Monday, 2 February 2015

Hazelnut Flavoured Pink Mini Cakes

  I just love to celebrate my little one's monthly birthdays...  After having eaten cakes for every month since the past 10 months, my "not a sweet tooth" husband said, no more cakes this month. He said we will celebrate and do everything else apart from the cake..... but to me, a birthday felt incomplete without a cake... Then I thought, why not reduce the portion and make mini cake....after all a small slice will do no harm ... I wanted to make something to match her pink outfit ...After some head scratching, I came up with the idea of this Hazelnut flavoured Pink mini cakes... to keep everyone happy :) .... The best thing is the whole cake is prepared in less than 30 minutes from start to finish :)

             The duo (daddy and the daughter) loved it :)

The cake is a simple vanilla cake made in microwave in 2 minutes, just added a little color for the pink effect. The icing is hazelnut flavoured whipped cream. Instead of sugar syrup, I have used Hazelnut syrup to brush the cake.

Ingredients :

All purpose flour (Maida)- 7 Tbsp
Powdered Sugar - 3 Tbsp
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt- a pinch
Milk - 5 Tbsp
Oil - 3Tbsp
Hazelnut syrup - few drops
Red Color - few drops

Icing :

Hazelnut Syrup - 2 Tbsp
Whipped cream - 2 cups
Red color - few drops

Preparation :

1. In a bowl sieve Maida (APF), baking powder and salt .
2. Add the sugar and give it a mix.
3. Add all the wet ingredients (oil, milk , Hazelnut syrup and red color ) to it and mix it to form a batter.
4. Pour the batter in muffin moulds or greased ramekins(or small bowls) and microwave it for 2 mins. Give a couple of mins standing time and check . If not cooked, then microwave for 30 seconds .
5. Let it cool completely.

Icing :

1. Add few drops of hazelnut syrup to the whipped cream and divide in two portions.
2. Add few drops of color to one portion.
3. Once the cake cools, slice it horizontally in three equal portions.
4. Take a layer, brush it with hazelnut syrup and cover with plain whipped cream. Now put another cake layer on top of it, and repeat the same .
5. Top it with the third layer and cover the whole cake with plain whipped cream.
6. In a piping bag, add the colored whipped cream and pipe it on the cake as required .

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Sabudana Khichdi ( Sago/Tapioca with Potatoes and Peanuts)

       After a long Diwali (one of the major festivals in India) vacation and the feasting, was craving for a simple yet delicious breakfast. So what better than Sabudana Khichdi.. It's easy to make, filling and yumm... 

     Sabudana/ Sago / Tapioca is basically starch , the potatoes and peanuts add to its high Calorie content. This dish is specially preferred during the fast, to keep the energy levels up and to keep going through the day. Although, In Western India , it is a regular feature for breakfast and snacks.

     The only difficult element of this dish is to get the Sago soaked properly, it should not be wet otherwise it will be mushy. 

Ingredients :

Sabudana/Sago/ Tapioca - 1 cup
Potatoes - 2 medium sized
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Green chili - 1 
Coriander - few sprigs
Curry leaves - few leaves
Water - 1 cup
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp 
Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp 

Pre-Preparation : 

1. Wash the Tapioca and soak them in 1 cup of water overnight or for at least a couple of hours. Make sure the water just covers the tapioca. Do not put excess water, otherwise they will turn mushy. The tapioca should double in volume.
2. Par boil the potatoes and cut them into dices.
3. Roast the peanuts and crush them slightly, and remove the skin. I like mine halved .
4. Slit the green chili in half and finely chop the coriander.

Preparation :

1. In a pan, add oil. Once its hot add the curry leaves, jeera/ Cumin seeds and green chili.
2. Add the diced potatoes and let them cook for a couple of mins or until they are a little brown in color.
3. Add the tapioca and cover and cook till the tapioca is translucent in color. 
4. Season it with salt.
5. Add the roasted peanuts, some of the chopped coriander and mix well .
6. Switch off the gas and add the lemon juice.

Serving Suggestion :

   Garnish it with coriander and serve with hot tea or coffee. 

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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Home made Paneer / Cottage Cheese

With the festive season coming up, the markets are full of delicious and delectable sweets and savoury dishes... But on the flip side, there is also a rise in the illness caused by consuming the adulterated stuff.. Why not make this stuff at home, so it would be both healthy and tasty... So here's a basic ingredient Paneer/Cottage cheese used in both sweet and savoury dishes ...

Paneer or Cottage Cheese is a most common core ingredient for any Indian household. It is a form of cheese formed by curdling the milk with curd or vinegar or lemon juice or citric acid. Cottage cheese is a rich source of protein, calcium, and vitamins which are necessary for proper bone health.

          Some popular 
                 Savoury dishes are Matar Paneer, Palak Paneer, Kadhai  Paneer .
                 Sweet dishes are Bengali Rasgulla, Rasmalai , Sandesh

Ever since I have started making home made Paneer, my husband just refuses to buy the market the home made one just melts in your mouth... and specially with the festivals coming up and with all the adulteration..its better to be safe than sorry ;)


Full cream milk - 1 litre
Curd -1/2 cup


1. In a heavy bottomed pan, add the milk and bring it to a boil.
2. Add the curd little by little and mix till the milk curdles . You should see a light green clear liquid (whey) separate from the milk mass. (Instead of curd,you can use few drops of lemon juice or vinegar too... )
3. Switch off the gas, and let it remain in it for a couple of minutes.
4. In a colander, place your muslin cloth and pour the curdled milk over it. Let the whey drain completely.(* If using lemon juice or vinegar, wash the paneer/cheese with water to remove the sourness)
5. Drain the whey completely by squeezing it ... Now, tie a knot by pressing the paneer tightly and hang it for a 5 minutes on the tap.
    *You can collect the whey and use it to curdle the next time. It results in softer paneer.
6. Take 2 plates or anything flat, place the paneer in between them and place a heavy item on top (I use my mortar and pestle, you cause your chakla(rolling board) or anything heavy)
7. Keep it for atleast an hour or so, till it firms and holds shape.
8. Your Paneer is ready... Keep it in the refrigerator immersed in water.

Happy Cooking !!!!

You can check Moong Dal Paneer bites.

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Friday, 10 October 2014

Moong Dal Paneer Bites

Proteins are the machine that make all living things function...They are the building block of life.... According to Wikipedia, Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. Aside from water, proteins are the most abundant kind of molecules in the body. Protein can be found in all cells of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle. This also includes body organs, hair and skin. 

Well , Lots of "Gyaan/knowledge" but beneficial too... Now the reason behind this "gyaan" ...
There is a Protein‬ event going on in one of the food groups on facebook which I am a part of.
I was scratching my head, as the first thing that comes to mind for Protein is non-veg. Since its a vegetarian event I was pushing my mind to think about Lentils, Paneer, Soyabeans, Mushrooms ....
This dish is a great idea to serve your little fussy eaters. Its bite sized portion make it a hit for any parties....

Finally came up with an idea of combining two proteins Moong Dal and Paneer...

So here it is Moong Dal Paneer Bites served with Tomato Coriander Chutney... 

Ingredients :

Moong dal - 2 cups
Paneer - 150 grams (used Homemade Paneer
Onion - 1 medium size
Garlic - 6-7 cloves
Green chilli - 1 
Coriander - few sprigs
Salt - 3 tsp
Chat masala - 1/4 tsp

Pre- Preparation :

 1. Wash and soak the moong dal in 4 cups of water overnight or for a minimum of 4-5 hours.
 2. Drain the water and put the moong dal in the grinder.
 3. In the grinder, add garlic,green chili, coriander and 2 tsp salt and little water to make a fine paste.
 4. Cover and keep for 5-10 mins.
  For the filling :
 5. In another bowl, Grate the paneer using the broad side of the grater. You can even crush the paneer with the fork. Since I was using home made paneer, I just crushed it.
 6. Season the paneer, with 1 tsp salt and chat masala. 
 7. Add finely chopped onion, green chili and coriander. 

Preparation :

 1. Take a nonstick pan(tawa), brush it with little oil, and with the help of a ladle spread the moong dal mixture like a pancake or dosa. Once it starts leaving the sides, flip it and cook for a couple of minutes on the other side.
2. Now flip it again, spread the paneer filling on the top and take it out on a plate or your platform.

3. Roll it from one side(like a swiss role), making sure the filling doesnt come out.

4. Slice the long roll along its length, to get equal size portions.

Serving Suggestion :

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Tomato Coriander Chutney(Dip)

This is a basic chutney that goes well with any Indian starter or meal.

Ingredients :

Tomato - 2 medium size
Coriander - 3-4 sprigs
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Green Chili -1 or 2
Salt - to taste
Dry mango powder(Amchoor powder)- 1/4 tsp

Preparation :

In a blender, add all the ingredients and blend on low speed. The mixture should be coarsely blended, do not make a fine paste.

Serving Suggestion :

Enjoy it with my Moong Dal Paneer bites ...

Happy Cooking !!!

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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Navratri Bhog

Navratri (nine nights) is a festival dedicated to the Hindu deity Durga ... This nine day long festival is celebrated in different ways all over India... For some it is a reason to feast on delectable dishes, and some observe fast. From Dandiya(folk dance) in Gujarat to big Durga Pandals in Kolkata, this festival marks the beginning of the festive season. Whatever be the way of celebration, the food is always special. 

It may sound weird, although there is restriction on what one can eat, the Falhari food(the food which people eat in fast) is far more delicious than the normal food. When we were kids, we would just keep fast, so that we could hog onto those yummy delights. 

After nine days of fasting, its feasting time. On the ninth day, special dishes(bhog ka prasad) are made and distributed. 
In traditional North Indian families, on this day, nine young girls are invited to the homes and treated as goddesses. Firstly, as a custom their feet are washed, then they are offered the specialy prepared food(bhog), then some gifts or money. 
The bhog generally comprises of  Kaale Chane(Black gram) , Kheer(Rice pudding) , Aloo tamatar Subzi(Potatoes cooked in tomato gravy) and Poori.

Here is the link to some of the recipes...

3. Poori

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Kaale chane (Black Gram )

Kaale Chane is a variety of chickpeas, slightly smaller in size and dark in color. It is also known as Black gram. In India, it is generally prepared for the eighth or ninth day Pooja of Navratri.

This is a good breakfast option because of its nutrition value. It is a rich source of  protein and fibre.

Ingredients :

Kaale chane - 1 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil -1 Tbsp
Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1/4 tsp
Haldi (turmeric) powder- 1/4 tsp
Amchoor (Dry mango) powder-1/4 tsp
Chat masala - 1/4 tsp
Green chili - 1
Coriander - few sprigs


1. Soak the kaale chane in 3 cups water overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.
2. Chop the green chili and coriander.

Preparation :

1. Rinse the soaked kaale chane with clean water .
2. In a pressure cooker, add the kaale chane, salt, turmeric and 1/2 cup water. The water should cover the chane completely. If needed, add little water depending on the pressure cooker.
3. Cook for 2-3 whistle on medium flame, and then for another 5-7 minutes on slow flame or until the chane are cooked properly. Do not open the cooker immediately, let it cool down .
4. In a wok, add oil and let it heat.
5. Once the oil is hot , add cumin seeds and green chili. Saute it for a min.
6. Add the kaale chane with the water(if some left in the cooker).
7. Season with amchoor powder and chat masala powder.
8. Cook on medium heat , till all the water is absorbed and the kaale chane is covered with the spices.
9, Sprinkle corinader and serve.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve it with a finely chopped onions and lemon slice.
Tastes best with Poori and Kheer.

PS: Since I was making it for navratri , I din't add onions . You can add 1 finely sliced medium onion to the oil and saute it  for a couple of minutes and then add the chane to the wok.

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