Showing posts with label Desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Desserts. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Persian Love Cookies





Persian sweets and desserts are so visually appealing as well as delicious in taste that I could not help devouring these Pistachio Rose Persian Love Cookies as soon as they were done. I have long been eyeing these cookies on this blog: and at last gathered all the ingredients to make them.

So attractive to behold, soft, chewy and delicious in taste with the fragrance of rose petals that fills your senses as you bite into them. And with the first bite you begin to wonder if you have already fallen head over heals in love with them.  You cannot stop craving for more....... No wonder they are called Love Cookies!!

I followed the recipe almost exactly except for the fact that I didn't have enough almonds that day so combined it with pistachios and the taste was divine. Next time I make them I want to try without almonds and use only pistachios.

Also I did not have pomegranate juice so substituted with berry juice which was sweet and tangy like the pomegranate flavour.


Recipe adapted from heneedsfood.com

Ingredients: 
100 gm Almond meal
50 gm Pistachios ground
110 gm Icing Sugar sifted
80 gm Pistachios finely sliced
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tsp Green Cardamoms ground
1/3 Cup Dried Rose Petals
1 Egg White
1 Tsp Rose Water


Icing 
1 Tbs Berry Juice (blue berry and raspberry)
6 Tbs Icing sugar































    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 335 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Grind the almonds and pistachios separately and mix together. Add the sifted icing sugar, nutmeg, green cardamom powder, rose petals and mix well.

    3. Blanch the 80 gm pistachios (soak them in warm water and remove their skins) and slice them.

    4. Now add the egg white and rose water to the dry ingredients (step 2) till the mixture comes together.























    5. Shape into balls and roll them in the pistachio slices, place them on the lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and leave them to cool on a wire wrack.























    6. Mix together the icing sugar with the berry juice until you get a smooth flowy texture. When the cookies are completely cooled, drizzle the icing on top in a zig zag motion with a fork.

    7. Once the icing is completely set, decorate them with rose petals and dust lightly with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Dum Ka Rote Halwa (Baked Semolina Pudding)

































    This is a very popular halwa in Chennai, India well known for its name "Dum Ka Rote". To make this halwa the mixture is first cooked on flame then baked in the oven on low. In olden days they baked on charcoal ovens with burning charcoals on the top and bottom of the baking dish. But they controlled the heat, by keeping it on low. It was baked on low heat for a long time till it became crusty at the top and bottom. The crust is a delicacy and we as kids used to fight for it as it was the best part of the halwa. This halwa is what you would die for as it is so insanely delicious!!

    Basha's Halwa in Chennai is world famous (as he says in this video) and whosoever has tasted it once keeps craving for more. I am dedicating this recipe to one of my readers who was badly craving for it and requested me for its recipe. The recipe for Dum ka rote has been rotating in our family for many years and it is the closest to Basha's halwa I can say. Basha uses only melon seeds as garnish. I could not get melon seeds in the stores here, so had to use some which I managed to save after eating a melon,  therefore, I have used them sparingly. Here is the recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1/2 Cup Semolina (coarse)
    1 Cup / 225gm Unsweetened Khoya
    1 1/2 Cups / 325gm Sugar
    1 1/2 Cup Ghee + 1 tbs
    1 Cup / 115gm Almonds (for paste)
     Almonds and Cashews (chopped for garnish)
    2 Tbs melon seeds for garnish
    1/8th Tsp Saffron
    1 Cup half and half / Whole Milk
    1/4 Cup Whole Milk (for grinding almonds to a paste and for soaking saffron threads)













    Method:
    1. Soak semolina in 1 cup half and half or whole milk till it gets soaked well for 10 minutes.

    2 Cut the Unsweetened Khoya (Nanak Khoya or Bapu ka Khoya) into small pieces and blend them in a food processor till reduced to powder.

    3. Grind the almonds separately in a grinder first to a fine powder then add a little milk and grind to a fine paste with no lumps.

    4. Mix together the sugar, ghee and the ground almonds with the khoya powder in the food processor and pulse till everything gets blended well. Transfer to a bowl.

    5. Now add the soaked semolina and whisk everything with a hand whisk to a smooth thick batter.

    6. Crush the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle, add some warm milk to it then add this saffron milk to the halwa mixture and mix well.

    7. Transfer this mixture to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and on medium heat keep stirring till it comes to a boil and then starts slowly thickening. Do not stop stirring at this stage as it could get burnt at the bottom quickly. Finally when it starts leaving the sides, remove from the stove.














































    8. Grease a baking dish with ghee and pour the thickened halwa into it. Sprinkle the slivered almonds and melon seeds then drizzle the remaining ghee on top and place it in the centre of the oven preheated at 325 degrees fahrenheit.
















    9. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the top and the bottom layers start browning and the sweet scented aroma of saffron is filling the air. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature.







    10. The above picture was taken when I made the halwa again for a picnic. This time luckily I found the melon seeds at the Sri Lankan store. 



















    11. As you see in the above picture all the nuts ( I used chopped cashews and almonds) and melon seeds are gathered in the centre This is because this time I changed the baking technique a bit. I used the convection bake (temp: 350 degrees fahrenheit) instead of the regular bake and as it baked all the nuts and seeds came from the sides to the centre. Also it got crispier on the sides and center more compared to the previous halwa which got evenly crisp all over. I prefer the convection method of baking for this halwa as it had a beautiful crust and a crispy centre just like the basha halwa. And it tasted delicious!

    12. You can decorate the halwa with silver paper and serve it to your guests for dessert. 








    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Zafrani Halwa Pies


    I grew up eating these baked pies filled with almond, channa dal paste flavoured with saffron. It was always accompanied with rice kheer (porridge) which went so well with these pies. I have been craving for these for a long time and wanted to bake them like my mom but smaller in size. At last I tried them out to satisfy my craving. They turned out better than I had imagined. My mom used to make the pie crust with ghee (clarified butter) but I wanted something light and healthy so I followed a different recipe for the pie crust which was light, flaky and good.  For the halwa I followed my mom's recipe

    For the pie dough I followed this recipe from Simple Bites.  I cut down the recipe by half and the halwa I made following the recipe below was just enough to use up all the dough. 

    For the Halwa:

    Ingredients: 
    1/4 cup Channa dal
    1/4 cup Almonds (peeled)
    1/2 cup Sugar
    2 tbs Ghee
    Saffron a pinch

























    Method: 

    1. Soak the channa dal for 30 minutes after rinsing in water 3 or 4 times till the water is clear. Soak the almonds in warm water or microwave them with a little water for 30 seconds. The peels will easily come off.

    2. Boil the channa dal till it gets cooked, let it cool, then grind it to a smooth paste. Grind the almonds separately to a fine paste.

    3. Take a sauce pan and on medium heat add one or two cloves and 2 green cardamoms then add the ground dal and almond paste.

    4. Add the sugar and keep stirring till it thickens then dd the saffron dissolved in warm milk. Stir till the milk gets absorbed and the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan. Remove and set aside to cool.
























    5. Take the refrigerated pie dough and start rolling it into a fairly thick circle on a pastry board dusted with flour. Cut round shapes with a cookie cutter or a steel tumbler with a sharp rim.

























    6. Place some halwa in each of them, brush the edge lightly with water or egg white and close it in the shape of a half moon or turnover.

























    7. Press the edges with a fork to seal them then brush them with saffron water (soak a few threads of saffron in a tsp of water) to give them a coloured decorative edge.

    8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25 - 30 minutes. When they turn lightly golden at the bottom they are done. Remove and cool on a wire wrack and enjoy with Rice Kheer.



    Rice Kheer (Porridge)



























    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 Litres Whole Milk
    1/4 Cup Basumathi Rice
    3/4 - 1 Cup White Sugar
    15 Almonds for garnish
    4 - 5 Drops Rose Essence
    1 Tsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
    2 Green Cardamoms


    Method: 

    1. Boil milk and leave on simmer to thicken for 10 minutes till it reduces a bit.  Wash the basumathi rice 3 or 4 times till the water runs out clear and leave it to soak in water for 15 minutes.

    2. In another pot on medium heat add ghee. Crack the cardamoms a bit to release the flavour then add to the pot followed by the soaked basumathi rice.

    3. Sauté the basumathi rice in the ghee till it dries up a bit, then add 3 - 4 cups of water and let it cook till it becomes mushy on low medium heat. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn after all the water gets absorbed.

    4. Add sugar and the reduced whole milk, cook for some more time on simmer while stirring continuously. When it is of porridge consistency remove and leave it to cool.

    5. Meanwhile microwave almonds soaked in water for 40 seconds on high. When cool peel, cut into thin slivers and set aside for garnish.

    6. Add 4 to 5 drops of rose essence to the kheer, mix well, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with almonds, chill in the fridge and serve. Chilled Kheer tastes better. Enjoy as it is for dessert or with Halwa pies.



    Friday, April 1, 2016

    Blueberry Yoghurt Popsicle





    This quick and easy dessert can be created with greek yoghurt with different fruits - a very healthy choice to eating ice-cream outside. I used home made yoghurt made with 2% milk and no sugar at all, the blueberries and maple syrup sweetened it enough. And it was yummy! 


    Ingredients:

    Greek Yoghurt - 1/2 cup
    Maple syrup - 3 tsp
    Blueberries - 1/4 cup
    Popsicle moulds


    Method:

    1.Make blueberry sauce by adding 2 tsp maple syrup and 1 tsp water to the blueberries and cook till they soften down. 

    2. Whisk the yoghurt well with the rest of the maple syrup. 

    3. Pour a little of the blueberry sauce at the bottom of the popsicle moulds, then alternate with the whipped yoghurt. Take a Popsicle stick and swirl lightly to create a marbleized effect.

    4. Put in the freezer to set. Enjoy when it is ready. 



















    I used kulfi containers to freeze the pops as I don't have popsicle moulds. I put them in a zip lock bag and zipped it before putting them in the freezer.

    Sunday, July 19, 2015

    Mini Oatmeal berry muffins and pancakes for toddlers


    My grandson is a fussy eater. I made these for his morning breakfast and served them with yoghurt, fruits and  peanut butter. It brought a big smile on his face when I placed the plate before him. He sang as he ate and enjoyed every bite, wiping the plate clean. 








    Here's the Recipe:

    Ingredients

    Oatmeal - 1 cup
    White flour - 1/2 cup
    Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
    Salt- a small pinch
    Butter melted - 2 tbs
    Egg - 1
    Milk - 1/2 cup
    Strawberries - 4 or 5
    Blueberries - a handful
    Pears/Apples - grated
    Honey - 1- 2 tsp
    Cinnamon for flavouring (optional) - can be used with grated apples


    Method: 
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
    2. Grind the oats in a dry grinder. Then mix together all dry ingredients. 
    3. Whisk the egg, add the milk followed by the cooled melted butter and honey. 
    4. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well to get a smooth thick batter.
    5. Pour into mini muffin tins, top with berries and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 mins till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
    6. You can use the same batter to make mini pancakes and use different toppings such as grated apples or pears, berries etc. Use clarified butter to cook the mini pancakes in the non stick pan.
    7. Turn over and cook gently on low heat till they are done. Remove from pan, cool and serve them to your little toddler with peanut butter or yoghurt. 







    Thursday, July 2, 2015

    Shahi Egg Sweet (Ande ki Mithai)





    Ande ki Mithai is a popular egg sweet of the muslim community in Chennai. It is considered a delicacy which is reserved to be served on special occasions and important events. Though it is made with eggs it does not taste eggy at all. Its soft and silky texture and juicy sweetness melts in your mouth and takes you to the seventh heaven. It is a must to have it as dessert after eating biryani. It is just divine!

    It is so easy to make as you just blend together all the ingredients. But care should be taken to make it using the right proportions and the right technique. If the eggs are not whisked well before adding them to the khoya then you are sure to end up with a lumpy texture.

    As a kid I grew up seeing my mom bake this sweet on charcoal in a huge copper baking pan. Those were the days of no blenders or mixies, so my mom would do everything by hand right from whipping up the eggs to making soft and smooth khoya from scratch. Then she would blend everything together by hand in a big mixing bowl. No doubt it took longer to make this sweet back then, but the end result was excellent. You got to be careful not to cook the mixture in the blender by blending it for too long. It is better to pulse to mix everything together than to blend continuously for a long time.

    Following is the tried and tested recipe:

    Ingredients:


    Eggs- 4 extra large
    Ghee- 125 gm
    Sugar - 250 gm
    Khoya - 250 gm
    Semolina - 1 tbs
    Milk - 3 -4 tbs
    Almonds for paste - 25 
    Almonds for garnish - 12
    Saffron - a pinch
    Rose essence - 2 -3 drops

    1. Whisk the eggs together in a mixing bowl. Soak the semolina in 2 tbs milk. Add a few drops of hot water to the saffron strands and let them soak as well.

    2. Pulse the khoya in a blender till there are no lumps.  Add the sugar and pulse again. Grind the almonds separately by adding 1- 2 tbs milk to make it into a smooth paste.

    3. Now add the whisked eggs, almond paste  and ghee to the khoya mixture in the blender. Blend well by running the motor for not more than 15 secs each time. Do not make it runny.

    4. Now add the soaked semolina, saffron and rose essence. Mix well to combine.

    5. Meanwhile keep the almonds for garnish ready by soaking them in water, peeling them then slicing them into thin slivers. Keep aside.

    6.Smear the baking dish with a little ghee and pour in the egg mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25 - 30 mins until it is golden brown on top. When you are half way through the baking, sprinkle the slivered almonds on top.

    7. Remove when done. When it cools down cut into diamond shaped pieces, decorate with silver foil and enjoy. You may also chill it in the refrigerator and eat it cold. It stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 days.



    Sunday, February 9, 2014

    Zafrani Falooda

    I have made different types of zafrani falooda many times before but this one was a big hit. I also gave it a new dimension by cutting it into different shapes with cookie cutters. The rich and creamy texture with the flavour of the saffron and the soft crunch of the slivered almonds on top is so soothing to the senses and the taste is just divine!



    Here's the recipe.

    Ingredients:
    Whole Milk (3.2%) - 1.5 litres
    Whipping cream or half and half - 1 cup
    Condensed milk - 1 can
    Agar Agar (china grass) - Half the quantity of a 42gm pack
    Sugar - 1/4 cup or as per taste
    Saffron - a pinch
    Slivered almonds - 2 tbs sliced


    Method: 

    1. Boil the whole milk in a big pot. Add the condensed milk, sugar and whipping cream or half and half and let it simmer for sometime. The whipping cream gives a smooth and creamy texture. Health watchers can use skimmed milk and cream, but have to compromise on the taste as it will not be as rich and smooth as this one.

    2. Meanwhile cut half of the agar agar from the sheet. Rinse it in water. Boil 1/2 a cup of  water, immerse the agar agar in it, lower the heat and let it dissolve. Give it a stir to blend well.

    3. Let the milk boil a bit by raising the heat, then lower the heat and slowly pour the dissolved agar agar mixture into the pot through a strainer while stirring continuously. This is to avoid lumps.

    4. After adding do not raise the temperature as it will curdle the milk. You have to be really careful at this stage. The temperature should be constant. Sometimes lowering and then raising the temperature again and again also affects the texture and all the effort goes down the drain with the curdling of the milk and you can do nothing about it.

    5. Use a wooden spatula and do not scrape the bottom of the pan as we do not want the any browned milk shavings from the bottom swimming in the milk. This gives a bad appearance to the falooda.

    6. Dissolve the saffron in 1tsp of warm water after powdering the strands in a mortar and pestle. Blanch the almonds, sliver them and keep aside. Keep a dry 10 - 12 inch stainless steel walled plate or a pie plate ready.

    7. Allow the milk to boil again after adding the agar agar for just one or two mins on medium heat and then pour it immediately into the pie plate. After a couple of minutes when you see a film of layer on the surface it is time to sprinkle the slivered almonds on top so that they just stick to the surface and sit there. Let the falooda set at room temperature in a cool place away from the heat source.

    8. Once it is set, dip a toothpick in the saffron solution and make a design on the falooda or just dab it with a brush or the back of a spoon here and there as I did to give it some color .

    9. Chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

    10. Cut into either diamond shapes with a knife or into any desirable shapes with a cookie cutter and enjoy.

    Notes:

    You can find Agar Agar (china grass) in any asian or indian grocery store. 

    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    Maamoul fillings

    Maamoul fillings:

    The filling inside the mamoul is what breathes life into it. The outer soft velvety texture of the cookie combined with the crunchy, nutty, sweet and fragrant filling inside kicks it up a notch and one bite of it is enough to place you in the seventh heaven! That is why I love the fillings with nuts - either almonds or walnuts or pistachios or mixed nuts.  Pistachio mamouls are my husband's favourite and mine too.

    As for the fillings with dates, I would recommend using finely chopped dates or home made date paste (made with good dates) instead of the store bought one which is mostly stale and is gritty.

    One more important ingredient is the orange blossom water. It enhances the taste of the mamoul with its intoxicating fragrance. You cannot do without it. I would say you cannot call it a mamoul if there was no orange blossom water in it.

    Using honey and icing sugar with the nuts gives it a crunchy texture.

    You may also use different variations such as choc chips, sweetened dried coconut etc..




















    Ingredients: 
    Nuts (Pistachios/Almonds/Walnuts/mixed nuts - 1 cup
    Icing sugar - 1/4 cup
    Honey - 2 tbs
    Orange blossom water - 1 tbs

    Method:
    1. Put the nuts in a zip lock bag. Take a pestle or a hammer and pound the nuts coarsely.

    2. Transfer them to a bowl. Add a major portion of the icing sugar, saving just a little to dust later.

    3. Add orange blosssom water. Mix well with a fork.

    4. Drizzle the honey and mix well again.

    5. Dust a little more icing sugar from what you saved earlier.

    6. Make small rounds of them and keep it ready for stuffing the mamouls.

















    7.For the dates filling, chop finely or grind the dates. Add orange blossom water, dust with a little icing sugar, mix well and use this for stuffing the maamouls. For the complete maamoul recipe click here.

      

    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    Sagudana kheer (Porridge)

    This is a quick dessert I made after watching the Junior master chef India  (06th October, 2013 episode). Master chef Vikas Khanna makes this kheer (porridge) with sugar cane juice and flavors it with mint and rose petals. But I gave a twist to the recipe by making the kheer with coconut milk scented with fresh rose petals and sweetened with cane sugar.
    The kheer was just delicious! The coconut flavour combined with the scent of fresh roses was heavenly. We couldn't stop eating.

     Here's the recipe!


    Ingredients: 
    Sagodana pearls- 1/2 cup
    Cane sugar cubes - 2 inch square or sweeten as per taste
    Coconut Milk - 1 cup
    Rose petals - Fresh petals from one rose
    Nuts - Almonds, pistachios etc (optional)

    Method:
    1. Soak the sagodana in 1 cup of water for at least an hour.
    2. Dissolve the cane sugar cubes in the coconut milk and bring it to a boil.
    3. Drain the soaked sagodana and add to the boiling milk.
    4. Add a few rose petals.
    5. Keep stirring till the sagodana pearls turn transparent and the milk is absorbed.
    6. Turn down the heat and serve warm.
    7. You may garnish with some strands of saffron and chopped nuts.

    Tips:
    1. Add honey or maple syrup instead of .cane sugar for a different flavour.
    2. Add the sagudana to the coconut milk only after it boils.
    3. Use a large saucepan instead of a small one, otherwise the sagudana would turn soggy.



    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Bottle gourd (Kaddu/Lauki) Barfi


    As a child I loved the kaddu (bottle gourd) ki mithai (as we called it) that my mom used to make. She would first cook it in the pan on the stove and then bake it in a huge silver plated brass pie plate with a heavy lid. As we had no gas or electric oven she used her primitive baking technique of placing it over a layer of burning coals and then adding another layer of burning coals on the lid. It was amazing to watch her bake using this technique whenever she made traditional sweets or indian pies and cookies like baked halwa pooris, nan khatai etc. 

    I made this recipe based on estimates by tasting as my mom used to do, but I kept a tab on what and how much I was adding each time. My mom would dissolve the saffron in milk and add it to the mixture while cooking. But I decided to use it more as a garnish. I also added pistachios to complement the green color of the bottle gourd. The result was fabulous!  The intense sweet milky taste combined with the juicy and chewy texture of the gourd kicked up a notch. Indeed, it did taste like my mom's kaddu ki mithai that I used to enjoy. 

    Here's the recipe: 

    Ingredients:
    Bottle gourd    - 1 cup  after squeezing out the water
    Khoya            - 350 gms (dried milk)
    Ghee               - 2 tbs
    Sugar               - 1 1/2 - 2 cups
    Milk                 - 2 tbs 
    Saffron             - a pinch
    Pistachios         - 2 tbs
    Green liquid food coloring - a few drops

    Method: 
    1. Peel the bottle gourd cut off the stem, trim the bottom and cut it into two halves vertically.
    2. Scoop out the pulp and seeds in the center with a teaspoon and discard them.
    3. Grate the gourd finely, squeeze out the juice by hanging it in a cheese cloth overnight or for a few hours. 
    4. Melt 2 tbs ghee in a non-stick sauce pan on medium heat and lightly fry the grated gourd till it turns translucent. 
    5. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar, mix well. 
    6. Grind the khoya to a fine powder and add to the pan. Add 2 tbs milk, green food coloring and mix well. Add more sugar if needed according to how much sweeter you want it.
    7. Cook on low or medium low heat only while stirring continuously. 
    8. Allow the gourd mixture to thicken and when it starts leaving the sides of the pan, remove and put it in a baking dish greased with ghee at the bottom as well as on all the sides. 

    9. Sprinkle the saffron threads and halved pistachios on top, cover with tin foil and bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20-25 mins or till lightly golden at the bottom. 
    10. Remove from the oven, allow it to cool down, then chill it in the refrigerator, cut into diamond shapes and serve chilled. The bottle gourd burfi is ready to enjoy. 

    Tips: 
    1. Cook very gently with patience on low and medium low heat only.
    2. Take care not to over brown or burn the grated gourd shreds while cooking or baking. 


    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    Maamoul Cookies

    Maamouls are what I would call, cookies from Heaven!! They melt in the mouth and make you feel like you are in the seventh heaven. These little goodies, packed with rich nuts, scented with orange blossom water and sweetened with honey are so addicting that you would never want to stop eating them.



























    Here's the recipe.

    Ingredients:
    White flour - 4 cups - 6 cups
    Unsalted butter - 1lb chilled
    Sugar - 1/2 cup
    Salt - 1/4 tsp
    Chilled water - 1/4 cup
    Orange blossom water - 2 tbs
    Maamoul mould

    Method:
    1. Cut the chilled butter into cubes.

    2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times.

    3. Add the butter and pulse again  3 or 4 times, till the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

    4. At this stage add the orange blossom water followed by chilled water little by little with each pulse till it forms into a soft dough. Squeeze the dough to check. It should  be soft but not sticky.

    5. Pound the nuts coarsely. You can use different fillings with mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts) or just pistachios or just almonds in combination with honey/icing sugar and orange blossom water. You can also use just date paste mixed with orange blossom water. Or dates and mixed nuts with orange blossom water. For the maamoul fillings recipe click here.

    6. Make small round balls of the dough. Make slightly bigger balls of the filling. You can use different moulds for different fillings.

    7. Make a depression in the small rounds of the dough then shape them like a bowl by swirling around with your fingers . Place the ball of the filling in the bowl, close the circle over the filling and smoothen it like a ball. Please note that there should be a considerably thin layer of dough around the filling (not so thin that the filling comes out on baking and not so thick that there's hardly any filling inside). Keep a paper towel handy to wipe your hands each time you touch the filling otherwise the dough would get discolored with your sticky fingers and it would be hard to give shape.





    8. Roll the filled rounds in the flour, dust the moulder too with a little flour then overturn it and tap to shake off the excess flour.

    9. Place the filled maamoul in the selected shape in the maamoul moulder and press it with your palm.

    10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    11. Now tap the moulder on the edge of the cookie sheet so that the maamoul stuck in the mould falls off on to the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the maamouls.

    12. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake the maamouls for around 10 -12 minutes till the base of the maamoul is lightly golden brown. After 12 mins take a flat thin spatula and lift the base of a maamoul to see if it is done. Switch off the oven and leave them inside for 3-4 minutes.  Remove when they look firm at the top and lightly golden brown at the base.



    13. Cool on wire wrack for one hour. Dust them with icing sugar after they cool down completely and enjoy.

    Tips: 

    Do not store these cookies in the fridge. Store them in a cool dry place in an air tight container or cookie jar. They stay fresh outside for 2 - 4 weeks. You may freeze them if you want to store for longer periods of time. But bring them to room temperature before serving them.







    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Banana Halwa Cake

    Banana halwa cakes


    This recipe is my own creation. But I was kind of inspired by chef Sanjeev Kapoor's Banana Halwa recipe.The name itself made me imagine a yummy taste, but when I read the recipe it made me feel heavy. It is no doubt a delicious recipe made with rich ingredients (like khoya, ghee, cashewnuts, sugar etc), but not quite suitable for my kids' taste. First of all they hate indian sweets because they are so sweet and secondly they don't like anything heavy which all indian sweets are. So I decided to make it in my own way. I wanted to use edible gum and flour in combination with the bananas. I couldn't imagine how it would turn out but at the end, nothing went wrong as everything pulled together and the banana halwa cake evolved on its own. Everybody loved it!



    Here's the recipe.

    Ingredients:
    Ripe Bananas- 4
    Condensed milk -1 can
    White butter- 1/4 +1/8
    Durrum wheat flour-1 cup
    Edible gum- 1 tbs
    Vanilla cream - 1/4 cup
    Black Poppy seeds- 1/4 tsp
    Almonds - 1/2 cup + 6 for decoration

    Method:
    1. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a non-stick sauce pan on medium heat. Add the flour and toast until well combined and smooth.

    2. Pulse the edible gum with the almonds in a grinder and grind to a fine powder.

    3. Add the ground almonds and gum to the toasted flour in the pan and toast the whole mixture well till you get an aroma.

    4. Fold in one can of condensed milk and blend well with a spatula so that there are no lumps anywhere.

    5. Now grease a cake pan and set aside.

    6. Add the remaining 1/8th cup butter to the sauce pan. Mix well. Keep turning the mixture over in the pan and when it starts leaving the sides pour the mixture in the cake pan and then bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 10 mins.

    7. Remove and let it cool. Spread vanilla icing on top. Sprinkle some black  poppy seeds and cut into desired shapes.

    8. Leave it in the fridge to chill for sometime and enjoy with a cup of tea.

    Alternatives:

    You can try with white flour instead of durrum wheat flour and use less condensed milk if you want it less sweet. Also try with khoya and brown sugar instead of condensed milk. And substitute almonds with walnuts.


    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Crunchy fried banana


    My son developed this craving for fried bananas after dining at a Carribean restaurant. I have never tried frying a banana before, because it never occured to me that fruits could be fried. Anyway it turned out mushy when I first fried it. I somehow managed to satisfy his palette by frying it again after rolling it in flour. It turned out well this time and he enjoyed it too. But my imagination by now had scaled to different heights I wanted to do much more than that. Being a south indian myself I was enamoured by stuffed banana recipes from Kerala and Thasneen's blog post on pan fried bananas stuffed with coconut and raisins, kind of inspired me. But no, coz my kids with their canadian taste buds would deem it too sweet. So I decided to stuff the bananas with a mixture of nuts and nutella and also give it a crunchy outer crust. So I did with success and served it with vanilla ice-cream. It turned out to be a big hit.!
    Ingredients:
    Medium ripe bananas- 2
    Nutella - 2 tblspns
    Mixed nuts chopped (Almonds and pistachios or just walnuts) - 1/4 cup
    Egg -1
    White flour - 1/4cup
    Corn flakes - 1/2 cup crushed
    Enough Oil to deep fry

    Method: 
    Peel the bananas, cut into 2 pieces hotizontally and set aside. Beat the egg and get two half plates ready - one with white flour and the other with corn flakes. Chop the nuts into small pieces, add nutella to it and mix well. Slit the bananas lengthwise, stuff them gently with the nutella nut mix and close them by pinching the opened edges together with your fingers and smoothen the closed slit well so that it is fully secured. Take each stuffed banana piece, roll it in flour, then roll it in beaten egg and finally roll it again in the crushed cornflakes. Repeat the same procedure for all the stuffed pieces and set aside. Put the oil in an electric deep fryer or frying pan and set it to medium heat. To test if the oil is hot enough just put a small crumb in the pan and if it sizzles it means it is ready for frying. Do not fry them on high heat, nor put them in the pan when the oil is not hot enugh. Deep fry two or three pieces at a time (not more than that as they might burst due to change in temperature). Drain them on paper towlels and seve them hot on a bed of cold vanilla ice-cream. You might think it is weird eating a hot and cold dessert. But it a great experience. Try it.





    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Stuffed pineapple cake



    This is another recipe circulating amongst our relatives in Canada. We make this quite often especially when we invite someone over. The cake has a soft and light texture and the fruit stuffing with cool whip is so refreshing that you cannot stop eating it. Though the recipe calls for using crushed canned pineapple and juice from it, I prefer using fresh fruits and fresh pineapple juice. I don't like the metallic taste of the canned fruits at all.  Moreover it is so unhealthy. 

    I decided to post this recipe at the request of one of my friends who enjoys my cooking and is especially very fond of this cake because its taste some how reminds her of the indian bakery cakes which she adored as a child.


    Ingredients:
    Eggs - 2
    Sugar - 1 Cup
    Vanilla - 1 tspn
    Flour - 1 Cup
    Baking powder - 1 tspn
    Salt - ½ tspn
    Milk - ½ Cup
    Butter- 1 tblspn
    Crushed pineapple - 1 cup or subsitute for 1 crushed pineapple can 
    Pineapple juice - 1 cup fresh juice or from the can. 
    Fresh ripe strawberries - 1 cup
    Kiwi, strawberries and pineapple, mango, peaches or any other fruit to decorate.

     MethodPreheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Beat the eggs, add sugar gradually, add vanilla essence. Mix the dry ingredients and stir it into the egg mixture. Heat the milk and butter and add to the batter and stir well. Grease a 9 X9 inch pan, dust with flour and pour the cake batter in it. 
     Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 mins.
    Let the cake cool for 1 hr then cut the cake into two equal halves. Do it carefully either with the help of a sowing thread or a knife. Pour the pineapple juice generously and evenly on the insides of the cake and let there not be any dry areas here and there. Leave for sometime - 10 mins. 

     Spread the cool whip icing or whipping cream on the cake.
    Make a stuffing with chopped strawberries and crushed pineapple and close the cake after putting the stuffing. Make a stuffing with chopped strawberries and crushed pineapple and close the cake after putting the stuffing.
     Spread the whipping cream or cool whip icing on all over the cake - on the top and sides. Decorate with Strawberries, pineapple, peach, mango or kiwi slices. 
     Enjoy!