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Keeping up with the self imposed tradition, celebrated Sunny’s birthday yet again this year. Ma made Nolen Gurer Payesh and I made a few mini cakes and cupcakes.

Recipe source: Ruchik Randhap

Ingredients:r
AP flour / maida – 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 6 tbsp
Powdered Sugar – 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Instant coffee powder – 1 tsp
Salt -1/8th tsp
Odourless oil – 1/4 cup [I used sunflower oil]
White vinegar – 1 tsp, diluted
Vanilla extract/essence – 1 tsp
Water – 3/4 cup
Bottle gourd – 1 cup grated
Method:
1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees C for 10-15mins.
2. Grease a 7″ round cake tin with oil and line it with parchment paper – or just grease it well & dust it with flour. Keep aside.
3. Sift all the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda & coffee powder together in a large bowl
4. Make a small well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients – oil, vinegar, vanilla & water. Mix well.
5. Squeeze out excess water from the bottle gourd and add to the mixture and combine. Pour the contents into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35mins or till the skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 10-15 after which you can gently invert it onto a wire rack and leave it uncovered to cool completely.

PS: I made 2 small cakes and 6 cupcakes with this batter and baked for around 20 mins.

During my childhood days, visits to Udupi would be incomplete without dropping by the very famous Diana. I still remember very well that I always ordered Puri Kurma and Rose Milk. While others would order Diana special cutlets, I would not as much as sniff them. I would happily hog on my favourite palette. There was one more favourite which my Ajja would get parceled from Diana if ever he visited Udupi just for us back home. The dish was Dingri Paneer and it used to taste out of the world. We used to literally lick off the containers. Now that I am a Mommy and educate my kids on how important it is to eat veggies for them to grow ‘beeeg’ and ‘strong’, I have no other way but to eat them myself. Cutlets are one of the best ways to consume lots of veggies while gastronomical pleasure is guaranteed.

On this Valentine’s Day, make these cute looking, tongue tingling, beet red, heart shaped snacks for your loved ones.

Recipe Source: Divya’s Easy Cooking
Ingredients:
Potato – 3 medium, cooked and mashed
Carrots – 3 medium, peeled and grated
Beetroot – 1 big, peeled and grated
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Green chilly – 1, chopped
Garlic – 2-3 cloves, chopped
Salt to taste
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Bread slices – 4, dipped in water and squeezed to a pulp
Bread crumbs – 100 gms
Maida – 2 tbsp
Oil – for frying

Method:
1. Heat oil in a kadai and add green chillies and garlic paste.
2. Saute for a minute and then add the chopped onion.
3. When the onion starts turning light brown, mix in the grated carrot and beetroot.
4. Add garam masala and salt to taste and mix well.
5. Cook on a low flame till the water evaporates and the mix becomes dry.
6. Let it cool and then mix in the mashed potatoes and bread pulp.
7., Make small balls of the mix and flatten it using your palms. You can use a cookie cutter or a round shaped lid of any container to cut into desired shape
8. Keep it in the fridge for a while to firm up.
9. Make a paste using ½ a cup of water and maida. (You may use whisked egg instead)
10. Dip the flattened discs first in the maida-water and then roll it in the bread crumbs.
11. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
12. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying the cutlets. Make sure the oil is really hot before putting in the cutlets.
13. Add the cutlets to the hot oil and fry till they become dark brown on both sides.Serve hot!!

 

No matter how hard I tried, I always failed with this dish in the initial few years of my marriage. Ingredients are minimal and I had no clue how I could go wrong with such a simple dish. Then came a day when a colleague of mine had brought this dish and I hastily asked her the recipe. She gave me almost the same procedure as I did it. I told her that I followed similar method but mine never turned out half as good as this. She gave a tip that I need to use a bit extra oil. Also, I need to add the poppy seed paste only after the veggies are cooked and then keep it uncovered. All I did that day at work was to wait to get back home and better my culinary skills at perfecting this Bengali classic dish.

Ingredients:
Ridge Gourd – 1 medium, cut into 1 cm cubes
Potato – 2-3 medium cut into 1 cm cubes
Onion – 1 medium sized, finely chopped (optional)
Poppy seeds – 2 tbsp
Green Chillies – 3-4 or more as per your spice tolerance
Salt – to taste
Oil – 6 tbsp (I generally mix sunflower oil and mustard oil)
Panch Phoron – 1 tsp (a mix of fennel, cumin, nigella, mustard and fenugreek seeds)

Method:
1. Grind poppy seeds, green chillies and salt in mixie without adding water first. Then grind by adding water little by little until you get a smooth paste. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add panch phoron. Let it splutter.
3. Add onions and saute till tanslucent. (If using onion)
3. Add cubed potatoes and saute till the cubes turn golden in colour.
4. Add ridge gourd cubes, combine. Cover the pan and let it cook in ridge gourd’s juices. If the water seems less at any point you may add a little for the veggies to cook.
5. Once the veggies are cooked, uncover the pan, add the poppy paste and combine. Adjust salt if required
6. Let it cook on high flame till extra moisture evaporates and you get a dry gravy.

  
I had a meagre amount of prawns lying in the freezer. As I was on the lookout for recipes to use it up, I bumped into this recipe by Sandeepa. The original recipe idea belongs apparently belongs to her SIL. My refrigerator always stocks up Brinjals. I decided to give it a try. The recipe was a huge hit. Infact, when we licked off the bowl in which it was served at the end of our meal, Abbas said that his heart ached that such a yummy dish got over too soon. It will certainly feature in our meals frequently from now on.

Ingredients:
Brinjal – 1 medium sized, cut into thin long strips like french fries
Onion – 3 medium sized, sliced
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 small, finely chopped
Green chillies – 3-4 or more as per spice tolerance
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Prawns – 10-15 peeled, deveined, cleaned (I used 8 large ones)
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – handful, chopped
Lemon juice – 1 tsp (Optional, actually I forgot this)
Oil – 6 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp

Method:
1. Marinate prawns with salt and turmeric powder. Shallow fry it, remove from oil. Once cooled, grind to a coarse paste and keep aside.
2. Marinate brinjal fingers in salt, turmeric powder and a pinch of sugar. Keep it aside for a while and then shallow fry them. (Addition of sugar reduces the amount of oil absorbed by brinajl)
3. In the same oil, add sliced onions and saute till golden brown.
4. Add ginger and garlic paste, saute till raw smell goes away.
5. Add chopped tomatoes, use the back of spatula to mash the tomatoes as you go sauteeing.
6. Once tomatoes turn mushy, add chillies, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. and combine. Grind into a smooth paste once it gets cooled.
7. In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil. Add cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds.
8. When they splutter, add the fried brinjal fingers, ground masala paste and ground prawns. Add salt and a little water. Cover and cook till brinjals are cooked and the extra moisture dries out.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Of all the Bengali Fish Curries that feature various veggies in different permutations and combinations, this one is my favourite. Medium sized florets floating in the curry appeal to me more than the fish pieces. Here’s the recipe for ya:

Ingredients:
Rui Fish pieces – 5-6
Cauliflower – 1 small – cut into medium sized florets
Potato – 3 medi sized, cut into quarters
Onion – 2 small or 1 big, finely chopped
Ginger paste – 2″ piece
Tomatoes – 2 small
Cloves – 2-3
Cardamom – 2-3
Cinnamon – 1″ piece
Star anise – 1 (optional)
Bay leaves – 1-2
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp for tempering + 1 tsp for paste
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp + 1 tsp for frying fish
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 5-6 or more depending on spice tolerance
Coriander leaves – a handful chopped
Sugar – a pinch
Oil – 6 tbsp (I generally mix sunflower oil and mustard oil)

Method:
Preparation:
1. Grind ginger and cumin seeds together to a fine paste.
2. Coarsely pound together cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
3. Marinate cleaned fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder. Shallow fry till crisp yet soft from within.
4. In the same oil, add some salt and turmeric powder. Shallow fry cauliflower florets till they turn crispy from outside. Keep aside. Repeat the same with potato cubes.

To make the curry:
1. In the same oil, add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add bay leaves, star anise and pounded garam masala.
2. Once nice aroma emanates, add a pinch of salt, add chopped onion. Saute till onions turngolden brown.
3. Add ginger cumin paste and saute till raw smell goes away.
4. Add chopped tomatoes and slit green chillies, once they turn soft, mash them using the back of spatula.
5. Add red chilli powder, salt and combine.
6. Add shallow fried florets and potato cubes and combine.
7. Add water as per desired consistency. Adjust salt of required. Add fried fish pieces and chopped coriander leaves. Let it boil.
8. After the first boil, cover it and let it cook on sim till the veggies are cooked.

X’mas Fruit Cake


I had decided to make a fruit cake this year long back and got home most of the raw materials required. I was looking for a tried and tested recipe coz it was my first time and I needed a morale booster so that I can continue the tradition year after year. Ria’s recipe of Betty Mammas fuit cake seemed like worth trying. Coz so far her recipes have always won me accolades. I also saw many readers commenting on this post saying how this recipe was a great hit at their household. This recipe yielded me 2 square cakes. One was divided among Abbas’s and my office colleagues and they were liked by all. The other cake got neatly packed in a layer of aluminium foil and then in a cling film and got carried all the way to Gurgaon by train. It was yet again liked by all. So folks, this recipe is a keeper, specially because of the fruit soaking duration which could be as less as overnight.

Ingredients:

To soak the fruits:
Dry fruits – 650g (I used raisins, tart cherries,candied ginger, orange peel & tutti-frutti)
Jam – 2 tsbp(I used Kissan Mango Jam)
Orange juice – ½ cup
Granulated /powdered sugar – 6 tbsp
Rum/brandy – 5 tsp
Lime/lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Vanilla extract – 1 tbsp
Cloves – 12 nos, powdered
Cinnamon – 1″stick, powdered
Nutmeg – 1, powdered

Mix everything together to soak and leave aside, covered atleast for a day/overnight. If you are soaking it for more than 3 days, leave it covered in the fridge.

For the cake:
Unsalted butter – 250g
Sugar – 300g, powdered (I used Demerara sugar)*
Eggs – 5 nos, separated
Granulated sugar – 5 tbsp
Aall purpose flour – 200g
Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
Cashewnuts – 100 g
Milk – 3/4 c
Semolina/Rava – 50g

Granulated sugar to caramelize – 1 1/2 c
Hot water – 3/4 c

Method:
To caramelise sugar*: Take a heavy bottomed sauce pan & add the sugar. Keep it over medium to high heat and let it caramelise to almost black in colour.As soon as it reaches that colour, switch off the stove ,step back and pour the hot water little by little stirring all the way. This is caramel syrup and this is what that decides the colour of the cake.

Preparing the cake tin: Line the bottom and sides of 2 8″ round cake tins with parchment/butter paper. Please don’t skip this step or else the sides of the cake will turn hard after the long baking time.

For the cake batter:
1. Beat together the egg whites & 6 tbsp granulated sugar till glossy and stiff.
2. Cream butter and sugar together till pale and fluffy. 

3. Add in the egg yolks one at a time and beat well after each addition.
4. Add in the soaked dry fruits and beat it just to mix it well. Add in the flour, baking powder and rava/semolina. Beat well to mix everything together. 
5. Add milk and caramel syrup.Beat it just so that everything is mixed in well. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
6. Pour the cake batter into prepared tins.

To bake:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F for 10 mins and position the rack in the centre of the oven.
2. Bake the cake for 1 hour 45 minutes. If you see that the top is browning faster, place a loose sheet of aluminium foil over the cake tins.
3. Make sure you start checking the doneness after 1 hour, because each oven is different.

* Note:
The changes that I made to the recipe:
1. I used Demerara sugar instead of powdered sugar.
2. I caramelized sugar till almost black in colour but when I tasted it, I thought it was bitter and was scared to add it to the batter. So I made caramelized sugar all over again and this time only till it attained a pale brown colour. That’s why my cake’s colour is not that dark but the taste was awesome.
3. I skipped adding rum on top of the cake but it is still so moist even after it got packed and travelled long distance.

 

Orange Yoghurt Cake

Can’t believe that a month passed by since last month’s Sweet Punch. I woke up only when fellow bloggers began posting their recipes. I didn’t want to miss this month’s challenge and hence, a late entry yet again.

This recipe is a breeze to make. Just dump all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix well and pour into the prepared baking tin and pop into the oven. It’s as easy as that. Only addition I made is the addition of chocolate chips. The resulting cake is ‘oh so delicious’ just like Suma says in her post about it. The cake was moist and absolutely melting in the mouth. I guess this is the first time I am baking with a fruit. Lemme straight away go to the recipe.

Recipe Source: Cakes and More

Ingredients:
AP Flour – 1 cup
Sugar – 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (I used only 1/2 cup and found the sweetness apt)
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Baking soda – 1/8 tsp
Pinch of salt
Plain whole-milk yogurt – 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil – 1/4 cup
Orange zest – 1 tsp
Orange juice – 1 tbsp (I added juice of one small orange)
Egg – 1 large
Pure vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
Chocolate Chips – 1 tbsp (Optional)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius(350 F).
2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan.
3. Sift flour, sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt.
4. Whisk together yogurt, oil, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla in a bowl.
5. Fold in the wet mixture into the flour mixture. Pour into pan. Sprinkle choco chips on top evenly. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Dust one table spoon sugar on top of the cake(optional).


Kadai Chicken

I always lookout for new chicken curry recipes whenever there are guests coming over. For one, I like to experiment and secondly, to feed my blog. When Deepa of Hamaree Rasoi posted this, I was absolutely drooling over the dish. And she also wrote in that post that she had cooked this dish many times and each time the strike rate was 100%. She has some amazing collection of recipes, takes a lot of effort in presentation and her creativity brings out beautiful pics of the food she cooks. Every time she posts, I just wish if there could be a mechanism to eat right from the monitor. 
Coming to the recipe, I made it when we had 3 guests coming. I made the curry with a kilo of Chicken and there was no leftover, mind you. The bowl was clean. I took the above pic just before they arrived in a hurry and thought I’ll click later. That explains how delicious this dish is. Thanks Deepa for sharing your signature recipe.
Ingredients:
Chicken – 1/2 kg, cut into medium pieces
Onions – 3 big, ground to paste
Garlic – 3-4 pods
Ginger – 1″ piece
Green Chillies – 2-3
Tomatoes – 3, ground to paste
Kasoori Methi – 2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Capsicum – 1, diced
Cream – 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
For marination:
Curd – 3/4 cup
Garlic 5-6 pods
Ginger – 1″, chopped
Green chillies – 3-4
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp

Method:
1. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make a paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies with curd. Add all the ingredients called for in the marination. Mix well and keep aside for atleast half an hour.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in kadai and fry marinated chicken till all the curd liquid is soaked up and its crisp on the outside. Keep aside.
3. In the same kadai, add remaining oil and fry onion paste till raw smell disappears. 
4. Add ginger garlic paste and green chillies.
5. Add salt and stir well for another 5 mins.
6. Add tomato paste and fry till it leaves oil. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder and combine.
7. Add chopped capsicum, chicken, kasoori methi and sprinkle garam masala and combine.
8. Add 1/2 cup water if you want gravy. Cover and cook for 10 mins or till chicken is cooked.
9. Add cream, mix well and cook for 2 mins before removing from heat. 
10. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with flavored rice or Indian bread.
This is a typical Konkani Sweet Dish that gets made during festivities. One of our aunt’s mom was an expert in making these. They are the melt in your mouth kind and bite sized. Just pop one into your mouth and experience the bliss. I can never eat just one. I had absolutely forgotten about this sweet until recently I saw it in The India Food Court. The author Prathibha has given a beautiful step by step pictorial for making it. She made it appear so simple, so I had to give it a try… 
For the dough:
Maida – 1 cup
Chiroti Rawa / Fine Suji – 2 tsp
Melted Ghee – 1 tsp
Water – Around 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Method:
Mix all the above ingredients and knead into a firm but pliable dough. Keep it covered for about half an hour.
For the filling:
Thin poha / beaten rice – 2-3 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
Green Cardamom – 8-10
Method:
1. Dry roast Poha in a Pan so that it crimples and turns crispy.  Ensure that it does not change its colour. Keep aside
2. Dry roast sugar in a pan till it begins crystallizing. Keep aside. Once cooled, grind together poha, sugar and cardamom into a coarse powder.
Method for assembling the final dish:
1. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
2. Pinch a small ball from the dough and roll it to a thin disc (1mm thickness) 
3. When the oil is hot, just add the disc into it, fry on both sides for not more than 30 secs.
4. Remove it from pan. Add a tsp of the sugar-poha powder.
5. Fold it in a semi circle. Again sprinkle little more powder on it and fold into a triangle.
6. Roll this in the powder once and keep aside.
7. Once the Mandos come to room temperature, they may be preserved in an air tight container.
Note:
1. In the original recipe, the discs were folded in the oil itself. I tried doing it. But I guess I need more practice and expertise for that. So I did all the folding only after removing the disc from oil.
2. If you are rolling the discs ahead before frying, make sure you don’t pile them one on top of the other. Place them separately and covered.

Mushroom Suimai / Momo

In my previous post, I shared the recipe of Sichuan Sauce. Here’s the recipe for momo. I used mushroom filling for the momos.

For Wanton Wrappers:
Maida – 1/2 cup
Warm water – 1/4 cup

Method:
1. Knead maida with warm water to make a firm dough.
2. Roll the dough into a large thin square sheet, about one millimetre think. Cut the sheet into three-inch squares.

For the mushroom filling:
Mushroom – 15-20, cleaned and chopped
Onion – 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Sesame oil – 1 tbsp (I used sunflower oil)
White pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Soya sauce – 1/2 tsp
Green chillies – 1-2, finely chopped (optional)
Salt – to taste

Method:
1. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onions till translucent.
2. Add rest of the ingredients and cook till mushrooms are cooked and extra moisture is evaporated.
3. Divide into 16 equal portions.
4. Place a wanton wrapper on your palm, put a portion of filling on it, gather the edges of the wrapper and pinch firmly together to form a dumpling.
5. Do the same with rest of the wrappers and filling.
6. Steam the dumplings for 8-10 mins or until cooked and translucent. (Since I don’t have a Momo steamer, I used my Idli Steamer. But it took about15-20 mins for the momos to cook)
7. Serve hot with Sichuan Sauce.