Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Malpoas and Happy Holi

Festivals invokes nostalgia and memories. Holi/Doul Poornima was much awaited in our home. While growing up, I liked the dry colors or ‘Phag’ in Hindi, as Holi falls under Phagun month according to Hindu calendar. I was never a fan of wet Holi and in secondary school, I almost stopped playing with colours. Don’t take me wrong, I like colors, in fact I adore colors, but when it comes to playing with wet colors, I shy away. Anyways, I always liked Phag and those varied colors of phag sold in small packets- red, yellow, green and orange. When splashed in to the air, smell of Phag intoxicated many minds and souls. Those days phag used to have a sweet aroma, or may be my olfactory nerves were much active then. I could smell that beautiful aroma of Phag.One whiff and the entire mind used to get intoxicated with joy and happiness that surrounded those celebrations on every Holi Mornings.
As the day progressed, I would peek inside kitchen to see what is being cooked there. My mother used to make Gujia, namkeen, Dahi vada etc. on every Holi. Sometimes, I would see her make these ‘Bhaja Malpoas’ as well. I also recalled, once we went to meet up our school teacher in the evening. I was in junior school at that time. I would call her madam A, as she reminds me of a famous Hindi poetess. Both share same name. Madam A, was earnestly making fresh batches of ‘bhaja malpoas’ for her school kids and was serving them warm as well. Those days teacher-student relationships were very cordial and they were almost like our guardians. The joy and satisfaction on my mother’s face and my teacher Madam A’s face is incomparable. These ladies have different aura about themselves.

I have tried to re-create those same ‘bhaja malpoas’ in my kitchen as well. I don’t know if this is something to preserve traditions, or remembering and acknowledging my mother’s and Madam A’s contributions in shaping my future and developing memories, but I like to make them once in a while during festivals.
These Bhaja Malpoas makes me feel the comfort of that bygone era. Festivals indeed invokes feelings and nostalgia. Before I jump to recipe, Wishing everyone a very Happy Holi, Doul Poornima.
This is how I made Bhaja Malpoas.

Bhaja Malpoa/ Mini fried pancake
Recipe requirements
  • 1 cup of self-rising flour/Maida
  • 1 cup of roasted semolina/Sooji
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 3-4 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of milk or as required to make the batter
  • 2 cups of cooking oil
  •  2-3 saffron strands (optional)

  • In a big mixing bowl, mix in semolina and self-rising flour. The proportions, I generally take equal in quantity.1:1 for semolina and self-rising flour. If you don’t get self-rising flour, use plain flour but add in about a tsp of baking powder.
  • In a mortal and pestle, coarsely crush fennel seeds.
  • Now add in fennel seeds and sugar to the above. Add whole milk slowly and mixing through, make sure there are no lumps.Add saffron strands if you wish to add.
  •  Make a smooth batter not too thick and not too thin, just like a pancake batter, easy to drop in consistency.
  • Now in a deep bottomed pan, add in cooking oil. Let it heat up.
  • Take about a heaped table spoon of the batter and slowly drop into the hot cooking oil. Let it deep fry for a while. Take them out and drain over kitchen towel.
  • This much of the batter made approx. 20-22 medium size malpoas.
  • Unlike other malpoa which is khoya based and dipped in sugar syrup, these 'Bhaja Malpoas' are very crunchy when relished warm and hot.
  • Store in air tight container stays fresh for 3-4 days.

Happy Cooking Friends and Wishing Everyone - Happy Holi !!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Paneer Makhana Ki Sabzi

Well, we are into a new year and I haven’t yet updated the blog. Let me wish a very happy new year everyone. May you have a happy, healthy, peaceful and joyous 2020.
A fresh start in to a new decade. It makes me pause for a moment to realize that 10 years have passed and in blink of a second, all memories keep flashing by. Well, each year was eventful and memorable and hope the same for you all.Once again- Happy New Year 

I will start this year on a very simple and homely food recipe of Paneer Makhana ki sabzi. As I understand after indulging in loads of sweets and desserts during holiday time, it’s time to go slow on sugar. Paneer a great alternative to chicken or meat can be cooked into a delicious curry.
This paneer makhana was served along with Gobi Aloo-matar -cauliflower potato green peas dry curry.
Now to the recipe
Paneer Makhana Ki sabzi
Recipe requirements
  • 250 Gms of paneer
  • 1 large cup of toasted lotus seeds/makhana in ghee
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ inch ginger
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 1 cup whole cashews
  • 2-3 green chilies

  • 1tsp of red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of Kashmiri red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  •  ½ tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  •  1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of Salt or as per taste
  • 2-3 tsp of ghee
  • ¼ cup of cooking oil

  • Cut paneer block into cubes.
  • In a food processor or mixer/grinder, grind onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, quarter cup of cashews and green chilies in to a smooth paste.
  • In a fry pan, add in ghee about 2 tsp, fry the makhana or lotus seeds till they turn little puffy. Take out in a bowl.
  • Now heat up a heavy bottomed fry pan, add cooking oil. Add in cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
  • Add in the prepared paste, add in salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder, Kashmiri red pepper powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and keep on stir/fry for 10-15 mints at medium high flame. Add in 2 cups of water. Preferably warm water.
  • Add in rest of whole cashews and makhana/ fried lotus seeds and of course paneer pieces.
  • Now cover the pan. Lower the flame and let it cook slowly for about 15-20 mints.
  • At the end add in ghee, garam masala and mix well. Add kasoori methi if you like it as a garnish. You can add green peas also.Serve and enjoy with rotis.

Happy Cooking Friends

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Baked Puff Pastry with Cranberry Sauce

We are into last few days of December and today being Christmas gives me a reason to update the blog.
I have tried some recipes with puff pastry sheets, store bought though in past and they had been a hit with my family. Dear daughter even asks for a repeat of the recipe like this one, every festive season.
These puff pastry with cranberry sauce and topped with cream frosting was again well received at our dinner table. And this version is inspired by Brie and Cranberry puff pastry. I haven’t included brie cheese for this recipe though but still it’s very flavorful.

These looks pretty and with white cream frosting a very delicious combination. Now to the detailed recipe
Baked Puff pastry with Cranberry sauce
Recipe requirements
1 pack puff pastry sheet
½ cup of cranberry sauce
½ tsp of cinnamon powder
Some flour to roll the sheets
Take out the puff pastry sheets and let it thaw for a while.
Then dust off with some flour and roll into a rectangular sheet. Just to even out the surface of the puff pastry sheet.
Cut the sheet into half. Now put cranberry sauce on both the sheets.
Sprinkle cinnamon powder.
Now from one end start rolling towards middle stopping at middle. From the other side start rolling and let it come in touch with the other rolled sides. The puff pastry sheet will look like a log at this stage.
Secure the two sides well with each other. Now cut these rolled puff pastry log sheets into ½ inch thick pieces. From each log at least 5-6 pieces will come out. The shape will be more of a mini palmier.
Now preheat an oven at 160 Deg C. Put them on a floured baking tray for about 15-20 mints or till they come out nice golden in color.
Take out and let it cool off.

Prepare cream frosting
½ cup of double cream
1/4  cup of icing sugar
2 tbs of milk
Mix cream, icing sugar and milk and whip it to make small soft peaks.
Gently put this cream frosting over the cooled puff pastry pieces.
You can refrigerate for 1-2 hrs., before you start consuming them or you can enjoy straight away.
These are delicious as snacks as well.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the festive spirit linger on and creates cherished memories for you and yours. Enjoy and celebrate.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Chicken Curry

Its December and we are very near to roll up another year. The last leaf bid adieu to gorgeous autumn, bare and naked trees slowly embracing cold winter season. Each cycle of season changes, invokes myriad feelings. 

All shops and market places are decked up and looks absolutely festive and colorful these days. 

We have put up a Christmas tree just like every year. And it has lighted up our home with joy and contentment. Festivals revive our bonding with friends and family also. Live, Laugh and Love 💟😊

So, enjoy festivity and take time offs. We have another week of schooling and then we will be having Christmas holidays. Holidays makes me busy, yes you read it right. We have to plan to fill in our days with some activities or even a movie day out. We are looking forward to Star-Wars movie this December, let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be a let-down for us.

Zara hat key! This is what my daughter told me when she did her tasting for this chicken curry recipe. Although she can’t pinpoint exact spices that went into making this chicken curry, but she liked the final product. Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out, how should I name this recipe but nothing came to my mind. 

Without adding up any further mysteries, I thought let me just put it as ‘Zara hat key’. We liked this as a leisurely paced Sunday lunch with warm paneer pulao/pilaf as accompaniment. This is from our kitchen to your world, presenting Zara hat key chicken curry.

Chicken Curry- Zara Hat Key
Recipe requirements
  • Chicken – 1kg
  • 4 medium size onions
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 3-4 dry red pepper
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 2-3 medium size potato cut into half

  • ½ tsp of red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of Kashmiri red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  •  ½ tsp of cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp of carom seeds
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2-3 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp of whole black pepper
  • 1 tsp of Salt or as per taste
  • 2-3 tsp of ghee
  • ¼ cup of cooking oil

  • Wash and clean chicken pieces thoroughly. I have used chicken drumstick portions for this curry.
  • In a food processor or mixer/grinder, grind onions, garlic, ginger, tomato and dry red pepper in to a smooth paste. It would be better if you soak dry red peppers in warm water for about 1 hr or till they swell and become soft.
  • Now heat up a heavy bottomed fry pan, add cooking oil.
  • Add in the prepared paste, add in salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder, Kashmiri red pepper powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and keep on stir/fry for 10-15 mints at medium high flame.
  • Meanwhile in a mortar/pestle, dry grind- carom seeds, cloves, cardamom, whole black pepper.
  • Now add in cut potatoes to the above fried masala paste. Add the dry masala powder that you have prepared earlier in mortar and pestle now.
  • Keep on stir/frying for about 8-10 mints more. Add in 2 cups of water. Preferably warm water.
  •  Now cover the pan and let it cook. Lower the flame and let it slowly cook in its own juices and all spices for about 30 -35 mints or till all the chicken pieces turns soft and cooked through well.
  • At the end add in ghee and mix well.

Happy Cooking Friends and Enjoy Festival Season 🙏

Friday, November 15, 2019

Sweet Potato Pancakes

We usually prepare pancakes for our Sunday breakfast. And we have liked simple pancakes, Banana pancakes Pear Pancake in past. I was inclined to use sweet potatoes in our meals and thought of mixing it with pancakes. 

The sweetness of sweet potatoes gelled very well with simple pancakes. They turned out light and fluffy but when eaten, will leave tummy satisfied for couple of hours. If there is a breakfast that can satisfy the soul and hungry tummy, then sweet potato pancake is the one.
Now to the recipe

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Recipe requirements (Makes – 5-6)
  • 2 large orange sweet potato
  • 2 cups of self-rising flour
  • 2 free range eggs
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup of cooking oil

  • In a big mixing bowl – mix self-rising flour with cinnamon powder and pinch of salt.
  • Boil sweet potatoes for 15-20 mints or till they turn soft. You can pressure cook for two whistles as well. Take out sweet potatoes in colander and drain the excess water. Keep it open for about 10-15 mints before you mash them well.  
  • Now add in egg one at a time, mixing well with flour. Add in mashed sweet potato.
  • Add in milk and mix well till there are no lumps left. The pancake batter should be smooth and a nice falling consistency.
  • Leave it aside for half an hour.
  • Heat up a heavy cast iron skillet /Tava/non-stick flat fry pan.
  • Add in 2 tsp of cooking oil spreading nicely.
  • Now scoop a full ladle of the batter and drop on the hot skillet.
  • Let the bubble surface out. Flip the side of the pancake once you see bubbles pop up nicely.
  • Cook the pancakes for another 2-3 mints. Each pancake will take 5-6 mints on low-medium flame to cook.
  • Serve hot with maple syrup, honey or butter or any other sauces you like.

Happy Cooking Friends