Aam Panna (Raw Mango Drink)

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Scorching heat, the summer holidays, a chilled glass of a tangy and sweet Raw Mango drink that mum used to make before I headed out to play – all that and more is so synonymous with Indian summer season. This Raw Mango Cooler aka Aam Panna is a summer to-do in almost every Indian household. It reminds me of my childhood in every way. Being a mum of a 2.5 year old makes me relive my summer childhood days with my son with this cooler almost every day.

This thirst quencher is made with green raw mangoes along with spices and tastes absolutely delish. Make a huge batch and you won’t be surprised that it will get over so soon.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 6 – 8 people)

  • 3 medium sized Raw Mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp roasted cumin powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar (you can adjust this depending on your preference)
  • 12 – 15 fresh mint leaves + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp rock salt (optional)
  • 8 – 9 ice cubes
  • chilled water (according to the consistency you desire)

METHOD:

  • Take the chopped and desseded raw mangoes along with some water and pressure cooker it for 3 – 4 whistles or until its tender and cooked.
  • Once done, let the steam escape and let the mixture cool down completely.
  • Take all the ingredients – cooked mangoes, cumin powder, sugar, rock salt, ice cubes and fresh mint leaves along with some water and blend it to make a puree. (You can store this puree for a couple of days).
  • Take the puree, add some water (depending on the consistency you like for your drink), mix it well and serve in glasses.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves, roasted cumin powder and ice cubes and serve.

 

 

Vegetarian Momos

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Summer vacations meant family trips to the hill stations, strolling at Mall Road and eating momos and maggi. Eating momos at different local vendors was quintessential to any trip to the the hills, until recently when momos are becoming a rage in different parts of India. It is becoming everyones favorite especially with the crazy concoctions available now. Its wonderful to gorge on these during the rains.

With the arrival of monsoon in Bangalore and a nip in the air, I decided to make momos at home. I was intimated by the meticulous task that would lie ahead of me but somewhat knew that once the rhythm was set, these mini wonders would be ready in no time. They are so simple yet so satisfying. It hits every note – fresh veggies and overwhelming flavors is comforting.

I love the basic vegetarian flavor. The shreds of cabbage, the sweetness from onion, the crunch from the carrots and the freshness from the ginger, all combine well to create something yummy. The whole process of making the stuffing, filling and folding is therapeutic. You can take inspiration  from different places, cuisines, then play with your imagination and create flavors which your family enjoys. Don’t forget to make a tangy, spicy dipping sauce that makes the momos all the more addictive that you can’t stop with just one.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (makes 16-18 pieces)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

For the wrappers:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 6 tbsp water, for kneading

For the dipping sauce:

  • 5 dried red chilis
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

For filling:

  • In a saucepan heat the olive oil and once it is hot add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until its translucent and soft. Add in the grated ginger and sauté too.
  • Next we need to add the finely chopped carrots and cabbage and sauté on high heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Add salt, soya sauce, red chili sauce and freshly grounded black pepper and mix it well. Cook the mixture on low heat for a minute.
  • Take it off the heat and allow it to cool at room temperature.

For the wrappers:

  • Meanwhile mix all the ingredients for the wrapper in a bowl and knead it well until the dough is soft and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Take a small portion of the dough and roll it to form thin circles, about 2 – 3 inch in diameter, on a lightly flour dusted board.
  • The edges should be thin and the center should be relatively thick. Make the wrappers and keep aside.
  • Take small portions of the filling and place it at the center of the wrapper.
  • Lift one side and start pleating it slowly. Once pleated, take the top of the pleats and slightly twist it and join it in the center.
  • Keep making the momos. Cover the pleated momos using a damp clothe to avoid the momos from becoming dry.
  • Fill the steamer with water, place the momos on the steamer tray (the momos shouldn’t touch each other on the tray.
  • Cover the lid and allow it to cook using steam for 7 – 8 minutes. The momos should now be transparent and not sticky. This means its done.

For the dipping sauce:

  • Take water in a saucepan and bring it rolling boil. Take it off from the heat and add the dried red chilis into it.
  • Let it soak for 20 minutes.
  • In a blender add garlic cloves, soaked red chilis, a tbsp of the soaking liquid, vinegar, salt and sugar and blend it until its completely blended.
  • Take a saucepan and heat the oil. Once heated add the blended chili mixture and allow the flavor to be infused properly. This will take around 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Mix cornflour and water in a bowl. Make sure there is no lumps.
  • Add this cornflour to the above heating mixture and keep stirring it for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Take it off the heat, transfer the dipping sauce into a serving bowl to be served with steamed momos.

Enjoy..Monsoon is on its way!

 

Ginger Spiced Chocolate Muffins

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Waking up to a cup of perfectly brewed coffee and chocolate spiced muffin is something anyone would love. These days when the mornings are less sunny in Bangalore, such a beautiful start to the morning is needed to get the day going. Reading the newspaper, sipping coffee, eating the chocolate – ginger muffins and trading stories about what is about to happen at work today – its blissful!

Among the different flavors of muffins available in bakeries, ginger spiced chocolate muffins is not commonplace. The intensity from the ginger with the sweetness from the chocolate is delicious. These little morsels of yumminess is truly a treat to yourself. Have it with your breakfast, pack these in your lunch or share it with your friends during the evening snack time, this sugar and spice combination is quite enticing. So while I am heading back to the kitchen to prepare the next batch of these deliciously soothing muffins, take a look at the recipe and make a bake these in your kitchen too.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 16 mini muffins)

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds and walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C for atleast 10 minutes. Prepare your muffin tray by lining it with muffin liners or spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Take a bowl and add all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and mix it well.
  • In another bowl add vegetable oil, vanilla extract, water and white vinegar and whisk well.
  • Now add in the dried ingredient mixture prepared above and fold it until well incorporated.
  • Add the chopped nuts, chocolate chips and ginger and mix it. (do not over beat the batter)
  • Now pour the batter into your mini muffin tray and allow it to bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once baked, allow it to cool a little before diving in!

Enjoy…

NOTES:

  • You can add ginger syrup in case you want more ginger flavor.
  • You can add crystallized ginger in the batter and garnish it with it too.

Vietanmese Rice Paper Wraps

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Summer is here and its time to celebrate it with great food and great company. These wraps are a perfect way to get a break from the scorching heat and the enjoy the fresh produce available in the grocery stores. Its encompasses all what you expect from a great dish – its crunchy, its fresh, its healthy and its packed with great flavors.

I was introduced to this delicious appetizer by my sister (in-law) and since then its been on my list of top dishes. I keep trying different versions of this wraps, but keep going back to this recipe. People and as a matter of fact even I thought it is difficult to make, but once I tried my hands on it, its been an easy cooking experience. So when you feel like experimenting with ingredients and flavors, do try this recipe. Its a exotic and healthy alternative to the usual spring rolls served in a party. These wraps are a complete winner!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 4 people)

  • 12 pieces Rice paper wrappers (available in the market or online)
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, julienne
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, julienne
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienne
  • 1 medium cucumber, julienne
  • 1/2 cup boiled rice noodles or vermicelli
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, stringed and julienne (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime juice (use this if you don’t use wine wine vinegar)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • hot water, to soak the wrappers
  • sweet chili sauce, to serve with (available in the market or online)
  • peanut sauce, to serve with (available in the market or online)

METHOD:

  • In a bowl mix carrots, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, cucumber, bean sprout, snow peas, coriander leaves, mint leaves, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, rice wine vinegar or lime juice and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix rice noodles with salt, black pepper, a dash of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce and keep aside.
  • Take a large flat bowl with hot water. Dip the rice paper sheet into it and let it soak for 10 seconds. Lift it out and place it on a damp cloth.
  • Place the vegetable mixture on the wrapper and then place the noodles beside it. Roll up the wrapper tightly and fold the sides.
  • You may or may not cut it into half and serve immediately with sweet chili sauce and peanut sauce.

Enjoy!

Note: You can add onions, mushrooms, avocados, lettuce to create different versions of these wraps. Keep experimenting, keep cooking!

Methi Matar Malai (Peas and Fenugreek Curry)

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Hello folks! It’s been long since I shared my experience in the kitchen and the recipes with all of you. And now when I am penning down what I have cooked in the past few days, I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy cooking it.

A beautiful weather and more so beautiful vegetables available in the grocery store always urges me to cook something that incorporates the true and fresh flavors of the veggies. And what better can you think of during winter season other than Green Peas. The sweetness and the tenderness is embodied in these tiny gems that it makes you crave for more. I usually (like other people) end up freezing green peas which I use until the next produce is on its way. During the season I end up putting peas in atleast one dish – be it a salad, a soup, a side dish or a curry. One of my all time favourite curry involving pea is Methi Matar Malai. Its extremely flavorful due to the infusion of spices in the creamy gravy and the sweet peas. While the gravy is elegant, the peas along with the fenugreek leaves add vibrancy to the dish. A must try dish before the winter is gone!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 4 people)

  • 2 cups fresh green peas, boiled
  • 1/2 cup dried fenugreek leaves (dried methi leaves)
  • 1/3 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cream
  • 20 cashew nuts, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1 green chili, split into half
  • 1 cardamom
  • 1 tsp mace (javitri)
  • 3/4 inch ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • t tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt, to taste
  • water

METHOD

  • In a blender, add cashew nuts (drain the water), green chili, ginger, mase, cardamom along with 5 – 6 tbsp of water and blend to form a smooth paste. Add little more water if required.
  • In a saucepan heat the ghee or clarified butter on medium. Add the above paste and stir for a couple or minutes.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, sugar and salt and stir well for another 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Add the green peas and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes. Then add milk and mix well for 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Add milk and keep stirring for 4 – 5 minutes. Make sure the heat of the stove is on medium to avoid the milk from burning. Add the dried fenugreek leaves along with the coriander leaves and stir well.
  • Add the fresh cream and mix well.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with flatbreads or rice.

Tamatar Ki Sabzi (Tomato Curry)

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The season of tomatoes is finally here in India. This is certainly the season’s greatest joy. Fresh, juicy, ripe and the flushing red color of the tomatoes, makes me want to eat tomatoes in every meal. Be it sandwiches for breakfast or tomato gravy veggie for lunch or tomato soup for dinner, this versatile ingredient is an imperative part of my (and probably everyone’s) pantry.

There is one such tomato curry which is incredibly yummy and makes me remind of my childhood. It’s called ‘Tamatar ki Sabzi’ (Tomato Curry). I remember my grandmom making stuffed matar ka parathas (Indian flatbread stuffed with peas) and this beautiful and aromatic tamatar ki sabzi to go with it. I used to gorge on it. I didnt know that the ingredients (Probably I didnt want to know since I loved the way my grandmom cooked) were so simple, yet the punch of flavors is amazing!

Now that the season is on and when you are lazy to cook an elaborate meal, try this quick and simple recipe.

Tomato-Chutney

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 4 – 5 red tomatoes, chopped into medium sized cubes
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 green chili (split from the middle)
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger (or finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Take oil in a non stick pan. Once hot, add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and nigella seeds together in the oil. Sauté it for 20 – 30 seconds.
  • Add the green chili and sauté for 10 seconds.
  • Add the tomato cubes in the non stick pan  and toss it for 20 – 30 seconds. Add grated ginger, turmeric powder and coriander powder, toss it.
  • Add water and salt and cover the pan with a lid for a minute or two.
  • Once the tomatoes look cooked and sugar and sauté it for a couple of minutes.
  • Take it off the heat, garnish it with coriander leaves. Serve it with parathas (flat bread) or rice.

 

Eggless Chocolate Cupcake

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As the festive season has begun, everyday is a celebration. From going to potlucks to calling friends and family home, from teatime gossiping with friends to weekend brunches, the list is unending. For all such occasions, it is quintessential to have desserts on your menu. And what better than having chocolate cupcakes.

These eggless chocolate cupcakes are easy to make and require basic ingredients. When I have a strong urge to bake, these petite wonders top my list because you can never go wrong with chocolate. Since my mom and dad enjoy having eggless desserts, with constant hit and trial I perfected making these cupcakes. Not only was it spongy and light but also decadent enough to satisfy chocolate cravings. With or without the frosting, you will surely fall in love with this cupcake!

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RECIPE

INDGREDIENTS: (Makes 12 cupcakes)

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp powdered white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp hot chocolate powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup room temperature water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • cocoa powder, for dusting

For frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup hung curd
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven at 180 C.
  • In a bowl sieve all purpose flour, white sugar, salt, baking powder, hot chocolate and cocoa powder and mix it.
  • In another bowl, mix water, vanilla essence, oil and white vinegar and mix well.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold until well combined.
  • Grease the cupcake moulds or line the cupcake tin with liners.
  • Pour the cupcake batter until the moulds are 3/4th full.
  • Bake it for 20 – 24 minutes, until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Till the cupcakes are baking, take the heavy cream and half the icing sugar and beat it until it forms stiff peaks.
  • Take the hung curd and remaining icing sugar and beat it until its smooth. Add vanilla essence and combine it with a spatula.
  • Now combine hung curd mixture with the whipped cream and refrigerate for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool and then pipe out the frosting and dust it with cocoa powder.
  • Your cupcake is now ready to be served.

NOTE:
You can add melted semisweet chocolate in your frosting or a hint of instant coffee powder to get a different flavor.