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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Sabudana Kheer / Caramel Sago Pudding - Navratri Recipe


 Chaitra Navratri , an auspicious Hindu festivity starts on the first day of the Chaitra month (first month of Hindu lunar calendar, falls in the month of March or April). The festivity lasts for 9 days and is dedicated to nine forms of goddess Shakti . The first day of Chaitra navratri, is celebrated by we Maharashtrians as Gudhi Padva festival and ninth day celebrates the birth of Lord Rama. Devotees observe 9 day fast during the festivity and eat only satvik food . One such food which can be had during fast is sago / tapioca also called sabudana. Many delicious sweet and savoury dishes can be made using sago pearls. 


  Sabudana Khichadi , sabudana vada , sabudana kheer being some of the sago dishes popular in India. Sago is the starch taken from the centre of the sago palm stems and then processed into small circular pellets referred to as pearls. Sago is high in carbohydrate content and commonly used as energy boosting ingredient in soups , puddings and smoothies. It is easy to digest and so given to babies and sick person. 


  Sabudana Kheer is a delicious creamy sweet pudding made from sago pearls and milk. This kheer is the most common type of food served during fasts (vrat) as it is easy to digest and at the same time is filling and gives instant energy . I personally never liked sabudana kheer and so always ended up making sabudana khichadi or vada during ekadashi fast. This time when i was at my mom's place , she made sabudana kheer again and to my surprise this time it was too good. It tasted like a chocolate flavoured dessert to me. My mom loves cooking and she keeps on experimenting with food and never fails to surprise us. She saw a dessert with caramel on some cookery show and thought of experimenting it with sago. The simple caramel took the humble sago kheer to an entirely different level as a result of which this caramel sago pudding has become one of my favoutite sweet dishes. Now i make this kheer often and enjoy it thoroughly. Yesterday i made it again for Aai dada and they also liked it very much.

                           

 This sabudana kheer has a distinct caramel flavor and a wonderful light brown color. Added nuts and raisins give richness and bite to the creamy kheer. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow and requires minimal ingredients that are easily available in Indian kitchen pantries. The recipe calls for soaking the sago pearls in water for at least 2 hours, until they swell and become soft and non sticky. A simple caramel is made by allowing the sugar to melt completely in a heated pan without adding any water. Soaked sago and milk is added to this caramel and cooked until the mixture becomes creamy and the sago pearls cook completely. The pudding can be served either hot or on cooling. I chilled the kheer before serving and it tasted great. This kheer is a must try for those who love caramel and also for those who are fasting this navratri. And trust me, you do not have to fast to have this delicious treat :)


Preparation Time : 2 hours
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:Measurements used 1 cup = 200 ml
  • 1/2 cup sabudana / sago pearls
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cup milk ( i have used full cream milk)
  • 2 tablespoon raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts of your choice. ( i have used almonds and pistachios)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (optional )
Method:
  1. Take sago pearls in a bowl. Rinse them till water runs clear of starch. Drain and soak the pearls in 1 cup water for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile boil 2 cup of milk and keep aside.



  2. After 2 hours the sago pearls absorb water , swell and become soft and almost double in size . 


  3. Heat a non stick heavy bottom pan. Add sugar to the hot pan . Let it get caramelised to golden brown. Do not use spatula to mix the caramel. Make sure the caramel does not burn as it may turn bitter on further heating. 




   4. When sugar is caramelised , add 1 tablespoon ghee and swirl. The caramel will seize and turn hard.  But do not worry , the caramel gets dissolved in hot milk.


  5.  Add soaked sago and boiled milk to the caramel. 



  6.  Let the milk boil . The hard caramel will melt completely in the milk. Now simmer and allow the sago to cook completely. It will take 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring the kheer occasionally. The pudding will turn creamy.


   7. Add raisins and nuts and stir the pudding.



  8.  The sago pudding thickens further on cooling. If you wish to serve the kheer cold , switch off the flame accordingly. 



  9. Serve the kheer hot or chilled. 


   Notes:
  • Use a heavy bottom non stick pan to make the caramel. Do not use spoon to stir the caramel. Take care not to burn the caramel.
  • The sago pudding thickens on cooling , so switch off the flame accordingly.
  • Jaggery or brown sugar can be used instead of refined sugar to make the caramel.
For more fasting recipes , do check my posts on


Friday, 24 March 2017

Strawberry Falooda Recipe


Falooda is a multilayered dessert , quite popular in the Indian subcontinent. One can both drink and eat this summer coolant beverage cum dessert. Traditionally falooda is prepared by mixing rose syrup , milk , jelly or custard, falooda sev and falooda seeds (sweet basil seeds). The dessert could be topped with chopped fruits , nuts and ice cream. There are many variations to it and falloda can be made using pulpy fruits like mangoes, papaya or with seasonal berries.  Last time i had made Mango falooda and it was a big hit at my place. Trying out a strawberry falooda was on my mind for quiet a long time.


Aai dada (my in-laws) have came over here in Mohali to spend some time with us. Chinu is so happy with their arrival and he is enjoying his session break thoroughly in their company. To welcome them i made this gorgeous dessert and they just loved it.

 Strawberry falooda is a refreshing summer dessert and a visual treat too. This pudding like dessert is beautifully layered in tall glasses with strawberry crush or rose syrup, gulkand flavored milk, fresh strawberry chunks , vanilla ice cream and pistachios. The sabja seeds and gulkand (rose petal jam) give cooling effect to the body and the falooda sev adds in to the different textures in the layers of the falooda. The falooda looks gorgeous in shades of pink and the sabja seeds, pistachio and strawberry chunks add in to its beauty.


I had strawberry crush from Mapro , Mahabaleshwar ready at hand so used it here . You may prepare strawberry crush at home (simply blend fresh strawberry chunks with sugar to get a puree) or add rose syrup instead. Sabja seeds are easily available in Indian grocery shops and they some what resemble the chia seeds and bloom when come in contact with water. They have a cooling effect on the body and hence used in summer drinks. I did not get the falooda sev , so used the regular roasted wheat sev (vermicelli) instead. Gulkand (rose petal jam) adds refreshing rose flavors to the milk. You may simply add rose jam or any of your favourite fruit jam to the chilled milk to flavor milk. Fruit jelly can also be added to the falooda , i have not added .

If you love strawberries , as i do  (i mean who doesn't love these gorgeous beauties loaded with healthy goodness) , this falooda is a must try. So before the official strawberry season in India comes to an end , do try your hands with this delectable dessert .

Preparation Time : 40 minutes
Cooking Time : 10 minutes
Serves : 3 glasses

Ingredients: Measurements used : 1 cup = 200 ml
  • 1 1/2 cup milk ( i have used full cream milk)
  • 6-7 large strawberries
  • 1/2 cup falooda sev / wheat vermicelli
  • 4 tablespoon strawberry crush / rose syrup
  • 3 tablespoon gulkand (rose petal jam)
  • 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 2-3 scoops of vanilla or strawberry icecream
  • 2 tablespoon sabja / sweet basil seeds / Tukmaria
  • 5-7  unsalted pistachio , chopped
Method:
  1. Preparing the Gulkand flavored Milk:
  • Bring 1 1/2 cup milk to boil. Add 2 tablespoon sugar followed by gulkand and stir well. Allow the milk to cook on low to medium flame for 2-3 minutes. Put off the flame.




  • Strain the flavored milk if desired . I have strained as chinmay does not like the cooked petals in his bite). Allow the milk to cook down to room temperature , then cover and  transfer to refrigerator for 20 minutes or until ready to serve. You may entirely avoid cooking the gulkand in milk and simply add rose jam to the chilled milk. This will save time of cooking and then cooling. 

  2.   Preparing the falooda sev:
  • Cook the falooda sev or the regular wheat vermicelli as per the instructions given on the packet. 


  •  Drain excess water using a sieve. Add chilled water to stop further cooking of the sev. Cool and refrigerate until use.

   3. Preparing the sabja seeds:
  • Soak the sabja seeds in 1 cup water for about 20 minutes. The seeds will bloom . Strain the bloomed seeds with a tea strainer and keep aside until use.



   4. Other Preparations:
  • Wash , hull and chop the strawberries. Put them in a bowl with 1 teaspoon sugar. Mix and refrigerate until use.
  • Chill the falooda serving glasses in the fridge for about 1/2 hour before layering the falooda. Preferably use tall glasses with wide mouth as it shows the layers of the falooda distinctly.


  5. Layering the strawberry falooda:
  • To each chilled falooda glasses add 2 tablespoon of strawberry crush or rose syrup, followed by falooda sev / vermicelli. Now gradually add gulkand flavored chilled milk.

  • To it add 2 teaspoon of bloomed sabja seeds followed by 1 tablespoon of strawberry chunks. Repeat the layers until the glass is 80 % full. 


  • Lastly top the glass with scoop of ice cream , strawberry chunks and chopped pistachio. 


  •    Serve the strawberry falooda immediately . 


   Notes:
  • Rose syrup , Rooh Afza or home made strawberry crush can be used in this falooda .
  • Falooda sev can be replaced with wheat vermicelli .
  • Rose petal jam (Gulkand ) can be replaced with any fruit jam.
 For more similar recipes, do check my posts on


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Egg-less Butter-less Orange Muffins With Whole Wheat Flour and Jaggery / Healthy Eating - 2nd Blog Anniversary Special


I am very happy and excited as i celebrate my second blog anniversary today. Yeah...Annapurna has turned 2 ! Time just flies , i began my journey as a food blogger exactly on this day 2 years back with not so clear view in my mind that i would be able to stretch it so long. Not that i had any doubt about my cooking. Cooking has always been my passion and i love being in kitchen and cook food for my loved ones each day. Its just that i was not sure as to how i would be able to gather readers to my blog , knowing that i did not know much about computer and blogging when i started and also because i always thought and still feel that writing is not my cup of tea.

Today blogging has become a part of my life and i thoroughly enjoy every bit of it. Blogging gives me chance to cook and experiment food from different cuisines which otherwise i would probably not have tried. It is because of this blog, i got to connect with so many talented bloggers and learn so much from them. Above all blogging has given me recognition and a sense of satisfaction of being virtually present in so many kitchens through my recipes.

                           

This year has been quiet rewarding for me as a blogger. Getting featured in Indian Express (Link to the article - Chhena Modak ) , collaboration with a food company and winning a few online food competition were some of the highlights. I feel so honored to know that while you all have hundreds and thousands of blogs and material to read from , you choose my space to spend your valuable time with. I really appreciate all the love, support and encouragement i have received during my journey.

                            

 As on today Annapurna records 248 recipe posts , 266 comments and a huge number of 3,57,055 page views. Foremost i would like to thank my readers for reading my long blog posts , for each and every like and comment , for all the lovely feed back you give me by trying out my recipes and for following by blog so religiously. I would also thank my fellow bloggers for inspiring me by their fantastic work and talent to give my best each time. I could reach countless viewers only because of the various online food groups and websites on social networking sites (Though finding yourself added to a food group every other day and that too without your permission may find annoying at times , but at the end of the day it is fruitful , as it increases your reach ), last but surely not the least, i would thank my family and friends for their continuous support and motivation. Cannot dare to miss out my lifeline Kiran and Chinmay for their love and for allowing me to carry my food experiments on them :) Looking forward for the same support and love from all of you as i continue my journey.

                                                       

To celebrate this special day i made these delicious sweet treats . Made from whole wheat flour these orange muffins are egg and butter free and have bold flavors of orange due to use of orange juice (rather i would say orange pulp) and orange zest. I have used powdered jaggery as a sweetener in these muffins. The orange muffins turned out to be moist, soft and deliciously sweet with bold citrus flavors in it. If you are an orange lover than these muffins are just perfect for you.

 I have used kinnow (hybrid variety of mandarin orange) for making these muffins as this variety is juicy sweet and aromatic and the local markets here in North India, are flooded with Kinnow at this time. Kinnow is rich in minerals , iron , lime, , phosphorous and vitamin C and B.


 I have adapted this recipe from my Egg-less Christmas Fruit cake in which i had used orange juice and jaggery. Here yogurt acts as an egg replacer. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow. These fruity muffins can be served as a healthy breakfast or as a tea time snack. One can have them to satisfy those sweet cravings and kids would love to have them in their snacks box for sure.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
Serves: 8 Muffins

Ingredients: Measurements used - 1 cup =200 ml
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup orange pulp (extracted using 2 Kinnows)
  • 1/2 cup powdered jaggery
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1/4 cup refined oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • Pinch of Salt
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degree Celsius or 350 degree Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes. Grease the individual muffin holders or line them with paper cups.

   2.  In a bowl sieve the whole wheat flour along with baking soda, baking powder and salt twice. Add orange zest to it and set aside.



   3.  You can use store bought orange pulp if you wish to. I have used fresh oranges. To extract the pulp, cut 2 oranges in roundels , peel and cut the segments into small chunks. While doing do remove the seeds. Put the orange chunks into a grinder and get the puree. Do not strain the puree.





  4.  In a large mixing bowl, take this orange puree and add powdered or grated jaggery to it and stir well with a wire whisk until the jaggery dissolves completely in the puree.   



  5.  To this add curd followed by oil and stir well. Lastly add vanilla essence and give a quick stir. Our wet ingredients are ready.




  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and blend with a spatula. Do not over beat. Just fold in to get an even and lump free batter.



    7. Spoon the batter into individual muffin holder until 3/4 full. Tap the muffin tray and transfer it to a preheated oven.


    8. Bake the muffins at 180 degree Celsius / 350 degree Fahrenheit for 22 -25 minutes or until the tester tooth pick comes out clean. Keep a watch after 20 minutes as temperature may vary from oven to oven. I have baked the muffins in a microwave with convection mode.


    9.  Let the muffins cool down on a wire rack. Serve and enjoy them as it is or with a cup of tea or coffee.

                         

                            

  Notes:
  • Can use half quantity of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour if desired.
  • Can top the muffins with chocolate chips for variation.
Hope you would love to try out these fruity muffins. Do not forget to give your valuable feedback.

For more egg-less butter-less bakes , do check my posts on


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