Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roasted Cashews

BM # 23   Day 3

Due to the bland flavor of cashews I have never been fond of them.I love these when fried to a deep golden and sprinkled with some kind of spices apart from adding salt.They turn into a delicious munching snack, but .(.well if only the word BUT was not there) no body wants fried stuff. Right?How about roasting these?They become very flavorful and once you start munching on these you will not give up, so for the last day of cooking with zero oil we have these roasted cashews.Though these sound very simple, but mind you if you lack constant supervision, you will land up with bitter , unevenly roasted or probably burnt cashews.

So what you need is…
Oil spray / melted butter
Pre heat oven at 350deg F
Spread cashews in the oven tray in a single layer.
Spray a little oil .
At this point you could add  salt and any herbs or spices to the cashews.
Roast them for about 5 minutes.
Continue roasting for another 5 minutes.
Return to oven and remove after they have turned golden.
Takes about 15-20 minutes.
Let cool and store.

You could spice these with...
Black pepper
Black salt
Red chilly pwd
Chaat masala

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baked Cutlets

BM # 23   Day 2

Cutlets or tikkis are one of the most common snack in my menus. These can be really healthy  and delicious, provided they are not fried. For the second day of the zero oil cooking I have made  vegetable cutlets, which have been baked to a crisp golden.

4................... boiled potatoes, mashed

1/2 cup.......... mixed vegetable, boiled

1/2 cup ..........cottage cheese, grated

4 slices ..........multi grain bread, made into crumbs
2 chilies, chopped
1/4 tsp........... red chilly pwd
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Finely chopped mint leaves
Salt to taste
Few drops lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients well .
Check the spices.
Make round balls and then lightly flatten them.
Heat oven at 200deg .
Grease a tray and place the cutlets .
Spray some oil and bake till crisp and golden , flipping them once or twice.
Serve with mint chutney and salad.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Non Fried Bottle Gourd Koftas

BM # 23   Day 1

The taste of fried food is loved by all, but with everyone getting health conscious  we are switching from fried , oily food to low cal and healthy food.For the 1st day of this BM I have chosen to make gourd koftas. I have made these in a paniyaram mould. I made the fried version too, just to show the difference between the two.Once they go in the gravy it's hard to know that these are non fried.The taste is as good as the fried ones. Though the  fried ones are done in a jiffy, and these take a while to get cooked , but surely no compromise on the taste. Anyway let's get on to the recipe....

non fried koftas


500 gms.........  bottle gourd, grated
4tbsp.............. gram flour
2tsp................ ginger garlic paste
2..................... green cilies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp .............whole coriander seeds
1/2 tsp............. red chilly pwd
1/2 tsp .............garam masala pwd
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste.

Peel and grate the gourd.

Sprinkle salt and leave it for a few minutes.

Mix well and once the gourd shrinks ,  squeeze out the water.
Save this for the gravy.
Add rest of the ingredients  to the gourd and mix well.
Heat a paniyaram mould and spray with oil.
Pour the prepared batter with a spoon in the moulds.
Let cook on slow turning them once in awhile as and when they get crisp.
Keep aside.

2tbsp.......... onion, dried / fried
4-5 ............. tomatoes, chopped
1tsp............ ginger garlic paste
1tsp.............coriander pwd
1/2 tsp........ red chilly pwd
1/4 tsp........ turmeric pwd
1/4 tsp........ garam masala
Salt to taste
In a mixer put dried onion, chopped tomatoes and ginger garlic paste.
Blend to a smooth paste.
Heat 1tsp oil and add this paste to it.
Let cook till the moisture evaporates.
Add the dry spices.
Let cook .
Add the reserved water and some more to get the right consistency of the gravy.
Let boil for a few minutes.

To serve
Add the prepared Koftas to the boiling gravy and let boil for a minute.
Do not boil for long , else they may break and melt.
Serve hot garnished with some greens.

the fried koftas

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Fruit Sandwich for Magic Mingle

Every time I see that jar of Nutella I feel like taking a lick, this nutty spread is so creamy and irresistible, truly a versatile spread.For December the Magic Mingle ingredients are Chocolate and fresh fruit.For those of you who are not aware of this monthly event, let me tell you that this event is hosted by Kalyani at Sizzling Tastebuds.We are given two star ingredients and we have to create as many dishes as we like.Chocolate and fresh fruits, what a heavenly combo!!Can anyone ever go wrong with this one? Well even though I had loads on my mind, but somehow due to a real busy schedule I could only  assemble one of my favorite recipes.

 Here is what you need....
Few slices of super soft bread.
Fresh whipped chocolate cream
Chocolate ganache

Here is what you have to do....
Using a round cookie cutter, cut the bread into circles.
Apply nuttela on the first circle and place chopped strawberries.
Place the second circle and pipe chocolate cream.
Top with some de seeded oranges.
Place another circle of bread,spreading nutella and topping with chopped bananas.
Cover this with another circle and spread  chocolate ganache.
Dust  icing sugar and place a strawberry Santa.
You could use any fruits you like.If you do not have ganache you could spread either nutella or pipe chocolate cream or even simple plain whipped cream.

Well, assembly this sandwich was great fun and only when I wanted to take a bite, I did not know where to of course first the Santa..and then ..well how about you guys trying for yourself and letting me know!!This sandwich can easily pass off as a dessert, a yummy, light but surely sinful one!!

Also linking it to Valli's Kid's Delight at Veg Junction
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Diwali Dinner

BM #23   Day 3

Get togethers and dinners are a part of Diwali celebrations.Normally we have two dinners, one for family and the other for friends. Both these are before Diwali. For Diwali a special meal is made , which varies in Sindhi homes.

When I got married for the first Diwali the traditional meal that was prepared was....
Aalloo bhaji
Seviya kheer
Somehow I felt this was not a festive meal and within a few years I added  rich dishes like koftas, paneer and biryanis.The traditional meal is still there.

Lot of Sindhi homes must make a dish with seven vegetables.So here we have options like Biryani, vegetable koftas, pav bhaji, Sindhi sai bhaji.One thing that is common in all houses is the sweet, kheer.This of course varies, some prefer seviya kheer, while others make rice kheer.

Today's meal was prepared for pre Diwali celebration , where we had the immediate family for dinner.The menu is as follows....

Kiwi lemonade
(a simple lemonade, flavored with fresh kiwis, garnished with a big slice of malta)

Assorted aerated drinks

Bell pepper ring dhokla
(lentil steamed in a scooped bell pepper , cut into slices)

Nariyal matter ki tikki
(potato croquettes stuffed with farm fresh peas and grated coconut, with a crunch of peanut)

Pasta salad
(bow pasta served with Italian dressing)

Main course
Daal tadka
(yellow lentil simmered and tempered with onion and tomato)

Makhmalli kofta
(cottage cheese dumplings,in a rich nutty gravy)

Matter makhane ka nimona
(awadhi green peas, made with the rich makhanas)

Bhindi masala
(okra stuffed with dry spices and garlic)

Aaloo anaar raita
(creamed curd served with soft boiled potatoes and red rubies)

Rice / Roti
Nawabi pulao. with matter
(rice cooked with whole spices and milk, garnished with green peas and crunchy fried onion)

(Indian whole wheat flat bread, fried mildly )

Sweet / dessert
Shahi tukda with Gulab Jamun
(fried bread , served with indian cream and topped with mini gulab jamun)

Store bought ice cream

makhmalli kofta

mattar makhane ka nimona

bhindi masala

daal tadka 

shahi tukda with gulab jamun

Kiwi lemonade

pepper ring dhokla

nariyal mattar ki tikki.
.oops!!.forgot to place these while clicking

Pepper Ring Dhokla

1cup .........split green gram
3-4............ green chilies
2tbsp ........crushed garlic
Salt to taste
Half sachet Eno
2-3............. red/yellow /green bell pepper
Wash the bell peppers.
Chop the top and scoop out the seeds.
Wash once again , making sure all the water is drained from inside.

The batter..
Wash and soak the daal for 2-4 hours.
Grind, along with green chilies and garlic.
Add salt and Eno.

To prepare
Fill the peppers with this batter and steam.
This shall take at least 30 minutes to steam, all the same insert a tooth pick to check , it should come out clean.
Let cool.
Gently slice these .

Heat oil.
Add mustard and roughly chopped chilies.
Pour the tempering on these slices.

For today I am sharing one recipe, but shall  put up the rest very soon.
Diwali festival does not end here, after the Diwali dinner, we have Pooja, where we place all the silver coins , in front of the Godess Lakshmi.These coins are washed in milk , and then with water, kum kum and rice are sprinkled on these.The prasad for Diwali pooja is Varo.

Our mandir where we do the Diwali Pooja

this years pooja in New York

Living in Gujarat, Diwali is an extended affair.The next day after Diwali is the Gujarati New Year, This starts with heavy fireworks to welcome the New Year.Friends and family visit each other to seek blessings from the older generation.The house is adorned with Asopalav leaves and Marigold flowers.

torans made with marigold flowers and asopalav leaves are put up on the entrance

Following New Year, the Bhai Beej festival is celebrated , where the sisters worship for brothers.The sisters come home and again a rich lunch is served.

There are still some celebrations on the Teej and Chauth but the 5th day that is Labh Pacham is the day when the men start their biusness, which they had closed down since Diwali.They start their new accounts by writing this symbol. The swastik is the symbol of Lord Ganesha ,the God of good beginnings Riddhi and Siddhi his two wives are symbolized by the two lines on either side. SHUBH LABH  above the swastik these are two sons of Lord Ganesha. Shubh means goodness and Labh means benefit. 

with this I wish all my viewers a very Happy and Prosperous Year ahead.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chocolate Rocks, Sweets for Diwali

BM #23   Day 2

The second day of BM ,we shall move from planning and actually get into form to create some goodies.

Normally we start with making chocolates.For this year  20 kgs of chocolate was ordered and about 10 kgs of mixed nuts.The nuts included walnuts, cashews almond and raisins.So in all we made 30kgs of chocolate.The ratio  and the choice of nuts is very personal, one can always vary on these.The procedure to make these is simple and actually does not take long if one has extra hands for help, which I had.

Chocolate Rocks
Cooking chocolate
Assorted nuts
(Roast almonds and cashews lightly)
Vanilla extract
A wee bit of butter for glaze

Make sure the chocolate slab is at room temperature.
Break the slab into small pieces.
Place a pot of water to heat.
In another pan place the chocolate pieces.
Place the pan with chocolate pieces over the pot of water.
Make sure the water does not touch the pot with the chocolate pieces.
Once the chocolate starts melting , give a few good stirs.
Once it melts remove from the boiler and add the prepared nuts.
Stir in the vanilla extract and butter.
Place spoon fulls of chocolate nut mix on the tray which has been lined with a butter paper.
Place these in a refrigerator  to set.
Since we make in a large quantity we place these trays in a air conditioned room for more than 24 hours.
Once these chocolate set, remove from the paper and once again leave them open in the air conditioned room for a few hours.
These chocolates are now ready to be packed.

chocolate boxes ready to be dispatched, while the sweets are still in the process

Unfortunately all the pics I took while making these got deleted .I stil cant understand how this happened.I guess too many things happening while I was leaving for my holiday!! .

Getting back to work!..after the chocolates are done we work on  the sweets.We made 40kgs of Kaju Mithai and 25kgs of Nutty Fig Roll.Both the recipes are there on the blog.

We try to make the sweets in batches of 10kgs, and as soon as it gets set, it is packed and dispatched .

Luckily these pics got saved.....

the fig rolls stacked in the frig

 the kaju  mithai ..packed in the boxes

Come back tomorrow to see the Diwali Meal

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Diwali Preperations

BM #23   Day 1

It's great getting back to BM , things are rather hectic at the home front and blogging has to take a back seat for a while.I shall be with you guys for two weeks and then again take a break.

For this BM , I have chosen to tell you how I prepare for the Diwali Festival.

Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepawali’ , which means a row of diyas. Diyas are tiny earhen lamps and this Hindu festival is celebrated with these little lamps to signify the triump of good over evil.

Unlike other festivals, the preperations of this festival begins quite early.There is so much to do, as the celebration of Diwali includes cleaning and decorating the house,wearing new clothes, preparation of delicacies , exchange of gifts, organizing get togethers and a lot more.

For our family this is one festival which is celebrated with lot of pomp and show.The cleaning of the house begins about two months prior to the festival.This is the time when the unwanted stuff is discarded.Houses are painted,new upholstery for sofas, curtains, bedcovers, you name it..all these just wait until Diwali.

Gifts and sweets are exchanged  between friends and family members.Apart from this gifts are sent to neighbours, officers, doctors and clients.We begin by making a list , which is actually there but just needs to be updated every year.
So we begin by…

Updating the list for gifts, sweets.
Decide on the  sweet.
Decide on corporate gifts.
Decide on family and friends gifts.

We like to give a personal touch to the sweets and gifts, so every year chocolate rocks and some Indian sweet is made.The sweet varies every year.For this year we made Nutty Fig Roll and Kaju Mithai.

The next step is to again work on the list and decide as to the number of boxes of each variety.Once the lists are worked on I order the boxes for chocolates and sweets.This time I found a manufacturer and it was really interesting to capture their work area and style of working.

 a narrow lane where I discovered the manufacturer for boxes

check the staircase! and dont miss the rope on the right with tiny bells..that's the railing!!

manufacturer's den!!

glue is being made in that big pot

assembling  the boxes

the bag shop

and that's my car

After I get the box size , I place the order for paper bags so the boxes can go in without any hassle.The process to get these ready is anywhere between 20-30 days.

while working on frames and customized gifts

some of the hand made brocade trays for gifts

Once the boxes and bags are ordered I work on the hand made gifts. These are only for close friends or special people. This year I worked on some brocade trays and photo frames.Since we are talking of creativity  we cannot miss the rangoli which is an essential part of the festival.For this year I worked on a Jewel led Rangoli.

Preparing chocolates and sweets is just one week prior to the festival.So we place the order for dry fruits, cooking chocolate and the rest of raw material just about 10 days prior.
For Day 1 it is all about planning the festival.Tomorrow we shall work on the goodies.

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