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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Honey Sesame Bread Sticks

Sometimes in life I wake up and say to myself ' Today I will do absolutely nothing'. For one day I will hand over my child to hubby and just relax, go wherever I feel and most importantly do not have to worry about my domestic help not coming to work! After just 1 hour the reality sets in. Hubby screams, '' Tell Jr. A not to smash my Laptop keys'' so I have to run after my boy to calm him down, My friend with whom I had planned to go shopping falls sick, The PC is attached by virus, so I have to be on constant calls with a host of experts to repair my software so there goes my relaxing and invariably my maid does not show up for work so I end up working for the day. 

So much for planning not to do anything for the day. So at least to end the day on a positive note, I have to prepare some appetizers which would set the day for the dinner to be a good one. So, honey dipped bread sticks would be liked by all as a starter.Recipe Source: Here

3-4 slices of day old Bread, crusts trimmed
8 tbsp of Butter
4 tbsp of Honey
1/4 cup of Sesame seeds

Pre-heat oven to 170 Degree C. Cut bread slices into vertically about 1/2 " a part. Dry roast sesame seeds in a pan at low heat until lightly toasted and just light brown in color. Keep aside.

Turn off the heat and add butter on already hot pan. When completely melted add honey and stir well. Now place the bread strips in a single layer in the frying pan to soak the butter-honey liquid. Turning it over once or twice to be sure both sides are soaked. Roll the bread slices over the roasted sesame seeds and arrange in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake for 5 minutes or until lightly brown.

User Comments & Tips:

  • You can use less butter and add more honey to suit your kind of taste. I like mine to be more buttery so I added double amount of butter. 
  • These can also be stored in an airtight container for 2 days and I can assure you it remains crispy.

read more.. "Honey Sesame Bread Sticks"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Palong Saag Bori Diye / Palak Saag

We the people of Bengal make it a point to have green leafy vegetable in the beginning of our course of lunch. Palong saag is one of our perpetual feature amongst such vegetable preparation. Spinach is one of the most beneficial veggie for our body and particularly now when due to junk food all the necessary vitamins and minerals are lacking in our diet. So, here goes a simple and easy form of spinach preparation.

3 bunches of Spinach leaves / palong saag
Handful of Boris ( are dried balls made out of different kinds of dals)
1/4 tsp Panch phoron (this is the most basic 5 spices mixture that is essential in Benagli household)
1 Onion thinly sliced 
Salt & Sugar to taste

Clean and wash the leaves in water 3-4 times. Chop very finely and keep aside. Heat mustard oil in a kadhai and add bori.Fry them till they are golden in color.  Remove from kadhai and keep aside. Add panch phoron in the remaining oil and when spluttering stops, add chopped onions. Fry for a couple of minutes and add chopped palak leaves and salt. Cover and cook till the saag is cooked properly. Sprinkle pinch of sugar in kadhai and mix well. Remove from heat and garnish with fried boris. Serve with steamed rice and kasundi (mustard sauce).

User Comments & Tips:

  • Panch Phoron is a mixture of equal volumes of the following spices- radhuni, onion seed, aniseed, fenugreek and cumin seeds. In this radhuni can be replaced by black mustard seeds.
  • Adding onion is optional here. 

read more.. "Palong Saag Bori Diye / Palak Saag"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Creamy Cucumber Dip

Many of you must be wondering about my sudden disappearance, well my computer had gone for service. And later my blog was showing malware detection message, so took time to fix it with the help of my friend AD. Even while posting today I was facing many problems, thank God my neighborhood friend Lubna gave her inputs. Thank you dear :-)

Today I have come up with a refreshingly cool and minty flavor of this dip is sure to please your little one or for get together parties. Make this dip in advance and serve with crackers, bingo triangles, plain salted biscuits or with your fav salty chips.

Recipe Source: Tarla Dalal's Finger Foods For Kids
1/2 cup peeled & thinly grated Cucumber
1/4 chilled fresh Hung Curd
2 tbsp Eggless Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Garlic paste
2 tbsp Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp Mint paste
Salt to taste

Squeeze out the water from the cucumber and discard. Blend it in a mixer till smooth, stsrain using a strainer and discard the water again. Combine all the ingredients, including the cucumber, in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve the chilled creamy cucumber dip surrounded with crackers. 

Note: To get 1/4 cup of hung curds, tie 1/2 cup of curds ina muslin cloth and hang it for 1/2 hour. Remove from the cloth and use as required.

read more.. "Creamy Cucumber Dip"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Black Chickpea Pilaf With Leftover Chickpea Gravy

I often make this chana pilaf when I make Black chickpeas gravy a day before. Not only I relish this on day one with roti/parathas but also make full use of it by preparing it in form of pilaf to add the variety. It saves my cooking time .The best part of this rice based dish is that it is not only nutritious with the addition of chickpeas, but due to it's colour , it is attractive to children. 

Hope all of you like the look of it. Would be even more happy if you could send me your feedback after you have prepared it in your homes.

To know how to make Black Chana Gravy click here. Dry up the gravy on low flame as we don't need the gravy. Keep aside.

1 cup Basmati Rice (rinse the bastmati rice and soak for 20 minutes)
1 big Onion, cut into thin slices 
1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic-Green chilly paste
1/4 cup Tomato paste
1 inch Cinnamon stick
2 Green cardamom
2 Cloves 
1 Bay leaf
1 Black cardamom
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder
2 Green chillies, chopped (you can skip this if you have child at home)
2 cups Water 
Oil (I used 3 tbsp)

Heat oil in a kadai on low flame, add bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and fry for one minute. Add onions and keep stirring till it becomes transparent. Add ginger-garlic-chilly paste and fry for a minute. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder and tomato paste and fry till the oil starts separating. Drain the water from rice and add into the pan. Mix well.

Fry this for 2 minutes (if you are adding green chilles add it now) and add the left over chana into the kadai along with 2 cups of water. Mix well after adding salt (do remember left over chana had salt in it) so check after seasoning. Let the first boil come, then cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or till the rice is done. Serve this nutritious pilaf with raita of your choice.

read more.. "Black Chickpea Pilaf With Leftover Chickpea Gravy"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Phirni With Rice Flour

Summer is setting in and by the initial looks of it , it seems that this one will be a long heat wave. During this period I am on a mission to prepare certain cuisines that not only taste good but also helps the body to beat the heat. One of such dessert that acts as a soothing agent after a heavy lunch is called Firni ( Rice Pudding) . It may have originated from the Middle east  but now a days it has become a delicacy in the South Asia particularly in India and Pakistan. The key point in preparation is that it must be refrigerated and then eaten. Hope you like this dessert as a finale at the end of a sumptuous meal.

1/2 ltr Milk + 3 tbsp hot milk separate in a cup
60 gm Rice flour
50 gm Sugar
1 tsp Cardamom powder
1 tsp Rose water
1 tbsp chopped Almonds and pistachios 
A few strands of saffron dipped in milk( approx. 2tsp milk)
Silver leaf for decoration (optional)

Boil milk in a heavy pan on medium heat till it reduces to half of it's original quantity. Keep stirring in between. Make a paste with rice flour and hot milk in a cup, dilute till you get a thin consistency.Add this to the pan and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed. Cook on low heat by stirring continuously for 10-12 minutes. 

The texture should be coarse  and little thick, now add sugar and mix well. Continue to cook on low flame the sugar dissolves. Before removing the pan from the heat, add cardamom powder and mix well. Remove from heat, add saffron strands liquid and rose water. Mix well. Pour into small individual earthen pots for best results and let it cool. Then chill it in the refrigerator for a while. Garnish with chopped nuts.

read more.. "Phirni With Rice Flour"

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fried Marie Biscuits

How are you friends? I hope all my Indian friends had wonderful Holi celebrations. Did you play with colours? This year I enjoyed this festival of colours with my friends and family. Morning was spent on applying colors on friend's faces and later part of the day was spent hours trying to scrub off the colour from my face ;-)

By the way did I tell you my friend Lubna has helped me to installed Facebook Like badge to the left sidebar in this blog? As it has become most popular amongst bloggers would be grateful if all my visitors press the LIKE button on it. It will mean a lot to me.

Last week when I went to meet my friend Sunanda Patary, she surprised me with one of her mother's recipe. Every time I visit her she surprises me with her quick, simple ingredients required dish. 

And this time it was with Marie biscuits.......
 These were crispy and easy snacks with just egg and biscuits as two vital ingredients.Thanks dear for this super quick idea to satisfy pre-dinner hunger pangs.

1 Egg
6 Marie biscuits
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying (vegetable oil)

In a frying pan heat oil on medium heat. Beat egg, add salt, pepper powder until fluffy. Dip one biscuit at a time in egg mixture and immerse into hot oil. Deep fry on both sides until become golden brown. 

With slotted spatula take out fried biscuit drain on a plate with kitchen towels on it. Serve immediately these crispy fried biscuits with tomato ketchup.

                                                               No one can eat just one ;-)
read more.. "Fried Marie Biscuits"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kalakand Recipe -Sweet for Holi !!

Firstly I would like to wish all my readers and blogger friends from all across the world a Happy, vibrant and colorful Holi. In order to celebrate this festival of colors, I would like to present a very popular North Indian sweet called Kalakand which is loved by everyone for its soft and melt in mouth texture. For those who have not tasted this sweet , the key ingredient of this sweet is milk and sugar, but here I have posted milkmade version as I find it quick and have to spend less time in the kitchen. 

So, once you have started playing Holi keep on popping in few pieces of kalakand in between to energize yourself and apply colors to each and every near and dear ones. Play a safe Holi with Eco-friendly colours !!!

1 tin Milkmaid
1 cup Milk
Pinch of Phitkiri (Alum)
1 tbsp Sour curd
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
Chopped nuts to decorate (almonds and pista)
Silver foil (optional)

Boil milk in a heavy pan and stir continuously on medium flame till it is half. Add a pinch of phitkiri and sour curd. This will help in crystallization, keep stirring till the extra water dries up. Add milkmaid, sugar and keep stirring the mixture till the mixtures becomes semi dry and leaves the edges of pan. Add cardamom powder and mix well. Turn off the heat and immediately spread the mixture in a greased tray. Sprinkle nuts on top and with the back of flat spatula slightly press it against the kalakand. Let it cool, then cut into squares. To set these properly you can store the pieces in an air tight box and keep inside the fridge for later use.

read more.. "Kalakand Recipe -Sweet for Holi !!"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baked Spinach Cigars

Don't be surprised by the name friends, let me clarify that I am not into smoking cigars ! I was determined to make something very healthy for my family last weekend and this idea clicked. Instead of tobacco, the spinach is the filling inside the dough and another difference is that instead of lighting this cigar you need to chew this slowly and savor the taste. ;-)

 Also being a baked preparation ensures it nutritional values to be intact and the crispiness remains. Hope you try out this recipe and post your pics with a cigar in your mouth. You would look like a powerful Boss used to giving orders to the henchmen :)!

For The Outer Dough-
2 cups All purpose flour
2 bunches of Spinach (Palak)
Salt to taste

For The Stuffing-
1 cup Mushrooms, finely shopped
1 Onion, finely shopped
1/4 cup Corn Kernels
2 Green chillies
2 Garlic pods, chopped
1/4 cup Amul Cheese, grated
2 tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp Oil

To make the dough, first separate the palak leaves from the stem. Clean and wash palak leaves thoroughly and make sure that there is no dirt. Then blanch leaves in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, then dip them in ice water or cold water for sometime. This will ensure the green color is maintained. Now squeeze out the excess water and blend in a mixer to make puree.
Take a big bowl, add flour, salt and make a well in the center to pour spinach puree. Mix and knead until the dough is moist enough to be gathered into a soft ball. Cover and keep this aside for 20-25 minutes.

In between prepare the filling by heating 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add garlic, onion and saute. When the onion turns pink, add mushroom, salt and pepper. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes or until the moisture is gone. 

Turn off the gas, sprinkle coriander leaves and cheese. Let this mixture cool down. Pre-heat Oven to 175 Degree Celsius.
Now roll out thin pooris and shape them in squares,collect the extra edges from the round puris to the dough.
 Brush the edges of the square with a little water. Pour 2 tsp of mushroom filling, carefully roll to seal it properly. Now arrange the cigars in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush the cigars with little butter. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately with your choice of dip.

read more.. "Baked Spinach Cigars"

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oats Upma

There is a well known saying that a healthy and fulfilling breakfast paves the way for energetic day with complete vigor.And that is the reason why now a days I make oats upma frequently these days. The USP of this meal is that it can be prepared within a very short period( 15 minutes at max). Today, I woke up a bit late , realized that it is still Friday and my husband and son would be off to their respective venues( Office and School) and by Lo and Behold ! After 15 minutes my wholesome breakfast is ready. Sometimes you can not plan things and would have to improvise at the spot and take decision. Today was one of such days.

100 gms Oats
1 finely chopped Onion
1 chopped Tomato
1/4 cup Sprouted moong beans
1/2 tsp grated Ginger
1 Green chilly, chopped
6-7 Curry leaves
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Sugar
300 ml water
Lemon for taste
Salt to taste

Dry roast oats on low flame for 6-7 minutes or till golden brown, keep aside. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add green chillies, ginger and onion, fry for a minute. Add  chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt and stir well. Add the roasted oats, sprouted moong, little water and stir well. Add the remaining water, stir well and cook on low flame for another 5-6 minutes or till the mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and serve hot.

Linking this to Rasi's I'm the Star- her first event.

read more.. "Oats Upma"