Saturday, January 29, 2011

Royal Lentil and Almond Fudge

The moong dal or yellow lentils cooked over low heat makes a royal fudge or more commonly known as Moong dal halwa, a delicacy of India. Though we are not much fond of sweets but I must confess we are definitely halwa-holics especially in winters. My family simply loves it, so this halwa ranks on top of priority to be cooked over whole wheat, semolina or gram flour halwa. Since it is made of moong dal and almonds, both healthy and nutritious ingredients, so we dont mind indulging our sweet instincts in this rich sweet. My favorite Beena aunty gave me this recipe. Check out the details of this authentic rajasthani melt in mouth speciality -

Yellow Moong Dal (lentils): 1cup
Almonds: 1 cup
Besan(Gram Flour): 1 tsp
Sugar: 3/4 cup or add more to taste
Desi Ghee: 1 cup or add more if required to taste
Saffron: few strands dissolved in warm milk
Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp
Pistachio, Almonds : handful, sliced

Dry roast the lentils in nonstick pan for few minutes.
Let it cool down and soak the lentils and almonds in separate bowls overnight.

Take off the skin of the almonds in the morning.
Make a thick paste of almonds and lentils by adding little water or milk.
In a deep skillet, add ghee and a spoonful of besan, It helps in the better roasting and binding of the dal.
Add  the lentil batter and keep stirring on low heat for few minutes till it starts changing color.
Gradually add  the almond paste.

Now its time to add the sugar and give the batter quick stir again.
When the batter will stop sticking to the sides of the skillet, becomes light golden and leaves aroma, you know the halwa is done.

To make the halwa more rich add saffron strands dissolved in warm milk, preferably freshly crushed cardamom pods and sliced pistachio and almonds.
The rich and royal fudge/ halwa is ready to be relished after lazy sunday brunch.

Click Here for Printable Recipe - My Creative Flavors

An alternative way to make halwa in few minutes is to dry roast the lentils.
Cool and grind to make fine powder.
Follow simple halwa recipe.
First roast the lentils in ghee and add sugar syrup and nuts to make halwa.
The lentil powder can be prepared and stored ahead.

Tip: Cook the halwa on slow heat by constantly stirring. Milk can also be added to grind the lentils, enhances taste but water adds to the shelf life of halwa and can be kept in air tight container for few days.

Royal Lentil and Almond Fudge on Foodista

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Saffron Almond Pistachio Cupcakes

My Celebration of Indian Tri-Color !!!

I had been thinking of baking something for an occasion, and what better occasion than 26 January , 62nd Republic Day of India. So this post is my dedication to the Indian Tri-Color.

Three Distinct Flavors, go really well with the colors for the occasion.

Tri-color is made up of Saffron (denotes strength and courage), White (in the centre is light, the path of truth) & Green (is for growth and auspiciousness of the land).
Ingredients for Cupcake:
All purpose flour: 1 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Baking Powder: 1tsp
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Orange zest : 1 tsp
Eggs: 2
Butter: 1/4 cup or Margarine
Milk: 1/2 cup
Saffron: 1 tsp, dissolved in milk and  few strands for garnishing
Almonds: 1/4 cup, coarsely ground and few for garnishing
Pistachio: 1/4, coarsely ground and few for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line the standard muffin pan with the paper liners.
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients - flour, sugar and baking powder, baking soda.
Stir saffron strands in warm milk and set aside.
In another bowl whisk eggs, butter and milk, until fluffy.
Gently fold the wet ingredients in the dry ingredients to make smooth batter.
Divide the batter into three bowls.
To make Saffron cupcakes, add orange zest and saffron diluted in the milk to this mix.
To make Almond cupcakes, add coarsely chopped almonds to the mix and lastly for Pistachio cupcakes, add chopped pistachio.
Fill each muffin cup with 2/3 rd batter.
Bake the cupcakes for approximately 20 minutes until they are golden brown and fork inserted comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool down before doing any icing/decorations.

For Icing:
Confectioners Sugar: 1cup
Butter: 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp
Milk: 1tsp
Whisk sugar and butter with blender. Add vanilla and milk and give a quick churn until smooth and of spreading consistency. Else can also use ready to use frostings available at supermarkets.
For Saffron Cupcake, mix few strands of saffron to the frosting to get glowing yellow cupcakes.
For Almond cupcakes, mix chopped almonds to the frosting to get silky white cupcakes.
For Pistachio cupcakes, mix  chopped pistachios to the frosting  to make green delectable cupcakes.

Saffron                                White                              Green

Click Here for Printable Recipe - My Creative Flavors

Enjoy cupcakes from My Creative Flavors...!

Enjoy the cupcakes with your favorite coffee or Green tea!

Saffron Almond Pistachio Cupcakes on Foodista

Wordless Wednesday - 62nd Republic Day

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And Miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep..." ~ Robert Frost

Today on the eve of Indian Republic Day, I sit back and give a deep thought to this inspiration of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru. Perhaps it is this optimism and hope that keeps us going on the right path. I salute the Indian Tri-Color.......

Coming up with a post soon !!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dal Bukhara with Khasta Missi Roti

This week I decided to prepare Dal Bukhara with Khasta (or flaky) Missi Rotis at home and gave ourselves a treat. This combo is one of my all time favorites and I had been thinking of doing it for a long time.

Dal Bukara, also called  as Dal makhani is a signature mughlai dish of Indian cuisine. This exquisitely rich creamy  dal is cooked in a giant pot overnight over charcoals. Its made up of urad dal or kali dal, whole black lentils. Traditionally, it takes 12 hours to cook dal bukhara, but I have made a shorter version in a pressure cooker, which came out quite good. The key tip of making delectable dal is first, cook at  sim heat over long time, stirring occasionally. Second, add good quantity of tomato puree and fresh home made garam masala, to make the dal exotic !

Though this dal is full of proteins and fibre, but its slightly heavy on stomach as compared to other dals/beans. So keeping this caution in mind, some  times I make whole green moong dal this way. It really goes well with missi roti/tandoori roti. But at times, when I am not in a mood to cook, I simply open a pack of dal bukhara by Kitchens of India and relish with steamed rice, its yummy. But nothing beats taste of fresh home made 'Dal and Roti' !

Maah ki dal or Black Lentils : 1 cup
Water : 4 cups
Onions: 2
Tomatoes: 4
Ginger : 2''
Garlic : few cloves
Fenugreek/cilantro : handful
Salt, chilli : 1 tsp or to taste
Chaat masala: 1tsp
Cumin Powder: 1tsp
Fresh Garam masala:  1 tsp (bay leaves, cloves, pepper corn, black cardamom, cinnamon, cumin)
Heavy Cream: 1/2 cup
Butter  for serving
Cooking Oil: 2 tsp

Wash and soak the lentils in warm water at least for 2 hours.
In a pressure cooker add water, beans, salt  and cook for 20 minutes on low heat till beans are tender.
In a nonstick pan, saute chopped onions, tomatoes, freshly grated ginger and garlic,  fenugreek and cilantro. Add seasoning of salt, chilli powder to taste.
Puree the mix (Tadka) to make a smooth paste. This Tadka can be made ahead and added to boiled lentils.Add this masala to cooked  lentils and simmer for another 15-20 minutes (Preferably add fresh homemade garam masala - see method).
Add some cream to get the silky consistency and rich brown color.
Serve hot with few ginger julliens and a dollop of butter.

Click Here For Printable Recipe - My Creative Flavors

Enjoy the bowl of piping hot Dal Bhukhara with missi roti or tandori roti...!!!

Recipe of Missi Roti:
Missi roti is a traditional indian bread made from besan (gram flour) that is rich in protein and has high nutritive value.  It is an ideal diet for weight loss without losing out on the fibre content. Besan  is a gluten free flour, and hence can be enjoyed anyone at any time.

Gram flour(besan) : 1 cup
Whole wheat Flour : 1/4 cup
Water: 1/2 cup
Salt, chilli, turmeric: 1/2 tsp or to taste
Carrom seeds (ajwain): 1/2 tsp
Ginger Powder: 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek/cilantro: 1/4 cup
Green Chillies: 1
Onions: 1 (small)

Mix gram flour, whole wheat flour in a bowl. Add finely chopped onions, dry fenugreek, cilantro and spices to taste. By adding warm water knead the mixture well to make a dough.
Take a small ball and roll it in circular shape (any shape) to make roti/chappati.
Can add a dash of oil in the roti and again roll it to make a parantha, optional.
Pre heat the griddle/ tawa.
Cook the chapati with or without oil till it turns rustic brown from both the sides.
Smear butter and serve hot.

Enjoy the meals with your family !!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nutella Inspired Cheesy Nutty Cracker Bites

Since the schools were closed last week because of  snow, had to keep my son busy. Ended up calling few of his friends for a play date. Already exhausted, I decided to do a few quick and easy snacks for the kids with crackers. To my surprise even the picky eaters, like mine finished everything and were asking for more. Heres how I did these quick healthy snacks with the kids.... !!!!!

Ingredients for Cracker Sandwich:
Golden Butter Crackers : 6
Nutella or Hazelnut chocolate Spread: 2tsp
Rondele Peppercorn Cheese: 2tsp

Method: -
Take crackers of different shapes and sizes.
I love Golden Butter Crackers from Pepperidge Farms.
Can use any topping of your kids favorite choice.
Its good fun to let kids take over the next bit.

Made for each other - Cracker & Cheese, perhaps Nutella too !!

Let the kids spread cheese in one half and hazelnut spread in the second half.
Put another cracker on top of this to make cheesy, nutty sandwich.
and we are done, serve with a Glass of Milk or a Milk shake...

My crackers were gone in few minutes and just left with one cracker for the photoshoot.

Mine kiddo uttered...yummy yummy in my tummy !!!!!

If you like kids delights, you might like "Strawberry Dates with White Chocolate Morsels"  for kids....

Date & Walnut Birthday Cake!!!

Parenting is indeed a learning journey! Each day is a new day, learning and exploring the wonders of our little bundle of joy! This anecdote...