Friday, 17 October 2014

Ras Malai

Ras Malai

Ras Malai
Ras Malai ( before chilling)

Cottage cheese balls with a creamy sauce (Indian cheese cake without the crust :P)
It’s that time of the year, sweets Diya’s lights gatherings...yes you got it Diwali.  One thing I miss the most being away from home is the mithais. If you have ever bought mithai here you know it’s nowhere close to it and tastes more like preservatives. So if you are sick of eating store bought Ras malai here’s an alternative.
This recipe comes from my father in law and is simply perfect if you want to wow your guests or family or even yourself with some cheats ras malai  ...oops did I say cheats no I meant homemade Rasmalai. Yes its home made and surprisingly quick and incredibly Delicious.

Ras gulla – 6
Milk – 500ml
Kesar/ Saffron: few strands
Sugar – ½ cup or to taste
Cardamom Powder.
Dry fruits for garnishing.

  1. Bring milk to a boil. Take a ladle full of  warm milk in a small bowl add the saffron and leave aside.
  2.  Add sugar mix well and allow the milk to simmer until it thickens completely.
  3. Meanwhile, squeeze the rasgullas gently to remove all the chasni/sugar syrup ( if rasgullas are too dry or begin to crack soak them in water until ready to use)
  4. Then add the rasgullas and the saffron to the thickened milk.
  5. Garnish with dry fruits preferably pistachios, chill over night before serving.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim Sums

 Momos / Dumplings/ Dimsums

Steamed chicken/ vegetarian dumplings.

Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim sums

I have been away for way too long and I could be gone again but will still be around once in a blue moon like today I had to find time to share with you this recipe. Be it momos or dim sums I just love steamed dumplings, not that its delectable but also a bit of treat that I get carried away end up eating more than a starter portion. This is one recipe I have wanted to share with you and this is way before I discovered where I could buy readymade momo sheets. It’s a recipe from scratch and still quite easy to make I have adapted the filling to my taste but you could easily transform the recipe to your taste or add soya sauce instead of salt to make it dim sums.
Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim sums

If you do have access to readymade dumpling sheets this recipe is a breeze and if not believe me it’s still worth it to make your own moms from scratch.

Makes: 12 to 14 momos

For momo sheets:
Plain flour – 1 cup plus more for dusting
Salt ¼ tsp
Water to knead the dough
Or pre made wonton/ dumpling sheets
For the  Chicken filling:
Bone less chicken – 1 chicken breast minced in the food processer/ grinder. 
Onion – 1 finely chopped
A small piece of cabbage finely chopped
Small knob of ginger finely chopped
Coriander finely chopped- 1 tsp.
Melted butter/ ghee/ clarified butter or oil 1 tbsp. to 2 tbsp.
Chilly powder – to taste (optional)
Salt to taste

For Vegetarian filling:
Onion – 1 finely chopped
 Cabbage finely chopped - 1/4th cup
Small knob of ginger finely chopped
Spring onion finely chopped- 2 tbsp.
Melted butter/ ghee/ clarified butter or oil 1 tbsp. to 2 tbsp.
Shredded carrot  1 tbsp. ( optional)
Salt to taste

Utensil list:
Steamer or bamboo steamer and a wok/ Kadai


1.       Mix flour, salt and add water little by little to make dough, don’t knead yet cover with cling film or wet kitchen towel and keep aside.
2.       To make the filling, combine all filling ingredients except salt, add salt only when you are ready (squeeze out any moisture from onions). Adding oil/ ghee will prevent the filling from drying
Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim sums

3.       Knead the dough (at this point it will be softer) into a sausage and cut out equal and small pieces with a knife roll it out (using flour when needed) thin and evenly.
Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim sums

4.       Fill the bottom of the wok with water place the steamer (grease the inside of the steamer to prevent sticking) on top and allow the water to come to a boil and reduce heat.

Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim sums
5.       Dust of any excess flour from the sheet, add a tbsp. of the filling and cover it completely by joining both sides. Holding the momo in one hand use your other hand to create pleats pressing it as you move to the next pleat making sure it is completely sealed  you can then bend it a little to form a crescent shape.
Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim sums

6.       Place the momos on greased steamer   well-spaced as this will allow them to cook completely. Cook on medium to low heat for 15 minutes.
7.       To check if momos are cooked, touch the top of the momos it should not be sticky, don’t overcook them that would make the momos dry.
8.       To serve you could brush a little butter or  ghee on top but this is completely optional, serve with some chilly oil or sriracha sauce.

Momos / Steamed Dumplings / Dim sums

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Aloo Pakoda/ Batata Bhaji/Potato fritters

Aloo Pakoda/ Batata Bhaji/Potato fritters

Aloo Pakoda/ batata Bhaji/ Potato fritters
Deep fried potato fritters coated with gram flour/besan batter. Delectable Tea time or Rainy day snack  ;)

Heres another mind blowing recipe from my mom :), Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these pakodas are very easy to make and even easier to eat. One of our favorite tea time snacks. Rainy days and pakodas are a perfect combination however I can eat pakodas anytime with a cup of Chai and of course it’s another addition to the street food recipes.
Considering it’s so simple I haven’t added the steps in the picture, but you can look at batata vada to get an idea.   
On its own pakodas are light snacks but you can add some pav/ Bread rolls and chutney for a heavier meal. (This picture comes all the way from Kolhapur :))

Chutney and Pav/ Green chutney and bread roll
Green chutney with Bread rolls

Serves: 2 to 3 ( depending on the size of potato)

2 medium sized potatoes peeled and sliced
Oil for frying
5 heaped tbsp. Gram flour/ Besan
½ tsp. turmeric powder/haldi
½ tsp. Chilly powder
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1 tsp. oil
1 tbsp. Corn flour
A pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda

Mix all the batter ingredients, and water little by little stirring constantly to make lump free batter ( that is neither too thick nor too thin )
Heat oil for deep frying, Test the oil if it’s ready
Dip the sliced potatoes in the batter, using a fork pick the batter coated potato tip excess batter on the side of the bowl and fry it in the oil until golden yellow and place on an absorbing paper or kitchen towel.
Repeat the same with the remaining slices, enjoy hot with your choice of chutney or ketchup.

Aloo Pakoda/ batata Bhaji/ Potato fritters

Sitting by the window eating aloo pakodas and sipping on  adrak vali chai, Happy Days!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Cholle Bhature/ Bhatura / Indian fried bread.

Bhatura / Indian fried bread.
Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe
Cholle bhature

Bhatura/ Indian fried bread made of maida/ plain flour is served along with cholle or spicy chick peas an Indian delicacy from the north.
Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe/ Bhatura
Bhatura/ Bhature

Cholle bhature is one of my favourite brunch recipes. Indian bread and other breads have nothing in common except the kneading step. Otherwise there’s a huge difference in the way they are made and the way they all look and of course the taste. There is one more thing about Indian breads, they taste the best when they are homemade and steaming hot, especially if it’s fried and it’s a bhatura. But what if you have no time and patience for that don’t worry here’s a recipe that will suit all the fussy eaters whether you like it hot or at room tempt soft or crispy it’s all possible in one recipe.
I am using the self-rising flour to give it that little rise and softness that would last even when the bhaturas are cold. Don’t have self- rising flour just add baking powder. Sieving is an extra step that you could skip but I do it so everything’s well incorporated and it just adds to the fluffiness of the bhaturas.
Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe

Semolina is usually added to make the bhaturas crispy, so it’s entirely up to you skip it reduce it or just add the amount stated in the recipe for a balanced bhatura.
Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe
Semolina/ Suji

Add in the yogurt, oil first before adding any water. Adding yogurt works in many ways, one of them is that bhatura will be white. Now, if you’d rather prefer them more colored then go ahead and reduce the amount of yogurt.
Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe

Mix till all comes together as dough and knead the dough.
Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest. Resting step is very crucial a minimum of 2 hours is needed.

Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe

Finally knead the dough again, it will now be nice and soft (use a drop of oil if required) and roll it out to an even thickness (use some flour to prevent it from sticking but make sure to dust off as much as you can before frying)

Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe
Roll it out to an even thickness

And finally fry it!
Cholle bhature/ Bhatura Recipe
Fried Bhatura

Serves: 4
Makes: 12 medium bhatura
 Self-rising flour – 1 ½ cup + more for dusting/rolling out
Plain flour - 1 ½ cup + more for dusting/rolling out
Baking powder - ¼ tsp.

Other ingredients:
Baking soda – ¼ tsp.
Yogurt – 4 tbsp.
Semolina – 1 tbsp.
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tbsp.
Oil for deepfrying
Cheese cloth or kitchen towel.

 Sieve the flour, baking soda, salt in a mixing bowl.
Add semolina (optional) to the dough and stir it in
Add Oil, yogurt and mix until everything comes together as dough, use water if required to knead the dough (it should neither be tough nor be too sticky).
Cover with a damp cheese cloth or kitchen towel and let it rest for a minimum 2 hours.
After the resting step, Heat oil for deep frying (medium heat).
 Knead the dough, pinch medium sized balls and roll out into medium thickness bhaturas.
Test oil by throwing a dot sized dough ball, if it floats up slowly but immediately (as opposed to settling down), oil is ready for frying bhaturas.
Fry the bhaturas, until crisp and golden, serve hot with chana or cholle/ Chickpeas.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rajma masala/ Rajma chaval/ Red kidney bean curry

Rajma masala/ Rajma chaval/ Red kidney bean curry
Red kidney beans cooked with Indian spices.

Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry/ Rajma Chaval
Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry/ Rajma Chaval
Rajma chaval is one of those delicious comfort foods that gets cooked rather quickly and easily (by that I mean around 20 min if you have a pressure cooker). Honestly I haven’t met one person till day who doesn’t eat rajma chaval.

Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry
Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry

Using a pressure cooker to cook in India is such a common thing and possibly why home cooking is so popular.  And believe me if  using a pressure cooker was very common in this country people wouldn’t be scared to cook, it cuts down cooking and sautéing time and you can make tasty one  pot meals in a jiffy.  No, I am not justifying my use of a pressure cooker as you could still make this recipe without having one. All I am trying to say is  I love my pressure cooker and I can cook a zillion dishes under  15min in a cooker but let’s just leave that for some other post.
Like any other pulses, rajma/kidney beans would need to be soaked overnight but I just leave some canned ones for days when I run out of time and veggies.  A dish very similar to cholle, chickpea masala but this one’s way quicker and I have not used any fried onions. I have only added the grinding step to make it a more restaurant style rajma masala. Of course you could go all out and add cream and butter if you like but I totally skipped it.
If you make extra masala ( onion and tomato masala) you could freeze it/store in the fridge for a week and use it later to make any other dish to name a few paneer, chickpeas, black eyed beans or anything of your choice. So here’s your super easy and versatile dish.

Serves:  2

Kidney beans/ Rajma canned - 2 cups / 240 gm (drained weight)
3 small onions diced
3 small tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbsp. minced ginger
5 cloves garlic minced
1 small green chilly minced

1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. Hing/ Asafetida
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp. or to taste Kashmiri red chilly powder
A tiny pinch of kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves
1 tsp. Garam masala
½ tsp Dry mango powder/ amchoor.

Salt to taste
3 tbsp. oil

1.       Heat oil in a pressure cooker or in a sauce pan, add cumin seeds allow spluttering, add in the onions and sauté along with ginger garlic and chilly. Once browned add in tomatoes. Add spices (chilly, turmeric, asafetida) and half tsp of salt and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or cook until tender and mushy.
Onion and tomato masala paste

2.       Let the pressure settle down,   using a hand blender or a grinder grind the cooked onion tomato to a thin paste like consistency ( using a 2 to 3 tbsp. of water, it should be of thicker consistency)

3.       To this add canned Rajma/kidney beans pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or for 20 min until rajma is soft and easy to mash with a spoon.
4.       Once cooked, adjust the seasoning and add crushed dry fenugreek leaves, garam masala and dry mango powder, stir well. I opted for a thicker consistency you can dilute it by adding more water and simmering it.
Serve hot with Rice or Phulka.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice/ Lemon Rice

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
  Zesty lemon rice with crunchy nuts/A simple rice dish made with lemon juice and Cashew nuts 

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
Indian meal would be incomplete without some basmati rice, and it’s not always plain white rice there are so many ways to jazz up that white rice. One of mine is by adding lemon juice. If you haven’t heard about Lemon rice then let me tell you it is a famous south Indian rice dish.  This recipe however isn’t the same. This Lemon and Cashew nut rice is the one I tried when I was in an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh.  With its simplicity and delicious flavors this dish is here to stay.  It’s a delicious summer dish made with just a few ingredients, which can be enjoyed with your choice of main.
It’s such a versatile dish add your choice of spices and nuts if you like and make it your own. Garnish with coriander, I used up all of my coriander to make Green rice ;)

Serves: 2
1 Cup rice
1/4th cup or more sliced Cashew nuts
Juice of a Lemon
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp Chilly powder (optional)
A pinch of turmeric
1 tbsp. Oil
Salt to taste.
Cook rice by drain method or alternatively in a saucepan add 2 cups of water bring to a boil, once water evaporates cover and simmer for 10 min.
 Heat oil in a wok on medium heat, add sliced Cashew nuts sauté till golden brown remove and keep aside. Add cumin seeds to the oil allow sizzling.
Stir in the rice, chilly powder, turmeric and salt to taste turn off the heat or reduce heat.
Mix lemon juice and Cashew nuts and Serve!

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
Lemon and Cashew nut Rice

Precooked rice can also be used.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Simplygreat Health and Lifestyle campaign launch and expert tips on long-term healthy life style

SimplyGreat invited me  for the Launch of Simplygreat health and Life style campaign. So I spent Tuesday morning in the ME hotel, Radio roof top overlooking the beautiful central London views. I have written before about SimplyGreat Juice. Yummy Canapés and Delicious mocktails made with simplygreat juices kept flowing. Olympian Victoria Pendleton and Dr.Christian Jessen along with personal trainer Charlene Hutsebaut, nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed and behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings  all came together to launch the be simply great  8-week challenge to help form new habits for long-term healthy life style.

Simply Great Health and Lifestyle Campaign Launch, Dr.Christian Jessen
Simply Great Health and Lifestyle Campaign Launch

 What inspired me to write this post was meeting the panel and their expert tips. Pilate instructor, Charlene made me and the other bloggers I met, do some simple exercises. One which I recommend you try, observe your posture, erect your back; what did you experience? Did you feel your ab muscles clenching. With the same posture stand on one leg, your ab muscles clench as if you were wearing a tight corset and practicing this simple corset exercise can make a lot of difference she added. Imagine doing that and a few more exercises every day for a few minutes. It sounds manageable and achievable, doesn’t it?  Details have been listed on the 8 week challenge notes. See the expert tips below.

If you want to have a go and see if these little things can make any difference than try the 8 week challenge with them to be simply great.

The be simply great campaign has hit the nail, as most of us today are impatient and are always on the lookout for instant results.  Everyone on the panel agrees on starting well before and taking small steps at a time, to see any long term results and stress on asking yourself if what I am doing is sustainable ? And I can’t agree more with them