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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rice Phirni with Rose Infused Strawberries

Today's recipe is simple phirni presented with rose infused strawberries which I learnt during a workshop last month. The sweet which I am going to share today comes with a caution: “ Likely to be emptied instantly on arrival.” Hence, phirni is to be prepared with generous quantity so that all guests and hosts alike could have to their heart’s fill. And don’t be surprised if your guests ask for refill for this sweet even before finishing half way with the apprehension that others might take away your share. So it’s the culmination of a great meal with a high.
Sending this pleasing to eyes colored phirni to Priya's Valentine's Day Recipe Contest   sponsered by Cuponation

For Phirni-
50 gm Basmati Rice, pounded to a coarse powder
1 Ltr. Full cream milk
3 tbsp Sugar
2 pinch Cardamom powder
For the topping-
250 gms fresh Strawberry
Few mint leaves
2 tbsp Rose syrup
2 tbsp Water

 Remember don't make a smooth paste of rice while grinding as fine powder will make it taste like custard ! Take a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring milk to a boil on low flame by stirring continuously. Add rice powder and with a spatula stir vigorously.

 Cook on slow flame while stirring continuously and cook till it thickens. Add in sugar and cardamom powder. 

By now the consistency of milk will be thick like custard (take care there are no lumps formed). Pour into 2 big glasses or 4 small glasses and keep in fridge for atleast 4 hours.

Slice the strawberries into thin slices and mix in rose syrup with water, mint leaves. Let this mixtures sit in and soak all the flavours for an hour.

 Serve the phirni chilled with strawberry and garnish with a mint spring.

Happy to send this recipe to Swathi's ongoing 'Recipes with Fruits' event and giveaway, courtesy CupoNaton

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Spicy Baked Chicken Wings

Now a days there are a host of Chicken joints mushrooming up in the city. It’s popular with kids who seem to like the crispy taste and the juicy chicken. However, there is a catch, these fried chicken contain MSG which I don't like much. So, it becomes a mission for mothers like me to replicate the same magic at home with  Chicken dishes which are not only healthy but also pleasing to eat. This is my small attempt to convey that all is not lost we can still have alternate meals and propagate till the Big Chain of restaurants are compelled to change their way of cooking. It’s a win win situation for all and so I hope that you would try this one out and make it as a regular feature in dinner or lunch.


6 Chicken wings
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce (keep aside 2 tbsp for marinate wings)
2 tbsp Soya sauce (keep aside 1 tbsp for marinade)
2 tbsp Olive sauce for marinade
1 tbsp Garlic, minced 
1/4 tsp Lime zest
1/4 tsp Orange peel
1/4 tsp chopped Ginger
2 tbsp Sesame seeds (white)
Some Spring onions (green portion) finely chopped
2 Whole red chilly chopped roughly
3-4 Green chillies, slit
1/2 cup Water
Salt and pepper according to taste

Clean wings and pat with a dry cloth. Sprinkle  some salt and pepper along with hoisin sauce*, soya sauce *, olive oil and toss it well. 

Refrigerate for 3 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare the baking tray by placing a butter paper and brush it with olive oil. Place the wings in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Bake it for 20-25 minutes , rotating half way through, until fully cooked. Broil for another 5 minutes for the beautiful crust on top if you want. 

Remove wings from Oven and keep aside. Just before serving: Prepare sauce by pouring remaining sauces in a pan on low heat and add coriander stems, minced garlic, ginger, zest, sesame seeds, peels and 1/2 cup water. combine well with a spatula and toss the hot wings in the sauce. Cook for 3-4 minutes so that wings soak up the flavour well. Serve immediately. 

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sooji Payesh With Nolen Gur /Semolina Pudding With Date Palm Jaggery

Though traditional payesh is made with rice (gobindo bhog chaal) but let me tell you there is not limit if you have got nolen gur in your hand !! I do everything to increase my intake of Nolen Gur/Khejur Gur when in season :-) 

1 Ltr Milk
1/4 cup Semolina 
2 tsp Ghee
9-10 Almonds (soaked in water overnight, peel off the skin next day and slice)
8-10 Cashews 
8-10 Raisins
3/4 cup grated Nolen gur (Date Palm Jaggery) or you can use plain jaggery. Adjust the sweetness according to your taste
Small pinch of Salt

Heat ghee in a pan on low flame and add sooji, cashews, raisins and fry till golden brown and it leaves nice aroma. Keep this aside.

Pour milk in a thick bottomed pan and bring it to a boil. Stir occasionally for almost 15 minutes on low flame. Now add semolina along with nuts, small pinch of salt and cook stirring continuously until it becomes thick. Switch off the burner and add nolen gur. 

Keep stirring till gur is melted in milk mixture thoroughly. Put it back on flame on low heat and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with sliced almonds. I personally like to have warm bowl of sooji'r payesh. With each passing hour it will become dense so you may want to add some warm milk into it to dilute this aromatic payesh.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vegetable Kathi Roll With Soya Keema

Kathi Rolls in Kolkata complement each other. This is a kind of snack which is available in every nook and corner of the city to high end restaurants. Be it a millionaire coming out from his BMW or a Cyclist , both of them would have this roll as their evening snack. The taste of it is awesome and every time I land in Kolkata, I head towards the nearest roll joint ( Bedouin, Gariahat). 

With passage of times, there has been influx of healthy and nutritious vegetarian rolls to expand the roll lover’s horizon. Adding Soya, Tofu or Paneer adds up to the taste for the veggies. So here is an attempt of mine to recreate a fraction of taste of Kolkata rolls with a healthy twist.

3/4 cup Soya granules
1 Capsicum, cut lengthwise
1 Tomato, de-seed, cut lengthwise
1/2 cup Purple cabbage
150 gms Panner (cottage cheese)
1/4 cup Green peas (OPTIONAL)
1-2 Green chilli
1 tsp Chat masala
Tomato ketchup
few tbsp Green coriander chutney
1/2 lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste

For Paratha:
1 1/4 cups All purpose flour
3 tbsp white Oil (moyen)

Take a deep bowl, add flour, salt, oil and combine well. Add water little by little to form a soft yet firm dough. Cover the dough and keep aside for 15 minutes.
In between prepare the filling. Heat water in a vessel and pour soya granules into it, with a pinch of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and rinse soya granules in running water. Squeeze out excess water.

 Heat a non stick pan and add 2 tbsp vegetable oil in it. Fry granules with some salt and peas for 5-6 minutes. Now add all the vegetables into the pan and stir fry on medium flame for few minutes. Check the seasoning and turn off the flame. Add lemon when the filling cools down.

To prepare the paratha, pinch a big size of dough, flour the surface and roll it into big round shape (little bigger than usual roti/chapati size). On a flat pat, place one paratha and cook lightly on both sides without oil. When some brown spots appears add 1 tsp oil and fry for a minute from both sides. Remove from pan and place it on a plate, spread some green chutney paste, ketchup and 2 -3 tbsp filling. Sprinkle some chat masala to jazz up the rolls. Roll the paratha tightly to form a roll. To hold the rolls you can wrap the lower part with tissue and enjoy !
                     So easy to carry, it's a perfect breakfast on the run.....

read more.. "Vegetable Kathi Roll With Soya Keema"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love.Cook.Learn at Pink Poppodom, Hotel Ista

An afternoon well spent with good wine, sneak peek at Pink Poppadam on a Saturday sounds fun, isn't it?  Poshvine announced their Valentine's day special Love.Cook.Learn event in Ista Hotel, we made a note of it and made ourselves free for the event. Sister offered to babysit so I was relaxed. The attractive offer was for Rs.1250 per person, Live Cooling demo of 3 course session carefully chosen wine paired 3 course meal and a bottle of wine(Blush) to take home !!!

Ista Hotel has made it's huge impressive mark and it offers its guest spactacular views of The Ulsoor Lake and cityspace. Perfect balance of great comfort and ultimate in style. Four Seasons Wine joined hand in hand  with the event at Pink Poppodom. Our sitting arrangement was next to glass windows and each of the six seats was separated by pink colored drapes under pink ceiling. I bet it adds a lot of glamor to the place during night.
Mr. Abhay Kewadkar made a quick visit while we sat for our round table 3 course tasting session. He enlighten us with food pairing wine techniques. For someone who is novice, it was a learning experience. After a breif introduction Chef Gautam Chaudhry handed over the show to Chef Sumeet Priyadarshi

So the menu was Ricotta Kabab on a bed of Zucchini Carpaccio paired with Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc, Seafood Hot Pot paired with Four Seasons Chenin Blanc, Rose Syrup infused Strawberry Phirni paired with Four Seasons Blush. Chef Sumeet was friendly with his small audience, explaining the little nuances of cutting techniques, induction and cooking tips. While making Ricotta Kebab one thing he mentioned was to avoid the heat of your hand when handling ricotta cheese, as the addition temperature will make it melt easily. And then you will end up adding more gram flour which eventually will effect the final taste. 

    1) First dish was Ricotta Kebab on a Bed of Zucchini Carpaccio.  
    2) Second dish was Seafood Hot Pot whish had Pomfret, squid and prawns in a coconut and Kodumpuli flavour.
                      And here is the final dish garnished with fried lotus root chips and some chilli oil.

    3) Rice Phirni with Rose Infused Strawberries
 The taste was out of this world as the desi phirni was blended so well with rose syrup strawberries
Three cheers to Poshvine for conducting such fun workshops. Also would like to thank Ginger Claps for inviting me at Ista Hotel for this wonderful event.
read more.. "Love.Cook.Learn at Pink Poppodom, Hotel Ista"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe With Frosting

As all of us know today happens to be Saint Valentine's day, when about 250 years back this holy person sacrificed his life for his beloved and paving way for lovers to express their love for the years to come. However, now a days couples and prospective couples pamper their lovers with gifts, cards and even romantic dinner to make this day special.

 Well, in my case my husband gave me a surprise by taking off from his work  for today and tomorrow. Moreover, he booked tickets for us in today's afternoon show after lunch at a decent restaurant. To add to the sweetness of today, prepared some cupcakes with decorative toppings. Sending this Valentine special recipe to Pari's Cooking for my Valentine event where CupoNation is sponsoring a giveaway.

1 1/4 cup Self Rising Flour
8 tbsp unsalted Butter (softened)
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 tsp Red color
3/4 cup Sugar(granulated)
1 Egg
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Water
Pinch of salt

 250 gms Cream cheese

 2 tbsp Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
Any food color

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 cup cake pan. 
In a small glass mix 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tsp water and red color. Mix thoroughly and leave this for 10 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt in a large bowl. Cream together butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well for a minute on medium speed. Add vanilla essence and mix well.  Blend in dry flour mixture into the sugar batter then 1/4 of buttermilk alternating until mixed well. 

Mix in red liquid and follow fold method (with a spatula cut down through the mixture, move across the bottom of the bowl and come back up). Fill up the lined cupcake pan only till half mark. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool completely. Once they are cooled completely, frost with your choice of frosting or decorate as you wish.

 I finished if off half of the lot with fingerlicking Cream Cheese Frosting and remaining with whipped cream with Cardamom flavour. Red Velvet cupcakes are traditionally frosted with Cream cheese which to me is a match made in heaven !! Added food color to make them more beautiful. Just remember to add it a couple of drops at a time though, then mix it. Stop when it reaches your desirable color. 

Take a large chilled bowl add in 250 gms cream cheese,  2 tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla essence and beat on a medium speed until blended well. Add sugar 1/3 at a time and beat till it reaches medium stiffness. Do Not Overbeat or it can turn runny !! Remaining frosting can be stored in a ziplock pouch can keep in freeze section upto 2 months. Just thaw it completely and run it on low speed to bring back the smooth consistency.
read more.. "Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe With Frosting"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chingri (Prawn) Malai Curry : A Delicacy From Bengal

Chingri Malai curry is an all-time famous Bengali dish which is prepared with prawns/lobsters blended with coconut gravy and mild spices. This gravy has to be cooked with right mix of spices in a delicate manner and it would have a delicious mix of sweetness of the coconut milk with the taste of the prawn mixed with exotic spices. 

The Chingri Macher Malai’s taste could not be explained in words alone, one has to savor it to feel the richness. When cooked with care, it surpasses all other dishes kept for either lunch or dinner. This dish gets A one preference for  guests, big celebratory buffets and weddings. In a nutshell, it is simply a fabulous dish that epitomizes the sense of Bengali cuisine. It’s what makes an elegant Bengali classic which definitely sums up this dish.  

500 gms Prawns, de-veined, medium to large size (you can keep the tail on)
2 Onions ground to paste (squeeze out the excess water from the paste)
200 ml Coconut milk
1 1/2 tbsp Garlic paste
1 tbspchopped Ginger
2 Bay leavesr
4 Cardamoms
2 " inch Cinnamon
4 Cloves
1 tsp Deggi Mirch powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
Pinch of Sugar
3-4 drops of Lemon drops for marinating prawns
2 tbsp Ghee
1/4 cup Water
Salt to taste
3 tbsp Mustard oil (yes this recipe calls for mustard oil only, incase you want to replace use vegetable oil)

Wash thoroughly the prawns and sprinkle some salt, turmeric and lemon juice over them.Keep aside for 10-15 minutes. Heat ghee in a pan on low flame and fry the prawns in batches just for few seconds as prawns are very tender meat, over frying would make them rubbery. Keep aside the fried prawns. 

In the same pan add bay leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, cloves, chopped ginger and garlic. Once the garlic turns light brown add onion paste. Stir and cover it with a lid. Once the onion paste begins to brown sprinkle some water and fry it by stirring continuously. Add coriander powder, turmeric, chilly powder, salt, sugar and stir well. 

Cook till it separates oil from the sides of the pan. Add 1/4 cup water and coconut milk not on low flame and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add prawns now, cover and cover for another 4-5 minutes. Garnish it with slitted green chillies. This goes best with Rice, Ghee Bhat.

read more.. "Chingri (Prawn) Malai Curry : A Delicacy From Bengal"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Peanut Chutney For Idlis /Dosa

Recently I have been following a mammoth religious event called Mahakumbh is taking place in Prayag Sangam ( Allahabad, North India ). It is the most populous gathering in the history of mankind which happens once in 12 years. Pilgrims from all over the country and the world gather at the embankment of the merging of three rivers ( Ganges, Yaumuna and mystical river Saraswati). Legend has it that during a few thousand eons ago there was a war between demi gods and demons to obtain immortality nectar and during the commotion a few drops of it fell on this place. So, if one takes a dip in this holy month then the person is freed from the suffering from eternal life and death circle. It’s sheer faith that attracts millions of people to be at the place and even westerners who are tired with gross consumerism and have lost the peace in life come here only to witness that every human being are same in this place and there is a bliss in giving and sacrificing all the materialistic objects and link oneself with the Soul which is immortal and free from all the negativity of life. Some pics are here to display the serenity and faith of the people for this occasion. Me being from another Holy Place 9 Haridwar ) can understand the power of faith that conquers every impossibility of life.

In the meantime I am including a simple chutney recipe to add to the taste of the main meals  like dosas and idlis.Now many of my South Indian friends may raise their eyebrows as the recipe for Peanut chutney has 3 basic ingredients !!!! But this is the way my Mom and her Mom (Grandma) used to make so presenting you as it is.

1 cup unsalted Peanuts
3-4 Green chillies (adjust to taste)
2 tbsp Coconut (optional) I ran out of it so skipped
1 tbsp Ginger, chopped
Water to grind the chutney (add little by little till you get your kind of consistency) 
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste

Dry roast the peanuts for about 6-7 minutes by continiously stirring the peanuts on low flame or till you get the aroma of roasted peanuts. Turn off the heat and allow them to cool. Now remove the skin of peanuts by rubbing them in between your palms. Now grind together peanuts, coconut, green chillies, ginger, salt and sugar in a blender by adding 2 tbsp water. I like my chutney to be little coarse but if you like you can grind to fine paste. Keep aside your chutney is ready ! It goes very well with dosas and idlis.

Now I skipped the tempering  as my son wanted to have it without it, but mentioning here the tempering procedure. For tempering: You will need  1tbsp Oil 1 tbsp Urad dal, a few Curry leaves, pinch of Hing and 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds. Heat oil in a small pan and add all the above mentioned ingredients and pour over chutney. 
read more.. "Peanut Chutney For Idlis /Dosa"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kulfi - The Ultimate Desi Dessert

Weather is peculiar in Bangalore now a days, early morning it's cloudy and windy but as the clock touches 9 am. it becomes bright sunny day!! So I am making a conscious effort to switch gears from winter based cuisine to the Spring/Summer collection ( makes me sound more like a fashion designer, but  I like it). Speaking of Spring here in India, tree leaves are back to their vibrant green and finally you wish to enjoy the time outdoors when the full wrath of summer sun has still not begun. 
Aren't these utter cute? I borrowed these from Lubna :-) Thank you honey...

So the very first main festival that is celebrated throughout the country is called HOLI or Festival of Colours. Here, friends and family gather together and apply coloured water and gulals ( coloured powder ) to each other. When one chases other to apply colour and the person being chased runs like there is no tomorrow, is a sight to watch. All in a spirit of fun and frolic. What follows next is an awesome course of yummy Holi based cuisines like Gujiya, Dahi wade, Namkeen/Nimki, Thandai and Kulfis. My personal favourite is Kulfi as unlike Ice Cream you do not need a machine to prepare it or it is required to make it thick before putting it in the fridge. The ingredients that are required are easy to obtain. The best part is that it tastes much better than conventional ice cream. So let me start the spring cuisines with this kulfi recipe.

I think last I had made kulfi was way back in 2003 !! And it was only when I was flipping through a magazine yes it was cooking mag :-p I realized that I must make this as soon as possible !! So in another 15 minutes I was inside a shop to buy full cream milk ! I was on a mission so declared someone (obviously pointing out my younger sister only) that help me to fix lunch and in exchange I will treat you well for dessert. 

Since it was ages since I made kulfis and Hubby won't be able to relish them as he is out of town so decided we will celebrate Valentine's Day with him and I will make these again to recreate our old fun days in Gurgaon by roaming aimlessly late night and gorging on matka kulfis from roadside vendors!! I made this kulfi just to make sure that my age old recipe still works. I added powdered almonds as it provides extra dense/ thickness in this kulfi preparation.

1 ltr. Full Cream Milk (separate 1/4 cup milk to soak saffron strands)
1 cup Heavy cream
1 can Condensed milk
20-25 unsalted Almonds, skin removed or 1/4 cup coarsely grounded nuts of your choice
3 tbsp Pistachios, sliced
Pinch of Saffron strands
A few rose petals
Pinch of Cardamom powder

Soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup warm milk and keep aside. Grind almond to a fine powder in a blender and keep aside.
Take a heavy bottomed pan and add milk. Cook on a low flame,keep stirring continuously else it might stick to the bottom. Stir till the milk thickens and almost become half in quantity. Add the cream, condensed milk and saffron soaked milk now. Stir again thoroughly. 

Now add the almond powder to the milk and stir nicely. Add cardamom powder, sliced pistachios and taste the sweetness (if you want your kulfis more sweet then add 1-2 tbsp)sugar. If ok, then continue stirring it on low flame for another 30 minutes. Remove from flame and let it cool down. Once you leave the thick milk mixture, a fine film will appear on top, remove it and add rose petals. 

Pour carefully into kulfi molds (I saved some amount for my personal 'matka kulfi') Freeze overnight or for minimum 8-9 hours. To unmold kulfis just run some water on the outer side of molds. Serve it immediately with some sliced pistachios.

The above recipe is going to participate in various events:
Priya's Valentine Day Recipe Contest

Sudeshna's Holi-The Event of Colors fantastic giveaway contest which is sponsored by CupoNation

A Cook @ Heart (Manasi) having an exciting giveaway event "I Must Make That"

I had poured extra milk mixture in an Earthen pot and my Matka Kulfi was ready !!

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