Friday, October 16, 2009

Badam Kalash

"Badam Kalash" or "Almond Pots" ....just wanted to give a special name for this sweet. Prepared from the remains of the almond squares made earlier. Warm 'almond squares' ( from the previous recipe) before cut to squares are made into pot shaped sweets and decorated with whole almond to resemble the coconut and the green tiny bits are almonds too. They are chopped and dipped in green food color to resemble mango leaves. Made the badam kalash to offer Goddess Lakshmi for Lakshmi pooja.

Have a wonderful Diwali 
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Thattai is a popular savory in the southern part of India. Mostly prepared using rice flour. The ingredients for this recipe are:

2 cups rice flour
3/4 cup of daliya powder or pottukadalai podi
A pinch of turmeric
Salt according to taste.
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp of coarsely crushed cumin and caraway seeds
Few curry leaves torn to tiny bits
3 tbsp of soaked channa dhal
2 tbsp of unsalted butter
Approximately 1 cup of water to mix
Oil for frying

Mix all the dry ingredients rice flour, daliya powder, turmeric, chilli powder, salt, asafoetida, grounded cumin and caraway seeds.Caraway seeds are ajwain / omam/ carom seeds. They give a wonderful aroma and flavour.

Add the soaked channa dhal and butter to the mixture and form a dough with water. To test, whether the dough prepared is of right consistency, make a small ball out of the dough ....about a size of a gooseberry / amla and press it gently to flat ( Thattai is also prepared the same way). Slight cracks appear towards the edges and dough does not stick to your hands. Voila !! you have passed the test and you are on right track...

Before frying, poke the prepared thattais with a fork or a toothpick and this makes the thattai flat and does not fluff up like poori. Deep fry thattais to golden brown.

Note: You can also flatten the dough to thattais between two wax sheets/ paper to avoid stickyness.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Almond Squares

"Almond squares" or badam katli similar to burfi prepared using simple ingredients and resulting in heavenly taste which melts in every bite. I prefer almonds much over cashews.Because, almonds are rich in Vit E and according to nutritional health facts the sweet almond itself contains practically no carbohydrates , gluten-free and may therefore be made into flour for cakes and cookies for low-carbohydrate diets.

The ingredients for this sweet are:

1 cup of whole almonds
1 cup of milk
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 tbsp of ghee
Yellow or orange food color a tiny pinch

Most of the India sweets main ingredients are ghee and sugar.'Ghee' is nothing but clarified butter. Indian sweets does not require baking but has a lot of stirring process. This sweet can be prepared within 25 minutes.Let's start by soaking almonds in hot water for about 2 hours.

*  Peel the skin of almonds after soaking for 2 hours.
*  Grind peeled almonds to paste with milk. Do not pour the milk all at once. Sprinkle milk little by little so that it blends to form a paste.Not too fine paste.I always prefer bit grainy.
*  The consistency of the blended almond resembles the picture.
*  Meanwhile grease a tray with a tbsp of ghee and keep it separately.
*  On to a heavy bottomed pan add a tbsp of ghee and add the almond paste.
*  On a medium flame stir for a minute or two and then add the sugar.
*  Keep stirring and let the sugar melt completely and add the remaining 2 tbsp of ghee.This sweet does not require too much of ghee since, almond itself has lots of oil.
*  After about 18-20 minutes, the contents leaves the sides of the pan and reduced to nearly half.At this stage transfer the contents to the tray and level it.
*  Cut into 1" x 1" squares after cooling.

Note: Regarding the color, I used a teeny tiny pinch of orange food color when bubbles appear while cooking and I wanted to have a natural pale color You can use saffron strands or any color according to your choice.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Besan sweet leaves

This is the simplified version of 7 cup sweet. My grandma and my mom usually prepare 7 cup sweet for almost all occasion.Its simple and easy to make and at the most takes 25 minutes time .The basic ingredients are besan or chickpea flour and sugar. I prepared the sweet according to the following measurements and yields around 20 pieces/ leaves.

1/2 cup of besan
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of ghee or clarified butter
1/2 cup of dessicated coconut.
cardamom powder
Chopped nuts for garnishing(optional)

* In a heavy bottomed pan dry roast besan flour for 3-4 minutes and do not let the flour turn brown.
* Always keep the flame low - medium.
* Pour in the milk to the besan flour and whisk it to get rid of any lumps.
* Add sugar and coconut.
* Ghee can be added at intervals or as a whole when the contents completely melts.
* Add cardamom powder when bubbles appear.
* Keep stirring constantly till the mixture reduced to nearly half and this would take nearly 12-15 minutes.
* Grease a tray with ghee and keep aside.
* The contents leaves the sides of the pan, at this stage transfer to the prepared tray.
* Flatten the mixture and level it evenly.Also,see to that it reaches all the 4 corners of the tray.
* Cut into desired shape. I have used leaf shaped cookie cutter.
* I have garnished with chopped almonds.Dipped them in green food color, pat with a paper napkin to dry and decorated.
* Enjoy and have a wonderful Diwali.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Diwali Special - Banana Halwa

I had dozen bananas at home. I didn't know what to do apart from banana bread and banana muffin. My mom gave me the recipe for banana halwa. Also, Diwali is coming soon next week...I thought why not start  with my mom's sweet recipe first for Diwali. Needs just 3 ingredients...Banana, sugar and ghee and little patience to stir.

You need:

6 Medium sized ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup ghee
1/4 cup of chopped nuts (optional)

* Mash bananas well without any lumps.
* Meanwhile apply a tsp of ghee into a small tray for pouring the halwa mixture and keep it separately.
 * Add mashed bananas into a non-stick pan and stir for 5 minutes. After 4-5 minutes of heating, the mixture slowly changes to a light brown color.
* Now add the sugar and keep stirring constantly.Leave the flame low-medium throughout.
* Keep adding ghee one by one tablespoon now and then while stirring.
Its not necessary to add cardamon powder but that's completely optional. Bananas leave very good fruity aroma while it gets cooked.
* After around 15-18 minutes, the halwa mixture slightly leaves the sides of the pan and also you will see the color turned to dark brown.
* At this phase, stir vigorously for about 4-5 minutes and the mixture forms into a dough like texture and immediately pour into the prepared tray.
*  Flatten the surface with a gheed wide spatula. Let it cool for about 2 hours.
*  Cut into diamond or squares and serve.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Veggie Wrap

This is the most quick and easy recipe for a lazy sunday brunch or for a healthy dinner.

To make 2 wraps you need

2 Flat out breads
1/2 cup of lettuce torn into pieces
1/4 cup boiled chick peas or garbanzos
Mix of shredded carrot, thinly sliced red onions, thinly sliced red or green bell pepper, sliced roma tomatoes 
1 medium sized avocado mashed
 Pitted green or black olives 10 nos
2 tbsp hummus
Salt and Pepper

There are range of flat out breads available in the market. Here, I have used low-carb flat out bread. There are other varieties like Italian, light, original, multi grain, mini and so on. Lets begin warming the flatout bread in a girddle for 10-15 secs. Apply and spread hummus 1 tbsp on each bread. Start layering with lettuce,tomatoes, carrot,bell pepper, sliced onions. Add a dollup of mashed avacado on each bread.Top it with olives and sprinkle salt and pepper.Wow!  the wrap is ready in seconds.

: Hummus is healthier than Mayonnaise.Here are the facts. Hummus has 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, and 130mg sodium for a 2 tablespoon serving.  Regular Mayonnaise has 11g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol and 85mg sodium for just a 1 tablespoon serving.
Avocado can be used instead of sour cream.Beyond their delectable flavor, avocados can be part of a healthful diet. Avocado has very few calories compared to sour cream. Also, avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, naturally sodium-free and cholesterol-free.

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