Monday, April 30, 2012

Til Chikki /Sesame Candy

Sesame seeds are used widely world over owing to its nutritional benefits. So when I wanted to help Aishwarya recuperate after her surgery last week, I made these. This is such a tasty treat that she would have it without any complaints.
Recipe adapted from: showmethecurry
Sesame seeds – 1 and 1/2 cups, dry roasted
Jaggery (gud) – 3/4 cup, powdered
Clarified Butter (Ghee)/Butter – 1 tbsp
Cardamon powder – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 2 tsp
Put jaggery to a thick bottom non stick pan along with ghee and stir continuously over medium heat till jaggery starts to bubble. Add the milk and mix, take the pan off the heat source. Add cardamon Powder and sesame Seeds to the jaggery and mix very well. Transfer this to a greased tray .Press the mixture down making sure it is of even thickness. Cut this in  into desired shape,allow it to cool. Once hard seperate the pieces. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mango Lassi

The last couple of days had turned out to be so very hot in the SF Bay area where I live. Although the summer is yet to be in officially, it almost felt like mid-summer. We all switched in to summer clothing and yet the body was yearning to be cooled. What else can cool the body better than a classical mango lassi !
Lassi is a yogurt based drink popular in India and can be made in different flavors. If you haven't tried this yet, this is a must try - you sure would come back for more.

2 cups ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced or 2 cups sweetened kesar mango pulp (you can get tinned ones at the Indian grocery stores)
1and 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons sugar or to taste(adding sugar is not neccessary if you are using mango pulp)
Blend all the ingredients together in a blender to a smooth puree. Serve with a dollop of vanilla icecream if its extremely hot or have it as it is.
It is best if all the ingredients are pre-cooled, rather than adding ice cubes while blending it. Adding ice cubes would dilute the lassi and though many use this method, I prefer the thicker consistency. If I need it colder, I would just add some ice-cream on top.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I have not met a child who doesn't love mac'n cheese and mine is no exception. Most of the time when I ask her what she wants for dinner, her first answer would be mac'n cheese. I too have used the blue box on the days that I was too lazy to cook an original meal, but on the other days when I am in a mood to play good mommy this is the recipe I use. It is not a difficult recipe to make, and tastes far better than the out of the box ones. So if you have a mac'n cheese lover at home, just go for it!

1 /2 lb  macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
½ teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper , to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese , shredded good quality
½ cup breadcrumbs , buttered
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.In a large saucepan melt butter.
Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes.Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.Turn off flame.Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish.Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

(You can also freeze this recipe in zip-lock bags for later use - once you have mixed the macaroni along with the cheese sauce allow to cool to room temperature before adding to your freezer - pull it out the night before and allow macaroni and cheese to reach room temperature; then add the macaroni and cheese to a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and then bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kadala Parippu Pradhaman

Wishing all my friends a blessed, peaceful and prosperous Vishu. Here is a delicious payasam which you can make in a short time to sweeten your Vishu celebration.

Chana dal - 3/4 cup
Jaggery - 1 & 1/2 cup or to taste
Thick coconut milk -1  cup
Thin coconut milk-1 cup
Milk -1 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts - 10 - 15
Coconut slices-2 - 3 tbsp
Raisins - 10-12
Ghee - 1 tbsp +2 Tbs

Pressure cook dal for 8 minutes or till done. Meanwhile melt the jaggery in 1/2 cup water, at medium heat.  Seive this syrup to remove any impurites. Open the pressure cooker when the pressure releases. Add the jaggery syrup along with 2 tablespoons of ghee. Cook this while stirring for about 3 minutes. Add the thin coconut milk to the dal and stir continuosly and when this starts to boil add the thick coconut milk while continuing stirring for about 8 minutes. When the pradhaman is thick, remove from fire, add the milk and set this aside. Now add cardamom powder. You can add a pinch of salt to bring out the taste.
Heat 1 tbs ghee and fry cashews, coconut slices and raisins. Add this to the prepared pradhaman. If you find the pradhaman too thick to your taste, you may add some milk to get the desired consistency.

Here are some other payasams you can try:
Carrots and vermicelli kheer/payasam

Semiya/Vermicelli payasam

Parippu Pradhaman


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Carrot Halwa / Gajar ka Halwa / Gajrella

This month  for Blog Hop I am paired with Pradhya of The Pumpkin Farm  when I saw carrot halwa I decided to make it, as carrot halwa is so well liked by Jai and Aishwarya .This recipe is not the traditional time consuming recipe but a recipe suitable for the modern day busy cooks which yields delicious halwa in less than 10 minutes.Do try this and let me know how you like it.
Carrot (grated)-2 cups
Milk-1/2 cup
Milk powder-6 tbs
Sugar-1/2 cup or to taste
Ghee-3 tbs
Nuts and raisins (optional)-1/4 cup
Take a pressure cooker and add 1 tbs of  ghee to it, when hot ,roast the nuts and raisins for a minute and set aside. Now add the grated carrots to the cooker pan  along with the remaining  ghee, stir well to coat  all the carrots. Add milk to this and close the pressure cooker and cook this for 2 whistles. Open the cooker after removing the pressure and add milk powder  and sugar. Cook for 3-4 mins or until halwa oozes out ghee from sides. Add the powdered cardamom  and garnish with  nuts and raisins.
Sending this over to

and to Krithi's Kitchen

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Eggs

This Easter Aishwarya, having turned 10, didn't want to go for Easter egg hunt at the library as we  usually do. Instead, she wanted to make some colorful Easter eggs herself. So, instead of using the store-bought coloring tablets, we used food coloring and the result was spectacular.
If you are looking for a 100% organic dyed eggs, you may try Marbled Tea Eggs.
Hard boiled white eggs
Liquid food colors

Rinse the hard boil eggs with cool water. Fill disposable cups about 1/2 to 2/3 full of water. Add 1 tsp of vinegar (for every 1 cup of water).  Add drops of food color until you're happy with the hue.
(once you get the color you like for the water, add 2 more extra  drops as the eggs, when dyed would be two shades lighter than the water color). Put hard boiled eggs in the cups. I left mine in there for half an hour - the longer in the water the deeper the color. Remove from the cup and let dry.  Wipe with vegetable oil (with paper towel or a rag) to make a glossier egg. Store eggs in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Matzo (Matzah) Ball Soup

This is a delicious matzo ball soup that can be made any time of the year.Matzo balls tasted so  light, fluffy and flavorful so very different from what I expected . Three of us finished the entire soup in one sitting I am sure that would give you an idea of how good it was.Wishing all my Jewish friends a Happy Passover.
Soup Ingredients:
3 onions, cut into halves
2 quarts vegetable/chicken stock
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 cloves garlic, minced
salt or seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Matza Ball Ingredients:
3/4 cup medium matzo meal (you can crush your own matza for this; a food processor works great!)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 tsp  garlic powder
1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 teaspoonsalt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
To make the matza balls, combine matza ball ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.Bring two quarts (1.9 L) of  stock to a rolling boil. Once the stock is boiling, reduce the heat to allow a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop up about 1-1/2 tablespoons (a heaping tablespoon) of the matzo ball batter. Using wet hands, roll them into balls.As they are formed, drop each ball into the simmering stock.Reapply water to your hands to keep them wet and continue scooping out batter, forming balls, and dropping them into the stock.Depending on the density of the  stock, the matzo balls will either drop to the bottom or float. A watery, thin stock will allow the matzo balls to sink and enables the traditional method of telling when a matzo ball is done cooking - when it floats to the surface.Let them simmer for at least 15 minutes from the time you dropped in the last matzo ball. By this time the matzo balls will be plump and floating (or floating even higher if you use a thick stock ). I also add all other ingredients mentioned in the soup part while soup is simmering .
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