100th Post and Thank You Foodie BlogRoll!

This is my 100th post on my blog and in my hunt to make it a special one, I was browsing through giveaways and similar net content. Little did I know that I would find the answer on my own blog and that too right in my face.

Recently I have noticed an upturn in my blog traffic and I have been wondering about the reason cos I have done nothing special, not even posted as much. But today I found the reason. I have been chosen as one of the chosen ones in Finest Foodies Friday hosted by the leftover queen. The incoming link dated April 3 had been right there in front of me for so long and I never happened to check it out!

I would like to dedicate my 100th post to thank Judy of No Fear Entertaining for choosing me for FFF. It has fulfilled a long kept dream for me. Everytime I would visit Foodie BlogRoll, I would wish to win something and that has come true. Thanks Judy. Thanks Jenn. Thanks Foodie BlogRoll.

The Finest Foodies Friday for 3rd April can be found on The Foodie BlogRoll too.

Keep visiting though. The special giveaway is coming up soon.

Advertisements

Besan ke Laddoo (Sweet Bengal Gram Balls filled with Almonds)

Oh the smell of besan ke laddoo….it is intoxicating. As soon as the box is opened, eager hands reach out to grab their share. This is the story that happened everytime I reached my hostel…..whether while doing engineering or doing MBA. My mother would say that true love is shown in the amount of fat put in laddoo….it should be overflowing with pure desi ghee. She would pack besan ke laddoo every semester I spent away from home. They became very popular among my friends, so much so that she would be requested to pack a separate box just for my friends.

Once in MBA, I brought my box of laddoos to my friends. One of them, Chris, was from South India where this sweet is not made and said that he loved the laddoos very much. I casually told him he could have the whole box. You should have seen his face. His eyes became so big and round and the surprise on his face quickly changed to bliss. He looked like a small kid who had received his Christmas wish….he he he. He just gathered the box in his arms and held it tight and would not give even a single piece to anyone else. But the best part was yet to come. Another friend was celebrating his birthday that day and invited us. In his classic style, C took out one and only one laddoo and handed it to the birthday guy as thanks for the treat. We all could not help laughing. I tell you these laddoos can bring out the child in anyone.

They retain their goodness for 3-4 months if stored in an air-tight container. It is the quality of ghee that exalts them to their status. The purer the ghee, the better the taste. They are the perfect North Indian sweet suitable for any ocassion.

Ingredients

1 kg besan (bengal gram flour)

1 kg sugar

1 cup almonds

250 gms ghee

3-4 cardamoms

Heat the ghee in a large pot. When it is heated, add the besan and keep stirring it continuously on a low flame. This is a slow process and you might be tempted to put the flame on high. Besan easily gets burnt which will spoil the dish. So keep stirring the besan in the pot till it changes color and a beautiful smell emanates. It will become a lump and will be able to hold together.

Besan roasted in Ghee

Besan roasted in Ghee

Grind the sugar in a mixer along with the cardamoms. The quatity of sugar required depends on taste. Someone might like very sweet laddoos in which case more sugar will be required. So keep some extra on the side if you feel the need to add more just in case. Chop the almonds finely. You can also add raisins and cashewnuts.

All the Ingredients for Besan ke Laddoo

All the Ingredients for Besan ke Laddoo

Mix the three ingredients – besan roasted in pure desi ghee, finely ground sugar, ground cardamoms and nuts well. The besan will be hot so mix with a large spatula. As it begins to cool, use your hands to mix. Take a lump of besan in your hand and rub it against the other hand. The ghee will start to separate and the besan will start to hold together with the sugar.
Besan ke Laddoo ready to go

Besan ke Laddoo ready to go

Take a small portion in the palm of you hand and shape it into a small ball that fits in your palm. Even out the cracks by pressing the ball lightly with your hand.

The laddoos can be decorated by placing half an almond or a cashewnut on top.

Homemade Potato Chips

One of my fond memories of childhood is chips, papad, kachri etc spread out in the backyard of my house. My mother would spread plastic sheets on the ground and line them with papad or spread a cloth with chips of all shapes and sizes. We would store them up in large jars ready for use. It was fun preparing the fares specially when it hard work increased the taste of the fares and also helped fill out the dull summer afternoons during holidays 🙂

This time I went home, Mom and I again made some potato chips. The best part is frying the chips once they are done and everyone digging into the bowl.

Ingredients

2 kg large potatoes

Peel the potatoes. A special chips cutter is required as displayed below. Hold it at an angle and just slice the potatoes against it.

 

Chips cutter

Chips cutter

Wash the chips in water 2-3 times to drain out the starch. Boil in a pot of water for 1 minute to make the chips tender. Test by squeezing the middle of a chip. It should not be too hard or too soft. Drain the water.

Spread a nylon or synthetic cloth under the sun. It is easy to free the chips from a synthetic cloth. Lay the chips on the cloth singly. They should not overlap each other. Let them dry for a couple of hours till they feel crisp. They will be stuck to the cloth. Stretch the cloth by its two ends running along the entire length of it. The chips will come off automatically without breaking. Leave the chips in the sun till they dry out completely.

Chips drying under the sun

Chips drying under the sun

Store in an air-tight box. Fry and sprinkle salt or chat masala for taste. Serve hot with tea.

Potato Chips ready to be fried and served

Potato Chips ready to be fried and served

The chips mentioned here are very handy when fasting as they do not contain salt. In order to make salted chips, add salt to the boiling water.

Dahi wali Gobhi (Cauliflower marinated in Curd)

My passion in cooking started after marriage but the seeds had been planted by my mother when I was a kid. Everytime she went into the kitchen to prepare the next meal, I was supposed to help her out even if it meant only washing utensils and running around fetching the ingredients while she did the major work. It is amazing how much a person can pick up just by watching something being made over and over again. Mom makes this amazing dahi wali gobhi. She cuts the cauliflower florets and let them marinate in curd before cooking it. It gives a great flavor to the vegetable making is a dish fit for a royal feast.

Preparation time – 45 mins

Servings – 6 people

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower

A handful of green peas

1 cup hung curd

1 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)

1 tbsp dhaniya (coriander powder)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp dry ginger powder (sont)

½ tsp besan (bengal gram powder)

1 onion

2 tbsp ginger garlic paste

Some Bay Leaves

2 cloves

1 tbsp zeera (cumin seeds)

½ tsp hing (asafetida)

4-5 tbsp oil

Dahi wali Gobhi with a sprig of mint on top

Dahi wali Gobhi with a sprig of mint on top

Cut the cauliflower into 2 inch florets. Add salt in a pot of warm water and wash florets in them. Sieve and drain water.

Mix haldi, dhaniya, red chilli powder, garam masala, salt, dry ginger powder and bean with hung curd. Add florests and green peas. It might feel that the curd is less but it will be enough to coat the florets. Marinate for half an hour.

Grate onion. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and  add zeera, hing, bay leaves and cloves. Gry onion and garlic ginger paste till brown. Add marinated florets and peas and cook till one whistle. Do not overcook as cauliflower will become too tender and will be unable to retain its shape. Let the steam escape after one whistle. Serve hot.

Orange Cake – Baked in Cooker

I recently went visiting my parents and keeping in with my new hobby, Mom opened up a whole new world of looking up recipes on TV. Before this, I always went for the internet but a video is always clearer as it shows how the dish should turn out every step of the way and you can make adjustments right away even before trying out. Orange Cake was being showcased on TataSky Active Cooking and seemed really interesting. However, the amount of milk and orange juice added made the batter too thin. The sugar quantity mentioned turned out to be too less. Also, one really should go for fresh orange juice to get the real flavor than opting for pre-packaged ones. Orange essence also helps.

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup ghee (unsalted butter)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp baking powder

½ cup orange juice

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp orange zest

½ cup of milk

Yummy Orange Cake to spice up tea-time

Yummy Orange Cake to spice up tea-time

Mix butter, sugar and eggs. Beat till light and fluffy. Add flour. Mix in orange juice, lemon juice and orange zest. Now slowly add milk till you get the desired consistency. Pre-heat the pressure cooker. Grease the baking pan and pour the batter in it. Bake for 30-40 mins on low flame till a toothpick when inserted, comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Lemon Cheesecake

Wow, this dessert always sounds exotic and totally unrealistically difficult to construct at home. There are like three layers which have to be prepared separately and in a sequential order. It takes a long time to make and God know, might get ruined for all you know and that too after all the efforts put in. This is what I have always thought about it….and I have never been really sure about the cheese that goes in….is it “cheese” cheese or something else. ‘Cos if it is “cheese” cheese, it is too fattening and will not be tolerated in my home.

Recently I came across a low fat lemon cheesecake recipe and surprise surprise, I learnt that the cheese is actually not “cheese” but cottage cheese and just by substituting all the ingredients for the low fat versions, this dessert also turns into a low fat one. And it really did not take that long actually to make. So I thought of giving it a try.

Ingredients

Crust

10 digestive biscuits

2 tsp unsalted butter

Filling

1 cup cream cheese

½ cup curds

4 tblsp sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp lemon juice

Topping

2 tbsp orange marmalade

Put the biscuits in a zipper bag and crush them. Add the butter and mix thoroughly. Line the cake tin/fancy bowl with the mix so that it is even and covers up the container completely. Refrigerate it for 30 mins so that the crust is set.

Blend cream cheese in a blender to remove lumps. Add a little milk/whey to get a smooth texture. Mix it with curds, sugar and lemon and pour onto the crust. Refrigerate till set.

Heat marmalade with 1 tbsp water over gentle heat till it mixes. Cool slightly and pour over the cheesecake. Refrigerate again till set.

Cut into wedges and serve cold. This was an experimental recipe so I prepared two small bowls with the cheesecake. Also, orange marmalade was scant so I used regular mixed fruit jam. Worked pretty well.

Best part of this recipe is that you can prepare cream cheese (a.k.a. cottage cheese) and curds at home too. The recipe works best if these two ingredients are fresh so there is no sour aftertaste. Another thing I liked about it was there was no cooking involved! As for the topping, I simply spread jam rather generously over the cake….I love shortcuts…he he he