Monday, September 15, 2014

Cheesecake Bars

Made these for a party at the boss's house...everyone loved it.

1 pack 14 oz graham crackers crumbs + 4 tbsp sugar plus 1 stick butter melted. Press in two cake pans 12x8. Bake at 350 for 10 mins and cool.
5 packs cream cheese, 1 can condensed milk ,  1 1/2 cups sugar, 5 eggs, lemon zest and or or vanilla. Divide in two and bake over a cookie sheet with water at 350 for 30 mins.

For the topping:
Heat about 3/4 cup sugar till golden brown. Add about 3/4 cup slivered almonds and pour on silpat and flatten. Breat it up into praline crumbs (I used dasto). I had some Cajeta/dulce de leche spread which I drizzled first. Then evenly spread the praline. In a small Ziplock, take chocolate and butter and melt. Drizzle the chocolate in a mesh pattern along with the Cajeta spread.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mango cupcakes

The cupcakes were a big hit. I thought the frosting could have been better...but oh well...

The basic cake recipe was from here:

I modified it to include the mango, and made a double batch. I also tweak the egg proportions to make it a bit richer. Here's what I did.

In (my brand new) mixer with a paddle attachment, add 3 sticks of semi-soft butter and 2 1/2 cups of sugar, and beat till fluffy. In another bowl, mix 1 cup of milk (notice the reduction), 6 egg whites and 3 whole eggs, about 12 oz (less than half a tin) of Alphonso Mango pulp, 2 teaspoons vanilla (again notice the reduction), and 1 tablespoon ground cardamom. On a wax paper, mix 4 cups of AP flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Alternate the milk and flour mixture to create a smooth batter in the mixer. Bake in big/small cupcake pans at 350. The small cupcakes took around 14-18 mins or so. 

For the frosting:
(This is slightly different from what I did...but this is what I would do next time)
1 stick of softened butter + 1 package cream cheese + 4-5 cups of powdered sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla + 1 teaspoon ground cardamom + 1/2 cup mango pulp.  Beat until smooth and fluffy. I would only add more mango pulp as required to maintain the consistency and the taste. 

Frost the cupcakes and garnish with pistachio powder. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Basic Pani Puri

Jaipur Mummy Style:

Imli pulp
Kala namak
Bhuna jeera powder
Phudina grind (no dhania)
Lal mirch

Serve pooris with boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes, seasoned with salt and red chilli powder, soaked boondi and meethi chutney.

Bombay Mummy Style:
A bit of dhania
Green chillies
Raw mangoes
Kala namak
Bhuna jeera powder

Serve pooris with boiled mashed potatoes, seasoned with chaat masala, boiled and salted sprouted mung, meethi chutney.

I combined the two recipes. I took a big handful of fresh phudina, a bit of green chillies (L. said he would have preferred red chillies), kala namak bhuna jeera powder, green mangoes, and ground it to a fine paste. Then added about 1/2 cup of tamarind pulp (laxmi brand). Added lots of water, and adjust the pulp and salt according to taste.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dahi Wada

Soak Urad dal in sufficient water overnight. Next morning, grind to a coarse paste in the food processor with salt and just a bit of fresh water. I had freshly ground ginger paste which I used, otherwise, you can grind the ginger and chillies with the dal. I added green chilli paste, ginger paste, hing to the mixture. I also added (optional) whole cumin seeds + fennel seeds + lightly crushed whole dhania seeds. Beat the mixture with your hands to make a light batter. Heat oil in a kadai and fry vadas tilll golden brown. Add them to warm water, press with hands to remove the water and set aside. Beat yogurt with water and salt and spread over the wet wadas. Garnish with red and green chutneys, red chilli poweder, roasted cumin powder, chat masala (optional. I didn't use it this time), and cilantro. Serve chilled. 

Tadka Dal

Boil Toor dal with salt and turmeric. Heat some oil. Add mustard seeds (let splutter), cumin seeds, curry leaves, slit green chilli, hing, chopped red onion, fresh ginger and garlic paste. Let the onions brown well. Then add red chilli powder, turmeric, a bit of dhania powder, amchur, finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Let the tomatoes cook well (almost mashed). Then add this to the dal and serve garnished with fresh cilantro. 

Phudina Paratha

Whole wheat flour + salt + oil + freshly chopped mint + milk whey (optional). Make a soft dough and let it rest. Make laccha-style (roll out into a small disk, apply ghee and flour, roll into a tube, roll into a ball and roll it out again). Make like regular paratha with oil.

Onion + Raw Mango Salad

1/2 large red onion, finely chopped + about 1 cup worth very finely chopped raw mango + red chilli powder + roasted cumin powder + salt. Try to make it ahead, so you get a bit of the juices out. Super hit. 

Mango Kulfi

I ended up making a much bigger batch than I intended to..but oh well..

2 can of mango pulp + 2 cans of condensed milk + 1 cup of sugar + 1 medium size (1/2 pint?) of cream whipped + 2 tbsp of freshly ground cardamom. Mix everything (fold the whipped cream carefully), fill in molds and freeze. 

Paneer Makhni (Restaurant Style)

This turned out to be super super easy (and not exactly healthy)

Grind around 4-5 tomatoes. In a pan, heat abour 2 tbsp butter. Add 1 1/2 tbsp each of fresh ginger and garlic pastes. Fry for a few seconds. Add the ground tomatoes. (I didn't strain out the seeds...was ok..but you should for a smoother finish). I added whole garam masala later (should have added to the butter initially). A couple of cloves, 1 stick of indian cinnamon and a couple of green cardamoms. Add one small can of tomato sauce. Add a handful of kasuri methi. Add 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp dhania powder,  1/2 tbsp garam masala powder, 1 tbsp sugar, and salt to taste. Cover and let cook for a couple of minutes, till oil starts to separate. Add water and let cook for a couple more minutes. Add another 2-3 tbsp of butter + about 1/2 cup of fresh cream. Simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Cut paneer into desired shape (I did really small thin triangles). Add to the gravy, mix and serve hot.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant and Potatoes

I used about 12 really tiny, tender and fresh baby eggplants (no point making this dish if you can't find good ones). I also used the same number of baby red potatoes (again, important to use fresh ones). The skin was so thin, I didn't bother peeling (actually, I was feeling lazy, so just gave them a good scrub). Wash the veggies and remove the eggplant stems. make one deep slit on each one. You could make two (on either side, cris-cross), but these veggies were so small that one seemed enough.

There are different variations of the stuffing. I made two different ones in two days. Here's the one with peanuts:
For the stuffing: Combine about 2 cups fresh coconut + roast and grind about 1 1/2 cups peeled peanuts + 1/2 cup sesame seeds + 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro + 1 tbsp freshly ground ginger + 1/2 tbsp freshly ground green chilli paste + 3-4 tbsp dhania jeera powder (I used 1 tbsp home made dhania jeera and 2-3 tbs of dhania powder) +  1 tbsp turmeric powder +  1 tbsp red chilli powder (as per taste) + 1 tbsp amchur powder + 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder + 1 tbsp sugar (usually we use a lot more sugar, but this version has less) + 3/4 tsp hing (yeah..I lot of hing) + salt to taste. Mix everything properly and stuff the veggies with it.

In a shallow pan, mix about 2-3 tbsp oil + 1 cup water + 1 pinch of baking soda and swirl together and heat. Arrange the veggies snugly in the pan, and sprinkle the remaining stuffing over the top. Sprinkle some more water over the top and cover with a tight lid. Cook on medium heat till the veggies are tender (check with a knife). Sprinkle more water during cooking if required. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve warm.

Another thing to stuff is smallish onions (which I can't easily find here), and maybe add some green peas towards the end.

The second variation of the stuffing:
Coconut + cilantro + green chilli-ginger paste + dhania jeera powder + turmeric + hing + sugar (good amount) + salt.
I also added frozen Ratalu (purple yam) + frozen lilva (pigeon peas) while cooking the vegetable. Could also add peas.

Mummy's simple green chutney

I've always found it very difficult to make chutney like my mom-in-law..but here's a close approximation.

About 1 bunch cilantro (including some of the tender stems) + 1 big handful of fresh mint + 1 green chilli + 3 cloves of garlic + a handful of chopped raw mango (can use lime instead) + salt to taste. Grind together using as little water as possible. 

Shahi Paneer Kabab

Makes about 18-20

For the outer covering: 5-6 medium sized potatoes (I used mostly red). Boil, peel and grate. Soak two slices of bread in water, and press out the water. Add to the potatoes. Add about 2-3 tablespoon of cornstarch, and salt to taste. Knead lightly to combine everything and make balls about the size of a lemon.

For the stuffing: I used home made paneer from about 1/2 gallon milk. Roughly one and a half cups. To this, I added another half a cup of crumbled store bough paneer. Add a big handful of chopped fresh Mint, and some chopped cilantro. Add about 3/4 cup of finely chopped cashew nuts, about 1/4 cup of finely chopped almonds and about 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup (as per taste) of chopped golden raisins, about 1 1/2 tbsp grated ginger, 2 finely chopped green chillies, 1 tbsp garam masala, 1 tbsp sugar (not too heavy on the sugar), and salt to taste. Mix everything and let chill.

Flatten out the potato ball with wet hands, fill with about 2 tbsp of the filling, and close carefully. Flatten and shape into an oblong. Set aside. Heat sufficient oil in a kadai and deep fry till golden brown. (My usual instinct is to shallow fry, but they end up being more oily that way. Whereas deep frying at the right temperature make them less greasy). Serve hot with green, red chutneys and ketchup.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crazy Busy Cake

One of those days when things are crazy and baking kind of brought me in a meditative state (without turning the kitchen upside down). Haven't tasted it yet, but feel fairly confident.

Cheated and got a pack of white cake mix. Here's what I did:
In a food processor, processed about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of hazelnuts. Added about half a cup of almond flour to it (whatever was remaining in the packet), and the cake mix, and whirled the food processor to mix. Added about 2-3 tbsp of melted butter, 1/4 cup of oil, 2 eggs and 1 cup of water (instructions on the pack with modifications) and processed again till the batter came together. Baked in two rectangular thin plans (I think 12 X 9 or something) at 350 for about 25 mins. Let the cakes cool. For ganache, used about a cup of semisweet chocolate chips, half a pint of heavy cream, and a tbsp of corn syrup. Heated in the microwave for about a minute, let stand for a few minutes, whisk to make a smooth ganache and then let it stand at room temp for about 10-15 mins. toast the remaining chopped hazelnuts (about 1/2 cup) in the oven for a couple of mins. Chop 3/4 bar of the ghirardeli semisweet finely. In another bowl, take a pint of heavy cream (2 cups), about 1/2 cup sugar, a dash of vanilla, a small dash of almond (be careful here), and whip till stiff peaks form. Set aside about half of the mixture. Fold in the hazelnuts and chopped chocolate in the cream. To assemble (I did it in a plastic container for easy transport), put down one cake layer. Spread the cream mixture, add another cake layer, pour the ganache. Let is set for a bit in the fridge. Using a piping bag, decorate with the whipped cream and some fresh raspberries. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Slightly delayed this year..and made a small batch, cause I was craving it so much...

In a kadai, dry roast 1 1/2 cup Til (don't use the polished one) on medium flame until light brown and aromatic. Set aside in a thali. In the same pan, roast 1/2 cup dalia. Set aside. Roast 1/2 cup broken, peeled peanuts and set aside. Roast a handful of dry grated coconut and set aside. Add some cardamom powder to the dry mix. Now, in the pan, take a teaspoon of ghee, add 1 1/2 cup Gul (the usual proportion is 1 part mixed stuff, 1 part gud..but I like slightly more gud). Also add a teaspoon of water and let it melt on a medium flame. Usually, you let the pak become slightly harder, but I like really soft I only let it melt and go maybe another 30 seconds or so. It could have been a little bit harder. Then add all the dry stuff, mix and take out on a greased thali. Let the mixture cool slightly. Now grease your hand with ghee and make small tilguls. They're ready.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sarson ka Saag

This was slightly different than the way I'd been making it, and it turned out great. It's fairly easy too. The original recipe is here:

(IFN ka Dhaba show)

One small mistake I made was not clean out the veggies thoroughly, so got a slightly sandy texture. Next time, make sure to wash the green very well.

Finely chop one bunch of mustard leaves (the big curley ones you get in the US), and 2 bunches of spinach (I used fresh bunch instead of the usual packets). You're also supposed to add Bathua, which I think is Choli, but I didn't have it. Do not grind the greens. Chopping gives a nice texture to the final dish. Make sure to remove tough stems. Also finely chop the following: red onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic (lots of it), fresh green chillies, and cilantro. Do not used GG paste. In a big pot, add clean green veggies with some water (till its barely submerged). Add half of the chopped ginger and garlic, all of the green chillies, red chilli powder, salt and haldi. Let it cook without covering, till the greens are soft. In another pot, prepare tadka: ghee + ginger + garlic, brown. Add onions. Saute, then add tomatoes, salt, red chilli powder, haldi, cilantro (no other spice is required). Let the oil separate. Once the greens are cooked, and most of the water is evaporated, use a mandhani (or in my case, hand blender), to crush some of the veggies (you do want to keep the texture). Add the tadka and cook for a few minutes. Add handful of Makke ka atta and let it cook for a few more minutes. This makes the dish come together and get creamy. Serve with Makke ki Roti

For Makke ki roti:
Makke ka ata (I also added some chapati flour), Ajwain, Cilantro, salt and oil. Knead the dough with warm water. Make rotis using a plastic wrap and roast it using some ghee.