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Monday, 22 July 2019

Chocolate Halwa

Chocolate Halwa is a delectable Indian fusion dessert. Basically it is our humble suji halwa flavored with chocolate taste. Here i have used unsweetened cocoa powder to get that chocolaty flavor and color. I have also replaced the refined sugar with jaggery in this recipe and cut down the ghee to make it a guilt free affair. Topped with slivered nuts and mildly flavored with cardamom powder, this aromatic and flavorful chocolate halwa is a delight for all ages. And mind you, this dessert is super addictive. Serve it at kid parties , pack it in their snack box or just make it for those sweet cravings. With a very simple and easy to follow recipe, this chocolate halwa is ready within 20 minutes from scratch and with the upcoming festive season , you have yet another delicious dessert to awe your loved ones !

Suji or semolina halwa (sheera) is a traditional Indian sweet made on special occasions and festivals. I have yet to meet an Indian who does not love this dessert. I mean what is not to love in this dish ? Ghee roasted nuts and semolina are cooked in either milk or water and then sweetened and flavored with aromatic spices like cardamom to give a melt in mouth dessert. Suji halwa is not only apt for special occasions but it is also offered as Naivedhyam to the deity on festivals and then served as prasad to the devotees. We make Narayani Sheera for Satyanarayan Pooja where the halwa is flavored with ripe banana. Narayani Sheera is made with equal parts of suji, ghee, sugar and milk and however closely you follow the recipe, you cannot get the taste of this Satyanarayan prasad sheera at your home on regular days. I guess , it is the same with all the temple offerings. The prasad gets its special taste from the love and devotion of the devotees, the positive vibes from the mantras and shlokas and off course the strong belief that the prasad has healing properties and blessings from the deity.

I have experimented adding fresh fruit flavors to this humble suji halwa multiple times and each time i get awesome results. Pineapple Kesari as the name suggests has fresh pineapple juice and pineapple chunks in it which give refreshing tropical flavors to the kesari. Orange Rava Kesari has a lovely citrus flavor in it ,Mango Halwa another scrumptious dessert with fresh mango pulp and the narayani sheera with the banana flavor are some of our family favorites. This time i wanted to give a firangi avatar to our sheera and hence this chocolate halwa. Now you must be wondering how did i get this idea.

Actually the #205th #FoodieMondayBlogHop theme is #MithiaMeinTwist. FoodieMondayBlogHop is a Facebook group, of which I am a part of. It was Sasmita's turn to suggest the theme for this week. In the theme MeethaiMeinTwist, she wanted us to cook an Indian dessert but not in the usual way. Either we could alter the ingredients or cooking method to give it a global twist. I was super excited with the theme. There were many thoughts in my mind, like gajar halwa parfait, gulab jamun cake etc. I already have Almond Chocolate LadooChocolate ModakChocolate Nankhatai , Eggless Thandai Cookies on my blog. So for our chocolate love and to keep it sweet and simple for my readers, this easy yet flavorful chocolate halwa was finalized for the theme. Do check out my other fellow bloggers post for some wonderful ideas on this interesiting theme. Also do check out Sasmita's blog for wonderful recipes. I like her traditional Odia recipes the most.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4

  • 1/3 cup suji/semolina
  • 1/4 cup grated jaggery/gud
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoon chopped almonds/badam
  • 1 tablespoon pistachio slivers/pista
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder/elaichi powder
  1. In a pan heat ghee and roast the semolina on low to medium flame until it turns light pink and fragrant. Keep stirring continuously to ensure the suji does not catch the bottom of the pan. It may take around 5 minutes for this. 

2. Meanwhile, in another sauce pan take 1 cup water and add grated jaggery to it. Allow this mixture to heat until all the jaggery melts and it gets a boil. If your jaggery has impurities, strain this syrup and boil again.

3. Add unsweetened cocoa powder to the roasted semolina and stir it until it blends well with the suji.
    Next, add chopped almonds to it and roast for another 1 minute.

4.  To this, slowly add the boiling jaggery syrup. Be careful as the mixture will be super hot and will splatter.

5. Keep stirring the pudding to make sure you do not get lumps. You will see the semolina soaks up the syrup and increases in volume and gets a beautiful color. Keep stirring and cooking on medium flame until you get a desired consistency. the halwa thickens further on cooling so adjust the cooking time accordingly. Put off the flame and add the cardamom powder and give a good mix.

6. Lastly garnish the halwa with slivered pistachio and serve !  

Recipe Notes:
  • Vegans may use oil for roasting the semolina.
  •  Strain the jaggery syrup to remove impurities, if any.
  • You may skip addition of nuts or use dry fruit powder if serving to small babies to rule out chocking hazards.
  • Use good quality unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe for best results.
  • Make sure your jaggery syrup is boiling hot when you add it to the roasted semolina or else you will get a sticky halwa.
  • Roast the semolina on low to medium flame until aromatic to avoid raw taste of semolina in the halwa.
  • You may increase the quantity of ghee to make it more rich.
  • Amount of jaggery can also be adjusted as per your taste.
  • The chocolate halwa tastes best when served hot.
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 halwa recipes from this blog, checkout the following

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Ukadpendi Recipe / Traditional Maharashtrian Breakfast Recipe

Ukadpendi is a traditional Maharashtrian breakfast recipe. It is basically a healthy wheat flour upma that makes for a warm and comforting meal. Here i have made a wholesome ukadpendi using whole wheat flour (ata), gram flour(besan) and sorghum (jowar) flour. Ukadpendi is a versatile dish as we can adjust the consistency to thin porridge type or cook it further like upma and can serve it at any time of the day. The recipe is simple and easy to follow and the dish is ready under 20 minutes. Peanuts add a lovely crunch and bite to the otherwise soft upma.

Ukadpendi is a nutritious dish but sadly it is not that popular and very few people know about it and cook it. Coarse whole wheat flour is ideally used to make ukadpendi. If you cannot source it, little quantity of fine semolina (suji) can be added to wheat flour to make it coarse. Traditionally the recipe uses only whole wheat flour , i have used a mix of jowar flour and gram flour also to make it all the more wholesome. Roasted flours are added to the flavorful oil tempering of curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds, onions and green chilies. I have used peanuts here, which lend a bite and crunch to the soft ukadpendi. You may add veggies like tomato, carrot, green peas as well if you wish to make the dish filling. Buttermilk or curd may be used in this recipe. I have added curd and hot water to cook the upma.  The steamed ukadpendi is lastly flavored with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves and served warm. As in most of the Maharashtrian dishes, a little sugar or jaggery is also added to this Ukadpendi. So without further ado let's get through the recipe of Ukadpendi.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour ( coarse)
  • 1/4 cup Sorghum flour /jowar flour
  • 2-3 tablespoon gram flour/besan
  • 2-3 tablespoon curd
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoon peanuts
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  1. In a pan heat oil on medium flame. Add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds splutter, add cumin seeds followed by peanuts. Lower the flame and fry the peanuts until golden brown. Take care not to burn the peanuts. Next, add curry leaves followed by chopped green chilies. Saute for a few seconds. Now tip in the chopped onions and saute for 1-2 minutes. Here we do not want to brown the onions.

2. To this tempering add the whole wheat flour, sorghum flour, and gram flour. Stir fry the flours on low to medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, keep a saucepan with water to boil.

3. Once you get a good aroma from the flours and they turn light brown in color, add salt, sugar and turmeric powder. Mix well. Next, add curd and give a good stir.

4. Now carefully stir in the boiling water. Keep stirring continuously so that there are no lumps. Cover the pan and let the ukadpendi cook on steam for further 4-5 minutes on low flame.

5. After 5 minutes, open the lid, squeeze juice of a lemon over the ukadpendi and garnish it with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

6. Put off the flame and serve the delicious and wholesome Ukadpendi with some onion rings or finely chopped onion and a lemon wedge.

Recipe Notes:
  • We can adjust the consistency of Ukadpendi to thin porridge type or cook it further like upma.
  • If serving to small babies, skip adding chopped green chilies.
  • Coarse whole wheat flour is ideally used to make ukadpendi. If you cannot source it, little quantity of fine semolina (suji) can be added to wheat flour to make it coarse. 
  • Traditionally the recipe uses only whole wheat flour, I have used a mix of jowar flour and gram flour also to make it all the more wholesome.
  • I have used peanuts here, which lend a bite and crunch to the soft ukadpendi. You may add veggies like tomato, carrot, green peas as well if you wish to make the dish filling. 
  • Buttermilk or curd may be used in this recipe. If using buttermilk, reduce the amount of water used to cook ukadpendi accordingly.
Sending this wholesome Maharashtrian breakfast recipe to the #204th #Foodie Monday Blog Hop with #NashtaTime as the theme for this week. The theme was suggested by Priya Iyer who blogs at Thephotowali.wordpress.com. As per the theme we were supposed to cook a regional dish that is typically eaten as breakfast in the region we belong to. I being a Maharashtrian, I chose this traditional dish, Ukadpendi for the theme. Meanwhile, do check out Priya's blog for some wonderful recipes and travel stories. 


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 Maharashtrian Breakfast Recipes, check out the following from this blog

Friday, 12 July 2019

Horse Gram Idli / Kulith Idli / Kollu Idli Recipe

Idli made with the the nutrient-dense Horse Gram ( Kulith / Kollu / Hurali ) is a traditional Konkani breakfast and a delicious variation to the regular rice lentil idli. Here, i have used black gram ( urad dal ) and horse gram in equal proportions along with double the quantity of idli rava. Soft and spongy in texture , this horse gram idli is protein rich, vegan , gluten-free, diabetic friendly and perfect for weight watchers. It can be served at breakfast or lunch with some Coconut Chutney and sambar. Makes a great kids-lunch box option as well.

Horse gram , idli rava and black gram with some fenu greek seeds are rinsed and soaked in enough water for 6-8 hours in separate bowls . These are  ground to a smooth batter individually and then mixed together and allowed to ferment for another 6-8 hours. The batter is steamed in idli plates and you are done with a soft, spongy and nutritious horse gram idli. Spongy horse gram idlis dunked in hot sambar is a delight for sure. You may pack it with Coconut Chutney in lunch box.

Horse gram (Macrotyloma Uniflorum) also known as Kollu in Tamil, Kulith or hulage in Marathi and hurali in Karnataka is one of the lesser known beans. It is normally used to feed horses, hence the name. In traditional Ayurvedic cuisine, horse gram is considered as food with medicinal qualities. It is prescribed for persons suffering from Jaundice or water retention and as a part of weight loss diet. Although rich in proteins (20%) , horse gram remained as an underutilised food legume due to less acceptable taste and flavor of cooked products. Until recently it was consumed only by farming community and low-income groups. Source


Horse gram is considered as a miracle super food that is widely consumed as a staple diet in the southern parts of India. Horse gram is low in fat and an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber,a variety of micro-nutrients and phytochemicals. It can be consumed as a whole seed, as sprouts or in powdered form. Let us have a look at the health benefits of consuming Horse Gram. Source

  • Horse gram is recommended for persons suffering from jaundice or water retention, and as part of a weight loss diet.
  • It is considered helpful for iron deficiencies, and is considered helpful for maintaining body temperature in the winter season.
  • Horse Gram combats common cold, cough and fever.
  • It eases breathing and opens up the blocked channels due to congestion.
  • It cures Indigestion, reduces flatulence and kills Intestinal Parasites. Fiber content helps in easing the bowel movement and relieves from Constipation.
  • Horse Gram is a good herbal remedy to get rid of Kidney Stones. Diuretic properties of the herb dissolve the stones and remove them through urine.
  • Daily intake of Horse Gram helps in lowering blood glucose levels and cures Diabetes.
  • Horse gram promotes the sperm production and treats Infertility. It removes impurity and increases the mobility of the semen.
  • It is beneficial in reducing body fat and prevents from being obese. It consists of protein, fibers and fewer carbohydrates that help to maintain weight. 

I was introduced to this super food few months back by my mumma. She had started giving Kulithacha kadhan ( Horse gram soup) to my papa as per the recommendation of his doctor and dietitian on daily basis. Papa is diabetic and as horse gram helps to lower the blood glucose levels, he was asked to include it in his regular meals. I asked mumma the recipe, tried it and liked its taste. I had it during the winter months as my mid-morning snack . But sadly Kiran and Chinmay (fussy eaters) showed no interest in this super food. By then i had read a lot about the health benefits of horse gram on the Internet. I was looking for some delicious recipe by which i could include horse gram in our diet on regular basis. It was when i found this idli recipe where a good amount of horse gram was used and my family did not mind the slight after taste of the idli. I also used horse gram in sprouted form as a stir fry and it really tasted yum with hot chapatis. Will share some more horse gram recipes in my upcoming posts, till then do try out this idli recipe and reap its health benefits . So lets begin.

Preparation Time: 16 hours (includes soaking and fermentation time)
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 24 idlis

  • 1/2 cup horse gram
  • 1/2 cup black gram , skinned and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup idli rava
  • Salt to  taste
  1. To begin with making horse gram idli, rinse horse gram and soak in enough water in a bowl. In another bowl rinse and soak idli rava. Take black gram in third bowl and add fenugreek seeds to it. Rinse and soak it in enough water as well. Cover all the three bowls and keep undisturbed for 6-8 hours or overnight.

2. Next day grind the idli rava to a smooth batter. Keep it in a large vessel. Next, drain the horse gram from water and grind into thick and smooth batter using little water. Add it to the rice batter. Similarly grind the soaked black gram and fenugreek seeds and add it to the rice and horse gram batter.

3. Mix all the three batters with clean hands until they blend well with each other. Add salt to this batter and cover it. Ensure that the container is big enough to hold the fermented batter. Keep it undisturbed in a warm place for fermentation for about 6-8 hours. Fermentation time depends upon the weather conditions. It may take just 4-5 hours if the weather is hot and in winters it may take a bit more than 8 hours. You may keep the batter in preheated oven to fasten the fermentation in winters.

4. Make the steamer or cooker ready. Grease idli plate with few drops of oil. Give the fermented batter a gentle stir and fill in each mould with a scoop of batter.

5. Arrange the moulds inside the steamer or cooker. Cover it with a lid. Steam cook for about 15 minutes on medium-high heat. Turn off the heat. Open the lid after 2-3 minutes. Take out the idli moulds and keep aside for 5 minutes. Separate the idlis from the moulds  with the help of a spoon handle. Fluffy and soft, healthy horse gram idli is ready to serve.

6. Serve the horse gram idli with some Coconut Chutney and hot sambar and enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal with your loved ones !


Recipe Notes:
  • I have refereed the recipe from here.
  • Fermentation time depends on the climate of your place. You may keep the batter in preheated oven to fasten the fermentation in winters.
  • Grind the black gram , idli rava and horse gram separately. 
Taking this delicious , diabetic friendly horse gram idli to the the A-Z recipe Challenge Group of which I am a member . The group is an initiative by my friends and fellow bloggers, Vidya Narayan and Jolly Makkar. Members of this group post every alternate months, the food recipes using key ingredient with a particular alphabet. For this month H is the alphabet and i choose the key ingredient to be Horse Gram. This post is my 7th contribution towards this group. The other recipes i have shared here so far are,

I hope some of you would definitely love to give this recipe a try. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us. Would love to know your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below. 
Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

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