. I used the apples I bought for eating, 2 red delicious and one pink lady, though Granny Smith are preferred for baking. I added the walnuts for crunch and oatmeal since I had some in the pantry. You can leave out both and just use flour and double the butter. The portion below serves 4 people.

Ingredients:

3 medium apples cored, peeled and sliced thin
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Topping

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup rolled oats (optional - just double the flour or walnuts)
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the sugar, lemon and cinnamon with the apples. Put the apples in a 7x5 baking dish or in individual ramekins. Combine the flour, walnuts, oats and sugar. Then add the butter and mix well. Then top with streusel and bake for 20-30 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Eat it warm paired with some vanilla ice cream and it is heaven just by itself also.
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