Gur Papdi

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Gur Papdi, also called Gol Papdi or Sukhdi is a Gujarati sweet, made with jaggery, ghee and whole wheat flour and flavoured with cardamom powder and garnished with slivered nuts. It is delicious and healthy, and is eaten as an everyday sweet in homes and sometimes becomes a special sweetmeat for festivities too.

You can have loads of ferrero rochers and lindts and godivas but the good old desi Gur Papdi is delightful to bite into with its rich, aromatic whole wheat flour and cardamom flavors. Each time I bite into it, it brings back memories of midnight feasts at my aunty and uncle’s place where we cousins would sneak to the fridge at night, and gobble up all the goodies that were there, and often my aunt would store Gur Papdi to serve us as a dessert with lunch, but it would all be gone when she opened the fridge the next day.

I’m lucky with those midnight feasts I still have all my teeth intact, but I’ve certainly had to ‘brush up’ my teeth hygiene in these last few years.

Here’s the recipe

Gur Papdi

Makes about 15 pieces

Ingredients

100 gms whole wheat flour

6 tablespoons ghee

125 gms jaggery

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

Some slivered almonds for garnishing

Method

1 Heat the ghee in a deep bottomed pan. Cook the whole wheat flour in the hot ghee over a low to medium flame till brown and aromatic. Remove from the stove.

2 Add the jaggery and cardamom powder to the hot ghee, whole wheat flour mixture and stir with a spoon and mix till the jaggery has melted completely.

3 Now overturn the mixture onto a greased 6 inch thali and while still warm cut into diamond shapes. Garnish with the slivered almonds.

4 When cool store in an airtight container.

 

 

 

Banana Bread

 

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Now, I’ve eaten many banana breads and cakes but this one steals the show. Really, I mean it. It’s for no small reason that Nigella Lawson is called the queen of home cooking. Nigella ‘awesome’ Lawson for that’s what I call her, is just great when she shows us ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’. That’s the name of her baking book from where I made this recipe. It totally bowled me over. Did you know she’s not a professional chef? She’s a self taught home cook. Read this dazzling article and those of you who dislike the name of her book because it sounds weird, you may think, will change your mind.

And here’s her recipe for Banana Bread that’s so aromatic when you bake it that it makes your mouth water, not to mention that eating it will tingle your taste buds. It’s a nice large bread, and you can cut out big chunks for yourself, the kids, family and friends.

Sometimes, because ovens differ in their heating, and every oven has a nature of its own, go by instinct. When the cake begins to give out a delicious aroma, check if it’s ready, even if it’s before time.

Here’s the recipe

Banana Bread

Ingredients

100 gms sultanas

75 ml bourbon or dark rum

175 gms plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda bicarbonate

1/2 teaspoon salt

125 gms unsalted butter, melted

150 gms sugar

2 large eggs

4 very ripe bananas( about 300 gms without skin) mashed

60 gms chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin

Method

1 Put the sultanas with the dark rum to boil. When the liquid starts boiling, remove from flame and stand them for an hour or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Then drain.

2 Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C or gas mark 3.

3 Put the plain flour, baking powder, soda bicarbonate and salt into a medium size bowl and mix with a spoon to combine well.

4 In a large bowl, mix the sugar and melted butter and beat until blended.

5 Put in the eggs one at a time, then add the mashed bananas.

6 Stir in the sultanas, walnuts and vanilla extract.

7 Add the flour mixture, one third at a time, stirring well after each addition.

8 Scrape into a greased loaf tin and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hour. When a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean it’s ready.

9 Leave in the tin or on a rack to cool before cutting into nice big chunks and enjoying.

 

 

 

Coconut Ladoos

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Ganesh Chaturthi is here once again. How do we make the sweet, elephant headed God happy? Make him ladoos, because according to mythology Lord Ganesha loved ladoos. So this post is an offering to Lord Ganesha.

Dear friends, God never wanted us humans to pollute rivers and destroy nature. Please make environment friendly Ganeshas and immerse them in a clean tub of water for Ganapati immersion or better still leave the idols under a tree or in a temple. Do not alienate nature.

There’s a wonderful story about Ganesha and his sibling brother Kartikeya.

One day sage Narada came to Lord Shiva with a mango, which he had obtained from Lord Brahma. Now this was no ordinary mango. It was the mango of wisdom and knowledge. Lord Shiva wanted to give it to his sons, but which one should he give it to? He was in a quandary. So he decided to hold a competition where each sibling had to run a race around the world and the one who came first would win the mango.

Ganesha was plump and roly poly, and although he wanted to win badly, his vehicle was a mouse. Kartikeya on the other hand had a fast flying peacock for his vehicle and was very active too. Kartikeya set out immediately to fly around the world and show his prowess. Ganesha thought for a bit and then, gathering his parents together he circled them thrice. “Now give me my mango” he said. Shiva asked him why he deserved the mango, to which Ganesha replied that Shiva and Parvati his parents, meant the world to him. They were his world, so he had circled them thrice. Shiva gave him the mango.

Kartikeya, it is said in one version, was happy and accepted his father’s decision, but another version says, he got terribly angry and came down to earth to meditate in the Palani hills in the southern part of India. Ganesha, with great difficulty pacified him and brought him back to Mount Kailash.

Here is this really fantastic, tasty and easy recipe.

Coconut Ladoos

Makes 20 ladoos

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1 tin(400 gms) condensed milk

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

A little less than 1/2 cup raisins

A little less than 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method

1 Mix all the ingredients together in a thick bottomed pan except the 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut, and cook on a slow flame till the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan. Approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool a little.

2 Spread a little oil or ghee on your hands, make round balls with the mixture. Dip each ball into the remaining 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut.

You can store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator, if they last that is. The kids at home will love them, and so will the adults.

 

 

Puran Poli

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It’s celebration time with Onam today and Raksha Bandhan tomorrow. So it calls for a treat.

Puran Poli is a delicious Maharashtrian and Gujarati roti or bread made during festivals and celebrations.  It is a roti with a sweet filling inside, and is eaten with ambti or amti daal. Of course it can also be eaten with a regular meal. It also tastes great with Gujarati kadhi.

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In Maharashtra the filling for the roti is made with channa daal and in Gujarat the filling is made with tuvar or arhar daal. As there are many regions in India so there are many ways of making Puran Poli. Different people make it differently, some add coconut to the filling, some add a mix of sugar and jaggery to sweeten the filling, some add fennel seed powder to the filling. That’s the beauty of India. Here, her people make magic out of basic ingredients and vegetarian food turns into a feast for the senses.

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I’m posting a recipe of Puran Poli, the way we make it at home. This recipe also takes inspiration from Tarla Dalal’s recipe of Puran Poli. So, sit back and enjoy reading it. It isn’t difficult at all, you can make it for your loved ones. It’s so tasty that they will thank you and ask for more!

And, some people even serve this sweet, flavourful roti as a dessert.

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Puran Poli

Makes 10-12 rotis or breads

Ingredients

1 cup tuvar/ arhar daal washed and drained

2 tablespoons ghee

1 cup jaggery

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or atta for the dough

Some ghee to bind the dough, about a tablespoon

Some water to bind the dough

Some whole wheat flour for rolling the dough

Method

1 Pressure cook the tuvar daal with 1 1/2 cups of water for 3 whistles.

2 Put the 2 tablespoons of ghee into a pan and when hot, put in the tuvar daal and stir. Then add the jaggery and stir, till the jaggery melts and is well mixed with the daal. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes or till the mixture thickens. Add the cardamom and nutmeg powder and mix well. Let the mixture cool.

3 Make 10 to 12 round balls of equal size with the cooled mixture.

4 Now bind the dough with water, adding a little ghee, approximately 1 tablespoon and make a dough.

5 Take a piece of dough, roll it into a 4 inch circle with the help of some whole wheat flour, put a ball of the daal and jaggery mixture into the center, then pinch the edges of the dough together covering the round ball entirely, and with the rolling pin, roll the filled dough into a round 4 to 5 inch circle, not too thin or the filling with spill out of the dough.

6 Cook the bread or roti on a tawa or griddle till it has golden brown spots and smells cooked. Remove from fire and smear with ghee.

7 Cook the remaining rotis similarly.

Serve hot or warm.

 

 

 

Peanut Barfi

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Peanut Barfi or Peanut Mithai is a sweet made of peanuts. It was one of my Masi’s (mother’s sister) favourite sweets to make. And I loved how it tasted made by her. She is no more, but it was her birthday on the 16th of July, and I decided to celebrate by making this sweet in her memory.

I never got to asking Masi how she made Peanut Barfi so now I have to improvise and make it myself. I’ve tried, tested, tried and tested again and finally made it my way. It tastes so delicious. You should try it too.

Here’s how I make Peanut Barfi

Peanut Barfi

Makes 25 pieces

Ingredients

1/2 tin/ 200 gms condensed milk

150 gms peanuts, roasted and skin removed

150 gms khoya

50 gms plain flour or maida

1/2 cup milk

Method

1 Grind the peanuts to a powder in the mixer grinder.

2 Mix all the ingredients and put to cook in a thick bottomed pan, on a slow flame, until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan. The mixture will form a ball.

3 Remove from heat and spread onto a greased rimmed plate, tray or thali. Spread in a thin layer. Cool and cut into squares.

 

Rum, Raisin and Chocolate Ice Cream

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I know, I know, it’s not Christmas. It’s not your boy friend’s birthday either. These are the special occasions you would make rum, raisin and chocolate ice cream for. But for me every day is special. And every day is an occasion to celebrate. So this time I’m making this absolutely tempting, adult ice cream.

This version of rum, raisin and chocolate ice cream is easy, it doesn’t require an ice cream churner, just refrigeration,  it’s soft and creamy and filled with plump, juicy, well actually drunk in rum raisins that will have who ever eats it saying- I want more!

Now you can make this ice cream too and have your partner licking their fingers and yours as well!

This ice cream is inspired by Jessica’s Sweetest Menu.

Here is the recipe-

Rum, raisin and chocolate ice cream

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

160 gms / 1 cup raisins

125 ml/ 1/2 cup rum

500 gms/ 2 cups cream

300 gms/ 1 cup condensed milk

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

50 gms dark chocolate chopped into small pieces

Method

1 Soak the raisins in the rum over a period of 1 to 2 days.

2 Stir the cocoa powder into the condensed milk in a large bowl until the cocoa powder blends in.

3 Whip the cream. Pour into the bowl with condensed milk and cocoa powder mixture, and gently mix it. Add the rum soaked raisins and the chopped dark chocolate pieces and gently mix again.

4 Put it in an airtight container and put it in the coldest part of your freezer, away from the door, so that when you open the freezer door, warm air doesn’t affect it. You may also want to wrap the container in a plastic bag so that the ice cream doesn’t absorb smells from other foods in the freezer.

5 Every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, as the sides begin to freeze, with a spoon, beat the ice cream. Do this thrice before the ice cream sets.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

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Tell me, would you say no to the tempting combination of crunchy peanut butter and bananas? And….when they’re together in muffins, how could you say no?!

Here is a recipe by the famous Rachel Allen, also known as the Irish Nigella Lawson because she’s oh so beautiful and popular. She’s also Rachel Allen of the Cake Diaries fame as seen on television. This recipe is from her book Cake, and it’s delicious, delicious, delicious!

So the next time you have a tea party for your girlfriends  or a kid’s birthday party, put on that apron and show off your baking skills. Make these muffins and watch while you’re showered with praise and 💖.

Here’s the recipe.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients

75 gms butter, softened

200 gms caster sugar

150 gms crunchy peanut butter

2 ripe bananas( about 200 gms when peeled) mashed

4 eggs

250 gms self raising flour

Method

1 Heat the oven to 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F, and line the muffin molds with cup cake liners.

2 In a large bowl, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar, peanut butter and mashed bananas. Beat the mixture till it turns light and fluffy.

3 Now in a small bowl, break the eggs and whisk lightly for a few seconds. Then add the whisked eggs, a little at a time, to the butter and banana mixture, mixing as you pour the egg into the batter. Then gently fold the flour into the mixture.

4 Pour the batter into the muffin molds, up to three quarters full, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, the muffins are risen, or a skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

 

 

Seviyan

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The moon has been spotted in the sky calling for the end of the fasting of the holy month of Ramzan. Eid Mubarak! The festivities begin for Eid and most Indians and Pakistanis  celebrate by making seviyan in their homes.

When we were kids in the Air Force camp in Pune, we had Muslim neighbours. They had two kids, Jaffer and Zainab. We always enjoyed seviyan in their home for Eid. Jaffer was a great entertainer. No wonder, at the time, he wanted to grow up and join the circus.

So today, as you may have guessed I’m doing a seviyan recipe. Seviyan is made in as many ways as there are families who enjoy it. This recipe turns out decadent. The saffron gives it a lovely warm yellow hue and my dad loves it.

Here is the recipe.

Seviyan

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

A pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon hot milk

2 tablespoons ghee

1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

5 to 6 cloves

50 gms broken vermicelli

1/2 tin condensed milk

1/2 litre milk

Garnish

Some slivered almonds

Some chopped cashew nuts

Some raisins

Some rose petals

Method

1 Soak the safron in the tablespoon of milk for half an hour.

2 Pour the ghee into a pan (kadhai) and when it is hot, put the cardamom powder and cloves and fry until fragrant. On medium heat, fry the seviyan in the ghee until it turns golden brown. Do not let it burn.

3 Boil the milk. Turn the flame to low. Put the fried seviyan into the milk. Add the condensed milk and gently stir till everything is well mixed. Cook for 4-5 minutes on a low flame.

4 Add the saffron milk.

5 Remove from heat,  garnish with almonds, cashew nuts, raisins and rose petals.

Serve hot or cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Ingredients

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)

Method

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

Method

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.