Pakashastra

Pakashastra

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Custard Powder Halwa

An easy, quick and light jelly-like sweet prepared from Custard Powder, one of the most versatile products used in most of our kitchens. This sweet requires very few ingredients that are usually stocked in our kitchen pantries and takes just a few minutes to prepare.

Yields: 25 - 30 pieces (approx)



Ingredients:

Custard Powder - 1 cup (any flavor, the pictures are of Vanilla flavor)
White Sugar Granules - 2 cups (you can add 1/2 to 1 cup more if you prefer it sweeter)
Water - 4 cups
Clarified Butter/Ghee - 3 tablespoons + greasing
Cardamom/Vanilla Essence - 1/4 teaspoon
Watermelon Seeds - 1/8 cup (optional)
Cashew nuts, broken - 1/8 cup

For Aid:

A square or rectangle tray (I used one 8x8"tray)



Method:

  1. Grease a tray with some ghee/clarified butter. Keep it aside.
  2. Take all the ingredients in a thick bottomed pan. Mix thoroughly until there is no lump of custard powder.
  3. Place the pan on high flame and cook the mixture by stirring continuously to avoid the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan or forming any lumps.
  4. Keep stirring until the mixture turns glassy or semi transparent. Now set the flame to low.
  5. Continue stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Immediately, transfer the mixture into a greased tray. Gently shake the pan for the mixture to settle down; do not try to level it with a spatula. Do not scrape the left-over mixture from the pan as it sets very quickly and the scraped mixture will not set in well. Allow it to cool down completely to room temperature.
  6. Cut into squares and serve. The left-over halwa can be stored at room temperature for a day. If refrigerated in an air tight container they stay fresh for 2 days.

Notes:
  1. This halwa can be prepared using different flavors of custard powder.
  2. You can try different flavors of essence or skip it totally if you do not prefer.
  3. Various other chopped nuts of your choice can be added.
  4. Using a square tray gives some height to the sweet while the rectangle tray makes it flat. Use the tray per your choice.

Recipe Adapted from Tickling Palates

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Banana Halwa

Yields: 40 Pieces (approx)




Ingredients:

Fully Ripe Nendra Bananas - 6 (see notes below)
Sugar - 1 3/4 cups (if you prefer sweeter, add 1/4 cup more)
Salt - a pinch
Ghee - 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon for greasing
Cashew nuts, chopped - 1/2 cup
Cardamom Powder - 1 teaspoon

Method: 
  1. Peel all the bananas and cut them into 1cm thick discs.
  2. Place the banana pieces and sugar in a container and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Do not cook the banana pieces directly in the cooker as the banana pieces might get charred or stick to the cooker.
  3. Remove the container from the pressure cooker and let it cool down to room temperature.
  4. Puree the cooked banana. Add the liquid sugar too that has been produced as the sugar melted while pressure cooking. Make sure the puree has no banana piece left behind.
  5. Take the pureed banana and a pinch of salt in a large microwave cooking bowl, mix well. Set the microwave to cook on HIGH for 30 minutes. It very important to pause the oven and stir thoroughly for every 10 minutes and place it back in the oven immediately. If reminding yourself to pause every 10 minutes is too tedious, cook for 10 minutes on HIGH and repeat it two more times. 
  6. Add chopped cashew nuts and cardamom powder. Mix well.
  7. From now, reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes or TWO 5 minutes interval; stirring thoroughly after 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of ghee after each interval, mix well.
  8. Now reduce the cooking time to 9 minutes or THREE 3 minutes interval; stirring thoroughly after every 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee after each interval, mix well.
  9. Again reduce the cooking time to 8 minutes or FOUR 2 minute interval; stirring thoroughly after every 2 minutes. 
  10. The banana mixture should now form a lump. Cooking of the mixture will be done in total of 55-60 minutes depending on the power of the microwave oven and the quality of bananas used. To check the doneness, if the mixture after Step 9 has formed a fluffy and porous lump, stop cooking any more and follow step 10. If the mixture is still not fluffy and porous, microwave on HIGH for 1 minute intervals; stirring after every minute until it becomes fluffy and porous.
  11. Immediately, transfer this mixture onto a greased tray.
  12. Using a greased spatula spread the halwa evenly on the greased plate.
  13. Once cooled, cut it into squares or any other desired shapes.

Notes:

  1. To prepare halwa, Nendra bananas must be very well ripened. The bananas are ripened enough when the peel turns completely black in color. If you use the bananas which are not fully ripened, the halwa will come out as desired.
  2. I use a 1.5kW and 1.8cu.ft microwave oven. If you are using a smaller microwave oven, the total time taken might differ. So keep a careful watch in the last few minutes for doneness.
  3. It is very important to place the mixture back in the oven after stirring in every interval so that the mixture does not lose heat and take longer to get the desired result.
  4. You can prepare the halwa, the traditional way. Instead of using Microwave in steps 5-10, stir the banana puree continuously in a heavy bottomed pan until it comes together and forms a fluffy and porous lump.
  5. Instead of Nendra variety of banana, you can use the small variety (Elakki/Yalakki/Kadali) banana. To replace 6 Nendra bananas, you need about 20 small bananas. I personally like the halwa made with this small variety of bananas.It have a a deep purplish-black color and a firmer texture.
  6. The most commonly available bananas, Cavendish/Dole/Chiquita bananas are not good to prepare this halwa.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Oats Upma

Serves: 4



Ingredients:

Rolled Oats - 2 cups
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1 small
Capsicum - 1 small
Carrots - 2
French Beans - 10
Green Chili - 4
Fresh Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Cooking Oil - 1 tablespoon
Bay Leaf - 1
Cashew Nuts - 8
Bengal Gram - 1 tablespoon
Black Gram - 1/2 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Peppercorns - 1/2 teaspoon
Dry Red Chili - 1
Curry Leaves - 6
Asafoetida  Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Ghee/Clarified Butter - 2 teaspoons
Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup

For Garnishing:

Coriander Leaves


Method:

  1. Dry roast oats on medium flame until you get a nutty aroma. Keep aside.
  2. Chop onions, tomato, capsicum, carrots and french beans.
  3. Chop green chilies.
  4. In a pot, take water, chopped carrots and french beans. Bring the water to boil.
  5. Heat oil in a pan.
  6. Add bay leaf, saute until it turns slightly brown.
  7. Add cashew nuts, bengal gram, black gram, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns, dry red chili pieces and curry leaves.
  8. When the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add asafoetida powder. Mix well.
  9. Add chopped green chilis. Saute for half a minute.
  10. Now add chopped onions, saute until they turn translucent.
  11. Now add chopped capsicum and fresh green peas. Saute until capsicum turn slight soft.
  12. Add roasted oats, turmeric powder and salt mix well.
  13. Add boiling water, chopped tomato, ghee and grated coconut. Mix well.
  14. Cover and cook on low flame for about 8-10 minutes. Gently mix a couple of times while cooking. The moisture collected due to covering will cook oats, so it is very important to cook it it covered with a lid.
  15. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  16. This must be served hot.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

No Churn Peach Ice Cream

Serves: 4 - 6


Ingredients:

Fresh and Ripe Peaches - 5
White Sugar - 3 tablespoons
Lemon Juice - 2 teaspoons
Half and Half Milk - 1/4 cup (you can use Whole Milk instead)
Cornflour - 2 tablespoons
Heavy Whipping Cream - 2 cups
Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1 tin (140 oz/397 gms)


For Aid:

Flat Bottomed Glass or Metal containers


Method:

  1. Peel 2 peaches and chop them into small cubes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix peach cubes, sugar and lemon juice. Freeze it to form candied peach cubes.
  3. In another bowl, mix half and half milk and cornflour. Keep aside.
  4. Peel the remaining 3 peaches, discard the pit and puree the pulp.
  5. In a bowl, whip heavy cream until it turn foamy, using an electric mixer on medium speed.
  6. Add vanilla extract and condensed milk. Whisk until well combined.
  7. Now add diluted half and half milk and cornflour and peach puree. Mix gently until well combined.
  8. Transfer the mixture into a flat bottomed glass or metal container. Freeze for 2-3 hours.
  9. Now add the frozen candied peach cubes. mix well and place the container back in the freezer for 7-8 hours.
  10. Scoop and serve as needed.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Classic Vanilla Cupcake

Yields: 16-18 cupcakes


Ingredients:

Ener - G (Egg Replacer) - 4 1/2 teaspoons
Warm Water - 6 tablespoons
Cake Flour - 1 3/4 cups
Baking Powder  - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Baking Soda - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Fine Granule White Sugar - 1 cup
Soft Butter - 1/4 cup
Vanilla Extract - 1 tablespoon
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Cooking Oil - 1/4 cup
Whole Milk - 2/3 cup

For Aid:

Cupcake Trays
Cupcake Liners


Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Ready the cupcake trays with liners. Keep aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together Ener - G and warm water. Whisk thoroughly to remove any lumps. Keep aside.
  4. In another bowl, take cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix well until well combined. 
  5. Now cut the soft butter through the flour. Mix it thoroughly until you get a crumbly texture.
  6. In another bowl, mix together diluted Ener-G, vanilla extract and yogurt. Mix until well combined.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until well combined. If you using an electric mixture, use medium speed while mixing.
  8. Now add milk slowly and gently mix until well combined. If using an electric mixer, use low speed.
  9. Pour this batter into cupcake liners until they are 2/3 filled.
  10. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Remove the baked cupcakes from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool down.

Note: To prepare cake flour at home, from every 1 cup of All-Purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and add 2 tablespoons of Cornflour. Mix well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Garlic Naan (Stove-top method)

Yields: 8



Ingredients:

All-Purpose Flour / Maida - 3 cups + dusting
Whole Wheat Flour  - 1 cup  (you can use all-purpose flour instead)
Garlic Cloves - 8, minced
Instant Active Yeast - 3 teaspoons
Sugar - 1 tablespoon
Salt - 2 teaspoons
Warm Milk - 1 cup
Water - 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons
Ghee/Clarified Butter - 2 tablespoons
Cooking Oil - 2 teaspoons

For Layering on Naan:

Garlic Cloves - 8, finely chopped
Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Sesame Seeds - 2 teaspoons

Butter for topping


Method:

  1. Take all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, minced garlic cloves, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour warm milk, 1/2 cup water and clarified butter. Knead it into smooth dough. 
  3. If the dough is too dry, add 2 teaspoons (or a little more depending on the flour quality) of water and continue kneading. The dough must be slightly sticky.
  4. Dust a clean kitchen platform with 1-2 teaspoons of flour and knead the dough thoroughly for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Grease a bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and place the well-kneaded dough smeared with a little oil on top in the greased bowl.
  6. Cover it with a wet muslin cloth and let it rise for about 3 hours until the dough doubles in volume. If the weather is too cold, it might take a little longer to double in volume.
  7. Now knead the dough again for 1 minute.
  8. Make large lemon sized dough-balls. Allow them to rest covered with the muslin cloth.
  9. Heat a griddle.
  10. Start working on a dough ball - Slightly dust a dough ball and roll it into a thick disc. Now flip the disc between your hand palms, slightly stretching it to form an oval shaped disc.
  11. Sprinkle a little finely chopped garlic, coriander leaves and a few sesame seeds on top of the rolled out disc and gently press them into the disc so that they hold onto the disc.
  12. Now carefully lift the rolled out disc and using your hand palm, pat some water on the bottom side of the rolled out disc.
  13. Place the rolled out disc, with the wet side down, on the hot griddle and cover the griddle with lid immediately. Set the flame to medium. In about 30 seconds, remove the lid and you will see large bubbles on the disc.
  14. Turn on another gas burner, set the flame to high, using a kitchen tong place the other side (the side not roasted on the griddle) on open flame until brown patches are formed. Take care not to place it on the flame for long as the naan will burn.
  15. Turn off the open flame. 
  16. Top the hot naan with a dollop of butter. Serve hot with the curry/dish of your choice.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Dahi Bhalla

Serves: 6



Ingredients:


Tamarind and Dates Chutney - 1/2 cup (click here for recipe)
Green Chutney - 1/2 cup (click here for recipe)

For Dahi:

Thick Whole Milk Yogurt/Curd - 5 cups
Sugar - 2 teaspoons
Black Salt  - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Roasted and Powdered Cumin - 1 teaspoon
Chaat Masala - 1 teaspoon
Peppercorn powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Green Chili - 2 minced
Coriander Leaves/Cilantro, finely chopped - 1 tablespoon

For Bhalla:

Split Black Gram (Urad Dal) - 1 1/2 cups
Split Green Gram (Moong Dal) - 1/2 cup
Ginger -  1" long piece
Green Chilies - 6
Freshly Crushed Peppercorns - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

For Garnishing:

Chaat Masala - 1 to 2 teaspoons
Red Chili Powder - 1 to 2 teaspoons
Roasted and Powdered Cumin - 1 to 2 teaspoons
Fine Sev - 1/2 cup
Coriander Leaves/Cilantro chopped


For Aid:

A large pot half-filled with hot water
2 wide bowls
2 spatulas
Serving bowls/plates

Method:


Preparing Dahi:

  1. Whisk yogurt until it is smooth and creamy. Do not over mix.
  2. Add all the other ingredients listed above for 'Dahi'. mix gently until well combined. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate until you serve.
  4. You can prepare this atleast 4-5 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated.


Preparing Bhalla:

  1. Wash black gram and green gram thoroughly in water and soak in water for 3 hours.
  2. Drain out all the water.
  3. Blend the grams, ginger, green chilies, crushed peppercorns and salt into slightly coarse batter using very little water, a teaspoon at a time. Blend it in small batches to make blending easy while using very little water. The consistency of the batter must be thick, you must be able to scoop the batter with a spoon or your fingers without falling flat.
  4. Heat sufficient oil in a wok or a pan.
  5. Scoop out small lemon sized portion of the batter and drop it into the hot oil. You can drop 5-6 portions, depending on the quantity of the oil. Set the flame to medium and fry them until golden brown.
  6. Remove the fried bhallas from the oil and drop them into the pot of hot water. Let them soak for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Using two big spatulas, pick each bhalla from water and squeeze them between the spatulas to remove excess water and place them aside.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 for all the remaining batter.
  9. Soak all the prepared bhalls in prepared dahi for 2 hours before serving.

Assembling to serve:
  1. Place 2-3 bhallas in a serving plate/bowl.
  2. Pour some dahi on top.
  3. Pour a little green chutney and tamarind and dates chutney.
  4. Sprinkle of chaat masala, red chili powder and roasted cumin powder.
  5. Sprinkle some fine sev and coriander leaves.
  6. Serve immediately.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Cheese Sables

Yields: 25 - 30


Ingredients:

Butter - 150gms + for greasing
Ener - G Egg Replacer - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Warm Water - 2 tablespoons
All Purpose Flour (Maida) - 150gms + for dusting
Mature Cheddar Cheese - 150 gms
Garlic Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Freshly Ground Pepper Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Sesame Seeds - 2 tablespoons

For Aid:

Baking Tray - 3 to 4


Method:

  1. Dice butter.
  2. In a small bowl, mix egg replacer in warm water until there is no lump. Keep aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix flour and cheese.
  4. Add diced butter. Using your fingers rub the butter into the flour mixture until it is well combined.
  5. Add egg replacer mixture and mix well to form a dough.
  6. Wrap the dough in a clingfilm and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
  8. Grease the baking trays.
  9. On a lightly dusted surface, roll the chilled dough into a thin disc.
  10. Using a round cookie cutter, stamp out small discs.
  11. Place these discs on the greased baking trays.
  12. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the discs.
  13. Bake for about 10 minutes until the sables are light golden brown in color.
  14. Using a spatula, carefully lift the sables from the trays and place them on a cooling wire rack and allow them to cool down.
  15. Serve. Store the left overs in a air tight container after cooled to room temperature.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sweet Pumpkin Kuzhambu


Ingredients:

Sweet Pumpkin - 1 kg
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Jaggery - 1 1/2 tablespoon
Red Chili Powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder  - 1/4 teaspoon
Tamarind Extract (Thick) - 1 tablespoon

For Grinding:

Cooking Oil - 2 teaspoons
Coriander Seeds (Dhaniya Seeds) - 1 tablespoon
Benagl Gram (Channa Dal) - 1 tablespoon
Cumin (Jeera) - 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds) - 1/2 teaspoon
Dry Red Chilies - 6
Peppercorns - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 6
Asafoetida (Hing) Paste
Coconut - 1/4 cup

For Seasoning -

Cooking Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 5
Dry Red Chili - 1


Method:

  1. In a small pan, heat little oil and roast all the ingredients mentioned in 'For Grinding' separately. Set the flame to medium while roasting so that you do not burn any ingredient. Let the ingredients cool down completely.
  2. Cut sweet pumpkin into cubes. I prefer it with peel. If you do not like the peel, you can discard the peel.
  3. Take pumpkin pieces, water, salt, jaggery, red chili powder, turmeric powder and tamarind extract in a pot. Cook until the pumpkin pieces turn soft but not mushy.
  4. Meanwhile using little water, blend the roasted ingredients into smooth paste.
  5. Add the blended paste to the cooked pumpkin pieces. Add water (approx. a cup) to adjust the consistency - it should not be very thick. Let it simmer for 7-8 minutes. Turn off the heat
  6. To prepare seasoning, heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chili pieces. When the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add this to the simmering kuzhambu. Turn off the heat.
  7. Serve hot with rice and ghee.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Drumstick Leaves & Moong Dal Curry

Ingredients:



Split Green Gram  (Moong Dal) - 1/2 cup, soaked in water for 2 hours
Drumstick Leaves - 4 ounce (approx. 113 grams)
Cooking Oil - 1/2 teaspoon
Green Chilies - 3
Salt to taste
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon

For Seasoning:

Bengal Gram (Channa Dal) - 2 teaspoons
Black Gram (Urad Dal) - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Cumin Seeds (Jeera) - 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Dry Red Chili - 1
Curry Leaves - 4

Method:

  1. Bring about 3 cups of water to boil in a pot.
  2. Add soaked green gram and cook until soft but still firm and holds shape. Strain out the cooked water, you can use the strained water later. Keep aside.
  3. Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and chop the drumstick leaves. Do not include the stem, tender stems are fine to use.
  4. Chop green chilies.
  5. In a pan, heat 1/2 teaspoon oil.
  6. Add chopped green chilies. Saute for half a minute.
  7. Add chopped drumstick leaves and cook until they wilt. When cooked the leaves will not be very soft or mushy. Add a 1-2 tablespoons of water strained from cooked green gram. 
  8. Now add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well.
  9. Add cooked green gram, mix gently until well combined. Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium flame. If it is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water strained from cooked green gram. 
  10. Turn off the flame, add lemon juice. Mix gently.
  11. In a small pan prepare seasoning by heating 1 teaspoon oil, bengal gram, black gram cumin seeds, mustard seeds, dry red chili pieces and curry leaves.
  12. When mustard seeds stop spluttering, add asafoetida powder and add it to the cooked drumstick leaves and green gram. Mix well.
  13. Serve hot with rice and ghee.
Variation:
  1. After Step 6, you can add 1 chopped/sliced onion, saute until it turns translucent and proceed with the Step 7 mentioned above.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Upside Down Plum Cake

Serves: 6 - 8


Ingredients:

For topping:

Black Plums, ripened - 4
Granulated Sugar - 3 tablespoons
Butter - 1 tablespoon
Water - 1 teaspoon
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon Juice - 1/2 teaspoon

For Cake:

Ener - G (Egg Replacer) - 4 1/2 teaspoons
Warm Water - 6 tablespoons
Cake Flour - 1 3/4 cups
Baking Powder  - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Baking Soda - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Fine Granule White Sugar - 1 cup
Soft Butter - 1/4 cup
Vanilla Extract - 1 tablespoon
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Cooking Oil - 1/4 cup
Whole Milk - 2/3 cup

For Aid:

8" Round cake pan



Method:

  1. Shred 1 plum, discard the seed.
  2. In a sauce pan, take sugar and 1 teaspoon water. Heat it until the sugar starts caramelizing. 
  3. When the sugar turn golden brown, add shredded plum, vanilla extract and butter. Stir on medium heat until it thickens little bit. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add lemon juice, mix well. Keep aside for cooling down.
  5. Halve the remaining 3 plums, discard the seed and cut them into thin slices. Keep them aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 250F/180C.
  7. Grease the cake pan.
  8. Now to prepare the cake batter, in a small bowl, whisk together Ener - G and warm water. Whisk thoroughly to remove any lumps. Keep aside.
  9. In another bowl, take cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix well until well combined. 
  10. Now cut the soft butter through the flour. Mix it thoroughly until you get a crumbly texture.
  11. In another bowl, mix together diluted Ener-G, vanilla extract and yogurt. Mix until well combined.
  12. Pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until well combined. If you using an electric mixture, use medium speed while mixing.
  13. Now add milk slowly and gently mix until well combined. If using an electric mixer, use low speed.
  14. Now spread the prepared plum sauce evenly on the bottom of the cake pan,
  15. Arrange the plum slices in a circular fashion with each slice slightly overlapping the other to form one full layer.
  16. Now pour the batter on top of the plum slices.
  17. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  18. Remove the cake pan from the oven, turn it upside down and place it on a wire rack to cool down.
  19. Carefully unmould the cake, cut and serve.


Note: To prepare cake flour at home, from every 1 cup of All-Purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and add 2 tablespoons of Cornflour. Mix well.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Pizza Margherita

Serves: 2



Ingredients:

Active Dry Yeast - 1 1/2 teapsoons
Warm Water - 1/3 cup + 1 to 2 teaspoons more
Sugar - 1 teaspoon
All Purpose Flour (Maida) - 1 cup + dusting(1-2 teaspoons)
Salt - 1/3 teaspoon
Olive  Oil - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Corn Meal - 2 teaspoons
Pizza Sauce - 1/2 cup
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese - 1/2 cup
Garlic Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

For Garnishing:

Basil Leaves (I did not use this time)
Oregano (optional)
Red Chili Flakes (optional)

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, take 3 tablespoons warm water, sugar and active dry yeast. Mix well and set it aside until it froths up.
  2. In a mixing bowl, take all-purpose flour, salt and olive oil. Mix gently.
  3. Pour the frothed up yeast and remaining warm water. Knead it into a smooth and soft dough. The dough will be slightly sticky. If it is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons more, 1 teaspoon at a time and knead well until you get a slightly sticky dough.
  4. Dust a teaspoon of flour on a flat kitchen platform, and knead the dough throughly with both your hand palsm for abpout 8-10 minutes. The dough must be smooth, soft and not rubbery now.
  5. Roll the dough into a large ball and cover it with a cling wrap or a wet & warm cloth.
  6. Set the dough aside to rise for about an hour until it doubles in volume.
  7. Grate mozzarella cheese. Keep aside.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450F(~230C).
  9. Grease a a pizza pan. Keep it aside. I used a rectangle baking sheet. You can use a pizza stone instead.
  10. Sprinkle a little corn meal on a pizza peel or a large baking sheet. 
  11. Place the pizza dough on the dusted pizza peel or baking sheet, without punching down the dough, pat it down with your palm to stretch it out into a 1/4" thick round or a rectangle. Dust a little cornmeal if it sticks to your palms.
  12. Fold all the sides (about 1/2" width) to slightly the thicken the sides.
  13. Spread the pizza sauce over the stretched out dough leaving out the thickened sides.
  14. Spread the grated mozzarella cheese. 
  15. Sprinkle garlic salt over the cheese layer.
  16. Transfer the stretched out pizza dough into the greased pizza pan/baking sheet or pizza stone.
  17. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the dough is crisp and slightly browned and the cheese bubbles up and turns golden brown in spots.
  18. Remove from the oven, transfer into a serving plate. 
  19. Sprinkle some basil leaves, if using.
  20. Cut into wedges or any other desired shape. I made rectangle pieces as I made a rectangle pizza.
  21. Serve hot with oregano, red chili flakes and some marinara sauce.




Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves: 6


Ingredients:

Butternut - 1 small (approx. 2lb size)
Olive Oil - 2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon + greasing
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon + more for taste
Peppercorn Powder - 1/2 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon
Butter - 1 tablespoon
Garlic Cloves - 4
Onion - 1 small
Coconut Milk - 1 1/2 cups
Vegetable Broth  - 1 cup
Italian Herbs Powder - 1 teaspoon


For Aid:

Cookie Tray


Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Vertically, halve the butternut squash.
  3. Chop onions and garlic cloves.
  4. Smear 2 teaspoons of olive oil on both halves of the butternut squash.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon peppercorn powder.
  6. Place the butternut squash halves in a greased cookie tray and bake for about 40 minutes until the pulp of the squash is soft.
  7. Remove the squash from the oven and scoop out the pulp. Keep it aside.
  8. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan. Add butter.
  9. When the butter melts, add chopped onions and then garlic. Saute until onion turns translucent in color.
  10. Add pepper powder and saute for a minute.
  11. Take the the pulp of squash, sauteed onions and garlic, salt and coconut milk. Blend into smooth puree.
  12. Transfer the blended puree into a sauce pan, add vegetable broth and Italian herbs powder. Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. I prefer this soup thick, if you prefer thinner consistency, you can adjust the consistency of the soup by adding a little more vegetable broth of coconut milk. If you do so, adjust the salt and peppercorn powder accordingly.
  13. Serve hot with some peppercorn powder sprinkled on top. You can drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of fresh cream on the soup if you like.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Rasagulla / Rosogolla

Yields: 20



Ingredients:

Milk - 2 litres
Lemon Juice, strained -  6 tablespoons
Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 6 cups
Rose Essence - 1/8 teaspoon (optional)
Saffron Strands - 7 to 8 (optional)

For Aid:

A large muslin cloth
A large pot/pan, preferably a wide one.


Method:

  1. In a large pot, bring milk to boil.
  2. Turn off the heat, add lemon juice, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring continuously until greenish whey water separates from the cheese (paneer).
  3. Pour the mixture into the muslin cloth to separate whey from cheese. Hang the muslin cloth until the water starts dripping down. You can either discard the whey water or collect them to prepare soups, knead chapati dough etc. Gently tighten the muslin cloth to remove excess water; do not squeeze as it will remove all the moisture and make cheese very dry.
  4. Transfer the cheese into a mixing bowl and mix it gently using the heel of your palm. Do not knead it. Mix until it starts greasing your palm.
  5. In a large and wide pan or pot, bring sugar and water to a boil.
  6. Meanwhile, make large marble sized balls of cheese.
  7. When the sugar syrup comes to a rolling boil, add the cheese boil and cover the pan/pot with a lid. Set the flame to high. Do not stir the syrup or the cheese balls.
  8. Let the cheese balls cook in boiling syrup for about 8-10 minutes.
  9. Turn off the flame, open the lid, add rose essence and saffron strands.
  10. Rasagullas are ready. Serve hot or chilled.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mixed Berry Gelato

Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients:


Cornflour - 1 1/2 tablespoons
Whole Milk - 1000 ml
Granulated Sugar - 1 cup + 1/4 cup
Vanilla Extract - 1 tablespoon
Heavy Cream - 500 ml
Strawberries - 10
Raspberries - 15
Blueberries - 20

For Aid:

Two flat bottomed containers with lids


Method:

  1. Take cornflour in a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons of whole milk. Mix well and keep it aside.
  2. Bring the remaining milk to boil.
  3. Set the flame to medium, add diluted cornflour mixture, mix quickly so that no lumps are formed. Boil it for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup sugar and boil it until it melts.
  5. Add vanilla extract, mix well and turn off the heat. Allow it cool down to room temperature.
  6. Take heavy cream in a mixing bowl and whisk it thoroughly until it becomes light and fluffy. 
  7. Add the whisked heavy cream to the completely cooled milk. Mix gently until well combined.
  8. Now blend all the berries and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend until you get a coarse puree.
  9. Add the pureed berries to the milk and cream mixture. Mix gently until well combined.
  10. Transfer the mixture to a flat bottomed container, cover with a lid and freeze for 5-6 hours.
  11. Take small portion of frozen mixture, cut into small pieces if required, using a blender, blend it until it is soft without any lumps. Be quick, do not let the mixture melt down. Transfer the blended mixture into another flat bottomed container. Repeat this for the remaining mixture. Do not let it melt down at any point. If you feel the blended mixture is melting down while blending the other portions, place the container with blended mixture in freezer until you are done blending the next portion. When you are done blending all the mixture, cover the container with the lid and place it in the freezer. If you a a ice cream maker/churner, use it instead of blender as directed by the manufacturer. Freeze for 4-5 hours.
  12. Before serving take the container out from the freezer and place it in the normal cooling section of refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes, scoop and serve as you desire.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Idiyappam / String Hoppers

Serves: 4

Ingredients:



Rice Flour - 2 cups
Boiling Water - 2 cups
Cooking Oil - 2 teaspoons + greasing
Salt to taste

For Aid:
Idiyappam/Sev Press
Steaming Pot


Method:

  1. Pour water into the steaming pot and set it on the flame.
  2. Grease the idiyappam steaming plates or idli steaming plates generously with oil.
  3. In a bowl, mix together rice flour, salt and oil.
  4. Pour the boiling water and mix it using a spatula.
  5. When the dough cools enough to be handled with your palms, knead the dough until it becomes soft and smooth. The dough hardens on cooling down, so knead while it is still hot.
  6. Take small portions of this dough and roll them into oval shape to fit into the idiyappam/sev press.
  7. Apply pressure on the idiyappan/sev press using your palms and move it in circles within the idiyappam steaming plates or idli steaming plates.
  8. Place the steaming plates in the steaming pot, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes on high flame.
  9. Remove the lid and let idiyappam cool down for a few minutes.
  10. Serve with vegetable stew or as you prefer.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Shahi Paneer

Serves : 6


Ingredients:

Onions - 3
Garlic Cloves - 6
Ginger - 1'' long piece
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Cashew Nuts - 3 tablespoons
Almonds - 8
Poppy Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Hot Milk - 8 tablespoons
Butter/Cooking Oil - 1 tablespoon
Green Chilies - 5, minced
Bay Leaf - 1
Cloves - 5
Cinnamon - 1" long piece
Cardamom Pods, crushed - 4
Star Anise - 1
Sugar - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Garam Masala Powder - 2 teaspoons
Rose Essence - 1/8 teaspoon
Yogurt/Curd - 1/2 cup
Heavy Cream - 5 tablespoons
Kasoori Methi - 2 teaspoons
Saffron Strands - 10 to 12

For Garnishing:

Coriander Leaves, chopped


Method:

  1. Soak cashew nuts, almonds and poppy seeds in hot milk for atleast 1 hour.
  2. Chop onions.
  3. Boil chopped onions, garlic cloves and ginger in 1 1/2 cups of water until onions turn soft. Turn off the flame and allow it to cool down.
  4. Cut paneer into square or triangle pieces. Keep them aside.
  5. Blend soaked cashew nuts into a smooth paste. Transfer it into a small bowl, keep aside.
  6. Strain water from boiled onions, save the water for later use. Blend onions, garlic cloves and ginger into smooth paste. Keep it aside.
  7. Heat butter/oil in a pan.
  8. Add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, crushed cardamom and star anise. Saute for half a minute.
  9. Add minced green chilies. Saute for a minute on medium flame.
  10. Add blended onion, garlic and ginger paste. Cook on medium flame for 5-7 minutes.
  11. Add sugar, salt, garam masala powder and cook for another 5-6 minutes.
  12. Add rose essence, mix well. Continue cooking.
  13. Whisk together heavy cream and yogurt in a bowl. Pour this to the cooking gravy. Set the flame to low and continue cooking until the gravy starts bubbling.
  14. Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan, roast the paneer until golden brown. Add the roasted paneer pieces to the cooking gravy.
  15. Rub kasoori methi between your hand palms to powder and sprinkle it on the cooking gravy. Mix well.
  16. Sprinkle saffron strands. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  17. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with roti/naan/phulka/kulchas.