Posted in Sweets and desserts

Peanut Chocolate Brownies

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The irresistible combination of chocolate, peanut butter and peanuts baked into delicious brownies. These brownies taste luscious, so yum, and unlike walnut-chocolate brownies, they have peanuts in them, which are easily available in Asian food stores.

Bite into one of these brownies and you’ll believe every word I say. They’re like a super love song, like good music, luscious, dreamy, gooey, just so good.

The largest grower of peanuts in the world is China. India comes a close second and then comes America. Although peanuts are classified as nuts they are actually legumes. They are healthy and very nutritious.

These brownies are from a recipe by Chetna Makan from her book The Cardamom Trail. Chetna is a NIFT Mumbai pass out, who relocated to Britain and even participated in the Great British Bake-off 2014 where she reached the semi finals. She’s now oh so popular for her book which treats you to tastes from the east; inspiration from Indian food.

I have used an Amul 150 gm dark chocolate bar for the chocolate in this recipe. It contains 55% cocoa solids and although most recipes asks for 70% cocoa solids in the chocolate, these bars work very well for me. They are easily available in Amul parlours in Ahmedabad and I keep a stock of them.

Remember, self raising flour is nothing but baking powder added to plain flour (Maida). Add 1 teaspoon baking powder to 110 gms of plain flour. There, you have self raising flour!

Here is the recipe

Peanut Chocolate Brownies

Makes 20 small squares

200 gms (7oz) golden caster sugar

200 gms (7oz) light muscovado sugar

4 large eggs

150 gms (5 1/2 oz) plain dark chocolate

110 gms (4 oz) crunchy peanut butter

110 gms (4oz) unsalted butter

110 gms (4oz) self raising flour

110 gms (4oz) roasted peanuts lightly crushed

Vanilla ice cream to serve  (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F, Gas mark 4. Grease a 22-23 cm(8 1/2-9 in) square brownie tin and line it with baking paper.

2 In a large bowl whisk the sugars and eggs together with an electric whisk for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is pale and creamy.

3 Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, add the peanut butter and butter and set the bowl over a pan of steaming water until the mixture has melted, ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water beneath it. Pour the chocolate -nut mixture into the egg- and – sugar mixture and stir. Sift the flour into the same bowl, then add the crushed peanuts and mix well.

4 Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is crisp but the middle is still a bit gooey. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out. Cut into squares. The brownies can be enjoyed fresh when out of the oven (with vanilla ice cream) or cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Chutneys, pickles and raw yummies, Salads

Khaman Kakdi

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Today’s recipe is delicious as well as healthy. Khaman Kakdi or cucumber salad is made in Gujarati and Maharashtrian homes. It’s an ideal summer dish made with cucumbers, peanuts and coconut.

Cucumbers which contain 95% water help hydrate the body and keep it youthful and fresh looking.

We eat a lot of salads at home. This recipe is one of my favourite salad recipes. And although it’s easy to make it tastes so good that you can impress your guests with it. Khaman Kakdi is also eaten when people fast and is called faraal food.

Serve this dish with an Indian meal. You may also want to eat it as just a salad.

Khaman Kakdi

Serves 3-4

3 medium sized cucumbers

3/4 teaspoon salt or salt to taste

1/2 teacup peanuts

2 tablespoons freshly grated coconut

1 teaspoon roughly ground pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Some finely chopped coriander

1 -2 finely chopped green chillies (optional)

1 Chop the cucumbers into cubes. Add the salt. Gently squeeze out the water. Keep aside.

2 Roast the peanuts till they are fragrant and have spots on them. Then coarsely grind them. Mix the peanuts with the cubed cucumbers.

3. Add the freshly grated coconut, coarsely ground pepper, sugar, and lemon juice to the peanut and cubed cucumber mix. Give the dish a good mix.

4. Sprinkle with finely chopped coriander and green chillies. Serve immediately or after keeping in the fridge for an hour.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Sweets and desserts

Chocolate Pudding

 

 

A2A84CE2-1652-456E-B48F-40D9C2F1B5F1I love baking, cooking and making delicious desserts. In fact I have a sweet tooth and like eating sweet stuff too. I started baking and cooking years ago, when I was perhaps 10 or 12, when I made my first donuts for the family. Ever since, there’s been no looking back. I enjoy cooking for family and friends, and especially old people and small kids, although all the desserts I make wouldn’t classify as kid’s treats. But this one sure does.

Chocolate is the ultimate treat for the senses. Whether you’re a child or an adult, chocolate is plain irresistible. And what if you have loads of great tasting unsweetened chocolate in your chocolate pudding; and of course the pudding doesn’t taste bitter. I promise this pudding will be enjoyable for the whole family. My family and friends just loved it!

Use good quality unsweetened  chocolate, that enhances the taste of the pudding.

This recipe is from one of my favourite food writers and chefs, David Lebovitz. He lives in Paris and is passionate about food, culture and travel. He also runs a fantastically successful blog and his writing is fun and sometimes cheeky, but mostly a whiff of fresh air. The recipe is called Chocolate Pudding, what else, and it is taken from The Great Book Of Chocolate.

I didn’t garnish my puddings but they still turned out yum!

Here’s the recipe for Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

2 cups (500 ml) milk

4 ounces (115 gms) unsweetened chocolate chopped

6 tablespoons (75 gms) sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons chocolate extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (250 ml) whipped cream

3 tablespoons shaved bittersweet chocolate

1 In a small saucepan, warm the milk and the chocolate until the chocolate has melted. ( It may not be completely smooth)

2 In a medium saucepan make a slurry by whisking together the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. Gradually whisk the warm milk and chocolate into the slurry.

3 Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the pudding thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in the chocolate extract.

4 Divide the pudding among 4 custard cups and chill thoroughly before serving.

5 Garnish the puddings with a dollop of whipped cream and the shaved bittersweet chocolate.

 

 

 

Posted in Breakfast dishes, Snacks

Chocolate And Cashew Nut Sandwich

 

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Have this delightfully luxurious, toasted sandwich for breakfast. The sandwich will make you drool and the kids won’t get enough of it. You can have it with a glass of cold milk in these summer months, but even tea or coffee will do fine. And perhaps a plate of chopped mixed fruit.

Please roast the cashew nuts whole, before chopping them into pieces, because pieces will burn easily. You can roast them in the oven or on a skillet (tawa).

Chocolate and Cashew Nut Sandwich

Makes 6 half sandwiches.

6 bread slices

6 tablespoons chocolate spread

2-3 tablespoons roasted and finely chopped cashew nuts

1 Toast the bread slices until golden in colour.

2 Layer the toasted bread slices with chocolate spread and sprinkle cashew nuts on 3 slices in an even layer.

3 Now put the remaining 3 toasted slices on the ones with the nuts, press gently, cut each sandwich into half and serve immediately.

Variation: Chocolate, cashew nut and cardamom sandwich- Add some freshly ground cardamom powder with the cashew nuts into the above sandwich.

 

Posted in Chutneys, pickles and raw yummies

Raw Mango Sweet, Sour And Spicy Chutney With Jaggery

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In my last post I wrote the Madhur Jaffrey recipe for fresh green mango chutney. This time I’m going to give you the recipe of the way we make raw mango chutney at home. The chutney is sweet, because it has jaggery in it, sour, because of the mangoes, and spicy, because of the red chilli powder.

When my grandmother gave this chutney to my mom with delicious ghee chapatis, for school lunch, all her class mates would pounce on it and finish up her tiffin, even before she could get started.

Make this chutney as fiery or as mild as you want by adjusting the quantity of chilli powder and jaggery in it.

So here is the recipe.

Raw Mango Sweet, Sour And Spicy Chutney With Jaggery

Makes 2-3 cups

1 kg fresh green mangoes

5 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/3 teaspoon asafoetida

1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

6 cloves

4 tablespoons jaggery

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 Peel and stone the mangoes and chop them coarsely into 1 cm pieces. Keep aside.

2 Heat the oil and put in the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop add all the spices, except the salt. Reduce the heat and fry for a few seconds, till fragrant, making sure the spices don’t burn, then add the mangoes, and stir. Sprinkle the salt, stir, then add the jaggery and stir and cook for 5 minutes or until the jaggery has melted and the mango pieces are soft.

3 Taste to check if you’d prefer the chutney spicier or sweeter and adjust the chilli powder or jaggery accordingly.

4 Remove from heat and let cool completely, before filling a jar with the chutney and storing in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

Posted in Chutneys, pickles and raw yummies

Fresh Green Mango Chutney

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Mangoes, mangoes, everywhere! So what better than a raw mango chutney to make a meal even tastier. I just bought a kilo of mangoes from the vegetable seller and had to make this chutney for you.

I make raw mango chutney too, but I put jaggery in it and that dish tastes delicious. I will put the recipe on the blog next time. Its amazing how every region in India has its own recipe for mango chutney.

This chutney is from Madhur Jaffrey’s 100 Essential Curries. You need really raw, green sour mangoes for it. Stored in an airtight container, it should keep for a few weeks. Do taste the chutney five minutes before it is made and adjust the sugar, salt and chilli powder if you like.

Fresh Green Mango Chutney

Makes 600 ml (1 pint)

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

675-900 gms (1 1/2lb) green, unripe mangoes

4 tablespoons mustard or olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)

6 cm(2 1/2 in) piece ginger, peeled and cut into fine julienne strips

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

5-6 tablespoons sugar or to taste

3-4 hot fresh green chillies

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1 Soak the fenugreek seeds in 6 tablespoons of water overnight.

2 Peel the mango and cut the flesh off the stone. Cut the flesh coarsely into strips.

3 Set oil over highish heat. When hot put in the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and nigella seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, put in the ginger. Stir and fry it for 2 minutes or until it just starts to change colour. Now put in the soaked fenugreek seeds with their soaking liquid, as well as another 250 ml of water and the turmeric. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the mango, salt, sugar, green chillies and chilli powder. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered on a medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chutney is thick and the mango pieces are transculent and tender. Serve at room temperature.

 

Posted in Sweets and desserts

Sugar-free Fig and Nut Laddoo

 

C5CC8DAD-1FE4-41B2-BD80-A6923AD247A8Chetna Makhan is best known for being a semi finalist in the British Bakeoff 2014. But that was before she wrote her pathbreaking book, The Cardamom Trail. In the book she surprises you with giving an Indian twist to all that she cooks and bakes. I just got myself a copy, and the recipes look oh sooooooooo… good. Especially for Indians the book offers unusual variations with our daily herbs and spices. There’s a scrumptious Coffee Cardamom Cake, Black Sesame and Lime Cake and Rose and Honey Cake all of which look beautiful. The book has loads of lovely photographs.

What I’m so excited about today are the Sugar-free Fig and Nut Laddoos which I made and which turned out delectable. Every one in my family loved them. They’re healthy because they don’t have added sugar, and they’re made of dried fruits and nuts, and they’re good for diabetics too. And, the best part, they’re really easy to make.

Sugar-free Fig and Nut Laddoo

Makes 12

150 gms (5 1/2 oz) dried figs

20 gms (3/4 oz) cashew nuts, roughly chopped

20 gms (3/4 oz) almonds, roughly chopped

20 gms (3/4 oz) pistachios, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon ghee, melted

1 In a heatproof bowl, soak the figs in freshly boiled water for 15 minutes. Drain the water from the figs and blend them to a purée in the food processor.

2 Combine the fig purée, chopped nuts, ground cardamom and melted ghee in a bowl, mixing well with your hands. Roll the mixture into 12 small balls and put them on a plate to set. The laddoo will keep in an airtight container for upto 6 days.