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Monday, March 28, 2016

Jaggery rasgullas

I had read a few blogs about nolen gur rasgullas .I had seen images as well.I wanted to make them & see if they tasted good.I saw a You tube video as well.

My friend came visiting.I thought , why not make it & let her taste  them.The worst that could happen was the rasgullas might break .And she may not relish them. My fears turned out to be unfounded & the effort was worth it !

Ingredients : 0.5 litres non fat milk ( I use Amul Taaza Milky Milk which has fat content of 3.5 % & SNF content 8.5 % ) , 1  lemon cut into 2 halves, 1/2-3/4 cup jaggery, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, ghee for greasing palms .

Method : Pour contents of 500 ml Amul Milk into a vessel.Start warming it up on gas.As soon as , the malai formation is noticed , start squeezing the lemon drop by drop.In between keep stirring the milk.Milk will start coagulating leaving a clear watery liquid behind. After ,a clear liquid is obtained, stop squeezing the lemon. Put off the gas.Stir the coagulated milk some more time so that all coagulated matter is lumped together & clear liquid is visible .Strain  the coagulated solids into a thin cotton cloth.Run water on to it for  3-4 times so that the smell of lemon juice vanishes.Collect the clear liquid in a vessel This clear liquid can be used to cook rice & even for kneading atta .This clear liquid is rich in nutrients.

Squeeze the water from the coagulated milk solids by bringing all corners of the cloth( in which the milk solids have collected ) together .Keep it aside. Keep a heavy vessel on this cloth containing the milk solids so as to gently squeeze away the remnant water due to the weight of the vessel pressing down on the cloth.Keep aside for half an hour.

Meanwhile take 2-3 cups of water & keep it for boiling in a wide pressure pan .Keep gas on slow mode.Add the jaggery pieces .Jaggery can be grated and added as well.Grated jaggery will make the syrup ready in lesser time.

Take the coagulated milk solids from the cloth.This is the soft paneer or chenna. Knead the chenna for nearly 10-15 minutes nicely till it becomes very soft.Grease palms with a little ghee & make small chenna balls.With half litre Amul Taaza Milky Milk, 12 chenna balls can be made.

The jaggery syrup would have started boiling now. Add cardamom powder to it. Drop the chenna balls one by one into the syrup.Add more water if the chenna balls are not completely drowned in water. Close the lid of the pressure pan. Put on the whistle.Turn the gas knob to high mode.After the first whistle, turn  down the know to slow mode & cook for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, put off the gas.

Let the pressure pan cum cooker cool down .this will take 15- 20 minutes. Take out the whistle.THen slowly open the lid. The jaggery rasgullas are ready.

Cool them to room temperature. Refrigerate them & savour them at leisure ! Though, it would be impossible.....I want to eat them as soon as possible !

All my friends, who ate them liked the taste ! It is difficult to make out that jaggery has been used in syrup.

And they look so divine...gold balls in a golden lake ! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Almond milk banana cake

I was planning to bake a cake.I thought about making a coffee & even a date cake.Then ,I realised that the bananas were going to get overripe soon.My kid will eat banans when they are just ripe not over ripe.So ,I had to make a banana cake.My kid broght some berries ( assorted in a packet worth Rs 160 /- ) .As any mom, I saw red. Then ,she proceeded to make a smoothie with a handful of those berries & almond milk.The berries just got a little crushed & stayed at the bottom.They were not blending with the almond  milk.She then strained the berries.And she realised that she will not be able to either drink the strained almond milk ,collected in a glass nor able to gulp down the berry mix that lay in the strainer. She left them  like that on the kitchen platform.I was cross as almond milk is too steeply priced just like the berries.This is because she liked the appearance of neither the strained almond milk nor that of the strained berries .So much so, that she left without tasting either of them ! So,I thought ,it would be a good idea to use both the almond milk as also the strained berry mix in banana cake.Otherwise,I would have used yoghurt, in place of almond milk  as it gives good results.

I googled & got many vegan cake recipes. I mixed up the many recipes .

Ingredients : 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup maida, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 cup oil, 4 medium to small bananas ( the over ripe they are ,better for the cake ) , 1 -2 tbsp berry mix ( optional ) , 1 cup almond milk, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, salt to taste, a handful of almonds for garnish,water if needed.

Method : Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Add 1 tsp apple cider vinegar to the 1 cup almond milk to curdle it.Keep aside.

In a bowl, mix whole wheat flour, maida, baking powder, baking soda, salt & sugar.Mix all many times over with whisk or fork.Keep aside.This is the dry mix.

Blend the berry mix with the bananas. Add oil & curdled almond milk to banana berry mix. Mix nicely.This is the wet mix.

 Make a well in the centre of the dry mix.Add the wet mix slowly into the dry mix well.Blend the dry & wet mix. Blend till you get a batter.If , it is getting very dry or not blending as wet mix is insufficient, add water spoon by spoon. A smooth batter must be obtained without any lumps.

Line a baking vessel with butter paper. Pour the batter into the baking vessel on the butter paper. Arrange the almonds on the batter in any pattern .Bake at 180 degrees  in oven for 45-50 minutes or till  a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

Mine was wet when 50 minutes were over. Actually,I baked for 50 minutes.Next,I went out for my evening walk.I returned after one & half hours.I inserted a knife & it came out wet.I was horrified. I baked it at 180 degrees for another 10 minutes.I then put the oven in microwave mode & baked in microwave mode for 4-5 minutes.Then ,allowed it to cool inside the oven for 15-20 minutes.I again inserted a knife & this time it came out clean. I was relieved.I kept the cake out of the oven to cool .After half an hour, I put the baking vessel upside down on to a plate.Tap the bottom of the baking vessel.The cake will drop down on to the plate. Cut into desired shapes & serve.

I found it crumbly. The cake was breaking.And yet, the texture was superb ! It was yumm !

The almonds were making it very difficult to cut the cake into thin slices.I was forced to cut the cake into thick slices ( size of slice equalled the almond length  ).A food blogger blogs that almonds need to be chopped & toasted before being used in cakes & breads .I need to keep that in mind.Perhaps toasted almonds would make cutting thin slices easier !

I cover the baking vessel with aluminum foil so that top of cake does not get burnt. In this instance, I forgot to do so.I realised it when 29 minutes were over. I switched off oven & covered the top of baking vessel with foil & then continued baking. Usually,I cover with foil during the first thirty minutes or more.Last ten minutes, I switch off , remove foil & continue baking.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Baked potato wedges

I had read that potato wedges can be baked instead of being deep fried fried. So I thought, why not bake some potato wedges ?

I googled & read many recipes.Some recipes said that potatoes must be heated in boiling water & then baked at temperatures ranging above 200 degrees celsius. My microwave cum convection oven has an upper temperature limit of 200 degrees celsius.With this temperature as a limitation,I went ahead & baked.

Ingredients : 2 large potatoes peeled & chopped into wedges, 2-3 tbsp olive oil ( I think any cooking oil should be fine ) , 1/4 tsp pepper powder, 1/4 tsp red chilli powder, salt to taste.

Method : Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

As I peeled the potatoes,I made sure,the peeled potatoes were soaked in water.This helps as potatoes amy discolour to black .This helps in reducing starch from potatoes as well.Cut the peeled potatoes into wedges.Let the wedges remain soaked in water as other ingredients get assembled.

Take a large bowl.Drain the water & put the potato wedges into the bowl.Add pepper powder, red chilli powder ,salt & oil into the bowl.Gently toss all ingredients .This will help in getting all spices & oil coated all over the wedges.

Take a tray & line it with butter paper. Arrange the potato wedges singly one after another on the butter paper.No poatao wedges should be on top of another wedges. Bake at 200 degrees celcius for 35-40 minutes or till they turn golden brown & crisp .

Serve with ketchup or sauce or chutni or any dip of choice.

This was my first attempt at wedges.They do not look golden brown & yet , my kid & her friend who had come over loved it .So my baking passed the test,I believe !

Hope to have better snap of the wedges, next time around.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sindhi kadhi

My mami had made Sindhi Kadhi for us when we visited their home years back.That taste lingers on ! This kadhi was on must try list.This week ,when I went veggie shopping, I made it a point to pick up gavar or cluster beans as I am not fond of it & hardly ever buy it. Also ,I had looked up Sindhi Kadhi on Sindhi Rasoi & made a mental list of veggies ,I needed.By the way ,Sindhi Rasoi has very delectable chaat recipes.

I have this habit of googling the recipe & checking it on many blogs to see if I can get away with an easier method as I am too lazy to try anything with patience. I tried a you tube video of Sindhi Kadhi ( she used carrots & even red pumpkin ) & another by Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.Hence, my recipe is a mix of all these.

Ingredients : 2-3 tbsp besan, 2-3 medium tomatoes ( grated or pureed in mixer ) , 15-20 gavar , stringed & chopped into finger size pieces,  1 drum stick chopped into finger size pieces, 6-8 okra or ladies fingers slit into two lengthwise, 1 medium carrot ( peeled & cut into thin pieces lengthwise ) , 1 medium potato ( peeled & cut into thin wedges ) , 1 green chilli finely chopped, 1 tsp grated ginger,  8-10 curry leaves,1 tbsp tamarind paste,2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1tsp jaggery, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/tsp jeera , 1/4 tsp methi seeds, 1/4 tsp haldi, 1/4 tsp hing, salt to taste, some fresh coriander for the garnish, 1-2 cups water or as needed.

Method : Heat 1 tbsp oil in pressure pan or thick bottomed vessel.Add mustard, jeera ,methi seeds.When they splutter add, green chillies, grated ginger & curry pattas .Saute all nicely.Add 2-3 tbsp besan & roast it in the vessel nicely for 10-12 minutes till  besan gets browned slightly.Keep on roasting with spoon on low flame or besan might get burnt. Add tomato puree & mix nicely. Add all veggies except okra.Mix nicely. Add red chilli powder ,haldi , hing & salt. Mix nicely.Add 1 cup water.Pressure cook upto 1 whistle Then lower flame & keep cooker on slow flame for 10 minutes.Put off gas.

In a kadhai , saute the okra pieces for 8-10 minutes.Put off gas.Add these okhta pieces to the pressure cooker curry.Add tamarind paste. Add jaggery. Mix nicely.Simmer on slow flame for about 5 minutes.If the curry is too thick, 1/2 to 1 cup water can be added at this stage. Put off gas. Serve Sindhi Kadhi garnished with fresh coriander.

Tips : I had added salt later, almost towards the end.that's why maybe, drumsticks got all overcooked. Next time around,I will try cooking drumsticks separately & add them along with okras towards the end of the recipe.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Vegan Apple cake

I had always admired this one cake on Madhuram's blog .I love the texture of the cake.And yet, the quantity of grating many apples put me off always.This time around, since the refrigerator was overflowing with apples ,I decided it was high time, I made this cake.

I replaced some ingredients & got a nice cake.

Ingredients : 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup maida, 1 tbsp flax seed meal, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup apple sauce, 1 + 3/4 cup tightly packed peeled, deseeded & grated apple, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder, a pinch of salt.

Method : Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Mix dry ingredients together except sugar & flaxseed meal .  Mix whole wheat flour, maida, baking soda, cinnamon & salt.Mix nicely many times over with a whisk.Keep aside.

Add flaxseed meal to apple sauce & mix.Keep aside .

Add sugar to grated apple.It will release lot of water. Add applesauce flax seed meal mix to this apple sugar mix.Mix nicely. Make a well in the centre of the dry atta-maida-soda-cinnamon -salt  mix .Into this well ,pour the dry mix. Make a batter by mixing dry & wet ingredients nicely.If ,needed add water drop by drop.I had to add almost 1/4 - 1/2 cup water . This batter turns out thick unlike other cake batters as there is too much apple in it.Keep aside.

Take a baking vessel.Line the inside of the baking vessel with butter paper.Pour the batter into the vessel on to the butter paper. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 40-45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

I have started baking the cake for 2-4 minutes in microwave mode after convection baking is over to remove all doubts about batter remaining uncooked.

I got a dry cake.Of course, I was able to cut it into nice shapes. So many apples had gone into it & yet, I was unable to detect taste of any apples .Even cinnamon for that matter.So maybe 1/2 tsp cinnamon needs to be added in place of 1/4 tsp.

Flaxseed meal provides the good fat.Yet, since , this cake was dry ( though not crumbly ) , I should have used 2-4 tbsps of oil .It would have turned out moist & nicer, perhaps.Those are the tips for the next time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sweet potato cutlets.

Sweet potatoes are full of fibres.Hence healthier than potatoes.My mom makes a raita with sweet poataoes.Just boil them till soft.Peel them, mash them.Add vagar of mustard, jeera, urad dal ,green n byadgi chillies,  urad dal, curry pattas ,haldi & hing.Add dahi.Mix nicely.Add salt to taste ! Mix once again ! This raita can be a dip as well ! Needless to add, I love it !

I made sweet potato cutlets earlier.I had posted the recipe as a  guest post on a friend's blog .

Its been years since that guest post.Hence, this post on my blog now.

Ingredients : 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes-pressure cooked , peeled & mashed , 4-5 bread slice (white or brown ) , 1-2 medium sized carrots cleaned, peeled & grated, 2-3 green chillies, few curry leaves ( optional ) , 1 tsp flax seed powder ( optional ) , 1/2 tsp haldi, 1/4 tsp hing powder, 1tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp grated ginger, 2-3 tbsp oil , salt taste.

Method : Break bread slices into small pieces ( 4-5 ) .Add these broken bread slices in mixer.Add roughly chopped green chillies, kadi pattas, grated ginger in mixer. Churn the mixer for a few seconds.A powdered mix of bread , curry leaves, hari mirchi & ginger will be obtained. I love this mixing in mixer as this mix is easy to mix with other ingredients in making cutlets.And obviously ,I am lazy ! Keep aside.

In a large bowl, take the mashed sweet potatoes.Add haldi ,hing ,grated carrots .Add the powdered bread mix kept aside.Add salt, flax seed powder,& lemon juice. Mix all the things in bowl nicely .Knead it till a soft dough is obtained. I did not feel need to add any water. You can add water if you feel it is too dry.

Spread a tablespoon of oil on a tawa. Put on the gas so that the tawa starts heating up. Start making small balls with the dough. Press the doughs on greased palms & make medium to large sized  pedas by pressing the balls. Put these pedas on the heated tawa.Fry till they turn golden brown .Flip them up & fry on the other side till they turn golden brown on the other side as well.

Serve the cutlets with tomato ketchup or tomato sauce or chutni of choice.

Tip : One can add fresh dhania cleaned & finely chopped while mixing the dough. I am too lazy to do this. Grated & peeled beetroot can be added. This will turn the cutlets dark pink & more nutritious. Add spices of choice. Garam masala , dhania jeera powders etc. Though , I suggest, just add little. Spices should not mask taste of sweet potatoes.