Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Gulab Jamun

The festive season is slowly coming to an end and I can breathe a sigh of relief now. The hectivities (?) had started almost a month before Durga Puja and are now slowing down ... albeit gradually.
It has been much fun ... the preparations and the celebrations .... brightened by heart warming wishes and boisterous visits from good friends and family. We are a quiet couple and those who know us know that everybody is welcome in our life ... they only have to step in.... or even barge in. :-)

Over the years I have learnt the traditions and what to make on Diwali .... and try my hand at them. This year too I made a few goodies .... and all keeping up with the tradition of deep frying and sweet stuff.
But that is what Diwali is for ... gorging on calories that you might feel blocking your heart as you are sleeping ... but then find yourself hale and hearty the next day .... and craving for more. :-)

And then there is always the rest of the year to walk/run/bend/stretch them away... punish your body well for reaching for that extra gulab jamun/laddoo. What say ..? ;-)

I have a lot to post .... but am starting with the all time fav Gulab Jamuns as I want to send them to Sunshinemom's event.

I did not do much to make them ... as I used the store bought Gits instant mix.
Just added milk instead of water to knead the mix ... they turned out real creamy and rich in texture.
Another tip .... if the sugar syrup turns out too thick and is not enough for all the gulab jamuns, just heat the bowl ... yes, gulab jamuns and all .... with some added water. That should do the job and the sweets will soak through.
Need : Gulab Jamun mix ( I use Gits), sugar syrup ( boil equal quantitites of sugar and water ... add a few crushed elaichi),a little cold milk, cooking oil for deep frying.
How to : Knead the mix with milk to make a very soft dough (remember ... the softer the dough, the softer the gulab jamuns). If it sticks to your hands, apply a little cooking oil.
Heat enough oil in a kadhai. Make small balls from the dough and deep fry them on low flame till they are well cooked and turn brown.
I did not have the time or the patience ... so made medium sized balls and got huge sized gulab jamuns. :-)
Drain from oil and dunk them into the hot sugar syrup.

This bowlful goes to Sunshinemom's event FIC Brown.
And to Sudeshna who is hosting Satisfy your sweet tooth.

Updated :

And to dear Srivalli ... who is just too nice for words. In my hurry I completely forgot her event inspite of me saying that I'll send something for it. But the nice person she is, she actually reminded me of it ... and with a smile.

Since this post is not even a day old, I am sending my Gulab Jamuns to dear Srivalli too for her event JFI Festivals .

Happy Diwali all !!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Bread Thalipeeth

Too many things on our minds and much more in our life has been bogging us down for a while now. Hectic days and work pressure has been stifling ... we just could not take it any more. Has been quite a while that we had taken a break ... so took an impromptu break at our favourite beach getaway.Came back fresh after a heady dose of the salt air and water. :-)

This is another great way to use leftover bread. As a healthier option I use atta or jowari ka atta to bind the soaked bread. This can be done real fast ... with just chopped onions and green chillies. You can also grate in vegetables if you want to or add chopped methi / palak.
Great as a snack.

Need : Well soaked bread pieces (in water), a little atta, chopped onions, chopped green chillies, haldi powder, red chilli powder, salt, a little cooking oil.

How to: Knead everything, except oil , into a soft and sticky dough. Wet hands and take a medium sized ball of dough and flatten it on a cold non stick kadhai / tawa. Make small holes in between and place it on the stove.

Let it cook for some time. When it starts drying up sprinkle / spray a little oil and flip it over.

Let it cook for some more time .... till brown.
Serve hot with dahi / butter / achar.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Pear Jam

We had bought some pears that turned out to be very sour. My attempts to sober them down with salt and chaat masala did not work.
So decided to add sugar and cook it up. This turned out as a great spread and went well with dry toast or plain crackers.
I did not add much for fear of overwhelming the pears' own exotic aroma .... just broke in some cinnamon sticks.
Need : Ripened pears chopped coarsely, sugar, cinnamon sticks, a little butter.
How to: Heat a pan and add a little butter and spread it well.
Now add the pears and the cinnamon and cover. Cook till half done.
Add the sugar and cook uncovered till all water dries up.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Moong Dal Halwa

Do not steal

These three photographs featured here have been stolen
and is all over the web.
I have got in touch with as many as I could and requested to get them removed.
Some of them have complied promptly.
If you see any of these snaps on any website or blog, please do inform me.

( Disclaimer : This recipe is entirely my own idea. I have tried to simplify a complex recipe for my own self. )

I think I should call it Instant moong dal halwa.

When I posted the parathas I was so caught up in the whirlwind days that I forgot to send it to Sunshinemom for her Brown event. :-(

They were brown alright ..... but she won't allow linking to old posts this time. :-(

I was so absentminded it completely slipped my mind. And the good lady says she finds it the best among my whole lot so far. She has a huge heart ... and I feel like going waaaaaah, waaaaaaah, ..... :-(

So thought of posting this halwa before I forget again.

When I came to know this is one of hubby's favourite, I asked many people as to how to make it. And got so many vague answers.

Later when I looked up the recipe in the net, I found it long and time taking .... always starting with "Soak the dal for a few hours .....".
I wanted to make it ..... and make it real fast.

So came up with my own version .... experimenting as usual. Now I can make this halwa in 10 mins flat, no pre planning .... no jhanjhat. :-)

All I do is dry roast the dal in a heavy kadhai till it is light brown and well cooked and gives off an aroma. This should be done on a low flame.

Then I cool it and grind it coarsely in a grinder. And store it in an airtight bottle.

Whenever I want to make halwa, all I have to do is cook it in ghee and sugar .... just like sooji halwa .... and it is done! :-)

Do not steal

Need : Yellow moong dal, roasted and coarsely ground, ghee, water, sugar and elaichi powder.

How to: Heat ghee in a non stick kadhai ( you need less ghee this way). Add the ground dal and fry for some time. Add the elaichi powder.
Add water and keep stirring till all water is soaked up ..... then add the sugar.
It will release more water .... so keep stirring till it dries up.
Done! :-)
Do not steal

This sweet goes to Sunshinemom's event FIC Brown.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Leftovers Paratha with Onion Chutney

The days are flying by and am suddenly so busy that am falling short of both time and deadlines. There are certain things that demand time and you cannot postpone them. My work I can manage .... but other's schedules I can't.

Like my friend D's visit home from Dubai. She spent a good part of the last month here .... and I just had to be with her. So went gallivanting 'round the city for days ... not to mention a good amount of shopping too. Trying out new restaraunts and shopping for dresses can be indeed stressful ... what say? So to destress we visit more malls and eat more icecream. ;-)

Then of course there is the stressful job of designing our own clothes. ;-p
Like Ma Durga's visit to her earthly abode. I can't change her schedule too. So have to spruce up the house, plan when not to cook and when to. And what namkeens and mithais are to be made for Bijoya .... so stock up on maida, sugar, gur, coconut, etc etc .... all the stuff that comes with a festive preparation.

Like being there for our guests from abroad to make them feel at home.And also taking them shopping ... that too 'downtown ... to get that feel of the place'. Sigh.
And then hubby's shopping is another unique story. For his shopping I have to go on cajoling and pleading for days till one day, just at the start of the festivals he would graciously say yes .... and then would start the mad rush from place to place, hurried trying outs and frayed tempers. And I have to keep in mind to include Diwali shopping too .... I don't have the nerve to mention 'shopping' again in 15 days.
So amidst all this .... am going through the almost no cooking phase. There were a few leftover sabzis the other day .... so hurriedly made some parathas.

And this onion chutney is so delicious I keep it stored almost always now.

I had come across this recipe from a blog during my initial blogging days. Unfortunately I cannot remember which blog. Went through most blogs that I frequent .... found it nowhere.
So if anyone of you feel that it is your recipe .... please do let me know so that I can give your blog name and link back to it. I will be very grateful.
I do remember the blog has a white background. :-(
This chutney is not my recipe. I do it exactly the way the recipe and blog owner has done it .... so it will help you to know who it belongs to.

The Parathas :Need : Any left over sabzi / curry / dal, atta. If you want to, you can add chopped onions and green chillies.
As the sabzis usually have masalas and salt, no need to add them.
How to : Knead the atta with them to make a soft dough.
Roll out parathas and fry them till crisp.

The Onion Chutney :
Need : Chopped onions, chopped tomatoes ( a good amount) , some curry leaves, whole dried red chillies, a few garlic cloves, a little cumin seeds / jeera, a little cooking oil, a pinch of sugar and salt to taste.

How to : Heat a little oil in a kadhai. Add the red chillies.
Add the chopped onions & garlic and fry till translucent and lose the strong smell.
Add the tomatoes , curry leaves, jeera, salt and sugar.
Fry till soft and watery.
Remove and cool. Grind in a mixer coarsely.

This chutney tastes great! .... which is why I want to know the blog I got this from ... the recipe owner deserves the credit.
See you all after Dussera. Wish everybody a great time this Navaratri and happy Dussera !!!

And Subho Bijoya in advance to all !! :-)