Pakashastra

Pakashastra

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Eggless Plum Cake / Christmas Cake / Fruit & Nut Cake

Plum Cake aka Christmas Cake is a fruit cake loaded with various types of dried fruits, nuts and spices.

As per the English tradition, hundreds of years ago, Christmas Cake began as plum porridge. Over the years, they modified the original recipe by adding dried fruits, spices, butter, flour and eggs. Today these cakes are prepared in different ways and in different shapes and textures. The traditional cake is made well ahead of Christmas by soaking the dried fruits and nuts in brandy, sherry or rum for a period of time. Surprisingly, Plum cakes need not necessarily have plums in them; plums are now replaced with other dried fruits likes raisins.

On this Christmas eve, try this no egg, no alcohol Plum Cake aka Christmas Cake.

Ingredients:

For Caramel:

White Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1 1/2 tablespoons
Hot Water - 1/3 cup

For Spice Mix:

Cardamom Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Clove Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Cinnamon Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Dry Ginger Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 teaspoon

Fruits and Nuts Mixture:

Dry Fruits - 1 3/4 cups (I used apricot, plum, raisins, cranberries, dates and tutti frutti)
Dry Nuts - 1 1/4 cups (I used cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts)
All Purpose Flour - 2 teaspoons

Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks) + 1 teaspoon
All Purpose Flour (maida) - 4 cups  + for dusting
Baking Powder - 2 teaspoons
Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Hot Water - 3/4 cup
Dark Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup
White Sugar - 1 cup
Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons
Yogurt/Curd - 1 cup
Orange Zest - 2 teaspoons
Plum Jam - 3 tablespoons
Orange Juice - 1 tablespoon

Bundt cake pan or two 9" round cake pans


Method:

Prepare Caramel:

  1. Take sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Heat it on low flame until it browns and starts melting.
  2. When the mixture turns dark brown, turn off the heat.
  3. Carefully pour hot water, little by little. Take care as the syrup might splatter around when you pour hot water.
  4. Keep the syrup aside and let it cool down to room temperature.
Prepare Spice Mix:
  1. In a small bowl, take all the ingredients listed for Spice Mix and mix well. Keep aside.
Preparing Fruits and Nuts mixture:
  1. Chop all the dry fruits.
  2. Chop all the dry nuts.
  3. Take the chopped fruits and nuts in a bowl and dust them well with all purpose flour such that all the fruit and nut pieces are well coated with flour.


Preparing the cake:
  1. Melt all (1 cup + 1 teaspoon) the butter. Do not heat it until it becomes ghee; just melt it down.
  2. Take a teaspoon of melted butter, grease the cake pans and dust with some flour. Keep aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  4. In a bowl take all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and prepared salt mix. Sift the dry ingredients twice together or whisk well. Keep aside.
  5. In a large bowl, take hot water, dark brown sugar and white sugar. Whisk well until the sugar melts.
  6. Pour the prepared caramel syrup, whisk well.
  7. Pour melted butter, whisk well.
  8. Now add yogurt, vanilla extract, plum jam and orange zest. Whisk thoroughly until well combined.
  9. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients and mix gently until well combined.
  10. Pour orange juice, mix gently until combined.
  11. Add the fruits and nuts mixture. Mix gently.
  12. Pour the cake batter into the greased and dusted cake pan. Bake for about 45 minutes. 
  13. Reduce the temperature to 300F and bake for another 15 minutes or until the skewer inserted to center of the cake comes out clean. I used a single bundt cake pan. If you are using two round cake pans instead, the cake might take lesser time to bake to perfection.
  14. Remove the cake pan from the oven and let it cool down on a wire rack.
  15. Once the cake cool down to room temperature, cut into pieces and serve.





Friday, December 18, 2015

Plum Jam - Sweet, Sour & Spicy



Ingredients:

Fresh Ripe Plums - 8
Sugar - 1 cup
Lemon Juice - 3 tablespoons
Orange Zest - 1 tablespoon (or use lemon zest)
Red Chili Powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon




Method:

  1. Wash the plums and pat them dry.
  2. Pit the plums and chop them with their skin intact.
  3. In a thick bottomed pan, take chopped plum, sugar, salt and red chili powder. Cook until plum is soft and mushy.
  4. Add orange zest and lemon juice. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and loses all the liquid content. The mixture will start coming together but before it forms a lump, turn off the heat as the sugar in the jam will solidify slightly on cooling.
  5. Serve as required or store in air tight container to serve when needed.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Kalakand - Easy and Quick Recipe with Condensed Milk


Ingredients:

Fresh Paneer - 500gms
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 400ml
Cardamom Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Kewra Essence - 1/8 teaspoon (optional)
Saffron Stands - 6, soaked in 1 tablespoon warm milk + garnishing
Pistachios, slivered - 2 tablespoons
Almonds, slivered - 2 tablespoons

For Aid:

A square/rectangle container of atleast 1 1/2 - 2 inches depth, greased with little ghee or butter
A spatula greased with little ghee/butter



Method:


  1. If you are using home-made fresh paneer, crumble it thoroughly. If you are using store-bought paneer slab, grate it.
  2. In a thick bottomed pan, take crumbled/grated paneer, condensed milk, cardamom powder, saffron milk and kewra essence(if using).
  3. Place the pan on medium flame and keep stirring until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer into a greased container.
  5. Level the mixture with a greased spatula.
  6. Sprinkle slivered pistachios, almonds and saffron stands. Press them gently into the mixture.
  7. Serve once cooled or chilled.
  8. You can store the pieces in air tight box, refrigerated for 2 days.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pepita (Pumpkin Seeds) Spice Mix


Ingredients:

Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal) - 3 tablespoons
Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) - 2 1/2 tablespoons)
Dry Red Chilli - 30
Coriander Seeds - 1 1/2 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds - 3/4 teaspoon
Flaxmeal - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida Paste - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 15 stalks
Tamarind, dry pulp - 2 tablespoon scoop-size (do not use tamarind extract that is wet)
Garlic Cloves - 8, chopped (not minced)
Pepita (Pumpkin Seeds) - 14 oz (approx. 400 gms)
Peanuts, roasted and de-skinned - 3/4 cup
Salt to taste




Method:

  1. Dry roast pigeon peas and bengal gram separately on low flame until they turn slightly brown and you get a nutty aroma. Transfer into a wide bowl/plate.
  2. Now dry roast dry red chillis on low flame until they turn crisp.Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  3. Dry roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds separately on low flame until they splutter, turning slightly brown. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  4. Now dry roast flaxmeal for about 3 mins. Since this is powder, take care not to burn, ensure the flame is set to low and keep stirring continuously. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  5. Dry roast asafoetida paste on low flame, until it turns brown and loses the stickiness.
  6. Pull out curry leaves from their stalks and dry roast the leaves on low flame until they turn crisp. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  7. Dry roast tamarind dry pulp for 2-3 minutes on low flame. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  8. Finally, dry roast chopped garlic cloves, on low flame until they turn slightly brown and lose the moisture. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  9. Allow all the dry roasted ingredients to cool down to room temperature.
  10. Coarsely blend all the dry roasted ingredients. 
  11. Add pepita, peanuts and salt. Blend into coarse powder. You might need to do this in two batches depending on the size of the blender/mixer/spice grinder.
  12. Transfer all the ingredients into a wide bowl and mix until well combined. 
  13. Serve with steamed rice, curd rice, dosa, idli etc. While serving with dosa or idli, you could drizzle some olive oil or ghee on the spice mix or serve as is.
  14. Once cooled to room temperature, this spice mix can be preserved in air tight jar for over a month.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Forbidden Rice / Black Rice Pudding

Forbidden Rice? Yes, Forbidden! Black Rice is also called as Forbidden Rice or Emperor's Rice. The rice is said to be majorly cultivated in China and eaten exclusively by the emperors of China to ensure their good health and longevity. The uncooked grains have a smooth texture with deep purple-blackish colored bran. When cooked they turn chewy and taste nutty. Rich in fiber, they contain powerful antioxidants.

Black rice is a type of heirloom rice, meaning it is grown in limited quantities in small family farms. 

One source, (www.wisegeek.com) says that "Forbidden rice may have gotten its name because only emperors in ancient China were allowed to eat it, due to its rarity and high nutritional value. Another possibility for the origin of its name is the possibility that the Greeks banned the rice when they conquered the Middle East. They may have done this believing that the rice somehow helped their enemies in battle."




Serves: 6 to 8





Ingredients:

Black Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 4 cups
White/Brown Sugar - 1 cup (add more if required)
Coconut Milk (thick extract) - 500 ml 
Cardamom Powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon 
Cashew nuts, chopped - 1/2 cup
Almond slivered - 1/4 cup




Method:

  1. Wash the black rice thoroughly in water and soak in water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile bring 4 cups of water to rolling boil in a thick bottomed pot, add the rice grains.
  3. Cover the pot and let the rice cook until it soft. The rice will not be as soft as the regular polished/basmati/sona masoori rice. On the outside the grains might seem to be hard but as you press the grain, you will feel that they are soft inside. This rice is very chewy!
  4. Add sugar. Let it cook until the sugar melts and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Please note the grains do not cook or get softer after adding sugar. So make sure the grains are cooked before adding sugar.
  5. Pour coconut milk.
  6. Add cardamom powder. Let it simmer until it thickens. The pudding should not have a lot of milk remaining. The pudding will get a little thicker on cooling too. So adjust the consistency accordingly.
  7. Add salt, mix well.
  8. Add cashew nuts, mix well.
  9. Serve topped with slivered almonds. Remember, the grains are chewy!
  10. The pudding tastes great when served chilled too. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Paneer Tikka Masala

Serves: 6



Ingredients:

For Spice Mix: (makes more than required for this recipe, store for use in other recipes)

Cinnamon - 2" stick
Cardamom seeds - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Clove - 20
Star Anise -1
Peppercorns - 2 teaspoons
Cumin - 1 teaspoon

For Marinade:

Paneer, cubed - 600 grams
Curd/Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Cumin Powder  - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Red Chili Powder - 1 tablespoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Cinnamon Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Lemon Juice - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon

For Gravy:

Oil - 2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon
Onions - 2
Tomatoes - 2
Red Bell pepper - 1 small
Ginger - 1" long piece
Garlic Cloves - 5
Cashew Nuts - 8
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Butter - 2 tablespoons
Green Chili - 2
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Nut meg Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Paprika Powder  - 2 teaspoons (optional - for bright red color, this does not add much hotness)
Red Chili Powder  - 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Sugar - 2 teaspoons
Spice Mix - 1 1/2 tablespoons
Kasuri Methi - 3 tablespoon


Other:

Onion - 1
Green Bell Pepper - 1 small
Red Bell Pepper - 1 small


For Garnishing:

Coriander Leaves, chopped

For Aids:

Skewers - 8

Method:

  1. Dry roast all the ingredients for spice mix until a nice aroma comes out. Take care not to burn them. Set aside to cool down to room temperature.
  2. Once cooled, blend them into fine powder.
  3. Slice 2 onions, garlic cloves and ginger.
  4. Chop 2 tomatoes and 1 red bell pepper.
  5. Except paneer cubes, whisk together all the ingredients thoroughly to prepare the marinade. 
  6. Add paneer cubes and set it aside, covered for 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan.
  8. Add onion slices and saute for a minute.
  9. Add garlic and ginger slices. Saute until onion turns translucent in color.
  10. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and cashew nuts. Saute until tomatoes turn soft and mushy. Turn off the flame and let it cool down.
     
  11. Arrange all the marinated paneer cubes in the skewers, leaving half a centimeter gap between each cube.
  12. Place the skewers on a grill or a heated griddle and roast them slightly on all the sides by turning the skewer.
  13. Meanwhile, cut 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper and onion into 1" squares. Toss them into the remaining marinade mix. Mix well.
  14. Mince green chilies, set aside
  15. When the paneer cubes are roasted on all sides, pick the onion, red and green bell pepper squares and roast them on both sides on the same grill or griddle. Keep aside.
  16. Grind the sauteed onion+ tomatoes mixture into a smooth puree. Keep aside.
  17. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan.
  18. Add butter.
  19. When the butter melts, add minced green chili. Saute for a minute.
  20. Add ginger garlic paste, saute until the raw smell disappears.
  21. Now add nutmeg powder and spice mix. Saute for a few seconds.
  22. Add the onion+tomato puree. Mix well.
  23. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, paprika powder, sugar and salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  24. Crush kasoori methi between your palms, add it to the cooking gravy. Cook for a minute.
  25. Add grilled paneer cubes, red and green bell peppers and onions. Mix well, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  26. Turn off the heat.
  27. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  28. Serve.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Basundi

Serves: 6



Ingredients:

Whole Milk - 1500ml
Sugar -  1/2 cup
Saffron - 7 to 8
Cardamom Powder - 1/2 teaspoom
Nutmeg Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Pistachios, roasted and slivered - 2 tablespoons
Almonds, roasted and slivered - 2 tablespoons
Cashew nuts, roasted and chopped - 2 tablespoons
Chironji Seeds- roasted - 2 tablespoons
Salt a pinch


Method:

  1. In a large thick bottomed deep pot, take milk and bring it to a boil. 
  2. Lower the flame to minimum and let it simmer until it reduces to half the quantity. Keep stirring the milk to avoid the protein layer (cream layer) forming on top and on the sides of the pot (this is the hardest task!). Keep removing the layers as they are formed, you can use it later for some gravies.  I prefer basundi without any pieces of the cream layer. If you like to have the pieces of cream layer, then let it simmer; stir occasionally. 
  3. Add sugar and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Now add saffron, nutmeg and cardamom powder. Simmer for another 7-8 minutes. Turn off the flame.
  5. Add slivered pistachios, almonds, chopped cashew nuts and chironji seeds.
  6. Add a pinch of salt, stir well. Allow it cool down to temperature.
  7. Refrigerate for 5-6 hours atleast or until served.



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Garlic Pickle




Ingredients:

Garlic - 1 kilogram
Groundnut/Canola Oil - 200 ml + 50 ml
Fenugreek Seeds - 2 1/2 teaspoons
Cumin Seeds - 4 teaspoons
Coriander Seeds - 10 teaspoons
Red Chilli Powder - 1 cup
Salt - 3/4 cup
Lemon Juice - 1/2 cup
Jaggery powder- 1/2 cup
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - 4 teaspoons
Curry Leaves - 20


Method:


  1. Peel garlic cloves. To peel smear oil to garlic cloves and either dry it under sunlight for 3-4 hours or microwave on HIGH for 1-2 minutes, now the cloves can be peeled easily. 
  2. Meanwhile dry roast fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds separately until a nice aroma comes out. Let them cool down to room temperature. Finely powder them.
  3. Heat 200 ml in a pan. 
  4. Add peeled garlic cloves. Saute for 3-4 minutes .
  5. Add powdered spices. 
  6. Now add salt, red chili powder, lemon juice and jaggery. Mix well and turn off the heat. 
  7. Heat 50ml oil in a small pan.
  8. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start spluttering add asafoetida powder. Pour this seasoning on the pickle. Mix gently until well combined.
  9. Once cooled to room temperature, serve and preserve the remaining in an air tight glass jar, for about a month.
Note:
  1. Groundnut oil gives a better taste to this pickle. When I prepared the pickle for the picture above, I used Canola oil.
  2. The hotness of the pickle depends on the type of red chilli powder you use.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Eggless Brownie

Yields: 12 pieces




Ingredients:

All-purpose Flour (Maida) - 1 1/2 cups (I use unbleached)
Cocoa Powder - 1/2 cup + dusting
Baking Powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Baking Soda - 1 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Thick Coffee Decoction - 3/4 cup
Whole Milk - 3/4 cup
Vegetable Oil - 1/3 cup
Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons
Brown Sugar - 1 1/2 cups
Bittersweet Chocolate Chips - 1/2 cup



Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F/ (~160C).
  2. Grease a 9x9 inch cake tin. Dust the pan evenly with some cocoa powder. I used 8X8 inch tin, resulting in taller brownie pieces than the normal serving size.
  3. Sprinkle some cocoa powder on the chocolate chips to coat them evenly. Keep aside.
  4. Sift together maida, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, twice.
  5. In another bowl mix all the wet ingredient - coffee decoction, whole milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
  6. Add brown sugar to the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  7. Add the sifted flour to the wet ingredients, mix using a spatula, until well combined.
  8. Add chocolate chips. Mix gently.
  9. Pour the batter to the prepared tin.
  10. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  11. Remove the tin from the oven, place on a wire rack and allow it cool down little bit. 
  12. Cut into squares, serve warm topped with hot chocolate sauce or caramel sauce, topped with pounded peanuts. Add a dollop of vanilla ice cream, if required.
Note: You could add some chopped walnuts, pecans to the batter.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Baked Eggless Cake Donuts / Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

Yields: 12 donuts



Ingredients:

All-Purpose Flour (Maida) - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 2 teaspoons
White Sugar, very fine granules - 2/3 cup
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg Powder - 1 teaspoon
Soft Butter - 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons)
Plain Curd/Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Whole Milk - 1/2 cup
Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons
Egg Replacer - 3 teaspoons
Luke Warm Water - 4 tablespoons


For Chocolate Glaze:

Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips - 1/2 cup
Butter - 2 tablespoons
Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
Water - 2 teaspoons
Honey - 2 teaspoons (use light corn syrup if you prefer)
Sprinkles, if required

Aids:
Donut Pan - 2 or bake twice with 1.
If you do not have a donut pan, use a muffin tray or bundt muffin tray





Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C
  2. Sift maida and baking powder twice together.
  3. Mix egg replacer with warm water. Keep it aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, take sifted flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg powder. Mix well.
  5. Cut the butter through the flour, either using a pastry cutter or your palms. Mix well until the flour mixture is crumbly and butter had mixed uniformly.
  6. Add vanilla extract, egg replacer mixture, whole milk and yogurt. Mix gently until well combined. Do not over mix. The batter will have a dropping consistency
  7. Using a spoon or a piping bag, fill each donut mould with the batter until they are 3/4th  filled.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until they slightly brown and spring back when touched.
  9. Take the pan out from the oven and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. 
  10. Transfer the donuts onto a wire rack and allow them to cool down little bit.
  11. Meanwhile for chocolate glaze, take all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 20 seconds. Take it out from oven, mix well and place it back in oven for 20 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate melts into a smooth and creamy texture.
  12. Dip one side of the donut into the chocolate glaze, and place on a tray or plate. 
  13. Spread some sprinkles on the glaze. Repeat the steps 12-13 for all the remaining donuts.
  14. Serve. Left-overs can be stored in an air-tight box for 1-2 days

Donut Recipe adapted from Epicurious.