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

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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

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