Chocolate Sandesh : Chocolate cheese fudge

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‘Bhag korey khao”, my Ma would remind us, Sharing is caring. Sometimes it proved to be difficult decision though. Although it was a very very long time back , I have vivid memories of an instance where this advice was too tough to follow. A neighbour had handed me a few delicious chocolates wrapped in very attractive foils. In keeping with Ma’s advice I did bring them home to share with my siblings. In spite of my very best efforts I put all the four chocolates in my mouth, ‘Bon ke ki dibi ?’  What about your sisters?  Ma enquired. I extended my hand with the colourful wrapping foils and said “Silver paper’! Trust me I had all good intentions…..

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…..Sandesh is a very popular sweet made of milk solids. My blog has a variety of Sandesh recipes that can be found here, here, here and here.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did here.

 

Recipe : Made  15  pieces

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                                2 cups

Milk Powder                                    1 cup

Ghee                                              4 Tbsps

Milk Chocolate                               50 grams ( half of a 100 gm slab )

Sugar                                             1/4 cup

Method;

In a non stick pan on medium heat take the ghee, wait for it to  melt. Then add the cheese, milk powder, chocolate pieces and sugar. keep stirring gently, until everything starts to come together, about 30 minutes. Put the gas off. When cool enough to handle, knead once and then make one tablespoon portions. You can give them any shape you want, disc, square or press it in a greased silicone mould like I have done here.

I did not add any flavour, as I just anted the chocolate flavour to be dominant. You can add any flavour you prefer.

No need to wait, dig in !

 

Kanchagolla : Cheese and jaggery balls

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With flowers inside our palms and eyes closed for concentration we recited the “mantras” after the priest. At the end of saying the prayers we offered the flowers to the goddess. The harder I tried to concentrate, the more my eyes would veer off to all the myriad of sweets that were kept as offerings to the goddess. After the prayers these would be distributed to all the devotees. Some burfis arranged as a pyramid on a tray, some  peeking through the top of terracotta bowls, some others on fresh banana leaf…

I always loved the syrup dunked sweets over the dried ones. In fact I would do some trade offs between us siblings, collecting their share of syrupy sweets in exchange for my dried ones.  The Navaratri days were special.There were no restrictions, we ate till we couldn’t…

 

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Times have changed now. My taste buds welcome both syrup dunked and dried sweets these days. Alas, sweets, deep fried, salty are all  under “classified”  eatables now.  Only measured quantities, with a detailed examination of the ingredients, if store bought are allowed.The joy now is in making them in my kitchen and reliving those moments from the past.

Happy Navaratri friends.

 

Recipe :

Ingredients; Made 16 pieces.

Chhana                                              2 cups

Patali gur ( Date palm jaggery )            1 cup ( or to taste )

Ground pistachio                               1 tbsp

Method:

Take the first two ingredient in a pan on medium heat and keep stirring, taking care it does not stick to the pan. I used liquid jaggery , it took about 25 minutes for the mixture to come to a dough like consistency and leave the pan. Take a spoonful of this mixture and try to form a ball betwen your palm. It is ready if you are able to form a ball. Switch the gas off. Take a table spoon of the mixture while it is still warm, taking care not to burn, form it into a ball. Garnish with ground pistachios.

Enjoy.

Notes:

Chhana is paneer or home made cheese. Take a litre of full fat milk in a pan on high heat. Just before it starts to boil, put the gas off. In a bowl mix 2 Tbsp white vinegar and same amount of water. Pour this in the milk. It will separate into milk solids and whey. Take a colander lined with a cheese cloth, drain out the whey, wash with water, and let it drain for an hour.This is now ready to be used in Kanchagolla making.

 

 

Makhana burfi : Foxnut fudge

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The festival season is on. Festivities are incomplete without sweets. I have quite a few dessert recipe in my blog to choose from. Here adding one more.

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Wish you the best in the upcoming festive season!

Recipe; ( From the net )

Ingredients;

Makhana                                      2 cups

Peanuts                                        1/2 c

Cashews                                       1/2 c

Coconut powder                           1/4 c

Cardamom powder                        1/2 tsp

Sugar                                             3/4 cup ( to taste )

Water                                             3/4 cup

Ghee                                              3 Tbsp

Almond and Pistachio slivers and rose petals to garnish.

Method;

Take one Tbsp ghee on a pan add the makhanas. Roast for a few minutes, till crispy. Collect on a plate.

Dry roast the peanuts and cashews separately and collect them.

Grind the roasted makahanas. Pulse the peanuts and cashews till fine. Add the cardamom powder.

In a pan take the sugar and water on medium high flame and let it boil for a few minutes. take a drop in a bowl, when it forms a string. between the thumb and first finger add the ground nuts. Carefully stir the mixture until it comes together. Add 2 tablespoon of ghee and mix again till it forms a dough. Take it out and spread the mixture evenly on a greased tray. Garnish with almond and pistachio slivers, rose petals. Cut them to your preferred shape and enjoy.

Notes:

Foxnuts are available in Indian grocery stores.

Haskap berry hand pies

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IMG_5856The what kap berries? I know exactly what you are thinking. Strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, elderberries yes… Haskap berries? Nope! Never heard of that.

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Trust me I am clueless about the name too. They sure are unique. Unlike other regular plump, round berries these are slim, shiny with blood red juice inside! And the taste?. Sweet, melt in the mouth, no pit inside, need we ask for more?

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We paid a visit to the U pick berry farm recently. Armed with an ice cream pail, we got down on our knees as these berry bushes are small and compact. Under the dark green leaves hung a cluster of berries, almost iridescent. One touch they settle in your palm.  There were four different varieties based on how sweet or tart they were. You could choose from Aurora, Indigo, Blizzard or Beast.

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Not sure about you, I love hand pies. Give it a try friends…

Recipe: Adapted from dessertfortwo.com

Ingredients;

All purpose flour                         21/4 cups

Granulated sugar                       1 Tbsp

Fine salt                                    1 tsp

Chilled unsalted butter                2 sticks

Ice water                                   1/2 cup

For the filling;

Haskap berries                        13/4 cups

Corn starch                             2 Tbsps

Granulated sugar                    6 Tbsps

Zest of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp of the juice

Salt                                        1 pinch

Milk                                         1 Tbsp

Sugar to sprinkle on top

Method;

Take the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine,

Add the diced cold butter next and pulse a few times so that they are well incorporated. Add the cold water next, mix till the dough come together.

Remove the dough from the processor, divide in half, wrap in cling film and press to form two discs. Let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Dust the work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the disc into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. I used a round cookie cutter to cut out shapes. I cut out a small circle in half of them.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a bowl combine the berries, corn starch, lemon zest lemon juice and salt. Spoon out this filling on the plain circle and cover this with the circle with hole in it. Press the edges firmly to seal, use a fork to crimp the edges. Brush with milk on top. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about 18 minutes, until the crust is  golden.

Let them cool and enjoy!

Bori diye Palong Shak: Spinach with lentil dumplings

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‘Bar bar dhow’, my Ma would remind me, the spinach roots would always have some dirt still clinging on them. With no supermarket around we got our produce directly from the farmers. A little more work but freshness was guaranteed.

Traditionally greens are always the first course in a vegetarian Bengali meal. With tons of health benefits Spinach is a superfood. Although I used spinach in the recipe any greens can be substituted in place of spinach.

Times have changed. There are plenty of Supermarkets around now but no time. I have resorted to the easier option, bought the pre cut and frozen packet. This saves a lot of time.

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Today being the Indian Independence day I did a fancy plating. The yellow lentils with gourd recipe can be found  here. The lentil dumpling on the rice is a fancy version, will do a post soon.

I leave you with the following text that I found on the net.

‘Freedom in mind, Faith in words, Pride in our heart,

Memories in our souls, Let us salute the Nation, this Independence Day”.

Recipe: Serves 6

Ingredients:

Frozen spinach                                                  one medium packet

Potatoes                                                           2 medium.

Eggplant                                                           1 cup cut in small cubes

Bori { Dried lentil dumpllings)                              1 tablespoon full

Canola/Mustard oil                                              1 Tbsp plus some to fry Boris

Dried red chillies                                                  2

Garlic cloves                                                      2, thinly slices, optional

Panchphoron                                                     1 tsp

Salt to taste

Method;

Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a wok on high heat. Throw in the boris, saute till light change in colour. It happens fast so do not leave the wok.  Collect them on paper towel.

In the oil add the dried red chillies and panchphoron, on medium heat, wait for a half minute or till the spices start to sputter. Add the garlic slices if using, let them change colour ever so slightly. Add the potatoes and cover and cook till they are soft, throw in the eggplants. Add some salt and the frozen spinach. Crank the heat to high now. Mix everything together nicely from time to time. As soon as the majority of the spinach have thawed, put the gas off. Let it sit on the gas for sometime. The remaining spinach will be thawed.. Collect in a serving bowl.

Crush the fried boris in a mortar and pestle to coarse pieces. Garnish on top.

Enjoy with rice or roti.

Notes:

Bori /vadi is available in Indian grocery store.

 

Strawberry Shondesh ( Milk Fudge )

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…… The small packet of “Shondesh”, neatly arranged in a paper box with the name of the famous sweet shop imprinted artistically on top, was sitting on the top shelf of the kitchen. We were expecting friends in the evening, that is when the Shondesh would be enjoyed by all. “Why can’t we have Shondesh everyday Ma?”, we siblings would ask in unison. “It tastes sweeter when you share things”, came Ma’s reply, carefully veiling the ‘we cannot afford that everyday’ truth.

IMG_5154Shodesh is the ‘King’ of sweets in Bengal. Reserved for exclusive occasions like birthdays, weddings, success in job interview or visiting that special relative. Made from milk and either sugar or  a special jaggery. Not other additives were added. ….

Changing times have changed Shondesh too. Keeping up with the millenial taste Shondesh these days come in all flavours, like chocolate, Tutti frutti, strawberry, mango and so many others.

Try this easy peasy recipe and let me know if you liked it.

Recipe: Made 20 pieces.

Ingredients,

Ricotta cheese                         2 cups

Milk powder                             1 cup

Strawberry puree                      1 cup

Sugar                                      1 Tbsp ( or to taste )

Ghee                                      1 Tbsp

Red food colour                      4 drops ( optional )

Method;

In a non stick pan mix the above ingredients and cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes. Keep stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Put the gas off when the mixture starts to form a dough.

I love the mild flavour of the strawberries, hence have not added any other flavouring agents.

When it is safe and warm enough to handle, take one tablespoon measure of the dough and form into a ball. If you have moulds, grease the mould and press the mixture in and then carefully remove to get an imprint.

Enjoy, store in air tight container in refrigerator for up to one week.

Strawberries and Kulfi Pannacotta

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Summer is incomplete without kulfi back home and strawberries here in North America.

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……The “U pick berries” sounds novel to me. Armed with an ice cream pail, it is you and the rows and rows of strawberry bushes. A split second to decide based on the size, colour of the fruit and in it goes in the pail. These variety are tiny but oh so sweet!

….. The very hot temperatures back home melted the kulfis so fast, I clearly remember  sometimes an obligatory lick on the elbow to do justice to the precious liquid seemed mandatory.

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……I tried to blend both the worlds in this recipe. using agar agar instead of gelatine, makes this a vegetarian dessert.

Here is the recipe for you….

Recipe; Serves 4

Ingredients,

“Gits’ kulfi mix                         1 pkt

Full cream milk                       1.5 cups

Strawberry puree                     1 cup

Sugar                                    2Tbsp or more.

Agar Agar                               2/3 tsp and 2/3 tsp

Water                                     2 Tbsps

Whole Strawberries and cashews to garnish

Method:

Empty the “Kulfi’ mix in a bowl, add milk and mix together. Take one Tbsp water and add 2/3 tsp of agar agar in a sauce pan on low heat. As soon as it mixes together add the milk mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes until it thickens. Take it out of the gas and keep aside.

Clean the strawberries and make a puree. In another bowl take one tbsp of water and add 2/3 tsp of agar agar on low heat. As it blends together, add the strawberry puree and sugar. Cook on low heat for around 10 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Put the gas off.

In a tall glass carefully layer 2 ladles of the strawberry mixture and let it cool. I put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. When set carefully pour the milk mixture on top of each of previously filled strawberry mixture.

Put the glasses in the fridge for about half hour. Garnish with whole berries and nuts of your choice and enjoy!

Notes:

Heavy cream with a flavouring agent and sweetener of your choice can be substituted if “Kulfi” mixture is not at hand.