Sunday, 31 December 2017

Panforte



It is the last day of the year. There is something special about the day. A kind of peace pervades all around. Nature is calm, the Sun is mild. We are sitting on the mats spread on the grassy patch of the courtyard.  Fireball is blooming in all glory. 



Very soon the Sun shall set and the year 2017 shall pass into the annals of history. We will all go to the terrace to watch the last sunset of the year. This is a ritual we have been following since olden times. As children, we would all got to the terrace to watch the last sunset of the year. We would stay there until twilight. Then, a bonfire would be lit followed by songs, dance and some reflections on the year that was and in the end, loads of good food.


The festive spirit is soaking in as the day progresses. A bundle of wood that has been drying in the Sun will be used tonight. Our home is smelling heavenly as a Panforte has been baked for the occasion.


Panforte or Panforte Di Siena is a Christmas fruitcake from Siena Italy. Panforte is hard, chewy and full of nuts and spices and very little flour with boiled syrup made from sugar and honey to bind the ingredients. Some melted chocolate also goes into it.   Panforte is more like a candy and is very addictive.
Panforte is sliced and arranged on a plate. We are ready to welcome the New Year


Panforte


Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds (blanched)
  • ½ cup walnuts (shelled)
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup mixed citrus peels
  • ½ cup dried figs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon dry ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 90 grams dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Take almonds on a baking tray. Set oven temperature to 150 degrees. Toast almonds for 10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Chop coarsely.
  2. Chop cashews and walnuts.
  3. Chop candied peels and figs.
  4. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Line the bottom of one 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides generously.
  5. In a large bowl, take flour, spices, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk well. Add chopped nuts, peels and figs.
  6. Break chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolate in a steel pan placed over a saucepan of boiling water. Pour melted chocolate over the mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Take honey and sugar in a thick bottom pan. Place the pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Now bring it to a boil. Keep swirling the pan. Do not stir. Insert a candy thermometer and cook till the temperature reads 115 degrees C.
  8. If you do not have a candy thermometer, then cook the mixture for about 2 minutes only (after it comes to a rolling boil). If you cook beyond 2 minutes, it will become hard after cooling and will make panforte really hard.
  9. Pour this boiling syrup over the mixture. Stir well (you will have to hurry up here as it will begin to harden). Spoon this batter into the prepared pan. Level the top with the back of a spoon or wet your hands and level the top.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Or when see you the bubbles in the edges, it is done.
  11. Remove from the oven. Keep the pan on the wire rack to cool. When it cools down but is still warm, loosen the edges with a spatula. Remove the sides. Dust the top with icing sugar. When Panforte cools completely, remove from the plate and peel off the parchment paper.
  12. Slice thinly and enjoy.





Thursday, 28 December 2017

Peanut Oats And Jaggery Laddu | Peanut Oats and Jaggery Balls (Vegan)



There is something very charming about life in the villages. The simplicity, the rusticity, and the easy-paced life is in harmony with the rhythm of life within. Most of our villages in the foothills are still not completely imbued by modernism. Traditionally practices still score over the use of technology. Hence life is simpler, purer and better.
Most of the villages in the foothills have jaggery making units. Come winters and these units come to life and throbbing with activity. Long queues of sugarcane laden bullock carts wait for their turn to reach these units. A simple contraption crushes the sugarcane and presses the juice out of it.  Multiple layers of cotton strainers filter the juice which is then led to huge iron vessels where the juice is boiled until it reaches a desired thick consistency. This is then set into blocks. This is how we get golden sweet and healthy jaggery that is unrefined, without chemicals and an excellent substitute for refined sugar.


We use it in our soups, chutneys, bakes, brittles, and laddus. 

Jaggery has immense health benefits. Jaggery is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a great immunity booster and blood purifier. It is a natural cleanser that efficiently cleans the respiratory tract, lungs and food pipe and stomach. It is highly recommended for people working in polluted zones. Jaggery helps in preventing anemia. It is rich in potassium and sodium and is known to control blood pressure. Jaggery is a very good source of energy. It is a complex carbohydrate that gives energy to the body gradually and for a long time.


Recently we got two blocks of jaggery from the neighbouring village. We had some homemade peanut butter. We used jaggery and peanut butter to make Peanut Oats and Jaggery laddu. The laddus have no added fat and are delicious. We love having them post lunch and dinner and also with tea.

We get fresh Jaggery in winters. Use the winter jaggery that comes in cakes/blocks and is unrefined, soft and pliable. Do not use jaggery powder. It will not bind the mixture into laddu. If you want to make your own peanut butter like me, find the recipe here. 


Peanut Oats And Jaggery Laddu|Peanut Oats and Jaggery Balls (Vegan)


Ingredients

  • 1 cup shelled Peanuts
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 cups Jaggery, crumbled
  • A small pinch salt (avoid if using peanut butter)

Instructions


  1. Take peanuts in a baking tray. Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Set timer for 15 minutes. Toast the peanuts till they begin to crackle and turn golden. Or, take peanuts in a thick bottom wok. Roast till they crackle and become golden. Keep stirring during the process of roasting. Take oats in a thick bottom wok. Roast on medium flame till they become slightly crisp and the colour just begins to change. Let the oats cool.
  2. Take warm roasted nuts in a grinder and grind them to get a fine powder.  Grind till the nuts begin to turn buttery. This will bind the laddu well.
  3. Grind oats to a fine powder.
  4. Transfer ground nuts and oats to a deep bowl. Add salt.  Mix well.
  5. Take crumbled jaggery and add to the mixture. Mix with hands. Break lumps of jaggery if any.
  6. Take a handful of mixture and shape into ball pressing the mixture tightly with your fingers. Use only one hand to shape laddu.
  7. In case if the mixture seems a bit dry, add more jaggery.
  8. Store in an airtight container.

  

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Slovak Paska | #BreadBakers


Winter Sun is soothing and comforting. Last weekend we were out on a trip near a forest. We went out on a bird watching walk in the morning. The air was crisp, fresh and cold. 



We walked on the dew-laden grassy narrow track bordered by the lantana bushes. 


Different colours and shades of Lantana were mesmerizing.


Far in the forest, we spotted a bunch of langurs (black-faced monkeys) sunning themselves in the higher branches of a tree. 


Walking in the forest is therapeutic. 



The scent of the foliage, wildflowers and the warmth of the Sun is pure heaven.


It is late afternoon. We are soaking in the Sun. The heat of the Sun will soon wane and the cold wave will take over our world. Our home is smelling heavenly as the Slovak Paska is baking and the yeasty aroma is wafting through.


Soon the timer chimed. Kids rushed to see the bread. We squealed with joy to see a beautiful golden fragrant bread out of the oven. We sliced the bread next morning and loved it.


Holiday and festival bread takes many decorative shapes. Paska is baked around Easter and is traditionally eaten in Eastern European countries. Paska is often paired with a custard-like cheese or a delicious cream cheese spread. 
The original recipe calls for an egg. I have omitted the egg. I used a blend of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. In place of egg wash, I brushed the bread with milk wash. Recipe adapted from www.kingarthurflour.com


Slovak Pasca

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoons instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1  cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ stick (about 25 grams) + 1 tablespoon butter (softened)

Milk Wash

  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Instructions

  1. Mix ¾ cup water and sugar and add yeast. Give a stir, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add milk to this mix.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flours and salt. Add butter and mix well with hands.
  4. Add liquid ingredients and knead for 5-6 minutes.  If the dough feels dry or a little hard, add more water (from the remaining ¼ cup warm water)
  5. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn around once so that it is coated with oil all around.
  6. Cover and keep in a warm place for about 1 ½ hour or until noticeably puffy.
  7. Turn dough onto a floured counter and divide dough into two pieces, one twice as large as the other.
  8. Roll the larger piece into a ball and place in a greased and dusted 8 inch round cake pan.
  9. To shape the larger piece into a ball, use your thumb and the palms of your hands to stretch the surface of the dough downwards. Stretch the skin on top and tuck it in. Idea is to stretch the gluten and create surface tension. A taut skin helps the bread to maintain the shape during the second rise enabling the bread to rise up and not spread sideways.
  10. Divide the smaller piece of dough into three parts. Roll out each part into thin long strands. Pinch the strands at the top and make a long braid. We need two braids. Cut the long braid into two. Pinch ends. Tuck the end under the big bread, run it over the top and tuck the other end on the other side.
  11. Repeat with the second dough
  12. Cover and keep in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours.
  13. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  14. Brush the top of the bread gently with milk wash and bake for 35-40 minutes. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
  15. Remove from the oven, cool on a rack. Slice when cold.


Linking to Bread Bakers


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Our host this month is Kalyani who blogs at sizzlingtastebuds  She chose to bake holiday breads from around the world made healthier with wholegrain flours. This was a lovely ides Kalyani. It made the bread healthier.

Here are the recipes of other members-



  • 100% Whole Wheat Bread from Cook's Hideout  

  • Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls from Spill the Spices  
  • Gingerbread and Oatmeal Bread from Mayuri's Jikoni  

  • Kamut Cloverleaf Rolls from Cindy's Recipes and Writings  

  • Key-Shaped Challah with Finger Millet from Sara's Tasty Buds

  • Khameeri Puri from Sneha's Recipe

  • Oats Whole Wheat Bread from The Mad Scientist's Kitchen

  • Santa Lucia Buns from Karen's Kitchen Stories  

  • Slovak Pasca from Ambrosia

  • Spelt Banana Bread from Food Lust People Love  

  • Whole Wheat Grissini from A Day in the Life on the Farm

  • Whole Wheat Stollen from All That's Left Are The Crumbs  

  • Wholewheat Garlic Flavoured Monkey Bread from Sizzling Tastebuds  


  • Tuesday, 5 December 2017

    Water Chestnut Spice Cakes



    This weekend baking was an experiment with water chestnuts.

    A cart loaded with fresh water chestnuts passing by was stopped. We chose the best pieces and used half of them in the stir-fried vegetables along with some fresh beans and carrots.


     Since water chestnuts do not have a perceptible flavour, we thought of adding them to the cakes. We decided on baking mini spice cakes with water chestnut puree.


    Spices perk up the bakes. Fresh spice powder made with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom was added to the batter. The cakes turned out fabulous. A little dense and full of the robust aroma of the spices.


    Water chestnut, popularly called singhara in Hindi, has immense health benefits. It is
    Gluten-free
    Low in fat
    Cholesterol-free
    Low in sodium
    High in potassium
    Rich in minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus
    And is a good source of energy

    We enjoyed the cakes with tea. Drizzled some glaze and had after dinner. Kids sliced the cakes into half and smeared some apricot jam. The cakes were delicious.




    Water Chestnut Spice Cakes

    Ingredients

    • 10 water chestnuts boiled and peeled
    • 100 gms butter (1 stick butter)
    • 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    • 2 green cardamoms powdered
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 4-5 teaspoons milk as required

    Glaze  

    • 1/2 cup icing sugar
    • 1-3 teaspoons milk 

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line and grease one 7.5 inches round cake pan or grease mini bundt pans.
    2. Blend water chestnuts with 1-2 tablespoons milk to get a creamy satiny puree. Measure 1/2 cup.
    3. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
    4. Add chestnut puree. Mix well.
    5. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well. Add vanilla extract.
    6. In a large bowl, take flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and whisk well.
    7. Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients. If the batter feels dry, add warm milk to get the right consistency.
    8. Pour batter into the prepared pan or mini bundt pans.
    9. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    10. Remove from the moulds. Cool on the rack.
    11. Mix the ingredients for glaze. The glaze should be thick.
    12. Serve plain or drizzle with glaze.


    Wednesday, 22 November 2017

    Peanut Butter



    Homemade bread, homemade Peanut butter and a drizzle of honey........ doesn't that sound like heaven? Of all the things we love, peanut butter is our ever popular and all-time favourite food. We love it plain, we love it on bread, chapatis, in brownies, cakes, and chocolates. We have very fond memories of dad making peanut butter at home in his very heavy iron hand grinder. It was such a charming machine. The grinder had to be first fixed on a table with a screw. The toasted nuts would go inside the grinding chamber through the funnel-shaped mouth and we would all take turns to rotate the handle till the nuts were crushed and creamed and smooth silky peanut butter rolled out from the other end. That taste, that flavour, that excitement and that happiness still echoes in my memory.



    I have read that peanut butter helps in losing weight as it suppresses hunger without weight gain. It is full of healthy fats and is good for the heart. Peanut butter is full of protein, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and niacin and keeps you in good health. Do we need more reasons to eat peanut butter? J


    Toasting the nuts is important before grinding as this warms the oils in the nuts and helps everything blend together easily. Toasting also gives peanut butter a deeper and richer flavour. Grind the nuts while they are warm. To make Chocolate Peanut Butter, add cocoa powder in the end. Also, add more sugar to get the right sweetness.


    Honey makes Peanut Butter hard. If you want a spreadable consistency, add sugar. 
    Chocolate Peanut Butter makes a lovely spread. Kids love it.



    Peanut Butter

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups raw peanuts
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 2 tablespoons honey (or sugar/sweetener, for vegans)

    Instructions

    1. Spread peanuts on a baking tray. Set oven temperature to 150 degrees C and timer to 10 minutes.
    2. The peanuts should crackle and turn golden by the end of 10 minutes.
    3. Rub the warm toasted peanuts between the palms and remove the skin.
    4. Transfer the toasted nuts to a food processor or a blender. Run the blender continuously for 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom. At this stage, the nuts would have turned into a gritty powder.
    5. Run the blender again continuously for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides. The butter will start clumping together.
    6. Add salt, oil and honey/sugar/sweetener. Run the blender for 1 to 2 minutes till you get a very glossy and creamy peanut butter. You may taste butter at this point. Adjust salt/honey/sugar/sweetener.
    7. Give it a final blend for 1 minute.
    8. Spoon the peanut butter into jars and refrigerate.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups raw peanuts
    • ½  teaspoon salt
    • 2  tablespoons peanut oil plus ½  more for a spreadable consistency
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder

    Instructions

    Same as above. Add cocoa powder after step no. 6

    Tuesday, 14 November 2017

    Chrysanthemum Bread | #BreadBakers



    Our Sundays are slow paced and relaxing. There is always some baking and cooking on Sundays. Kids want to have something ‘special’. This ‘special’ is really ambiguous and I always try my best to interpret it. Is it a new recipe that they are looking forward to? Or do they mean their old favourite recipe? But by and large anything with a twist fits the bill. This Sunday, we baked something special. We baked a beautiful Chrysanthemum Bread. We filled the petals with pizza sauce and cheese. It was great fun to shape the petals. Arranging the petals in the pan was done with great precision from our side. While the bread was rising and baking, we sat out on our veranda in the soft and mellow winter Sun. How beautiful are Sundays! The lazy mornings and languid afternoons.


    We saw a butterfly sunning herself in the Magnolia tree.


     And another butterfly in the fireball plant.


    Soon we could smell the heavenly aroma of the bread. And when it came out of the oven, there were smiles, awe, astonishment, and happiness :)



    I was waiting to  bake this bread since long. Bread Bakers gave me a perfect reason to go ahead with it.


     We loved to pull out the petals and enjoyed the bread.


    Chrysanthemum Bread

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ cup warm milk
    • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
    • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
    • 1/3 cup thick yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon melted butter

    Filling

    • ¾ cup pizza sauce (get the recipe here)
    • ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
    • Pizza seasoning

    Glaze

    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tablespoons milk


    Instructions

    1. Whisk together first three ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. Mix milk and honey. Stir in yeast. Cover and keep for 10 minutes. The yeast will turn frothy.
    3. Beat yogurt.  
    4. Add all the ingredients to the flour mix and knead to for 6-8 minutes to get a very soft, smooth and elastic dough. Add more warm milk if the dough feels a little hard, or, add more flour if it feels too sticky.
    5. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep in a warm place for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until double. 
    6. Grease one 8 inches shallow pie pan/cake pan. Line the bottom with the parchment  sheet
    7. Gently punch the risen dough, and divide into two pieces.
    8. We will work on one portion at a time. Keep the other portion covered.
    9. Dust the working counter with some flour. Roll out the first portion to 3 mm thickness. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut out circles of about 3 inches from the dough. Reshape the remaining dough, roll out again and cut the circles. Repeat with the second portion.
    10. Take 1 teaspoon of pizza sauce and spread around the circles leaving the edges. Add 1 ½ teaspoon of grated cheese.
    11. Fold the circles into half to get a semicircle. Fold it in half again. Now bring the edges together to get a petal. Pinch the edges.
    12. Arrange the prepared petal around the edge of the prepared pan. The point of the petals should be towards the center. 
    13. Arrange the petals in two rows. For center, take two filled semicircles and intertwine the halves.
    14. Cover with a kitchen cloth and keep in a warm, place for 25-30 minutes.
    15. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
    16. Prepare glaze by beating yolk and milk. Brush the bread with the glaze.
    17. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 175 degrees. Bake for another 10 minutes. The top should turn golden. Cover with a foil if it is browning too fast.
    18. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes. Shift to the cooling rack. Brush with melted butter.
    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. 
    Our host this month is Kelly from Passion Kneaded. Her blog is a must visit for lovely breads. She chose pull-apart bread this month. Thank You Kelly!we loved the theme and enjoyed baking bread.
    Do check out all fabulous pull-apart bread  baked by other members

    ·         Apple Pecan Streusel Pull Apart Bread from Hostess at Heart
    ·         Bananas Foster Monkey Bread from Food Lust People Love
    ·         Caramel Nut Rolls from House of Nash Eats
    ·         Cheese Stuffed Garlic Pull Apart Bread from Mayuri's Jikoni
    ·         Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread from Spill the Spices
    ·         Christmas Tree Bread from Sara's Tasty Buds
    ·         Chrysanthemum Bread from Ambrosia
    ·         Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread from Cook's Hideout
    ·         Coffee Pull-Apart Bread from Passion Kneaded
    ·         Coriander Garlic Pull Apart Bread from The Mad Scientist's Kitchen
    ·         Cranberry Chutney Pull Apart Bread from Spiceroots
    ·         Garlic Pull Apart Bread from Palatable Pastime
    ·         (High Altitude) Cranberry Orange Cardamom Pull-Apart Bread from The Wimpy Vegetarian
    ·         JalapeƱo & Cheese Pull Apart Bread from I camp in my kitchen
    ·         Laadi Pav or Pull Apart Rolls from Sneha's Recipe
    ·         Monkey Bread from Sonlicious
    ·         Overnight Monkey Bread Pudding from A Day in the Life on the Farm
    ·         Paneer Pesto Pull Apart Rolls from Veena's Vegnation
    ·         Pull-Apart Dill Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories
    ·         Pumpkin, Garlic, and Sage Pull-Apart Bread from Baking Sense
    ·         Pumpkin Spice Latte Pull-Apart Bread from All That's Left Are The Crumbs
    ·        Stuffed Sweet Potato Pull-Apart Rolls from The Schizo Chef


    BreadBakers


    Saturday, 4 November 2017

    Rice Bread | Leftover Rice Bread (vegan)



    Most of the times we end up with leftover rice at home. Mom used to make fried rice and we loved it. Sometimes, she would also knead the flour with leftover rice along with chopped onions, fresh coriander and make paranthas. This was definitely our favourite parantha recipe.
    Leftover rice should be immediately kept in the refrigerator but never kept in the refrigerator for too long. Stale may pose serious health issues and send your stomach into turmoil. It is best when used within two hours of cooking. Read more about this here
    Whenever we have leftover rice, we generally bake a bread using all of it in the dough. The bread comes out soft and spongy and is best eaten the same day.
    It is a great relief once the dinner is sorted. The evening was relaxing. We made masala chai and enjoyed the colourful autumn evening.  


    We spotted a Shikra on our terrace.
    Dinner was a soup and Rice Bread. We loved it and in the end, has a slice each with honey.



    Rice Bread | Leftover Rice Bread

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 cup cooked rice (freshly cooked, leftover, white rice or brown rice)
    • 3 teaspoons oil for bread +1 teaspoon for greasing the bowl and pan
    • ¾ teaspoons salt
    • ¾ cup warm water
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast

    Instructions

    1. In a large bowl, take flour, salt, and oil. Mix well.
    2. In another bowl, take water, sugar, and yeast. Mix, cover and keep for 10 minutes. It should turn frothy. Add rice and mix.
    3. Add wet ingredients to flour mix. Knead for 6-7 minutes till you get a smooth, slightly tacky dough.
    4. In the beginning, take slightly less than ¾ cup water for activating the yeast. While kneading keep adding water as needed. We don’t want a very sticky dough.
    5. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until double.
    6. Grease one 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
    7. Transfer the risen dough onto a floured counter.  With your fingers, flatten the dough into 8x10 inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough, pinch and tuck the ends in. Place into the greased loaf pan.
    8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 40-45 minutes. The top should turn golden brown and the pan should sound hollow when tapped.
    9. Cool on the rack. Slice when cold




    Wednesday, 1 November 2017

    Besan Barfi | Besan Fudge




    Nature has painted its canvas in our world in yellow. Mesmerising shades and hues of yellow and gold dominate and adorn the landscape in the foothills and the hills
    Yellow is the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness. Yellow also stands for freshness, happiness, positivity,  energy, optimism, and  enlightenment.

    A bunch of dahlias has come up in our backyard.


    We found some very pretty  cosmos in the fields


    The Golden trumpet is blossoming in all the glory.


     The festivals are over and it is back to the regular routine. Fasting and feasting is over. Festivities do result in an overload of calories. We lovingly indulged in the homemade sweets. Glutted with calories we always had room for some more. It is almost a week post  Diwali and the heart is craving for some more sweets. Are these withdrawal symptoms? We wonder!
    Having a sweet tooth and being scared of calories can really drive you to experiment and improvise the recipes and thus recreating them to suit your palate.


    With the leftover ingredients, we made Besan Barfi.  Besan is such a favourite ingredient when it comes to sweets. But is always requires a lot of ghee to get that beautiful flavour.  We often make besan barfi at home. And every time it is made, a lot of experiment and thought goes into making it lesser in calories and at the same time not compromising on taste.  Ghee (clarified butter) was replaced by coconut oil. There is no added sugar as we used condensed milk. The Barfi sets well and is chewy and fudgy. It is definitely a keeper’s recipe as it is quick to make and ideal when sweet cravings are to be satiated or if you have guests over.


    You may skip cardamom powder because besan has its own flavour which is intense and pleasant.
    An important point- cook on low flame. It should not burn at the bottom. In the last stages of cooking, the mixture will stick to the sides and bottom. You have to keep scraping and cooking. When the mixture collects in the center as a ball, turn off the heat. The barfi is soft and chewy.


    Besan Barfi | Besan Fudge

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup chickpea (besan) flour
    • 4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)/coconut oil
    • ¾  cup condensed milk
    • 3-4 green cardamom seeds crushed into a fine powder
    • ¼  cup slivered almonds
    • ¼ cup chopped pistachios

    Instructions


    1. Grease a medium size steel plate or take a square cake pan. Line it with parchment paper. Ensure that the parchment paper extends over the sides.
    2. Take chickpea flour and ghee/coconut oil in a thick bottom steel wok. Cook on low heat stirring continuously.
    3. Soon it will begin to change colour.  
    4. Cook till besan turns slightly dark in colour and a lovely aroma emanates. Turn off the heat.
    5. After 10 minutes, add condensed milk. Stir very well so that you get a lump free mixture. Initially, the mixture will be lumpy. Keep stirring and breaking the lumps by pressing against the sides of the wok. Soon, you will get a smooth mixture.
    6. Cook on low heat. Stir continuously to stop the mixture from sticking to the bottom and burning.
    7. Cook till mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the wok. It will stick to the sides and bottom. Scrape and cook. It should come in the center as one ball. Turn off the heat.
    8. Add cardamom powder. Mix well. Empty the mixture into the prepared pan or plate.
    9. Spread evenly with a greased spatula/ladle. Sprinkle slivered almonds and pistachios and press them into the mixture. Keep it to cool.
    10. When cold, remove the barfi and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.


    Wednesday, 18 October 2017

    Paan Laddu (Gluten Free)




    Festivals evoke the memories of delicious days of childhood. We have vivid memories of Diwali being celebrated with elan.  Weeks before the frenzied cleaning would leave us all exhausted. A cup of tea with some goodies would seem such an elixir. Every cupboard, every drawer, every room and every corner would be cleaned and arranged. A lot of things hoarded and not used would go out making home lighter and better, fresh and light.
    Our dad would insist on making sweets at home and trying out new recipes. We would all come out with our recipes decided way in advance. There was so much happiness, laughter, excitement, merriment, and revelry. Such beautiful memories are etched in the memory.


    Following the tradition of making sweets at home, we made Paan Laddu this Diwali. Paan or betel leaf has immense health benefits. It is loaded with antioxidants. It is carminative, good for digestion and a great cure for stomach related problems. Paan also improves metabolism. It is a mouth freshener and is good for oral health. Paan laddu is not very rich or loaded with calories and is ideal to make on festivities. Recipe adapted from here
    It tastes like meetha paan. We loved Paan Laddu. 

    Paan Laddu

    Ingredients

    • 6 large paan leaves (betel leaves)
    • ¾ cup condensed milk
    • 1 ¼ cup desiccated coconut
    • 1 teaspoon clarified butter (ghee)
    • ½ cup desiccated coconut (to roll the laddu) 
    • Gulkand (rose preserve)

    Instructions

    1. Wash the betel leaves.
    2. Chop them into small pieces.
    3. Put them in a grinder/food processor. Add half cup condensed milk. Blend to get a fine paste.
    4. In a steel wok, take ghee. Add desiccated coconut. Stir till coconut becomes slightly roasted but does not change colour.
    5. Turn off the heat. Add betel leaf paste. Mix well. Add remaining condensed milk.
    6. Cook on low heat till the mixture thickens and begins to leave the sides of the wok. Turn off the heat.
    7. When the mixture is warm enough to handle, take a small portion, flatten on your palm, add ½ teaspoon gulkand and bring the edges together and shape into a laddu. 
    8. Roll the laddu in desiccated coconut.
    9. Prepare laddus with all the mixture in the same way and store in an airtight container.


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...