Pistachio Truffles


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Hello folks,

As I mentioned it my last blog post, I will share another recipe from the left over Pista paan mithai. Here it is Pistachio Truffles. It is a good fusion dessert, quick and easy dessert.

What Is A Truffle?

Understandable: balls of ganache, coated classic-style, or enrobed in chocolate. Also understandable: squares of ganache. Modern truffles can be coated in peppercorns, sweet curry and paprika and can be enrobed in couverture. But they still have a commonality: balls, squares or other shapes, filled with ganache.

What Is Not A Truffle?

Anything else, including fruit cremes and other creme centers, whipped cream-filled chocolates, and any filled chocolate that isn’t filled with ganache.

Although my truffles are not gooey and soft, they have some nuts filled in the center, but they are dusted with pistachio powder and are round in shape. I decided to call it Pistachio truffles.

The ingredients mentioned below can easily result in 18-20 truffles.

Ingredients

For Pista truffles

  • Pistachios 2 cup
  • Milk Powder 1/2 cup
  • Corn flour -2 tsp
  • Powdered sugar -2 tbsp.
  • Edible green color 8-10 drops
  • Condensed milk -4 tbsp.
  • Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp

For Filling

  • 4 tbsp. pistachios, blanched, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp. almonds, blanched, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp. walnut, chopped
  • 8-10 drops Kewra essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) powder
  • a few saffron strands(optional)

For the outer covering/ dusting: Raw pista (fine) powder.

Method:

  • Place a small size pan over medium heat and add the shelled pista (pistachios) Roast the pista (pistachios) at medium low heat by continuously flipping so that they don’t get burn.
  • Let the pista cool down and then grind them in mixer to a fine powder. Sieve the powder to get rid of any bits of pista left.
  • Add the milk powder, sugar, cardamom powder and corn flour. Mix it well, add few drops of edible green food color. Add 1 tbsp. of condensed milk.
  • Mix it with hand, it will turn into crumbly texture, keep adding condensed milk 1 tbsp. at a time until you can form a dough. If not add little more condensed milk.
  • PS: Don’t knead the mixture too much else pista will release oil and it will be difficult to handle.
  • Chop the dry fruits and set aside.
  • Remove the shell of 8-10 pista and using a blender finely powder it. Keep it aside.
  • In a small pan take 2 tsp of butter or ghee (clarified butter) on low heat, add 3 tbsp. of condensed milk and stir it. Add chopped dry fruits, cardamom powder and kewra essence. Stir for 1 minute and turn off the heat.
  • PS: Do not cook the filling mixture for long time else it will get hard like rock. Now keep the filling mixture aside.
  • Divide the dough into small balls. You may decide on the size and modify. Since I was using the left overs from (Pista Paan Mithai), I divided into equal portion and scrapped just a little bit.
  • Before rolling the small dough into perfect rounds, add small amount of the filling mixture. This is to give it a Paan flavor and some texture as you bite into it. using your hands roll into perfect rounds. Pista should release enough oil so you won’t need ghee or oil to give it a smooth texture.
  • Make sure there is no coarse pieces int he finely powdered pista. Roll each truffle one by one with pista powder.
  •  Delicious Pistachio truffles are ready!!
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Pista Paan Mithai


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Hello everyone,

I am back after a long time. I was caught up amidst setting up the house, job and catching up with friends. As you all know setting up the house is not an easy job. It’s fun but same time tedious. I am done setting up my living room so far and next up is the kitchen and dining (area where I spend most time and enjoy every bit of it :P)

We recently celebrated Diwali on 29th Oct. Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period. Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, prepare sweets, snacks and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of fertility and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends.  Here’s a picture of us from Diwali night.

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So this Diwali I tried my hands on something more unique and out of my comfort zone. I am still amateur when it comes to making Indian sweets. This time I tried pista (pistachio) paan. As its name suggests, it comprises pista (pistachio) which is shaped in form of a paan. Pista barfi is rolled out evenly as a sheet and given a cone shape like paan then filled with dry fruits.

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Ingredients

Yields: 24 pieces.

For Pista Barfi

  • Pistachios 2 cup
  • Milk Powder 1/2 cup
  • Corn flour -2 tsp
  • Powdered sugar -2 tbsp.
  • Edible green color 8-10 drops
  • Condensed milk -4 tbsp.
  • Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp

For Filling

  • 4 tbsp. pistachios, blanched, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp. almonds, blanched, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp. walnut, chopped
  • 8-10 drops Kewra essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) powder
  • a few saffron strands(optional)

Decoration: Edible silver sheets

Method:

  • Place a small size pan over medium heat and add the shelled pista (pistachios) Roast the pista (pistachios) at medium low heat by continuously flipping so that they don’t get burn.
  • Let the pista cool down and then grind them in mixer to a fine powder. Sieve the powder to get rid of any bits of pista left.
  • Add the milk powder, sugar, cardamom powder and corn flour. Mix it well, add few drops of edible green food color. Add 1 tbsp. of condensed milk.
  • Mix it with hand, it will turn into crumbly texture, keep adding condensed milk 1 tbsp. at a time until you can form a dough. If not add little more condensed milk.
  • PS: Don’t knead the mixture too much else pista will release oil and it will be difficult to handle.
  • Chop the dry fruits and set aside.
  • In a small pan take 2 tsp of butter or ghee (clarified butter) on low heat, add 3 tbsp. of condensed milk and stir it. Add chopped dry fruits, cardamom powder and kewra essence. Stir for 1 minute and turn off the heat.
  • PS: Do not cook the filling mixture for long time else it will get hard like rock. Now keep the filling mixture aside.
  • Using the rolling-pin, roll out this dough in between 2 sheets of wax/ parchment paper until it is thin.
  • Cut squares pieces, you may roll again the scrap pieces or enjoy them as pista barfi. I created another pista dessert which I will share with you in my next post.
  • Join the opposite corner and then join the center to the other corner creating a cone. Fill the cones with the mixture and garnish with silver leaf. I did not have silver leaf at home and could not find it any of the Indian stores nearby.
  • Your home-made Pista paan mithai is ready to serve 🙂 Enjoy!!

Vegetarian Seekh Kebabs


 

Kebab is a broad term covering a wide variety of grilled meat dishes. Although often cooked on a skewer, many types of kebab are not. Kebab dishes can consist of cut up or ground meat or seafood, sometimes with vegetables; cooked on a skewer over a fire, or like a hamburger on a grill, baked in a pan in an oven, or as a stew.

Today I tried a vegetarian version of these lip smacking seekh kebabs that can be prepared at home.

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The vegetarian version is loaded with veggies, flavorful spices & cooked in not so authentic manner. I do not have a coal lighted barbecue/mini tandoor/sigree. 😦 I have it on my list of things to add and improve my kitchen 🙂

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      Ingredients

  • Potato -3
  • Carrot-2
  • Peas- 1/4 cup
  • Corn – 14 cup
  • Onion- 1
  • Green chilli- 4-5 (depends on taste)
  • Coriander – a little
  • Panut powder 3Tbsp
  • Mint -5-7 leaves
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 ½ tsp
  • Crushed dry red chilli – 1 Tbsp
  • Bread Crumbs – 1 bread
  • Roasted Besan/gram four – 6-8 Tbsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cumin Powder – 1½ tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili – 2 tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1½ tsp
  • Butter/ olive oil
    
     Method:
  • Boil and mash the potatoes.
  • Boil carrot, peas, corn in a microwave and then let it cool for 10 minutes before grinding it in a mixer, pulse the veggies until very finely chopped – kind of minced.
  • Add – onion, green chili, coriander, mint leaves and process it to a very fine mixture. You can add ginger and garlic to this mixture if you wish to use fresh paste vs. bottled ginger garlic paste.
  • Transfer all the contents  (potatoes, veggies, onion -ginger- garlic- corianer paste) into a mixing bowl.
  • Add 3 tbsp nut powder (I used raosted peanut powder) , cumin powder, kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice & salt to taste.
  • Using hands, mix all the ingredients together. Add the roasted besan, &  bread crumbs. Mix all ingredients making a dough kind of, if it is very sticky and has much moisture and not forming into dough, add more Roasted besan & Bread Crumbs.
  • After it starts turning into dough kind of mixture, let it rest for 10-15 minutes minimum.
  • Grabs small portion and start shaping into slight oblong shape. You may press the kebabs on the seekh/ skewers at this time or cook it and then put it on skewers. If you plan on putting the skewers now, dip your hands in water, and shape the seekh kebab in the skewer using your hands. Make sure the kebab mixture is nicely distributed over the seekh, thickness should be equal in all sides, otherwise it may fall while cooking.
  • Since I do not have  a coal lighted barbecue/mini tandoor/sigree, I decided to cook the kebabs over a chalni (sieve). I decided to cook 2 kebabs at a time in the chalni, so that its easy to turn them around. I did not use the skewers while cooking it. I inserted the skewers at the end before serving. Another tip: if you used skewers for cooking , please soak the skewers in water for 20 mins so that they don’t burn.FullSizeRender-2
  • Once you see the crisp reddish- black layer, take them out, spread some butter, sprinkle chaat masala and lemon juice and serve it hot.
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It is still possible to enjoy the soft veg seekh kebabs even without a tandoor at home. Hope you will give it a try!

Chilli Garlicky Mushroom


Sorry for not posting any recipes for so long! I am back and will try and be regular from now on. Watch out for my latest cooking!

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I recently tried this appetizer for a house party. It is quick, simple and easy to prepare. It turned out great and guests enjoyed it a lot.

      Ingredients:

  • 16 oz cleaned button mushrooms – stems removed (optional)
  • 10 cloves garlic – chopped/ minced in a mixer
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 3 dried chili – finely crushed
  • 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste, (you may also use garlic salt)

      Method:

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  • Place skillet or wok over high heat then add oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add garlic then saute for 1 minute (don’t burn the garlic).
  • Add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Serve warm
  • ENJOY!

SPINACH- PEAS CURRY


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Just bought fresh baby spinach from Costco over the weekend. I decided to make another spinach curry most popular in India. This curry is easy to cook, it’s totally vegan. This is another great recipe of people avoiding dairy products temporarily. Couple of tweaks using this same spinach curry- you may add potato/sweet potato/ corn/ paneer/tofu instead of peas. This curry can also be eaten without any toppings. The key ingredient for this recipe is spinach and peas. It is the easiest curry which can be prepared within 30 mins (15 min prep and 15 min cooking time).

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen peas or boiled fresh peas
  • 2 cup baby spinach, boiled, drained and cooled
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1-2 cloves on garlic – optional
  • 1-2 green chillies
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed chillies or chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 cup of water, approximately

Method:

  • Boil spinach leaves for 10 minutes in small amount of water.
  • Drain it and allow it to cool for some time.
  • If using fresh peas you will want to slightly boil it (5 -7 minutes in boiling water).
  • While the spinach is getting boiled, finely chop ½ onion and keep aside.
  • Roughly chop tomatoes green chilies, ginger and garlic.
  • Grind the cooled spinach along with the green chilies, tomato, onion, ginger and garlic to a fine paste and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add the cumin seeds, wait for it to crackle
  • Add the finely chopped onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until lightly brown on medium flame
  • Add the spinach paste to the above. Keep it on low flame- to avoid spluttering of spinach all around.
  • Add turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  • Simmer it for 10 minutes.
  • Add frozen peas or boiled fresh peas.
  • Finally add garam masala & chili powder
  • Add 1 cup of water (adjust as needed)
  • Cook for 5-7mins. Turn off the flame.

Cooking Tips:

  • Do not cover the spinach curry if you want a vibrant green color. (Since I covered it while cooking the color changed to olive green)
  • To reduce the bitterness of the spinach you may add a spoonful of plain yogurt. Tomato also helps, but in turn changes the vibrant green color.
  • A trick my mom shared with me and I am sharing with you folks- to avoid spinach to splutter all around, cook it over low medium flame, leave the ladle in the pan. This will ensure no to minimal spluttering.

Serve it with hot hulks/chapatti/rice. try this dish folks and leave me your comments.

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AAM KI LAUNJI (RAW MANGO CURRY)


Aam/Kairi Ki launji is another of my favorites. Kairi is another word for unripe green mangoes in India.My mom always cooks these in summer. She uses raw baby mangoes (Kairi).  You can use frozen raw mangoes (cut) or else use fresh raw mango. I like to use the fresh ones, because, they are more flavorful during the hot summer months.
The best thing, it can be eaten as a main dish and also can be added as a side.

Ingredients

  • 1 large raw mango
  • 1 tbsp olive oil/ any oil of your own choice
  • A pinch of hing/asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tea spoon turmeric powder –
  • 4 tbsp Sugar/honey (adjust if mangoes are not sweet)
  • Salt -according to the taste
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Water

Method

  • Wash the mangoes. Peel and cut into 2 inch pieces.
  • Boil the mangoes for 8-10 mins, strain and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add cumin seeds, methi, and fennel seeds into it.
  • Once the methi seeds are turning light brown in color, add hing to it.
  • Add the boiled mangoes and mix them well.
  • Add the spices: turmeric powder, salt. Mix them well
  • Add sugar and water and let it cook for 8-10 mins on low medium flame.
  • Once the mangoes are tender. Turn off the flame.
  • Ready to be served with Rice or paratha and chapatti.


Hope you like it!

VEGAN KEEMA SEEKH KEBABS


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Seekh Kebabs are a signature North Indian recipe which is all time crowd pleaser on special occasions. When people hear “Seekh kebabs” they are reminded of delicious, juicy kebabs made of minced meat of either lamb/chicken. They not only serve as a terrific appetizer but can also be served as a side dish to the main meal. Another, all time favorite starter is “Hare Bhara kebabs”. These are usually small circular patties made with spinach and potato. Hara Bhara kebabs are another mouth-watering appetizer spotted on restaurant menus in northern India.

Today, I have transfused the ” Kebabs” with “Hara Bhara kebabs” giving it a new twist. The recipe is adapted from FoodPunch. This is an easy, vegan, healthy recipe which can be tried with few key ingredients. This vegan appetizer has been made with goodness of peas, spinach, soya chunks and potato.

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Some of the folks might not be familiar with soya chunks; to clarify soya chunks are nuggets  made out of soy flour batter dried out in the sun. these can be used in dishes later. They are odourless and tasteless by themselves, presenting to every cook a blank canvas to paint on. The very fact that the boiled nuggets turn spongy, all ready to absorb any flavours you dunk them in, make them a delight to cook with. To soak the soya chunks, place the soya chunks in a deep bowl, add enough hot water so that the soya chunks are fully soaked in water. Cover and keep aside for 10-15 minutes or till they turn soft.

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Health Benefits of Soya Nugget
• Soya nuggets are rich in vitamins, minerals, isoflavones and lecithin, nutrients proven to help lower cholesterol, prevent cancer and loss of bone mass.
• Soya is strongly recommended for diabetics, expectant mothers, growing children, cardiac patients, weight-watchers and the aged.
• A 100 per cent vegetarian high quality protein source that does wonders for young and old.
• Especially great for growing children, as it provides critical vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein.
• Eating more high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soya nuggets helps to lose weight.
• Soya nuggets are one of the best non-fish sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
• Soy protein may provide positive results for people with high blood pressure.
• Soy protein is beneficial to women in post-menopausal years.
• Soya is low in fat and sodium, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup fresh/ frozen green peas
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup soaked soy granules
  • 2 small potato, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 2 green chillies
  • Ginger
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp dry coriander powder
  • 1/4th tsp black pepper powder
  • A pinch of garam masala
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (fine)
  • Salt to taste
  • Skewers

Method:

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  • Boil green peas with a little salt, drain and spread it on a towel to remove all excess water.
  • Boil Soya Chunks as described above. Squeeze the water out of soya chunks and shred them using your hand.
  • Boil the baby spinach leaves, squeeze out the water and churn it in a blender to make a thick paste.
  • Boil Potato, peel and mash it
  • Slit, de-seed and finely chop the green chillies
  • Finely chop a tbsp full of ginger and the coriander leaves.
  • In a mixing bowl add the mashed potato, shredded soya chunks, green peas and the spinach paste.
  • Add the chopped chillies, ginger and all the spices.
  • Then add the bread crumbs and mix it well.
  • Divide the mixture into 6-8 equal parts. Lightly grease your palm and press each part along the length of a skewer to make each kebab approx 5 inch in length.You may also give it any shape you would like.
  • Heat medium flat frying pan. Spray olive oil, place three kebabs and let it cook, rolling on all sides untill golden all around. Alternatively, you may choose to deep fry.Serve hot with our favorite green chutney and spicy tomato ketchup.

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Would love to hear back from you! Please tray and leave me your comments!!