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!

Ricotta Cheese Patali gur Shondesh : Ricotta cheese jaggery milk fudge

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Shondesh is a Bengali dessert. The relationship of shondesh to Bengali life is an emotional. one.

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Be it the welcoming a new baby in the family, celebrating a relationship, new job, success in school or just because, these beauties are indispensable.

Traditioanlly milk is curdled, the whey is separated, the milk solids are collected. A sweetner, flavoring agent, garnish and some handcarved wooden molds is all that is needed..

In today’s busy life we are always look for easier, faster, and hassle free way to come up with these favourite desserts.

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Ricotta cheese has been substituted for home made Cheese, bringing the preparation time down. the sweetening agent is a special jaggery available only during winter months.

Give the recipe a try and surprise your friends.

Recipe; made 9 pieces

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                                    1 cup

Ghee                                                  2 Tbsp

Patali gur                                             1/2 cup

Milk powder                                         1/2 cup

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat non stick pan on a medium flame. When the ghee melts, add the cheese, mix nicely. Add the gur ( jaggery ), let it melt, then add the milk powder. Make sure it mixes properly and there are no lumps. Keep stirring until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, about 15 minutes.

Put the gas off. Let the mixture cool a bit. When it is alright to handle, divide it into 9 portion. Grease the mold, press each portion into the mold and carefully take it out.

There you have it!

 

Atte ke malpua: wholewheat flour pancakes, two ways.

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There was a knock on the door. , Renu with her neatly tied plait of hair was standing with a plate in her hand. ‘Here are some sweets for Holi for you”, she smiled, showing her very white set of teeth. ‘Aww, Thank you, you didn’t have to you know.” We didn’t mean the last part though, in fact we used to wait in anticipation for this time.IMG_0981

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As soon as we close the door behind her, we siblings attack the plate. Under the lace cover were the coveted ‘Malpuas”. Every year for holi our neighbour Sinha aunty made Malpuas., without fail. This was a speciality of rural Bihar, the place where we spent our childhood. Gifting sweets to friends and families on festive occasions was a tradition that was followed with great enthusiasm. The weather changing to warmer days and spring flowers already blooming, it was such a beautiful time.

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Malpuas are Indian pancakes, comes in a variety of different forms, made of all purpose flour or a healthier version using whole wheat flour, sugar or jaggery, crispy or moist dunked in sugar syrup. The recipe I have here today is both, for the crispy version and soaked in syrup ones..

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Fast forward a couple decades, snow showers in forecast with temperatures twenty below celsius. No, that is not going to dampen our spirit. The Malpuas are ready. We are going to throw colours on our friends and usher spring, be it just for fun.

Wish you all a very happy Holi.

Recipe; Made 10 small ones.

Ingredients;

Whole wheat flour                                     1 cup

Sugar                                                        1/2 cup

Fennel seeds                                             1/2 tsp

Cardamom powder                                     1/4 tsp

Orange food colour                                       couple drops

Ghee                                                           1 Tbsp

Pistachio slivers                                            for garnish

For sugar syrup to soak;

Sugar                                                           1 cup

Water                                                            1 cup

Method;

Take the sugar in a bowl, pour hot water. wait for the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to cool.

Add the flour little by little, mix thoroughly to avoid any lumps. Add the ghee, cover and let it rest for about three hours.

Add the cardamom powder, fennel seeds, orange colour, add a couple more spoons of water if needed. The consistency should be that of any pancake batter.

Take a non stick pan with canola oil on medium heat. Take a tablespoon of batter and carefully pour on the oil. I had put a couple or even three at a time. Wait for a few minutes and flip them over. A light brown colour is what we are looking for

Drain the oil and collect on kitchen towel. Garnish with pistachio slivers.These are ready to be enjoyed as is.

Alternatively a thin sugar syrup can be made  by boiling a cup of water and sugar and the pancakes can be dipped in it for a few minutes.Take your pick.

 

Pomegranate molasses Shrikhand (Flavoured yoghurt)

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I did not grow up eating Shrikhand, neither did I have any idea of what Pomegranate molasses actually was.

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The world of Instagram has changed everything. With a little enthusiasm and persuasion any novice cook like me can delve in the realm of “World” food effortlessly.

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When the Food bloggers of Canada was looking for recipes with an ‘unusual’ ingredient, like Pomegranate molasses, I knew I wanted to use it slightly differently.

Shrikhand is a very popular dessert in the western part of India. It has been flavoured in a variety of way for example with mango, strawberries or even saffron. I took the liberty of trying a new flavour. Pomegranate molasses! It worked like a charm.

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With Valentine’s day round the corner, surprise your love with this unique and tasty treat.

 

Recipe: Serves 2 big portions or 4 small portions.

Ingredients;

Pomegranate molasses;.

Pomegrante juice .       1 bottle . ( 473 ml )

Sugar .                        3 tbsps

Lemon juice                1/2 tsp

Shrikhand;

Greek yoghurt                               3 Cups

Icing sugar                                    3 tbsp

Pomegrante molasses                    3 Tbsp plus some to garnish

Pistacihio slivers                             1 tbsp

Pomegrante arils                              1 tbsp

Cardamom powder                          1/2 tsp

Mint leaves                                       to garnish

Method;

Pomegranate molasses;

In a saucepan mix the pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. Simmer this on a low medium flame for about 45 minutes, stirring time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The fluid thickens, a spoon dipped in it should have the  a layer sticking at the back of it.

Switch the gas off. Let it cool down. Store it in a clean glass jar.

Molasses flavoured Shrikhand;

Place the colander on a bowl. Lay the cheese cloth on the colander and place the yoghurt on it. Gather the cloth all around the yoghurt and let the water drain out for about couple of hours. Collect the thick yoghurt in a bowl.

Mix the sugar, cardamom powder and 3 tsp of pomegranate molasses to this yoghurt slab. Whisk evenly.

Divide this in serving bowls and chill in a refrigerator for a couple of hours. Garnish with a few slivers of pistachio, pomegranate arils, few spoonfuls of pomegranate molasses and a sprig of mint leaf.

Bon apetite.