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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Baby Corn Pepper Fry

Baby Corn Pepper Fry

Baby Corn Pepper fry is a popular Indo - Chinese style appetiser. It has fresh Baby Corn blanched and seasoned with pepper ,deep fried to perfection and then stir fried along with Bell Peppers. A Crunchy Crispy and colourful starter loaded with flavor. My son Chinu loves Corn in any form and enjoys pepper flavor too , so this dish is one of his favourite.

  • Baby Corn 10-12
  • Coloured Bell Peppers (Capsicum) - diced -1 cup
  • Onion chopped -1/2 cup
  • Soy sauce-1 tsp
  • Vinegar-1tsp
  • Refined flour -2 tsp
  • freshly roasted and crushed black pepper-1tsp
  • Garlic Ginger paste
  • Salt
  • Oil
Method :
  1. Wash and boil the Baby Corn and then cut them diagonally into small bite size pieces.

2.  In a bowl add Baby Corn pieces and season it with freshly roasted and crushed Pepper  and salt, dust with refined flour or Cornstarch and deep fry them until  they turn golden brown and crispy.

3.  In another wok take 1 tsp oil, add garlic ginger paste, saute well. Now on high flame add chopped onions, diced Bell Peppers , fried Baby corn pieces and toss them.

4.  Add Soy sauce, Vinegar, Salt and Crushed Black Pepper. Stir fry and off the flame.

5.  Serve hot as both Baby Corns and Bell Peppers taste best when crunchy.

  • You can add Celery and Spring onions , Mushrooms or Broccoli in this dish for variation. 
  • Be careful while adding salt in step 4 as Baby corns are already seasoned with salt and even soy sauce has some salt.
  • Try to use freshly roasted and crushed Pepper for this dish as it maximises the flavor.
  • You can have this as starter , or as a side dish with fried rice.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Nariyal Barfi / Fresh Coconut Fudge

Fresh Coconut Fudge

Coconut (Srifal in Sanskrit- God's fruit) plays vital role in all pooja rituals in  India. Coconuts and festivities go hand in hand and the sweets made from them are very auspicious and generally offered as Bhog or Prasadam. Coconut barfi is one such traditional and classic Indian sweet prepared during Diwali , Ganesh chaturthi and Raksha Bandhan festivals.

A very handy recipe and goes well for kids snacks box or just to satisfy some sweet carvings. This Barfi can also be taken during Vrat or fast  and the best thing about it is that it has a long refrigerated shelf life.

Ingredients for Coconut Barfi:
  • Freshly scraped coconut 2 cups
  • Sugar 1 3/4 cup
  • fresh cream 3/4 cup
  • Rose essence ( few drops)
  • Strawberry juice / beetroot Juice/ rose colour ( 2 drops)
Directions :
  1. Heat wok on medium heat. Add freshly scraped coconut, sugar, fresh cream and cook, stirring continuously for 15 minutes or till the mixture becomes dry( leave sides).
  2. Remove from heat, add rose essence and 2 drops of Strawberry or beetroot juice. Mix well. Pour the mixture immediately on a ghee greased thali. Tap the mixture with greased spatula to flatten and spread evenly on the plate.
  3. When it cools , cut into diamond or square shape with a knife .

Notes :
  • Use a coconut scrapper to scrape the coconut and take care not to scrape brown skin for better look and texture.
  • The above quantity of ingredients yield 12-15 large diamond shaped and some 16-18 small square shaped barfis , though the number varies according to the thickness also.
  • center of plate will give the perfect edged barfis , sides will give broken edges or irregular shaped fudge.
  • Time factor plays important role while putting the mixture off flame. If the mixture remains wet barfi wont come out, and if mixture becomes too dry the texture will spoil. but do not panic ..in both cases the mixture wont go waste..Perfectly shaped and textured barfi will come out with practice..in case you end up plating a too wet mixture you can bind the mixture and roll into ladoos and in case the mixture goes too dry, collect it again and put in a pan add few drops of milk and put on the gas. the mixture melts again and now you can plate it.( in this case colour will not be as fresh as for the first time )
  • If you wish to have a white barfi , add cardamom powder for flavours and garnish with finely chopped almonds.
  • You can give any colour to your barfi, but try colouring food with natural colours , like you can add saffron strands soaked in milk for saffron colour barfi, Few drops of spinach juice for green colour and so on.

    Tuesday, 24 March 2015

    Paneer Makhanwala

    Paneeer Makhanwala

     Paneer Makhanwala dish is basically Paneer or cottage cheese cooked in a gravy which has the richness of butter, cream and cashews . It has a tangy , slightly sweet and spicy taste. The creaminess of gravy and richness of Paneer makes it an ideal dish for functions and parties.
         I have learnt this recipe from a T V cookery show long back and from then this dish is one of the favorite dish of my family. If you do not make any change in this particular recipe, you are surely going to get restaurant like flavors and taste , so if I expect any guest for lunch or dinner , this is the first dish of my menu.

    • Paneer or cottage cheese- 250 gms (preferably home made)
    • 3 Onions and 2 tomatoes chopped , saute in little oil and grind together to paste in a grinder)
    • Puree of 2 tomatoes. ( blanch the tomato, remove the outer skin with knife and puree in a mixer)
    • Kasuri methi (dry fenu Greek leaves)
    • Butter 3 tsp
    • Red chili powder 1 tsp
    • Garam masala 1/2 tsp
    • Fresh cream 3/4 cup
    • Cashews 10, Almonds 5( soak in Luke warm water for 15 minutes. peel almonds and make a paste of cashews and almonds in a grinder using very little water)
    • Black peeper powder 1/4 spoon
    • Sugar 2 tsp
    • Salt according to taste

    1. Take 2 tsp butter in a wok, add Kasuri methi to it.  Now add the paste of onions and tomatoes, saute it well , now add the tomato puree. Stir well until the butter separates out . At this stage add sugar and red chilly powder and mix well.
    2. Add the cashew and almond paste , mix well and the add the fresh cream. let all the ingredients blend well. Add salt. You can add little Luke warm water at this stage if gravy becomes too dry. 
    3. Put the Paneer pieces in the gravy and mix gently. At this stage add the remaining 1 tsp butter.
    4. Add black pepper powder and garam masala and put off the gas. Cover with a lid so as to trap the aroma of lastly added garam masala.
    5. Serve hot with Naan, Roti or Jeera rice.

    •  Use Kashmiri red chilly powder for vibrant colour. I have not added any artificial food color in this dish.
    •  If sweet taste is desired , add little more sugar
    •  If do not want the gravy to be spicy, can avoid or add less of black pepper powder.
    • Can garnish with cream.
    • If the Paneer is kept in freezer and turns out too hard, add the Paneer cubes in Luke warm water for 10 minutes, they will turn soft.
    • Adding sugar and Red Chili together to any gravy gives nice red colour


    Saturday, 21 March 2015

    Gudhi Padwa Naivedhyam Thali

    Gudhi Padwa marks the beginning of New Year for Maharashtrians and  is one of the 4 more auspicious days of the year . It is also a day full of yummy dishes for food lovers !
       For me any auspicious day has to have a Naivaidhya thali ( Bhog or food offered to God) and my Gudhi Padwa platter for today has Shrikhand , Poori, Waran Bhaat , Cucumber raita, and a special chutney made from Neem leaves. Neem leaves are eaten on Gudhi Padwa to ensure good health, but they are very bitter, so this chutney serves best way to have them.

    Shrikhand (Sour and Sweet yogurt based sweet dish ) is a perfect dessert for this festival. In this recipe the strained yogurt refereed to as "Chakka" is mixed with sugar and flavoured with saffron and cardamom and garnished with Pistachio.


    Ingredients for Shrikhand :
    • Home made curd or yogurt made from 1 litre milk
    • 3/4 cup sugar for every 1 cup of Chakka or as required.
    • Pinch of saffron strands
    • Pistachio 4-5
    • cardamom and nutmeg powder
    1. Step to make Chakka ( Strained Yogurt) - Take thick curd or yogurt preferably homemade in a muslin cloth and tie the cloth to some support . The whey will start dripping  , so keep some bowl bellow to collect the whey. Hang the curd in such manner for 5 hrs.
    2. Remove the strained yogurt in a bowl and keep in the fridge.
    3. Now when you want to prepare the Shrikhand , take the Chakka in a deep bowl and add Castor sugar or grounded sugar (3/4 cup for every 1 cup of hung curd) and start blending it . Mix well such that there should be no lumps .
    4. Add pistachio and saffron strands and finally the nutmeg and cardamom powder. Mix.
    5. Serve chilled with Pooris.
    Technique to make Chakka( Strained yogurt) at home

    Ingredients for Neem Chutney:
    • 8-10 Neem Leaves
    • Carom seeds ( Ajwain)
    • Jaggery
    • Sugar
    • Cumin seeds (Jeera)
    • Salt
    • Black pepper (3-4)
    • 1 Small chili
    • Tamarind
      Grind all the ingredients in a mixer to make Neem chutney.


    • For super fine texture of Shrikhand, after mixing Castor sugar in the Chakka, the mixture can be strained through a muslin cloth.
    • In the method of making Shrikhand, in step 1, if the room temperature is very hot, there are chances of hung curd getting too sour, to avoid it, you can hang the curd for straining in the refrigerator.
    • Another variation of Shrikhand is Aamrakhand ie Shrikhand flavoured with mango.
    • Do not discard the water or whey which drips from the hung curd. It can be used as a conditioner for hair. Apply it on hair and keep for 10 minutes and shampoo. Also whey is excellent for the growth of plants..so if you have a kitchen garden make the best of it.

    Miracle Drink - ABC Juice

    Apple Beet root and carrot (ABC) Juice    
    The name ABC stands for Apple Beetroot and Carrot juice. This delicious , healthy and filling drink is very easy to make and is the daily punch of antioxidants, powerful enzymes and nutrients, I give my family at the breakfast table. A quick recipe for all the fitness freak to have a healthy start and for me as well to open a blog !

    It is a Liver tonic, an alkalising magic drink and an immunity booster. It delays ageing enormously, strengthens eye muscles and enhances vision and gives a healthy glow and a pink blush. Apart from the endless benefits of this magic drink,  the brilliant red colour and the sweet taste of this juice is what makes it appealing to people of all age groups.

    All you need for 1 tall glass of Magic Drink :
    •   1 large Apple 
    •   1/2  small beet root peeled and cut to small chunks
    •   2 large carrots peeled and cut into pieces
    •   1" piece of Ginger (peeled)
    •   lemon juice
    •   1 medium cucumber (peeled)/ optional
    Directions:    Blend all the above ingredients in a juicer and serve immediately.. just  easy as ABC..

    •  For those who do not have a juicer, add all the ingredients to a grinder with little water( add coconut water for more benefits)  and strain it with a strainer.
    •  For variations, you can use green Apple instead of red for sour taste.
    • The quantity of the three key ingredients of the juice can be changed as per taste. My son does not like the after taste of beetroot , so I have used it little less in this juice.
    • Juices can be consumed throughout the day , but the best time to have this miracle drink is early morning on an empty stomach.
    • For better results, consume the juice immediately after making it.