Coconut Sesame Laddoo

Posted by Srivalli | Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | , , , , | 3 comments »

Sesame Laddos are very versatile and most sought out in our home. I love these laddos and I have known Amma making these laddos during Vinayaka Chaturthi. As we have Vinayaka Chaturthi coming next week, I know I am going to enjoy these treats again.

Though we normally make these laddos with just plain Sesame seeds, Athamma makes it with Freshly grated Coconut too. So here is her version of Laddos



Ingredients Needed:

Black Sesame Seeds - 1 cup
Jaggary - 1 cup
Fresh Coconut, grated - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 tsp


Method to prepare:

If you have to wash the Sesame seeds, wash and let it drain in a colander. Then spread it over a cloth and allow it to dry in shade.

Powder the jaggary into a bits.

Then take the Black Sesame Seeds and Jaggary in mixer and pulse it to a fine powder.

Grate the coconut, fry in ghee. Remove and keep it aside.

When the sesame seeds have been ground to a course powder, pulse the fried Coconut along with sesame seeds for once.

Finally remove and shape into balls.


Store these in air tight containers for a week. These are very handy to make when you have excess coconut on hand.


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Mysore Pak

Posted by Srivalli | Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | , , , , , | 13 comments »

A must in our house during Diwali. My mom used to prepare almost every year. Her version will give porous mysore pak. Inside it will be like honey comb texture. She always comment that mysorepak should not be prepared like other burfis.

There are two methods of preparing it. One is porous and the other one what is called mysore pa. A soft one but melts in your mouth. Lately the second version is very popular in Krishna sweets and other shops. Even Aavin has started making this and available one piece in a small rectangle container. Nothing can beat the home made taste.

The sugar and ghee can’t be compromised in real mysore pas.

I prefer to use only three ingredients – gram flour, sugar and ghee. No spices.




Mysore Pak

Recipe: Mysore Pak
Recipe Level: Medium
Recipe/Post by: Viji


The traditional method is 1:3:3. For one cup of gram flour 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of ghee are added. No doubt this will yield porous mysore paks. In this method sugar is melted till one string consistency and flour and ghee are added in installment. To get the bright colour at the bottom, they will purposely leave the mass to brown a little bit at the bottom without stirring. These are professional tricks. Cooks used to follow this, as they have full control on the texture. Once it is spread for cooling it was not leveled to get the porous texture. For leveling they just shake the tray.

In the second method – mysore pa – you can reduce the sugar and ghee to some extent and prepare. For one cup of flour 2 ½ cups of sugar and 2 cups ghee are added. No syrup business here. Once the sugar is melted, add the flour immediately and keep stirring adding ghee in installment.

Before further ado, let us go back to the recipe.



Ingredients

1 cup fresh besan/gram/channa flour (Kadalai mavu)
2 ½ cups sugar
2 cups fresh home made ghee



Sieve the flour 2 times to aerate. I normally dry roast them for 2 minutes (only). This will make life easier while mixing with the syrup.

Prepare the ghee fresh. Filter it and keep it warm.

In a thick bottom vessel (preferably Uruli) take the sugar and add ¼ cup of water. Keep the stove low till the sugar melts. Now start adding the flour and mix well. Keep stirring by adding ghee in installment.

At one stage the mass will not stick to the vessel,and start raising. This is the correct stage. Remove and spread this on a greased plate. Press the top with a greased spatula or bottom of a flat cup. Sprinkle raw sugar on top. Cut them into desired shapes. This can be mouled too. As long as it is warm it will obey your order. So don’t worry. Cool and then serve.

It is soft and melts in mouth. I prefer this method to the porous one. No compromise on sugar or ghee as I said earlier. Rest everything is called besan burfi only. You can prepare it adding sugar and ghee of your choice.  If you want real mysorepa, these are the measurements.


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Festivals in India are incomplete without having family , friends or near and dear ones around, the elaborate menus in the home kitchens, the glittering shops loaded with tons of festival related food, attires, colourful decorative materials , bubbling, excited kids and most important the SWEETS...yeah, we generally relate sweets with festivals in India. If shops are stacking Modak, then be sure, Ganesh Chaturthi is round the corner, similarly, Gujiya during Holi, Rava ladoo during Onam, all sorts of assorted sweets during Diwali, Sevaiyan Kheer on Id, Till ladoo for Lohri, Makar sankranti, Gudi padva etc. adds a sweet touch in our lives during joyous moments.

And since Indians are right now celebrating festivals like Ramadan and Onam, and many are looking forward to Rakhsha Bandhan, Janmashtmi, Ganesh Chaturthi etc....we at Beyondcurries , very obviously are sharing the recipes of Sweets (Mithai, Halwa etc) to celebrate the spirit of festivals in coming days.

So coming up today , is a popular Bengali Mithai, called Malai Sandwich, obviously because it is a sandwich of Malai (Cream/khoya) in between two layers of sweetened Chenna Paneer ( Indian Cheese).

Kindly note:The paneer layer in this recipe is thick one, since we like our Bengali sweets to be thick, but you can make as thin or as thick as you prefer.

Photobucket

Recipe: Malai Sandwich (Cheese sandwiches stuffed with sweet filling)
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes (For boiling milk, curdling and straining) 6-7 hours of chilling
Cooking Time: 25 minutes if cooking in open vessel or 8 minutes if cooking in pressure cooker
Makes: 7-8
 Shelf Life:
Milk Products are best consumed within 24 hours
Recipe Level:
Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka




Ingredients:
For Chenna Paneer

1 lit of milk (Use milk with atleast 2 % or above fat content)
Few spoons of lime juice or citric acid (To curdle milk)
For Sugar syrup:
2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
About 5 cups of water
Few Cardamons crushed
Few drops of Rose Essence(Optional)
For making Sandwich
Chenna Paneer
1/2 to 1 tsp of Sooji/rawa/semolina
A pinch of baking powder
For Stuffing:
1/2 cup of Sweet Mawa/ Khoya/ Malai/ Rabri
2-3 tsp of sugar (Or as per taste).You can also use icing sugar
A pinch of saffron soaked in a spoonful of milk (optional)

Yellow or pink colour ...Few drops ( Highly optional, Not used in this recipe)
For Garnishing

Some unsalted pistachios sliced finely

Varq (optional....again, Not Used in this recipe )



Special Utensils:
Pressure cooker(Makes life easy) or else any wide, thick bottomed pan.
Procedure:
  1. For making chenna, first boil the milk in thick bottomed pan.
  2. When it reaches boiling point, lower the flame and slowly add few spoons of lemon juice . Keep stirring and if needed add few more drops of juice until the milk curdles properly and whey is separated. Strain through Muslin cloth (Do not discard this Whey, use it to add nutritional value to Dal or use it for kneading dough for Roti/chapati.
  3. Run cold water over the separated paneer (To get rid off, that Lemony/citrus flavor from Paneer). Squeeze out excess water, and hang the cloth for 5-8 minutes to completely separate the whey from paneer.But do not let it rest more than 20 minutes.
  4. Now knead this chenna paneer along with 1/2 tsp of semolina and a pinch of baking powder, for 5-8 minutes till a very smooth dough is obtained, that is easily rolled into a ball without any cracks on surface (You can use food possessor for this, I didn't) .
  5. Pinch very small piece of this dough and roll it into small, smooth Square shape.Keep the size medium, as they tend to swell up, more than double of their original size after being cooked in syrup. Repeat the procedure till all the dough is used up.
  6. In the meantime, take a pressure cooker (or any thick bottomed vessel) and add sugar and water along with crushed cardamoms and let it boil till sugar dissolves.
  7. Carefully drop all the chenna paneer squares in the boiling syrup and close the lid of pressure cooker (or cover it with a lid if making in open vessel).
  8. Wait for 1 whistle (or boil for 20-25 minutes in open vessel). Lower the flame and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  9. Put off the flame and let the pressure release from cooker. Now you should have soft spongy, sweetened, double the original size, squares of paneer.
  10. At this stage you can add few drops of rose essence in syrup, though it's completely optional.
  11. Transfer the cooked paneer squares along with the syrup into a bowl and let it cool till it room temperature. Later, Refrigerate for 6-7 hours in same syrup to chill.
  12. Now take the stuffing that you are using ,add powdered or icing sugar and mix well . At this stage you can mix the soaked saffron to enhance the flavors.But kindly use less of milk to soak saffron if you are using Malai, as it will dilute the consistency further.
  13. Now slice horizontally in the center each square of paneer, and place a spoonful of stuffing on one of the slice, and cover it with another slice, pressing gently. Instead of completely slicing apart, you can cut the square till 3/4 th, leaving the ends joined with each other. Repeat the process for all the squares.
  14. Garnish it with some finely sliced(slivers) pistachios and Varq (Optional)
  15. You can serve it immediately or after chilling. Enjoy !


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Badam barfi ~ Almond Barfi

Badam Barfi ~ Almond Candy
This month Beyond Curries prepares visitors for the festive season ahead. The timing, I think is just right with Janmashtami, Rakshabandhan and Ganesh Chaturthi just round the corner. Isn't it?

The badam barfi I am presenting today is a regular during Navratri and Diwali in my house. I do not make large quantities at one go mainly because I do not have a wok large enough to make one large batch and secondly, I know who will eat the most! I prefer making a fresh batch every day of Navratri and upto a few days after Diwali as it remains fresh then. Do try it and let us know if you found the recipe easy to follow. This is fool-proof because you just cannot go wrong with a combination of almond/cashew/pistachio paste and sugar, right? Any difficulties? Leave a comment and we will get back asap.

Unlike most other regions, Indians do not use a candy thermometer while cooking sweets. We depend on the 'thread test' to judge the consistency of the sweet syrup. Hence it is essential to know whether you have reached the correct stage in making the candy if you want to get on with the recipe. Undercooked or overcooked syrup will give very different results so it is best in case of barfis or candies to scrupulously stick to the recipe.


Recipe: Badam Barfi ~ Almond Barfi ~ Almond Candy
Preparation Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 12-14 pieces weighing 10g each on an average
Recipe Level:Intermediate
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom


(Method to powder almonds and to check the consistency of sugar syrup are both given below the main recipe)


IMG_7723

Badam Barfi ~ Almond Candy 

Ingredients:

1 level cup, powdered almonds
A few strands of good quality saffron / kesar / zafran (Optional)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. any neutral oil

Method to prepare:

  1. Powder the almonds coarsely in a coffee grinder and set aside. Recipe for preparation of almonds given below.
  2. Warm the saffron threads slightly and pound into a powder. Prepare a syrup of one thread consistency with the water, powdered saffron and sugar in a heavy bottomed vessel or wok. Recipe for syrup given below.
  3. Immediately add ground almonds and mix well as you would do with a batter till the almond paste comes together and leaves a trail in the wok, about five minutes. Use a pair of tongs to hold the wok steady.
  4. Add oil and incorporate it into the paste till the mixture forms a ball, about two or three minutes.
  5. Immediately push the almond candy onto a greased plate and pat with the greased base of a small bowl or a greased pancake turner. If the almonds sticks to the pancake turner, grease with a bit of oil and pat again till the candy is leveled.
  6. Let cool for about five minutes and etch perpendicular lines with a greased knife to form one inch squares.
  7. Cool till the barfis are no longer sticky and are firm to touch, about twenty minutes. Cut along the etched lines and remove them with the pancake turner. Best eaten completely cool.

Preparing the almonds:
Soak about120g of almonds in plain tap water for about 3hours or overnight. Skin and pat dry with a clean and dry napkin. Place in the refrigerator for a day to get rid of any moisture. I find that most recipes call for blanching the almonds in warm/hot water and skinning. I prefer the slightly more tedious method with plain water. By using the blanching method you also lose a lot of the natural sweetness of almonds apart from the probability that there will be heavy moisture retention. However you may follow the method that suits you best. After grinding check that you have 1 level cup of almonds to follow the above recipe.

The thread test:
Cook the sugar along with the amount of water stated in the recipe. After the sugar completely dissolves and becomes slightly sticky, dip a spoon. Blow as it will be extremely hot and touch the syrup in the spoon with your forefinger and press it to your thumb while still warm. If it has reached the one thread stage you will be able to draw a thread of sugar at least a centimeter when you release your thumb from the forefinger. If the thread breaks in between it shows that the syrup is still undercooked or is in the half thread stage. Cook for just a few seconds more and try. Every second counts as sugar caramelizes very fast. If there are two threads instead of one, sprinkle a few drops of water, mix and check again. 

One thread consistency yields a barfi that is firm but not crusty. It will take sometime to set. Two thread consistency will lead your barfi to become crusty or brittle. It may set very quickly but will powder quickly as well. When you touch the spoon to test, please remember that the concentration of sugar in the candy will be high and consequently the temperature of the syrup will be high as well. It is a possibility that you will burn your finger badly if you do not blow into the spoon to warm the syrup. Here is a link that has a candy chart giving the temperature equivalent of the tar/thread test. You might want to look it up if you use a candy thermometer.

diptych
Badam Barfi ~ Almond Candy


Special Notes/Tips:
  • Be careful handling the candy while testing the consistency.
  • The saffron is optional. Adding about half a teaspoon of saffron strands will give you a more yellow colour than the pictures above. I add just a few strands, about five, which gives just a light peachy hue. Some shops press halved slices of almonds into the cookies while letting the mixture set.
  • You may flavour the almonds with cardamom by blitzing seeds of green cardamom, about five, along with the almonds. I prefer the nutty flavour of almonds rather than adding anything to it.


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With only four ingredients, what a dessert to melt in your mouth. If you are from South you will be familiar with this sweet. Normally both Palgova and Thiratipal are considered as same. But they are not. They are different. Palgova is prepared by boiling the milk and the end product is soft and smooth like halwa consistency. Whereas the process of preparing thriratipal is different. Every time when the mother visits her newly married daughter house she used to bring this for her son in law. The bridegroom’s parents are welcomed by the bride’s side with this sweet, when they arrive to the marriage hall. It is a special sweet in our custom.

Though store bought ones are available nothing can beat home made version where you have control over the ingredients and taste. The best result will be achieved only from the fresh cow’s milk. I never tried  with packet milk.

Though looks like simple, it is a tedious process. No one can deny it. I have given the steps to get a clear picture of the consistency during the process. Hope it helps you. The good milk will yield 1/8th thiratipal. I mean if you keep 8 cups of milk, you must get 1 cup of thiratipal. It differs according to the quality.



Thiratipal

Recipe: Thiratipal
Recipe Level: Medium
Recipe/Post by: Viji



Take the milk required to prepare this sweet.

Start boiling the milk in a stainless steel vessel with thick bottom.


After one hour the milk would have got reduced to 50%.



Keep stirring in between to avoid burning at the bottom which will spoil the whole milk. Start adding curd in batches – 1 tsp at a time – at regular intervals.


If you add at a stretch milk will get curdled fast and won’t give the desired result. It must be added slowly at regular intervals.


At one stage the fat will be separated and the thriatipal will be at pouring consistency.


Since it will be solidified while cooling. Remove and transfer it to the bowl and let it cool.


After one hour if you see the consistency -  it will be thick.





Ingredients:

Fresh cow’s milk 2 lr
Curd 3 tbsp (Yes!)
Brown sugar 1 cup
Elaichi powder ½ tsp

The beauty of this dish is the thread consistency – we call in Tamil – thri thriya . To get this normally people add citric acid. But I prefer to add fresh curd for slow curdling. Sometimes due to the milk nature, it curdles without adding citric/curd.

Keep the milk in a Uruli. I kept my uruli in India (which is 5 kg weight). Hence I have stainless steel vessel with thick bottom for my daily use. Start boiling. After one hour the milk would have got reduced to 50%. To avoid over flowing I used to put a small cup at the bottom. Keep stirring in between to avoid burning at the bottom which will spoil the whole milk. Start adding curd in batches – 1 tsp at a time – at regular intervals. If you add at a stretch milk will get curdled fast and won’t give the desired result. It must be added slowly at regular intervals. I added all the 3 tbsp. 

Normally it takes 90 minutes to 120 minutes for 2 litres approximately. When you reach the final stage – approximately 75 minutes, add the sugar with elaichi powder. Adding jaggery gives unique taste to this dish which I never tried. So I used brown sugar. Plain sugar will also do.

Now again the sweet will be thinned. Keep stirring. At one stage the fat will be separated and the thiriatipal will be at pouring consistency. Don’t over do. Since it will be solidified while cooling. Remove and transfer it to the bowl and let it cool.

Scoop and enjoy this sweet. After one hour if you see the consistency -  it will be thick. So if you over do, it will be like powder. If you are using good milk no need to add ghee. I never used ghee in preparation. Hope you like our traditional sweet.


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This month in Beyond Curries we will be talking about Indian Sweets. I know we had a late start this month. But the fact is I don't make much of sweets at home. And happen to make Phirni as I am still trying my new Microwave with all types of recipes. 

Phirni is such a easy recipe to make in microwave. When I think of all that hard work you normally have to do for making a sweet with milk, it seems such like a child's play when making it in microwave. I felt it was unbelievable quick. Of course if you are ready to wait for it to cool down or be served chill.



Microwave Gulabi Phirni

Recipe: Microwave Gulabi Phirni
Preparation Time : 15 mins
Serves : 4
Recipe Level: Easy/ Beginner
Recipe/Post by: Srivalli



Phirni is a dish that is basically made with rose water and gulkand, or badam phirni or even kesar phirni. Since rose essence was available, it was made instead of the other two.

For easy of reading, I have included the method in steps.

Soak the rice in water for 15 mins.


Using enough water, grind to a smooth paste

Boil 1/2 liter milk for 7 mins in micro


Remove and add the ground rice paste.

Micro for another 3 minutes.


When done you will see the milk has become think enough


Add sugar and rose essence


Micro again 5 minutes.

Now it has become really thick.


Roast the nuts in ghee and add to the phirni.


Microwave Gulabi Phirni

Milk - 1/2 Liter
Basmati Rice - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Rose Essence 1/2 a cap
Dry fruits
Ghee - 1 tsp

Procedure

  1. Micro Milk at 10 mins (Power High) Check at 7 minutes
  2. Soak rice in water and grind to a smooth paste, add more liquid if required.
  3. Mix the ground rice to the milk, stir well. Micro for the balance 3 minutes
  4. Once done add the rose essence, and sugar. Mix well.
  5. Micro again fro 5 mins for the sugar to get dissolved.
  6. Allow it to cool.
  7. Meanwhile roast the dry fruits in ghee and add to the phirni.
  8. Allow it to cool, refrigerate and serve cool


Special Notes/Tips:
  • Adding more rice will get the phirni really thick. In a regular phirni, gulkand is also added. But I didn't add as I didn't have it on hand.
  • When you boil milk in microwave, it normally never boils over. But in high power for 10 minutes it is enough to get it to a very high boiling point.

This of course goes for the party I have on the blog for celebrating 3 years of blogging! Hope you are joining in..


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