Sunday, December 26, 2010

Choco Peanut Butter Frosting for Dry Fruit Cake

Everyone is baking cakes, cookies and muffins. There is merriment everywhere whether they are celebrating Christmas or no. My blog was quite as I din't do any of it. Then today I found this in the drafts. No this was not to celebrate Christmas but to celebrate the cravings of a mother to be.

I made a basic dry fruit cake like here excluding the chocolate layer: Polka Dots Cake For The BC Fighters 
The Frosting is something new. I don't like rich frosted cakes. So most times I make cakes with fruit puree frosting or serve with compote. Since this one was for a special treat I decided to make a Choco Peanut butter frosting. 


1 cup of pure peanut butter (Navadarshanam)
1/2 cup powder sugar
1/4 cup milk or cream
1/2 cup Cadbury's Cocoa powder

In a bowl add all ingredients and whisk till sugar dissolves. It is a lip smacking frosting. Pour it over a completely cooled cake.

I carried the frosting in a bottle and then dressed the cake just before cutting. The smile on the expectant mother's face was very rewarding.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Cheer for Everyone!!

Tonight, on the Christmas Eve,
Something makes me believe,                                                            
You get more, the more you give,
Happiness… So let's re-live,
Our moments… As we move on,
To step in a new horizon,
Let’s open our hearts,
To take a chance to re-start,
To share the love on our parts,
Just kick start and learn the art,
Don't expect…Just be there,
Show you care for your loved ones,
Show you're there, when they need...
Rise above caste and creed,
Rise above lust and greed,
And all that you disagreed,
Bring it on, be the light,
Make everything be alright,
So tonight, celebrate, Feel the joy, levitate,
As we wait… for the man,
With the white beard,
Riding sleigh pulled by reindeers,
He’ll be here… Three cheers!
So tonight, on the Christmas Eve,
What will you get, what will you give?

- By Nikhil Wange (musician+ more)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Jilebi Experiment

I used this recipe. I wanted to use what ever ingredients I had in the pantry for this experiment. I was not at all confident that Jilebi could be made so easily.

Though they turned out very crisp and was flat as the circles sat at the bottom of the frying pan, I still feel confident that I will improve my skills the next time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paneer Masala Sub Sandwich

Protein Packed Lunch

Last few weeks there was a conference to attend and some roaming around to be done between offices. Which meant I was eating out a lot. I did not have the slightest inclination to make lunch and carry along with me. On one such day I thought this Paneer Masala sub sandwich will be a quick thing to make and delicious treat for lunch. Packing it like a pro in a cling film added some glamor to this simply tasty sandwich, not that it needed it.

What I did was


2 sub breads
50 gms of paneer sliced into chunky strips
2 onions chopped rough
2 tomatoes quartered
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kitchen king masala
1 teaspoon coriander powder
salt to taste

Heat oil and crackle the mustard and cumin to fragrant stage. Fry the onion till pink. Turn on high heat and add the tomatoes. Fry till they meld in. Add the spice powder and salt, give a stir. Last add the paneer strips. Cook for 2-3 mins and put off  the heat. Cover and let all the flavors unify.

Now if you are eating right away slice through the middle and toast the sub breads. Fill them up will the Paneer masala. Take a bite or if its for lunch then pack it like I did in a cling film, twist the ends like a sweet so there is no leaking of the masala. Pack it in a carry bag with some tissue paper. You will need to wipe your mouth after the lipsmacking, won't you?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kacha KeLa ANi KeLphul

I have never cooked or tasted Oriya food, don't know how different it is from the Maharashtrian but this curry is inspired from here.

In Mumbai, in meat eating homes it is a tradition to bring home fresh Ladi-pav and Brun from the nearby bakery to celebrate a sunday with chicken / mutton curry. When we were still not a completely vegetarian family, 1/4 century ago, when Mom made the rare chicken curry in the afternoons it would be accompanied with rice roti and rice but in the evening, she would check with everyone naram pao or kadak pao? Then she'd total up and order me and my brother out sending us to the Irani Bakery. We would carry a big cloth bag for it and remind the guys at the bakery counter not to wrap the paos in paper. This kept them soft and sweat free.

Today's curry reminded me of those days. Now you will ask I should have gone down and bought some pao. The paos here are not authetic as in Mumbai but rather sweetish soft buns just shaped like pao. Next time I make this curry I am going to bake my own.

This curry is a worth the place of a sunday special. The tender vegetables are flavored robustly with the garlic, ginger and garam masala. The splash of lime make it finger licking fresh.

Here is the recipe.


1 cup segments of KeLphul / banana flower

1-2 cups Raw Banana, peeled and cubed
2 tomatoes chopped fine
2 small onions chopped fine
1 green chili
1/2 teaspoon garlic crushed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoon oil
salt to taste.
2 teaspoon lime juice

First clean the KeLphul. Open the calyx and separate the flowers. Remove the stigma as seen in the above picture. Wash and pat dry.

Heat oil. Fry the cumin seeds till fragrant. Add the bay leaf. Now add the fine chopped onions. Fry till reddish. Add the tomatoes and green chili. Follow in with all the spices, turmeric, Kanda lasun chatni, crushed ginger and garam masala. Fry on high heat till oil is released. Now add the raw banana cubes. Mash the banana flowers in the mortar and pestle so as to tenderize it but do not make a paste. It should be coarse. Add the mashed flowers to the gravy and stir well on high. Now add about a glass and a little more of water. Cover and cook till raw banana is cooked and soft. The gravy would have thickened a bit. Salt it and stir. Let it cook for another 5 mins and put off the heat. Cover and let it cool for 10-15 mins. Lastly add the lime juice and give it a stir. 

We enjoyed this curry with rotli but next time it will be pao! The vegetarians will like it for the heartiness. Just warning you meat eaters that this is not a Vashat curry at all, yet delicious all the way!

P.S: Thank God I did not make a Thoran with it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Khaja And Its Many Avatars

When I was a kid the only hotels rather eateries in Thal were Vilas's and that opposite the Marathi primary school. Nathuram, my grand aunt's brother doted over me and Neelam, we called him "Natya Baba". While our parents hated that he took us there to give us a treat, we actually enjoyed it. I had never tasted Khaja in Mumbai, so for me it had a special reference as a village sweet and vacations there.

This sweet was never ever tried at our home and I thought it must be a big deal to make it. Thanks to the blogging world we are preserving our heritage and rediscovering our sweet making skills as a society. Thank you generous Rak's for the Badusha tutorial. You inspired me to make it. Just the statement that "My mom makes very often,if some relatives visit us or if we were visiting them,then she will make this in a jiffy" got me going.

What is interesting is how this same recipe is used to make a sweet with different name in different states in India is interesting and each one shapes them uniquely. 

The Khaja is round doughnut like slightly smaller than a medu vada. It has a hole in the center and the sugar syrup coating is crystalline white. Here I have used the same sugar syrup for all the types though. Khaja is popular in the northern and central region of India.

The Tosha is oblong in shape and I learnt about it when we started frequenting Jhama's the Shindhi sweet specialists in Chembur.

Badusha was on the menu of most Thali meals in Blr at work and I'd wonder what it was. One fine day I did try it and exclaimed that it is Khaja of course from my childhood. Badusha is a little more pretty than the Khaja or Tosha when it is made with the frill like we do for the Karanji. The simpler or hurried Badusha is just a ball pressed like a peda with a small crater in the center.

By any name it is a sweet with mild sugar notes, laced with ghee layers. The crunchiness enscones the flaky yet soft insides. The clove tucked in it imparts a nice spice fragrance.


1.5 cups Maida/All purpose flour
1/4 cup Ghee
1/8 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1.5 teaspoon Curd
1/2 teaspoon Eno /fruit salt
(OR any leavening agent like 2 pinches soda bicarb or 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.)
1/4 cup Water
Oil for deep frying
For Syrup:
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 Water
1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powder
a squeeze of Lemon Juice

In a big bowl measure out the all purpose flour. Add the sugar and leavening agent, ghee and oil. Rub in the fat into the flour to get a crumble. Add the curd. Mix. Lastly add the water and knead the dough into a smooth ball. Keep aside till you get the syrup ready.

In a saucepan add sugar and water and boil till you get one string consistency syrup. Squeeze some lime to prevent crystallization of sugar. Finally put off the heat and mix in the ground cardamom powder.

Divide the dough into about a dozen balls. Flatten the ball into a disc and pinch the edges thiner between your thumb and first finger. Give it a nice frill like you do for a Karanji. Dress it up by inserting a clove in the center. Keep aside.

For the Tosha roll the ball into an oblong between your palms. Flatten the end by tapping on the counter.

The Khaja is the simplest flatten the dough ball and with you thumb make a hole in the middle.

If you just flatten into disc and create a slight depression in the center like a little crater it is a design for a simple Badusha.

Now take enough oil and heat on medium. Fry all the shapes on medium till golden and flaky. You will know its flaky as it will pop a crease on the surface.

Lastly dip it in the sugar syrup to glaze it. Remove one by one on a serving plate. Let it cool into a crunchy sweet and flaky delight inside.

I loved making this recipe and it lives up to the promise of cooking it up in a jiffy give it a try, you must!

Badusha goes to Blog Bites 9: The Holiday Buffet hosted by Nupur

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mogri nu Shaak

I would attribute my families love for trying new vegetables to our neighborhood Bora Bazaar in Fort, Mumbai as much as to our neighbors, the Rajputs.

Mogri was introduced to us by Kaki, on one of those days when the fresh vegetables were brought in Kavads by the Vasaikars. This was 25yrs ago. It is a rarity to see those scenes now in the midst of Mumbai. My Mom came home with a huge mound of beans. She was so excited and told us that they were not tender Farasbi/ French beans but Radish pods! Radish Pods we gasped! Had anyone seen Radish pods! 

I felt the same excitement and it was the same scene flash forward 25 yrs, in Total Mall, Blr. Me and Seema had lunch there and were shopping for green groceries. We spotted this really tender mound of beans. Both of us fascinated by its freshness and tenderness. On reading the name plate which said "Mungori" I almost exclaimed to her that these were indeed Mogri in Gujarati!

I picked carefully a 1/4 kg and stocked it up for a weekend meal. This recipe I am sharing here is my own though I did research for it on the net and found these two.

Moongre ki subzi A Mad Tea Party

I decided to do it my own way. Taking a clue from Anitha I decided to make it less oogra. I like new flavors but not strong ones. I was playing safe as I had no memory of the taste from the past.

So here is my intuitive twist. I just read that old comment on that post and may be Anita might find this twist a way to lure that anti oogra camp and actually win them over. 


1/4 kg Mogri
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 small potato
1 tablespoon roasted peanut powder
2 teaspoons grated dry coconut
handful of chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon oil

Heat oil in the wok. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Just as they crackle add the broken and  washed Mogri. The pungency of the Mogri will hit your nose. Then grate the small potato into nice shreds to compliment the beans and add to the wok. Add the Kanda Lasun chatni, turmeric powder. Cover and cook for a while. Sprinkle the salt and cover. Let it cook in the juices. The color of the beans gets denser on cooking. Once half done add the peanut powder and grate the dry coconut over it, about 2 teaspoons. Stir and mix. Let the Shaak cook for another 5 mins till the potato is cooked. Now mix in the cilantro. Switch of the heat. 

Meanwhile roll out thin rotlis and puff them up to perfection on the open flame. Serve hot with Mogri nu Shaak. I bet you are going to love it for its fresh flavors. What does it taste like? The texture is like mature spring onions, sharp taste yet masked a lot by the spicing and potato. The potato shreds go so well with the broken pods. My proportions are light but if you prefer more spice then up the amount of Kanda lasun chatni, we don't have a stomach for it.

This weekend I am experimenting with new ingredients and I am excited about sharing here, keep a watch. Happy weekend!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nellikayi Chitranna

Nellikayi Chitranna a wellness shot for the season
Amlaki/ Amla/ Avala/ Nellikayi/ Indian Gooseberry  is that potent fruit that is revered in Ayurved, that can be used for general wellness and also to cure many health problems. Incase you already know go ahead and try this recipe. If you don't loose your ignorance here.
I hate to go to the doctors and for small ailments I never do take treatment. Allopathy for me is a need only for acute illnesses and overnight cures. For chronic ailments my choice is Homeopathy and for wellness it is our own Ayurved and all allied sciences and therapies. I owe no loyalty to any single pathy. I choose the one most needed depending on the ailment, symptom and timeline I want it cured.

I am fortunate that I know my body pretty well and have been fortunate that my response to my body is careful and quick and have not gone to a doctor in years for treatment except for a recent full body check up. Also I do not trust doctors easily. In Blr I don't have a doctor at all, I have been here long enough and have been able to maintain my health purely on my observation of the reactions of my body and curing the  symptoms myself with a little knowledge of homeopathy that I have. 

Nellikayi Chitranna is a recipe for wellness especially for the winters. My way of making this special rice with Amla is using it raw. Raw is always better though Amla retains its goodness on cooking and preservations too. In Mumbai we either ate raw Amla or as supari or sometimes as a sherbet. Its only after coming to Blr I learnt you could include it in your cooking. So instead of popping pills for fever, cold and stuff that accompanies the cold season I have started making it a habit to make Nellikayi Chitranna once a week at our home. 

0.5 cup grated Amla
1 teaspoon urad dal
0.5 teaspoon mustard seeds
few curry leaves
1 teaspoon mashed ginger
2 green chilies or more
handful of cilantro
1 table spoon oil
1 cup raw rice
0.25 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ghee
salt to taste

First in a pressure cooker put the rice and wash it well. Now add the turmeric powder, salt and ghee, top up with 2.5 cups water . Close the lid and cook for 2 whistles. Let is cool. Pour out the rice into a big bowl and fluff it up with a fork. 
Then prepare the ogarane/ phodni/ tadka. In a tadka bowl heat the oil, fry the urad dal till golden, splutter the mustard seeds, add the curry leaves, green chili and ginger, finally add the grated gooseberry. Stir once and immediately pour this over the rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Mix well with a fork.

Serve it immediately or enjoy it later. It still tastes amazing. This raw grated Amla imparts it flavor, slightly bitter  at the tip of the tongue but a delayed sweet flavor in the back of your mouth is what the rice is all about. Enjoy and stay healthy with Nellikayi Chitranna or Gooseberry Fluffy rice if translated!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Rajasthani Gajak

Khaugiri you are right it is Rajasthani Gajak! Yay!! 

Rajasthani Gajak is not your chikki. It is as thin as paper and only a single layer of sesame seed embedded in the crystalized candied sugar! It is the elite class of Indian candy flavoured with cardamom powder and thin slices of nuts like almond and pista bejewelling it. Wonderful treat for the winter from the desert of Rajasthan and can be placed on an elevated place among desserts.

Ramya and Manasi  you are spot on, it is an ipod dock with a FM radio! 

You guessed it right!! Congrats to KhaugiriRamya and Manasi !!!

Thank you everyone for playing along.

On Trail