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

Cooking | Winter on my plate salad!

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I love winters…I mean I really really love winters!

Winter is the most lovely season of the year – there are festivals, celebrations and a lot of fresh produce.

While walking past the roadside vegetable vendors I saw small bunches of kohlrabi and carrots with their greens attached. I had actually gone out to buy something else, but looking at those beauties I could not resist to go to this lady who was selling these bunches! I wanted to buy them all – they were so beautiful…and fresh, as if she had just plucked them and got to the market!!

Because its just the two of us here, I decided to control my urge and satisfied myself with just one bunch of kohlrabi (silently promising the carrots to take them home soon) and walked back home.

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Baby kohlrabi bulbs with greens… I photographed them on my chopping board – I had just chopped the beetroots πŸ™‚

Though kohlrabi is not much liked vegetable, there are so many things one can do with this kind of neglected veggie. I wanted to give equal justice to the kohlrabi greens, I also wanted to keep them raw. I kept the bulbs aside for another use.

I was having prettyΒ  much enough winter produce and hence I made this colourful and satisfying salad with the things I had in my pantry. I love everything about this salad – bed of kohlrabi greens, beetroots, cherry tomatoes, corn, orange and walnuts! I made the salad dressing out of water in which I boiled my beetroots, olive oil, freshly crushed black pepper and a pinch of salt. It looked and tasted just amazing!

So, ladies and gentlemen – presenting Winter on My Plate πŸ™‚

Here is what you will need ~

  1. Tender kohlrabi greens – about a handful
  2. Corn kernels – 1/4 cup
  3. Beetroot – 1 large
  4. Cherry tomatoes – 8 to 10
  5. Orange wedges – 5 to 6
  6. Freshly crushed black pepper – to taste
  7. Salt – to taste
  8. Olive oil – 1 teaspoon

Here is how to put this salad together~

  1. Clean the beetroot. Peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler and cut the beetroot in wedges and boil in just enough water. Drain the water and keep the boiled wedges and water aside.
  2. Also boil the corn kernels. Drain the water (you can discard this) and keep the corn kernels aside.
  3. Pick the tender and neat kohlrabi greens, do not use any wilted or yellow leaves. Clean the leaves in a colander under running water and make sure that the leaves do not have any soil attached. Pat dry with kitchen towel, keep aside.
  4. Now, cut the the beetroot wedges further into fingers or matchsticks.
  5. Emulsify the olive oil and beetroot water (mix with a whisk till properly combined). Add crushed black pepper and salt as per taste. Mix and set aside.
  6. Prepare a bed of kohlrabi greens on a salad plate, spread orange pieces, beetroots and corn kernels. Drizzle the dressing. Optionally, toss a few chopped walnuts if you would like to add crunch.
  7. Toss gently to mix all the ingredients before serving and enjoy! This salad serves just one person but you can definitely increase the quantity of ingredients to serve more people.
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Enjoyed it to the last bite πŸ™‚

Did you all have a great Christmas? Now to detox yourselves, make this salad soon!! Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook if you make this!

Happy Cooking

Prajakta

Baking| Holiday baking: Christmas Fruit Cake

My husband is a convert!!! Yes, both him and me were not fond of fruit cake, especially the ones which are too sweet and oozing with artificial vanilla (or whatever..) extracts…. I mean, there are some fruit cakes which leave quite awkward aftertaste – too sweet, bitter, essence-y (if that is a word :p)- all at the same time…or one that gives you feeling of drinking cough syrups…you get what I mean??

When I told Sachin (that’s my husband) that I am preparing things for making a fruit cake his first reaction was don’t spend your efforts coz you know I don’t like these fruit cakes…I assured him that he will like the one I am making; and boy he loved it…he enjoyed the cake to the last crumb! That’s why I call him a convert…and why only him, I am a convert too πŸ™‚

So, what did I do? Well, first and foremost I reduced the amount of sugar significantly, secondly I did not use the ground spices…third, I did not use candied fruit or candied peels. Perhaps, candied fruit when baked turns quite bitter..lastly, I also wanted this to be white cake, so I did not use cocoa powder either. Not using the ground spices (because those definitely add colour) and not using cocoa powder were the best decisions I made, I think!

I read through many recipes and haven’t much seen the use of star anise; however I just love the mild, sweet taste of this spice and I decided to add it to my cake, I liked the way it rendered its taste into the cake. But, feel free to not use it or use your traditional spices…I know Christmas is already knocking on the door, as this cake does not require a lot of time I am sure some of you can definitely make this cake a part of your Christmas celebrations! Let me know in the comments section if you do bake this, I would love to hear if you liked the recipe.. πŸ™‚

I made this cake almost 2 weeks back…but I was too busy with office work and other things to post it here…neither did I get enough time to take the pictures…I could take only a few – I know they are not very good, but just to give you a glimpse of what the cake looked like.

Here is a snap of all goodness that went in this cake –

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1. Cloves, cinnamon and star anise in simmering port wine; 2. Drained port wine with all the goodness of whole spices; 3. Finely chopped orange peel soaking in port wine; 4. port wine + plus orange peels, dry fruits and fruits all set to mingle πŸ™‚

So, here is a long list of ingedients~

  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 cup unsalted butter – at room temperature
  3. 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  4. 3 large eggs – at room temperature
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 cup port wine (or any liquor of your choice)
  8. Whole spices: 7-8 cloves, 1-2 inch cinnamon stick, 2 star anise and a pinch of grated nutmeg
  9. Fruits & dry fruits: dried cranberries, fresh figs, fresh pineapple and raising contributing to 1 cup measure (figs and pineapples cut into bite size cubes); walnuts, almonds, pistachios contributing to 1 cup measure (coarsely chopped)
  10. Peel of one medium orange cut into small pieces
  11. 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  12. zest and juice of one lemon

Here are the step wise instructions~

  1. One day (anytime between 12-24 hours) before you plan to bake the cake, prepare fruits, dry fruits, orange peel and lemon zest.
  2. In a non-reactive pot or saucepan, pour 1/2 cup port wine and simmer for about 2 minutes. Now add the whole spices and bring to a rolling boil; reduce the heat and let simmer for a couple of minutes (the kitchen just smells heavenly… :))
  3. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature. Let the spices sit in the port wine for for an hour or two. This way, port wine will be infused with all the goodness of the spices. Now, add finely chopped orange peel. Let this mixture sit for 2 hours.
  4. Add chopped fruits and dry fruits to the above mixture. Give a quick and gentle mix. Keep this mixture aside – you can refrigerate the mixture covered.
  5. The next day, bring the fruits-dry fruits and port wine mixture to room temperature if you had refrigerated it. Otherwise, proceed to next step.
  6. Prepare an 8″ round baking tin by buttering the bottom and sides thoroughly. Now, line with parchment paper, try to keep height of the parchment paper for sides about an inch above the rim of the tin.
  7. Beat room temperature butter with an electric mixer till pale, add in the sugar and beat on low to medium speed till the butter and sugar is mixed well and the mixture becomes light and fluffy – about 4-5 minutes. Add eggs and continue beating till the mixture is fluffy.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon flour (from the 2 cups flour) to the port wine mixture and toss gently so that the fruits are coated evenly. This will ensure the the fruits won’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
  9. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  10. Add 1/2 cup orange juice, lemon zest and lemon juice to the butter mixture and beat on very low speed to just about incorporate the juices.
  11. Add all the remaining flour and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula very gently not loosing any air from the batter. Note that this batter is quite thick and it will be quite an arms-workout mixing this batter.
  12. Lastly, add the port wine mixture including any remaining liquid and mix in gently.
  13. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Level with back of the spoon or spatula.
  14. Bake in preheated oven at 170 degrees C for about an hour and a half. Keep a close watch around 1 hour and 10 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You can bake for additional 5 minutes if the crust is not browned too much by putting the cake on the top most rack.
  15. Cool the completely in the tin for 20 minutes, then cool on wire rack for another half an hour or till the cake can be touched with your fingers.
  16. We enjoyed it as such as well as with a glass of milk. You can dust the cake with powdered sugar before serving.

Here is how the cake looked like –

For Kesariyaa2

I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and Happy 2016!

Happy cooking

Prajakta

Baking | Homemade veg pizza with homemade crust!

Hi folks! As promised in yesterday’s post here I am writing about the best homemade pizza (including crust)…

Now, as I said yesterday – pizza is liked by children and adults alike; I mean who doesn’t like pizza? Homemade pizza loaded with veggies is the best way to have one!

I made this pizza dough from Sally’s baking addiction and I can’t thank Sally enough for this perfect pizza crust recipe. I followed her instructions to the t. The only difference is that I used locally available brand of yeast. What’s best about this pizza dough recipe is that it really froze well and it still baked up nicely. I think I should have baked it for some more time to get golden brown edges but nonetheless the pizza turned out to be tasty with great texture – chewy, soft, perfectly cooked!

I made the dough almost a month back and have baked the pizza twice -one around 20 days back and now this one a couple of days back. I used different toppings both the times; you can customize the toppings as per your liking.

I baked my pizza using ready made pizza sauce but if you can use the homemade one, I am sure the pizza will be to die for!

Here is what you need~

  1. One part of pizza dough from here.
  2. Pizza sauce – homemade or store bought; approx. 2 tablespoons
  3. Red, yellow and green bell peppers – chopped in squares; 1/2 cup
  4. Broccoli – cut into small florets; 1/4 cup
  5. Onion – 1 medium; chopped in squares about the same size as peppers
  6. Zuccini – 5 to 6 thin slices
  7. Mozzarella cheese – grated, 1/2 cup
  8. Olive oil – to grease the baking dish
  9. Corn meal – to dust the baking dish

Here are the step-wise instructions~

  1. Preheat oven to 250ΒΊ C for at least 15 minutes. Grease baking dish with little olive oil and dust with corn meal. Set aside.
  2. Take the dough (thawed if using frozen) on a lightly floured surface and knead very gently for only less than a minute. Flatten into a disk and start rolling the dough by pressing with your fingers with one hand and rotating with the other hand. Roll to the diameter of your baking dish.
  3. Now, using a rolling pin transfer the rolled dough gently into the prepared baking dish. Poke the dough either with your fingers or with a fork so that pizza does not bubble up while baking. Create around 1/2 inch outer edge using your fingers.
  4. Now spread the pizza sauce on the inside circle leaving the edges.
  5. Add your favorite toppings, spread grated cheese on top.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven at 250ΒΊ C for 15-18 minutes.
  7. Slice and serve the hot pizza!

Unfortunately I did not have time to take enough pictures. This one is from my husband’s cellphone..But I will be making the pizza again, and I will post more pictures πŸ™‚

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This recipe makes 8 medium slices of pizza.

~Happy cooking

Prajakta

 

Cooking | Minestrone Soup

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Hello everyone, I know I have been quite inactive hear…blame it on all the Diwali festivities and then Bangalore weather 😦

We had all the fun during our Diwali celebrations, except that Bangalore weather has been really gloomy! We haven’t seen the Sun for almost a week now; and its raining every now and then!

To get over this weather and mood, I made this colourful and comforting Minestrone soup for dinner. This was the perfect meal for a rainy and cold night.

Minestrone soup is a classic Italian soup made of onions, celery, beans, carrots and pasta. Potatoes and green peas are also added in some versions. There is no set list of ingredients for this soup as the idea is to use the veggies and beans that are available. I have used red kidney beans, black eyed beans, potatoes, onions, coriander, green peas, zuccini, cabbage and tomatoes.

As with veggies, it seems that there is no set rule for using a particular spice. I have seen recipes using rosemary, basil or Italian mixed herbs. However, I have used rosemary and basil to flavor my soup.

I used elbow macaroni as its small in size and cooks faster, but really, you can use any type of pasta…

This recipe makes 4 generous servings.

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Here is the list of ingredients used~

  1. Tomatoes – 2 ripe, blanched, skin and seeds removed and cut into small cubes* or canned*
  2. Onion – 1 big, finely chopped
  3. Red kidney beans (rajma) – 1/4 cup, soaked in enough water for 6-8 hours and pressure-cooked
  4. Black eyed beans (chowli, lobia) – 1/4 cup, soaked in enough water for 6-8 hours and pressure-cooked
  5. Zuccini – 1/2 of medium sized zuccini, cut into small cubes
  6. Potatoes – 1 medium sized, cut into small cubes
  7. Green peas – 1/4 cup, fresh or frozen
  8. Stalk of coriander – finely chopped, as per taste
  9. Dried rosemary, dried basil, red chili flakes – 1 teaspoon each or as per taste
  10. Black pepper – freshly ground, to taste
  11. Salt – to taste
  12. Water/Vegetable stock* – 3 cups
  13. Garlic – 3 to 4 bulbs, finely chopped
  14. Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  15. Cabbage – 1/4 cup, very finely chopped
  16. Elbow macaroni – 1/3 cup
  17. Tomato ketchup – 1 to 2 tablespoons
  18. Cheese – grated, for serving
  19. Coriander, parsley or mint leaves for garnishing (optional)

Here is how to make Minestrone soup

  1. Heat olive oil in a deep pot, and add chopped garlic. Suate till all the raw smell goes away and garlic turns slightly pink.
  2. Add chopped onions, freshly ground black pepper, red chili flakes, coriander stalk, rosemary, basil and little salt. Saute till onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes – if using canned tomatoes use tomatoes and the liquid; if using blanced tomatoes add the extra water in which tomatoes were blanched.
  3. Now, add potatoes, zuccini, and cabbage. Add pasta (elbow macaroni). Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 and 1/2 cups of water or vegetable stock and bring to boil.
  4. Add cooked beans along with the water they are cooked in. Also add the tomato ketchup and taste the soup. Add more ketchup if required. Remember, this soup is not very tangy so use ketchup accordingly.
  5. Boil the soup for 30 minutes on low to medium heat. Add salt to taste and boil further do your desired consistency. If the soup looks very thick after 30 minutes of boiling add remaining 1/2 cup water or veg stock and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve with grated cheese. Preferably parmesan cheese is used, but I used whatever was on hand. Enjoy just as is or with some garlic bread!

To compensate for my absence I will be posting another recipe soon, of something which is liked by kids and adults alike. So, keep watching this space πŸ˜‰

~ Happy cooking,

Prajakta

Cooking| Dal khichdi – weekend meals made easy…

IMG_2195_1Some of my weekends are too busy to cook anything but one pot meals…honestly, not only my weekend but this time last couple of months have been very very busy… travel, festivals, celebrations, office and what not!

Thankfully when this long weekend was approaching, we thought of spending it lazily – and for me that included less cooking too πŸ˜‰

We both love rice dishes. Those are truely comfort food for us. We also order dal khichdi sometimes when we eat out and don’t want to eat very elaborately.

Simply put dal khichdi is a scrumptious meal and comfort food at its best! This dal khichdi recipe is easy to make and leaves your tummy happy and full! What else one wants on a lazy weekend afternoon?

To be specific this recipe is not exactly a one-pot mean; but it can definitely be made into. Instead of making tomato mixture in a separate pan, you can put all ginger, garlic, green chilies and tomatoes in the same tempering and then add rice and dal. This recipe makes for 2-3 servings per person for two people or single servings for a family of 4-5 persons.

Eat it plain with a dollop of desi ghee (purified butter; and this is a must) or serve it with some pickle, chutney or papad; and enjoy!

IMG_2193_1Here is what you will need –

  1. 1 and 1/4 cup rice*
  2. 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon split moong dal*
  3. approximately 5 to 5 and 1/2 cups water*
  4. 1 medium size tomato
  5. 2 green chilies chopped into small pieces*
  6. 1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped finely
  7. 7-8 garlic cloves chopped finely
  8. 3-4 cloves
  9. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  10. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. a pinch or two of asafoetida
  12. 1 teaspoon red chili powder*
  13. 3 plus 2 tablespoons desi ghee (clarified butter); little extra for serving
  14. a handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped finely

Here are the step wise instructions –

  1. Clean and soak rice and dal separately in enough water for at least 15-20 minutes
  2. In a deep heavy bottomed pot heat 3 tablespoons desi ghee (clarified butter) on low to medium heat on stove top. When the ghee is hot, reduce heat to low and add turmeric powder and asafoetida and give a quick stir. Now add cloves and saute for a minute or so till cloves leave their smell.
  3. Drain the water from rice and dal; save for further use. Add rice and then dal to the tempering and stir to mix. Keep stirring this mixture till you see that rice is turning pink. Be careful and do not burn rice and dal.
  4. Pour the water used for soaking dal and rice; add more water as needed* (refer notes). Add red chili powder, half of chopped green chilies and salt and mix. Increase heat to maximum and let the mixture boil. Cover with lid keeping a little space to let escape the steam and reduce heat to low again. Keep checking the rice and dal to see if its cooked and stir occasionally to avoid sticking or burning of the khichdi. Also, try to mash khichdi a little every time you stir.
  5. While the khichdi is cooking, add remaining 2 tablespoon ghee in a frying pan. Heat the ghee and then add cumin seeds, finely chopped garlic and saute till it starts turning golden brown. Now add finely chopped ginger, reserved green chilies, and chopped tomato and cook till tomato becomes soft and start breaking down.
  6. Add this tomato and spice mixture to the pot of khichdi and mix thoroughly. At this stage, do a taste test and add red chili powder and salt if needed. Let khichdi and tomato mixture cook together for 3-4 minutes or till the khichdi reaches your desired consistency – we want khichdi to be mushy and soft – we don’t want to dry out all the water.
  7. Serve hot with a dollop of desi ghee, pickle and papad. Enjoy!

IMG_2194_1

Notes:

  1. You can use any type of rice, I used Surati kolam but I would highly recommend Ambemohor
  2. I have given a loose measurement for dal. I usually use dal in 1/2 proportion to that of rice – so for one cup of rice I would use 1/2 cup dal.
  3. The quantity of water depends on how thick or thin you want your khichdi to be. With the quantity I have specified it makes khichdi just thin enough (but not runny). Adjust the water as per your liking but I would suggest at least 2 and 1/2 times that of total quantity of dal and rice.
  4. Use green chilies and red chili powder as per your taste preferences. The quantity used here along with quantity of ginger makes the recipe quite hot. If you prefer less heat, reduce the use of all three.

Happy cooking~

Prajakta