Thursday, August 29, 2013

Happy Gokulashtami! And Naivedya of Atte Ka Halwa.


Happy Gokulashtami ! Hope you are enjoying your Gokulashtami celebrations your own way. Here in Mumbai amidst din I am here to quickly post a naivedya I just made for Lord Krishna. Shh..Shh.. Also to inaugurate my new stainless steel cookware.

Last night was Krishna Janma or birth of Lord Krishna so I made Steamed Rava Ladu for naivedya. And today is Gopal Kala or Dahi Handi. I don't need to reiterate how this festival is celebrated here in Mumbai. This city has its two festivals when the citizens come out on the street and for this one shouting out Govinda Aala Re, Aala Jara Matki Sambhal Brij Bala! Here Bala means young woman, how endearing! Hope the days of that pure love and clean fun returns to this city. That's my prayer today.

Now here is the quick recipe of my second naivedya. This is a Rajasthani recipe which transforms the pantry staple atta into a delicious halwa with dollops of ghee. So be generous!

Ingredients


1/2 cup wheat flour / Atta
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Ghee
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
Slivered pistachios for garnish

Washed my brand new 18/10 SS Kadhai (note that). Kanha it should taste better than my previous Aluminium Kadhai and also no farting now and blaming it on Al OK! :D

Ok what are you laughing at? heat that Kadhai. Add one tablespoon ghee and when molten add the wheat flour to it. Roast it till dark brown and aromatic. Don't roast it till caramelisation as the color intensifies further as we use sugar syrup to make the halwa.

While you are roasting the atta in a saucepan boil together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water till sugar dissolves. This is your sugar syrup. Add a pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness of sugar.

Once the atta is nicely fragrant and golden add slowly sugar syrup to it. Keep stirring till the atta absorbs all the liquid and is plumped up. At this point at about 5 mins the halwa is cooked to perfection and will start forming a mass at the centre. Now add one teaspoon ghee to give it a glaze. Keep stirring.

Finally garnish with slivered pistachios.

Tastes best warm.
And here is scene on my street.

.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Daar Paanache Bhajji



My Paternal Grandma was a petite and beautiful woman. As much as she was known to be a beauty she was known to be kanjoos or stingy by her kids. Even today Dad and Uncles narrate how she shallow fried fish in the tiniest bit of oil and while doing that she would make the entire household cough up. So her kids loved to call this style of cooking 'Tal-bhuz' which translates to half frying and half roasting and they did coin that word!

The same children reminiscence over Shravani Somvar of their childhood when Grandma would have head bath and go to our Family God's house pray and then go to the bazaar to choose the best bunch of 'Daar bhaaji'. 




The afternoon would be spent cleaning it carefully, most of it would be chopped fine to make a stir fry with either green or red chilies and some leaves would be kept away. All the children starving by then would get excited. They knew their mother was generous on Shravani Somvars. Grandpa and her children nodded in approval and winked at each other for they knew what she would make.


Such simple pleasures but deep frying was not so common at home in those days atleast not in our home. When I look back I realise how conscious my Grandma was about what she fed to her kids and when.


So on Shravan Somvars when the sun is going down, Piri (flat seating platforms) which are also called Paat in Marathi, Piri is plural for Pira in Koli; would be laid out in two rows with some space for movement between the two rows. She would then place one by one a Dinda leaf in front of each Pira. After serving all the food perfectly in order the way it should be on the leaf with the chutney on top, veggies on the right, rice in the middle and chapati or Ghari on the left. She would then call out to the husband and children to wash their hands and seat themselves. They would obey immediately and then she would rush to the kitchen as they chanted the prayers to rustle up the star of the menu, to fry up the Paanache bhajji! 

The Daar bhaaji or Lal MaaTh leaf bhajji turned out crisp and were served to the groaning stomachs in the Pangat (a way of seating in a line at lunch or dinner just like sitting at a dinning table,  it's a formal affair).

Grandma always kept the bhajji batter ready, the leaves washed and cleaned and drained well to serve hot crisp bhajji and then she would announce. 'Suru kara!' her kids always took that as a command 'Attack'. 

My Shravan series cannot be complete without a post on this Paanache bhajji. It's a simple recipe but you have to be a skilled cook to know how to turn them out best. The batter coating has to be gossamer yet the leaf should be fried to crackling crunchiness. The veins of the leaf forming a pattern on the batter. This recipe and skill is handed down by my Grandma to all her DILs and from them to us grandchildren. I made them after years and as I did a few I was wondering why they did not look like my Grandma's, of course then I thinned the batter a bit and the third bhajji onwards I had a perfectly crackling leaf bhajji. 

As far as I can remember this is the only recipe by my Gradma that is treasured in the family more for the lovely memories than anything else. Also Shravan as it is the monsoons was the only time she would get time to cook elaborately for her family as it meant four months of break for the fishing season. The kitchen was completely her domain then when all domestic help was on leave. My Grandma, Yesubai, was a Nakhwin, co-owner of a fishing business and had to run a household of family plus 25 to 30 employees plus more on the fish drying fields. She personally made Chavalachi roti for the staff and family every morning with the help of one of our Khapnarin (see how evolved that word is, not servant but someone who does hard work!) She never had the luxury to make goodies except for the basic meals. Plus even the staff was better skilled for fishing related activities so all the goodies were made by the village goldsmith's wife. Yes Kolis were a tribe and yet so evolved, our women were working and heading businesses since generations. A Koli woman was expected to know only the basic cooking to run a home and the rest was always delegated.


So finally here is the recipe of the Daar Paanache Bhajji


Ingredients 
10 Daar bhaaji leaves
1/2 cup besan/ chickpea flour
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon rice flour
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon carom seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Enough water to thin the batter.
Oil to fry

First wash clean and drain the leaves. Dab them with a towel to remove all moisture.

Now make batter with besan, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, rice flour and carom seeds. Make it to a consistency that coats the leaf evenly yet is thin enough to let the leaf see thru. It should be gossamer is what I mean. Thick coats leave the leaf soggy inside. The only way to get a crunchy crisp  leaf is to coat it perfectly which lets it fry well thru and thru.

Deep fry in smoking hot oil till crunchy crisp.

Take a bite when it's fresh and hot. Serve instantly as a start to a meal or with your evening Chaha. Enjoy the rare indulgence of the deep fried, that's what my Grandma would have surely said but for her children this bhajji is about Shravani Somvar and never demand it any other time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Changing Of The Sacred Thread


Don't be surprised. No Kolis don't wear sacred threads. Kolis are a tribe and therefore outside the caste system as per the ancient scriptures. 

My father has a fascination for rituals and is very religious. He was brought up in a different era so he always looked up to the Brahmins. I must mention deliberately our generation does not care a damn about the caste system, especially in Mumbai but it is definitely prevalent in other parts of India and is practiced even now.

Dad is friends with a Brahmin who is a practicing priest. He gifted my Dad the scared thread for the first time about a decade or more ago. Dad is like Eklavya and has learnt to perform some complex rituals, he does Rudra every single day. For Ganapati pujas he does Atharvashirsha. He also performs the Pavman on the important days in the life of our Guru Brahmachaitanya Gondavalekar Maharaj. This priest knew about my Dad's keenness in following Vedic rituals so he encouraged my Dad to wear a scared thread. Dad does the rituals only for himself and family and has performed on a rare instance for friends.

The sacred thread is symbolic of purity in thought, word and deed expected from the wearer. Any one who pursues knowledge and the Vedas can wear it. Anyone who pursued knowledge was called a Brahmin in the ancient times so the sacred thread came to be a mark of the caste in the later eras too when pursuing knowledge is not the only thing they do. Certain other castes adopted this practice. The initiation of a boy into the path of knowledge is celebrated with a ritual of Upanayana when he first wears a scared thread across his torso from left shoulder to right flank. Following the Upanayana the boy gets permission to do Sandhyavandana and Chanting Gayatri mantra. He has to practice this every single day. Obviously the sacred thread gets worn out and needs a change.

Shravan is the most auspicious month for the Hindus and the NarLi Pournima is designated as the day for changing the scared thread and renewing the vows of pursuing knowledge. Infact the scared thread is also called Shravani to distinguish it from a change at any other time.

This is only a decade old tradition in the family and only Dad follows it. I find it quite funny why Dad started this new tradition that will end with him.

What will be preserved I am hoping by my family and future generation are the traditions of Kolis. We are Koli and my bro S without fail offered a coconut to the sea, thanking the Gods for toning down the ferocious waters which are characteristic of monsoons and now the brotherhood can go out to the sea for fishing safely.

Here are my old posts on NaraLi Pournima and the specialities we Kolis make on the day.


NaraLi Bhaat


Chaurichi Karanji

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Choco Rocco Cookies


The first batch where the chocolate got melted a bit in the dough while kneading with the hooks on.

The second batch in which I mixed the chopped chocolate with a spatula.

I've eaten a lot of the wooden chocochip cookies that you get in packets. The chocolate in it won't melt even in a desert. I wanted to make choco chip cookies with a nice fudgy chocolate in every bite. After all these were to be sent to dear friend 1100kms from where I live.

I won't say how good they were. Figure it out, make them. I immediately made a huge second batch for my trip and packed some off for my nephew.

Ingredients

200gms maida/ all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter or 1/2 cup ghee
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup Demerara sugar
1/8 cup honey
4 tablespoons curd
1 cup Chopped dark chocolate.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl whip up the butter and sugars. Then cream it with honey and curd. Now mix the maida, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl and then using the dough hooks knead the flour with the wet mix. Tip off the chopped chocolate into the dough and mix a bit to distribute into the dough. The first batch is darker because I put the chopped chocolate and used the hooks to mix them into the dough so a bit of chocolate melted in the dough.



With the tablespoon scoop out medium sized cookies. It should give you 40 medium cookies. I made large cookies and small cookies. Got about 8 big ones and 24 small ones.

Here is the second batch


Bake them until top of the cookie is golden. Gets done in about 20 mins at 180 deg Celsius in convection mode.

Like I mentioned before the cookies are soft inside with large choco roccos fudgy, at room temp but if kept in the fridge they are a little firmed up. Me and my family love them either way.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Nagpanchami in Thal

Mixed boiled beans a Nagpanchami special in Thal which after naivedya are made into a usal.

Last Sunday was Nagpanchami, I had almost forgotten it as I was on my way to Thal. In the village where ever I went I was welcomed with Undre/ Modak and mixed boiled beans.

On the fifth day of Shravan the snakes are worshipped in Hinduism. The snakes control rats from proliferating and destroying crops hence they are paid respect. It is a practice to do a small puja and offer milk and other offering to a snake. Villagers pray to the snake that we will offer you once in a while some offerings but don't show yourself to us. 

Unlike the cities where snakes are brought packed in baskets from the villages by snake charmers in an attempt to earn a buck by letting people offer milk to it. In the village the offering to a snake are left near the holes where a snake is known to reside  or it is left simply somewhere in the yard around the homes for the snake to feast at its convenience and freedom. City dwellers like us should discourage the snake charmers by not giving them money and telling them not to catch snakes and not to bring them to the city, where they get killed due to bad handling and being pulled out from their natural habitat.

On Sunday someone spotted a snake in the rocks on the seashore and spread the word. Everyone was warned to be careful. Also the poor snake survived because it was Nagpanchami else it would have been killed.

In the evening I was served food by my gracious cousins. This was a Shravani meal and so was served on a Dinda leaf and not the usual banana leaf or patravaLi. I am not sure what Dinda is called in English neither do I know the botanical name. However to describe it, a thick, large, dicot leaf it is. 

After the meal I went for a long walk along the seashore sans my iPad so no pictures of the beach but I realised that it was a good idea to leave it behind for it turned out to be a surreal experience. When you are on the seashore at dusk after sun down all you see is the Arabian Sea on one side and the palms, screw pine and conifers on the other side. You see the ferocious waves lapping and the sounds cut your thoughts and you want to sing along to the tunes of nature. The clouds were dark and I could see the rain approaching from sea as the Khanderi and Undheri forts became hazy. It was a light drizzle that livened my spirit, I increased the speed of my footsteps homewards and sang to the music of the rain, the waves, Garjata Barsat Sawan Ayo Re ~ ~ ~


Some scenes from Thal that are so Shravan Maasi.



A pile of wood collected during summer to be used in the monsoons.
Overgrowths surround homes, women relax and it's an unhurried pace of life as the fishing is closed in this season.
The chool gets moved from the seafacing backyard to the OTi, it is just impossible to light a fire in the backyard with gushing winds.
Nirmal Tai posing with my newest nephew.
Ghana Barse~ ~ Shravani clouds laden and low.
New boat waiting to meet the sea after Narali Pournima.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Importance of Guruvar

Thursday is dedicated to the planet Guru or Brahaspati. The planet is associated with the Guru of the Devas in Hindu mythology, he the chief priest Brahaspati. He is worshiped for good luck.

This day is also the day of  Dattatreya or Datta Guru. In my family my grandma worshipped him and so we inherited the worship. My Aai was passed on her Vrat, it's a tradition where the senior lady in the family if is unable to continue fasting hands over the tradition to a junior family member.

My mom would wake up in the morning have head bath and do some reading about Datta Guru before going about her usual routine. Thursdays in Shravan was always special, even though it is not  part of the Shravan fasting tradition. She would cook the fasting meal of either Sabudana Khichadi or Bhagar (samo seeds) and peanuts curry. On all other Thursdays through out the year it was just Doodhatli Poli with Banana.

I remember my mother doing Guru charitra parayan some times. My uncle MJK and Aruna Kaki have done several parayans after having bath and sitting with wet clothes till the reading is complete. It is a very difficult form of penance in the modern day. Doing a parayan in a single day itself is an overwhelming task and that too with wet clothes! So you know why I have not gone that way.

Though I enjoy doing all the Upvas and cooking food related to the Upvas, I am hardly a religious person. I might be spiritual though.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Three Techniques For Cooking Samo Seeds Or Vari



Samo seeds or Foxtail millet or Vari is a largely popular seed consumed as replacement for rice during fasting days. We are past the first Shravani Somvar and Shanivar and so here I am publishing this post while it is still useful thru the month long fasting.

In Marathi the uncooked seeds are called Vari and the dehusked, cooked version is called Bhagar. It is also known by the name Vari cha bhaat.

The seed has a yellowish golden husk which is removed and the white gritty Samo seeds are cooked in water. The cooked samo seeds when fluffed look alike to semolina.

I like to cook my samo seeds with bits of potato but you can cook without them.

What prompted me to write this post is queries from family if samo could be cooked in any other way than the traditional 20 min cooking over a gas stove. Some trick to cut time for someone rushing to office after cooking the regular meal for a family and her fasting meal plus packing it for lunch. You see every minute counts in Mumbai.

So here you go you superwoman who juggles so many responsibilities in a day and yet follows traditions with new outlook.

Method 1:Gas stove top cooking

Heat pan. Add 1 teaspoon ghee. Once molten add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and chopped green chili or two. Optionally add diced potato to it. Anything with potato tastes good and its also permitted for fasts. Wash 1 cup of samo seeds. Put the washed seeds into the pan. Coat well with the ghee and cumin seeds. Add the salt and then top up with water. For Gas stove top cooking I use a 1:3 samo seeds to water ratio. Cover and cook till done. The well cooked seed is plump and translucently pale. If the grain is still white it means it is uncooked. Press grain between thumb and first finger to check if cooked thru. This would take about 20 mins to cook well.  See the first picture of Gas stove top cooked Samo seeds.

Method 2:Cooking in the pressure cooker: 

Make the tadka like above. Then add the washed foxtail millet. Top up with 2 times the water and salt. Close the pressure cooker lid and allow just 1 single whistle. Switch off heat. Cool completely. This should take about 10 mins. When I pressure cooked it I added a handful of peanut powder to the rice before fluffing it. This gives a lovely nutty flavor to the rice.


Method 3: Microwave cooking:

In a MW safe dish add ghee, chopped green chilies and cumin in the same proportion as mentioned above. Zap the tadka in the MW for 30 secs. Add the washed samo seeds. Mix well. Add water about 2 times of the Vari and salt. Cook in splurts of 2 mins, stir and put it back. In all cook for 7 mins with covered lid. Again here I added some peanut powder for taste after cooking.


Always fluff up the cooked Bhagar or Vari cha bhaat before serving.

Over the weekend I was in Thal and I have some pics to share and narrate how Nagpanchami is celebrated there. Do come back. I encourage you to share your stories of Shravan too.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shravani Shanivar


Photo credit: Abhay Inamdar taken at Shani Mandir, Gondavale

Saturdays in the month of Shravan are designated as important days for fasting. Shanivar is the day of Lord Shani. The planet that represents Shani is Saturn. All the mistakes man makes or if somethings go wrong in life one can safely blame it on this God. Hinduism plays on psychology and allows one to unburden and also encourages very positively to let one take control of ones life in these simple steps which are symbolic and these techniques work!
  1. Detoxify by fasting
  2. Worship The Lord Shani
  3. Lead a fresh new life
It is believed that if The Lord Shani casts his Vakra nazar that is if he is cross with you then you suffer in life. So if there are legends and if there are believers there is also a solution provided for cleansing.

So how do you worship The Lord. 

  • Visit the Shani temple.
  • Offer oil to The Lord Shani : The oil is poured on the idol it is believed to cool him.
  • A few whole udid seeds are added to the oil. As black is associated with warding off evil.
  • Black clothes are worn on this day for the same reason.
As for fasting pattern as is prescribed for Shravan, solid food is not consumed from Dawn to Dusk. Liquids can be consumed. After dusk a full meal can be had. In most homes a Shravani meal is special and therefore elaborate.

Many people are unable to do the strict dawn to dusk fasting and therefore have Faral or light eats which are foods different from daily consumed ones, like Samo seeds, Sago, Rajgira etc.

Today is the first Shravani Shanivar, are you fasting? If you are looking for ideas for Feasting as you Fast, I have a label Upvas for you.

In the upcoming post I shall present "Three techniques for cooking Samo seeds or Bhagar". Don't miss it.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Shachi's Shravani Memories



If you like this. Go like Shachi

Shachi, to us was our Head girl's little sis in school. Like her name she was this beautiful girl, just like Goddess Indrani. Infact I remember learning Lord Indra's wife name because of Shachi's. If you ask any Annite they would have expected Shachi to follow in her father's footsteps into IAS, we knew her as the younger daughter of the Municipal Commissioner in the years well after school. Then one day she commented here


There was a gap, like it happens with schoolmates who were a batch before and after. Then one day, I was amazed by a sketch on FB. It was vivid and child like innocence reflected in it. The detailing blew me away. A 'tap' later as I landed on the page, I was pleasantly surprised.


I found Shachi the artist! I connected up again with her. I love her work and thought you would love it too. So here she is writing about her not religious yet all the memories of Shravan and the happiness one associates with it. Though archetypal this is what makes Monsoon memories of true blue Mumbaikars. I am glad she is sharing one of her self portraits and memories with us here. Thanks Shachi!


What a good start to our Shravan Maasi Harsh Manasi event!

"I was asked by Anjali, to send her a little note/recipe that showed how I celebrate Shraavan Maasi rituals. I had to pause there for a bit and wonder…were there any rituals? I didn't know! My house was rather non-traditional and we didn't follow too many religious rituals. I tried to think back to the good old Mumbai monsoons. As a student at St. Anne's high school, monsoon rituals involved getting ready for school, making sure I DIDN'T wear my socks, but took them balled up in my bag…because even a mild Bombay rain means getting your socks wet as you walk through the puddles and splashes made by cars on your way to school. The smell of that intensely plastic raincoat…making you feel hot and muggy inside, but not really doing a great job of keeping you all dry. The horrible duck-feet like black rain shoes that I despised, because they never fit my very narrow feet. Getting to the class room and defeating the purpose of carrying dry socks, by wiping your wet feet with them before putting them on! The wet umbrellas everywhere and the damp feel of wet sleeves and hemlines. But when it rained outside while class was on, it felt like some exciting adventure. Like we were marooned on a great ship with waves lashing the rocking boat. It was day-dreaming weather! It just didn't seem right to listen to the properties of Hydrochloric acid and crops grown in Gujarat.
The first rains of monsoon meant gathering up all the like minded pals from the building and going down to get wet wet wet! Then walking in the rain to Nariman Point, to have hot bhutta. Watching those red sparks glow and fly off the coal and waiting to get your turn for the perfect monsoon combination….dark clouds, rain, bhutta and great big waves crashing against those odd tetrapods near NCPA. EIther we could add in a garam cutting chai…or then just head home, giggling and gossiping, wet and happy. Then the rush to get home and dry off. Snuggle under a razai and re-read the gloomy romantic Wuthering Heights while waiting for mom to come out with kanda-bhaji, and chaha with aale (ginger)! I also loved bananas fried in the remaining batter. They were crisp on the outside and warm, sweet and soft on the inside.  
Monsoon in Bombay meant sitting in my balcony watching the soccer players on the football field get so muddy it was hard to tell who was in which team. Watching the huge rainclouds come slowly over the Taj, and move over to the High courts and Rajabai Tower. The gradual drizzle that got so thick, you could hardly see a few feet away from the building. The circle of light that shone from the street light, highlighting only the raindrops as they passed under. The majestic gulmohar trees welcoming the rain.  
Later of course there was the damp walk to Churchgate to get to work. The even muddier walk to Bandra station and the long wait in the line for a rickshaw. The need to sit in the middle of the rickshaw to avoid getting splashed by cars. My lovely cozy (because it was about 10 square feet) office, where we made hot chai from the electric kettle, accompanied by too many milk bikis to be good for us. The tiny ancient radio that played bhoole bisre geet…or Jeeturaj on FM, while we designed fun things for MTV. Walking back home from Churchgate late at night in the rain. Enjoying the solitude and getting a thrill every time, out of walking down a gulmohar shaded lane, past old art-deco buildings with names like Sunshine and Moonlight. Watching cheesy baarish songs on TV ('dekho jara dekho barkha ki lladi'…and 'rain is falling chhama chham chham'! and DDLJ with Kajol cavorting in her little skirt in the rain :D, along with the classics…Raj Kapoor and Nargis under an umbrella, 'Rim jhim gire saawan', with young brooding Amitabh Bacchan. 
I have no memories of religious rituals we enjoyed during the monsoons…but all these were my monsoon rituals, the memory of which still make me nostalgic, as I write from a hot desert far far away, where raindrops almost evaporate before they hit the ground and the rain is never hard enough or long enough to recreate those wonderful memories."
Shachi

We all follow our own Shravan maasi rituals like her when young. Of kanda bhajji, alyacha chaha, bhutta and snuggles under the blanket!

Then we are in a phase is life when we start becoming religious and start adoring those other rituals. Looking forward to hear from more of you what Shravan means to you and how it is celebrated in your homes. Do drop your comments here for Shachi.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Shravan Maasi Harsh Manasi!

This is the opening line of a very famous poem in Marathi. Indeed there is so much to feel happy in the month of Shravan. The month that is densely packed with festivals.

Today is Shravan Maas Shubharambha! The beginning of the auspicious month of Shravan. It's the month of observing abstinance, detoxifying, rituals and numerous festivals. Now that I am in Mumbai and I am experiencing the monsoon is in full swing, it's this time of the season that you see the play of sun and the clouds, as they hide and seek. It is the time of the year when everything is washed clean and lush green. You feel a certain purity in the air. I am flooded with memories from the past, of the women at home fasting, my uncle PJ not shaving, of visiting our favorite Shiv Mandirs on Mondays and Shani Mandirs on Saturdays. Of all the festivals Marathi and Gujarati that have been part of me in my growing up years. As a Marathi I celebrate most but I sorely miss Shitla Satam celebrations which were part of my growing up years in Fort. 

Every community has their own ways of celebration and there is always specific food associated with the rituals. I invite you to share how this month of Shravan is observed in your family. Send me your post at Annaparabrahma@gmail.com

I am keeping the rules simple.

1. Share how you observe the month in your family.
2. Share a special recipe that is made in this auspicious month. Include a picture.
3. You can post a parallel entry on your own blog and link to this event page.

All entries are welcome but unique entries will be published on Mondays and Saturdays as these are the specified fasting days for this month.

Celebrate the cheer this Shravan!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Light N Dark Chocolate Mousse


Chocolate mousse is a decadent treat for any time and any reason. This recipe is so easy peasy that there can be nothing quicker and indulgent than it. Some times you just need to have these kind of recipes on hand.

This dessert is simple but decadent. Such contradictory characteristics. We see it all the time in this world. 

There is a story in my Guru, Brahmachaitanya Gondavlekar Maharaj's biography, where a lady is sitting with a child in her lap and crying. A person comments, "Lady why are you crying? You have such a chubby baby". To which Shri Maharaj points out to look carefully. To notice that the child is not chubby but the child's body is swollen! Therefore the mother was crying.

People make judgements about others lives all the time based on incomplete information. Recently one of my friend commented that I have become a Maharani who requires to be trailed around by staff. This because my man Friday accompanies me for all my shopping and the kind gentleman carries all my huge bags. This friend is not someone who has known me for life but still good enough for 3-4 yrs. I did not clarify and kept to myself but just felt like saying it here as this is my ranting space. How easily we judge people and I do not want people to judge others wrongly. The fact is I am not allowed to lift too much weight as advised by the doctor. The markets like APMC where I do bulk grocery shopping is not pushcart friendly nor do they have shopping carts there as this is an old world market and not an a/c mall. Else I would have taken my own trolley even then. If my domestic help does not do stuff like carrying my bags for me I will never be able to indulge in the small pleasures of life like shopping. I don't owe clarification to anyone about my choices in life and that they should understand. Anyways moving on...

Well we had two birthdays back to back in the family, I had just made the Coffee Cake Inside Out and no one was in the mood for another cake. I made this epitome of contradictions simple yet delicious Chocolate mousse and filled up petite partyware and slipped it into my SIL's fridge while she was at work. She was thrilled to bits on seeing it when she returned home. 

When we sat down to enjoy it we found it extremely rich due to cream and obviously needed to be worked off after the indulgence. Next time I will fill  those glasses only halfway whether I make single layered or double layered mousse.

Ingredients
4 cups Amul fresh cream
200 gms Dark Chocolate
100 gms Milk chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons instant coffee
Chopped pistachios for garnish

Fluff the sugar and cream to stiffness and till all the sugar blends with the cream. Use an electric beater. Keep aside.

Microwave the dark chocolate for 40 secs in one bowl and the milk chocolate in another.

Divide the cream equally in the two chocolate bowls. Divide the coffee equally in the two bowls. Mix well to homogenise. That will give you the dark chocolate layer and the milk chocolate your light layer.



Fill petite serve ware first with dark layer and top with the light layer. Garnish with chopped pistachios. This recipe serves 8 very generous portions.

Chill is the fridge for atleast 2-3 hrs before serving. 

Serve with long spoons to dig into the deep layers and enjoy the licks!



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