Chocolate Mousse- Melts in your mouth!

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Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse with Gelatin

My neighbor Kiran is an excellent cook.  Arnav often shows up at their house.  He loves the goodies that he is offered there which range from cold coffee treat to kaju barfi.  Arnav just walks in to their home with his trademark question “Is anybody there?”  Every time he wears a new outfit he has to go and show it to “Uncle”

The other day Kiran sent Chocolate Mousse for us and it tasted awesome.  She made it with a sugar substitute and I could not tell the difference.  My son loved it so much that I had to make it for him.  Chocolate Mousse has this rich flavor and lightness associated with it which makes it a perfect treat for adults as well as children.

Here is the recipe Kiran gave me and I just followed it- the verdict- super tasty!

 Ingredients (Makes- 7-8 Bowls)-

Sugar- 150 Gms

Milk- 300 ml

Eggs- 2 (Yolks separated from egg white)

Rum- 1 tbsp (Optional)

Vanilla Essence- 1 tsp

Gelatin- 2 tsp

Cream- 250 ml

Dark Chocolate- 125 Gms

 

Fill a sauce pan with about 2 inch of water and bring it to simmer on low heat. Place a bowl of chocolates on top of this.  This arrangement is also known as “bain marie” With a spatula stir the chocolate occasionally and melt it.  Once the chocolate melts add the beaten egg yolks and milk.  Add half the sugar to this mixture and stir.  Let it heat on a low flame till the mixture thickens.  Once done let it cool.

Sprinkle the gelatin in a small bowl and add about 2 tsp water.  The gelatin will solidify.  Once it solidifies, you can either place this bowl on the bain marie over medium heat and let it melt or add about 50 ml of boiling water to the gelatin.  The gelatin will dissolve. (Unflavored gelatin is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless thickening agent, which when dissolved in hot water and then cooled, forms a jelly.)

Now in a separate bowl add whipped cream, egg white (beaten) vanilla essence, the remaining sugar, and the dissolved gelatin.  Now add the chocolate mixture to this and fold, stir so that the mixture is even. You can now pour the mousse the serving bowl or individual dishes.

Refrigerate for 4-5 hours.  Decorate the decadent chocolate dessert with cream/cherries/marsh mellows and enjoy your treat!

Take off with a Fruity Rocket

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Fruit Rocket

Here is something that I found on the net and offered to Arnav- From the name- “Fruit Rocket” it was a “go” He enjoyed helping me make it, and relished eating it. Try it for your kids and let them enjoy this simple to assemble and healthy fruit rocket. The icing on fruit rocket- for the first time I did not have to remind him to finish his fruits!

Water Melon- 1 piece cut in triangular shape
Strawberry- sliced into half vertically
A couple of grapes
Apple- 1 piece cut like a trapezium/square
1/2 Banana

You can add a circular kiwifruit slice , pine apple , orange or any other fruit that you have handy at home.
Thread the fruits into a kebab stick. Sprinkle castor sugar on the fruits, or dip them in sweet yoghurt/cream. Watch the kids as they have a blast eating it.

Dahi Wali Lauki (Yogurt and Bottle Gourd)

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Dahi Wali Lauki

Bottle Gourd is a very healthy vegetable- low in fat and cholesterol; it is rich in dietary fiber. It is high water content makes it have a cooling effect. All in all it is a vegetable that brings simplicity and virtuosity together.

There are different ways one can make it. I learnt this version from my father in law and we make it often.

Ingredients

½ bottle Gourd (peeled and chopped into small cubes)
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Jeera (Cumin Seeds)- 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds (Rai)- 1 tsp
Pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)
Curd- 1.5 cup
Water- 2 Cups
Besan (Chickpea flour)
Garlic Cloves- 4-5 (paste)
Haldi (Turmeric Powder)- ½ tsp
Dhaniya Powder (Coriander Powder)- 1 tsp
Mirchi Powder (Red chili- As per taste
Salt to taste
1 green chili chopped (optional)
Chopped Coriander

Method

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add rai, jeera and hing. Once they splutter, add the garlic paste. Let it fry for a minute. Now add the finely chopped lauki. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and stir. Cover with a lid and let the lauki cook on low heat. Stir at regular intervals.
Beat the curd and add besan, haldi and chopped green chilli. Add 2 Cups of water and mix so that this it is uniform.
Once the lauki is cooked add the curd mixture to the lauki and let it simmer on low flame as you stir continuously. Once it boils, garnish with coriander and serve with any kind of bread or rice.

Toast and Corn Dish

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Corn Dish

Like I mentioned in my previous post, we made a couple of dishes out of the grated corn. This is a dish served in one of the “many” eating outlets in Indore. It can be broadly classified as “Bhutte ka khees” but this one is liquid in consistency and we did no add milk to it (which is done while making khees)
By the time we finished making it, I did not feel like making Chapattis, so we had them with toast and it made an amazing combination.

Ingredients-

Corn Ears- 4 (Grated and retain the water)

Heeng (Asafoetida)- pinch (1/8 tsp) of it dissolved in one-teaspoon water

Garlic Cloves finely chopped – 8

Water- 3-4 Cups

Ghee/Butter- 2 tablespoon

Rai (Mustard seeds) – 1 teaspoon

Zeera (Cumin Seeds) – 1/2 teaspoon

4 Green Chilies finely chopped

Haldi (Turmeric Powder)- ½ tsp

Salt as per taste

Lemon Juice- 2 tsp

Chopped Coriander

Method-

Heat Ghee in a saucepan and add cumin seeds, mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the chopped garlic cloves fry them for a minute. Add the green chilies and hing dissolved in water- fry, stir for a minute. Now add the grated corn, salt and turmeric powder to this and let this cook. Add little water so that the corn does not stick to the pan. Add turmeric powder. Corn takes some time to cook- you will have to give it good 25 minutes for cooking. As the moisture evaporates the corn will get dry and start sticking, just add a little more water (half a cup) every time you feel it is sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan and let it cook as you stir.

When you can see the oil separating from the corn, it is ready. Add lemon juice and coriander.

Serve hot with any kind of bread.

Crispy Crunchy Corn Pakoras

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Corn Pakoras (Bhutte ke Bhajiye)

Last weekend was a “cornfull” weekend for us. We made corn pakoras and bhutte ka kees on Saturday. My husband is from Indore and he loves these dishes. Who won’t?

Corn Pakoras (Bhutte ke Bhajiye) are his favorite snacks. On our way back from a drive, we came across these fresh corn ears and bought a lot of them.
It takes an effort to grate the corn ears but it is worth it- I have to admit that Charit always grates the corns. And once he is done with grating, he makes them as well. The first time he made them, I just loved them- the flavor of corn with a dash of garlic and green chillies make these pakoras a perfect snack.
Charit is an excellent cook- he cooks occasionally but when he does it, it is perfect- right up to the presentation. Just runs in the family!

Here is how he makes corn pakoras-

Ingredients-

Corn Pakora- Ingredients

Corn Ears- 6-8
Besan (Chickpea flour) – 3 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Garlic cloves chopped finely- 2-3 tsp
Green Chillies- 3-4 chopped
Red Chilly Powder- as per taste
Green Coriander Leaves- finely chopped
A pinch of Baking Soda

Method-

Grate the Corn ears using a hand grater. Don’t grate the cob. Retain the liquid with the grated corn. Now add besan, chopped green chillies, chopped coriander, finely chopped garlic pieces, salt, red chilly powder, pinch of baking soda and mix. If the liquid from grated corn makes the mixture too wet, put in additional besan.
Heat oil in a saucepan. To check if the oil is hot, put a small piece of corn, if it sizzles and comes up, the oil is ready. Put small balls of the corn-besan mixture in the oil with help of a spoon. Let the pakoras fry on medium to high heat. Once they are golden brown, take them out on a tissue paper (to remove excess oil) and serve hot with dhania (coriander) chutney or ketchup.
Enjoy!

I used white corncobs; this can be made with yellow corncobs too- however they taste a little sweet. You can probably add more spices to offset the sweetness- I have never tried it though. If you really want to eat this snack but do not wish to grate them, you can use the food processor to grind the corn kernels- but this does not taste the same.
Kasuri methi or ginger can be added for additional flavor.

Sweet Pongal

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Sweet Pongal

The harvest festival of Pongal is celebrated all across India- however it has different names in each region. In north it is celebrated as Lohri, some parts of India as Makar Sankranti. The day is marked by kite flying and enjoying delicacies such as Til Ladoos and Pongal.

 Here in Hyderabad, Pongal is celebrated in a big way, the celebrations go on for four days.  Making rangoli, wearing traditional dresses, preparing exquisite dishes, visit to temple, kite flying symbolize the festival.

Pongal is also the name of popular South Indian dish, which is cooked during this festival. There are two types of Pongal- one is the sweet Pongal and the other is the spicy Pongal. I made sweet Pongal and it turned out nice.

Ingredients-

 Raw Rice- 1 Cup
Moong Dal (Green Gram)- ¼ Cup
Ghee (Clarified butter) -2 Tablespoon
Elaichi (Cardamom) – 6 (powdered)
Cashew nuts- 7-8, fried in ghee
Jaggery- 2 Cups
Raisins/Kishmish – 8-10
Whole Milk- 3 Cups
Water- 1 Cup

Method-

Wash and dry roast the moong dal. Bring the milk and water to boil in a thick- bottomed pan. Add the rice and dal to the boiling milk. Let them cook on low flame as you stir continuously. (This can be pressure cooked too) Grind the cardamoms and break the jaggery into small pieces. Keep aside.

 After about twenty minutes when the rice and dal are cooked, add the jaggery and stir continuously on low heat. After the jaggery dissolves, let the mixture cook for another 5-10 minutes. Now add the ghee and cardamom powder as well as the fried raisins and cashews. Stir well and serve hot.

Happy Pongal! Wishing that this festival brings good luck and prosperity to everyone.

Bharwa Karela

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Stuffed Karela- raw

Bharwa Karela

Karela or Bitter Gourd is another vegetable that I started eating only after marriage. As a matter of fact I have not seen many children eating/relishing it. My in laws love this vegetable and make it often. After a hectic day at work I came back home to Karela being served as dinner. I was hungry and tired, besides there was no harm in trying and try I did- I liked it and as I went on to eat more, my love for this veggie grew.

I guess, most of us know how healthy this vegetable is and so if you can, you must make it often. There are a number of ways to make them whole; you can have a Besan (Gram Flour) filling, or an onion tomato filling or a potato filling. You can also cut and make them.

Here is how I made them today-

Ingredients:

4-6 Bitter Gourds (Karelas)- peeled

2/3 tbsp Gram Flour (Besan)

1 tbsp Coriander Powder (Dhaniya Powder)

1/2 tbsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchoor)

1/4 tbsp Garam Masala

1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds (Zeera)

1/2 tbsp Turmeric Powder

Red Chilli powder as per taste

Salt as per taste

Chopped Cilantro

Oil- 2 Tablespoon

Method

Peel the karelas (Bitter Gourd) and slit them vertically. Mix the Besan, Gram Flour, Coriander powder, Amchoor, Garam Masala, Cumin Seeds, Red Chilli Powder, Salt and chopped Cilantro.

Now stuff the above mixture into the vertical cut made on karelas.

Heat oil in a pan; add 1/4 tbsp cumin powder and a pinch of turmeric powder. Put the stuffed karelas in the pan, cover the lid, and let them cook for sometime If there is any extra stuffing left, sprinkle it on the karelas. Keep the flame low and change the sides of the vegetable gently after every 5-7 minutes until the its skin becomes soft. You can add additional salt for the karelas as per taste.

Serve the tasty Karelas with hot chappatis.

I also wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Lohri. I don’t see too many people celebrating it here….I miss having the revari, pop corn and pea nuts in the warmth of Lohri fire.

Baingan Raita- Delicious and quick to make

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Baingan Raita or Dahi Baingan

Like I mentioned earlier, my husband is a big fan of Brinjals and here is another novel recipe that comes from– this time- my father in law. He is one of the best cooks I have ever come across in my life. There is this ease and simplicity with which he cooks and I simply adore it.
From Kachori to Baked Dish he can make just about anything! He loves to cook for his friends and family. I will be posting more dishes from him in coming months.

Baingan Raita is a very simple, easy and quick dish to make. It tastes superb and must try if you like Brinjals.

Ingredients-
1 Big Baingan (Brinjal/Eggplant)
1 Bowl Curd
Salt to taste
For the tadka (various spices or flavorings fried in small amount of oil)
1 Tablespoon oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds (Rai)
4 Green Chillies chopped
Chopped Coriander

Method-
The brinjal can be cooked on the burner or in the oven. If you have an oven you can preheat it to 300 degrees and then put the brinjal in a baking sheet and turn sides till its skin shows sign of cracking and can be peeled off. Also check by putting through a knife or a spoon if it is cooked from inside.
I do it on the gas burner. Put the brinjal directly on the gas burner and let it cook, till the outer skin starts to show cracks. Change sides so that it is cooked uniformly. Once the brinjal is cooked in this manner,and supple, take it off the heat and let it cool. Peel the outer skin and mash the pulp of the vegetable with a knife or a spoon. You can knead it a little with your hand. Please see to it that there are no pieces and the brinjal is mashed thoroughly.
Whisk the curd till you can see it becoming smooth. Put the mashed brinjal in it and whisk again until the mixture is smooth and even. Add Salt as per taste and mix.
For the tadka (flavorings fried in oil)- in a small saucepan take a tablepoon oil, once the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the chopped green chillies and let them fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tadka to the curd-brinjal mixture. Garnish with coriander.
Serve at room temerature or cold with Chapattis or Rice. I promise you will love it!

Fruit Cream with Cake

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Fruit Cream with Cake

My son loves sweets- he loves Gajar Halwa as much as he loves Chocolates.  He has recently started enjoying fruit cream- a very simple and ‘quick to make sweet dish’. It tastes delicious and can be made with a lot of variations. I often add layers of cake and dry fruits to the fruit cream- we love the idea and the taste.

I fell in love with fruit cream when I was in school. Back then, my friend Rolly’s Mom used to send it for me whenever she made it and how I loved to have it!

Ingredients-

Cream – 500 ml (I used Amul Cream)
Cake- I used Britannia Cake with Butter Scotch Flavor
1 Cup Icing Sugar (You can also add powdered sugar)
Fruits sliced-
1/2 Cup Grapes- sliced horizontally
2 Apples peeled and sliced
1 banana sliced
1 Pomegranate
½ Cup Pineapple sliced
1 Mango peeled and sliced (Should not have too many fibers)
Sliced and chopped cashew nuts and almonds.
You can also add other fruits such as melon, kiwi and so on.

Method-

In a bowl take the cream and add sugar to it. Whip it gently until the sugar mixes. Now add the fruits, dry fruits and mix them.

Halve the cake horizontally. Put one half at the bottom of the bowl. Spread half of the fruit cream prepared above on this. Now put the other half of the cake on top and pour the rest of the fruit cream on top of this evenly. Arrange fresh fruits on top. Dust some icing sugar on this.

The taste of fruit cream wears off in a couple of days usually so remember to consume it soon.  You can also add chocolate flakes or crushed walnuts to fruit cream. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

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Fruit Cream with Cake

Here is wishing everybody a very Happy New Year and a Happy Decade.

I am in Bangkok with my parents and grandparents.  That made bringing in 2010 so special!  I have always loved bringing in the New Year with family and friends, quiet evenings or a big party, if I have my loved ones with me, it is perfect….

I cannot post any recipes today as I have a lot to catch up with my Nani and Mom, but here is what my dearest Mom made for us today- Makke ki Roti, Besan Curry, Bharwa Karela and Dahi Vada.  And what can better than a bowl of heavenly Fruit Cream layered with Cake and Dry fruits made by Mom!

Makke ki Roti, Besan Curry, Karela

Dahi Vada

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