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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Baked Veggie florets





There has been an age long war between mums and kids over Veggies . Parents struggle to get their kids to eat more veggies and I was no exception to this, until I found this recipe where I could make my Son finish all his veggies and that too with a spark in his eyes and a wide smile on face. These baked Veggie florets are not only best way to trick your kids into eating their veggies, but also serve as good appetizers at kids parties ! 

I tried using vegetable juices to colour the bread to make it more healthy and appealing and the colored baskets resembled florets on baking and thus clicked the name of this recipe ! Topping the veggies with cheese and herbs make them flavorful. 

Ingredients:
  • Mixed veggies of your choice(I have used Carrots, Green peas,Sweet corn)
  • Beet root juice - 2 tsp
  • Carrot Juice -2 tsp
  • Tomato sauce/ any Chutney - 2 tsp
  • Bread slices-6
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mixed Italian herbs-1/2 tsp (optional )
  • Crushed black pepper-1/2 tsp
  • Butter to grease the muffin tray
  • Salt
 


   Method:
  1. Chop the veggies of your choice. You may also blanch the veggies before baking them, I haven't.
  2. Keep the bread slice on board and flatten it evenly using a rolling pin. Cut it in round shape using a lid or bowl. Repeat the same for rest slices. ( Use the left over edges of bread to make bread crumbs).
       
      3. Now we have 6 round bread slices. Coat 2 slices with carrot juice, 2 with Beetroot juice  using a pastry brush and keep the remaining 2 slices as it is . Do not make the bread slices too soggy with juice, Just apply enough juice to give colour to the bread slices.



     4.   Grease the muffin tray with butter and preheat the oven at 375 F for 15 minutes.


     5.  Place the bread slices in the muffin tray and fold the edges properly to give it a cup size. Now bake this for 10 minutes at 375 F. This will make the bread slices dry before we assemble them with veggies.


     6. Now coat little sauce or any chutney of your choice in these baked bread cups. Sprinkle salt on all the veggies and mix well. You may also add chat masala to the veggies. Now add 1-2 tsp of the mixed veggies in the bread cups.
    

       7.  Top the veggies with grated cheese and lastly sprinkle crushed pepper and herbs on them.


     8. Place the muffin tray in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 F or until they turn crisp and golden. I have baked these florets using Convection Microwave. No preheating needed in convection mode. Place the tray on rotating plate of oven and select convection mode and set 180 degree Celsius temperature for 25 minutes. You can even grill these florets.

      9.    Colourful Veggie florets are ready ! 


     Notes:
  • You can make similar baked bread baskets , add any salad or fruits or sprouts and enjoy as chaat.
  • Use of vegetable juice to colour the bread is optional.
  • Adjust the time of baking, to make the bread crisp and golden .








Monday, 27 April 2015

Soft Mango Bites

Soft Mango Bites

For us Summers are incomplete without Mango delicacies . Mango tastes great as a fruit by itself and apart from it there is an endless array of dishes made with this tropical fruit ranging from Juices and Smoothies to desserts and Cakes. Mangoes add a tropical twist and explode of flavor to any meal.

 This time I tried making some soft  Mango bites . These are very handy, flavorful and ready to pop candies , great for kids and serve best to satisfy sweet craving for all age groups. I have used Alphonso Mango pulp in this recipe which imparts rich golden colour as well as an irresistible aroma and the Saffron and Cardamom add to the richness of this candy !

Ingredients:

  • Mango pulp - 1 cup
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1 cup
  • Milk Powder - 1 cup
  • Few Saffron strands
  • Cardamom powder- 1/2 tsp

Method :
  • Peel and pit ripe mangoes of your choice , cut  into pieces and make a smooth puree  in a grinder .I have used Alphonso Mango Pulp.
  • To make Condensed milk at home - Take 1 liter full cream milk add 10-12 tsp sugar to it and reduce it to 1/4 . Skip this step if using ready made Condensed milk. 
  • In a Wok or non stick pan add the Mango Pulp and start reducing it on medium heat. Keep stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes or till the pulp thickens a bit. This step not only reduces the pulp but also enhances the flavors of Mango.

  • Now add the condensed milk to the mango pulp. Blend properly and keep on stirring the mixture continuously on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Now dissolve saffron strands in little warm milk and add this to the mixture and mix well. As the condensed milk is sweetened, and the Alphonso mango pulp was also sweet , I have not added sugar to this recipe. You may add powdered sugar if the mango pulp is not sweet.


  •  Now add the milk powder slowly to the mixture and keep on blending it well without any lumps. Keep on scrapping the sides as well as the bottom of the wok , so as to avoid the   mixture from sticking.




  • Our aim is to get a dough like consistency of this mixture. this will take some 5-7  minutes more of continuous stirring . Yes, it needs patience but believe me, these flavorful candies are worth the efforts . You can use a microwave to reduce the efforts. 



  •   Now that the mixture is reduced and thick enough and is no more sticking the sides of  the pan, put off the flame. Now add the cardamom powder. Mix well and let it cool down. 
  •  Apply some ghee on your hands and pinch small portion from the dough and make a small ball shaped candy , this should not be sticky . Repeat the same for rest of the dough and your soft Mango bites are ready to melt in your mouth ! 


    Notes:

  • These soft Mango bites stay well for 15 days upon refrigeration. 
  • The above measurements yield 35-40 small soft Mango bites.
  • The same recipe can be made using a Microwave to reduce the efforts.
  • You can make bigger balls and have them as mango Ladoo or just press the mango balls little between the palms and place one pistachio on them and enjoy them as mango Peda or put into moulds to get various shapes.






Friday, 24 April 2015

Paneer Tikka


Paneer Tikka

Paneer Tikka is a popular Indian snack in which Paneer chunks are marinated in spices and yogurt and grilled in a oven or on stove top . This dish serves as a starter and  a vegetarian option for chicken tikka and other non vegetarian starters. I had made hung curd / chakka at home for Shrikhand and some of it was left, so thought of making this dish for my Sunday evening snacks.

For those who do not have an oven need not worry, as here you will find this recipe using both oven and stove top(Tawa) and the Tikkas made on Tawa turned out to be more crispy .

Main ingredients for Paneer Tikka :
  • 200 gms Paneer (I have used home made)
  • 1 small Red Bell Pepper / Capsicum
  • 1 small Yellow Bell Pepper/ capsicum
  • 1 small Green Bell Pepper/ Capsicum
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2-3 tsp oil or butter 
For Marinade:
  • 150 gms Hung Curd/ thick yogurt
  • Kasmiri Red Chili powder
  • Garam Masala.
  • Roasted Cumin + Corriander powder
  • Black pepper powder
  • Chat Masala
  • Turmeric
  • Kasuri methi( dried fenu greek leaves)
  • lemon juice
  • Garlic Ginger paste
  • Salt 
Method:
  1. To make hung curd tie fresh curd in muslin cloth and hang it or place curd on sieve and put inside refrigerator for an hour to remove excess water.You can also use thick home made yogurt if you are running short of time.

2.   Slice the Paneer into small cubes or rectangles , rinse and dice the Bell peppers/ Capsicum in square or rectangular slices, halve the onions and remove each layer one by one. Keep Paneer and veggies aside.



3 . Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and  add the veggies and Paneer to it. Mix well. Cover the bowl and marinate it in fridge for at least 1-2 hrs or if not in hurry preferably overnight. The more the time for marination, the spices and yogurt infuse well in the Paneer making it more delicious.







4  . For grilling Paneer Tikka in Oven- Use a convection microwave or the one which has option for grill. Take a small nonstick tray grease it with little oil and place the marinated Paneer and veggies on it and place this tray on a high grill rack  and grill it for 5 minutes using grill option on the oven. Now remove the tray and gently lift the Paneer and veggies and turn over , brush them with little oil  to avoid them from drying and  again grill for 2 more minutes.


5.  For making Paneer Tikka on stove top or Tawa- Take a non stick tawa and grease it with oil or butter, add the marinated Paneer and Veggie cubes on it and roast on medium heat. when one side gets browned, gently lift and turn over, the Paneer cubes will get cooked faster than the veggies. so remember to remove the Paneer cubes as soon as they are golden. You can char or brown the veggies more. 


6.  While still hot, skewer the grilled Paneer cubes and veggies on to a wooden skewer or toothpick, try alternate cubes of veggies and Paneer. You can also have them straight away without skewering. Sprinkle 1 tsp chaat masala & ¾ tsp lemon juice on the Paneer tikka while serving.




Notes: 
  • If using curd or yogurt for marinade instead of hung curd, see to it that the marinade is not runny , you can add gram flour ( besan) to thicken it.
  • I have not added any color in the marinade as I do not want to use artificial colours, you may add red food colour for vibrant restaurant look Tikkas.  
  • Do not cook the Paneer for more time on tawa, or else will turn rubbery and hard.
  • You can also bake the Paneer Tikka in an oven for 15 minutes at 180 degree Celsius.
  • Whilst grilling or baking the Paneer become dry so brush the veggies and Paneer with oil or butter to keep them moist.
  • Left over marinade can be added to any gravy or preferably to the Paneer Tikka Masala gravy.
  • Dish goes well with Mint chutney and Salad.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Mishti doi / Bengali Sweet Yogurt Recipe

                                   

Mishti Doi is a classic dessert from Bengal in East India. In Bengali "mishti" means sweet and "doi" is curd, so Mishti Doi translated to sweet curd. It is basically a fermented sweet yogurt made with thickened milk, sweetened with sugar or jaggery to which curd culture is added and fermented overnight. Here i have used jaggery as the sweetener which is healthy and imparts a mild sweet taste to the dish. Mishti doi can be mildly flavored with cardamom or kept plain. Mishti doi has a rich and exotic taste. Traditionally it is prepared in earthen pots as the gradual evaporation of water from the earthen pots leads to further thickening of the yogurt.
                                      
       

Durga Puja also referred to as Durgotsava or Sharadotsav is an annual Hindu festival in south Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It is  particularly popular in Indian states of West Bengal , Odisha, Assam and Tripura. Durga puja festival marks the battle of goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious over the evil. Thus the festival epitomizes the victory of Good over Evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation.
                             
I had made this emboss painting 20 years years back and it still adorns the  wall at my parents house :)
Durga Puja a major festival of Bengal is a five-day celebration that run parallel with Navratri, a Hindu festival where none forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. The five days are Shahsthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navmi and Vijaydashmi. It is believed that during Durga Puja, Goddess Durga, accompanied by her four children, Ganesh, Karthik, Lakshmi and Saraswati- desends on earth every year to visit her parents and to fight evil. As a part of Durga Puja celebrations, huge pandals with idols of Goddess Durga are set-up and devotees come in large numbers to offer prayers to the goddess. During this festivalof Durgostav, devotees wear new clothes, indulge in sweet and traditional food and enjoy cultural programmes. The rituals that start off on Shashthi come to an end on dahmi, when idols of the goddess are immersed by teary-eyed devotees in ponds, lakes and rivers. Source


Bengali's celebrate Durga Puja festival with dance , food , music , grandeur and community gatherings. While in Northern and Western India, people observe 9 days of fasting during Navratri, Bengali's (die hard foodies) enjoy scrumptious food during Durga Pooja. Many mouth-watering sweets like Sandesh, Rasgulla, Payesh , mishti doi are made as offerings during Durga Puja. A typical Durga Puja Thali will have Mishti doi served as a side dish for sure.


This is an old post which i had published in 2015 during my initial blogging days. Few days back when i visited this post, i felt the pics were very dull and even the written content of the recipe was not up to the mark. I have many such old posts which needs to be updated. Thanks to Renu, my dear friend and a fellow blogger who came up with a Facebook group, Foodies_Redoing Old Posts as an initiative, wherein we bloggers update our old posts with new pictures and written contents every two weeks. This is my 7th entry into this event (4th October). Here i have updated the recipe with both the pictures and the written content.
                         
                                          Foodies_RedoingOldPost
Preparation Time: 10-12 hours
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
  • 1 liter full fat milk
  • 3/4 cup grated jaggery
  • 2 tablespoon fresh curd
Method 
  1. Take milk in a heavy based pan or wok and heat it on medium flame. Once the milk comes to a boil, simmer and stir it frequently to ensure it does not catch the bottom.

2. Keep stirring and scrapping the sides of the pan to collect the milk solids and add it to the simmering milk. Continue to cook the milk until it thickens and reduces to 1/3 or 1/2 of its original volume.



3. Put off the flame and allow the thickened milk to cool down for about 8-10 minutes. Now add the grated jaggery to it and stir well until the jaggery dissolves completely. 



4. The temperature of milk will drop down as you dissolve the jaggery. Now dip your finger in the milk and check for the temperature. If you feel the milk warm and not hot, this is the right time to add the curd culture. Stir well with spoon or whisk until the curd dissolves well with the milk.


 5. Now, pour the doi mixture into earthen pots and cover with lid or seal with aluminum foil. Keep the pots in warm place overnight for the misthi doi to set. In winter months it make take longer to set. You may keep the pots in an oven with the light on.



   6.  Once set, refrigerate it for a couple of hours and serve chilled. I have garnished the mishti doi with dried rose petals, few saffron strands and pistachio slivers to give it a festive touch.

                              

Recipe Notes:
  •  Do not add the curd when the milk is too hot or else the milk will curdle. 
  • The amount of  jaggery can be increased or reduced to suit your taste.
  • Very often the yogurt is delicately seasoned with a hint of cardamom (elaichi) for fragrance. You can also garnish it with few saffron strands, pistachio slivers and dried rose petals the way i have done .
  • Use full fat milk for best results.
 If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below. Follow us on #Facebook, #Instagram, #Twitter#Pinterest and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates. 

For more Bengali recipes from this blog, check out the following  
                     
                    
                    
                    
                   
                   



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