Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spiced Peach Mango Jam

 I have become obsessed with the Homemade Jams. You will too once you try some homemade Jam. You wouldn't want to buy from store. Also Jams are so easy and simple to make and don't even take much time. Recently we went to Fredericksburg, TX for camping and hiking over the weekend and on our way back stopped for fruit picking. It was so much fun. We picked Peaches and Blackberries. These freshly picked Peaches taste so wonderful. They are so sweet and full of flavor. We picked almost 10 lbs of Peaches that we have been eating every day.

Look at this cluster of Peaches hanging from the tree.....Beautiful! Right?
 How could I not use these delicious Peaches to make Jam and Mango being my favorite fruit had to be a part of it. This time I added some Ground All Spice to the Jam and this added that extra something to the Jam. Loved it. We have been enjoying this delicious Jam with the Bread and Homemade Bagels.

                                                           Yummmyyy....Its so delicious!!

Here is the most simple and delicious recipe for the Spiced Peach Mango Jam (Click here for printable recipe)

3 Cups Pureed Peaches ( Washed, Skin removed and Pureed in a mixer)
1 Cup Pureed Mango Pulp ( Remove the peel and inner seed. Take the pulp out and make Puree of it)
2 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp Ground All Spice
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Butter

1. Put all the chopped Peaches and Mango into a food processor or mixer, and make them into a puree or mash them using a masher. ( Whatever suits you best)
2. Pour the pureed fruits into a bowl.
3. Add the Sugar, All Ground Spice and Lemon Juice. Mix well. Keep it aside for 30 min.
4. After 30 min, Heat a pan and add the mixture to it.Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
5. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.
6. Put the flame to medium low and add the Butter now and Boil stirring often until most of the liquid is absorbed and mixture thickens. It could take approximately 20-25 minutes.
7. Perform a gel test: Place a spoonful of jam on chilled plate, and return to freezer. Wait for 1 minute; remove plate from freezer, Run your finger through the jam on the plate... if it doesn't try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger); its ready.
6.After jam passes the gel test, remove from heat. Pour warm jam into sterile jars. Give the Jar Water-bath for 15 minutes.
7. Seal and refrigerate for upto 3-4 months.

 How to give Water-bath to Jars: 
a. It's suggested to put jars into a canner that contains simmering water.
b. After adding jars, add boiling water to bring water half way to the Jar.
c. Bring water to a rolling boil. Set timer and process for 15 minutes.
d. Remove jars from canner immediately after timer sounds.
e. Cool for 12-24 hours on a rack or on the counter.
f. Do not retighten screw bands after processing.
g. After jars are cooled, remove screw bands, wipe jars.
h. Store jars in a cool, dark place.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh Homebaked Bagels!!

I love to have Bagel with Cream Cheese for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee. Its filling and delicious! I usually get store bought bagels and I am sure most of us do on a regular basis. But today after making Bagels at home, I have said "NO" to the store-bought ones. Store Bought Bagels cannot beat the fresh homemade ones.

When my husband saw the Bagels, he asked me " Holy Cow...You made these?. These looks beautiful! " and when he ate one he said these are much better from the ones we get from outside! We enjoyed these with Cream Cheese Spread and Hot Coffee! Making Bagels is as easy as making a loaf of bread. It just took me an hour from start to finish to make these! Isn't it awesome?

When I thought of making Bagels at home, I searched on Google for the recipes and I got hooked to the recipe from John D Lee who once owned a Bagel restaurant posted it with step by step instructions here . This turned out to be the fool-proof recipe! Bagels turned out exactly how they should be; Crispy from outside and Soft and Chewy from inside!

Sending this off to Champa's Bake Off Event.

I am posting the same recipe here (Click here for printable version)


4 cups All purpose flour or bread flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp Instant Active Dry Yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water.

1. In a bowl, add 1/4 Cup of Warm Water and dissolve the yeast and sugar into it. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will become foamy. (This is the method to check that your yeast it active)
2. Add in Salt, Vegetable Oil and 1 Cup of water.
3.Start adding flour 1 cup at a time and while mixing it with the Spatula.
4.Once you have added all the flour and dough has come together, take it out on a lightly floured surface. The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated and keep kneading for approx 10 minutes or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
5.Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10 minutes.
6.Pre heat your oven to 425.
7. Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be!
8.Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 15 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly.
9.After the 15 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled. (Bagels will puff up more when you boil them)

10.Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!

Enjoy the fresh baked Bagles with Cream Cheese or Butter and Hot Coffee! Have a great filling Breakfast and Stay Active all day :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pani Puri/Gol Gappe ( Semolina Puffs) for ICC - May 2010

This is my first Indian Cooking Challenge Post. I joined ICC but couldn't participate last 2 times due to some personal reasons. This time when I saw Pani Puri/Gol Gappe for the May ICC; I decided that no matter what; I am not going to miss this challenge.  Gol Gappe is my all time favorite chaat. 

The name GOL GAPPA refers to the fact that crisp sphere (gol) is placed in the mouth and eaten (gappa) at one time, without biting. Pani comes from the Hindi word for water and puri (or poori) is the name of an Indian bread made by frying dough in oil.

A couple of times earlier I had made Pani at home and got Puri's from the store. But this month's challenge asked to make Puri's at home too and frankly that was quite a challenge. I followed the recipe given  but Unfortunately it didn't work for me. My Puri's were not puffing at all. I gave it another try by kneading the dough again and giving baking soda a miss this time thinking it is the culprit; but still it didn't work! So after 2 tries I was quite tired and was almost thinking of giving up. But that's not in my nature. So finally, I decided to make some changes to the recipe and try one more time. And this time my changes worked. Puri's puffed nicely and were perfectly crispy and delicious. Also I just used the Potato filling as I was out of Channa (Chick Peas). You can either use both the fillings or just one of them.

I am going to post my tweaked recipe here.  ( Click here for printable recipe)

For Gol Gappe
Sooji (Semolina ) 1/4 cup  ( Original recipe asked for 1/2 C Semolina)
Maida ( Plain Refined Flour) 1/4 Cup. ( Original recipe asked for 1/2 Tbsp Flour)
Baking Powder- 1/2 teaspoon (Original asked for Cooking Soda)
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil for Frying

For Spicy Pani or Spicy Water
Chopped Mint Leaves 1 1/2 cups
Chopped Coriander Leaves 1 tbsp.
Tamarind 1/3 cup
Ginger 1"
Green Chillies 4 to 5
Ground Cumin Seed (roasted) 1 tsp.
Kala Namak (Black Salt ) 1 1/2 tsp.
Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 Tsp
Jal Jeera Powder or Chaat Masala - 2 Tsp
Salt to taste

For Filling
Potato Filling
1. Boiled Potato, finely chopped /mashed and mixed with salt and red chilli.

For Red Tamarind Chutney
Tamarind 1 cup
Jaggery 1/2 cup
Sugar 2 tbsp.
Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted cumin powder 1 tsp
Kali Micrch (Black pepper) powder 1/4 tsp.
Cloves 2
Warm water 2 cups
Oil 1 tsp.
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:
For Gol Gappe or Puri:
1. In a bowl take Semolina, plain flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Knead well to make a smooth dough, leave it bit stiffer than normal. ( Make sure you knead well else it will have cracks).
2. Cover it with a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 mins.
3. Then pinch out very small balls and roll them into small circles of 1 inch in diameter.
4. Put the rolled out circles back under the muslin cloth while you are rolling the rest and before they can be fried.
5. Heat oil on medium high in a thick bottomed pan and deep fry the puris.
6. The idea is to puff them and fry them till golden brown.
7. Take them out and put them on kitchen paper towel, to get rid of the extra oil.

Notes: Allow the puris to cool before storing them in an airtight container. Else they will become soggy.

For making spicy water or Pani
1. Extract pulp from the tamarind
2.Add mint leaves, coriander, ginger, chillies and dry roasted cumin seed to the tamarind pulp. Add little water and blend to a smooth paste. ( I did this in a blender)
3. Add Red Chilli Powder, Chaat Masala or Jaljeera Powder, Salt and black rock salt to taste.
4.In a Glass Jar add this paste and Water and keep it in refrigerator to Chill ( Quantity of Water depends on how spicy you like this water).
5. Throw in a handful of Puffed Chick Peas if you like.

How to make Red Tamarind Chutney

1. Extract the pulp from tamarind.
2. In a pan dry roast the cumin seeds and the cloves. Pound them into coarse powder.
3. To the tamarind pulp add jaggery, sugar, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder, cloves and salt.
4. Put the mixture in a pan and heat for 5 minutes on medium heat.
5. Remove from heat and let it cool down.

This will tend to thicken up, so add warm water if it becomes too thick.
Once it cools, blend the contents in a blender to a smooth paste.

Here is our platter. 

Lets now Assemble the Pani Puri / Gol Gappa ( THIS IS THE BEST PART)
1. Poke a small hole in the center of the Gole Gappa/ Puri
2. Add a tsp of mashed boiled potato in the middle of the puri. 
3. Add a little of the red tamarind Chutney.

4. Dip it in the spicy water / pour some spicy water in it.

Here, Gulp it down.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Atta Halwa (Delicious Wheat Flour Pudding)

Atta Halwa (Wheat Flour Pudding) has been my favorite among different types of Halwa that we prepare. This Atta Halwa tastes exactly the same you get as Prashad (Holy Offering) in Gurudwara (Temple). I remember whenever we used to go to Gurudwara, I would sneak into the queue to get the Prashad at least twice and would tempt to go again but somehow resist myself thinking that either the person distributing the Prashad would recognize me or my mom & dad would scold me for this cheating :P. This delicious Halwa is loaded with Ghee (Clarified Butter) and since my Dad is not supposed to intake lots of Butter, I would use this as an excuse and eat his portion of offering too. ( I know.... Selfish Me! :) but this Halwa is too delicious to resist.

In Hindu Tradition when a Girl gets married; the first dish she prepares in her Husband's house is a Sweet-Dish. Atta Halwa is the first dish that I prepared in my In-Laws Kitchen and it came out so delicious. Everyone in the house loved it and presented me with so many Gifts (Shagun).

Both me and my Husband have a sweet tooth. Last night around 11:00 pm my husband said that he wants to eat Halwa. My sister who is visiting us asked me if she could make it. I was happy that she showed interest in preparing this dish as she is usually not fond of cooking. So I stood by her in the kitchen and told her the ingredients and the method. She followed me and made this Delicious Atta Halwa. It was yummmy.........Kudos to my Little Sister!

                                                           This is sooooo delicious!!

If you are on diet, you may not want to read ahead but if you have a sweet tooth and can't resist your cravings, go ahead and Enjoy this delicious recipe (Click here for printable recipe)

1/2 Cup Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Sugar ( Ratio of Flour to Sugar is 1:1)
4 Cups Water
2 Tbsp Chopped Almonds
1 Tbsp Golden Raisins

PS: (Nuts are optional)


1. Mix sugar and water in a pan. Boil and keep aside.
2. Heat ghee in Kadai (wok).
3. Add the flour and roast till the flour become brownish. Keep stirring frequently. (The flour is done roasting when it emanates a Strong aroma which can be smelled from far)
4. Sprinkle in the raisins and almonds and incorporate them well into the mixture.
5. Now add the water sugar solution into the kadai slowly, stirring continuously. (Make sure there are no lumps)
6. Cook for a few minutes while stirring continuously till the Halwa leaves the sides of the kadai.
7. Garnish with chopped nuts and Serve immediately.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Spicy Taro Fries!

Who doesn't love French Fries? Everyone Does! Even though they are deep fried and loaded with fat :). But one does get conscious of the fat intake. Right?
This time let's try something that's healthy and equally delicious (even more) if you like spicy and crispy!We are going to make some Taro Root Fries!

Taro Root is a starchy, potato-like tuber with a brown, fibrous skin and gray-white (sometimes purple-tinged) flesh.It is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber. These Fries are not deep-fried, instead they are cooked in a Flat Bottomed Skillet with little bit of oil till they are crispy.

You can enjoy these delicious fries either as a side dish with any Entree, or as a Snack with Cocktails & Mock-tails.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable recipe)

7-8 Taro Roots ( Peeled, Washed and Chop into Thin Strips like we do for french fries)
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Coriander Powder
1/4 Tsp Garam Masala
Salt and Red Chilli Powder- To Taste
3 Tbsp- Vegetable Oil

1 Tsp Chaat Masala
1 Tsp Lemon Juice

1. In a flat bottomed pan, heat the oil.
2. Add the cumin seeds. Once they start to change the color, add all the dry spices except Chaat Masala.Stir for 15 seconds.
3. Add the Chopped Taro Root. Mix well so that all the spices gets coated on Taro Root nicely.
4. Cover and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring in between. Then cook uncovered until they are well cooked and crispy.
5. Switch off the Gas and Sprinkle Chaat Masala.
6. Add Lemon Juice on top right before serving. Garnish as you like.

Enjoy the Healthy Delicious Treat!
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