Coconut barfi

This is perhaps the easiest indian sweet (read dessert) that one can make at home. Coconut barfi is absolutely delicious and kids love this more than anyone else.

Ingredients:

1. Sweetened condensed milk 397 gm

2. Unsweetened Dessicated coconut or coconut powder approx. 250 gm

3. Green Cardomom powder 1/2 tsp

4. Salt 1 pinch

5. Ghee 2 tsp

6. Pistacios 8 chopped into small pieces roughly

7. Cashews 8-10 chopped into small pieces roughly

Method:

Heat a non stick pan on low flame. Add condensed milk, coconut powder, salt, 1 tsp ghee, green cardamom powder and cashews. Stir nicely so that everything is nicely blended. Stir this mixture until it is not flowy anymore. It approximately takes 5 min to reach the right consistency.

Now grease a plate or a baking tray with another tsp of ghee. Transfer the mixture into the tray. Pat so that it is evenly spread out (refer to the picture). Now sprinkle pistacios on top and pat them a little so that they stick on to the surface.

Keep this in the refrigerator for an hour. After an hour, you can cut out the coconut barfi in your favorite shape. My favorite shape is a diamond barfi.

Store in air tight container, refrigerated for upto a week.

Eggless banana cake

Sometimes when one tries to make something out of whatever is lying around at home, amazing things happen. One such thing happened today with this banana cake. And my husband, who is very honest about food (annoying sometimes), ate a big piece without even me offering it. So bingo! This worked and tasted super nice.

Preparation time: around 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

Measure: use the same cup (whatever you like to use) for the whole recipe. You would not go wrong. I used a simple tea-cup for measurements

Ingredients:

1. Three ripe banana (puried into a smooth paste). This was around 2.5 cups of puree

2. Sugar – 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (tbsp) more

3. Vanilla- sugar – 1 tbsp (If you don’t have this simply replace with normal sugar)

4. Vanilla essence – 1 tbsp

5. Molten butter – 1/2 cup

6. All purpose flour (maida) – 1.5 cups

7. Baking powder – 3/4 teaspoon (tsp)

8. Baking soda – 1/2 tsp

9. A pinch of salt

10. Milk – 1.5 tbsp

11. A little butter for greasing

12. Chopped almonds – 4 tbsp

Method:

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree centigrade for around 10-15 min.

Sieve the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and keep aside. Let us call this the flour-mix.

Take the banana puree in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar and mix well until all is blended together. Now add in the vanilla essence and mix well. Finally add the molten butter and mix well.

Now add half of the sieved flour-mix and mix well gently. Don’t be too bothered if it starts to lump a bit. Keep mixing. Now add the remaining flour-mix and again mix well. Now add the milk and start folding the batter over itself. Do this until all the lumps are gone.

Take a little batter and try to pour it into the bowl from above. It should fold like chocolate or more like silk cloth folding on top of itself. If this is not happening add a little more milk (around 1 tbsp more). The batter must not be too flowy either.

Now add half the almonds and mix well.

Grease a baking- form with some butter. Pour the mixture in it and tap gently so that it is evenly spread all the way. Finally top up with the remaining almonds.

Bake the cake by placing the baking- form in the middle of the oven on a baking mesh or baking oven-tray. Check after 25 min – insert a toothpick in the centre of the cake. The toothpick should come out clean.

If not, bake more. My cake took around 35 min to bake.

When done, take the cake out of the oven and let it cool down for another 10-15 min. Carefully take the cake out of the baking form and cut into pieces.

You are ready. Enjoy.

Hugs❤️

Priyanka

Khasta kachori

Khasta kachori reminds me of those childhood shopping trips. Almost every month we went shopping for home. And every month we got a treat – khasta kachori and aaloo sabzee (potato curry). And it is absolute yum.

Ingredients:

1. 4 cups of maida (all purpose flour)

2. 1/2 cup of molten desi ghee

3. Around 3/4 cup of water

4. Salt around 1 tsp

5. Around 3/4 cup of dhuli moong daal soaked in water for 2 hours

6. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

7. Coriander seeds – crushed slightly – 1 tsp

8. Fennel seeds – 1 tsp

9. Grated ginger – 1 tbsp

10. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

11. Dried coriander powder – 2 tsp

12. Garam masala – 1 tsp

13. Dried mango powder – 1 tsp

14. Salt – to taste

15. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

16. Oil

17. Besan (gram flour) – 4-5 tbsp

Method:

Mix the ghee, and 1 tsp salt in the all purpose flour. Mix well. Now slowly start adding the water and fold the flour into a soft smooth flour. Keep aside covered with a dry kitchen towel.

For the filling, remove all water from the soaked lentils. Put this into a blender and crush very lightly just so the lentil grains break a bit. Don’t overgrind lest it would become a paste. Now heat around 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the Cumin seeds, lightly crushed coriander seeds and fennel seeds (also lightly crushed if you like). Let the seeds crackle and reduce the flame. Now add the red chilli powder, dried coriander powder and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds. Add in the ginger and again stir fry for a few seconds. Now add in the besan and roast on low flame until the besan (gram flour) starts to give a nice aroma.

Now add the crushed lentils and mix well. Finally add the dried mango and mix well. Take the mixture out in an open plate and let it cool down.

We are now ready with the ingredients and can start to roll the kachoris. It takes quite a while to fry these so I normally also start to heat the oil for frying. Keep this at a low-medium flame. All frying must be done at low medium flame otherwise the kachoris will not be crispy.

While the oil is heating, take the dough – approx. the size of a tennis ball – and make a small ball. Roll this boll into a circle of around 2-3 inch diameter. Now take this in your hand and fill in a little ball (approx. 1 inch diameter) of the lentil mixture. Pinch and close the dough onto the lentil ball. Now roll this again gently to upto 2 inch diameter. And that’s it the kachori is ready to be fried.

My frying pan is big enough to accomodate around 4-5 of such kachoris. So I fried these in small batches of 4-5. The oil must be on low-medium heat. Better to be on lower heat side. Now gently slide the kachoris into the oil. No need to turn them immediately and you can let them fry. The kachoris will slowly start to float in the oil. Now gently turn them upside down in the oil. They will puff up. Fry on low heat until lightly brown.

When ready take them out on a napkin to remove excess oil.

Ready to be eaten 🙂 🤗

You can eat this with potato curry or simply chutney.

Karela (bitter gourd)


Bitter gourd or Karela (in Hindi) is a very special vegetable. It is very bitter and almost impalatable if eaten without proper cooking technique. But everything that is difficult to eat is usually bursting with health benefits. And so is karela. It is supposed to be very good for cleaning the blood, which leads to beautiful skin, better blood circulation and digestion and even used by diabetic patients. 

As a kid I always used to run away from karela. Somehow even the slight bitter taste would be enough repelling for me. Now when I am all grown up, I love this. Though I have to admit my sister loves this and have loved it ever since she was a kid. So I guess it is kid-to-kid that something would be appealing or not.

Ingredients:

6-7 bottle gourd each around 4-5 inches long

4-5 medium sized onion chopped into broad long slices

Fennel seeds – 1 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1/3rd tsp

Oil – 7-8 tbsp

Turmeric (Haldi) – 1/3rd tsp

Red chili powder – 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Dried coriander powder – 1 tsp

Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Method:

To get the bitterness out of the gourd it is important to treat it with salt. Here is how I do it. I first scratch off the pointy skin of the gourds and cut them into thin round slices. Don’t wash them yet. If the seeds are yellow or brown I normally remove them. Now I add 3-4 tsp salt and mix it well with the sliced bitter gourd. Then I transfer them to a bowl and cover with a lid. I left them standing for 6 hours though I don’t think 6 hours are really needed. 3 hours would do as well.

After 6 hours:

Wash the salt-treated bitter gourd with fresh water and throw away all the juices that the bitter gourd has oozed out by this time. Strain away all the water and keep the washed gourd aside.

Take oil in a skillet and let it heat up. When hot add cumin and fennel seeds. Let them crackle for 1 min and then add the onions. Fry the onions until they are slightly translucent. Now add the washed gourd pieces into the onions and let them fry together with the onions until the onions are all brown and the gourd is nicely cooked.

At this stage add all the remaining spices and mix well. 

Finally add the fresh lemon juice and mix again.

The vegetable is ready and usually goes well with roti or paranthas. 

This is really a healthy treat for the body! 

Dum aaloo without tomatoes

You know food is one of the best things in the world. It connects, it rejoices and adds love to life. So today I experimented with my Dum Aaloo recipe yet again. This is more of less the same recipe minus the tomatoes.

Why did I take out the tomatoes – to try! And my husband is Pubjabi so thought to try out the Pubjabi Dum aaloo today.

Ingredients:

Fried small potatoes – 4 cups

Chopped onion – 2 large

Black cardamom (badi elaichi) -2

Green cardamom (Choti elaichi) – 4

Cinnamon stick – 1 inch

Javitri – 1 stick ca. 1 inch 

Whole black pepper – 4

Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1 tsp

Crushed ginger – 1.5 tbsp

Crushed garlic – 1 tbsp

Oil for frying the potatoes and for cooking

Cashew – 5 tablespoons

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tbsp

Red chili powder – 1/4 tsp

Garam masala –  1/3 tsp

Kasoori methi crushed – 1 tsp

Water 

Method: I half boiled the potatoes and pricked them with a fork. Then I deep fried them on medium flame until they had a nice golden brown crust. This step took around 30 min of preparation to end. When done remove the potatoes on a tray.

Now take 4 tbsp of cooking oil in a pan. Add black cardamom, green cardamom, javitri, cinnamon, black pepper and jeera. When the spices are fried, then add the thin long chopped onion. Fry until the onions are dark brown. Add this stage add the ginger and garlic paste. Stir and fry for 30 sec.

Now add the turmeric, coriander, red chili, garam masala and stir for 30 sec. Switch off the flame and let the masala mixture cool.

In the meantime soak the cashew in hot water for 5 min and grind to a fine paste.

When the masala mixture is cool, grind it to a fine paste and sieve through a sieve to remove the threads from cardomom and other whole spices.

Now take the pan again and pour in the sieved masala mixture. Add water and bring to a boil. Then add the potatoes and let it stay for 30 sec. Now add the salt to taste and kassoori methi. Finally add the cashew paste with a bit more water and stir to mix well.

At this stage I lower the burner to the least and cover the pan with a lid. Let this cook at simmering heat for another 5-10 min. Then switch off the flame. 

Dum aaloo is ready! We loved it with zeera rice. 

Pindi chole

White chickpeas (kabuli chana): 2 small cups

Baking soda: 1 tsp

Spices for boiling:

Cinnamon stick: 1.5 inch long

Bay leaves: 2

Black tea leaves: 2 tbsp

Green cardomom: 2

Black cardomom: 1

Spices for final dish:

Turmeric (Haldi): 0.5 tsp

Red chili powder: 1 tsp

Dried coriander powder: 2 tbsp

Pomegranate powder: 1 tbsp

Dried mango powder: 1 tsp

Salt: to taste

Black salt: 1 tsp

Kasoori methi: 1 tbsp 

For the tadka (sizzling):

Oil: 3 tbsp

Carrom seeds (ajwain): 1 tbsp

Ginger finely chopped: 4 tbsp

Green chilies slit into two halves: 2

Garlic crushed: 2 cloves

Method:

I soaked the chickpeas in normal water for around 7-8 hours. Most people leave them soaked overnight. Then I take them in a pressure cooker, add soda and salt to taste. Then I took the rest of the spices used for boiling and packed them in a little muslin cloth bag. If you don’t have a cloth, then you can susbtitute the tea with a tea sachet (remove the paper label) and then place the spices directly to the peas. I normally use Lipton black tea if I need to do this. The purpose of the tea is to balance the acidity from soda. Then an added advantage is the colour that it gives which is a signature need for pindi chole. Then pressure cook the peas for 7-8 whistles. The peas should be cooked until they are absolutely soft and crush easily between the fingers. 

Once boiled, drain out the peas but don’t throw the water. Keep the water aside. Spread the peas in a pan and then add all the spices for final dish in the order that has been mentioned in the ingredient list. Just sprinkle each spice all over the surface without mixing.

For the final sizzling, take oil in a pan and heat it. Add carom seeds, ginger, chili and garlic and sauté until the ginger is slightly brown. Make sure that this doesn’t burn. Pour the hot oil tempering uniformly over the spiced chickpeas that we prepared just before this step. 

That’s it!! Pindi chole are ready. If you have coriander garnish with that. And some might like to garnish with finely chopped onion and lemon. I usually make a mixture of onion and lemon and keep it separately if someone wants it.

You can enjoy pindi chole with poori, paranthas, kachauri or rice 🙂 it is yum! 

Salad

This is super simple and tasty.

Salad leaves 1 cup

Baby tomatoes 1 cup

Two avocado cut into pieces

Cucumber 1/2 a cup

Lemon juice 2 tbsp

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Mix everything well in a bowl. And it is ready to serve.