Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coconut and Pistachio Burfi | Blog Hop Wednesdays

Happy Gauri Ganesh to everyone. May lord bless everyone in abundance with health, wealth and happiness. Since I started my food blog, I have been browsing around and meeting wonderful fellow bloggers. Last week I signed up for an event called Blog hop Wednesdays hosted by Radhika of Tickling Palates. She pairs the interested participants every alternate Wednesdays. This week I am browsing Nayna's blog Simply Sensational. I have to pick a recipe from her blog, try it and post my experience on my blog. Nayna is a great artist and does fruit and vegetable carvings. Coming to picking what to try, it wasn’t an easy decision. If you browse her website you will know why! wanted to do something for Gauri puja today. So, I chose this Coconut and Nut Burfi (Fudge) recipe from her blog and tried last night. It turned out as exotic in taste as it looks.

Prep Time: 30 min. | Cooking Time: 15 min | Pieces: About 30 to 35

For Burfi –
·         Milk – Mava Powder – 2 cups
·         Ghee – 4 tbsp.
·         Sugar – 1 cup
·         Cardamom powder
·         Red food color – 1 tsp.
·         Few Saffron strands
·         Milk – 2 tbsp.
·         Water - 1/4 cup

For Filling –
·   Dry Coconut Powder – 1 cup
·   Dry Fruits mix – 1 cup
·   Cardamom powder – ½ tsp.
·   Condensed Milk – 10oz – Had a 14 oz can and used about 10 oz of it.
·   MTR Badam powder – 2 tbsp.

Method of Preparation:
Making the filling:
~ Add Pistachio, walnuts and Cashew to food processor; pulse coarsely to powder. NOTE: Since I used more pistachio, it gave a nice green natural color to the filling. 
~ In a bowl add coconut, nuts powder, cardamom powder and badam/ almond powder and mix.
~ Start adding condensed milk in batches and mixing all the powder. Once it starts to come together like a dough mix, stop adding the condensed milk.
~ Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator.

Making the Barfi:
~ Mix ghee in milk powder and keep it aside
~ In a heavy pan add the sugar and just enough water to cover the sugar. Bring it to boil till sugar reaches 1.5 string consistencies.
~ Remove the syrup from heat and mix cardamom powder, strands of saffron and red food color to the syrup.
~ In a non-stick pan add the milk powder mixture, milk and keep stirring on a low heat. Milk powder starts to release the ghee and mixture starts to come together.
~ Switch off the heat and add prepared sugar syrup.
~ Leave it to cool just enough to handle. Divide the barfi in 3 parts and roll them out on a foil sheet.
~ Take out the previously made filling from refrigerator, divide them in 3 parts and roll them in sausage style.
~ Place it on the rolled out barfi and encase it. Using foil and hands, gently seal the barfi. Roll it inside the foil and leave it in the fridge for about 3 or 4 hours to chill.
~ To serve, remove the barfi roll from foil and slice them in round pieces.
~ Store it in the fridge for extended life.   

Thanks Radhika for including me in blog hop.!

Sending this to Radhika's Diwali Special - Sweet & Savories event

Sending this to Vatsala's FSF event via Sonia's FSF event

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Palak Paneer

What would you do on a saturday afternoon, when you have tons of laundry to do and get the house in order, and it's almost time for lunch. I had already made chapati last night, so I decided to make palak paneer. This is my version of it. It’s spinach gravy with Indian cottage cheese in it. Since my kids love paneer, I make this way, so I can add many vegetables along with spinach and they won’t notice. :o).

Serves: 5 | Prep Time: 10 min. | Cooking Time: 15 min

·         Palak / Spinach – 1 big bunch (can use baby spinach too)
·         Onion – 1 large ( ¾ cut into big chunks, ¼ cup finely chopped)
·         Tomato – 1 large (cut into big chunks)
·         Green Chili – 4
·         Garlic – 6 Cloves
·         Ginger – small lime size
·         Baby Carrots – 4 (Optional)
·         Mixed frozen veggies – ½ cup(Optional)
·         Paneer – 20/ 25 cubes
·         Coriander powder – ½ tsp.
·         Cumin powder – 1 tsp.
·         Garam masala powder – ½ tsp.
·         Lime juice – 1 tbsp.
·         Salt to taste
·         Oil – 1 tsp.
Method of Preparation:
~  Trim and wash spinach. Drain the excess water. Coarsely chop them. If you are using baby spinach, there is no need to cut them.
~  In a pot add all the vegetables (spinach, big chunks of onion, tomato, green chilies, ginger, garlic, carrots and veggie mix) and place it on medium heat. DO NOT add any water or DO NOT close the lid. Let all the vegetables cook in its own water. Keep flipping the vegetables once or twice to make sure all of them are cooked.
~  Turn off the heat. Once cooled make a paste in a mixer and keep it aside. DO NOT add any extra water if possible.
~  In a pan add a tsp. of oil and add finely chopped onion.
~  After they are transparent, add all three powders and continue to fry for another ½ minute.
~  Add the spinach paste and bring it to first boil.
~  Now add lime juice and salt to taste. Add Paneer cubes, gently mixing for a minute and switch off the heat. 
~  Serve it hot with Roti, chapatti or with cumin rice.

·    Paneer – I usually use store bought. Thaw it a little before putting into spinach paste. To thaw, place the Paneer block in a microwavable bowl and microwave in 2 intervals of 30 seconds. Then cut them into small cubes.
·    You can substitute with firm tofu instead of paneer it turns out as delicious as this.

Sending this to Shilpa's Life is green event

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beetroot Chutney

Today had a lengthy list of things to do in the kitchen. Found beetroot in my refrigerator and I knew what side dish I am making for chapatis. My Aayi makes this chutney often and Beetroot is one of my personal favorite. Aayi says that she ate beetroot bhaaji before she went into labor with me, that’s why I like it so much. :o).
This recipe of beetroot chutney is for the ones who don’t like cutting beetroot into tiny pieces. It’s very quick to put together and rich vibrant color is feast to eyes and stomach alike.

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 min. | Cooking Time: 10 min
·         Beetroot – 2 medium sized (when cut, it should fill about 1½ cups)
·         Green Chili – 2 or 3
·         Onion – 1 small sized
·         Tomato – 1 medium sized
·         Coconut – 2 tsp.
·         Salt to taste
·         For Tadka -->
o   Oil – 1 tsp.
o   Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
o   Split black gram / Urad daal – 1½ tsp.
o   Red Chili – 1
o   Garlic – 2 cloves - crushed
o   Asafetida / Hing – 1/3 tsp.
o   Kadipatta / Curry leaves – 6 – 7

Method of Preparation:
~ Wash and peel the skin off of beetroot. Peel skin off of Onions. Wash the tomatoes.
~ Cut all three into big chunks. Put them in a cooker with green chilies and cook for less than whistle time.
~ Let it cool.
~ Now grind the cooked vegetables with coconut using very little water. Add salt to taste.
~ Take out the contents into a serving bowl and top it with Tadka.
~ Can be served with Rotis or can be used as bread spread.

For Tadka:
~ Heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seed and let it crackle. Add Hing.
~ Add urad daal, fry till it turns little brown. Now add red chili, crushed garlic and curry leaves.
~ Top them immediately onto the beet chutney.

If you don’t have cooker, place the vegetables in a pot and add ½ cup of water. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Then open and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the beetroot is soft and cooked.
If you don't have fresh coconut, use thawed frozen coconut.


Award Time

Recieved my FIRST award from Deeksha of Dee's Kitchen. Thank you so much for this sweet gesture. Now I would like to extend this to my fellow bloggers.:)
1. Radhika
2. Thanmayi
4. Priya

Sending this to Mehjabeen's Iftar Nights event

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Veggie Quesadillas

Today we went to the zoo early morning. Yeah, we were there by 8:30. After 4 hours of walking around and only icecream to snack, went to P.F. Chang's for lunch. After coming back I had a such a good nap that I am still fresh.!!! Gave some water guns for kids to play in the patio and then I joined them in the fight. Haven't laughed so hard in long time.  
When it was almost time for dinner I thought of Quesadillas. For one thing, it's very easy to make and also can be loaded with vegetables and cheese. It's a very popular Mexican entree. It can be made in various ways. Below is a simple quick recipe that my kids love. This can be just an evening snack or appetizer or a meal in itself. This was our dinner tonight.

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 5 min. | Cooking Time: 10 min
·    Whole grain/ wheat Tortillas – 6
·    Shredded Cheese (Any kind that you would like – I usually get fiesta blend mix) – About 2 to 3 cups
·    Green Chutney – 4 tbsp. (Homemade or store bought. I had some store bought. Below there is recipe for green chutney.)
·    For Filling:
o   Onions – 2 medium sized (slice into long strips)
o   Bell peppers/ Capsicum (any color) – 1 or 2 medium sized( sliced into long strips)
o   Garlic – 3 cloves (finely chopped)
o   Coarse pepper – 1 tsp.
o   Salt to taste
o   Oil – 1tsp.
Method of Preparation:
~  In a skillet, heat oil and add onions, garlic, bell peppers and fry for about 5 minutes (until bell peppers are cooked & they become soft)
~  Add salt and pepper, mix well and switch off the heat.

~  To make quesadillas à
-     Heat a nonstick frying pan / crepe pan. Place a tortilla and fry for about ½ a minute. Turn it over.
-     Spread green chutney on one half side of the tortilla. Place about spoonful or two of onion & bell pepper mixture on it. Top it with grated cheese.

-          Close the other half side of the tortilla. Once crisp on bottom side, flip over to cook the other half side of the quesadilla.
-          Once done, take it out on a plate and immediately cut them into three or four wedge shaped pieces.
-          Serve it with creamy Guacamole on the side.
-          Repeat above process to make more quesadillas.

Green Chutney:
Finely grind coriander leaves (1 bunch), green chilies (10), mint leaves (handful of leaves), ginger (small piece), fried cumin seeds(1 tsp), 1 tsp. of lime juice together. This can be kept refrigerated for several days.

~ You can skip the onion, bell pepper filling and just make Cheese Quesadillas.
~ Any favorite vegetable (shredded carrots, corn, zucchini) or chicken can be chosen for the filling. Just prepare beforehand and keep it aside so quesadillas can be prepared hot as needed.

Sending this to Smita's HCC event via Anamika's Healthy Cooking Challenge: Lunchbox 

Sending this to Srav's Cooking Concepts Apetizers event

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Atval or Rice Porridge

You can call this my first Konkani recipe post. Recently Aayi made this for my sister Vandana whom she is visiting in Netherlands. When I was talking to them later that day, both of them were like, you have to put up this family favorite recipe on the blog. So, today I made Atval at home and blogging this comfort food from my childhood for you all to enjoy. This is a simple Konkani dish that not many people might have had. My mom would make this often. I loved eating them hot at the end of lunch like a desert (even though it’s not sweet). With rich coconut and rice, it sure will give you a good afternoon nap. Well, atleast that's where I am heading as soon as I am done posting. :o).
Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 min. | Cooking Time: 12 to 15 min.

·         Long grain Rice – 1 cup (Whiter the better)
·         Fresh coconut – ½ cup (Grind the freshly grated coconut in blender. Use just enough water to make it a smooth paste. )
·         Water – 4 - 5 cups
·         Salt to taste
Method of Preparation:
~ Wash the rice and soak it for half an hour.
~ Drain the water, put it in the blender and pulse couple of times just enough to break the grains in half. [If you grind without soaking, you will get rice flour instead of broken rice]
~ Take the rice out in a pot, add 4 cups of water to rice and keep it on high to bring it to boil.
~ Stir every once in a while to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.
~ Check on the rice grain and when it’s almost ready to be done, (should cook in about 7 to 8 minutes) add the coconut. Add salt to taste, give it all a stir and switch off the heat. It should be watery like kheer/ thin porridge consistency.
~ Serve it at the end of a meal or it can be served as a meal.

I am sending this recipe to Sameena's Rice Recipes Event.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

It's Shravan month in Hindu calendar. And we don't eat any kind of meat (chicken, egg or even fish). So I made this Vegetarian Chili/ Taco Soup/ Soy soup for our dinner. I have had chicken chilli (we don't eat beef so have never tasted meat chili) before. This is my vegetarianized Indian version of it. This soup is packed with protein, iron and various minerals that it’s a meal in itself. It is also a leaner version with soy meat rather than chicken/ meat. I serve this with whole grain toast.
·   Ground Soy meat – 1 pkg. ( 14 oz/ 2 cups - I use Ground Sausage Style Veggie protein from Trader Joe.)
·   Onion – 1 medium size/ 1 cup chopped
·   Tomato – 1 medium size/ half cup chopped
·   Garlic - 6 Cloves -  Finely chopped 
·   Turmeric powder – ½ tsp.
·   Chili powder – 1½ tsp.
·   Taco seasoning dry powder – 2 tsp. (½ oz)
·   Tomato paste – 1 Can
·   Kidney beans – 1 Can
·   Black beans – 1 Can
·   Oil – 2 tsp.
·   Water – As required/ about 4 to 5 cups.
Method of Preparation:

~ In a large pan, add some oil and fry onions till translucent.
~ Add garlic, soy meat broken in chunks, and fry them on medium heat until soy meat is cooked (about 5 to 9 minutes).
~ Add salt just enough for this mixture.

~ Now add turmeric, chili powder, taco seasoning and mix.
~ Add tomatoes and tomato paste and continue to fry for another 3 minutes.
~ Add a cup of water and mix them thoroughly.
~ Now add kidney beans and black beans with their liquid and mix thoroughly.

~ Adjust the water as required. [Add little more water than soup consistency.]
~ Simmer on low heat for 25 minutes. Then, open the lid and continue to boil for another 5 minutes.

~ Serve it hot with toast.

Serves: About 5 to 6 people | Prep Time: About 10 min. | Cooking Time: About 45 min.

·    Keep a check on the salt, since the canned beans will usually add salt to your dish.
·    If you don’t find fresh soy meat, you can use dried soy crumbs. Soak them in warm water for half hour before using it.
·    You can substitute water with vegetable broth.

Sending this to Dish it out on Vardhini's Zesty Palette via 
 Dish it out : Tomato And Chilli Event on Reva's Kaarasaaram  

Sending this to Mehjabeen's Iftar nights event
Sending this to The Pumpkin Farm's CFE event


Thursday, August 11, 2011


If you love Mexican food, you love Guacamole. My kids are not very fond of it, but me and hubby always dig on it. This became my MIL's one of instant favorites when she tasted them first time in US. So I would make them often at home.

Avocado is a fruit mostly ate like a vegetable I think. I have not tried any deserts with it, but I do like them in my salads, sandwiches and of course as a dip. It’s high in mono and poly saturated fat, which provides good HDL cholesterol for your diet. I am sure many of you have tried to create the guacamole in many ways. Below is a simple recipe to get a rich and smooth dip.

·         Avocado – 3 medium size ones.
·         Tomato – 1 medium sized cut into small pieces
·         Onion – 1 small – Finely chopped (Optional if you don’t care for raw onion)
·         Lemon juice – 1 tbsp.
·         Garlic – 2 cloves - Finely chopped
·         Coarse Pepper – ½ tsp.
·         Chopped Fresh Cilantro / Coriander – 1 tbsp.
·         Salt to taste
Method of Preparation:
·   Cut the Avocado lengthwise, twist to separate the halves. Poke the knife into seed and twist the seed to remove.
·   Make lengthwise and across marks with knife in the halves and scoop the meat out with spoon into a bowl. Gently mash them.
·   Now fold in all the other ingredients.
·   Best served with tortilla chips or pita chips.
Serves: About 4 people
Preparation Time: 10 minutes

·    Add lesser salt than you usually would. Since it’s served with chips you don’t want to consume too much sodium in your food.
·    Pick little dark Avocado’s at grocery store. Green ones are not ripened and hard avocados don’t yield a smooth taste for Guacamole.
·    If Avocado’s are not ripened, leave it on the countertop for few days until it turns darker
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