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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pearl Millet Sweet Balls | Bajra Ladoo

Certain recipes are close to your heart because they have connection with your childhood. This Bajra Ladoo is one of them. Ma used to make these ladoos during winter season to keep us warm. Not only bajra is good for health, ghee in it makes it nutritious. We sisters were as thin as paper wafers so on doctor's suggestion she used to prepare these delicious ladoos. I had made these again for Ganesh Chaturthi last month and distributed as prasad.

2 tbsp Sesame seeds to be roasted dry and keep aside
1 cup Bajra flour
1/4 cup Ghee
1/2 cup powdered Sugar or you can adjust the sweetness accordingly
1/2 cup Dried fruits, coarsely grin dry fruits in a grinder
1 tsp Cardamom powder

Take a heavy bottomed pan and add bajra flour and stir continuously till it is aromatic.

 Remove it from heat and transfer the mixture in a plate. Allow it to cool for few minutes. Just when the temperature of mixture is warm add sugar, sesame seeds, cinnamon and mix dried fruits. 

Mix well and add hot ghee in the center of the bowl, mix with a spatula. Take some mixture in your hand, press it with your palm to give a firm round shape. Shape into round balls, if you are not able to bind add 1 or 2 tsp of melted warm ghee and 

Shape them into ladoo by rotating inside your palm. Let them cool and then serve. Later store them in an air-tight container as this will stay for a week.

read more.. "Pearl Millet Sweet Balls | Bajra Ladoo "

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tofu Paratha | Indian Bread with Tofu

Tofu is one food that I started eating only 4 years back . Back then, after reading a lot about its nutritional benefits and testimonies from foodies, I thought why not give it a try? The most convenient is  making parathas with tofu stuffing as  Tofu itself is tasteless. Let me tell you these parathas are very filling and healthy snack too.  I often pack it as lunch item for my little one for school. 
Needed for the dough
2 cups Whole wheat flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Oil
Water to knead the dough

For the Filling:
200 gms Tofu, grated
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Green chilies, chopped
1/2 tsp Ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp Red chili powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
Salt to taste (do keep in mind that I have added little salt in the dough as well)
2 tbsp fresh Coriander leaves, finely chopped
Oil for cooking 

Take a big bowl and mix flour, salt and mix well. Add oil and water simultaneously to knead the dough as you would do to make rotis. Cover and leave it for sometime to settle down.

To make the Filling:
In a large bowl crumble the tofu and add all the above ingredients under Filling. Mix thoroughly and keep aside the filling.

Assembling the paratha:
Now from the dough make two lime sized equal balls. Take a ball and flatten it on your palm and then by using a rolling pin roll out on a floured board to make a 5 inch disc.

 Shift this to another plate and make another 5 inch disc with another set of ball. Spread 2-3 tsp of filling on one roti and then cover it with the other roti. Press down the edges to seal firmly. Dust some flour on it and roll out slightly. 


Transfer the paratha on to the hot skillet / tawa. Cook for few minutes, flip in between, when brown spots appear drizzle with some oil. When both sides are done you may dab little butter on each paratha. Do the same with the rest of the dough. Serve hot with butter, pickle or with chilled curd. 

read more.. "Tofu Paratha | Indian Bread with Tofu"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cute Pig Face Breads | Piglet Buns For Kids

Who doesn't like homemade breads?  I love the fresh smell of hot breads when taken out from hot oven. My son likes to eat breads when he returns from his school, so one fine day I thought of making these cute little pig face breads. Needless to say how happy he was ! These are very easy to follow, I made few piglet buns the very next day.

 There are times when I try adding fun factor in my baked items. For instance last week when I was playing Angry Birds in my phone, suddenly it struck me why not I prepare a bread which looks like piglets face? That moment onwards I started to work on it and by the time my child came home from school, the breads were ready?

2 tbsp Active dry yeast
2 tsp Granulated Sugar
2 cups of All purpose flour + little more for dusting
1/4 cup Milk or more if needed
2 tbsp Butter, melted
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp Olive oil + few tsp for greasing the tray
A big pinch of Salt

In a ceramic bowl add lukewarm water, sugar, yeast and mix together for a second. Leave this liquid for 15-18 minutes until slightly foamy and frothy, if not then your yeast is not alive and you need to start again with another packet of yeast.

Take a big mixing bowl and add flour, salt, melted butter and the yeast mixture and knead it until you have a smooth looking dough. Now add milk, chopped garlic and knead for another 10 minutes to make a smooth dough and elastic kind of dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for another 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a neat ball and grease a separate big container to keep the dough (this step will ensure your dough will not stick to the container) and apply Olive oil from top. Cover the dough in a plastic wrap or with a clean kitchen towel and keep in a warm place for an hour.

Once doubled or tripled in size, deflat the dough  by punching down the dough and knead it for some time. This step is done to roll out the air bubbles. Now roll the dough on a lightly surfaced platform and cut with round cutters. Roll it from one side to get an oval shape. Make a small slit on top and fold them to make ears, use peppercorns for the eyes. To make the snouts, cut 1 inch wide small circle with the remaining dough and fix it with egg white (works like a glue). To complete the look, use toothpicks and leave them for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile pre-heat Oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking tray about 1 inch apart. Place these pig faces carefully with a flat broad spatula. Brush each face with egg yolk and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are crisp. Wrap in a clean towel for another 10 minutes, by following this step, your buns will be very soft.

 He simply loved the look of the breads and innocently adds, “Ma, but where are the birds?” So I promised him that next time I’d prepare the birds as well and let him have them.
Next day on my son's request I had made them again but this time I made them in bun shapes and it took me 20 minutes to bake. 

read more.. " Cute Pig Face Breads | Piglet Buns For Kids"

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Arbi Ki Sabji |Kochur Torkari |Taro Root Curry

Before I come back to the subject of the day which is Arbi also known as Kochu in West Bengal, I would like to share my happy feedback about a spice store which is based in Chennai. My friend Anisa has a online Spice Store: Zaiqa- The Spice Store. A few days back she asked me if I could check out few of the spices that she prepares and give my opinion. I immediately agreed to it as earlier I tasted Chettiadu Masala, Chicken 65, Biryani Masala and really liked them.

So next day I received a package of three packs of spices. Tadoori masala, Chicken 65 and Noor-e-Samundar (Fish masala). Behaving like a true Bengali I opened the Fish Masala first and the 1st thing that struck me was the perfect aroma of the herbs and spices that a Fish masala should emit. Also I followed the instructions mentioned overleaf while preparing Fish Fry.

 To my delight the colour turned out to be excellent and when I tasted a piece, the spices blended with the fish as uniformly as it can. Later I made a batter fried fish that also was much appreciated. I feel the USP of the spice is the earthiness and well mixture of all the right quantities which makes it a must add for the relevant dishes. 

At the back of every packet there is a recipe and has details of reaching Zaiqa via Facebook page and by phone no. too. Packaging is wonderful, you can seal after every use. So do try her spices by ordering online.

Now coming back to our post, a vegetable which is abundantly available in Northern India, Arbi or Taro Root curry. A simple curry which is often made at home with roti. I try to select small size arbi as per my choice.

8-10 medium sized Arbi / Taro root
1/4 tsp Hing /Asafetida
1/2 tsp Whole jeera
1 tsp grated Ginger
2-3 Green chilies, chopped
2 big Tomatoes, puree
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Amchur powder /dry mango powder
Coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Wash the arbi very well to remove any dirt. Pressure cook or microwave them till they are almost done (80% cooked). 

Do not let them sit in hot water for long, set them aside to drain and as soon as the steam goes start peeling them. Cut into cubes and  take a pan, shallow fry the arbis in low flame with just salt and turmeric powder {Do Not Overcook}. Keep aside.

In the same pan add little more oil and add jeera, when starts splattering add hing and ginger. Fry for a minute and add tomato puree. Fry till it starts leaving oil and then add turmeric and red chili powder. Make sure you do not burn the dry spices, another tip is to add a tsp water while frying dry spices. 

Now add the taro roots and gently toss them. Season with salt and amchur powder. Cook  till they nicely coated with the spices. Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves. This dry preparation goes well with rice, dal combination.

read more.. "Arbi Ki Sabji |Kochur Torkari |Taro Root Curry"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tamarind Rice Recipe | Imli Chawal

This is a special recipe because I had learnt it from a fellow passenger while I was travelling from Bangalore - Chennai. A middle aged Aunty was generous enough to share her tamarind rice with me which she had packed for the journey. Well no I haven't forgotten any of my Ma's intructions which she used to remind us every 5 minutes before any train journey. "Keu kichu diley ekdom khabe na" (If anyone offer you anything to eat, say no!) But this was unavoidable as she was sitting next to me in a double decker train, where you almost inhale co-passenger's breath and guess what they ate in the morning :-). This Aunty kept insisting me to taste her homemade tamarind rice, I politely said thank you Aunty but I am not feeling hungry, she won with her persistent request. But it was really tasty, so I asked her the recipe. Since then it has become my staple food whenever I have a need  to use leftover rice. Today I am sharing it with my readers. 
You can also check my few other rice dishes like Mishti Pulao, Lemon Rice, Vegetable Puloa in Rice Cooker

Roasted powder:
1 tbsp Chana Dal
1 tbsp Urad Dal
4 Whole Red chillies
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1/4 tsp Pepper corns
{1 1/2 tsp Sesame seeds separately and then grind it with the above roasted seeds}

For the seasoning:
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Chana dal
2 whole dry red chilies
8-10 Curry leaves
2 tsp Peanuts
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
2-3 whole Black peppercorns
4-5 tbsp Sesame oil

You also need:
2 cups Rice (I like to cook my rice previous night as it saves time for me)
3-4 tsp Tamarind pulp
1 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste

Cook rice and let it cool down {if you try to mix the spices with hot rice,the grains will break for sure}. Take all the ingredients under Roasted powder and dry roast them until it turns golden brown. Let it cool completely and then grind it to a fine powder. Keep aside

Now since I find it easy to work with readymade tamarind pulp I just mix it with 1 cup warm water and stir it well. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat and add mustard seeds. Let them pop and then add red chilies, chana dal, peppercorns and curry leaves. Do not let these burnt and immediately add peanuts, fry for a while. Add turmeric powder, asafoetida and tamarind water. Season with salt and the dry fine powder and cook till it thickens and looks like paste. Add rice in portions and keep mixing. Serve hot with pickle and enjoy.

read more.. "Tamarind Rice Recipe | Imli Chawal "

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Orange & Curry Leaf Lemonade | Himalayan Sparkling Water Contest

Making lemonade is not a rocket science but still it tastes different if you taste it at various places. Making sugar syrup is the key for me. I take about 1/2 sugar, 3/4 cup water and heat in a small saucepan on low heat until the sugar is dissolved completely. For that extra zing I add 2 tsp orange peel into it once it comes to room temperature. Use as per your requirement and you can keep the remaining syrup in a clean bottle inside the refrigerator.

Today's recipe has been adapted from Shatbhi Basu's Cucumber & Curry Leaf Lemonade. This recipe is a part of the Sparkling Himalayan Contest , exclusively for IFBM 2014 participants. 

60 ml Orange juice
2-3 Lime Wedges
30 ml Sugar Syrup 
15 ml Lime juice
Sparkling Himalayan water (you may substitute with Club Soda)
Few Curry leaves 
1 tsp rinds of Orange
Ice cubes

Fill a tall glass with lots of ice cubes, add lime wedges and add little crushed curry leaves. Add orange juice stir it and add lime juice. Time to add sugar syrup and finally sparkling Himalayan water (or club soda). 

Unlike other club soda Himalayan sparkling water has a mild fizz along with it. Stir well and serve this perfect Orange and curry leaf lemonade. Cheers!

read more.. "Orange & Curry Leaf Lemonade | Himalayan Sparkling Water Contest"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pomegranate Virgin Mojito (Himalayan Sparkling Water Contest)

Let me confess, I am stickler when it comes to drinking water outside, only fresh coconut water can satisfy my soul. A couple of hours under the scorching sun in Chennai can easily make you feel sick and dehydrated. Like a fish I like to be in the pool all the time if not so then I compensate it by preparing lemonades, mojitos, mocktails, and lassi for thirsty souls. Less of cocktails as the frequency at which I'm downing these liquids is high. So a real Mojito would prove little problematic for me (HIC!) ;-)

Another thing that I have observed is that we are between the end of the summer period and monsoon is approaching in full vigor, so it’s time that we should change our seasonal based fruits in our daily intake and mix them with our drinks( not necessary alcoholic). Also to add renowned brand Himalayas Sparkling water guarantees purity in every drop of drinks that I conjure. Today's recipe has been adapted from Shatabi Basu's Peach Mojito. This recipe is a part of the Sparkling Himalayan Contest , exclusively for IFBM 2014 participants. 

60 ml Pomegranate juice
6 Lime Wedges
Sparkling Himalayan water (you may substitute with Club Soda)
Few mint leaves 
1 tsp Chat masala
Ice cubes

Chop off the ends of pomegranate and then cut it into four parts. Take a big bowl of water and start separating the seeds from the skin ( I put my son to pull all the arils out). The seeds will sink to the bottom. When you are done pour the water along with the seeds to pass through a sieve. place the drained seeds in a blender until you get a pulp. Pass it through a sieve or cheesecloth to get the juice. Keep aside 60 ml of juice.

Take a tall glass, squeeze some lime wedges and lightly muddle them. Smash a few tender mint leaves in your hands by clapping them together and twisting. This brings out the best flavours. Add chat masala, throw in some ice cubes and add pour pomegranate juice. And finally add sparkling water and give it a nice stir. Serve immediately. 

Do you know that I have a separate HamareeRasoi FB Page? If you haven't LIKED my page yet then may I request you to do the same.
read more.. "Pomegranate Virgin Mojito (Himalayan Sparkling Water Contest)"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nolen Gurer Sandesh (Cottage Cheese Sweet With Date Palm Jaggery)an Ultimate Ecstasy for Any Bengali

As a Bengali brought up in the North India the word Sandesh or Shondesh had two specific meanings. In Hindi it means as News. And in Bangla it means a Cottage Cheese based sweet.
Legend has it that in early 18th century a sweet shop owner from Bengal called Bhim Nag had mastered in the art of preparing shondesh and after tasting which the Lady Viceroy of India was smitten by it and from there after there was no looking back for this sweet. It surely has stood the test of time and there is no other traditional sweet which could be prepared in so many varied way. Recently I had prepared this for a baker’s meet at a popular hotel inChennai hosted by renowned food critic Rashmi Uday Singh. To my delight she liked it and featured it in the TOI Chennai edition.

Making a good sandesh is an art, with practice only you can achieve best results. The mere mention of sandesh /sondesh makes me go weak in my knees. And believe me it is not a domain owned by Bengalis only anymore. I see people from many part of the world asking me recipes about the same. Some tried it from online sources, many followed it by following a recipe on books and magazines.  Well when it comes to sandesh the flavours can be endless such as Aam Sandesh, Chocolate Sandesh, Nolen Gurer Sandesh etc. So depending upon the flavours the texture can also vary. 
I remember once I had put Sandesh molds on my Facebook page and got plenty of requests to share the source of molds as well as the recipe. Few of my friends were pestering me to post the much awaited recipe on my site. So here it is...

1 ltr Full fat milk
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1-2 tbsp powdered Sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Date palm Jaggery (Nolen Gur)

What else you need: Few wooden or stone carved molds.I have got mine from my Mom and Granny. I just love collecting various shapes and designs.
A big Sieve and a clean muslin cloth.

To make chana/ chena, boil milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Keep stirring so that milk doesn't get burnt at the bottom. pour lemon juice over milk and stir. The milk will curdle just wait for 1 more minute and place the sieve with a muslin cloth. Strained the curdles milk and run it under tap water to remove the lemon trace. Tie the loose ends and hang it to the tap to drain our excess water for half an hour. Now my Aunt and Mom used to place this chena potli under a heavy utensil like Sheelnora but I like the little moist chenna for my sondesh so I skip this process. 

Now comes the kneading part where after transferring the chana/ chena to a clean flat plate you have to knead it with your finger and heel of your palm.  Once the lumpy thing starts looking as smooth ball add powdered sugar in it and knead again for another 10-12 minutes. 

Take a non stick pan and add grated jaggery in it and keep stirring it on low heat. Once you get melted jaggery, add chena/chana mixture and mix thoroughly. Keep stirring this mixture for 2-3 minutes and you will see the mixture will tend to release the sides of the pan. Switch off the pan but stir it in between. Grease a plate with 1/2 tsp ghee and brush little ghee on the molds ( this step is done to avoid the stickiness of sandesh inside the molds). Let this cool down for 2-3 minutes or else you will have tough time rolling the lemon size balls between your palm. This stage is called Makha as it is yet to be shaped or go in various molds.
The last stage of mixture is called Makha

Make small balls from Makha and press into the molds. Now carefully remove from the molds and place these in a serving pate.

 Cool until firm or you can have it warm also. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Sondesh :-)These can be stored in refrigerator section provided they are in an air tight box.

Few tips:

  • It is better if you keep an eye on chena while cooking as no one enjoys eating chewy outcome.
  • If you don't have sondesh molds, just roll them into tiny balls or you can flatten them also. Works fine as long as taste is there ;-)
  • Do not let the Makha cool down completely or else the mixture will get hard. So mold it when the Makha is still warm.

Do check out Pista Sondesh and MoongDal Sondesh also.
read more.. "Nolen Gurer Sandesh (Cottage Cheese Sweet With Date Palm Jaggery)an Ultimate Ecstasy for Any Bengali"

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Corn Dip With Tortilla Chips | An entry to the IFBM and Freedom Tree Baking Contest

I can’t believe that there is about thirty six hours left for me to join my blogger friends for the IFBM at Bangalore. For me it’s quite a new experience as for two whole days I would take a break from being a home maker to a working delegate even for a short time. I have a list of to do at the event and wish to learn a lot from the experienced bloggers and culinary maestros. In personal front it’s an acid test for my husband to be on the other side of the table where he’s the one who has to take care of the child and the home. Knowing him I think he’d take off with my son outdoors so that the home remains intact as much as possible. He’s already got invites from his friends to spend weekends with them and he’d use them to the hilt. Anyways, let me have a good time in the process ;-)

 Sharing you the recipe of Corn Dip which I bake in Oven for few minutes and later serve it hot with tortilla chips. Though the pictures are not perfect as the power went off in between. So blame it on power cut off. This also is my 3rd  Savoury Corn Baked dish for IFBM's as "An entry to the IFBM and Freedom Tree Baking Contest". Freedom Tree has given all the participants of IFBM to take up the challenge of baking a savoury dish with Fresh Corns. You can check my previous two posts by clicking on the link Savoury Corn Tartlets and Baked Corn-Cheese Spring Rolls

1 1/2 cups Fresh Corns
1 tbsp. Butter
1 Onion, diced
1/4 cup diced Capsicum
2 Medium size Tomatoes, diced
1/4 Raw mangoes,  (if you don't like the skin, just remove it off before cutting the mango) 
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Cream cheese block
3 sprigs of Mint leaves
1 tsp minced Garlic
1/4 tsp. black Pepper powder, freshly ground
1/4 cup Olives
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
Tortilla chips, for dipping 
Salt for taste

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic, onion and diced capsicum. Sprinkle some salt, pepper powder and stir occasionally until wilted. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Preheat Oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Take a big mixing bowl, mix the corn, olives, mint leaves, raw mangoes and mix thoroughly with a fork. Mix in the grated cheddar cheese and cream cheese block. 

Pour the mixture into a baking dish and bake until golden brown, which takes about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot with tortilla chips and sit back to watch a movie :-) 

read more.. "Corn Dip With Tortilla Chips | An entry to the IFBM and Freedom Tree Baking Contest"