Besan Burfi: Chickpea flour fudge: GF

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IMG_2122I am a big fan of Besan aka chick pea flour. The fact that it has a protein component, always gives me a reason to justify a second helping of sweet! Being gluten free comes handy when you are cooking for a group. Besan is one of those ingredients that can be used to make appetizer, main course, desserts, savoury snacks, you name it!

IMG_2125The Hindu month of “Shravan’ is said to be auspicious. After the scorching heat of the previous months, “Shravan” ushers the monsoon. The parched earth  turns green again, the fertile earth holds new life in her womb. People observe fast, especially on mondays. Fasting always comes with feasting. And why not?

This recipe takes no time to be ready. Do give it a try and let me know how it goes friends.

Recipe; Makes 20-25 pieces depending on the size.

Ingredients,

Besan                           2 cups

Ghee                            3/4 cup

Sugar                           3/4 cup

Water                           1/2 cup

Cardamom powder      1/2 tsp

Almond and pistachio sliver to garnish

Method,

Take a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Add ghee and besan, roast it by stirring continuously till a slight change in colour, nutty aroma and the ghee gets released from the besan, about 18 minutes. The timing may be influenced by the humidity, type of flour, the heat element of the gas. I would recommend focussing on the appearance of the besan. Put the gas off, Take the pan away from the gas. Keep stirring for a few more minutes, the hot pan can still burn the besan.

In a separate pan take the water and sugar on medium heat. let the sugar melt first and then thicken, for about 12-15 minutes. Add the cardamom powder. When a spoonful of this syrup is let to drop, it does not drop freely. A drop of it when collected in a bowl, and carefully felt between the thumb and fore finger, feels sticky and draws like a thread. Put the gas off.

Very carefully add the besan mixture in instalments to the syrup. Put the gas on low for another minute to let everything come together.

Take a greased metal plate. Pour this mixture on the plate. Garnish with slivered nuts.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Make cuts , whatever size you prefer. Let it sit for another hour and then separate the slices.

 

Mishti Doi: Sweet yoghurt

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DSC_2142Don’t you just  love festivals? Back home , there are no dearth of festivals. This means food and frolic. ‘Shravan” is a very important month in Hindu calender. After the extreme heat comes the monsoons. It is welcomed by all. The poets and artists have all sung praises of monsoon. The  parched earth turns green again. The petrichor is nostalgic.

This is the time we celebrate a few festivals, one of which is a celebration of womanhood. The “Teej”. Similarities are drawn between mother earth and womanhood. Sweets are a must. Although the “Mishti Doi” is not a must have during Teej, but in keeping with my Bengali roots, I thought of having this dessert for Teej.

Unlike back home, where every street corner has a couple sweet shops, we in this little prairie town are not privy to that comfort.

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This lack of availability though has got the creative juices going, and expatriates have come up  with a variety of ways of baking this delicacy at home.

This is how I do it. It works like a charm.

Give it a try, you will not be disappointed friends.

Recipe; Serves six.

Ingredients;

Sweetened condensed milk.          1 tin

Buttermilk                                       twice the above amount.

Chopped pistachios                      To garnish

Method;

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F.

In a oven proof bowl mix the condensed milk and buttermilk well. This is an important step, if not mixed well, the taste will not be evenly sweet.

Bake for one hour. Take the bowl out and let it cool. Garnish with chopped pistachios. Let it sit in the fridge overnight. Enjoy it next day, Thank me later.

Dudh peda aka Milk fudge with Lavender flavour

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I am not sure about you, but I feel I am always short of time. Trust me, I work hard and am quite comfortable at multitasking. Age changes , did I hear? Ahem, let us talk about something else, shall we?

Well the bottom line is I always look for recipes that cut corners in preparation without compromising the taste. This milk Peda is my favourite. If you only have three ingredients and 5 minutes time in hand, you can whip up these beauties. Have you heard the saying, ” neighbour’s envy, owners pride?”

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Try for yourself and thank me later.

Recipe  makes 26-28, depending on the size.

Ingredients;

Milk powder                                           2 cups

Unsalted butter                                       1 stick

Condensed milk ( sweetened )                 1 tin

Cardamom powder                                   1/4 tsp. ( optional )

Dried Lavender                                          1/4 tsp. ( optional )

Method,

Leave the butter on the counter , so that you have it at room temperature.

In a microwave safe bowl, mix the above ingredients very nicely.

Run it in the microwave for one minute. Take it out and give it a nice stir.

Repeat this four more times, so that the total time in microwave is five minutes.

Take it out. As soon as you can handle it , spoon out 1 Tbsp mixtures. Make it into balls. If you have some molds, you can imprint on it. I have used the dried lavender on the centre only, to decorate,

There you have it.

The easiest recipe ever. Enjoy.

 

Mango tart with Cardamom flavour : Vegan option

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When you are done making Aam panna, Aam ras, Aam Chutney, Aam Shondesh, ( mango drink, puree, chutney, fudge) or even popping the king of fruit in your mouth and wondering what else can be done? Enter Mango tart.

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Fusion recipe? You bet! I have retained some Indian flavours by using cardamom and Parle G base. For the unfamiliars, Parle G is a very popular cookie back home that we all grew up with. You can’t have the morning cup of tea without a couple of these ‘Biscuits’ as we referred them in India. I have been told that this cookie company is closing doors after 100 years. Now that makes it even more special, wouldn’t you agree?

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If you want to show off a bit, this is for you. Very little effort and jaw dropping looks. Feel free to decorate your way. These are the fruits I had at hand, and made use of them.

Recipe;

Cashew butter can replace the unsalted butter, biscuit can be substituted with nut powder to make it vegan friendly.

Ingredients;

Base:

Parle G biscuits                                            3 Packets

Mejdool dates, pitted                                      5

Unsalted butter                                              1/3 cup

Salt ( skip if using salted butter )                       a pinch

Filling

Mango pieces                                                2 cups

Cashew                                                          2 cups

Cardamom powder                                         1/8 tsp

Maple syrup                                                  2 tbsp ( or to taste )

Corn Starch                                                  1 Tbsp

Raspberries, Cape gooseberries,  pomegranate, nuts to garnish

Method;

Soak the cashews the night before, rinse them and grind them to powder. Collect the powder in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 330 degrees F.

In a food processor put in the cookies and grind them to a powder. Add the dates, salt, butter and blend again until a sticky dough forms. Press this mixture firmly into a greased  7 inch ( I measured mine )  tart pan with removable bottom. Poke some holes with a fork into the crust, bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool completely.

Blend the mangoes into a puree.

Blend the cashews into a paste.

In a bowl mix the mango puree, cashew paste and all other ingredients listed under filling. Transfer this mixture over the tart  base. Tape to eliminate any air bubbles.

Throw this inside the freezer overnight.

Remove the tart from the freezer about half hour before serving, decorate with whatever fresh fruits you have in hand.

Serve and enjoy.

 

 

 

Chhena poda: Roast cheese cake

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Would you be surprised if I tell you that I have never tasted this dessert before. True. The fact that it comes from the province of Orissa, famous for the temple of Lord Jagannath, have always made me curious. I checked a few recipes and gave it a try.

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Traditionally milk is curdled to make the cheese ( chhena), which is then used to make the sweet. I tried it out with Ricotta cheese which is very close to chhena ( chena), in its consistency.

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The fact that the cheese is already available ready made makes this dessert very easy in terms of the time needed. Just assemble all the ingredients and throw it in the oven.

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The result is nothing less than spectacular. Give it a try friends, you may be hooked!

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Recipe: Followed recipe from Saltspicemore.com with some changes

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                                           2 cups

Sugar                                                         1 cup

Semolina                                                    4 Tbsp

Ghee                                                         2  Tbsp

Baking powder                                          1/2 tsp

Cardamom powder                                      1/4 tsp

Raisins                                                       1 tbsp

Pistachio slivers                                        1 tbsp

Almond slices                                           1 tbsp

Cashew pieces                                        1 tbsp

Water                                                       2 Tbsp

Method;

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F

In a bowl mix the Cheese, Semolina, Sugar, baking powder, raisins, nuts, ghee nicely. Add a few tbps water bring it to a cake batter consistency. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

Grease the inside of a cake pan and line with a parchment paper. Pour the batter. Bake at 350 degree F preheated oven for 50 minutes, crank up the temperature to 360 degrees for the last twenty minutes..
A tooth pick inserted should come out clean.

Put the oven off.

Take the cake out of the oven then out of the pan. Divide in pieces and enjoy.

Narkel Pakon Pitha ; Coconut and milk cake

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Pithas can be grouped under a dessert category which uses the newly harvested rice or the date palm jaggery. Winter end is the time when these ingredients are available. The ladies of the house usually remain busy whipping up a variety of desserts.

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Small wooden molds are available designed in folk tradition, like flower, conch shell, fish etc items that are abundant in nature. This takes ‘making Pithas’ to a folk art I’d say. In the absence of these delicate molds one can improvise use the back of a glass, cookie cutter or any other design at hand.

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I have used a flower motif here.

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This dessert can be made into a crispy version by adding the sugar into the ingredient before frying or a syrup dunked one by making a sugar syrup and dip them in it for a bit. Some like it crispy others prefer the melt in the mouth version. Take your pick.

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Recipe; Made 18 using 1 tbsp portion each

Ingredients:

Rice flour                                           1 cup

Ground coconut                                1 cup

Milk                                                   1 cup

Cardamom powder                            1/4 tsp

Sugar                                                 1 cup

Water                                                 2 cups

Method;

Make a sugar syrup with the above measurement. The sugar should just melt completely in the water. It doesn’t have to be thick.

Take a saucepan on high heat, add the milk. As soon as it is hot add the coconut powder, cover and cook till it comes to a boil. Crank the heat down. Add the rice flour and give it a nice mix. Throw in the cardamom powder, put the gas off and let it sit that way for 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a plate. Knead it into a smooth dough when it still is hot but can be handled. Divide into 18 small portion. Use a mold if you have or shape it as you want and fry them in medium heat till both sides have a light brown colour.

If you are going for the crispy version add about half cup sugar in the dough before frying.

The melt in the mouth version would require these to be dipped in the syrup for 15 minutes. Take them out of the syrup and collect them on a serving plate.

 

Ricotta cheese shondesh golap jol diye: Rose flavoured ricotta cheese shondesh

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Did we ever think that we would be in the midst of these unsettling times? Honestly who would ever have thought that the world would come to this? Travel ban, social distancing, restaurants closed, emergency services only! Well to top it all up I lost four years worth of my  food blog posts, my creations, part of me is gone. Gone forever. I definitely take the blame for it, if trusting someone one hundred percent is wrong.

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S T R E S S E D. To say the least. Try reversing the  word “Stressed”. See what we got? Desserts. Isn’t that a sign? I am taking this seriously and drowning myself in dessert making. Indian sweets in particular, where my weakness lies.

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Here is another variation of the “Shondesh” or cheese fudge from my last post. Very similar except uses sugar instead of jaggery. I have added a delicate flavour too. Rose water. Delicate is the key word here. Adding more than needed ruins the flavour though.

Recipe; made 26 pcs using 1 Tbsp measure each

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                             2 cup

Ghee                                          4 Tbsps

Sugar                                         1 cup

Milk powder                                1 cup

Rose water                                  1/2 tsp

Rose petals                                  1 tbsp

Pistachio slivers                           1 tbsp

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat bottomed non stick pan on low medium flame. Wait for it to melt then add the cheese, give it a nice mix. Add the sugar, milk powder and keep stirring making sure it does not catch the bottom of the pan, until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, leaving the side of the pan, about 45 minutes. Add the rose syrup. Put the gas off.

Collect the mixture on a plate. Wait for it to cool a bit, such that it can be handled. Divide into about 18 pieces, about a table spoon measure for a portion. Grease both the palms, press the portion into a flat shondesh or if you have wooden molds, press the portion into a greased mold that has been sprinkled with rose petals and pistachio slivers. Gently remove them from the mold.

Stay calm and eat Shondesh!