Cooking | Homemade Lemonade/nimbu pani/limbu sarbat

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There are always some dishes associated with season, occasion and stages of life. When summers hit hard and when kids are home during summer holidays, the first and foremost thing mothers (and in general all the folks) think about is our very humble and old nimbu pani or limbu sarbat. With the increasing need of hydrating oneself, how can we not go grab a glass of this easy drink? And what could be the easiest way to welcome your guests?

With the recipe I am sharing with you today, you don’t have to squeeze those lemons every now and then, and keep fishing for the seeds else they dive into somebody’s stomach!

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This easy to make lemon syrup is surely going to be a hit with you… just 3 (sugar, water and of course lemons) ingredients (well, you can count salt, the 4th one if you want to be precise)…and a wee bit of patience… the reward is the easiest way to make nimbu pani or whatever drink you want to put up…because this syrup can also be added to any other fruit juice to make a fancy drink.

Here is what you will need-

  1. Juice of 12 big lemons – strained to remove any seeds and lemon particles
  2. Sugar – 2 and 1/2 cup
  3. Water – 3/4 cup
  4. Salt – 2 tsp

Instructions –

  1. Add sugar and water in the pot. Mix properly and bring to boil. Boil the syrup to a soft ball consistency.
  2. Once the syrup reaches the desired consistency, turn of the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir the mixture so that the lemon juice mixes well with the syrup. Keep stirring the mixture once in a while till it comes to room temperature. Add the salt and mix well. You can use rock/black salt as well.
  3. Your lemon syrup is ready, store the syrup in a clean sterilized glass jar. You can keep the mixture in the fridge but it stays well even at the room temperature. To make nimbu pani or lemonade, take 2 tbsp of syrup in a glass and 1 glass of cold water. You could as well add ice. Mix well and serve chilled.

 

Note: The above quantity makes little less than 2 cups of lemon syrup or around 20 medium size glasses of lemonade. You could add strawberry or other fruit juices to make flavored lemonade.

Let me know if you make my recipes, I would like to know your feedback and suggestions!

Happy summer holidays,

Prajakta

Cooking | Maharashtrian Khandvi

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Maharashtrian Khandavi

Some food memories stay with you for the eternity… and some people leave their mark on your life through the food they cook…you might forget any other traits of that person but usually you will not forget the best dish that someone makes! So is the case of this Khandavi recipe. One of my school teachers used to make this Maharashtrian style fudge and used to distribute among her students on various occassions.. probably this was her favorite dish too…she used to make it quite frequently.

Maharashtrian khandavi is way different from her synonymous which is Gujarati khandavi. This khandavi is a sweet dish made up of sugar cane juice (you read that right!), rice flour and fresh or dried coconut. On the other hand, Gujarati khandavi (which we Maharashtrians refer to as ‘suralichi vadi’) is a savory roll made up of cooking cheak pea flour cooked in buttermilk and stuffed with freshly grated coconut, fresh coriander and then tempered with mustard, cumin and green chilies. Though I like both equally, it must have been ages since I had the recipe I am presenting to you today!

Khandavi is sweet dish which is only mildly sweet and its most commonly sweetened with fresh sugar cane juice…of course, when it is not available one can use jaggery dissolved in water.. but believe me it is nowhere close to this version which uses sugar case juice. Also, you will be presented with this very subtle aqua green color… I was explaining what khandavi is to my neighbor (who quickly became a good friend) during our daily chitchats and I told her about the color and when I made it, it was the exact color I had been dreaming about… I still vividly remember the color and taste when our teacher used to give this to us! I was truly happy that I could recreate those memories…

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Fresh sugar cane juice

So here is what you will need to make this fudge –

  1. Fresh sugarcane juice – 1 cup (ask your juicewala not to add ice, ginger and lemon)
  2. Coarsely ground rice flour – 1/2 cup
  3. Fresh or dry grated coconut – 1/4 cup (I used dry coconut or khobra) plus 1/2 tbsp for garnishing on top
  4. Green cardamom powder – as per your liking
  5. Poppy seeds – a small spoonfull to sprinkle on top
  6. Ghee – 1/2 tbsp plus some more for greasing the tray

Procedure –

  1. A day before you plan to make khandavi, soak 1/2 rice in enough water. Let soak for about 4-6 hours, drain and spread on a kitchen cloth to dry. Once the rice is completely dry, grind to a coarse meal. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a plate or tray by greasing it with ghee. Keep aside.
  3. To make the fudge, heat ghee in a wide pan. Add 1/2 cup rice flour and roast on a slow flame till it changes the color to light pink and it gives a roasted smell.
  4. Turn off the heat. Add 1 cup sugar cane juice and stir well not allowing lumps to form. Quickly add the coconut. Return to heat, keep stirring the mixture. Cover with lid and let it steam cook for a minute or so till all the mixture pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pan.
  5. Pour the mixture into prepared plate/tray and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved coconut and poppy seeds, press a little so that they stick on top of the fudge. Let the fudge cool a little bit. Cut in desired shape with a knife washing it in running water after each cut.
  6. Let the fudge cool down completely. You can refrigerate it for some time if it still looks like not completely set.
  7. This fudge can also be served warm with little more freshly grated coconut and ghee.

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As always, I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions!

Happy cooking~

Prajakta

General | Using earthenware

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Cooking pot (haandi), water jug and griddle (tawa)

Sometimes I feel that life moves in a circle. What’s old comes back in a new package and what was new becomes old overnight! Be it fashion, food or the way of life! Take the case of earthen pots and pan..for example!
There was a time when food was cooked only in earthen pots… then came the metallic ones.. from ordinary iron to copper, silver and what not. Technologies advanced and we got our hands on non stick ware and now there are lots of options available only in non stick ware. Come to think of it, our very own cast iron pans have made a fancy comeback and you will see at least one recipe using cast iron skillet on pretty much every food blog out there… not that I am complaining!

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Glasses, mugs, bowls and a cute water bottle!

Coming back to the earthenware, Β though in some parts of India, people use earthenware for their daily cooking, Β the trend is cropping in urban India as well.

I myself have a descent collection of earthenware.. from tawa to a cool water bottle I even have a small set of bowls and glasses…

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What better way to flaunt my collection than to show it to you all.πŸ˜‰
But this is just not a show off.. here are some health benefits of cooking/eating in the earthen pots:

  1. As these pots are porous in nature, storing the water in them lets the heat from water to escape and gives you a naturally cooled water which is an healthier alternative to fridge water. The added benefit is that the minerals from the clay get added to the water you are drinking.
  2. Again, as these pots are porous these are best for slow cooking. Pores allow the heat and moisture to distribute evenly through the dish you are preparing which in turn develops a consistent flavor profile. Next time, try cooking your biryani or daal makhani in an earthen pot and you will notice the difference in texture and taste!
  3. As the clay is alkaline in nature, cooking acidic food in earthenware will help balance the pH level of the food, especially try cooking dishes with tomatoes and tamarind etc. in these pots, your food will surely have a deep taste.
  4. Get the supply of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, etc.Β  by cooking in the earthen pots.

Apart from the health benefits here are three reasons why you should start using the earthenware:

  1. Compared to all the other cooking devices, earthenware comes in quite cheap.
  2. It makes for a beautiful and elegant display on your dinner table and gives a classy touch to your dinner spread.
  3. Cleaning the earthenware is quite easy, one does not have to use harsh chemicals. Hot water and a good quality dish soap is good enough.

Of course, you will need to take a few precautions while using earthenware:

  1. Never put cold water in a hot earthen pot.
  2. Cool the pot completely before cleaning if you are using room temperature water for cleaning.
  3. Never use metallic cleaning pads or scratchy powders to clean the pot.
  4. Use gentle hand while cleaning.
  5. Rise the temperature slowly when cooking in earthen pots. When needed, use a griddle below the earthen pot, so put the griddle on the stove top, heat it to medium heat and then place the earthen pot.

Go, get yours now! πŸ˜‰

Hope you enjoyed my post about using earthenware for cooking and serving. Please share the word, because sharing is caring!

~Prajakta

Ideas | 5 ways to enjoy strawberries even when they are gone!

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If you have read my last post about berry jams, you already know my love for berries…but guess which one I like the most….. yes, strawberries!

I like strawberries to the extent that I can eat them in any form at any time of the day in any season.. ❀

So obviously, I want to enjoy strawberries some way or the other even when they are gone… I can’t wait for another season.. I can’t!

I have come up with 5 ways to do just that –

Sun dried strawberries –

This one is the simplest one.. cut strawberries in quarters and let them dry in the Sun. Make sure you spread the pieces in one layer and use metal tray or ceramic tray/plate to dry your strawberries. Avoid using any plastic..

Strawberry dust –

Ever since I read about freezer dried strawberries and make strawberry dust out of it, I wanted to make my own batch! The only difference, I dried my strawberries in the Sun rather than in the freezer. So, just cut the strawberries in smaller pieces, let then dry completely for 2-3 days in the Sun and make them into powder using a mixer-grinder! The dust is not very pleasing to taste but you can tint your frostings or even make strawberry sugar by adding this dust to powdered sugar which can then be sprinkled on your favorite cookies or made into strawberry glaze! The possibilities are endless. 😊

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My last post!

Strawberry purΓ¨ –

even more simple… blitz the strawberries in a blender, add powdered sugar if you want; I did not add any. Store in the freezer in a freezer-safe container securing tightly with the lid. Whenever you want to use this, remove from freezer and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours and use in the recipe as needed. Return the remaining quantity to the freezer immediately.

Strawberry chips –

Umm, you can’t really eat them just like that but they would surely make for a nice topper on cupcake, chocolate moose or even panna cotta! Look at these beauties –

These are simple ways to lengthen the strawberry season a bit more… enjoy strawberries for a longer time with minimal efforts.

Do share your thoughts, comments, suggestions! I love to hear back from you. πŸ™‚

Happy cooking ~

Prajakta

Cooking| Homemade Jams – three ways

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Look at those colors…

Call me a berry maniac…no, please call me one… you will surely call me that after learning the copious amount of berries I have purchased, eaten and preserved and still doing!

During my trip to Mahabaleshwar, a famous hill station near Pune,Β around mid January; I had 2 kgs of strawberries, 250 gms of black raspberries and 500 gms of cape gooseberries… have you heard about the cape gooseberries before? They are awesome.. although not everybody will like the taste. Look how gorgeous they look! Cape gooseberries are not exactly sweet..neither they are tart like strawberries. They taste somewhere between a sweeter yet subtle version of a cherry tomato to pineapple, mango and what not…it is difficult to describe the exact taste.. but they are best!

Again, on my recent trip to Khanderao market here in Vadodara I got 2 kgs of strawberries and 1 kg of mulberries.. mulberry is another awesome stuff.. as a child I used to hog on to those from my neighbour’s tree and now I have to buy them 😦

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Mulberries… painting childhood memories..

Well…now what would you call me? A berry maniac for sure?!

With so many berries sitting prettily around, I wanted to put them to good use. We like jams and what’s better than a homemade jam? So I made three types of jams – a strawberry jam with star anise, a mixed berry jam (strawberry, black raspberries and mulberries) with pure vanilla extract and cape gooseberries jam with rosemary and black pepper. I made two batches of strawberry jam, one in January and second one just a week before. I made cape gooseberries jam also in January but because I knew I wanted to make a post on all my jam endeavors I waited till today when all my jam jars are set and sitting around for a while.

You can use these jams not just on breads for breakfast, but you could add them to your smoothie bowls or top your oatmeal with a spoonful or even make a bruschetta by pairing it with a good cheese (or any other way you want)!

My jam recipes are quite simple, especially with the berries. I usually take 75% less sugar than that of the fruit, however the quantity of sugar depends on how sour or sweet the berries are. I let the fruit and sugar along with a dash of lemon juice sit for a while so that all the juices from fruit are released and then cook till the desired consistency is reached.

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Here is the step-wise procedure~

  1. If using strawberries, cut the strawberries in small pieces. In a big pot made of non-reacting material*, put the fruit and add sugar. Add lemon juice (juice of half a lemon or one depending on the quantity of fruit) and stir gently. Let this mixture sit for about an hour. Add spices of your choice (or simply vanilla extract), if using.
  2. Put a tea saucer in the freezer. We will use this later to check if the jam is done.
  3. Now, start cooking the mixture on medium heat stirring occasionally using a wooden spoon till all the sugar is dissolved and you see bubbles rising on the sides. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking. You will see white foam arising on top, keep removing the foam with a small spoon; these are impurities in the sugar and removing them will give you a clear looking jam also increasing its shelf life.
  4. Keep cooking till you see that the jam is starting to thicken and coats the back of the wooden spoon in a nice layer. Keep the mixture on lowest heat.
  5. Remove the saucer from freezer (from step 2) and put a small drop of jam on it. Return the saucer to the freezer for a minute or so. During this time, it is good if you remove the mixture from heat to avoid over cooking the jam.
  6. Your jam is done if the drop on the saucer wrinkles when pushed with a finger.

Few tips to increase life of your homemade jams –

  1. Always use clean and dry spoon to take out the jam.
  2. Take out the only quantity needed, if you remove more quantity do not put back in the same jar.
  3. Jam made this way stays at room temperature for about 2 months, however I would recommend to keep them in fridge for longer life.
  4. Sterilize the jars for storing jams. If you are not sterilizing the jars, make sure that you transfer the jam only when its completely cooled down.
  5. Use jars with good quality leads which fit nicely and are airtight as can be.

I am sharing the measurements I used to give you an idea of the quantities of jam –

Chunky strawberry jam with star anise:

500 gms strawberries – cleaned and cut into small chunks

375 gms regular sugar

juice of one (1) lemon

2 pinches of Himalayan pink salt (or black salt or regular salt)

2 pieces star anise

Total yield: 526 gms of chunky strawberry jam

Mixed berries jam:

320 gms of mixed berries – 110 gms strawberry + 110 black raspberries + 100 gms mulberries

200 gms regular sugar

juice of half lemon

2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or seeds of 1 small vanilla pod)

Total yield: 337 gms of mixed berries jam

Note: I chopped the strawberries in small pieces. However, I kept raspberries and mulberries whole. At the time of cooking, I kept mashing the fruit with the help of wooden spoon. This way, the jam is not too chunky like strawberry jam but not like the store brought ones. You can feel a texture of the fruits when you eat.

Cape gooseberries jam:

250 gms cape gooseberries cut into very small pieces

175 gms regular sugar

4 to 5 crushed black pepper

2 tsp dried rosemary

Total yield: 220 gms of jam

*Use any pot made with non-reactive material. Non-reactive material could include anodized pots, or very good quality non-stick pots. Never use copper, brass or such metals to cook fruits.

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Feel free to comment, ask questions or share your suggestions. πŸ™‚

Happy cooking~

Prajakta

 

 

DIY/COOKING | HOMEMADE GHEE (CLARIFIED BUTTER)

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Homemade ghee (clarified butter)

Life has come a full circle for me… last year around same time I left my full time job for various reasons. Tomorrow, I start with another inning of my professional life – with the same employer! With that, today being the (kinda) last day of being myself, I set to spend time doing what I truly like – 1. I watered our newly setting-up garden… taking in all the beauty and scents, clicking the pictures of first batch of flowers. 2. I set up on a mission to click pictures of liquid pouring shots – and my subject was ‘ghee’ that I had made yesterday. 3. Writing a blog post about ghee!

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Homemade ghee or clarified butter is a thing of childhood memories and the house that smells like heaven when the ghee is being made. My mother always made batches after batches of ghee…it was a ritual of every week. Back in the days, when refrigerator was a thing of fancy duration between two batches will depend on whether the curds are getting sour. Now, its a matter of week’s time at the most. Making ghee at home is a task of patience… when I was a kid I used to wait for the day when Aai (that’s what we call mother in Marathi) would start with churning the curds into butter and then ghee.

We used to get to lick clean the utensils and a wooden hand-whisk (called ‘ravee’ in Marathi) with the leftover butter once she has removed all but some. Things haven’t changed much here… I separate butter and buttermilk with either food processor or hand mixer and my reward is whatever small amount of butter that is stuck to the pots and blades. πŸ™‚

But first things first, to make homemade butter/ghee, you will need to skim/collect the cream from the milk after boiling and cooling milk. Collect it in a steel pot and keep it refrigerated. Keep on adding the cream for almost a week. Make sure that the cream does not sit out of the refrigerator for too long or else it will either get spoiled or will start tasting bitter. I will strongly suggest to refrigerate the milk once it gets to room temperature, and remove the cream only after at least 6 hours of refrigeration. This ensures that the almost all the cream has gathered on top and you are making the most of the cream content in the milk. Now, you have to add starter to this cream to make the curds.

Alternatively, on the very first day itself you can add starter to the cream and let it curdle. Then when you add the cream on other days, keep the mixture out on your kitchen counter for a couple of hours so the newly added cream also curdles. Remember, in summers curdling will be quick and so, do not keep the mixture out for a long time. Check occasionally and put it in the refrigerator as soon as the mixture is curdled. This is to avoid curd to become too sour.

Once you have enough cream, separate the butter and buttermilk using food processor or hand mixer or traditional wooden whisk. With food processor and hand mixer, its a matter of 1 or 2 minutes that you get the butter. With wooden whisk, it will take 10-20 minutes depending on the fat content and temperature of the curds. Its no rocket science to understand that the butter is separated. You will clearly see small particles of butter gathering leaving the liquid part aside. The liquid part is buttermilk for you…in India, even buttermilk is consumed in various ways – do not throw this out.

Now, how to make ghee?

In a deep steel or non-stick pot put the butter. Put this pot on the stove stop on medium to low heat. Once the butter starts melting put a wooden ladle in the pot. This is to ensure that the melted butter does not overflow. Also, turn the heat to the lowest setting. If the butter comes upto the rim of the pot switch of the flame and let the liquid settle down a bit. Start again!

After about 5 minutes or so, you will see some foam rising on the top. Keep cooking on the low flame till the foam starts disappearing. The ghee is ready when either 1. the liquid becomes transparent and you can see bottom of the pot except for some residue milk fats settling at the bottom, 2. the splattering sound stops completely, 3. the liquid looks golden yellow, or 4. if you sprinkle a few drops of water, it splatters and makes sound, or 5. the fat gathered on the sides of the pot sticks to the pot and starts browning. Residue milk fats can be consumed by adding some sugar – you can make bars/balls or just eat with a spoon!

Switch of the flame. After 5 minutes or so, cover the pot with lid keeping some space to let out the remaining steam. This ensures a nice grainy texture of the ghee once it cools down and solidifies.

Do now overcook the butter or the ghee will have a burnt taste and not so nice brownish colour.

Let the ghee come to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and store in cleaned glass or steel containers.

*Ghee is such comfort food and its part of almost every meal at my house. Making it at home is way too economical and anything homemade is always healthy and free of preservatives. I get around 10-12 gms of cream everyday. With about a week’s supply I get around 120 mls of ghee.

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Liquid gold….

I am so thrilled with the results of my first ever “shooting the pouring liquid experiment” that my joy has no bounds…I am smiling ear to ear looking at those pictures. I must thank Lindsay of Pinch of Yum… she has such a detailed post about photographing liquid pouring shots… in fact she has everything amazing on her blog.

On another note, I have promised myself not to get engulfed by my job and not ignore the blog! And I promise you, you will get to read something here every now and then. πŸ™‚ Keep coming to my little space.

~Happy cooking,

Prajakta

Global Pulse Day – 18 January, and a recipe contest!

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Pulses!

Today is Global Pulse Day… Pulses are the seeds of plants in the legume family. They grow in pods and come in a variety of size, shape and colors (http://pulses.org/what-are-pulses).

Pulse forms an important part of a vegetarian’s diet as its one of the most significant source of protein. Pulses are also reach in dietary fiber, carbohydrates and dietary minerals. Plus, they contain no cholesterol and little fat and sodium (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legume).

You can read more about the pulses here.

Pulses are an indispensable part of Indian cuisine, in fact no meal is served without a preparation made of pulses. Dal being the quintessential part of our meals, pulses are always found in our kitchen – though often neglected. Give them a chance today and use them in your recipes.

Now, about the contest… share your recipes with me on Kesariyaa’s Facebook page. The top three (3) recipes (in my opinion) will be featured here on the blog along with my pulse recipe for the celebration of Global Pulse Day. Do not forget to tag #GlobalPulseDay #LovePulses @LovePulses.

~Prajakta

Back to Blogging – Strawberry-pom-pistachio smoothie

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Vadodara – the new city we will now call our home! We were back on Sunday from our short trip to our hometown Pune. As I mentioned in my last post, we were due moving our household to Vadodara, and we just moved! Few days before heading to Pune, I made this strawberry-pomegranate-pistachio smoothie for breakfast. So the first thing I wanted to do (apart from unpacking) was to post this smoothie recipe.

Its light and refreshing on your taste buds and yet stomach-feeling. Plus, its a quick one to pull together. The only time consuming part – if you don’t know the quick-tricks is removing pomegranate kernels. Done that, this smoothie comes together in a jiffy. I spent hardly 10 minutes in making this, another 5 minutes in gulping it down and 45 minutes in photographing the beauty! πŸ˜‰

I have named her ‘Pink Beauty’! πŸ™‚

What are you waiting for? Go make this fast…

Here is what you will need ~

  1. 6-8 Strawberries – cleaned, stems removed, and cut into chunks
  2. Kernels of half pomegranate – making sure piths are removed
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 1 tbsp cream from top of the milk*
  5. 5-6 unsalted pistachios – slightly roasted
  6. 1 tsp flax seeds
  7. 1 tsp honey (this smoothie is only mildly sweet, add more honey if you prefer it to be more sweet)
  8. 3-4 mint leaves, torn with hands
  9. Juice of half a lemon

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Instructions ~

  1. Puree strawberries in a blender, this is to make sure there are no larger pieces of strawberries in your smoothie. Now add remaining ingredients except lemon juice and blend until smooth. Lastly, add lemon juice and pulse for few seconds.
  2. Pour in your favorite glass and enjoy!

This recipe makes 2 individual servings or one huge serving.

As always, let me know if you make my recipes and like them. You can share your feedback here on the blog or Kesariyaa’s social media platforms.

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* In India, it is a daily practice to boil the milk, cool it down and then gather the cream on top of the boiled milk. This cream usually makes its way to homemade ghee (clarified butter). You can use low fat cream here as well.

Happy cooking,

Prajakta

Back to Blogging – Bharali Wangi (Stuffed Eggplants)

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Dear Readers,

Pardon me if you can!

I know, its been a long time that I am away from my blog. My long absence here does not mean I was not cooking….but 1) I didn’t cook anything that felt like putting up on the blog and 2) I was either busy, lazy or just out of everything that IΒ  wanted to do – 2016 was not at all exciting for us.

We shifted to our home town Pune, early last year…we have partially (with minimal necessities) shifted to another city just two months back; and will be shifting our household in next couple of weeks – life was hectic, boring and crazy in-between these two shifts and I am really looking forward for some peace this year. I hope 2017 changes everything that was in 2016 and we have a fabulous year ahead.

How was your 2016 in retrospect? Do you have a lot of plans for the new year?

Well, I plan to come back with a lot of stuff to share with you in the year to come – recipes, life experiences, travels and what not! So keep coming to this space and show me some love. πŸ™‚

As the first of my ‘Back to Blogging’ recipes, here is a sensational dish that is made in pretty much every corner of India…bharali wangi/bharwa baingan/stuffed eggplant.

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I made this curry some 2 weeks back. My husband took it to office for lunch and in the evening when he was back home the first thing he told me while entering the house was – today’s curry was very tasty. Even when I had it for lunch I could not stop praising my own preparation.

We make this curry quite often, but this time I used the baby eggplants and also cooked them whole i.e. not removing the stems – just cutting them to stuff the masala (spice mix) in them. I also used a little more oil that I normally do, but this recipe does need that extra amount of oil. The spice blend I used in this recipe is called ‘Goda Masala’. It is a very typical spice blend from Maharashtra and you should get it quite easily in the spices section of the super store. I used the homemade one – the one which my mum-in-law makes for us every year, but you can use famous brands such as Pravin, K-Pra or Bedekar.

Its a tradition to make the masala at home – my mother and mother-in-law both make it every year, so I always have good supply throughout the year. πŸ˜‰ I am planning to make my own batch and I will post the recipe here when I make one.

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Getting back to today’s recipe, here is what you will need ~

  1. Baby eggplants (brinjals) – 10 to 12
  2. Onion – 1 big, grated or finely chopped
  3. Roasted peanut powder* – 2 tbsp
  4. Goda masala – 3 tsp or more (as per taste)
  5. Red chili powder – 1.5 tsp (more if you would like it hot)
  6. Mustard seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida – for tempering
  7. Peanut oil/sunflower oil – 2 tbsp
  8. Salt – as per taste
  9. Water – enough to cover the eggplants half way through.

Instructions ~

  1. Wash and clean the eggplant, pat them dry with a kitchen towel and keep aside
  2. Finely chop or grate the onion, take in a dish
  3. To the onion, add red chili powder, goda masala powder, peanut powder and salt. Mix well and keep aside.
  4. Now, score the eggplants on the top in a ‘+’ sign deep enough to hold the masala mixture but not till the end. I did not remove the stems but you certainly can if you wish to.
  5. Fill the masala mixture in the scored eggplants.
  6. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil. Once, the oil is hot enough add mustard seeds, let the mustard seeds splutter. Now, add turmeric powder and asafoetida and give it a quick stir.
  7. Add the eggplants, add water. Do not add a lot of water as later it will take time to evaporate if you want a thick gravy. Cook the eggplants upto 2 or 3 whistles (depending on your pressure cooker). Let the pressure escape and remove the lid of the pressure cooker.
  8. If there is still more water in the gravy than you desire, let it reduce over low to medium heat. For this recipe the gravy should be thick enough to coat the eggplants nicely.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with sliced onions and tomatoes and slit green chilies on the side if desired. This curry can be served with any kind of Indian flatbread or rice (serves 2).

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Let me know if you make this recipe and if you liked it.

~Happy cooking,

Prajakta

Cooking | Beat the heat #1 – Watermelon popsicles

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Summer is here with full swing and so are the summer fruits! What better way to beat the heat than to enjoy these luscious fruits in all possible ways?

Here is presenting to you, the 1st in the series #beattheheat – watermelon popsicles! These are not only made of watermelon but they look like a wedge of watermelon on the stick… πŸ™‚

Popsicles bring such amazing childhood memories for me! I spent my childhood in a small town. We had very few ice cream shops and eating ice cream every fortnight during summer was kinda ritual, though only after our annual exams are over!

But, there was no shortage of what we used to call “ice fruits”… there was one vendor who will come daily between 3 pm to 5 pm and I and my sister along with our cousins and friends would eagerly await his call. I still vividly remember that call which used to sound like “iceproooot”! πŸ™‚ The treats he used to carry in his small cart were truly “iced” fruit juice with hardly any additional sugar and no artificial colors or any preservatives at all.

This watermelon popsicle (and few other upcoming recipes) are my visits to those bygone summer vacations! I hope you make these and enjoy as much as we did! Do let me know in the comments or on Facebook, if you make these beauties. πŸ™‚

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Here is what you will need –

  1. watermelon – 1 cup, cut in chunks and seeds removed
  2. milk – 2 tablespoons
  3. powdered sugar – approximately 1 tablespoon
  4. juice of 1 lemon
  5. mint leaves – handful
  6. black sesame seeds – 1 teaspoon

Here is how I made these –

  1. Place the watermelon chunks (seeds removed) in the blender. Pour half of the line juice and blend till smooth. Pass through a sieve to get rid of any big pieces.
  2. Pour the watermelon puree in the popsicle mold to 2/3rd.
  3. Keep in the freezer till it starts to freeze. Now remove from the freezer and add a pinch of black sesame seeds. With the help of a toothpick or the popsicle stick try to move the sesame seeds to the bottom and sides of the popsicle mold. Return the molds to the freezer and freeze for about 2 hours. Again, remove the molds and insert the popsicle sticks in the center of each mold. Return to the freezer to completely freeze the popsicles.
  4. Now, prepare the milk mixture. Add the powdered sugar to the milk and mix thoroughly. Bring out the popsicle molds and pour the milk mixture on the watermelon layer. Make sure the that the watermelon layer is completely frozen before you pour the milk or the two layers will mix together and you will not get the white pith-like layer. Pour milk mixture as much to create a layer of approximatelu 1 cm. Once the milk mixture is poured, return the molds to the freezer until the milk layer is completely frozen.
  5. Lastly, prepare the green layer. Add the mint leaves and remaining lemon juice in a blender and blend till smooth. Its OK if you are not able to blend the leaves into a fine paste! Now, bring out the molds from the freezer and pour a 2 teaspoons of mint mixture in each mold. Freeze the molds until this last layer is frozen and the popsicles are ready.
  6. To remove the popsicle from the mold, simply immerse the mold in a bowl of tap water making sure that the water does not enter the mold. Remove the popsicles and eat immediately!

This recipe makes 6 popsicles with a small aluminium mold. The number of popsicles may vary depending on the mold you are using. Also, the exact amout of liquid needed to create separate layer will depend on the size of your mold, just eyeball the quantities and you should be good to go.

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I know there is still time to summer vacations, and currently many of the momsΒ  – not the kids πŸ˜‰ out there will be having exam fever, but do try these, I guarantee that you will not regret!

Happy cooking,

Prajakta