Beetroot Halwa

Awesome rainy weather calls for food which is rich, sweet and hot. Watching the rains pitter pattering from the comfort of our home gives all of us a warm comfortable feeling, of course childhood  days of running around in the rains, deliberately jumping into puddles of rain water just for the fun of it are treasured and fun filled memories.

Foods which are energy giving are of course preferred during winters and monsoons, which brings us to the recipe I will be sharing today with you, beetroot halwa. This dish was never cooked at home maybe because mummy normally stuck to sindhi cuisine, of which she was master chef. But beetroot was definitely served in the form of salad, be it the simple garden salad which consisted of boiled beet cut into circles, topped with grated carrot, sliced red onion and dressed with salt, pepper and a squirt of lime juice and garnished with freshly cut corriander leaves, or in a boiled vegetable salad tossed with homemade mayonnaise, to which it imparted a lovely pink colour. Those were the basic salads which were served at home while we were kids, simplicity being the norm in the good old days. The other form of beetroot which I personally love to this day , is the beetroot cutlet served at the Priya restaurant , main street.. Pune. No visit to Pune is complete without me eating this wholesome cutlet, still served exactly the same way it was served in the early seventies, deep fried crispy goodness enclosing a soft sticky beetroot mixture, slightly sweet, topped with shredded lettuce leaves, and sweet tomato sauce and spicy green chutney, the balance of flavours is amazing.This amazing root is full of vitamins and is a super healthy vegetable,  advised by doctors to consume on a regular basis, 20160722_122300especially for those who are anemic  Back to the recipe of beetroot halwa, I came across this simple recipe while browsing the net , changed it to my liking, made it and loved it. It is unbelievably simple to make. Best had chilled, and in small servings. Do try this delicious recipe .

Beetroot Halwa

Ingredients

250 gms peeled and grated beetroot

1 cup milk

2 tbsps ghee

3 tbsps sugar or to taste

2 tbsps condensed milk

1/4 cup of coarsely chopped nuts( cashew nuts, almonds and some pistas)

extra nuts finely chopped for garnish

1 tsp poppy seeds for garnish

1/2 tsp cardamon powder

Method

1.. Heat one tbsp of ghee in a non stick pan and add grated beetroot.

2.. Saute till  moisture starts evaporating and ghee separates from the beet.

3.. Add the milk and cook on a medium flame till it reduces and thickens.

4.. Add sugar at this point and the condensed milk, stir frequently till the liquid reduces totally, and  the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan..

5.. In a separate pan, heat one tbsp of ghee and add the coarsely chopped nuts and saute till light golden brown. Add the nuts along with the ghee to the halwa. mix well and add the cardamon powder.

6.. Halwa ready to be served .

7.. Dust with the finely chopped nuts and poppy seeds.

Stuffed Tomato Tikki (cutlet)

20170601_134242The versatile potato, loved by one and all over the world. It is rare to find a person who does not like potato. From french fries to roast baby potatoes sprinkled with italian herbs or the baked potato oozing with melted cheese and herbs in the western part of the world, to the poshto aaloo in Bengal , aaloo parathas of Punjab or the Pao wada which is nothing but a ball of spiced potato dunked in a golden chickpea batter and fried. The favourite street food of maharashtra. This humble root is comfort food.

As a young bride I soon learnt that sunday brunch at my new home, every week without fail  was khichdi and potato sabji , always accompanied with fried papad. and a bowl of yogurt. Potato is used as the base for many indian snacks, like samosas, tikki, chaats, as a filler in dosas etc. But the tikki is a favourite in any sindhi household,  it was a must on sundays in our home in Pune. my mother prepared the tikki in the most basic manner, boiled the potaoes, peeled mashed and added some dry spices and bread to bind the potato, shaped and of course deep fried the tikkis , served them with bread slices and chutney… the famous sindhi tikki dabroti. This snack was served during the interval of sunday movies run on doordarshan. The good old days.

Tikkis are also a popular chaat item sold as ragda pattice, which is a heart shaped potato cutlet, pan fried till crisp, and served with a tangy chickpea gravy and accompanied by slices of onion marinated in lime juice, a tamarind sauce and fresh green chutney.. oh so delicious. the recipe I will share with you today is a fusion version of the tikki, tiny cherry tomatoes hollowed out, filled with a green paneer filling and engulfed with potato, breaded and deep fried till crisp,its tasty as well as easy on the eyes.. do try it out.

Stuffed tomato tikki

Ingredients for the potato covering

1 kg boiled, peeled and grated potato

3 slices grated bread

Red chilli powder to taste, about 1 tsp should be enough

1 tsp caraway seeds. ( shah jeeri)

Salt to taste

Method for potato covering..

Mix everything together and divide into 15 balls and keep aside.

We also need 15 cherry tomatoes, preferably oval in shape, cut off the top and reserve it. now scoop out the pulp with a tiny teaspoon and use this pulp to make the filling. keep the tomatoes upside down to drain any liquid remaining.

Ingredients for tomato stuffing

Tomato pulp from cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup corriander leaves

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 green chillie

1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp cummin seeds

A little turmeric powder and salt to taste

1/2 cup grated paneer..( cottage cheese)

Method..

Grind together corriander leaves, garlic and green chillie.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add cummin seeds and green paste.. also add corriander powder, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and add grated paneer.. shut the flame.

Assembling..

Fill the paneer mixture into the cherry tomatoes and cover with top of tomato.

Take a ball of potato mixture in your hand and hollow it out to form a bowl.Put the stuffed tomato into the bowl in and upright position and gently cover the whole tomato , pressing to make it tight.

Dip each tikki into a medium thick  batter made with flour and water and roll in fine breadcrumbs. Keep refrigerated until needed.

To serve, deep fry in hot oil till golden brown. Cut into two pieces and serve.

 

 

Cocoapple barfi

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, we have grown up  hearing this phrase. Apples have formed their own niche in the dessert world. Who can resist a warm apple pie with a rich aroma of cinnamon and topped with a scoop of vanilla icecream? or a buttery crisp apple crumble .. comfort food at its best. Even the worlds best known vinegar is apple cider vinegar. Easily available all over the world in different varieties such as granny smith, gala, red delicious etc. Each country having their own favourite recipes for apples.

Apples also played an important part  in sindhi weddings  many years ago, all the fruit hampers sent to the grooms home would surely include at least two dozen apples, among other fruit. Red kashmiri apples were considered the best. My mother used to make an awesome apple murbo,  or apple preserve made in sindhi style using saffron, cardamom and sugar. The memory of this murbo can still make my mouth water, chunks of apples or mango in a thick sugar syrup infused with strands of saffron and cardamon seeds. Mummy usually gave us murbo to eat with a phiki koki, saltless sindhi koki or flat bread. Murbo was also my amma( grandmom’s) favourite.

Many of us familiar with apple kheer or rabri. But apple in a barfi form was something I had never thought  of , until  I stumbled across the recipe on internet recently. I tried it and liked it, so today i would like to share this recipe with you, do try it. Its a very simple recipe, easy to make and best eaten chilled.

Cocoapple barfi

Ingredients

3/4 cup of fresh coconut

1 1/2 cup of grated red apple

1/2 cup dancow milk powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp saffron strands soaked in a little hot water

1/4 cup chopped nuts( almonds and pistas)

1/2 tsp cardamom20170427_191706 powder

1 tsp of  kewra water or few drops rose essence

2 tbsps ghee

Method

  1. Heat a pan and roast the coconut till the colour changes slightly and there is a nice coconutty fragrance in your kitchen…keep aside in a bowl.
  2. . In the same pan, add 2 tbsps of ghee and add the grated apples to the pan, saute on medium heat until the  liquid evaporates from the apples, at this point You can listen to some old bollywood songs..
  3. . Add the milk powder, sugar and coconut to the apple mixture in the pan, and keep stirring till the barfi starts coming together and leaves the sides of the pan.
  4. .Add the soaked saffron strands and cardamom and stir .
  5. Lastly add the nuts and kewra water. and continue stirring until ghee separates.
  6. Pour onto a greased tray and top with more finely chopped nuts or varkh..
  7. Cool completely and refrigerate.
  8. This barfi has a soft texture , so is rather delicate, hence it is best served chilled.

The tricoloured steamed cake

Cakes, we all have grown up eating cakes of various types in our childhood, and even as adults. Cakes are a symbol of celebrations,Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, engagements etc, all call for a cake to be cut. From simple sponge cakes, to the decadent fondant cakes, the world has a cake for everyone”s taste. Each country has their own popular cakes, some cakes even named after the country or region they come from, for instance the madeira cake named after a Portuguese island is a light sponge cake normally flavoured with lemon and eaten with jam. And many more, black forest cake, lamington cake to name a few. Nowadays cakes are decorated beautifully, taste fabulous, are decadent in their richness, covered with chocolate ganaches and various other delicious toppings. Top class bakeries via with each other in producing cakes par excellence. We can choose cakes as per our choice, vegan, eggless, gluten free etc.. the public is well pampered as bakeries can cater  to almost all requests, and we are spoilt for choice.

Back to Pune, the city where I grew up, the cakes we ate then are the cakes we crave for today, simple cakes like the pound cakes of kayani bakery or the glass cakes from royal bakery, melt in your mouth cakes with the taste of real butter. These bakeries are still doling out the very same cakes of the same quality with the addition of mawa cakes, plum cakes etc. Till today the cakes are sold out in record time with people queuing up to buy the cakes for home consumption or even sending them to relatives in other cities.

Jakarta is a city where we can get the most amazing cakes, which are truly out of the world, I have yet to taste better, some of my own good friends and relatives can make the most amazing eggless cakes.  This country so rich in heritage and culture has been my home since 33 years, and has taught me so much. Even though baking is not exactly my forte, I do manage simple cakes mostly vegetarian,  used as bases for my desserts.. But the recipe I will share with You today is a steamed cake, commonly known as  BOLU KUKUS. This cake was made very often when my children were growing up and needed something to have for a evening snack. It contains no oil at all, and has a different texture as compared to a baked cake. This cake is light on the stomach and is delicious.

 

IMG_20170204_185142_744

TRICOLOURED STEAMED CAKE.. BOLU KUKUS

INGREDIENTS..

4 EGGS

200 GMS SUGAR

150 GMS FLOUR

65 ML OF THICK COCONUT MILK ( I USED THE TETRA PACK)

1/2 TBSP OF SP..( CAKE EMULSIFIER, AVAILABLE IN SUPERMARKETS OR AT BAKING SPECIALITY STORES)

METHOD

GREASE A MEDIUM SPRINGFORM CAKE PAN LIGHTLY

PUT  WATER IN A STEAMER AND PUT ON THE HEAT

NOW BREAK THE EGGS INTO A STEEL MIXING BOWL, ADD SUGAR AND THE SP

BEAT WELL WITH A ELECTRIC BEATER AT HIGH SPEED, UNTIL THE MIXTURE DOUBLES IN SIZE AND TURNS A PALE WHITE COLOUR .

SLOWLY ADD THE FLOUR AND COCONUT CREAM ALTERNATELY, AT THIS POINT U CAN REDUCE THE SPEED OF THE MIXER.

DIVIDE THE CAKE MIXTURE IN 3 PORTIONS EQUALLY, AND ADD 3 DIFFERENT FOOD COLOURING AND FLAVOURING FOR EACH PORTION…( I USED STRAWBERRY, LEMON AND PANDAN FLAVOURING AND COLOURING)

NOW PUT ONE PORTION OF CAKE MIXTURE INTO THE PREPARED SPRINGFORM TIN AND PUT INTO THE HOT STEAMER FOR 10 MINS.

AFTER 10 MINS , OPEN THE STEAMER, IF THE CAKE IS SPINGY TO TOUCH, POUR THE SECOND LAYER AND STEAM ONCE MORE ON HIGH HEAT FOR 10 MINS, FINALLY ADD THE THIRD LAYER, AND STEAM FOR ABOUT 20 MINS..

REMOVE THE CAKE PAN FROM THE STEAMER AND SET ASIDE FOR AN HOUR TO COOL COMPLETELY, LOOSEN THE SIDES OF THE CAKE WITH A KNIFE AND GENTLY OPEN THE SPRING FORM CAKE, READY TO SERVE.