Delicious Aate ka Halwa

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Aate ka Halwa

The quickest Halwa to make and I will add delicious too ;-)  This was the first sweet I made after marriage and everybody liked it. This one never fails! You will almost always have the ingredients handy and it hardly takes any time to prepare!

My Mom as always makes it the best and here at my husband’s place I am told his Grandma made the most heavenly Aate ka Halwa

Aate Ka Halwa

Aate Ka Halwa

Here is how it goes-

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)-

½ cup Wheat Flour

½ Cup Sugar

Almost Half Cup Ghee (clarified butter)

1 Cup water

Sliced Cashewnuts, almonds, raisins.

  • Keep the ingredients ready as this one is a “quick steps” dish!

Method

Take the Ghee in sauce pan and let it get warm on medium flame. Now add the wheat flour to the ghee, and stir. Keep stirring till the flour turns brown. Now add the sugar and immediately the water and stir continuously or lumps will form. Add the nuts and stir for 3-4 minutes.

The Halwa is ready. Serve it hot.

Bake a Cake!

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Baking a cake is a pleasure….as the aroma spreads, you know you are making something sugary, soft……..that everyone will love… and love you for!

My Mom makes the most mouth-watering egg less cakes. Growing up, I and Bro, feasted on these cakes. And, we had somebody else who shared the joy with us…Cheeku our little pet. He’d the first one to fall for the aroma of the cake being baked and then he’d just sit in the kitchen….waiting for his share.

Some of my most treasured memories as a kid are dipping my fingers into the melted chocolate icing or the cake batter and tasting the smooth batter;  Not to forget, collecting the leftover batter on to a spoon and relishing it ;-).

Last week saw couple of Arnav’s best friends celebrating their birthdays and a friend of mine also celebrated his birthday his birthday cake was one of the best cakes I have seen and eaten.

Coming to Arnav, he just needed a reason to cut a cake….he turned exactly 6.5 years on 28 January! And this was a reason enough for me to bake a simple & quick cake for my little sweetheart….who waited patiently as I prepared it. I usually make an eggless cake this time tried with eggs and it turned out super! Sure it wasn’t as nice as Mom’s but everybody still wanted a slice!

Now, the recipe

Bake a Cake

Bake a Cake

Ingredients-

1 + 1/2 cup (170 g) all-purpose flour (Maida)

1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (dutched/dark)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup (220 g) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup (170 g) melted butter

2 eggs

Method-

Preheat oven to 350 deg F (180 deg C). Grease a 9 inch (23 cm) cake tin with ghee/oil or melted butter. Sprinkle some flour on to this.

Now Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl. Melt the butter at low heat and add to the dry ingredients. Also add milk and eggs.

Mix everything together until smooth, either by hand if you have the energy or by using an electric mixer at slow speed.

Transfer most of this to the baking tin. Leave a small part. Add the cocoa powder to it. Spread this over rest of the mixture in the baking tin in a pattern you desire. Now bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick/or a cake knife inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.

Wait for the cake to cool for at least ten minutes, before you gently invert it on to another plate/container. The cake is very soft when it is hot…avoid excessive handling.

And now, slice the cake, serve it to everyone, get yourself a cup of tea and enjoy your creation ;-)!

Cake for Arnavi!

Cake for Arnavi!

Welcoming 2011 with Kaju Katli!

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The Ever Pleasing Kaju (Cashew) Katli- Super Quick to Make, Divine to Eat!

Kaju Katli

Kaju Katli

And here I am all set to welcome 2011 with Kaju Barfi- something that everyone around me loves- Kaju Barfi! Mom taught it and it took not more than twenty minutes to prepare it- awesome! And my little baby loves it!

Ingredients-

Cashew nuts (kaju) – 2 cups
Sugar – 1 Cup (Half the amount of Cashews)
Ghee
Silver sheets for decoration

Method-

Take 2 Bowls Cashews and dry grind them- you can sieve them too (to avoid any big pieces). Don’t add any water while grinding- just dry grind them.
Spread a plastic sheet and apply slight ghee/oil over it- a thin film covering it. Keep aside.
Take One Bowl Sugar in a sauce pan and put equal amount of water in it- heat it to make sugar syrup (two thread consistency) Check for consistency upon boiling- this would roughly take 6-8 minutes. Lower the heat, add the cashew powder and stir continuously to avoid any lumps. Stir well for two minutes and immediately take it out on the plastic sheet.
Spread the cashew syrup mixture on the plastic sheet and since it is hot wrap it lightly with the plastic sheet and knead it like we knead the flour.
Now transfer this to a greased flat surface (we took and aluminum tray) spread it evenly with a rolling pin to about 1/8” inch of thickness. Let it cool and apply the silver foil. After half an hour, cut it diagonally in diamond shape pieces.

Eat on and Welcome the New Year with a smile! Here is wishing you all a very Happy New Year, Cheers!

Phool Makhana ki Kheer- Simple and Quick to make

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Makhane ki Kheer- A Perfect treat for Navratras

Makhane ki Kheer

Makhane ki Kheer

Makhanas are puffed lotus seeds, just like pop corns are puffed corn kernels.  Today is the second day of my Navratras and I decided to treat myself with Makhana Kheer today.  My Mom usually roasted them in a couple of teaspoons of ghee and added salt and pepper – it made a nice munch. I believe makhanas are also added to a variety of curries but I have never tried it.

Simple and quick to make- this is how I went about it-

Ingredients-

Phool Makhanas- 1 Cup

Milk- 500 ml

Sugar as per taste

Kesar – a few strands (optional)

Dry fruits and raisins (vertically cut almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts)

Ghee – 2 tsp (optional)

Cardamom Powder- 1/2 tsp (optional)

Method-

Boil the milk on medium flame and let it reduce to half or two third the quantity- as desired.  You must keep stirring milk as it should not get burnt. As the milk is boiling, clean the makhanas (remove if there are any black shells- brown spots are fine).  Cut them half.  You can either fry them in a tsp ghee or simply roast them in a microwave or a saucepan.

Once they cool down they will become crisp.  Take half of the makahanas and grind them coarsely in a food processor.  Now add the powdered Makhanas and the whole ones to the milk and stir.  After about ten minutes, add sugar, cardamom powder, dry fruits and kesar.  Let the Kheer cook for another 10-15 minutes then take it off from the heat.

If you wish to- fry the makahanas and dry fruits in a couple of teaspoon ghee and then add them to the boiling milk.

Garnish with some dry fruits and serve chilled or warm as desired.

Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

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Happy Holi- With Savory Kheer!

Kheer

Kheer- Indian Rice Pudding

 I love to make Kheer- as long as I am around to stir it at intervals; the aroma and richness of Kheer never fail me.  Moreover the main ingredients are always handy- milk, rice and sugar.

Yesterday was Holi and we invited some guests over- I always miss the grand Holi celebrations that we had back home when we were growing up.  I try to create the same magic, however I do miss my family and friends…….but for Arnav it is just beginning and he loves it.  Mom would have made Gujiyas and Kanji, I have never tried making those and so I settled for the pleasing and satisfying – Kheer.  It was super yummy and we all enjoyed it.

Ingredients-

Whole Milk- 1.5 Lt

Rice- 1.5 Tbsp (Wash and soak for half an hour)

Cardamom (elaichi powder) – 1/2 tsp

Pinch of Saffron

Raisins & Cashew nuts

Almonds and Pistachio Nuts (Cut vertically)

3 Tbsp Sugar (You can change as per taste)

Method-

Take milk in a saucepan.  On medium heat bring it to boil.  Add the rice and keep stirring on medium heat. It is always good to make this in a non stick pan- the kheer should not stick to bottom of the pan- stirring it is integral- if the milk burns slightly too it will spoil the entire taste.  Keep stirring for about half an hour- the milk quantity will reduce to half and the rice will cook and become soft.  Add sugar and saffron strands.  Let the sugar dissolve.  Now add the cashew nuts and raisins, keep some for garnishing.  Add the cardamom powder and stir.  Bring it off the heat and garnish with nuts.  Serve hot or cold and enjoy.

 Some people like to fry the nuts and rice in little ghee. I don’t do that.  If you wish to you can just take tsp ghee in a small saucepan and fry them for a minute before adding to the kheer.  Same goes for the rice too- that can also be shallow fired in a couple of tsp ghee in a sauce pan and then added to the boiling milk.

Parle Biscuit Cake- Quick easy and delicious

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Parle Biscuit Cake- Made in cooker

Parle Biscuit Cake

Parle Biscuit Cake- Made in a Pressure Cooker

Parle G Biscuits- I love them with tea and once in a while Arnav joins me to enjoy this treat.  I remember our pet dog Cheeku used to love these biscuits and I would treat him to my share of biscuits too. It was nice to have Cheeku around when we were growing up…to play with him after coming back from school and take him for walks…to bursting into peals of laughter when he scared strangers (now that is not kind I know, but who said we were perfect!).  I hope one day I can bring in a Labrador pup for Arnav ….it is good Arnav can’t read it out here or else he would insist on having one right now…right here.

I saw this recipe on FoodLyrics.com and fell for the idea…simple, quick, easy and what I liked the most about it was the ingredients were handy.It tastes good and the texture is fine too.  I followed the recipe and instructions that Deepa mentioned, I just added a little milk powder and milk cream, and here it goes-

Ingredients-

Parle G Biscuit powdered- 2 Cups

Grounded Sugar- 1 Cup (or lesser as per taste)

Vanilla Essence- 1 tsp

Baking Powder- 1 tsp

Milk- 1 Cup

Milk Powder- 1 Tbsp (optional)

Milk Cream- 1/2 Tbsp (optional)

Method-

In a bowl take powdered biscuits, add the sugar, milk powder and baking powder and mix.  Now add the Vanilla essence, Milk, and milk cream.  Whisk properly until the mixture is smooth. Add the dry fruits.  Now transfer this batter into an 8 inch round baking tin.

Place the tin in the pressure cooker.  Remove the gasket/ring of the cooker.  Keep the whistle on and bake the cake.  Like Deepa has suggested- the first five minutes on high flame and then 15 to 20 minutes on medium flame. Remove the lid to check if the cake is baked.  You can check by inserting a knife/skewer to see if it is baked.

It takes slightly more time for the cake to bake from center, so as Deepa suggests keep the lid on of the cooker even after you take it off the heat.  The steam helps to bake the cake from the center.

Remember-

Don’t put any water in the cooker

The cake batter should not be too liquid- change the milk/sugar content as per the amount of powdered biscuits.

Take the ring/gasket out of the pressure cooker while baking the cake.

It tasted very nice and we loved it!  Thanks again Deepa for this quick, easy and delicious recipe.

Why is today so special?

Leena and Kishore are our close friends and this cake is for their kids Saveer and Soni…they turn five today, I remember the first time I saw them, Soni a few hours old was looking  all  around, alert and active, Saveer was sleeping calmly. Here is wishing them happiness and good health! You rock guys!

Here is their picture as on 31  December 2005 (their first New Year Party), Arnav was 5 months and they were ten months.

Arnav Saveer Soni- First New year Party!

Arnav, Saveer & Soni- First New Year Party!

 

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!

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