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.....a melange of recipes,food stories,and adventures in my kitchen

Updated: 2018-03-06T15:36:27.506+05:30


Thandai Yogurt Panna Cotta with Rose syrup....Holi Special


With the most major and vibrant festival of India round  the corner the Indian blogosphere is buzzing with delicacies.Yes ,I am talking about the festival of colours Holi, the festival of sharing love, the festival of fun and frolic.The use of colours symbolises the prosperous and colourful spring after the winter. Its a joyous celebration of the rejuvenation of nature, of happiness and peaceful coexistence.This festival overcomes the barrier of language, caste and creed and portrays love and brotherhood. Smearing of colours on each other's faces, throwing water filled balloons, dousing buckets of coloured water on each other, music, dance, loads of sweets and of course the Holi special Bhaang and Thandai is what this festival is all about.Thandai is a very popular drink of North India served during Mahashivratri and Holi. Its a cold drink prepared from a mixture of almonds, watermelon seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, pepper, vetiver seeds, rose petals, saffron, milk and sugar. Its taken in chilled form and is terrific when the temperatures soar and cools you down, as the name suggests. Thandai is available off the shelves in the form of powder or paste or else can be prepared at home and stored.The 31st Foodie Monday Bloghop Theme is Thandai special and Fusion. I love the racking of my brains when the word fusion crops up in the food world. And after quite a bit of nerve wrecking thinking about what our guests would love to gorge on after playing Holi in the piercing, scorching heat of Goa, I finally zeroed down on a chilled Yogurt Panna Cotta flavoured with Thandai with a rose syrup drizzle on top.Yogurt, Thandai and Rose, all have cooling properties  and I am sure this platter of chilled dessert is going to soothe their system as well as give a stylish fusion touch to my Holi buffet table.Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert prepared by cooking cream, sugar and gelatine. I have used Greek yogurt in the recipe with a little cream which gives a nice creamy texture to it and the addition of Thandai gives a spicy edge to it because of the pepper present in the Thandai and the cooling rose syrup imparts the desired amount of sweetness.The garnish of pistachios, almonds and saffron with fresh rose petals gives the Italian Panna Cotta a gorgeous Indian look. I have used store brought Thandai paste but for making at home, the best Thandai powder recipe is available in my talented friend Alka's Blog Culinary Xpress.Ingredients ( serves 4,in small ramekins)For the Panna Cotta7 fl oz Cream10 oz Greek Yogurt/ Hung Yogurt3 Tbsp  Fine Sugar1 Tbsp  Gelatine1/4 C hot water1/4 C Thandai Paste,store broughtFor the Garnish4 tbsp Rose Syrup ,store broughtA handful almonds and pistachios,choppedA few strands of saffronA few Fresh rose petals or dehydrated rose petalsMethodFor the Panna Cotta mix the gelatin with the hot water properly till no lumps remain and keep aside.In a heavy bottomed saucepan gently heat the cream with sugar over low flame just enough for the sugar to dissolve, stirring all the time.Remove from heat and add the gelatin mixture and mix till incorporated, set aside for cooling for 10 mins.Meanwhile loosen the thick yogurt with a whisk in a bowl.Once cool add the cream mixture and the Thandai paste to the yogurt and whisk gently together.Now pour the cool creamy yogurt mix in ramekins evenly filling them up,cover them with cling film and refrigerate for 5-6 hours to set properly.For plating the Panna  Cotta, dip each ramekin in warm water for a minute and invert it onto a serving plate .Add a few drops of water to the rose syrup if you feel it's very thick and drizzle on the Panna cotta.Serve garnished  with slivered almonds,pistachios,saffron strands and rose petals.This version of Panna Cotta can also be made in individual glasses, garnished and served.Other than this fusion Panna Cotta I have Pomegranate Jelly and vanilla Yogurt Panna Cotta and Poached Peach and vanilla Panna Cotta recipes in my blog.Enjoy the heavenly fusion dessert and a happy vibrant Hol[...]

Murgh Shahjahani/ Chicken Shahjahani


Murgh Shahjahani...the name itself sounds so royal and transports you to the Shahi Mughal Era, it's history, art, culture, architecture and the rich culinary legacy they bequeathed to us. According to food historian  Salma Husain, there's more to Mughlai cuisine than the greasy mashup of masala and oil. She says in her recent book which is on Mughal emperors and their food habits that there was a subtelty to the cuisine which is missing in this age' s Mughal fare. Mughal cooking was a riot of colours and fragrances and her book gives an insight to how Mughal cooking evolved from Central Asian blandness to Indian richness. This delightful creamy Chicken dish is cooked with aromatic spices,cashew nut  paste ,yogurt and cream which give a nice smoothness to the rich gravy.Shahjahani is a method of cooking where the ingredients are simmered for a long time.This is a famous dish in Agra and every gourmet hotel and  every roadside stall in the gullies near the Taj Mahal offer this speciality and it's a hit.The internet is full of Shahjahani Murgh recipes and every recipe is different from the other but cashewnuts and yogurt are a common ingredient in every recipe. Thankfully I have stuck to one of my favourite recipe book "Chicken Delight " compiled by the MasterChefs of India and this book has been a saviour since the year I got married. I have churned out succulent chicken tikkas to creamy curries for my guests from this book and the masterchefs have never let me down.Though the recipe doesn't ask for marination,I personally prefer to marinate the raw chicken with masalas as marinating infuses the flavours and keeps the chicken moist while cooking.Ingredients1 kg Chicken,curry cut5 tbsp Refine oil2 Bayleaves/ Tej patta3 (1cm) pcs Cinnamon/ Dalchini8 Green Cardamoms / Choti Elaichi2/3 Tsp Caraway Seeds/ ShahJeera8 Cloves/ laung1 C onion ,chopped1 tsp Turmeric Powder1 tsp Chilli powder5 tsp Ginger paste5 tsp Garlic paste1/2 C Cashewnut Paste/ Kaju paste 3/4 C Yoghurt ,whisked1 C Hot WaterSalt to taste2 1/2 tbsp Cream3 Eggs ,boiled and quartered1 1/2 tsp Black Cardamom/ Badi Elaichi PwdrA small bunch fresh coriander,choppedMethodMarinate the chicken with little turmeric,salt and chilli powder for half an hour.Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan over medium heat.Add the Bayleaves,cinnamon sticks,green cardamoms,caraway seeds and cloves,sauté until the spices begin to crackle.Add the chopped onions,turmeric and chilli powder,sauté for a minute.Add the ginger garlic pastes,fry for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell goes away.Now mix in the Cashewnut paste and sauté for  a minute.Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.Pour in the whisked yoghurt with the hot water and salt( make sure you put only to cater for the masala as the chicken has already been marinated with the salt),cover and simmer for 10 -15 minutes more over low flame.Finally when the chicken is cooked add the cream and black cardamom powder and mix.Serve garnished with the eggs and chopped coriander.[...]

Chocolate swirled Banana Loaf as my first entry for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop


Chocolate and banana make one amazing combination and to die for. And when I got to know the theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop as Microwave cooking I knew I had to bake this cake which was on my to do list since long.Starting from this Monday I am a part of this talented group of food bloggers who have included me in their group and I am one of the privileged few.This is the 30th Foodie Monday Blog Hop and the theme is Microwave cooking which includes not only cooking in Microwave mode but in Grill, Convection and Combination mode too.There is something genuinely very therapeutic about baking.Whenever I am feeling low I turn to baking and have always felt the erratic negative energy fade away. Basically it is constructive and helps to focus and it's impossible to describe the immense amount of satisfaction that I get seeing my own creations.This Chocolate swirled Banana Loaf had been in my mind for ages since the time I saw it in At the corner of Happy and Harried .Just one look at the chocolate and banana treat is enough to say that it won't stay in the cake tin for long. Its a nice way to use the ripe bananas sitting on the kitchen counter. Its a lovely teatime cake and perfect for picnics too. This marbled chocolate banana loaf has zero butter and the addition of oil and buttermilk keeps it moist and soft and makes it comparatively healthy.I doubled the measurements to make some swirled cupcakes in addition to the loaf for my little one's lunch box.I am planning to pipe the cupcakes with ganache next time I bake these for my children's tea parties once the holidays set in.Ingredients1 3/4 C. All purpose flour2  large Eggs1/2 C Safflower ,Canola or any refined Oil1/3 C Buttermilk1 C Brown Sugar1 tsp Baking Soda1C  2-3 Mashed Bananas1 tsp Vanilla extract3 Tbsp Dark Cocoa Powder1/2 tsp SaltMethodTurn on the microwave to Convection mode.Adjust the temperature to 170 deg C.Pre heat the oven to this temperature and grease a loaf pan and line with a parchment paper.Sift the flour, soda and salt together in a bowl and keep aside.In a mixing bowl beat the eggs,oil and buttermilk together till well mixed and creamy.Add the mashed bananas, brown sugar and vanilla and mix till combined.Add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter and mix till just combined.Remove 1/3 rd of the batter in a different bowl and mix the cocoa powder with it and mix well.Pour spoonfuls of both the batters alternately in a loaf pan and with the help of a skewer or knife make a few swirls along the batter making sure to go down till the base of the pan.Bake for 40-45 minutes or till a skewer or toothpick inserted comes out clean.Am sending this delightful chocolate swirled banana loaf to the 30th Foodie Monday Blog Hop for the Microwave Cooking Theme.And to Sarah of Maison Cup Cake and Helen of Casa Costello for their weekly event Bake Of the Week.[...]

Valentine special...Gajar halwa cheesecake pie/ Indian style carrot pudding cheesecake pie


Last one month has been hectic, like a roller coaster ride with loads of housework, looking after the kids, my voluntary work, social commitments and so on.Sometimes blogging does take a backseat with priorities coming my way.I am just back from the city of Destiny,Vizag after attending the International Fleet Review where my better half performed for the air show and I sat there in the enthralled audience mesmerised and proud as he and his fly boys roared in the Vizag skies in their fighter jets defying gravity with their heart flipping manoeuvres.Like many people I also knew what the words duty, loyalty, respect, selfless service, honour, integrity and courage meant.But how often do we see someone living upto those values. In the defence services I see the soldiers living them everyday, every moment and in everything they do whether on duty or off duty.With the hubby embarked on the aircraft carrier as usual, this Valentines Day is also a lonely one withthe kids to give me company. Well, after eighteen long years I am used to the embarkations and deployments and there's no use cribbing and complaining about something that's not in our hands. Myself and the kids have reconciled to the fact that he is for our country and that's what gives him satisfaction. My heart cries for my kids when they feel sad and miss the father's presence on their birthdays, school annual day, sports day and important days in their lives. On occasions like these I cook his favourite dishes and we miss him a little less.Gajar ka halwa being one of his favourite desserts and with the bright red carrots thronging the veggie market I decided to make a fusion dish with the carrots.After my cheesecake classes I had some cream cheese lying in the refrigerator and the idea of this unique cheesecake struck me.I made them in small tart moulds and  a pie dish to give a different look to the no bake eggless cheesecake.The cheesecake pie turned out to be perfect and mind blowing with the unique flavour of gajar ka halwa ,a perfect fusion of the East and West and a keeper for sure .A little different from the usual chocolates and strawberries dominating the Valentines Day menu and that's what makes it distinct from the rest. IngredientsFor the Gajar ka halwa/ Indian style carrot pudding1/2 kg Fresh Red Carrots,grated1 lt full fat milk1/2 tin Sweetened Condensed Milk1/2 C sugar1/2 tsp cardamom powder2 tbsp ghee/ clarified butterChopped dry fruitsFor the Pie Crust1 C biscuit crumbs,powdered in the grinderA little less than1/3 C melted butterFor the Cheesecake 3 oz Whipping Cream4 1/2 oz  Cream cheese1/2 C Gajar ka halwa2 tbsp powdered sugarA pinch cardamom powderFor the garnish1 tbsp Pistachios,chopped2 tbsp Gajar ka halwaMethodFor the Gajar ka HalwaCook the grated carrots with the milk  in a wok in medium flame, stirring in between till the milk dries up,takes around 30-40 minutes.Add the condensed milk and sugar and cook till it dries up again,for nearly 20 minutes.Add the Ghee ,dry fruits and cardamom powder and fry the halwa for 10-15 mins stirring constantly till the colour changes to a bright red colour .Fry till the consistency you want,I like mine a little dry.Switch off the flame.For the pie crustAdd the melted butter to the ground biscuits and mix till well combined ,I use digestive biscuits.Press into the bottom and sides of a 8 inch pie dish with a removable base uniformly.Refrigerate for 15 minutes while you prepare the cheesecake.For the CheesecakeWhip the whipping cream in a hand mixer for 3 minutes till it stands in soft peaks.Make sure the whipping cream is cold.Add the cream cheese and sugar ( if needed)and mix with the cream with the mixer in low speed till incorporated.Add the gajar ka halwa( room temperature)and  cardamom powder and combine all with a spatula in the cut and fold method gently.Pour the mixture into the pie dish and garnish with gajar ka halwa and chopped pistachios.Return the dish back to the fridge and [...]

Perfect Snickers Brownies


One more year has passed away into history and how time flies just right by you. The last few years have been a blur, like a whirlwind ...moments have just rushed past.The beautiful moments in life always accelerate  and you want to grasp it and hold on to it as long as possible.My kids are growing up so fast..the elder one has already shot past me and the younger one is growing out of my lap.Soon will be facing the empty nest syndrome and am already dreading it.If only we could have a time machine and we can go back to spend some precious times with our children.I know I will pay anything to have another day with my kids when they were babies.And during one of those gloomy days,pondering over my thoughts I baked these gooey, chewy,moist,heavenly brownies layered with snickers for my babies.This was sitting in my drafts since a month and what better day than first post of a brand new year, my favourite and the perfect chocolate brownie.My perfect brownie is chewy in the sides and fudgy in the middle.The added melted chocolate makes these brownies more dense ,rich and chocolatey.The addition of snickers to the batter takes it to a different level altogether.You can personalise it by adding candies,nuts or chocolate chips but the basic brownie recipe remains the same which gives a perfectshiny,crackly top.You Require2/3 C all purpose Flour1/3 C cocoa powder10 tbsp butter,unsalted4 oz chopped dark chocolate02 Eggs1 1/4 C ground sugar2 tsp vanilla extract50g x2 snickers bar,choppedMethodPreheat the oven to 180 deg C.Line a square 8x8 inch pan or a rectangular 13 x5 inch pan with a greased parchment paper for easy removal of the brownies.In a bowl whisk the flour and cocoa powder together.On a double boiler melt the butter,add the sugar and chopped chocolate and whisk till smooth.The mixture will be grainy.Remove from heat and let it cool till lukewarm .Add the eggs to the lukewarm chocolate mixture and beat with a hand mixer in medium speed for 1 minute,add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.Add the whisked dry ingredients to the mixture and beat for 2-3 minutes in medium speed,this is necessary for the perfect brownie recipe.Add the chopped snickers to the batter and mix with a spatula.Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or till a toothpick comes out with little crumbs stuck to it.Cut into squares when cool and store in an airtight container.Enjoy the dense,chewy,fudgy brownies with chunks of snickers in between.These brownies are going to Helen of Casa Costello for her baking event Bake of the week.[...]

Orange and Honey Chicken ...a new year special Colab with Oriya Rasoi and A Dollop of that


As we inch closer to the New year 2016, new resolutions are being made,hearts are filled with new hopes ,plans for reaching out for newer opportunities discussed but here I am stuck with my New Year's Eve dinner menu.Our house guests left yesterday and it's that time of the year in Goa when people are here for merrymaking and celebrating the festive season and invariably all houses are filled with guests,all resorts ,hotels and shacks are jampacked and Goa is bursting at its seams.For years have been enjoying the new year in Goa ,partying hard but this time as I was getting my house back in order,pondered whether to be in a crowded ,wild Goa or just spend a quiet New Years eve with my parents and sister and her family in Bangalore.And my kids shrieked in joy when they heard my plans and thanks to a wonderful better half ...he was ready for a drive down to our destination .And so here I am all packed up and ready to spend a peaceful New Year's Eve with near and dear ones.Have finally planned to make a succulent,skillet Chicken with savory, tangy, honey orange sauce  for the main course.Nothing beats a hearty home cooked meal with the whole family on the table. This recipe yields a moist, juicy and absolutely delightful chicken steeped in an addictive honey orange sauce  and takes just 20-25 minutes to prepare. Serve the scrumptious chicken with steamed rice and enjoy.Adapted from rasamalaysia but have tweaked the recipe according to our tastes.You require1/2 kg Chicken breasts1 tbsp Soy sauce1 tbsp refine oil3-4 cloves minced garlic1 tbsp Asian cooking wine,optional1 orange ,sliced round with the skin1/2 C coloured peppers,sliced thin1 tbsp parsley ,chopped1 tbsp sesame seedsSalt to tasteFor the sauce1/2 C orange juice3 1/2 tbsp honey1-2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce1 tbsp soy sauce1/2 tbsp lemon juiceCan adjust the measure of ingredients according to your tasteMethodMarinate the Chicken breasts with soy sauce and wine and salt which has to be added very little as soy sauce has sodium in it.Add all the ingredients under sauce and whisk well.Keep aside.In a  heated pan or skillet pan fry the chicken on medium heat till well browned on both sides . keep aside in a platter.In the same pan add the oil and fry the minced garlic until slightly browned.Add the chicken to the pan followed by the sauce.Turn the heat to low and cook the chicken with the sauce till the sauce reduces a bit.....for nearly 7-8 minutes.Add the sliced orange roundels and the coloured pepper,cook for 2 minutes and switch off the flame.Garnish with sesame seeds and parsley and serve hot.A very happy new year 2016 and wishing you all an amazing year ahead !!And please do have a look at my blogger friends posts before leaving my space.Sweta's Sticky Chicken Bites here.Parinaaz's White sauce Chicken Cheese croquettes here.[...]

Christmas Sugar Cookies


  Baking is much a Christmas tradition as stockings and carols.And  Sugar cookies are a rage in the Christmas season.Nothing beats an iced Sugar cookie made from scratch.... A sinfully sweet Christmas treat .Our house is filled with the Christmas spirit and the mother and daughter trio brought more cheer by baking these classic old fashioned sugar cookies and decorating them.These pretty cookies are a classic addition to the holiday cookie tray.By the time we completed decorating them it was past midnight and the kitchen counter was full of sugar,butter,icing,sprinkles ,colours but then we had a whale of a time cutting them out in festive shapes and icing them...the right way to get into the holiday spirit and bonding with each other.Today evening our house guests arrive for the holidays and my daughters are over the moon planning their days with the elder cousin .Makes me remember my childhood days with our cousins and the gala time we had in the holidays.This cookie recipe doesn't ask for chilling the cookie dough, but if you still want to chill it you can go ahead.As for decoration a little corn syrup can be added to the sugar mix to give a sheen to the icing but it's optional.This recipe is adapted from a friend's blog Naive cook cooks.These pretty sugar cookies go as an entry for Helen of CasaCostello for her baking event Bake of the week.You require( makes nearly 2 dozen cookies)1 1/4 C all purpose flour1/2 C soft Unsalted butter3/4 C powdered Sugar1/2 an egg,whisked1/2 tsp baking soda1/4 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp vanilla extract1-2 tbsp milkFor the Icing1C icing Sugar2 Tbsp milk1/2 tsp vanilla extractFood colouringMethodWhisk the flour, baking soda and baking powder together,keep aside.In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar till fluffy with a hand mixer.Add the vanilla and egg,beat .Add the dry ingredients gradually and mix.Add the milk and form into a soft dough,it should be soft and not wet.Knead the dough on a floured surface and if it's wet adjust it with a little flour added to it and if it's dry add a little milk.Form into a ball and cover with a cling film and chill it for an hour if chilling the dough, otherwise roll it out straightaway.After removing from the fridge wait for a few minutes for the dough to soften so that it's easy to roll it out.Roll the dough on a floured surface and with holiday theme cookie cutters cut them out and lay them on a cookie tray with parchment paper.Bake them in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for 8-10 mins.If you want them crisp you can bake it a little longer .I like them chewy in the middle and crisp at the sides .For the icing ,mix the icing Sugar with the milk and vanilla and make sure the mixture is not flowy,adjust the milk and icing sugar as needed.Divide the mix according to the colours you want and transfer them to piping bags,can use zip locks as piping bags.While cutting holes in the piping bags make sure the hole isn't too big or it will be difficult to make outlines.Decorate the cookies with piping the outlines first and then filling them and spread with a butter knife.Decorate with sprinkles and let them set overnight before storing.Enjoy the soft,chewy,delicious cookies and a merry Christmas ![...]

Gingerbread Mini bundts with a White chocolate ganache drizzle...for the holiday season


Its that time of the year again when the world falls in love,every song you hear seems to say Merry Christmas .....the Christmas waltz playing in my wifi radio ,Christmas cheer everywhere,the aroma of Christmas baking ,a cup of coffee and my laptop...and this is the best moment of this year.The smell of holiday bread,cookies,cakes ,pies and other goodies is in air.And the blogosphere too overflowing with gingerbread cookies,Yule logs,fruit cakes and cute Santa hats.And baking is so therapeutic and can you not contract the baking fever when Christmas is in air.And how can you not bake gingerbread in Christmas...the old fashioned gingerbread is everyone s holiday favourite.When you bake a gingerbread recipe the smell wafting around the house is wonderful.This time I have made mini gingerbread bundts with a white chocolate ganache drizzle on top.Have been smitten with my mini bundts pan since the time I have got it home.Gingerbread foods vary from a moist loaf cake to a ginger biscuit ,the ingredients comprise mainly of ginger, spices, honey or molasses.Molasses is used in baked goods to give colour,moistness and flavour.I have used a bundts pan but can be baked in a loaf or square dish too.This recipe is adapted from Joy of baking.I am sending these beauties to Helen of Casa Costello for her event Bake of the Week.You Require (for 9-10 mini bundts)2 C all purpose Flour1 tsp baking soda1/2 tsp baking powder1 1/2 tsp ground ginger1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon1/2 tsp ground ClovesZest of 1 Lemon1/2 C brown Sugar1/4 C fine white sugar2 large Eggs at room temperature1/2 C butter or3/4 C refine oil1/2 C molasses,unsulphured1 C milk1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger or1/4 C chopped crystallized gingerFor the Ganache1C cream2 C chopped white chocolateMethodPreheat the oven to 180 deg C and grease the dish .In a bowl whisk the flour,spices,baking powder, baking soda,lemon zest and chopped ginger.With a hand mixer cream the butter and sugar till fluffy,add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition .Add the molasses and beat  to combine.Now add the dry ingredients and milk alternately beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.beat till incorporated,finally with a spatula mix the batter with cut and fold method,scraping from the bottom and sides.Pour the batter in the pan or the dish and bake for 18-20 mins for the mini bundts and for 30-35 mins for the loaf or square dish or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.Take out from the oven and cool on a wire rack.For the ganache  heat the cream in a saucepan ,don't boil.Add it to the chopped chocolate in a bowl,wait for 30 seconds and whisk to melt and combine.After it cools to room temperature,pour in a piping bag and drizzle on the bundt cakes.A Merry Christmas to you all !![...]

Pomegranate Jelly and Vanilla Yoghurt Panna Cotta


How can you not feel Christmassy in December in the land of sun ,sand and sea,Goa.Christmas is in the air and I thought we might as well get into the spirit of things and spread some festive cheer.My younger one is already so excited about it as she is practicing Carols in school for Christmas and our tree is up with all those wonderful ornamental decorations and the twinkling fairy lights .As we decorated our tree with carols playing in the background I decided to have the long pending ladies get together at my place within the next two days.With a Christmassy spring in my steps I planned the brunch ,the invitations and the menu .An array of holiday salads with Pita bread for the lovely,health conscious ladies was an idea appreciated by the guests themselves.For the dessert I baked mini Hummingbird bundts and made a bright red and white pomegranate and yoghurt Panna cotta in small dessert glasses with sparkling pomegranate kernels on top.The Panna cotta stole the show and the yoghurt in it gave a subtle touch of tanginess which complimented the pomegranate jelly beautifully. With my Christmas runner and bright coloured salads and desserts my brunch table had beautiful hues of colours and ready to bedevoured.Panna Cotta is a sophisticated Italian dessert made simply by cooking cream,gelatine and sugar .In this recipe the vanilla flavoured Panna Cotta is layered with pomegranate jelly ,apt red and white dessert for Christmas.Today I am doing a Christmas Colab with my blogger friend Parinaaz Marolia of A dollop of that! And her post is on delicious Christmas Linzer Cookies.You requireFor the jelly layer4 oz raspberry jelly crystals10 fl oz pomegranate juice2 tbsp grenadine ( concentrated pomegranate syrup)For the panna cotta layer1 tbsp powdered gelatine1/4 C hot water7 fl oz flowing cream( I used double cream)3 1/2 oz castor sugar10 oz Greek yoghurt/ hung yoghurt01 Vanilla pod,seeds only For the topping2 tbsp pomegranate kernelsFew mint leavesMethodPrepare the jelly as per instructions on the pack except use pomegranate juice and grenadine instead of water.Leave to cool for 10 mins stirring in between otherwise the jelly starts to set.While the mixture is a little warm ,pour into small dessert glasses or wine glasses with the glasses propped in a slant.I propped the glasses to one side in a muffin tray so that the layers can be set in a slant and put the tray in the fridge.Individual ramekins ,egg cartons or loaf dish can also be used.Leave the jelly to set in the fridge for an hour or two.For the panna cotta mix the gelatine with the hot water till it dissolves properly.Place the cream,sugar and the vanilla seeds in a saucepan and heat it gently,just enough for the sugar to dissolve,stirring all the time .Remove from heat and add the gelatine to the creamy mixture and let it cool for 10- 15 mins.Meanwhile put the yoghurt in a bowl and whisk to loosen it.Once cool add the cream mixture to the yoghurt and whisk it gently together.Remove the jelly glasses from the fridge and keep them in an upright position,you will notice that the jelly has set in a slant.Now pour the cool creamy yogurt mix carefully and evenly filling up the glasses and return the glasses back to the fridge for 2-3 hours.Once the dessert is set garnish with pomegranate crystals and mint leaves and serve.Do not forget to peep into my friend Parinaaz's blog A dollop of that! to have a bite of those jammy,delicious,melt in the mouth Linzer cookies.[...]

Cauliflower masala curry/Phula Kobi aloo Tarkari


Some things remain fresh in our memories forever,specially the sight and smell of fragrant ,spicy desi curries ...a trip down memory lane.A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I scurried around the house doing everyday errands while the aroma of cauliflower potato curry on the stove, simmering away to glory wafted in the house.Nostalgia is such a cozy feeling, so I try to revisit my food memories by cooking my Aai' s( maternal grandmother) signature dishes.None of my curries are as good as hers,I lack the patience with which she kept on sautéing the masala till the raw smell would go away and the masala would look a beautiful dark red colour .The love and fondness with which she cooked each and every dish made it more tasty and appealing.Miss her presence around me and this is how I ward off the empty cooking dishes in her style..those smells take me back to her kitchen where I would keep on jabbering to her non stop as she whipped up fragrant ,mouthwatering array of dishes.Food is an indispensable part of our Odiya culture.Odiyas are fond of eating and can spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking .And my Aai was one of those who would be in the kitchen whole day dishing out authentic ,delectable creations with her love and warmth.This Phula Kobi Aloo Jhola is her style and recipe though she always used masalas fresh ,roasted and grounded that moment and that made her curries more aromatic in comparison to our off theshelves masalas.Could not learn her garam masala recipe when she was with us my curries do lack her signature touch.In this curry the cauliflower and potato is pan fried  in mustard oil till half cooked and then added to the cooked masalas.In this curry hot water is added for the gravy.The other alternative which is called a Phula Kobi Aloo Kasaa is cooked without the addition of water and cook the veggies with the masalas and they are a great combo with Puris and Parathas.You require01 medium sized Cauliflower ,cut into medium florets02 medium sized Potatoes,cubed according to the size of the florets02 onions,grated or pureed or chopped fine1 tbsp ginger garlic paste02 tomatoes,chopped02 green chillies,chopped or slit3-4 green cardamoms2 inch cinnamon3-4 cloves1-2 bay leaves01 tsp cumin seeds1/2 tsp turmeric powder2-3 tbsp mustard oil1 tsp Garam Masala powder1/2 tsp cinnamon powder1/2 tsp Sugar1 C hot waterCoriander leaves to garnishSalt to tasteMethodHeat 2 tbsp oil in a wok till smoking point ,then add the cauliflower florets and cubed potatoes,pan fry till little brown spots appear on them and they are half cooked and keep aside.In the same wok heat the mustard oil the same way,add sugar,add cumin seeds ,bay leaves and the spices or khada garam masalas,add the onion when the spices start spluttering.Add the ginger garlic paste and the chillies when the onions are light brown and keep on frying till the raw smell goes off ,add the turmeric powder and the tomatoes and sauté till the masala starts leaving the sides.Now add the half cooked veggies and cook for 5 more minutes,stirring in between.Add the hot water and salt and cover the curry and let it simmer in medium flame for 7-10 minutes.Check the veggies ,if it's cooked to satisfaction then sprinkle the garam masala and cinnamon powder,give one good boil and switch off the flame.Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy with hot steaming rice and dal.[...]

Methi Paneer Malai/Cottage cheese in fenugreek and cream curry


Paneer or cottage Cheese is a staple Indian food that Indian households cannot do without in their meals, a substitute for meat for the die hard vegetarians.Its our favourite Indian Cheese made by curdling fresh  milk in vinegar,lemon juice ,curd or any other food acids.And in East India paneer is the ubiquitous Chenna ,all sweet dishes in Odisha,Bengal and Assam are made from Paneer.Chenna is a crumbly and moist form of Paneer.Its an ultimate favourite in North India and made with butter or spinach,or peas or stuffed in parathas ,infact innumerable spicy,delicious varieties of paneer dishes.And cheers to our own desi cheese, it's a hot favourite of my kids. Infact I feel they should wear a " I love Paneer" badge on them.They love Paneer in any form whether it's a paratha or a sandwich stuffing or a curry or a pulao or the easy peasy Paneer Bhurjee .My today's post Methi Paneer Malai is actually adapted from the recipe Methi mutter malai,chunks of Paneer in a creamy fenugreek based Curry .Compliments well with Rotis,Parathas or Naan.Yummy is the word you would utter after a spoonful of this rich tasty combo.The garnish of fresh cream makesit tempting and gives a nice touch of subtelty to this delicious paneer dish.You requireFor the Masala paste2 medium sized onions ,chopped1 tbsp ginger garlic paste/ ginger and garlic chopped according to 1 tbsp paste1 big tomato,chopped2 tbsp chopped cashews,soaked in water1 green chilli,chopped1/2 tsp cumin1 tbsp oilFor the gravy250 gms Paneer,diced according to the size you want2 C fresh Fenugreek/ Methi leaves1 tsp coriander powder1 tsp garam Masala powder1/2 tsp turmeric1 tsp red chilli powder/1/2 tsp if you want less spicy.1/4 C cream,whisked1/2 tsp sugar1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves for garnish1 C hot water2 tbsp oilSalt to tasteMethodWash the fenugreek leaves,chop it and add 1/2 tsp  salt,keep it aside for 15 mins and then squeeze out the water.This helps in removing the bitterness from the leaves.Take 1 tbsp oil in a pan,add cumin seeds and when it splutters add the chopped onion,fry till transparent.Add the ginger garlic and green chillies,chopped or paste,fry till the raw smell goes away.Now add the chopped tomato and sauté till the masala starts leaving the sides of the pan.Remove from fire and let it cool a little,once warm grind the masala in a mixer with the soaked and drained cashews and a little water added to it.In the same pan take 2 tbsp oil and once heated add the chopped and squeezed fenugreek leaves and fry on a low medium flame till they lessen in quantity.Add the ground masala paste,the coriander,turmeric and chilli powder to it and sauté till For 6-7 minutes and oil starts releasing.Add the hot water,give a nice boil to the methi gravy and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.Now add the whisked cream,paneer,garam masala and the sugar,mix well and switch of the flame.Garnish with dried fenugreek leaves.Serve hot with Rotis or Naan and enjoy the rich flavourful curry.[...]

Mung sprouts Poha/ Flattened rice with green gram sprouts


It's a constant challenge for me to churn out a different, tasty,nutritious and well presented breakfast option without repeating every single day for my kids.Kids get bored of food so fast.And breakfast being the important meal of the day is needed for health and mental well being both for adults and children.During one of those mornings when I hadn't decided what to make for the kids' lunchbox the previous night,these sprouted green mung came to my rescue.As I opened the fridge in the morning groggy eyed after a late night ,these bright green sprouts peeped from the shelves invitingly giving me an instant idea to use them in a nutritious combination with beaten rice or Poha.The Eureka moment worked and the combo was a hit with the kids,the lunch boxes came back polished clean.Green gram sprouts are always readily found in my pantry as I use them in salad,Upma,poha,pulaos etc.The humble sprouted mung beans are nutritional powerhouses And are a favourite because of their ease and taste.Low calorie and high in vitamin C these can be used in burger patties,for making stews or a easy one pot casserole with mixed veggies.I am sending this healthy and delicious breakfast to Sadhna 's event My Legume Love Affair and Srivalli's event Come, Join us for breakfast.You Require  ( 2 Servings)1C Poha or flattened Rice1/2 C Sprouted Green Gram or Mung1/4 C Peanuts1/2 fresh lime1 medium Onion , chopped1 green chilli,chopped5-6 curry leaves1/2 tsp mustard seeds1 -2 tbsp refined oil1/2 tsp turmeric powderSalt to taste1 tbsp fresh coriander ,chopped( optional)MethodWash the flattened Rice in a big strainer making sure not to wash it too much as the rice tends to break and let the water drain out.Add salt and lime juice to it and keep aside.Steam the sprouts in a microwave for 2 mins .In a pan or wok heat the oil,add the peanuts and fry them till done,when they start crackling  add mustard seeds and curry leaves and let them splutter.Add the chopped onions and chillies and fry till transparent, now add the sprouts and turmeric and sauté for a minute.Lastly add the poha or flattened rice on low flame and mix till the turmeric gets incorporated properly and the poha looks yellow uniformly.Add the coriander and cover it and switch off the flame.Uncover after 2 minutes and serve.Enjoy with a cup of ginger tea.[...]

A minty avocado,watermelon and a feta salad


Whether it's indulging in a third large cup of coffee ,an extra slice of pizza in lunch ,too much beer in Tuesdays Happy Hours or just binging to your hearts content during the festive season,the result is the same.You feel like crap afterwards.The more you eat in excess the more emptier you feel.After the larger than life Indian festivities which revolve a lot around tempting delicacies and mindless eating it's time to detox now with some recipes screaming health.Its a good time to cleanse your body of the toxins with the Christmas air setting in,much reason to eat,shop and be merry ....again!!Dietary detox is basically eliminating certain foods, avoiding alcohol and caffeine and loading up on fresh fruits, veggies and juices.Sometimes it results in weight loss and increased energy. Starting yourmeals with a salad helps you to attain weight loss and reap many health benefits too.Salads are a meal in itself or accompaniment to a meal.The word Salad itself sounds so healthy...light,quick and easy to digest.But a salad can turn treacherous if we top it up with creamy,cholesterol laden dressings and fatty high calorie mix ins.This refreshing Avocado watermelon feta salad not only screams health but is tasty too and the mint leaves impart a fresh minty flavour to it.The dressing is lime juice,seasonings and a drizzle of olive oil which is essential fats and is needed by the body to absorb nutrients from the salad.This salad is being shared with Lisa of Lisa' s kitchen and Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes for their blog event No Croutons Required this month.03 ServingsYou require01  large Avocado,peeled and diced01 long Cucumber,peeled and diced01 C watermelon,diced01 medium Tomato,diced01 small red onion,sliced thin100 gms Feta cheese,cubed2 tbsp ,fresh mint leaves,chopped1/2 C pomegranate kernelsJuice of 01 LimeExtra virgin Olive oilSalt and pepper to tasteMethodIn a large bowl ,add all the ingredients except the lime,olive oil and the seasonings.Squeeze the lime juice on the top, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper .Stir gently and serve.[...]

Moroccan chicken with chickpeas and raisins


My bucket list continuously keeps on getting updated,altered,contemplated and rejuvenated.And the recent update to the list is visiting the mesmerising ,awe- inspiring Morocco.Visiting Egypt was a dream of mine from as long as I can remember.Now that Egypt is tick marked Morocco is my dream destination ,a land of kasbahs ,medinas,arid desert landscapes and the very authentic sweet and spicy
Tagines and Couscous.

Moroccan cooking abounds in aromatic subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations.Most of the dishes are convenient,comfort food as well as delicious and hearty.My blog would soon be flooded with an array of these dishes as I have been cooking these delicacies regularly and would love to blog about the magical flavours of Moroccan cuisine.

This chicken with chickpeas curry is a wonderful dish,though had doubts in adding raisins to it but that's what gave a different twist to the curry.The honey ,lemon zest,cinnamon and paprika impart a sweet as well as spicy flavour to the chicken .A divine combination with a bowl of steamed rice.I have used boneless breasts here but the authentic curry asks for chicken thighs.

You require

2 lbs Chicken,boneless breasts
01 onion,chopped
1 tbsp  minced Garlic
1/2 tbsp cumin powder,
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp lemon zest,grated
1 tbsp flour
2 C chicken broth
2 tbsp honey
3/4 C chickpeas,soaked,boiled,drained
3 tbsp oil


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown well on both sides and keep aside in a plate.
  • Add garlic and onion to the saucepan and sauté till onions are transparent.
  • Add the cumin,turmeric,paprika and cinnamon ,stir and cook for a minute.
  • Stir in the chicken broth,honey ,lemon zest and flour,incorporate till well blended.
  • Add the browned chicken and cook covered for 10-15 minutes.
  • Now stir in the raisins and chickpeas and simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes or till the chicken is cooked properly.
  • Serve with hot steamed rice .

Some Diwali shots of my traditional home


Diwali ,a colourful and happy celebration , that time of the year when you decorate and prepare your house for the traditional festivities .Fire crackers,lighting of clay lamps,decorative candles,the wonderful aroma of the sweets and savouries ,rangolis are a few things that depicts this Festival of Lights.The candles and diyas illuminating every corner of the house is a spectacular sight and a pleasure to the eyes.Sharing with you all a few Diwali shots of our traditional home and my Diwali table.Katori chaat,Kesariya kheer and motichur parfait,Labanga latika,eggless Gulkand cupcakes with a pan liqueur frosting and a Chocolate mousse gulabjamun tartMy diwali delicacies[...]

Applesauce spice bundt cake with a brown sugar glaze


A busy week of Diwali festivities and excitement and then the sudden lull ....schools have reopened with the elder one s exams starting today,and the little ones sports day practices.So back to the monotonous humdrum life with lunchbox preparations,dirty laundry,healthy menu plan, homework, etc.Thanks to the blog and my blogger friends ,have something to look forward to every single day.Checking out the food posts with my morning cup of tea has become my favourite time of the day.Took quite a long break for Diwali as it was quite hectic with squadron coming home and my eccentric streak making me prepare every single delicacy at home.But theres a different kind of satisfaction when you see the pleasure on people's faces while gorging on the dish prepared by you.Finally my break ended today when I remembered that it was Monday and time to send my weeks baking to the weekly baking event held by Helen of Casa Costello.Last week my fruit basket was overflowing with apples and my girls were busy gorging on the sweets of the festivities.Before the apples got spoilt I decided to make apple sauce and freeze it  and made a applesauce cake with spices and drizzled home made brown sugar glaze on it.You can refer to my Home made Apple Sauce recipe here.If spice is your thing you will love this moist and spicy cake.The lemon zest in the cake brightens the flavour of the cake and the delicious brown sugar glaze gives a nice edge to it.You RequireFor the Cake2 1/4 C all purpose flour1 tsp baking soda1 1/2 tsp ground all spice ( substitute with  ground 1/2 tsp cinnamon,cloves nutmeg each)1/2 tsp salt2/3 C unsalted butter( room temp)1 tsp grated lemon zest2 large eggs ,room temperature3/4 C ground sugar2/3 C  brown sugar1C applesauce1 big Apple ,peeled and chopped1 tsp vanilla extract3/4 C walnuts or pecans chopped( optional)For the brown sugar glaze3 tbsp butter3 tbsp brown sugar ,packed3 tbsp heavy cream3/4 C powdered sugar or icing sugar,sifted1/2 tsp vanilla extractMethodPreheat the oven to 180 deg C,grease a 9 " pan bundt or tube pan and dust it with flour .Sift the flour,salt,baking soda and all spice and Add the pecans if using and keep it aside.Beat the butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer till smooth and creamy.Add the sugar gradually and blend it well with the mixer,add the brown sugar and beat till smooth.Now add the eggs one at a time and beat well till well blended.Add the chopped apples and vanilla and blend with mixer speed low.Finally with the mixer speed low or medium add the flour/ nut mix in 3 additions and the applesauce in 2 additions starting and ending with the flour.Mix just until incorporated .Spoon the mixture into the bundt pan,level the top and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 mins or till a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 mins and add the glaze when the cake is still warm,so invert the cake carefully onto a rack so that it doesn't break.For the glaze,melt the butter with the brown sugar in a saucepan over low heat.Add the heavy cream and cook till it comes to a gentle boil and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.Take the pan off the heat and add the sugar in two additions whisking constantly.Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth.If it is too runny ,add some more icing sugar and if it's too thick add little cream.It should be of pouring consistency and hardens fast,pour the glaze on the warm cake quickly and let it drip naturally down the sides.Enjoy the moist,spicy cake with a cup of tea.[...]

Labanga Latika / Lavang Latika


Diwali is just round the corner and what better day to do a recipe collaboration with two of my blogger friends, Parinaaz Marolia who mostly blogs about Parsi delicacies in her blog A dollop of that.Today her post is on chocolates with honey pistachio and the boozy brandy fillings...a festive favourite of many.And with Shweta Biswal of Oriya rasoi who's not only from Odisha but also my place type too,that makes her all the more special.She blogs about authentic Odiya food and her post Chuda ghassa parfait is a traditional dish presented in a contemporary style.I am making some food memories in my kitchen today.And I want to preserve these memories I have from my childhood with my parents and sister and my near and dear ones ,the cooking memories that I am part of with my husband and children and the ones we create daily.The best way to preserve them is to document those memories in my blog and share with you all.This sweetmeat Lavang Latika has beautiful childhood memories of marriages in my family.Odiyas    have a custom of sending sweets with the bride during Bidai for her in laws ,their relatives and neighbours .People actually wait for the" Bahu Bhaara", the term used for the loads of sweets which come with the bride when she comes to the grooms place post wedding.Every wedding memory of my child hood had labangalatika as one of the sweets in the Bhaara and down the years this gorgeous  sweetmeat had become my favourite.When it was my turn to get married ,I made sure the Labangalatika tin was safe and secure in the crowd of relatives and my mother in law was sweet enough to keep the huge tin in my room so that I could gorge on them whenever I wanted and none of the relatives actually got to taste a single piece.And till date the hubby dear and in laws have a good laugh about it.All those years have passed but the love for the labangalatika s hasn't lessened an ounce ..our loveaffair is still going strong and I don't hesitate to make them in my home whenever the occasion arisesand on this festive occasion of Deepawali ,my kitchen is smelling of the heavenly khoya and the subtle flavour of the frying of those beauties.These sweets are small parcels stuffed with a sweet filling of khoya and coconut ,sealed with a clove,  deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup.The name is derived from the word Lavang or clove.Its famous in the neighbouring states of Bengal and Assam too.The traditional Odiya recipe has coconut in the stuffing but I omitted as my children are not fond of coconut.The latikas are crisp from outside and soft inside.There are a few things to be kept in mind before preparing them .They have to be fried in medium heat as they will brown faster on the outside and will not cook from inside.They have to be dunked in sugar syrup for a min or two,more than that will make them soft.You RequireFor the Latika2C maida or all purpose flour4 tbsp melted ghee or clarified butterWater to bind the doughOil to deep fry18-20 lavang or clovesFor the stuffing1C khoya1/2 C desiccated coconut1 tbsp Ghee1/3 C powdered sugar or according to taste1 tsp cardamom powder1/4 C chopped dry fruits ( optional)For the sugar syrup1 1/2 C sugar1 C water1/2 tsp cardamom or elaichi powder5-6 cloveshow to roll out and form the latikasMethodAdd the maida and the melted ghee in a bowl,mix with fingertips till they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the required amount of water and knead into a stiff dough,cover with a wet cloth and keep it aside for half an hour.Meanwhile take ghee in a pan and fry the khoya in low heat,keep stirring till they start gathering from the sides and look a little dry.Keep [...]

Classic Fresh Basil Pesto from scratch



The fondness for convenience foods in India has grown in leaps and bounds.Processed food is just everywhere, despite numerous news stories warning us of the dangers.The key to the success of processed food is is not only quick and simple but also reliable.

Though my mom was a career woman and had limited time in the kitchen ,had never seen a single processed food in my house.Yes,I am harping about it but hats off to her except for an occasional sauce or a jam bottle everything was made from scratch .It is labour intensive but the satisfaction of not spoiling your and your loved ones health is there at the end of the day.

Have always tried my best to make masalas and sauces from scratch but I also do give in to the lure of the colourful bottles and cans and laziness.But with age I have slowly started to like the idea of making your own convenience food which is healthy and less expensive too.

Pesto is a traditional Italian Recipe and has the distinct flavours of fresh basil,pine nuts,garlic,olive oil and cheese.Its used as a sauce for pasta,as a sauce for sandwiches ,as a pizza sauce,as salad dressing or just to flavour a hot bowl of soup.Pine nuts can be substituted with walnuts too.The sauce is diluted with milk or cream in a Pasta.The ingredients are pounded together in a pestle..hence the name pesto.

In this classic version of pesto, the basil leaves are blanched in hot boiling water and then shocked in ice water to give the sauce a brilliant green hue and to reduce any bitterness.Pesto is best when had fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 2 weeks with a thin layer of olive oil on the surface.

You Require (makes 1/2 cup)

2 tbsp walnuts/ pine nuts ,Toasted and chopped
2C fresh basil leaves ,loosely packed , blanched and shocked
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
I tsp chopped garlic
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend into a smooth paste.
Use as required.

For a vegan version of Pesto omit the cheese.

Pumpkin spice Chocochip squares


And the pumpkin saga continues....the humble ,versatile pumpkin in a new avatar,  super moist pumpkin spice squares studded with chocochips. These squares are baked with white chocolate  and pumpkin pie spice.Pumpkin Pie spice is a blend of powdered cinnamon,nutmeg,cloves and ginger and sometimes all spice(Jamaican Pepper). Simple and delicious and the chocolate chips are the wow factor in this recipe.My kids loved the pumpkin part just because of the choco chips and the white chocolate in it takes it to a different level altogether....little sweet pockets against the dense ,spicy cake!I boiled a huge batch of pumpkins and puréed them in the food processor and froze them in individual small zip locks so that can use them as and when needed.I substituted the butter part with oil to make the cake a little healthier and I prefer it that way.You require1C all purpose Flour2/3 C brown Sugar1 large Egg1/2 C refined Oil1/2 C pumpkin purée2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice1/2 tsp baking Soda1 tsp Vanilla extract1 C white chocolate ,chopped1/4 C choco chips1/2 tsp saltMethodGrease a 9 inch square pan and preheat the oven to 180 deg C .Whisk together flour,baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl.With an electric mixer whisk the egg and then add sugar and whisk till it increases in volume and the sugar is incorporated,approximately for 3-4 mins.Now add the oil gradually whisking it simultaneously.Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin purée and mix.Now with the mixer speed in low mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.Fold in the white chocolate chips or chopped chocolate with a spatula into the mix.Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs.Take out from the oven when the cake is hot and spread the 1/4 C chocochips on the cake and press them gently on to the cake .Cool and cut into squares.I am sending those pumpkin Chocochip squares as an entry for Helens Casa Costello event Bake of the week[...]

Spiced Pumpkin and sweet potato soup with toasted Almonds.


Its just raining Pumpkins everywhere in blogosphere.And the pumpkin bug has bit me too...though we Indians don't celebrate the American Thanksgiving .But here it's become kind of cool to celebrate Halloween,better known as the day of Dead.Every hotel and restaurant is throwing a Halloween themed party and even the shops have started stocking up on Halloween gear.In fact my elder one had a Halloween themed birthday party ....well now everyone is thinking and going global.In the U.S. pumpkins go hand in hand with the fall holidays of thanksgiving andHalloween.This time I also experimented  with lots of pumpkin recipes from around the world andevery single recipe is a keeper for sure.From savoury soups to sweet treats the humble pumpkin is so versatile it reaches new heights with these ultimate ,mouthwatering recipes.My soup is a traditional thanksgiving soup made of pumpkins,sweet potato,carrots and apple.This sweet,vibrant ,orange coloured soup is flavoured with spices and vanilla which goes very well with the creamy texture of potatoes and pumpkins.3-4 servingsYou Require200 gms Pumpkin Peeled and chopped1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped1 large carrot,chopped1 medium apple,peeled and chopped1 medium onion, sliced3-4 pods Garlic,chopped1/2 tsp cinnamon,powdered1/2 tsp all spice1/2 tsp dry ginger powdered1/2 tsp vanilla extract4 C vegetable stock1 tbsp olive oil15 gms butterSalt and pepper to tasteCream and toasted almonds to garnishMethodHeat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan.Add the sliced onion and garlic and fry till transparent.Add the cinnamon,ginger and all spice and fry until fragrant.Add the pumpkin,sweet potatoes,carrots and apples,fry for a few minutes and add the vanilla.Add the Veg stock and cover and let it cook for 15-20 mins.After the veggies are soft and mushy add the salt ,pepper and butter.Let it cool for a few minutes and then blitz with a hand blender or whisk it to a silky smooth consistency in a food processor .Add more water or stock if you want a thin consistency and check the seasonings.Warm and serve with cream swirled on it and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.A perfect soup to keep you warm during the long winter nights![...]

Fried Eggplant roundels/Baigana Bhajaa


With the festival season in full swing all Indian kitchens are busy churning out new delicacies every day.Odiya delicacies dominate my kitchen on festivals and holidays.With sweets and delectable desserts in abundance everywhere the craving for simple, comfort food rises.

Last week during the Durga Puja I was into lot of traditional cooking and had made these golden fried eggplant slices with some Mung Dal Khichdi.These eggplant fry is called Baigana Bhaja in Odisha.The eggplant is cut into half inch roundels ,marinated in turmeric,salt and chilli powder and deep fried or shallow fried in mustard oil .

Bhaja in Odiya means fry and it's an integral part of a traditional Oriya meal.Its an accompaniment with rice,dal and curries.Have seen cooks deep frying the roundels in marriages and functions but I prefer to shallow fry in a wok with 2-3 tbsp of Mustard oil which imparts a unique flavour to the dishes.

You Require
2 round variety eggplants / brinjals
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt or according to taste
3-4 tbsp mustard oil for shallow frying


  • Wash and wipe dry the eggplants ,cut into 1/2 inch thick roundels.
  • Marinate with the turmeric,chilli powder and salt.
  • Smear it uniformly on the slices and keep it marinated for 15 mins.
  • Heat the mustard oil in a wok till smoke emanates from it .
  • Lessen the heat and fry the marinated slices in batches of 2 or 3 in a medium flame.
  • Cook both the sides till nice and brown.
  • Serve with a proper Oriya meal or with just plain ghee smeared Khichdi .

Divinely nostalgic!

Nolen Gur er Paayesh...Rice pudding with date palm jaggery


My better half with his Bengali roots is a true Bong at heart...thank god for the similarities in both the cultures and a truckload of Fatafati bong friends from whom I adopted their ways,I survived our marriage.To satiate our Bong Babu Moshai's hunger and as an offering to Maa Durga on the auspicious day of Dusshera I cooked this delicious Paayesh/ Kheer.For him it was a trip down memory Lane.Nolen Gur basically means Notun Gur or New Gur and the Gur mentioned here is not the usual cane jaggery but date palm Jaggery which has a distinct flavour and aroma.This jaggery is typical of Bengal and Bangladesh and is available during the winter months.The sap of the date palm tree is collected and cooked on fire to make this Gur.My stock of Khejur ( Date Palm) Gur comes from my Ma in law from Bengal.This time she sent me the Gur in Liquid form,Nolen Gur as well as the solidified version, Patali Gur.I am hanging on to the stock like prized possession till my next stock lands up.Few important things to be kept in mind before we start cooking the kheer or Paayesh.The Paayesh is cooked on low heat and needs to be stirred continuously at regular intervals as it has a tendency to scald the bottom and however little burnt it is the taste and the look gets spoilt.Secondly the Gur has to be added to the Paayesh only after it is taken off the heat and just stirred into it till it incorporates with the Paayesh....otherwise the  Gur curdles.Lastly the amount of Gur you add is according to the taste of each individual .I add few tbsps of sugar and the Gur,some use more sugar and less Gur and some use only Gur.You Require1 l full fat milk1/3 C Gobindobhog Rice or the Tukda Basmati Rice,washed and drained2-3 tbsp of Sugar2 bay leaves or 1/2 tsp of Cardamom powderKhejur Gur,according to your taste( I used 1/2 C of Nolen Gur)2 tbsp chopped cashews and small raisins sautéed in 1 tsp of Pure GheeMethodHeat the milk and bay leaves( if you are adding) in a heavy bottomed pan till it boils.Add the washed rice to the milk and let it cook..keep stirring in between to avoid the kheer burning as it thickens.Add the cardamom powder now if you are not adding bay leaves.Keep checking for the rice to get cooked.After the rice is cooked add the sugar and let it boil stirring continuously in low heat.When the Paayesh has thickened enough for the consistency you require take it off the heat.After few mins add the Nolen Gur and stir to incorporate properly.By this time your house will be smelling divine.Add the cashews and raisins sautéed in a little ghee to the Paayesh.Serve it warm or cold according to choice.[...]

Tomato Khajur Khatta...Tomatoes and dates sweet chutney


The festive, celebratory mood in my house is still on. Delicacies being churned out in my favourite haunt is being gobbled up by the chipmunks before they can be clicked for my blog. Durga Puja will culminate in a day but celebrations will continue till the Festival of Lights, Diwali ...stretched till the magical, joyful Christmas and finally coming to an abrupt halt after the New Year leaving us a little sad and forlorn .Last few days there has been an honest and deliberate attempt from my side to make a traditional lunch at home.Food is a great way to keep ourselves closer to our roots, traditions and our culture. What we eat, how we prepare it,how we serve it and how we eat it is all related to our cultural inheritance.And this sweet chutney made from tomatoes ,jaggery and dates is one of the delicious,authentic and simple dishes of Odisha mostly served with rice and accompaniments or with a khichadi and its a hit with puri and curry too.It's common in every household and is served in every marriage,festival or a function, a ubiquitous accompaniment.A sweet as well as tangy chutney is a hit in our householdtoo.This is one of the dishes whose memory, taste and smell evokes lovely pangs of nostalgia This chutney can be bottled and refrigerated for 7-8 days.Pancha PhutanaThe quintessential Pancha phutana or the five spice mix is used in this Khatta.Its a mix of equal amount of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds,fennel seeds and onion seeds .This spice mix is an important ingredient in an Odiya Kitchen.You Require5-6 medium Tomatoes,chopped3-4 tbsp grated Jaggery1 tsp pancha phutana1 tsp grated Ginger2 dry red chillies1 tsp roasted cumin and chilli powder(Bhajaa  jeera Lanka powder)1 tbsp Mustard oilSalt to taste or 1/2 tsp5-6 de seeded datesFew raisins(optional)MethodHeat the mustard oil to smoking point in a wok and lessen the heat.Add panchaphutana and red chillies and when it splutters add the tomatoes and ginger...cover and cook till the tomatoes are slushy and nearly cooked.At this point 1/2 C hot water can be added.Add the salt and jaggery and the dates ,raisins and cook till the jaggery melts and the chutney attains a nice red colour.Sugar can be used instead of jaggery but jaggery gives a nice colour to the chutney.Lastly add the Jeera Lanka powder and switch off after one boil.Serve with Rice, Puris or Parathas.[...]

Anjeer and Gulkand stuffed Malai Ladoo


  Fun,frolic and food and that is what Durga Puja is all about in Odisha and the eastern part of the country.Born and brought up as an Odiya and marrying an Odiya settled in Bengal the  puja festivities and food is an integral part of our lives.  But away from home,your native land makes you crave for the festive vibrant air, the colours, the food fiesta, the laughter and adda sessions with friends and cousins, the never ending pandal hopping, the chanting of the mantras and the beat of the drums from the pandals.How much I yearn for those autumn skies filled with the smell of an eclectic mix of camphor and smoke from the pandals and the Shiuli ( Night jasmine) flower.  A overwhelming rush of memories and associations....and here in Goa am trying to create a home away from home for my children so that they also value our traditions,customs and culture.Trying to recreate the festive air at home by preparing some nostalgia filled Puja special dishes .The glitz and charm of Durga Puja still holds strong ..miles away from home.The Malai Ladoo is an absolutely easy, quick and extremely tasty sweet recipe.I have tweaked it with some gulkand and anjeer(figs) stuffing which gave a nice rosy crunch in the middle and took the recipe to a different level.The main ingredient is Chenna or Paneer or Cottage Cheese.You require (for 15-16 medium sized laddoos)2 C Chenna / Paneer1 C Condensed Milk1 tbsp corn flour1/2 tsp elaichi powder/ cardamom powder2 tbsp ground Sugar ( If you like it Sweet)(optional)5-6 Dry figs chopped2 tbsp Gulkand5-6 Almonds toasted and sliveredFew strands of saffron dipped in warm milkMethodMash the Chenna Or paneer with hand  or alternately whisk it in a mixer.Add the Chenna,condensed milk,and cornflour in a wok or pan in low heat and stir.Keep stirring till it dries up and thickens,approximately for 10 mins.Keep on stirring continuously as the mixture is prone to get burnt.Switch off the flame and add the cardamom powder and leave it to cool.Prepare the stuffing by mixing the gulkand and chopped anjeer or figs.Shape the laddoos when the mixture is cool enough to handle.( do not let it cool too much as the mixture thickens )Scoop out a tbsp of the paneer mix and shape it into a ball ,make a dent in the middle for the stuffing with your thumb and fill 1/2 a tsp of the stuffing and shape it back into a ball covering the stuffing uniformly.Garnish with saffron strands or slivered ,toasted almonds.A very Happy Durga Puja to you all![...]

A Lemon Bundt Cake with a lemon frosting


Well,when life throws you lemons...No! I didn't make lemonade ...I baked a cheery, fluffy, lemon Bundt cake instead.My bday and committee meeting of the NGO that I do voluntary work for coincided and I was expected to bake a cake for the members.And  tried and tested the perfect tea time cake was this Lemony cake apt for a summertime get together and a truly delicious recipe.The double dose of lemon juice and zest in the cake and in the frosting makes it tart and zingy.Not to miss out the aroma of the cake baking which welcomed my kids back from school and the look on their faces when they realised it wasn't meant for them...for a second I thought I was the worst mom in the world. This recipe is an adaptation from my favourite baking site Joy of Baking and not a single recipe from this website has gone wrong till date.There's a list of lemon recipes in my to do list..a lemon blueberry cake and a key lime cheesecake are my next experiments.Afew things to remember before we start baking this cake.Always buy lemons which are fragrant and have nice, oily, yellow skin without any blemishes and spots or are hard and wrinkly.Microwave the lemons for 10 secs if you have taken out straight from the fridge..this ensures enough juice from the lemons.While removing or grating the zest do not remove the white membrane or the pith as it tastes bitter and will affect the taste of the cake.Drizzle the frosting on the cake while the cake is a little bit warm...that helps the cake in soaking the frosting and gives a crusty glaze and nice crunch to the cake.You Require2 C all purpose Flour1C  granulated Sugar1C butter,room temperature and unsalted04 large eggs,room temperature 1/4 C lemon juice1 tsp vanilla extract2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt Zest of 1 large lemon,the outer yellow skinFor the Frosting1C confectioners or icing sugar,sifted2-4 tbsp lemon juiceMethodPre heat oven to 180 deg C,grease a 9 inch bundt pan or springform pan and line it with parchment paper.Sift the flour ,baking powder,salt and whisk it with the lemon zest.Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy for about 3-4 minutes with a electric mixer.Add the eggs one by one..the mixture might curdle which is normal.add the vanilla extract and mix well.Add the flour mixture with the lemon juice alternately ,flour in three additions and lemon juice in two additions mixing till you have a smooth batterPour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.Do not over bake  otherwise the cake becomes dry.Cool for 15 mins and unmould it to pour the frosting while the cake is still a little warm.Add 2tbsp of lemon juice with the sifted icing sugar and mix to get a smooth and thick glaze.Add more juice or sugar as needed.Pour it on the cake and allow it to drip down the sides.Let the frosting dry before you cut and store the cake.This cake can be stored for several days in an airtight container.Enjoy the delightful,moist,zingy cake and remember me:)!I am sending this Cake as an entry for Casa Costellos event Bake of the week.[...]