Kaju Katli

kaju katli

Kaju Katli the much loved cashewnut based Indian sweet needs no introduction!

Every month Nabeel has a show n tell activity in school. As per the given theme, children are asked to get objects / images and talk about them in class. This month’s theme was Diwali. Kaju Katli was the first thing that came to my mind for Nabeel has this undying love for the sweet he relishes year round. And, instead of buying the sweet I decided to make it at home.

Now, Kaju Katli is also known for how difficult it is to make, atleast that is what I have heard. So, after a lot of mental debate I decided to give it a try. Trust me this sweet is as simple as it can get. With just 3 ingredeints required I can say it is instant in comparison to any other Indian sweet. I have already made a couple of batches and the product keeps getting better. If you are holding back because of all the myth surrounding kaju katli then please don’t. This Diwali treat your family and friends with some Homemade Kaju Katli.

indian sweet

 ***********************Happy Diwali*****************************

Homemade Kaju Katli

Ingredients
Cashewnuts / Kaju – 1 cup
Sugar – 1/3rd cup
Water – 1/4th cup
Cardamon (elaichi) powder – ½ teaspoon
Ghee / Clarified Butter – ½ teaspoon
Powdered or slivered nuts for decoration

Method
Step 1 – Grind the cashew nuts to a fine powder. As you grind them they tend to release oil and get lumpy, which is ok as long as the powder is spread out to dry, after grinding. You can spread over a tray for few hours before using. Spreading is not a vital step but in order to have a smoother and softer product this is advisable.

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Step 2 – Put water and sugar in a non stick pan and let the mixture boil on medium flame till it converts to 1 string sugar syrup.

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Step 3 – Immediately add in the cashew nuts powder and mix continuously till all the ingredients come together.

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Step 4 – Add the cardamom powder and ghee, mix vigorously.

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Step 5 – Remove the mixture on a greased surface and cool by spreading it with a spoon. Keep mixing and spreading till the mixture comes together like dough.

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Step 6 – Take a greased tray / thali and spread out the kaju katli mixture, keeping a thickness of ½ cm. Using a greased knife cut into diamond shape, sprinkle nuts and refrigerate till set.
Step 7 – Remove Kaju Katli pieces from tray and serve or store.

kaju barfi

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Kofta Biryani

kofta biryani

Eid ul Adha or the more common Bakri Eid is here and we are celebrating with some Kofta Biryani.

Kofta Biryani is a biryani that uses minced meat balls or koftas instead of meat pieces. Mince can be of any meat of your choice; however, mutton is the most commonly used meat for this biryani.

I made this special biryani for the main Eid that marks the end of Ramzaan, Eid ul Fitr and had documented the recipe then to be shared specially around Bakri Eid as that is when most people stock up on mutton and are looking for new ways to convert it into a lip smacking dish.

As exotic as it sounds, the biryani has many steps to it but is not difficult to prepare at all. Try is to treat your friends and family this Eid.

Eid Mubarak!

chicken kofta biryani

Kofta Biryani Recipe
Makes a pot enough for 4 to 6 people

Ingredients

For Koftas
250gms fine minced meat (chicken / mutton)
1/4th cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon chopped green chillies
2 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 bread slice (soaked in water for 5minutes)
1 tablespoon besan (gram flour)
1 teaspoon ginger – garlic paste
½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
½ teaspoon red cilli powder
½ teaspoon coriander seeds powder (dhania powder)
Salt
½ cup refined wheat flour (maida) for dusting the koftas
Oil for frying koftas

For the Kofta gravy
1 cup sliced onions
2 tablespoons oil
2 nos. Bayleaf (tejpatta)
2 nos. Green cardamom (elaichi)
1 inch stick of Cinnamon (dalchini)
3 nos. Peppercorns (kali mirch)
2 nos. cloves (laung)
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (jeera)
2 green chillies slit
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 teaspoon Biryani masala
½ cup curd (yoghurt / dahi), whisked
1.5 cups water
Salt

500 gms Basmati rice or any long grain rice meant for Pulaos & Biryanis
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
½ cup chopped mint leaves
1/4th teaspoon saffron (kesar) mixed with 2 teaspoon milk

Method

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Step 1 – To make the koftas, mix all the ingredients except the refined wheat flour and oil. Keep the mince mixture in the fridge overnight or at least for 8 hours.

 

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Step 2 – Divide the mixture in 10 portions and roll into smooth koftas.

 

IMG_20170623_105106Step 3 – Coat the koftas with refined wheat flour.

 

Step 4 – Heat enough oil in a kadhai and fry the koftas on medium heat till they are golden in colour. It’s not necessary to cook the koftas completely, they will simmer in the gravy eventually.

 

Step 5 – To make the kofta gravy, fry the sliced onions in hot oil (one used to fry koftas) till slightly brown. Remove immediately on an absorbent paper and keep aside to cool. Crush once cooled.

 

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Step 6 – In a thick bottomed pan, heat the 2 tablespoons oil and crackle bayleaf, green cardamom (elaichi), cinnamon (dalchini), peppercorns (kali mirch), cloves (laung), cumin seeds (jeera) and green chillies.

 

Step 7 – Add in the tomatoes, salt, biryani masala and crushed fried onions. Cook well till mixture leaves oil from the sides.

 

IMG_20170624_121124Step 8 – Add in the whisked curd and cook gravy for 5 minutes.

 

IMG_20170624_131828Step 9 – Mix in water and gently place the koftas in the pan. Simmer the gravy for 15 minutes. Remove from flame and keep aside.

 

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Step 10 – To prepare the rice, wash well and soak it for 30minutes. Then boil in 3 times the water with salt till the grains are almost cooked (around 80%). Do not overcook the rice. Drain and keep aside.

 

Step 11 – To layer the biryani, take a deep,wide and thick bottomed pan. Put in 1 tablespoon of oil and spread ½ the quantity of rice over it.

 

Step 12 – Spread the entire kofta gravy over the rice. Top with chopped coriander and mint leaves.

IMG_20170624_134428Step 13 – Spread other half of rice over the gravy and sprinkle the soaked saffron evenly.

 

Step 14 – Pour ½ cup water from sides and place the pan over low heat. Keep on flame till you get the Biryani aroma, it should be approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

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Methi Murg Tangdi Kebab

It’s the last weekend before school re-opens (Yay!) and I decided to treat Nabeel with his favourite food – Chicken. It’s Ramzaan too so I narrowed down on an Indian recipe this time which would double up as our iftar treat 🙂
On an average, Non-Indian recipes (read baking recipes) out number Indian recipes on my blog, why? Because, I usually am bored cooking up the everyday (& boring) dal, chawal subzi, that’s why the blog recipes are an exclusive affair to keep the interest alive. Therefore, today’s recipe is a sumptuous Indian Grill – Methi Murg Tangdi Kebab.

methi murg tangdi kebab

Before moving onto the recipe here is a bit about why this title. Honestly, this is the very first time I struggled to name my dish. I like my recipe titles to be very clear and straightforward, so that even before you get to the recipe you get a fair idea of what it’s going to be just by reading the title. Methi Murg was incorrect because that name is commonly used for a gravy based dish…so misleading. Since it’s a grill I wanted to use the word kebab, but technically kebabs are made of minced meat and this one is not. I had to fit in the word “tangdi” (chicken drumsticks / leg) any how along with kebab and this is the best I could come up with. I personally find the title a bit too long and if you too, then please bear with me.

Sorry, let’s get back to the recipe.

chicken kebab

I made the most of the sun these last few days by drying leafy vegetables in order to preserve them for a longer duration. I dried Methi / Fenugreek, Mint / Phudina and Lemon Grass, it’s so simple to do so; the flavours also intensify giving the dish a very good aroma and taste. Plus, it is very easy to store as the bunch of fresh leaves reduces to 1/4th (or even less) of its original size.
I used part of the dried methi to make khakhras, a snack the family loves. And then, some of it to make this grill.
I have shared a short note on how to dry methi leaves at home. I urge you to do so. But, if you are not in the mood to do so use the readily available “kasuri methi” for the dish.

How to dry fresh methi / fenugreek leaves at home?
1. Separate out the leaves from the stalks and spread them out on a big steel or glass plate.
2. Keep the leaves to dry out in the sun till they wilt. Direct drying in sunlight will take about 6 hrs.
3. Alternatively, dry roast the leaves in the oven at a low temperature of 50C for an hour or so.

Yes, finally coming to the recipe.

indian grilled chicken

Methi Murg Tangdi Kebab is quite simple using few ingredients and requiring even less amount of your time to prepare it. Long hours of marination is the trick here. The succulent chicken legs have a dominating flavour of methi complimented by creamy texture lent by cream and yoghurt. You could even try replacing methi with dried phudina. I grilled few of the drumsticks on the gas stove and tried grilling a few in the oven. The oven ones cook better but lack the look. Choose whichever cooking method suit you. However, a real Tandoor is anyday the best choice 😉

I have compiled the step by step pictures into a video to create an interesting way of browsing through the recipe. Let me know how you like it and if you prefer to see recipes in this format, henceforth.

 

Methi Murg – Tangdi Kebab Recipe

Ingredients

1 kg drumsticks approx 10 to 12nos
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup curd (yoghurt), whisked
½ cup cream
4 tablespoon dried methi
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Pepper powder, as per taste
Salt, as per taste
Butter for cooking

Method
Step 1 – Marinate chicken legs with lemon juice and salt. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Meanwhile, mix cheese, yoghurt (curd), cream, dried methi, pepper powder and salt in a bowl.
Step 3 – Coat the chicken well with the prepared marinade.
Step 4 – Leave the chicken overnight in the fridge or for at least 6 hours for the flavours to seep in.
Step 5 – To cook the chicken legs, take a pan and sizzle butter in it. Place chicken and cook.
Step 6 – Cook the chicken legs on both sides for 10 minutes or till the meat tenderizes.

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

HOLI SPECIAL – SHAHI TUKDA WITH CARROT AND MALAI RABDI

It’s time to bid goodbye to carrots with this scrumptious creamy dessert that is apt for the upcoming festival. Here’s a quick pictorial recipe of the easy dessert which will complete your Holi celebrations. 

Carrot Rabdi

SHAHI TUKDA WITH CARROT AND MALAI RABDI
Makes 4 portions

4 cups Milk (I used cow’s milk)
6 tablespoon sugar
1.5 cups grated carrots
1 tablespoon ghee
½ cup fresh milk cream (malai)
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon ghee + ¼ cup slivered almonds
1 8’ inch pizza bread (cut into 8 triangles) (can use 1.5 to 2 pizza breads i.e total of 12 to 16 pieces to make 4 portions of the dessert)
Pistachio powder

Carrot Rabdi - step 1Step 1 – Heat milk with sugar and simmer till it reduces to 3/4th.

Carrot Rabdi - step 2Step 2 – Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan and sauté carrots till tender.

Step 3 – Cool the carrots and whiz them 2 times for 5 seconds each. We don’t need a puree.

Carrot Rabdi - step 4Step 4 – Add the carrot, malai and cardamom powder to the milk and simmer for another 10 minutes till thick Rabdi consistency is achieved.

Carrot Rabdi - step 5Step 5 – Heat 1 tsp ghee and sauté almonds in it.

Carrot Rabdi - step 6Step 6 – Fry the pizza bread triangles in hot oil till golden brown on the outside but still soft inside.

Shahi Tukda with carrot & malai rabdiStep 7 – To serve, place few bread triangles in a wide deep dish and pour the Rabdi over it. You can choose to keep it hot or cold. Top with slivered almonds and pistachio powder.

***HAPPY HOLI***

You might want to try this other Holi Special Recipe

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Chickpea & Fruit Chaat

Something that will help keep your body and mind cool this summer is this extremely delicious and juicy Chickpea and Fruit Chaat. A tangy amalgamation of flavours and wholesomeness, the chaat is packed with protein and goodness of fruits which can be eaten as a snack, salad or even a light meal.

chickpea & fruit chaat

I have grown up eating the tangy, spicy Chickpea and Fruit Chaat, mostly during summers in a chilled icy avatar. While I relished the juicy fruits and the lip smacking taste of the masalas, Chickpeas were usually ignored and left behind in the bowl. It’s a pity I realized the goodness of this wonder food only now and am determined to use it at least once a week in my kitchen.Along with the Chickpea Tikkis and Chickpea dip, Hummus, the Chickpea and Fruit Chaat is something I whip up frequently, these days for Nabeel who is busy holidaying. Nabeel likes munching on roasted chickpeas and is just getting used to savouring the boiled ones. He helps me in preparing the chaat; washing and peeling fruits is his duty.

indian fruit chaat

The soaring temperatures make one lose appetite, giving kids one more excuse to reject food. The chaat is a good meal alternative for kids and ideal when they are in no mood to eat a typical roti-dal meal. Chickpea and fruit nutrients are good enough to provide them the nourishment of a meal. To make it more summery, one can even add beaten curds to the chaat. The tamarind chutney is an excellent coolant and perfect for summers. Chill the chutney in refrigerator, if you do not wish to serve frozen chaat to your child. Keeping boiled chickpeas handy makes the chaat a quick fix for anytime hunger.

Chickpea & Fruit Chaat Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups, freshly cut fruits, use a range of colors in this mix (strawberry, guava, grapes, pomegranate pearls, and orange)
1 cup boiled chickpeas
½ cup Sweet n Sour Tamarind / Imli chutney (recipe below)
1 teaspoon Chaat masala
Salt as per taste

fruit chaat ingredients

Method
Step 1 – Place tamarind chutney in freezer for 10 minutes.
Step 2 – In a clean bowl, put fruits, boiled chickpeas, chaat masala and salt. Mix well.
Step 3 – Lightly mix in the tamarind chutney.
Step 4 – Serve immediately or place in freezer to chill further.

Sweet n Sour Tamarind / Imli chutney Recipe

Ingredients
½ cup Tamarind / Imli, seedless
1 cup dates / khajoor
Grated Jaggery / Gur as required to adjust sweetness
1 teaspoon roasted cumin / jeera powder
Red chilli powder as required
Black salt as required

Method
Step 1 – In a heavy bottomed pan, take 2 cups of water. Add in the tamarind and dates and boil till the tamarind is soft and pulpy.
Step 2 – Strain the mixture through a soup strainer to remove date seeds and any other tamarind particles.
Step 3 – Check for sweetness and add the jaggery accordingly. Check the chutney consistency, if it seems thin then boil for few minutes.
Step 4 – Cool the chutney, add roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder and black salt.
Step 5 – Transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate or Freeze for further use.

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally submitted on Babychakra and published
here

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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It’s time for some Thandai!

Thandai basically means “cool” and is essentially a milk based drink that is flavoured with a rich masala made of dry fruits and spices called Thandai. This special blend, typically consumed for Holi, has amazing properties to energize as well as cool the body, something very apt considering the upcoming Holi festival and the weather.

Thandai Pannacotta

 

This year, I have observed, the Holi buzz is missing mainly due to the acute drought situation that has gripped the state. Most people have pledged to observe a “dry Holi” while many have decided not to play it at all. Well, it’s a wise thing to do! Considering the long weekend you might as well take a short vacation and spare some H2O.

Last year, Nabeel played Holi for the first time and I can say he had a blast. This year he is definitely looking forward to relive the same but whether it will involve water or not is still unclear. Anyways, to keep his spirits high I introduced him to Thandai.

The ingredients required to make Thandai Masala are easily found in any Indian kitchen and the process involved is quite simple.

Nabeel loves milk and moreover doesn’t mind consuming it in different flavours and styles. Thandai masala is a very humble yet powerful blend of ingredients that is recommended to be consumed daily, not necessarily only for Holi. So, I decided this was the perfect time to make some Homemade Thandai Powder for him.
The ingredients required to make Thandai masala are easily found in any Indian kitchen and the process involved is quite simple. I have worked around to arrive at my secret blend of spices and herbs which doesn’t include some common Thandai ingredients like cashew nuts, poppy seeds, melon seeds, etc but tastes just fine.
As expected, Nabeel loved his glass of chilled Thandai and has been relishing it for a few days now. I urge you to make Thandai masala at home, this year and experience the difference.

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With a jar of Homemade Thandai Powder at my disposal I decided to experiment and treat hubby and myself with some Thandai Panna Cotta.

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert which is not as fancy as it sounds but infact the simplest of recipes I have ever come across. With some cream, flavours and a setting agent you can prepare the Thandai Panna Cotta under 10 minutes, which sets in less than an hour.

Before you set out to play Holi whip this dessert and leave it to chill so that on your return you are welcomed by traditional flavours wrapped in International feel in the form of Thandai Panna Cotta.

indian holi sweet_lr

 

Easy Thandai Panna Cotta Recipe
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

For Homemade Thandai powder

1/4th cup shelled pistachios
1/4th cup almonds
3 teaspoons black peppercorns / sabut kalimirch
2.5 teaspoons cardamom / elaichi powder
3 teaspoons badi saunf / fennel seeds / variyali
A pinch of salt
1/4th teaspoon turmeric / haldi powder
½ teaspoon saffron / kesar strands

For the Thandai Pana cotta

200ml or 1 cup fresh cream, unsweetened (I used Amul tetra pack cream)
6 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Thandai powder
1 teaspoon gelatine granules or agar – agar / china grass powder

Method

Step 1 – To make Thandai powder; grind everything together to get a fine powder. If you want to make a paste, then soak the ingredients together in ½ cup of water for 20minutes and then grind to a smooth paste.

Thandai powder_lr

Step 2 – To make Thandai Pana cotta, soak the gelatine / agar – agar in 3 teaspoons of water and let it swell for 5 minutes till you work with the cream.

Step 3 – Pour fresh cream in a clean, thick bottomed vessel and heat on simmer while stirring continuously. It’s better if you use a whisk to stir as it will ensure no lumps are formed.

Step 4 – Once the cream is hot, add in sugar and continue to stir and simmer.

Step 5 – Mix the Thandai powder with enough water to make a smooth thick paste. Add this paste to the simmering cream and mix well.
If you have prepared Thandai paste then mix it with soaked gelatine / agar – agar before adding to the cream.

Step 6 – Add the soaked gelatine / agar – agar to the cream and whisk vigorously to avoid any lump formation.

Step 7 – Simmer the Thandai Pana cotta mixture for another 5 minutes. Switch off the flame and let it cool.

Step 8 – While the Pana cotta mixture cools, grease your moulds with little oil followed by rinsing them with water. Use oil which doesn’t have a very strong flavour or aroma or else the Pana cotta will smell of that. This dessert can be unmolded like a jelly or eaten directly from a fancy mould, depending on how you wish to serve it choose the mould. I used muffin tray (for unmolding) and serving cups since I wanted to experiment with both the styles.

Step 9 – Pour the Panna cotta mixture in greased moulds, cover with cling film and refrigerate. The Panna cotta should set in an hour.

Step 10 – To demould the Thandai Panna cotta, run a knife through the sides of the mould and loosen the dessert, upturn the mould on a plate and shake giving a few jerks. A well set Panna cotta will demould immediately.

Step 11 – Garnish Thandai Panna cotta with saffron strands and slivered pistachios. Serve cold.

holi Thandai panna cotta_lr

 

Happy Holi & Play Responsibly

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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 Disclaimer: This article was originally written for Babychakra and published here.

Green Pea Parathas

This year’s extended winter is a boon; not only do we get to enjoy the lovely weather but also the endless supply of fresh fruits and vegetables it brings along. Carrot and Peas are the top 2 ingredients of the season that always come home with me after every trip to the market. I pick up nearly a kilo each, every week. The family munches on carrots as a snack, salad and for me, a bowl of carrot easily works as a dinner replacement, select few days of the week. Besides, carrot soup and gajar halwa are the other hot favourites.

Peas are low in fat high in Vitamin C & Vitamin K and a very good source of dietary fiber. 

As for Green Peas, I make stuffed parathas using them. Green Pea Paratha, along with fresh curds and pickle, is the current favourite breakfast of the family. Green Pea Paratha or Matar Paratha, in my opinion, is a healthier and easier alternative to the famous Matar Pooris that are relished for breakfast across India. Plus, if feel, one can taste the green peas better as a stuffing in parathas than pooris.

indian pea bread

It is a known fact that Nabeel loves parathas of any kind and, happily, Green Pea stuffing has also found its way on his approved stuffing list. Cheese tops it by the way. Although, he rarely eats them as breakfast the parathas are always welcome for his snack box. Thrice a week, to be precise.

Peas are high in starch which means they do not need any external binding ingredients; this stuffing uses the binding power of peas and lets their actual flavour come out.

The sweet and mild flavour of peas is such that the vegetable can be easily transformed and adapt to any dish. I have come across many Green Pea Paratha recipes that use a list of ingredients which overpower the humble pea, defeating the entire idea of a green pea recipe; this recipe, however, uses few basic ingredients and is easy to make comparatively. The outer covering is made using whole wheat or refined flour while the stuffing has 100% green peas and no other filler ingredients. Peas are high in starch which means they do not need any external binding ingredients; this stuffing uses the binding power of peas and lets their actual flavour come out. Try this recipe of Green Peas Paratha to know what peas taste like and how they can be delicious on their own.

green pea paratha

Green Peas Paratha Recipe
Makes 10 to 12 parathas

Ingredients
For paratha dough
2 cups whole wheat or refined wheat flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 pinches of salt

For the paratha filling
2 cups – freshly shelled Green Peas
2-3 nos – Green chillies
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
½ teaspoon jeera /cumin powder
2 tablespoons oil or butter
Salt to taste

Ghee / Clarified Butter – as required to cook the parathas
Fresh curds / yougurt & tangy mango pickle to serve with parathas

Method
Step 1 – First prepare stiff dough using the given ingredients and water. Cover the dough and keep it aside or refrigerate while the filling is being made.
Step 2 – For the filling, put green peas, green chillies, ginger, cumin powder and salt in a mixer jar and coarsely churn it.
Step 3 – In a wide (wider the better) non-stick pan, heat the oil. Once hot add in the green pea mixture and sauté for 5 minutes.
Step 4 – Spread out the mixture as thinly as possible on the pan, lower the flame and let it cook. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes, cook till the raw smell of the peas vanishes and you get sweet smelling cooked pea aroma. The mixture is also ready when you are able to mould it easily.
Step 5 – Take off flame, check for taste and let it cool for 15 minutes.
Step 6 – Take the prepared dough and portion it into small balls.
Step 7 – Heat a griddle on medium flame, roll each portion into a thick disc and place about a tablespoon of green pea mixture in the center, bring the dough from the sides together and seal the filling.
Step 8 – Roll carefully into medium thick or ½ centimeter thick parathas.
Step 9 – Place paratha on the hot griddle and roast on both sides using oil / ghee.
Step 10 – Repeat the same with remaining dough balls, one at a time.
Step 11 – Serve parathas hot off the tawa with fresh curds and tangy mango pickle.

matar paratha

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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 Disclaimer: This article was originally written for Babychakra and published here