Monday, January 31, 2011

Besan Ladoo

Reposting Besan Ladoo! These gorgeous looking and delicious besan ladoos were posted during the initial days of my blogging (my 2nd post) and of-course didn't get the deserved attention. Today I made these again to take to the temple and I remembered to take the pictures so that I could post it again. My kitchen was filled with sweet aroma as I roasted the besan. Besan ladoos are my favorite since childhood.

These laddoos are so delicious and melt in the mouth as you bite on them.

Look at these beauties!
These ladoos are super easy to make and spreads aroma in the kitchen. (Click here for printable version)

2 +1/2 cup chickpea/gram flour
1+ 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup clarified ghee or butter
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp almonds for garnishing (blanched and finely chopped)

1. In a thick non stick pan, heat ghee/butter on a low flame.
2. Add besan to the ghee and start roasting. You have to roast the besan on the low flame till it changes its color slightly (it will look more like caramel) and spreads sweet aroma. ( Keep stirring else the besan will burn). You will also notice that ghee/butter gets separated from the sides when its done. This process may takes 15-20 minutes.
3. Turn off the flame and remove the pan from the stove and let the roasted besan cool down for sometime.
4. Once the besan cools down a bit, add sugar and cardamom Powder and mix it nicely and gently.
6. Wait till the mixture becomes cool enough to get handled from bare hands and then take small portions of mixtures between palms and roll them into a ball.
7. Garnish by putting almonds on the top of each ladoo.

Yummy, besan ladoos are ready to serve. Store in an airtight container.

P.S: 1. Roasting Besan at the right flame is the key. Make sure you roast on low flame.
2. If you keep the ladoos in the refrigerator, warm them up for 10-15 seconds before eating/serving, not only they will become soft and look freshly made.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Italian Herb Bread

As you can see in my last post of delicious Roll-up Eggplant Lasagna, I served the lasagna with fresh homemade herb Italian bread and promised to share the recipe with you as the bread turned out so awesome! My husband's reaction after taking first bite of bread was " Wow....this is just like we get in restaurants, its delicious" :)
I am sure every wife is on the seventh cloud if her husband praises her cooking. I too was :) We both started eating bread while I was taking pictures of both the dishes (bread & lasagna)...Couldn't wait for the table to be set and eat decently like humans (not that we are not ! :P)

I had put as many herbs I could lay my hands on! Nothing beats the aroma and taste of fresh home-baked bread.I had used dried herbs but you can use fresh herbs and I bet its gonna taste even better. So people out there, heat up your oven, turn on your bread machines and bake this delicious bread.

Click here for printable version of recipe

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degree F)
1/2 cup olive oil
3-3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley

I told ya, I had put all the herbs I could lay my hands on :)

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 tbsp of sugar and keep aside for 10 minutes. If yeast is good, it will become frothy and increase in volume.
2. In the mixer of your electric mixer add 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 cups flour, 1 tbsp of sugar, garlic salt and all the herbs. With the dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix until well blended. You can mix all these ingredients by a spatula if you plan to knead by hand.
3. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and continue on speed 2 (or knead by hands) until dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl and gets smooth and elastic. With hands, it will take about 10-15 minutes.
4. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until double in bulk.
5. Punch down down and divide in to 6 equal portions. Roll out each on of them in a rectangle, brush with olive oil and shape into a loaf.
6. Put all the 6 loafs in greased baking tray and let them sit until doubled in size (approx 30-40 min). Brush with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.

Are you smelling the bread already? Take it out of the oven and let it cool down for about 10 minutes. Serve Warm.......Isn't it tasty? :)

Sending this to Champa's Bake Off Event.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roll-Up Eggplant Lasagna

I made lasagna after a long time today. It is one of my favorite Italian dish and unfortunately we don't get veggie lasagna in any restaurants around here. They usually serve the non-veg version. I had an eggplant in my refrigerator so I decided to make roll-up eggplant lasagna for lunch and along with that I baked some Herb Italian bread; which is going to rule my next post :)

Coming back to lasagna, along with eggplant slices, I added some saute'd onions and some shredded jalapeño jack cheese. Lasagna tasted awesome and we both enjoyed our lunch.Finished more than half of the dish I baked! :)

This recipe serves 2-3 people. (Click here for printable version)

8 lasagna noodles (boiled per instruction on the package and strained)
1 small eggplant 
2 cups shredded cheese; divided (I used jalapeño jack, you can use any other per your choice)
1 large onion (sliced thin and long)
1 jar spicy marinara sauce ( 24 oz jar or you can make your own sauce; I didn't have time in hand)
1 tsp red crushed pepper (or per taste)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic salt
regular salt - for sprinkling on eggplant
black pepper- for sprinkling on eggplant
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Peel eggplant. Place the eggplant upright on the cutting board and slice the eggplant in long thin vertical slices. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper on eggplant.
2. Heat one tbsp of olive oil in a pan and fry the eggplant slices lightly from both sides. Keep aside.
3. Now heat rest of 1 tbsp of olive oil and put onions in it. Stir-fry until translucent. Add some garlic salt, red crushed pepper, Italian seasoning, dried basil and oregano and mix well. Take onions off gas.
4. Heat the marinara sauce in a pan and adjust the spices per your taste. Now layer the baking dish with 1 cup of sauce in the bottom.
5. Now taking one strip of pasta at a time, start layering it with 2 slices of eggplant, then onions and top it off with some cheese. Start rolling pasta starting from one end and go till end. Put it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat this process until all the pasta sheets are finished. 
6. Cover the pasta completely with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle rest 1 cup of the cheese on top of it.
7. Bake at 400 degree F in a pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes. 

Serve with your favorite salad or my favorite Herb Italian Bread (recipe coming soon!) :)


Monday, January 24, 2011

Bhindi Masala ( Okra Stir Fry)

Okra (called Bhindi in hindi language) is a vegetable that can be cooked so many different ways in different cuisines and tastes delicious. Earlier I had posted the Stuffed Okra recipe which is as delicious as this one is. This is a combination of stir-fried onions, chopped okra and little bit of tomato with variety of spices. This stir fry goes well as a side dish with hot Indian bread, pappad and a bowl of yogurt which makes a complete satisfying meal.

Doesn't this look beautiful and colorful? And this is very easy and simple to make. Try out this recipe and I am sure it's gonna be a keeper in your recipe case.

Click here for printable version of recipe

3 cups chopped okra (always wash the okra, dry it and then chop)
1 large onion (sliced thin and long)
1 finely chopped tomato
pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1 tbsp chopped ginger
2 -3 chopped green chillies
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of red chilli powder (less or more per taste)
1/4 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt- to taste
3 tbsp vegetable or cooking oil

1. Heat oil in a fry pan. Once its hot, add asafoetida and cumin seeds. As cumin seeds starts to change color, add the ginger and green chillies. Stir for 15-20 seconds.
2. Add the onions and stir fry until translucent. Then add the okra. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
3. Except Salt; add all the dry spices. We are going to add the salt in the end so that the okra doesn't turn slimy. Mix well and let okra cook on medium low heat while stirring in between until its tender.
4. Once the okra is tender, add the tomatoes and salt. Mix well. Cook it for 2 more minutes only as we don't want tomatoes to go mushy. Switch off the gas.

Delicious Okra Stir-Fry is ready to be eaten. Enjoy with Indian flat-bread and side of pappad and yogurt!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Microwave Apple Walnut Crisp!

I haven't done much baking or cooking last few days as I was unwell. I was having a craving to eat something warm and sweet this afternoon and wanted to make something that's quick and didn't involve a lot of work as although I am feeling better but wanted to take it a bit easy for now. The easiest think that came to my mind is an apple crisp made in microwave. 10 minutes of preparation and 8-9 minutes in microwave! Delicious, warm and healthy apple walnut crisp is ready.

We both enjoyed the afternoon crispy fruity afternoon treat. I am sure you too will enjoy this simple easy apple walnut crisp recipe.

Click here for printable version of recipe

2 Apples, cored, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp all purporse flour
3 tbsp butter, cold
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp quick cooking oats (I used regular instant oatmeal)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice

1. Spread the apples evenly on a 8x8 baking dish.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, white sugar, oats, cinnamon and all spice. Add the butter and using two forks, mix the ingredients till they resemble fine crumbs.
3. Mix in the walnuts and sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples.
4. Cook in microwave on high heat (full power) for 8-9 minutes, until apples can be easily be pierced with a fork.

Enjoy the delicious apple walnut crisp warm as is or top it off with your favorite icecream!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Orange Cinnamon Madeleines

I've been wanting to write this post for last 2 weeks but haven't had the chance. These flavorful delicious petite cake were vanished in no time. Earlier I had made plain madeleine's  but this time I wanted to add some zest to it and hence tried these with orange and cinnamon. These turn out simple delicious. Also this time, instead of whole eggs, I just used the egg whites.

These little petite cakes are so fluffy,light and delicious that you cannot have just one!

Next time you have some left over egg whites, don't waste them but instead use them in making these delicious Madeleine cookies, oops petite cakes :)

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)

8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (130 gms) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp dry orange zest
1 tsp orange extract
2/3 granulated white sugar
4 large egg whites
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon


1. First, melt the butter and allow it to cool while you make the batter.
2. In a small bowl place the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until well blended.  Combine cinnamon and brown sugar in a separate bowl and keep aside.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixture beat the eggs whites and white sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume. It will be very light. Add the orange extract and orange zest and beat to combine.
4. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold in using a spatula and make sure not to over mix or the batter will deflate.
5. Then fold in the cooled melted butter in three additions.
6. Now add the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture and fold in lightly with a fork (the way we make swirls). Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until slightly firm.
7. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 
8. Grease the Madeleine pan. (Make sure the pan is well greased or the Madeleine’s will stick and be hard to remove.)
9. Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center.
10. Bake the madeleines for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. Do not over bake these cookies or they will be dry.

Helloooo dear Madeleine!!! Where are u flying to? I know you are very light but that doesn't mean you can escape!!!! Huh!

Alright! If you so wanna fly, let's fly to Champa's Bake Off Event!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lohri Special 2 recipes- Gur Gajjak & Til Rewadi

Wish u all a very Happy Lohri & Makar Sankranti. Hope the warmth of bonfire brings happiness and prosperity for each of you.
Lohri/Lodi is a popular punjabi agricultural winter festival. It is traditionally associated with the harvest of rabi crops. On the eve of Lohri people toss jaggery, sesame, popcorn, peanuts on the bonfire, worship the fire, sit around it, sing and dance till the fire dies out. This is to show respect to the natural element of fire. You can read more about Lohri festival here.

It is a tradition to eat Gajjak (Jaggery Peanut Brittle), Peanuts and Til Rewadi ( Sesame Sugar Candy) on this day. This year I decided to make Gajjak and Til Rewadi at home. Both the goodies were so easy to make and they turned out super delicious.

Jaggery Peanut Brittle and Sugar Sesame Rewadi are two of my favorites. I am eating both of these as I write :)

Jaggery Peanut Brittle

Sesame Sugar Candy

Both of these are super easy to make and hardly takes 10-15 minutes each...Yes!! 15 minutes!!!

Here are the recipes (Click here for printable version)

For the Jaggery Peanut Brittle
200 gms of Jaggery
1 & 1/2 cups of peanuts
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1/8 cup water

1. Dry roast the peanuts lightly in a pan and keep aside. You can break the peanuts in half.
2. Heat water and add jaggery to it on medium heat. Jaggery will start to melt.
3. Add ghee and keep stirring. All the jaggery will melt and the mixture will look like a smooth paste.
4. Add the fennel seeds and peanuts together and mix to coat the peanuts well.
5. Switch off the gas and pour the peanut mixture on a greased flat plate or baking sheet. Flatten it out into 1/4" thick slab.
6. Let it cool down completely. Once cooled, break it into pieces and enjoy!!

For the Sesame Sugar Candy
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)

1. Lightly dry roast the sesame seeds and keep aside.
2. Heat the water and sugar together.
3. Add in the ghee and cardamom powder.
4. As it boils, add the sesame seeds and mix. As mixture starts to leave the sides, switch off the gas.
5. Drop the spoonful of mixtures onto a greased plate/parchment paper and let them cool completely.
6. Once cooled, remove from the plate and store in airtight container.

We too went to temple today to pray around the holy fire and toss peanuts, sesame, dry fruits and jaggery into it. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chunky Tomato Chutney!

Before I start about how I decided to make this chutney, let me first tell you that Zestyflavors 2 recipes; Tri-color & Tri-flavor Cheesecake and Eggless Pumpkin Pie were selected in Top 30 recipes of 2010. YAY!
You can read about them here.

Now to the Chunky Tomato Chutney. I didn't actually plan on making this. I opened the refrigerator to use some left over pineapple chunks.When I checked, pineapple had gone bad and I had to throw it away. Now that I was in kitchen, I thought lets try something. I noticed we had lots of tomatoes and I immediately decided to make some Chunky Tomato Chutney or you can say Indianised Salsa :)

 I gathered all and any ingredients that came to my mind and tried this chutney. It came out awesome! We had this chutney with graham crackers in the evening as snack, not to mention a healthy snack!
This Chunky Tomato Chutney is a perfect combination of sweet and sour [khatti-meethi :)]. We also had this again with dinner as a side to Indian Curry and Bread . I bet you are gonna love this chutney as much as we did.

Here is the super easy recipe (click here for printable version)

2 1/2 cups finely chopped tomatoes ( I used roma tomatoes)
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 green chillies (finely chopped)
2 dried red chillies (broken in pieces)
1 small chunk of jaggery (2" x 1" approx)
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/4 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and red chilli powder to taste

1. Heat one tbsp of oil in the pan. Once heated add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. As they start to splutter, add the fenugreek seeds. Then add the green and dry red chillies. Let it saute for 15-20 sec.
2. Add the tamarind paste and jaggery and mix. Jaggery will melt away slowly in the process of cooking.
3. Now add the tomatoes, all the dry spices and sugar. Mix and let it saute for 2 minutes.
4. Then add 1/2 cup of water and let the tomatoes cook over medium heat until tomatoes are nicely done and all the water is soaked up. The sauce will be thick and chunky.
5. Add the coriander leaves and let it cook for 1 more minute. Take it off the gas and let it cool down.

Enjoy the Chunky Tomato Chutney with graham crackers, your favorite chips or as a side to your curry!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fruit Cake for the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful start to 2011. We had a fun party on the new year's eve and a nice start to New Year's. In my post of Key Lime Pie (which I baked during Christmas), I promised to bake a fruit cake and post my recipe. I know you must be thinking what kind of girl I am, made Key Lime Pie for Christmas and Fruit Cake for New Year? Well.. I will say...I am different :)

I remember we used to love the Fruit Cake we used to get in India. It had lots of dried cherries and nuts. Lovely buttery taste with fruits, nuts and just the perfect amount of sweetness. Today I revived that taste and my husband loved the cake.

In the traditional fruit cake, usually the fruits and nuts are soaked in rum for a couple of days atleast but I didn't want to use the alcohol. What I did was cooked the dried fruit and nuts in 1/4 cup of orange juice and 2 tsp of rum extract till the nuts and cherries soaked up all the liquid. It worked perfectly well and the cake tastes just as awesome.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp orange essence
2 tsp rum extract
1/2 cup orange juice

1. In a pan, add orange juice, rum extract, cherries, raisins and walnuts. Cook on medium heat while stirring until all the liquid is soaked up. Switch off the gas and let this mixture cool down.
2. In a small bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed.
4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between. Stir in the vanilla and orange essence.
5. Now hold on to 2 tbsp of flour mixture and spoon the rest of the flour mixture into the liquid one and stir it enough to combine.
6. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of flour mixture on the prepared fruit nut mixture and toss it well. This method will not let the fruits n nuts sink to the bottom while baking.
7. Add the nut mixture to the prepared batter and mix using a spatula.
8. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and pour the mixture into the pan.
9. Bake in 350 degree F pre-heated oven for about 40-45 min or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
10. Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from the pan and let it cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy the delicious Fruit Cake and Have a wonderful New Year! 

Sending this to Champa's Bake Off Event.
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