Mango Shrikhand

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Whats you favorite childhood memories associated with mangoes? For me ts definitely Aam Shrikhand (and also Aamras). A bowl of this beauty makes everything about summer good. Fresh mango puree mixed with the creamiest homemade yogurt – and I am already salivating! I made this Mango Shrikhand a few days back and it screams summer. My summer happiness would be incomplete without this delicious dessert or accompaniment.

While I miss my mum’s and nani’s Mango Shrikhand, but this sunny beauty is my new friend this summer. What are you waiting for when such simple pleasures can be made in no time.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 3 cups)

  • 3 medium sized alphonso mangoes, skin removed and chopped
  • 2 cups homemade hung yogurt
  • 4 tbsp jaggery powder (you can adjust it depending on the sweetness of the mangoes)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • slivers of 7 – 8 almonds
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 5 – 6 strands of saffron

METHOD:

  • In a blender take the chopped mangoes, cardamom powder and jaggery powder and blend it into a smooth puree.
  • Fold this into the hung yogurt and chill until you are ready to serve.
  • Garnish with almond slivers, pistachios and saffron strands and serve immediately.

P.S: You can serve this with Aloo Parathas, Puris or have it as is.

 

Spiced Semolina Cake with Orange Drizzle

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Simple ingredients, quick recipe and an addictive cake – this Spiced Semolina Cake with Orange Drizzle is juts about that. Its getting quite cold back in Bangalore and all I am craving for is nuts and spices for the extra warmth. And then its December where I don’t need any additional excuse to make homemade cakes. My kitchen smells amazing – some nuts and fruits soaking in booze at one end, cookies baking in the oven, fruits being converted into jam on the stove top, cake cooling down and cream getting whipped up elsewhere. Amidst all this its me – an excited soul who is loving every bit of this scene in my kitchen.

Suddenly my mum calls and tells me she made this amazing semolina cake loaded with nuts. Ah! My to do baking list just increased slightly and I set to make this cake since I had everything stocked up at home. The crumbly cake loaded with the goodness from different seeds is a perfect accompaniment during tea time. Garnished with toasted nuts and a tangy orange drizzle, I have got my go to recipe whenever I want to bake something quickly. Delicious, moist and super easy. Try it now!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 8 inch cake)

  • 1 1/4 cup semolina
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature + extra for preparing the baking tin
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (you can use granulated white sugar too)
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, melon, flax seeds and chia seeds)
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • few strands of saffron
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 C for atleast 10 minutes. Spread the blanched almonds on the baking tray and allow it to toast for 8 – 10 minutes or until just slightly brown.
  • Once done, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely.
  • Again Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Take 2 tbsp of milk and soak the saffron strands in it for sometime.
  • Meanwhile take the cake mould, slightly butter and flour it and keep it aside.
  • Now in a bowl whisk melted butter and brown sugar until a smooth mixture is formed. To this add semolina, whole wheat flour, salt, , orange zest, cardamom powder, mixed seeds, saffron soaked milk, curd and milk and fold in gently until well combined.
  • Allow this mixture to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Lastly add baking powder and baking soda and fold the mix gently until just combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to cake mould and allow it to bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Take it out of the oven and allow the cake to cool completely.
  • In a bowl take fresh orange juice and add icing sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
  • Take the cake, generously drizzle the orange juice mixture. Garnish with toasted almonds, pistachios and dig in.

Paan Shots with Dry Fruit Bliss Balls – Diwali Special

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Happy Diwali folks! The house is ready with diyas all around, garlands of flowers adding fragrance and color and not to forget my kitchen is smelling with so much goodness that I can’t wait to dig in into all the awesome goodies being prepared specially for Diwali.

So just when you were done with all the quintessential things for Diwali and wanted to make something really exciting and quick, these Pan Shots with Dry Fruit Bliss Balls has come to your rescue. For me no festival is complete without a Pan at the end of the meal. The freshness of the betel leaves and the concoction of a variety of elements that go inside that leaf is really refreshing. Here is a twist to my version of Pan, which will be a heart-throbber among your friends and family!

May God fill your lives with lots of luck and happiness. Have a safe and great Diwali!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 4 – 5 people)

For Paan Shots:

  • 4 – 5 betel leaves
  • 3 tbsp gulkand
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 5 tbsp vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream/milk
  • 1 cup crushed ice cubes
  • colored tutti frutti, for garnish (optional)

For Dry Fruits Bliss Balls:

Recipe link here – Dry Fruit Bliss Balls

Method:

  • In a blender take torn betel leaves, gulkand, fennel seeds, cardamom powder, vanilla ice-cream, coconut cream and ice cubes and blender until its smooth.
  • Transfer it to serving shots glasses and refrigerate it for sometime before serving.
  • Take the Dry Fruit Bliss Balls and insert them into tooth picks or mini skewers.
  • Take the shot glasses filled with paan shots, place the dry fruit bliss ball skewer on it and serve.

Happy Diwali

 

 

 

 

Dry Fruit Bliss Balls

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Diwali is right here and I can’t contain my excitement. Meeting friends and family, wearing new closed, decorating each corner of the house and then the most important part – eating the most amazing array of food. The festive happiness spread to every nook and corner of the house. The flowers, the diyas, those little lights, all ready to adorn my house and then the laddus and cookies all making my kitchen smell sweet and fragrant.

I try to lose my self control during my favorite festival of the year and this year is going to be no different. Yes, I will gorge on the traditional desserts and some fried snacks during get togethers but then I will try to watch and eat. I know its slightly difficult but these pretty Dry Fruit Bliss Balls solves this problem. No compromise on the fun, food and flavor for sure!

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These dry fruit loaded bliss balls is an amazing way to serve your desserts + dry fruits this year. Pop them into your mouth and your sweet craving is taken of. Dry fruits and Diwali brings back lots of childhood memories. I have grown up watching my parents gifting dry fruits to friends and family or offering dry fruits to guests when they came to greet. This treasure trove of dry fruits is a nice twist to the usual bowl of mixed dry fruits. Fun and an easy affair, this yummy bliss ball will solve all your end minute stressful Diwali preparation.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 12 – 14 balls)

  • 1 cup Mejdool Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 3 tbsp almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut + extra for rolling
  • 2 tbsp black chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 5 – 6 saffron strands, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cold pressed coconut oil (optional)

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METHOD:

  • In a food processor put dates, figs, raisins, almonds, pistachios, desiccated coconut, walnuts, poppy seeds, chia seeds, cardamom powder and saffron strands and  blitz it until the mixture doesn’t have big chunks of dry fruits.
  • Add coconut oil and grind it again. Make sure not to over grind it else you will get dry fruit butter.
  • Scrape down the sides of the food processor and transfer the mixture into a bowl.
  • Take 3/4 – 1 tbsp of the mixture and make balls out of it. Roll it into desiccated coconut and keep aside.
  • You can keep the bliss balls at room temperature and serve within 1 day or keep it in the fridge and serve cold.

Happy Diwali!

 

 

 

 

Kheer – Diwali Special

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The quintessential Indian dessert made in every household is Kheer. I have grown up watching my grand mom and my mum making the most delicious Kheer ever. Patiently waiting for the milk to thicken, the rice to be perfectly cooked, the perfect amount of sugar and garnished with chopped dry fruits – already struck with nostalgia. Whether its a festival, any small function at home or an auspicious celebration – that Kheer is imperative.

Creamy and luscious, one spoon is never enough. Such a humble dish yet always a treat for your taste buds. A hot day and the chilled Kheer beckons and with the nip in the air, a bowl of hot Kheer is what is soul-satisfying. The aroma of the saffron and cardamom is quite inviting and the dried fruits adds the much needed richness and crunch to the dish.

With festivals just round the corner, this recipe is not to be missed. Made with basic pantry staples, this recipe is a no brainer. This recipe is a must in your repository. It’s easy to fall in love with it each and every time.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (for 3 – 4 people)

  • 1 litre full fat milk
  • 1/3 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 6 – 7 tbsp sugar (you can adjust the quantity as per your liking)
  • 5 – 6 saffron strands
  • 3 pieces green cardamom, powdered
  • 1 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp blanced and slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp dried rose petals (optional)
  •  10 – 12 pieces cashew nut (optional)

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METHOD:

  • Soak the rice in water for 40 – 45 minutes and rinse it nicey with water several times to remove the starch.
  • Meanwhile put the milk to boil on low flame in a saucepan. Keep stirring it continuously to avoid it from sticking to the botton of the saucepan.
  • Once the milk is reduce to slighlty more than half the quantity, add the soaked rice. Make sure to drain the water and add the rice to the milk.
  • Keep stirring it intermittently and let the rice cook on low flame.
  • Once the rice is 80% cooked and the milk thickens, add sugar to the mixture and stir it.
  • Now once the rice is 95% cooked, add the cardamom powder, saffron strands, cashew nuts, almonds slivers and pistachios and mix it.
  • Remove it from the flame and garnish with dried rose petals. Serve it hot or chilled as you like it!

 

 

Puran Poli – Ganesh Chaturthi Special

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Indian festivals means myraid of colors all around, lots of happiness and smiles and most importantly lots of good food to eat. When I say eat, I actually mean indulge. The gas flame continuously on, everyone gathered in the kitchen, someone being the executive chef of the house making sure everything is on track and as per the plan, some being the sous chef making those sweet and exotic Indian dishes while some being the critic. It is an absolute sight to witness!

Staying away from home makes me nostaligic about every festival. I miss the fun amidst choas and commotion. Childhood memories stir back when mum spent hours in the kitchen making traditional food, everyone wore new clothes and the entire house beautifully adorned with fresh flowers. And not to forget the mandir (temple) of the house is lit up so well and everyone offers their prayer to the Almighty.

Being a mother to a 2 year old little (not so little anymore) master, I try to imbibe traditional values in him. Needless to say his grandparents have nutured the spiritual and religious side in him right from birth and I can already see the seed growing. He loves his Ganpati Bappa, wakes up every morning chanting loudly “Ganpati Bappa Moriya”. He chants the aarti in his sweet little obscure language, wants to blow the mini conch and ring the bell kept in our mandir. And… when he looks at the sweets offered to God, he wants to pounce on it almost instantaneaously.

With Ganesh Chaturthi almost a day away, the prepartions have already started. Festive bells ringing in the house. And this Puran Poli is a traditional dish offered to Lord Ganesha for his love of sweet Indian flatbreads. Soft, sweet and bursting with Indian aromatic spices, this flatbread is a must try recipe to celebrate the coming on Lord Ganesha this year!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 8 parathas)

For the Puri dough:

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + more for rolling out the parathas
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of salt
  • water, to knead

For the filling:

  • 1 cup Chana Dal
  • 3/4 cup jaggery powder (you can remove 1 tbsp jaggeory if you don’t like it too sweet)
  • 2 tbsp ghee + more for frying the flatbread
  • 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3/4 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 5 cardamom pods

METHOD:

For the filling:

  • Soak the chana dal in water for atleast 20 minutes. Once done wash it under running water and drain the water.
  • In a pressure cooker, put the chana daal with water. Cover the lid and allow it to cook for 7 – 8 whistles.
  • Once done, remove it from the heat and allow the steam to escpe completely before opening the lid. Open the lid, strain the excess water and keep the water and the cooked dal aside separately.
  • Meanwhile in a mixer grinder, take fennel seeds, dry ginger power and cardamom pods and grind it until it forms a lump free powder.
  • Heat a saucepan on medium flame. Add ghee and the the spice powder mix made in the previous step. Stir it for 30 – 40 seconds.
  • Add the cooked chana dal and mix it for a minute or so. Now add the jaggery powder and put the gas on low flame. Mix the mixture and allow it to cook stirring occasionaly in a gap of 60 – 90 seconds.
  • The entire mixture should be dry and slightly thick. Once done, remove it from the flame and allow the mixture to cool.
  • In case you can see chana dal pieces, then mash it using a potato masher while it is hot. Keep the mixture aside.

For the dough:

  • Mix whole wheat atta, turmeric powder, salt, oil and water in a bowl and knead it to form a soft dough. Do not add all the water at once. Keep adding water little by little.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep aside for 10 minutes.

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For the Puris:

  • Put the tawa on medium flame.
  • Take 1 1/2 tbsp of the filling and form a ball and keep aside.
  • Take a bit of the dough and using a rolling pin form a small circle. Put the filling in the center. Bring all the edges of the dough to the center and seal it.
  • Sprinkle some flour on the paratha and roll it out to a 7 – 8 inch paratha.
  • Once the tawa is hot put the parathas with spread some ghee on one side.
  • Flip it to the other side after a minute or so and spread some ghee again.
  • Remove it from the pan once cooked on either side.
  • Serve it with homemade ghee or curd.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

Fig and Almond Cake

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Love to eat a cake at breakfast or do you love your tea time with a stumptuous piece of cake? Do not worry because this recipe has got you cravings covered. A simple and delicious cake often needs no introduction. A cake which has been adorning my breakfast and brunch tables these days is a Fig and Almond Cake. It is as pretty as it tastes and darn easy to make!

I must confess as much as I love eating cakes, I am not a bog fan of the frosting and fondants that come along with it. I hated it as a child because it was overly sweet and overpowered the true flavors of the cake and the feeling still prevails. When it comes to my kitchen, I enjoy baking cakes free of frosting. Something which is simple, naked and true to its flavors.

This cake is moist and fluffy. The combination of fresh and dried figs together in the cake is so magical. The subtle cardamom flavors lends an aromatic and spicy nature to the cake. The gorgeous and perfectly toasted almonds on the top adds the perfect crunch to the entire cake. Such simple ingredients yet a pretty little cake that you can never get bored off!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 6 inch cake)

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 egg
  •  3/4 cup plain buttermilk (you can use 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, room temperature + extra for greasing the cake tin
  • 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, for garnishing
  • 10 – 12 fresh figs, cut in circles for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Butter and flour the cake tin and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and salt and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix melted butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract and keep aside.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixture and fold gently.
  • Add the dried figs to the mixture and fold in until its evenly spread.
  • Transfer the mixture to the cake mould. Now top it with fresh fig slices, sliced almonds.
  • Allow the cake to bake in the oven for 22 – 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, allow the cake to cool down, garnish with icing sugar, slice it and eat!

Enjoy!