Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake

Posted by Beyond Curries | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | , , , , , | 7 comments »



Christmas and even New Year is not complete without the traditional Fruit Cake. Back in India, during my school days, getting the plum cake for New Year's was a tradition in our house. My grandmother would also ask us to light candles on New Year's eve. Back then, we were living in a big single house. We had two other small houses in the same compound, which was rented out. So my friends from those families and myself would start lighting the candles throughout the entire compound around midnight. I really don't know what made my grandmother to do that, but we definitely enjoyed that very much because New Year's Eve was the only night in the year when I was allowed to stay up late night, chatting with friends and neighbors.

I have baked two other fruit cake recipes and they tasted almost like the one which we used to get in India. Recently I came across this eggless fruitcake recipe and the simplicity of the recipe and a request from my mother-in-law for a cake for Christmas made me try this one immediately. Mind it, this is not the traditional fruit cake, but just one of the different types of fruit cake. I have made minor changes to the recipe and the taste was very good. In fact, my husband told that this is the best cake I have ever baked.


Recipe: Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Makes: 12-15 servings
Shelf Life: 7-10 days
Recipe Source: RecipesIndian.com
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram

Ingredients:

Hot Water - 3/4 cup
Butter - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ground Nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
Mixed Spice - 1 teaspoon
Dried Mixed Fruit, chopped (I used store bought Tutti Fruiti) - 1 cup
Nuts, chopped (I used pecans) - 1 cup
Baking Soda - 1/2 teaspoon
Self Rising Flour - 2 cups

Special Equipments:

An oven
Cake pan

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Grease a pan of your choice. The original recipe mentions a 9x13 inch rectangle pan. I used a 10 inch spring form pan.
  2. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the flour and baking soda. Stir over medium heat until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow it cool slightly until lukewarm. Stir in the baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl sift the flour and make a well in the center. Pour the cooled fruit mixture into the flour and mix together until well combined. At this stage the batter is sort of thick, like loose chapathi dough.
  4. Spread the batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Dip the spatula in hot water to evenly spread the batter.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The baking time will vary according to the size of pan you are using. So consider that while setting the baking time.
  6. The baking time mentioned in the original recipe was 75 minutes for an 9x13 inch pan, which I think is not right. I don't think it will take 75 minutes for that pan.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack and cool completely.

Special Notes/Tips:

  • If you don't have self rising flour, here is an easy substitution for it. In a 1 cup measure, add 1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt (just a pinch) and fill the remaining cup with all purpose flour. Do the same for the other cup of self rising flour too.

  • I felt that the smell of the spices were overpowering on the day I baked the cake and it gradually reduced in the following days. So if you are not a spice fan, I would suggest baking this cake at least 1 or 2 days before you intend to serve it.


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Baking is nothing but measurements. It is an addiction I can say.

Personally I feel, all muffin recipes are easy only. You need to gather the dry and wet ingredients separately and mix it gently. Bake them immediately. When you follow some tips (which I learnt through my experience after reading and trying many muffin recipes) you will get a doomed one like you get in stores. They are too good when you add with dry fruits or fresh fruits. Very handy when it comes to packing.

I took Muscovado Sugar, also called barbado sugar or cane sugar (soft) in some places. They are moist and nutritious. These some points to be noted.



Banana Walnut Muffins


Recipe: Banana Walnut Muffins
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking/baking time: 18-20 minutes
Yields: 6 pieces (as shown in the picture)
Shelf Life: Will be fresh for a month in the fridge
Recipe Level: Easy

Recipe by: Viji





Ingredients:

½ cup of whole wheat flour
¼ cup of ground flax meal
¼ cup of almond meal
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts (I blanched them and removed the skin)

1 ripe banana
1 egg
¼ of low fat milk
3 tbsp melted butter
½ tsp vanilla

For toppings
2 tbsp of chopped walnuts
1 tsp of cane sugar
1 tbsp of butter






Procedure:

  1. Mix the toppings together and keep it aside.
  2. Preheat the oven at 200oC.
  3. Line the muffin tray with paper cups greased with butter.
  4. Take two bowls. Mix all the dry ingredients well. I used to sieve the flours with baking powder and salt thrice. Then add sugar and walnuts and keep it ready.
  5. In another bowl mash the banana with a hand blender or potato masher. Leaving small chunks will add taste. Add the slightly beaten egg first. Then add milk, melted butter and vanilla, mix well. (I took one small banana or ½ of big banana. Too much banana in a muffins makes it too moist. I don’t prefer that).
  6. In the dry ingredients bowl make a well and add the wet ingredients. Mix gently with minimum strokes.
  7. Scoop this to greased muffin cups. If you want doomed ones fill just below the edge and sprinkle the toppings prepared already. Put the muffin tray on top rack of your oven. After 5 minutes reduce the heat to 170oC and bake for another 20 minutes. You can test it by inserting a knife or chopstick. Once it is done, remove the tray and serve warm with a glass of home made fresh orange juice.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • Muffins are normally baked in muffin tray. You can use it directly. But paper cups are quite convenient. Grease them well with melted butter.
  • Start with our all purpose flour/maida to be comfortable. Then you can combine with other flours to make it healthier.
  • Dry to liquid ratio is 2:1; I mean when dry ingredients are 2 cups your liquid ingredients must be atleast 1 cup (in total). It includes egg too.
  • Pre heat the oven at the maximum temperature (200oC). Once you keep the muffin tray reduce the heat to 170oC after 5 minutes. This will allow the muffin to raise.
  • Baking powder and baking sodas are chemical leaveners which help to raise the dough while baking by generating carbon dioxide. Baking soda is alkaline and it reacts with acids in the liquid ingredients even before we start baking. So if your batter doesn’t include acidic liquid content, then you can omit this. For example, if you add buttermilk or fruit juices you can add ¼ tsp of baking soda for a cup of flour.
  • Baking powder is a mixture of alkaline baking soda and acid. So it will react on its own when mixed with the liquid part of the batter. In my experience ¾ tsp of baking powder is enough for a cup of flour. You can go upto 1 tsp but not more than that.
  • Adding egg is optional but its protein gives nice structure to the end product in baking. Egg yolk is a natural emulsifier and smoothens the batter.
  • You can prepare healthy muffins by omitting the butter totally. I did it once with my apple muffins and they came out very well. But butter gives you the most moist cake and muffins. Its low melting point allows you to reduce the fat portion considerably with a rich taste. Oil doesn’t give the same flavour as butter and it can’t hold the air bubbles like butter. Shortening has got high melting point and it is best suitable for cookies by preventing them from spreading too much and give a crispy taste. Margarine is same like butter with low melting point but doesn’t give any flavor.

They are too tasty with all goodies. The wheat flour and cane sugar which is mild in sweetness and full of moisture is ideal for baking. Try sometime and let me know.


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Photobucket

Since we are celebrating Festive food at Beyond Curries this month (what else can you expect with Christmas and New Year knocking our doors) , its time to indulge and celebrate the festive spirit .

Today the focus is on Dal Pakwan, A typical Sindhi Breakfast, very very popular not only in Sindhi community but also among Non Sindhis residing in Sindhi Populated areas

The original inhabitants of ancient Sindh were believed to be aboriginal tribes speaking languages of the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BC. The ancient civilization centered around the towns whose modern names are Mohenjodaro and Harappa (both names are derived from the modern Sindhi language - the language of the Indus Valley Civilization remains undeciphered).(Wiki)

Originally belonging to Sindh (Pakistan), the Hindu Sindhis, migrated to India in huge numbers. Allotted the military camps to survive, with no food, no money, and no place or home of their own, our ancestors strive hard to survive. Away from home and away from family (many of family members were lost or separated in the riots and during migration) it was hard to retain family values, culture, art, food habits etc. The main focus was on earning bread and butter and finding some decent shelter, and amidst such chaos we almost lost our roots.


Today the young generation is unaware of our cultural heritage, our language, our rituals and the history of this ethnic group from Sindh, and that includes me too. Its hard to admit the fact that though good at spoken Sindhi, I still cannot read or write our mother tongue.


Things changed drastically post independence era in India, and with sheer hard work and persistence, our ancestors finally managed to prosper in adverse condition but not without giving up many of our traditional traits and rituals.


But some things remained unaffected and one such thing is love for food amongst Sindhis.
Almost synonym to Sindhi Food is the word Deep fried....yeah we love to fry our food(Oops I can see the raising eyebrows ) be the pakoras (Bhajji or deep fried gramflour dumplings) or Tikkis (Deep fried mashed potatoes).


And he/she cannot be a True Blooded Sindhi who hadn't yet tasted Dal Pakwan, a crispy fried Maida (All purpose flour) puri relished with mildly spiced, just cooked (not mashed) chanadal (bengal gram) with a dash of green chutney and a hint of sweet tamarind chutney. Ahh the taste!

This is a traditional breakfast dish made in Sindhi Homes during festivals or on special occasions or when a guest is supposed to be treated with authentic Sindhi Breakfast. A very heavy combination, this food keeps you filled for hours. Keep the calorie counting and Eat-only-healthy thoughts at bay for few moments and indulge straightaway!


Recipe: Dal Pakwan (Crisp Fried All purpose Flour Puris with Bengal Gram)
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Serves:4-5
Shelf Life: Pakwan stay crisp for 2-3 days if stored in airtight containers,while dal must be consumed within a day or two (only if refrigerated)
Recipe Level: Medium
Spice Level: Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka


Ingredients:

For Pakwan

3 cups All purpose flour(Maida)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/Ajwain (caraway)seeds
2-3 tbspn oil/Ghee (Ghee imparts authentic flavor and nice crispness)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder and /or Crushed Black pepper corns
Sufficient water to make a dough
Oil for deep frying

For Dal

250 gm chana dal (Husked Bengal Gram)
1 tsp cumin seeds
5-6 of curry leaves (karipatta)
One small tomato(optional)
5 green chillies
3 cups water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1-2 tspn oil


For Garnishing

1 finely chopped Onion

Few spoons of sweet tamarind/ sonth chutney

Green mint and coriander chutney

Coriander leaves

Mango powder

Garam masala powder

Note: Its not necessary that you need to garnish Dal with all the above ingredients.Use what you have.Just a dash of any chutney and some chopped onions are fine to add Zing.


Photobucket


Procedure:

For pakwan:

  1. Sift the flour.
  2. Add cumin seeds/Ajwain, salt and add Ghee/oil.Mix well till bit crumbly, and little water at a time to make a dough.
  3. Dough should not be too hard nor too soft, a stiff pliable dough is just perfect.
  4. Let the dough rest for 15 min.
  5. Later,divide the dough into 11-12 small portions.
  6. Roll out each portion like a chapati
  7. Prick the surface with fork/ knife,so that it don’t puff out(This is mandatory, do not skip this step or you will end up with fluffed soft puris)
  8. Heat the oil till smoking point ,Slide in the Pakwan and carefully fry it,on medium or low flame till it turns crisp and light golden in color. Drain on absorbent paper to get rid of excess oil.
  9. Serve with hot dal.


For Dal:

  1. Pick, rinse dal and soak it for an hour.
  2. Pour 1-2 tspn oil in a cooker and allow it to heat. Add cumin seeds,curry leaves and green chillies and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add grated tomato(optional) and fry it till cooked.
  4. Add dal, turmeric powder and salt.
  5. Add little water and close the lid of cooker
  6. Wait for Two whistles
  7. Open the lid,check the dal , it should be tender but not mushy.If not using tomato, add some tamarind extract at this stage.Mix well and cook for few minutes till flavors get mixed properly.
  8. While serving , sprinkle mango powder(Amchoor), chilly powder,coriander leaves and tamarind chutney and/or coriander chutney, and chopped onions
  9. Serve hot with crisp pakwans


Special Notes/Tips:

  • Make sure that the dough for pakwan is not too soft or else it wont be crisp
  • Always fry pakwan on medium to low heat(start with medium heat of flame and fry on low till crisp )
  • The Dal must be just cooked, so if you aren't sure of the pressure cooker you use, wait for one whistle, put off the gas, let the pressure subside, check if the dal is yet uncooked and accordingly either cook it more till one more whistle of cooker or let it simmer on low heat, without closing the lid , till dal becomes soft.



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Eggless Moong Dal Biscuits

Posted by Beyond Curries | Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | , , , , | 4 comments »



My trial with egg free baking or simply baking for that matter started with Indira's Banana Carrot Cake recipe about 2 years ago. Ever since I have baked a lot, but even now I can remember how good I felt that day when the cake turned out perfect. Actually I even remember the dress I was wearing that day. Yes, I was so crazy in love with baking. The success of that baking experiment kindled my interest for baking, especially egg free baking. I owe it to 2 other recipes too; Sunitha's Cumin Cookies and Pravs' Egg less Ghee Biscuits. I'm mentioning these recipes here because, if you are a novice baker or just interested in baking and don't know where to start, you could try one or all of these recipes to boost your confidence. These recipes are straight forward, purely vegetarian and taste awesome. These recipes are versatile too, in the sense, you can modify it a lot (of course keeping the measurements somewhat the same), by using different ingredients.

I have made so many substitutions in all these 3 recipes and each version gets better than the previous. For example in the carrot cake recipe, you could substitute grated zucchini and chocolate chips instead of grated carrots and raisins. For the cumin cookies, you could add equal amount of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour, some pepper powder and make it spicy cumin cookies. This time I decided to experiment with Pravs' Ghee Biscuit recipe. I had roasted moong dal flour at home. I thought why not use that instead of all purpose flour in the original recipe. I thought maybe it would taste like our Indian Mysore Pak but with less ghee; but it tasted just like our Moong Dal Laddus. One advantage of baking this laddu is that it uses less ghee than our traditional laddus.




Recipe: Eggless Moong Dal Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 15-20 depending upon the size
Shelf Life: A week
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Recipe Source: Pravs Eggless Ghee Biscuits
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram


Ingredients:

Roasted Moong Dal Flour - 1 and 3/4 cups
Granulated Sugar - 3/4 cup
Ghee, melted and cooled - 1/2 cup

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F/175C for 15 minutes. Grease a baking sheet with little ghee or non stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine together the roasted moong dal flour, sugar and ghee.
  3. Pinch lime sized dough, roll it in your palms and gently press it to flatten and place it on the greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 15-18 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let it cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the cooling rack.
  5. Once the cookies cool completely, store it in an airtight container.



Special Notes/Tips:

1. In the place I live I get roasted moong dal flour in Sri Lankan grocery stores. I'm not sure how this recipe would work with raw moong dal flour.


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Energy bars are handy snacks not only for kids but also for elders. When you make them healthy, it goes well with a cup of ginger or mint flavored tea. I could say this is nothing but our pori urundai which we make with jaggery. Here the binding agent is Marshmallows - combination of corn syrup, water and gelatin. Marshmallows are spongy in texture and easily available in stores in candy section. Try for your kids and they will love it. To make it colorful add some rainbow chocolate chips. To make it healthy add some dried fruits and nuts. The choice is endless.

Photobucket
Rice Crispies


Recipe: Rice Crispy Treats
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking/baking time: 5 minutes
Yields: 12 pieces (as show in the picture)
Shelf Life: Will be fresh for a month in the fridge
Recipe Level: Easy

Recipe by: Viji

Ingredients:
Butter 2 tbsp (I added regular butter and peanut butter 1 tbsp each)
Brown sugar 2 tbsp (or less if you prefer)
Honey 1 tbsp
Salt a pinch
Regular Marshmallows 25-30 (size as shown below)

Rice crispies 4 cups
Mini chocolate chips 3 tbsp
Rainbow chocolate chips 1/3 cup
Cherries few
Raisins 3 tbsp
Add nuts if you prefer

Special Utensils:
Grease a 9x9 square baking dish and keep it ready. If you prefer, line it with foil or butter paper.

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Procedure:
  1. Mix the rice crispies and chocolate chips, cherries and raisins evenly.
  2. In a big wok, melt the butter. Add sugar, honey, salt and marshmallows.
  3. Cook for few minutes on low flame till the marshmallows melt completely.
  4. Keep stirring. Once it is blended completely switch off the stove and add the rice crispies mixture and mix well gently.
  5. Press this in the greased baking dish. Slightly press the top. Let it cool.
  6. Cut and serve it with tea.
  7. No need to refrigerate.
  8. They are chewy and crispy.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • Since the marshmallows are the binding agent, you can’t reduce their quantity.
  • More marshmallows will give you chewy taste.
  • Correct quantity will will be enough to bind them.
  • Less will not bind the crispies at all.


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Vegan,Eggless,Fatfree,Pudding,Vegan dessert,Christmas

Christmas is all about joy, peace, good cheer and happiness. What else would be better than going vegan? Oh yes, better still if it is fat free, isn't it? The Christmas pudding featured here is my take on the "heavenly Christmas pudding" made by Aine McAteer especially for Oprah during her 'vegan life'. I have adapted it to suit my taste and also made it fat less. The final pudding however is as moist and flavourful as any other version and without any compromise on the texture. I would recommend that you use molasses if you can as it gives deeper colour than other sweeteners. I used maple syrup only because we do not get molasses in my area.

Here is how I made my vegan Chritmas pudding. I hope you will try this recipe for Christmas and enjoy it with your loved ones as much as we did. It is best made 2 weeks in advance and re-steamed on the day of serving. The fruits taste great if steeped for 2 days, so this does need some planning but the end result is worth the while!


Recipe: Vegan Christmas Pudding (Fatless and Eggless)
Prep Time: 10 min to mix the ingredients
Cooking Time: 5 hours of steaming
Serves: 5 generous slices
Shelf Life: Stays well for about a month and has to be steamed for 2hrs on Christmas Day before serving
Recipe Level: Easy
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients for marinating:

Brandy/Apple juice - 1/2 cup

1/4 cup - chopped almonds

1/4 cup - chopped walnuts

1/4 cup - black raisins

1/4 cup - kismis

1/4 cup - apricots (I used dried Turkish apricots)

1/4 cup - chopped cashewnuts

2tbsp each - chopped orange and lime peel

1 tbsp. - chopped crystallized ginger

1/8 cup - orange juice and 1 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh)

A dash of grated nutmeg, a stick of cinnamon, 2 cardamoms crushed, a half inch stick of vanilla (slitted and scraped)

A pinch of salt and half a cup of maple syrup

Other ingredients

1 cup All purpose flour / Maida

1 and 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup almond flour (I used almonds with skin)

1 cup soymilk or any other non-dairy milk

1/2tsp. baking soda

Special Utensils:

A 1/2 litre pudding basin

a bigger saucepan or cooker for steaming the pudding

An aluminum foil 2 inches larger than the mouth of the basin.

A twine to tie the foil

Vegan,Eggless,Fatfree,Pudding,Vegan dessert,Christmas

Procedure:


  1. Mix the ingredients listed under the marinade in a bowl and let the fruits and spices steep overnight in the brandy and juices. Transfer to the refrigerator for another day or two. You can replace the brandy with apple juice if you do not wish to use alcohol. It tastes great too but brandy heightens the taste of dried fruits apart from imparting flavour.
  2. When ready to prepare pudding, stir the flours and fresh, ground breadcrumbs with the soda well to distribute the soda evenly.
  3. Pour the steeped fruits and juice in a wide mixing bowl. Add the above flour mixture and soy milk. Mix well so that the fruits are evenly distributed in the moist flour. If the mixture looks too dry add 1/4 cup soymilk more. This will keep the pudding moist and do resist the temptation to add butter or oil at this stage. Just trust me!
  4. Grease the insides of the basin and pour the mixture. It should come upto 3/4 the height of the basin. This will give it some room to rise. If yours fills up use a larger greased basin.
  5. Next cover the mouth with the foil, fold the foil over the rim and tie securely with a twine so that no water escapes into the basin when steamed.
  6. Heat a large saucepan or cooker (I used this) with about 4 cups of water till it simmers. Reduce heat to lowest and place the basin in the center of the cooker. See that the simmering water should reach upto 3/4 the height of the basin and not more. If needed add more hot water on the sides.
  7. Close the saucepan or cooker with a tight fitting lid (not the cooker lid but a plain tight fitting plate). Steam for 4-5hours in very slow heat. After every hour check the height of the water around the basin and pour more hot water as necessary. Do not disturb the saucepan or cooker as water may splash inside the pudding.
  8. Remove after 4 hours and cool for 1/2 hour before opening the foil. Run a blunt knife around the rims and invert the pudding. Slice and serve with vanilla custard flavoured with cinnamon or with ice cream.
  9. It is best made a few weeks in advance and re-steamed for 2hours before serving.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • You may add 1/2 cup of coconut oil or vegan margarine if you want some amount of fat in the pudding though you will find it quite unnecessary.
  • Add any dried fruit such as cranberries or glace cherries. Even 1/4 cup of grated carrot adds taste.
  • Do not do away with the bread crumbs or almond flour. They yield a soft texture as compared to wholly all purpose flour.
  • For the cinnamon sauce, heat a cup of soymilk mixed with a tbsp. of cornflour, a tsp. of sugar and 1 vanilla pod slit. Keep stirring to get a smooth sauce and pour it around or over the slice of pudding.
  • You could also drizzle brandy over the inverted pudding and light it to burn the alcohol. This will give it a harder crust.
  • Sweetness may be adjusted according to taste. Mine is just sweet. You may add 1/4 cup more if you like puddings really sweet.
  • If your pudding has become soggy it is because the water has gone inside, so do be careful about the height of the water.
Wish you all a very merry vegan Christmas!

Sending this to "Food for 7 Stages of Life' event themed on 'Desserts and Ice creams', hosted by RV and Sudeshna


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Yes, its not at all an exaggerated statement, that Gajar ka Halwa rules the dynasty of Indian Desserts/Pudding. Each Indian family surely have at least one family member who will always go Ga-Ga over this Carrot Pudding , a Classical Sweet dish, which dominates most of the Food spreads during Marriages, celebrations, Get together etc.

Since this month we, at Beyond Curries, are celebrating Festival Food Theme, what will be more fitting than a bowl of warm , sweet, rich, delicious Gaajar Ka halwa, since Winters here in India , brings along bounty of Red Juicy carrots, so apt to turn into marvelous pudding.

A Word of caution...If you are one of those unlucky types who are unable to find Red juicy ones, go ahead with orange carrots available nearby, but be sure, the difference in the taste might upset you, if you know how the traditional Carrot halwa tastes.

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Recipe: Gaajar ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding)
Prep Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: Around 25-30 mins
Serves: 4-5 persons
Shelf Life: Could be refrigerated for a week, but then sweets made by using milk should be consumed as soon as possible.
Recipe Level: Medium
Spice Level: None..Its a sweet dessert :-)
Recipe/Post by: Alka



Ingredients:

Red juicy Carrots 1 Kg
Sugar 500 gms or less as per your taste
Milk 2-3 cups
Green cardamon(Choti elaichi) 4-5
Khus khus 2 tspn(optional)
Ghee or vegetable oil 2-4 tbspn (Depends upon your guts to indulge)
Cashewnuts (Roasted or raw) 10-12
Raisins 10-15
Almonds(Roasted or raw) 5-6

Special Utensils:

Thick bottomed pan or kadai or a nonstick pan( not actually recommended, but you can go ahead with this)


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Procedure:


  1. Wash, peel the carrots and grate them.
  2. Soak khuskhus in water, for few hours,then rinse 3 or 4 times with water with help of tea strainer.Drain properly.
  3. In a thick bottomed kadai, pour two to four tablespoon of ghee or oil, add khuskhus, and saute it for few seconds on medium flame,taking care not to burn the khuskhus.
  4. Add grated carrots and elaichi and saute again for few minutes,stirring continuously so that carrots don't turn brown.This might take anywhere between 4-7 minutes, depending upon the intensity of flame and the thickness of vessel. So trust your instincts.The need is to get a slight change in colour and texture of carrots, which , by now should resemble a partially cooked mass.
  5. Add 2-3 cups of milk and let it boil on low flame till the mixture is almost dry.The quantity of milk will decide the texture and richness of Halwa.More the milk, more the richness, softer(mushy) the halwa. Less milk will make halwa more visually appealing but less rich in taste.The choice is yours :-)
  6. Add sugar and mix it properly and continue to cook it till no more milk is visible.The halwa by now had dried up enough to give you a dry mixture of delicious carrots, milk and sugar. Can anything go wrong with this combination?
  7. Let the halwa cool down a bit (but warm enough) , then add chopped almonds, cashews and few raisins and serve it with love.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • Many prefer to use Khoya in addition of milk.But it too add up calories though the richness of taste enhances surely.
  • Addition of khuskhus is optional, though some like the crunch it imparts .
  • One can use raw dry fruits of dry roasted or even fried nuts .I preferred non roasted ones.
  • Generally Gajar ka halwa is served warm, but some people like to pair it with vanilla ice cream.Be experimental :-)


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Raspberries are very delicate but truly adorable for its color, texture and taste.

Cheese cake is everyone's favorite. But this one is different from our regular cheese cake and when I first came across this recipe in the net, could not resist from trying. The ingredients speaks of its texture. The butter and cheese combination complimented with raspberry preserve is a true delight. I followed this recipe and modified a little to my taste. The recipe is pretty straight forward and you won't go wrong.


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Fresh Raspberries


Recipe: Raspberry Cheese Coffee Cake
Preparation time: 30 minutes (includes preparing raspberry preserve)
Cooking/baking time: 35 - 40 minutes
Yields: 12 pieces (as shown the picture)
Shelf Life: Will be fresh for a week in the fridge
Recipe Level: Intermediate
Recipe by: Viji

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar (you can go up to 1 cup)
50 gms butter room temperature
2 eggs room temperature
1/4 cup milk

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar

Special Utensils:
A square pan 8 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 2"


Photobucket
Raspberry Cake

Procedure:
  1. Grease the pan generously with the butter
  2. Preheat the oven to 175 degree Celsius.
  3. In bowl mix the flour, baking powder, soda, vanilla well and keep aside.
  4. In another bowl beat the butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the cheese and beat well. Add the eggs - one at a time and beat well till they blend. Now add the flour and milk in alternatives. Mix well and scoop this into the greased pan and spread the top evenly.
  5. For preparing raspberry preserves
  6. Take equal portions of strawberry and raspberry and chop them into tiny bits. Measure it in a cup. You need to add 1/2 the quantity of brown sugar to it. Add 3 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of grated orange zest. Leave it for 3 hours. Then boil it till sauce consistency is reached. Cool and keep aside.
  7. Drop 5 tbsp of this preserve on top of the prepared cake batter. Mix/swirl with a spoon. I used only top layer. It is up to you.
  8. Bake it for 35 minutes and reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 10 minutes. Test and remove it from the oven. Let it cool. Slice and enjoy.


It is spongy, creamy, moist and the taste is simply superb.

Try and let me know.


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Photobucket

Kakinada Kaja

I always loved Kaja, a famous Andhra sweet that is made on all festival days. This is made at home on all important festivals. Though we make it different way, this deepavali we thought to make this other variety made in Kakinada, a city in Andhra. It came out quite well though we love our way of making kajas. Still this makes a good change.


Recipe: Kakinada Kaja
Prep Time: 1 hour and more
Resting Time for the dough - 1/2 hr
Makes: 100 pieces
Shelf Life: Can stay fresh for 10 days
Recipe Level: Expert/High
Recipe Inspiration/Source - My mother
Recipe/Post by: Srivalli


Ingredients:

1 Kg All Purpose flour/ Maida
200 gms Vanaspathi Dalda
Cooking Soda a pinch
1 & 1/2 kg Sugar
1 tbsp Maida for dusting
3 tsp Gram flour

Procedure:

For the dough:

  1. Shift Soda along with the flour in a wide bowl. Add the dalda, Gram flour and crumble well. Then slowly add water and knead to a pliable dough. It should be of medium softness and not to stiff. Knead till you get that smooth texture on the dough.
  2. Cover the dough a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 1/2 hour. Then knead again and divide to 6 equal size balls.

For the Sugar Syrup

  1. Meanwhile, have the sugar melting over a pan.
  2. Remove scrum if any, then bring it to a boil.
  3. Cook till you get a consistency of one thread.
  4. This you can confirm, by touching the syrup with your thumb and index finger, when you move, you will find one thread forming. Switch off the heat and cover with lid.

For Making the Kaja

  1. Roll the ball into string as you would do when making puris. You will get a thick rope. Refer Viji's poori post to know how the roll will look. Using a knife, cut into 1" thick pieces.
  2. Turn to the thick side and press straight into a Oblong shape.
  3. Heat a kadai with oil. Since the dough is mixed with Vanaspathi, it does not absorb much of oil. Once its hot, drop in the rolled out kajas gently and cook in sim. The entire batch has to be fried in sim, so add enough to cover the oil. Turn to the other side to cook evenly.
  4. Once they are done, drain the kajas and drop them into sugar syrup. Gently press in so that , it soaks the sugar. Let it soak for 2 - 5 mins, then remove and spread for it to cool.
  5. Fry all of them the same way and allow to cool before storing them. These normally stays good for about 7 - 10 days.

Photobucket


Special Notes/Tips:


  • You will end up with extra sugar syrup, which you can make into other sweets. Those will be featured soon.
  • Don't let it rest for more than half hour.
  • Refer the pictures for the shape of the kaja

This is different from the Kaja made from other states of Andhra.


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Vegan Pumpkin Kheer

Posted by Beyond Curries | Saturday, December 05, 2009 | , , , , , , , | 3 comments »

Growing up carrot kheer/payasam was quite regular in our house. Then a couple of years back my mother made a similar payasam using pumpkin instead of carrots. I think she came across the recipe in some magazine. The taste was so good that it became a regular too. Last week I tried a vegan version of it using soy milk and was surprised by the fact that it tasted as good as the kheer made with dairy milk.


Recipe: Vegan Pumpkin Kheer
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4 people
Shelf Life: 2-3 days in the refrigerator
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Puree - 1 cup
Soy Milk (I used So Good brand, Original) - 2 cups
Sugar - 1/3 to 1/2 cup (more or less according to your taste)
Saffron strands - 5 to 6
Cardamom Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cashews, broken into pieces - 1 tablespoon

Procedure:

  1. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and cut into small cubes with the skin. I use a pressure cooker to cook the pumpkin. Drop the pumpkin cubes and add water just to cover it and leave it for 1 whistle and switch off the stove. Once the pressure releases, take out the pumpkin, remove the skin (it will peel off easily) and blend it smooth in a blender. Alternatively, you can also peel the skin and then pressure cook it. The pumpkins can also be cooked in a microwave oven. Remove the skin cut into cubes or grate the pumpkin, place it in a microwave safe bowl with little water, cook it for 5-6 minutes and then blend it.
  2. Meanwhile in a saucepan bring the soy milk to a boil.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree to the milk and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Keep the stove in low heat otherwise the bottom of the saucepan will scorch. This mixture has to be heated until we don't get any raw smell from the pumpkin.
  4. In a small cup take the saffron strands and add few teaspoons of the hot milk and dissolve it with your fingers. Add this saffron mixture to the pumpkin milk. Heat the mixture for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Switch of the stove and add the sugar and cardamom powder. The sugar will melt in the heat itself. Just stir it with a ladle a couple of times. Taste the kheer and add sugar if necessary.
  6. Heat a small frying pan and dry roast the broken cashew pieces and add it to the kheer. Serve the kheer hot or cold.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • I would suggest making this vegan pumpkin kheer once you have found a brand of soy milk you like the most. I have found in my experience that each brand has a different taste and smell and at least I don't like all of them. I finally found this brand (So Good) which suits everybody's palate in my house. This soy milk had an interesting flavor which really enhanced the taste of the kheer.
  • I have tried making pumpkin kheer with store bought canned pumpkin puree and it did not come out well. The milk curdled immediately after adding the puree. I did not experiment this once again. So I'm not sure if it was just that once or it is always bound to happen with canned pumpkin puree.
  • You can also prepare this kheer with carrot puree, beet puree and ridge gourd puree. Yes, ridge gourd (beerakaya/peerkangai). I have tried all these 3 with dairy milk only. I pressure cook pumpkin, beets and carrot in 3 different vessels in one go itself. Puree them separately; store them in 1/2 cup measure plastic cups and freeze it for later use. Thaw it overnight to use it the next day. By preparing these purees ahead of time you can treat your kids with a variety of healthy and home made colorful beverage in no time.

This Vegan Pumpkin Kheer goes to this month's JFI - Saffron hosted by DK. JFI originally started by Indira.


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Anjeer or Vegan Fig Rolls

Posted by Sunshinemom | Thursday, December 03, 2009 | , , , , , , | 6 comments »

RAW vegan fig rolls

For the month of December we are going to focus on Festival Cooking!

This Diwali I made only vegan sweets and savouries, only I made them in small quantities. I tried and kept fat levels minimum as we end up consuming more than enough calories by just tasting our own preparations or having just a bite or two of what other friends share with us. The easiest option is therefore sweets made of dry fruits. Sweets prepared from dry fruits are generally rich in calories as ghee is invariably added to lend smoothness and milk for taste. They are however extremely beneficial for overall well being if consumed correctly.

Today's preparation is RAW, VEGAN and easy to make 'fig rolls'. I have not used refined sugar or fat as dry figs themselves have a higher sugar content than fresh ones. One does not need to stick to measurements while making this and I have found my own recipe for this just as you will. It is a perfect treat for those who are vegan or raw vegan as it is a good gifting idea and does not require any special skills.

The only thing that you have to be careful about is the quality of dry figs. There are various dry figs out in the market. Select ones that are easily bitten. Some are too dehydrated and even a knife will not cut them. The ones I used were not as soft as fresh figs but they could be folded easily and eaten without giving your jaws a cramp!


Recipe : Raw Vegan Fig Rolls
Time taken: 20 minutes including time to grind and chop
Yield: About 40 rolls
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients:
Dried figs - 200g
Finely chopped almonds with skin - about 30 almonds
Coarsely ground skinned almonds or pistachios - about 1/4 cup.

Procedure:
  1. Chop dried figs roughly and then blitz in a coffee grinder so that it becomes a little pasty. It will still feel granular due to the presence of seeds.
  2. Mix the chopped almonds into the ground figs and make little balls about 1/2 inch in diameter.
  3. Roll over ground almonds or pistachios and arrange in alternate layers.
  4. Alternately, you could press the ground mixture on a plate and cut it into desired shapes.



RAW,vegan sweets



Special Notes/Tips:
  • If you have a youngster around this make a great dish to get him/her involved.
  • Serving and gifting: Pack them in coloured foils as you would do with chocolates and gift, or place in mini muffin cups while serving at a gathering.
  • Substitutions and variations: If you would like a vegan version that is not raw you could dry roast the chopped almonds on very low heat till evenly done and aromatic. The resultant crunch gives it a more 'fruit and nut chocolate bar' feel.


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Saboot masoor ki dal or whole red lentil sauce by Harini P

Saboot masoor or whole red gram/lentils are native to North India and were not much favoured in the South until recent times possibly because of their unavailability earlier. While the split lentils are a bright orange, the whole grams are brownish and resemble kulith/kollu/horse gram. These lentils cook very fast and have a very creamy texture and a nutty flavour. To cook you need to add water so that it stands at least an inch above the lentils as they swell slightly once cooked. The internet does not have much information except for what I found at the Cook's thesaurus. The site informs that lentils du Puy (French) can be substituted for these in preparations.

The pictures below are to help you identify and differentiate these from the other common lentils used in Indian cooking.

saboot massor or whole orange lentils by Harini P
Whole orange lentils /Saboot Masoor

Red gram OR Masoor dal
Split orange lentils / Masoor dal

Recipe: Saboot masoor ki dal / Whole red lentil sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 1litre
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Low
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients:
Whole red lentils/saboot masoor - 200g.
Onions - 3/4 cup finely chopped
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup coarsely chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Fresh ground coriander powder - 1tsp.
Salt to taste

To temper
Oil (I recommend mustard oil/kachhi ghani) - 2 + 1 tablespoons divided
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Ginger (julienne) - 1tsp.
Garlic (Grated or minced) - 3 or 4 cloves
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Green chillies - 2 split lengthwise

To garnish:
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp.
Onion rings - few as desired
Vegan Lentils,vegan side dish,vegan dal,vegan lentil sauce,masoor dal

Procedure:
  1. Cook the lentils in enough water without salt and set aside. I do this in a pressure cooker along with rice.
  2. Heat 2 tbsps. oil in a pan. If using mustard oil heat the oil till smoking hot. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Heat again and proceed as with other oils. This is done to rid the pungent odour characteristic of mustard oil.
  3. Once hot enough add the chopped onions and saute till pink. Add the chopped tomato and a pinch of salt and fry letting the tomatoes sweat well. When the oil separates add the chilli powder, turmeric powder and the cooked lentils. Mix well first without adding more water to squash some of the lentils. Now add enough water to bring the dal to a saucy consistency or make it thinner if you intend to have it as a soup. Adjust the salt and add the coriander powder. Let the sauce simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small wok or seasoning wok. When hot add the tempering ingredients in the order listed above. When the green chillies change to a light green shade (1 second) pour the tempering over the sauce. Optionally garnish with raw onion rings.
  5. Serve with indian flatbread or rice. Even as a soup it is healthy and tasty. Makes a great dinner for the winters.


Special Notes/Tips:
  • I use mustard oil in Winters as it is said to generate warmth in the body. During other seasons I prefer sesame oil or sunflower oil.
  • It is good even if you omit the tomatoes.


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Methi, Chana Daal and Tofu Dry Curry

Posted by Beyond Curries | Thursday, November 26, 2009 | , , , , , | 2 comments »


Long time back I saw a recipe in a magazine which used methi and chana daal. If I think of it now, maybe that's the inspiration for this dry curry recipe. This is very easy to prepare and absolutely healthy too. Usually I prepare it with only methi and chana daal. Last week I got a sudden flash in my mind to use tofu also in the recipe. I tried it the very next day and was not disappointed at all. Everybody in my family loved it, even my 4 year old. This curry recipe uses only 6 ingredients excluding salt and the tempering, making it suitable for this month's theme in BC: Less is More.


Recipe: Methi, Chana Daal and Tofu Dry Curry
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 2-3 people
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Low
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram

Ingredients:

Fenugreek Leaves - 5 to 6 cups loosely packed
Onion, finely chopped - 1 medium size
Chana Daal - 1/2 cup
Tofu, extra firm, grated - Approximately 175gms
Garam Masala Powder - as per taste
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 teaspoon or as per taste
Salt - as per taste

For Tempering
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon

Procedure:

  1. First remove the tofu from the pack. Put it on 2 layers of kitchen towel or paper, cover it completely and place some weight on it to remove the excess water. Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes. After that grate the tofu in a grater.
  2. Meanwhile wash the chana daal and place it in a cooker and add enough water just to cover it and leave it for one whistle. The daal should not be in mashed consistency. It should be fully cooked but should retain its shape too.
  3. Remove the methi leaves from the stem, clean it with water, drain it and keep it aside.
  4. In a large skillet add the oil. Once it is hot, add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. Fry the onions. Adding a pinch of salt while the onion is cooking quickens the process.
  5. To this add the methi leaves and sautee it until it is cooked completely. You may add a pinch of sugar to reduce the bitterness. Add little water if necessary.
  6. Once the methi is cooked, add rest of the ingredients, from cooked chana daal to salt and combine it well. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your palate. This goes well with rotis or can be a meal by itself.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • I used 2 big bunch of methi leaves. The methi we get in US/Canada is very big and not as tender as the ones we get in India. So it takes extra time to cook. If you are not sure, just pop it in the microwave oven for 3-5 minutes and it should be good to go.
  • For the tofu, I got a pack which was 350gms and used half of it for this recipe. Actually there is no hard and fast rule about the quantity of tofu. You can add as much as you want.


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Do you have school going kids? Do you find it difficult to decide upon what to pack in their Lunchboxes that is not only healthy, non messy, good to taste, appetizing for your kid, easy to make, with no exotic ingredients needed to fix the dish. something that do not need to be packed carefully to avoid spills, something that tastes good even if cold (unlike maggie and noodles which turn in a hard mass after sometime).

I know many of you face the same dilemma every morning when you try to pack something different, something easy yet something that your kid will eat without making a face.

Bori is one such thing that I like to make for my kid for his short breaks at school. Readied in ten minutes, calling for only basic pantry ingredients like Wheat flour, oil and sugar, and absolutely loved by my kid, this one lands in my Kid's lunchbox very frequently.

And since this month we, at Beyond Curries, are following LESS IS MORE theme, with recipes that need six or less ingredients, this surely fits the bill...No??

Photobucket


Recipe: Bori (Crushed and sweetened Indian Flatbread)
Prep Time: 3-5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Serves: 2 kids or one adult
Shelf Life: One day
Recipe Level: Basic
Spice Level: Its sweet :-)
Recipe/Post by: Alka


Ingredients:

Wheat flour 2 cups
Pinch of salt
Oil 1 1/2 tbspn
Sugar 3 tspn (or as per taste)
Water to knead the flour
Oil 1 tsp for tempering


koki

Procedure:

  1. Mix wheat flour, pinch of salt and oil and knead a tight dough using some water.
  2. Divide the dough into two balls and roll each one in a thick flat bread.
  3. Cook each on griddle (tawa) , pour little oil while tossing and cook it on medium flame till small brown patches appear on both surfaces of this koki (flatbread). Repeat the procedure for second koki.
  4. While still hot crush it in some large bowl, crumbling in between your palms, till coarse mixture is obtained.
  5. Now add sugar, and temper it with a spoon full of hot oil.
  6. Serve with papad or pickle of your choice


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Capsicum Thokku (Green Pepper Pickle)

Posted by Beyond Curries | Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | , , , , | 7 comments »



It's been a long time since I took note of this Capsicum Pickle recipe from a Tamil Magazine. Finally I got a chance to make it last week. I was very skeptical about the taste but I need not have worried after all because it was very good. With minimal ingredients, simple procedure and excellent taste, this recipe is definitely a keepsake. It goes very well with idlis, dosais and even rice, especially curd rice.


Recipe: Capsicum Thokku (Green/Bell Pepper Pickle)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
Makes: 1/2 cup
Shelf Life: Upto a week in the refrigerator
Recipe Inspiration/Source: Aval Vikatan (Tamil Magazine)
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Medium
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram

Ingredients:
Capsicum, medium size - 2

To roast and powder
Fenugreek seeds - 1 teaspoon

To grind
Fenugreek powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida (Hing) - 1/4 teaspoon
Juice of 1 big lemon
Red chili powder - 1/2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - 1 teaspoon

To temper
Oil (preferably Sesame Oil) - 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon

Procedure:
  1. Wash the green peppers, remove the stalk and finely dice them.
  2. Heat a frying pan and toast the fenugreek seeds. Powder it once it is cool and set aside.
  3. In the same frying pan add the 3 tablespoons of oil and once it is hot add the mustard seeds. Now add the chopped peppers and a pinch of salt and sautee it until it is cooked well. Mine is an electric range and it took approximately 12 minutes.
  4. While the capsicum is cooking, in a blender grind together the ingredients listed. Save the extra fenugreek powder for later.
  5. Once the capsicum is cooked well add the ground paste and mix together. Let this cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  6. If you wish you can add another teaspoon of oil to the pickle before removing it from the stove top and mix it well.
  7. Transfer to a clean container which has a lid and close it when it has cooled completely.


Special Notes/Tips:
  • If you have some leftover fenugreek powder you can mix it with idli batter. You can also mix it in buttermilk and drink it. This is a good remedy for stomach related ailments and will also help to cool down the body.


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When less is more can one ignore the protein powerhouse in sprouts? Sprouts are nutritious and require very few ingredients to add taste. In fact, if you add too much you might end up taking away the nutrients.

In Maharashtra, sprouts form a very important part of food and are incorporated into various dishes such as usal or salads. Sprouted seeds are sold in our local markets in plenty and I find it very convenient to pick up my favourite combination of beans. If you do not have this facility it is very easy to sprout beans at home. Sprouted alfalfa or wheat are equally nutritious and do a lot for the skin and hair while they prevent cancer, heart diseases and ease menopausal problems as well as osteoarthritis.

The sprouts that is featured today is a local favourite that is not generally used or even heard of in most other parts of India. I really hope you find them in your locality because they are very tasty and have a delicate flavour that will send those taste buds into a frenzy! These are moth beans known as 'matki' locally.

vegan sprouts



Recipe: Moth beans Sprouts Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes including steaming time
Cooking Time: 5minutes
Makes: 2 level cups
Serves: 2
Shelf Life: Must be had fresh
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Low
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients:
1 cup moth/matki bean sprouts (or any other such as moong)
1tbsp finely chopped onions
1tbsp finely chopped tomatoes
1tsp. cumin seeds
1 green chilli slit lengthwise
1 garlic clove cut, minced or crushed
1" ginger, julienne
1tbsp. coriander leaves to garnish
1tsp. oil

Special Utensils:

A wide colander to sprout the seeds.

How to sprout beans at home?

  1. Soak the bean seeds in plenty of water for about 6 hours in case of smaller beans such as moth beans, moong beans etc. and about 8-10hours in case of large seeds such as chickpeas or dry peas.
  2. Rinse the soaked seeds and place in a sieve or colander. Germination depends on several external conditions such as humidity, sunlight and air. I usually keep the tray in the less lit corner of the kitchen and rinse the germinated sprouts once before allowing the roots to grow longer. The rinsing should be done very carefully as the roots being tender may break otherwise and no excess water should remain in the tray. If it is your first time you could use a cotton towel to line the tray as this will absorb the excess water. In our conditions sprouting takes place within 24 to 32 hours. If the seeds start letting out a slight odour throw them and start again. This will happen if the water has not drained out completely.
  3. Sprouts may be stored in the refrigerator and will not spoil for at least a week but they are best had fresh to gain nutrition.
  4. Procedure for salad:
  5. Steam the sprouts for about five minutes so that it turns soft but retains a bite.
Procedure:
  1. Heat oil, splutter cumin seeds and add garlic, ginger and green chillies. Saute till the green chillies change colour slightly.
  2. Add onions and saute till translucent. Add tomatoes and steamed sprouts. Adjust salt and pepper.
  3. Squeeze a dash of lime and have as it is or serve with rotis. Why not top a slice of bread?


Special Notes/Tips:

  • If using moong beans, you may go raw vegan. Just mix raw onions, tomatoes and sprouted beans. Adjust salt and garnish with ginger and green chillies. Squeeze lime and serve. Tastes equally good and makes a wonderful evening snack.
  • I sometimes add alfalfa sprouts to this after removing from fire and stir it well. This is the only way I can ensure that the goodness of alfalfa flows into our systems.
  • The raw vegan version with alfalfa makes a very refreshing appetizer if served in small portions in spoons or in wraps formed out of Chinese cabbage or bok choy/ pok choi leaves.


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All about Poha ~ Kanda Poha

Posted by Alka | Monday, November 09, 2009 | , , , , | 5 comments »

Poha or flattened rice is a very popular Breakfast in India. The easy to make and easy to digest Poha will always come to your rescue whenever you are in hurry to fix some quick and healthy breakfast .

Poha or Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is a de husked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids.

There are various recipes to use Poha in variety of ways.

As per Wiki here are some suggestions:

  • Chniré'r pulao :- A snack prepared by immersing the rice flakes in cold water, drying them, and then preparing pilaf-style with nuts, raisins, black pepper, green chillies, and salt and sugar to taste. This is very popular as a breakfast or evening dish in families, and may not be available in any stores or restaurants.
  • Chniré bheja :- Some flakes are immersed in a bowl of usually cold water, flavoured with lime juice, salt, sugar, and a little black pepper.
  • Bajeel Ogarne :- Here beaten rice is seasoned with mustard seeds, coconut oil, red chillies.
  • Beaten rice with curds :- Here beaten rice is soaked in water and then sieved. Curd is added with table salt, preferably eaten with mango or lemon pickle.
  • Kanda Pohe :- In this dish beaten rice is soaked and sieved. Small pieces of boiled potato, onion, mustard seeds, turmeric and red chilli are seasoned and mixed with beaten rice and served hot.
  • Dadpe Pohe :- Thin or medium beaten rice is mixed with fresh coconut, grated green mangoes, chili powder, and coriander. Then it is seasoned with salt and a tadka (fried mixture) of peanut oil, mustard seeds, turmeric and finely chopped onions.
  • Sweet Bajil ( Tipe Bajil in Tulu ):- Beaten rice is mixed with jaggery and grated coconut.]
  • Khara Bajeel :- The beaten rice is mixed with red chilli powder, salt and coconut. Sometimes seasoned.
  • Sajjige Bajeel : - Combination of upma and Khara bajeel.
  • Dhaiyya Phovu : - Combination of yogurt, sugar and phovu.

Today let's concentrate on Kanda(Onion) Poha and I am doubtful whether there could be any Indian who haven't tried this famous Maharashtrian dish.The piping hot kanda poha, garnished with fresh coriander leaves and some dash of lime juice, accompanied with some Farson (sev, papdi, bhujiya etc) or some crunchy papad is a nice way to start your day with .

kanda poha,batata poha



Recipe: Kanda Poha (Beaten rice flakes with onion)
Prep Time:
5 minutes
Cooking Time:15 -20 minutes
Serves: 2 people
Shelf Life: Tastes best when eaten piping hot
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Spice Level: Low to Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka


Ingredients: Poha 2 cups (beaten rice flakes... pick the thick one variety)
Onion 1 (cut in thin slices)
Curry leaves
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Green chillies 2
Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Oil 1 tbspn

Special Utensils:

Colander to drain the excess water from rinsed poha


Photobucket

Procedure:

  1. Pick, sieve and wash poha well, by either soaking in water for few seconds and then draining excess water by using colander or place the poha in colander and run water through it till water runs clear. Set it aside to drain and later add salt as per taste, mix gently with fork taking care not to break the flakes
  2. Peel and slice onion and chop green chillies
  3. Heat oil in Kadai or pan, add curry leaves and mustard seeds, allow it to splutter.
  4. Add sliced onion, and saute till tender but do not let the onion get browned.
  5. Now add green chillies,turmeric powder and finally salted poha and mix them gently.Cover the pan with lid.
  6. Cook on low flame for about 3-5 min.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  8. Serve hot with papad or thin sev or farsan of your choice.


kanda poha


Special Notes/Tips:

  • This is a basic Poha recipe, you can make it more nutritious, spicy, colourful and tasty by adding different vegetables .
  • For instance before, before adding sliced onion, add one peeled, sliced and salted potato, saute it for some time and then proceed with above given method. This is Oh-So-Popular Batata(potato) poha.
  • Adding shallow fried peanuts give the poha a nice crunchy twist.
  • You can also add a tomato, after potato and onion is cooked to give poha a tangy taste.
  • Chopped carrot and beans and boiled fresh peas when added to regular poha, not only make the poha more nutritious but also visually appealing due to lovely colours of vegetables.



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I am not sure if you had noticed it, but here in Beyond Curries we post on a theme. Finally starting this month, we decided we would announcement the theme to our dear readers, so that they know what they are going to get to read about.

Presenting you the theme for the November month theme, which is going to be "Less is More" Well most people when they think about Indian Cuisine tend to assume that many ingredients go into making a complete dish. Most times they are wrong. I don't deny the fact that yes, many of our dishes do require more than 6 ingredients. But hey we do have simple dishes too. Our goal is bring clarity to what forms Indian cooking. Of course it is not a simple task to be done away with. Trying to explain the plethora of what makes it will take all years together. But we will try!

In "Less is More", we are going to share recipes that are made with no more than 6 ingredients (salt and tadka ingredients are not counted)

I wanted to start this series with a sweet and a lovely one at that. Who wouldn't like Chocolate! Now that is not a question, but a statement. There aren't many people who can resist chocolate. On my part, the darker is more fanciful, the more bitter, it tastes better! Many a times, many such bitter things are scorned but not a bitter dark Chocolate, I am sure.

I love indianising anything and everything. Infact I can't say chocolate or cocoa is not part of Indian Cuisine. We are good at adapting right. So presenting to you on the theme Less is more, comes this delicious Chocolate Halwa! Given my addiction to halwas, it is only natural that I combine my two most loved ideas into one!

I know most would prefer to eat chocolate as such, yet here is another wonderful way to eat it!




Chocolate Halwa


Recipe: Chocolate Halwa
Prep Time: 15 - 20 min
Makes: 2 measuring cups
Shelf Life: Can be stored for a week in refrigerator
Recipe Level: Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Srivalli


Ingredients:

Condensed Milk - 400 gms
Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Butter - 50 gms
Roasted Nuts

Procedure:

  • Take all the ingredients in a thick bottomed pan, mix well to blend the cocoa into the condensed milk and get a lump less cocoa.
  • Meanwhile roast chopped nuts like cashew, Almond in ghee and keep aside.
  • Cook the condensed milk and cocoa mix over a medium flame, while you keep stirring it. After 5 mins, the mixture starts getting together.
  • Just then you can remove from flame, else you will get more solidified chocolate, which can be called burfi!
  • Remove to a bowl and garnish with roasted nuts.

Special Notes/Tips:

  1. I normally roast the nuts in the same pan that I am going to cook this halwa, to save on cleaning. Works out well too.
  2. This takes about 5- 7 mins of cooking time, if not less. As I said, if you want a thicker version, cook for few more mins, have a greased plate ready. Once its done, spread on the greased plate. Dip the knife in ghee or butter and make insertions. Once its cool, you can remove them as squares or bars to get chocolate burfi.
  3. I removed one stage before to land in a perfect halwa!
I must say, though all the halwas I have made till now turned out well, none can beat the chocolate halwa in taste and comfort!


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Orange Marmalade

Posted by Sia | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | , , , , , | 8 comments »

I love to prepare jams at home with seasonal fruits. That too if you prepare without pectin, it is totally guilt free. Use brown sugar if possible – I mean cane sugar which gives caramel taste to the jam. But it won’t go with all fruits. Jaggery – I tried – but not good for jams. Jams and marmalade are same group only. In Marmalade the zest is added and you will feel the fruit bites here and there.

Preparing marmalade at home is a real pleasure. The sweetness of the fruit and the bitterness of the zest – nothing is wasted here. Even the seeds are used for pectin. A very simple recipe here for BC reader. Kids will ask more and they will enjoy their breakfast bread with this without any fuss. I simplified the recipe to save time but the quality and taste is same like original one.

Orange Marmalade3
Orange Marmalade


Recipe: Orange Marmalade
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Yields: One 500 gms jar
Receipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Recipe/Post by: Viji
Ingredients:
2 cups cut orange segments (one lemon included)
2 cups fresh orange juice (one lemon included)
1 cup orange and lemon zest
2 cups sugar

Special Utensils:
Juicer
Dry bottle
Zest peeler
One microwave proof vessel


LemonOrange Zest
Orange zest for Orange Marmalade

Procedure:
  1. Wash the bottles with hot water, the lid also. Dry them naturally.
  2. Depends on the size and juicy nature of oranges you might need 6-8 to make the above quantity. You need 2 big lemons.
  3. Take 4 oranges and 1 lemon. Peel the zest with the peeler. Keep aside. Squeeze the juice and collect the seeds in a cheese cloth. This can be used instead of pectin.
  4. Take the rest of the 4 oranges and one lemon. Remove the skin and seeds . Cut them into bite sized cubes. Save the juice too.
  5. In a bowl, add the juice, cut fruits and sugar. Drop the seeds pack also. Leave it for 2-4 hours.
  6. Start cooking in MW high for 20-30 minutes. Till they settle. Remove the seeds bag and throw it. At the end stage, you might feel, it is still watery. But drop a spoon on a plate and keep it in the fridge to test the consistency. It will be sticky and thickened immediately. That’s the correct stage. Normally no spices are added to it.
  7. When it is cool enough, scoop it in the cleaned bottles and store. Simply delicious.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • Use juicy and sweet oranges.
  • Don’t use too much zest (skin).


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sago-kheer3
Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

I am one of those unfortunate people born without sweet tooth! I run a mile away when I am presented with a platter of sweets whenever we visit friends and family. And to add to that my better half dives into anything sweet at a drop of a hat! So he balances the lack of sugar in my life (pun intended ;)!

But there are times when I can’t suppress the cravings for something sweet once in ‘very rare’ blue moons. The craving gets so bad that I need to eat something sweet as soon as possible, and that is the time when I tie my apron and look for a recipe that doesn’t require too many ingredients or too much of my elbow grease! One such recipe that comes to my rescue is Sabudana Payasa/Kheer, one of my childhood favorites made using Pearl Tapioca.

The name tapioca is a word derived from tipi'óka, the name for this starch in Tupi. This Tupi word refers to the process by which the starch is made edible. However, as the word moved out of South America it came to refer to similar preparations made with other esculents. 'Tapioca' in Britain often refers to a milk pudding thickened with arrowroot, while in Asia the sap of the sago palm is often part of its preparation..

Pearl tapioca is similar to pearl sago, which is used in essentially the same ways. Consequently, tapioca may be called sago, and vice versa.

(Source: Wiki)

As a kid, I used to call this payasa as “KaNNu Payasa”. KaNNu in kannda means ‘eyes’. Yup, eyes payasa! Did you say gross? Well, kids have gross imagination and the sago pearls when soaked in water and cooked would turn to look like eye balls.

Coming back to the recipe of Sabudana Payasa/Kheer, it requires just a handful of ingredients and few minutes of your time. I made this last weekend for Deepavali celebrations and this is the first photographs of many to come from my new kitchen. So without taking much more of your time, let me give you simple instructions for making this delicious pudding which tastes best when served hot (my hubby’s preference) or chilled (that’s how I prefer).


sago-kheer4
Soaked Sabudana for Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

sago-kheer5
Cashews fried in Ghee


Recipe: Sabudana/Sago Payasa/Kheer (Tapioca Pearls Pudding)
Prep Time: 5 mins (excludes soaking time)
Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 5-7 People
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Serving Suggestion: Serve hot, warm or chilled as dessert
Recipe/Post by: Sia
Ingredients:
1 cup Sabudana/Sago/Tapioca Pearls
2½-3 cups Water
1 cup Whole Milk
1¼-1¾ cups Sugar
A Pinch of Saffron, crushed
5-6 Green Cardamoms, peeled and seeds crushed to powder
Few Cashews
1 tbsp Ghee/Clarified Butter


sago-kheer1
Sabudana Payasa/Kheer

Procedure:
  1. Take sago pearls in a bowl and rinse them with water till all the scum is washed away. Drain all the water and add another 2 cups of water and let it rest for at least 30 mins.
  2. Drain all the water from soaked sago pearls. Add about 2½-3 cups of water and cook sago pearls in medium flame till they are cooked and become transparent, about 15 minutes.
  3. Mix in milk and sugar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring in between, for another 5-7 minutes.
  4. While its cooking, heat ghee in a pan and add broken cashews to it. fry cashews to golden brown on medium flame, about 2-3 mins and keep them aside till needed.
  5. Add crushed saffron strands and cardamom powder and let the Payasam/Kheer come to a gentle boil, about 3-5 mins.
  6. Switch off the flame and mix in fried cashews. Serve it hot, warm or chilled and enjoy!

sago-kheer2
Sabudana Payasa/Kheer


Special Tip/Notes:
  • Kheer/Payasa becomes thick as the sago pearls absorb all water and milk as it cools down. So if you prefer your Kheer/Payasa to be little runny, add little more milk and gently heat it for a while.
  • Preferably use whole milk when making this Kheer/Payasam.
  • You can also fry little raisins along with cashews and add them.


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