Apr 30, 2012

Avacado Smoothie

                         Avocado or Butterfruit as its called in India is creamy fruit which is full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.. Its indeed a Superfruit..
                 Most common preparation of Avocado is making Mexican Guacamole... Its amazing combination of tomatoes and avocado to go along with nachos and tacos..
               But have you ever had a sweet avocado smoothie? In Bangalore, I have noticed lots of fresh fruit juice centers, most of them called Shree Ganesh juice stall. Ya, trust me there is a Shree Ganesh Juice centre on almost every road of Bangalore.. 
                  This is where I tried “butterfruit milkshake” for the first time. I was a bit skeptical about avocado (which I associate with guacamole) churned with milk and sugar.. But all my inhibitions were washed away with the first sip of this amazing combination. I enjoyed loads of butterfruit milkshakes when I had pregnancy cravings.. 
Did you know Avocados are great for your baby too!!!! 
You can start giving avocado pulp right form 6 months.. its easy to digest and provides lots of nutrition to babies. Neil enjoyed this milkshake a lot yesterday. He was sipping milkshake from my glass and then Abhi's. He was then running around sporting a thick green mustache...

                  Its important to use a ripe avacado.. You will get green avocados. Best way to ripen them fast is place them in a brown bag with a apple or banana. Ripe fruit turns to brown colour from outside and is soft to touch.

              Its also called Sinh to Bo in Vietnamese, these drinks are quite common at Vietnamese restaurants. So lets try out Avocado Smoothie.

Ingredients:


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2-3 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups milk(400 ml)
  • Chocolate sauce(optional)
Open avocado and remove put and shell and put the flesh into a blender. Add in other ingredients. Blend for 1 minute until everything is smooth. Serve immediately in the glasses drizzled with chocolate sauce.. Chocolate adds nice twist to avocado smoothie. You could just serve it plain as well, it tastes great on its own..




Apr 29, 2012

Garlic and Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous


Here comes one more Israel inspired dish, a garlic and tomato soup with Israeli Couscous or Ptitim.
Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion was responsible for invention of"Ptitim" in Israel, when rice was scarce. Ptitim is made of wheat flour and toasted in oven and shaped into small dense balls. Ptitim is known as Israeli Couscous or Pearl Couscous outside Israel.- Wikipedia

This round whole wheat pasta balls are easy to cook and really absorbs the flavor of sauce in which its cooked. Its great substitute for rice when served with stews. It has kinda chewy texture and these balls double in size when cooked.
This pasta can be a great hit with kids.. Neil loved to eat the pasta which I made in tomato and onion sauce. I have a small bag of this pasta which I plan to use more for Neil as he loved the pasta. Also its very quick to make.
It also makes a wonderful addition to a warm and comforting soup, which is easy to make and uses the ingredients which are commonly present in every kitchen.



Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion
  • 1 ½ cup tomato
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 red chillies
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup Israeli couscous
  • 5 cups water
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

Method:
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add chopped onions and cook gently for 7-8 min until softened.
  • Stir in chopped garlic, sliced red chillies & cinnamon stick and saute for 2-3 min till the garlic is golden brown.
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes, chopped mint & chopped basil Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 min till tomatoes are mushy and soft.
  • Add Israeli couscous and water.

  • Bring the soup to boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer gently for 10 min, stirring occasionally and until the couscous is just tender.
  • Serve with toasted bread slices..
Israeli Couscous isn't easily available in India, so you substitute it with small pasta. You could also add alphabet pasta which is available from Bambino..






Apr 27, 2012

Banana Pecan Muffins

               Today’s recipe is a muffin.. How exactly is a muffin different form a cupcake!!! There are loads of opinions on this... But for me, cupcake is a sweet and light cake, whereas muffin is more dense heavy, almost a bread.


    Neil was also behind my life for a “Caaaaaaaaaakeeee”. So I decided to whip up some muffins for breakfast. Neil didnt eat these muffins. These werent CAKE..For him cake is Chocolate cake only. So i did make a chocolate cake for him later,, thats another cute story for another time.

               When we were in USA, we used to love muffins from Cosco, chocochip and blueberry muffins. Whenever we went out on roadtrips, we used to carry few muffins with us. Half a muffin was a filling breakfast for each of us, they were that big and yummmmmmmm. I am almost drooling now.. How much I miss Cosco,, Cosco is a chain of supermarkets where you get anything and everything at amazing deals and best quality...

Anyways coming back to the recipe, I have got small bag of pecans and I really wanted to make something special outta it, but not sweet and fattening.. Also I had few overripe bananas waiting to be consumed., If you dont have pecans, substitute them with walnuts... I found Pecans are quite similar in taste to walnuts, just that I find pecans little milder and sweeter than walnuts.. So if you are substituting walnuts for pecans, I would suggest to use roasted walnuts.. This banana and pecan muffins turned out to be really nice.

                Muffins tasted best when they were warm, jut out of the oven. If you are going to eat them later, warm them in microwave and have them. 
              Its great way to start your day with warm muffin and cup of hot coffee..







Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 ripe elachi bananas
  • 4 tbsp soft butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
Method
  • Sift together the flour,baking powder & cinnamon powder.
  • Peel the bananas and mash them with fork. I have used 2 small elachi bananas, but you could also substitute 1 large ripe bananas. The bananas have to be overripe, as it intensifies the flavor of bananas.
  • Put the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat them till very light and fluffy. Then add the egg and beat well. Add mashed bananas and cream.
  • Using rubber spatula/ wooden spoon, fold in flour mixture and chopped pecans. Dont overmix the batter as it will make the muffins heavy. Stir the batter just enough to combine the ingredients roughly.
  • Put 6 paper liners in muffin pan.
  • Spoon the batter in the muffin pan. It does look lumpy and you will wonder if you needed to add more milk and make it smooth... DON'T.. They will turn out right when the batter is lumpy..
  • Bake the muffins in preheated oven 190 C/ 375 F for about 20 min until well risen and light golden brown.
This recipe makes 6 Banana Pecan Muffins.. If you want more just double/ triple the recipe.. The muffins are not very sweet, have mild flavor of cinnamon and sweetness of banana with a crunch of pecans.

Apr 25, 2012

Paneer Pepper Pot


                        Red, Yellow and Green bell peppers along with paneer form the basis of this quick and simple entree which goes well with rice as well as roti.

                     Red bell pepper is sweeter in taste as compared to green one which is little on spicier side. I have used all three kinds of bell peppers to make the dish look colorful as well as I like the taste of red bell pepper.
           Its simple quick dish which looks attractive and tastes great. Its more like an Indianized version of Thai red curry..





Ingredients:
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic
  • 1 cup paneer cubes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • 1 tsp salt

Method
  • Heat oil in a frying pan, once hot, add cumin seeds and turmeric powder.
  • Once cumin seeds start spluttering, add large chopped onion. Basically. Chop each half into 6 pieces and separate the slices.
  • Let the onions turn transparent and the add chopped garlic and chopped capsicum. Saute for 5 mins.
  • Now add chilli powder, jaggery, salt and coriander powder. Coat the veggies with this spice mixture.
  • Add coconut milk and bring to boil Then lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 mins until capsicum is soft.
  • Add paneer cubes and cook covered for 2-3 min.
  • Serve with rice


Apr 23, 2012

Pink & White

Jelly.....
What does come to your mind when you hear the word JELLY !!!
I can picturise wobbling jelly in spoons of kids in Jurassic Park, when the dinosaurs are coming... I love Jelly and so does Neil...

Every now and then a kid deserves treats.. Treats are usually considered unhealthy. But what if we made these treats which are not only healthy and tasty but easy to make. So the Jelly recipe here includes milk and natural cranberry juice..
The sweet and sour taste of cranberry is perfect compliment to dense sweet milk jelly. It tastes great, but its also looks very good.
Its a recipe which will be hit among kids as well as adults.. these jelly cubes can easily be served as a dessert in your kids birthday party..

For pink jelly
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp gelatin

Method:
  • Pour water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle with the gelatin.
  • Allow to soak for a minute or two.
  • Heat over low heat until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cranberry juice.
  • Pour the jelly mixture in a square/rectangle shaped mould. I used bread loaf pan.
  • Place the jelly in the fridge for 1-2 hours till it sets.
  • Once the jelly sets, I used different shaped cookie cutters to cut the jelly in various shapes. The leftover jelly was used in ring mould.
  • In a loaf pan or any other square/ rectangle shaped pan, arrange these jelly pieces and transfer the mould back in the fridge.
  • Now its time to make milk layer

Milk layer
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp gelatin
  • 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (400gm can) nestle/ amul
Method:
  • Pour water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle with the gelatin.
  • Allow to soak for a minute or two.
  • Heat over low heat until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the sweetened condensed milk.
  • Let it cool and come to room temperature.
  • Now pour the milk mixture in the mould containing cranberry jelly pieces.
  • Let it set for 3-4 hours till firm.
  • Cut into squares and serve...
  • I had some leftover milk mixture. So I added some leftover cranberry jelly pieces in moist silicon jelly mould and poured remaining milk mixture into the mould..


Apr 20, 2012

Paan Shot

                            A great meal is never complete without savoring the aromatic concoction of flavors of clove, cardamom, gulkand, peppermint enveloped in green leaf, called as Paan. Usually eaten at the end of a meal, it is understood to help in digestion and can be a substitute for a dessert.

                In India, it is very common to see various small roadside-stalls, named Paan Bhandar or Paan Stall. These small shops sell Paan- the most eaten chewing material as mouth freshener. These shops are also center point of meeting of many Paan lovers, who love to discuss over various local and national issues, while relishing the wonderful aromatic taste of Paan.

What is a Paan???
A Paan is a leaf from a creeper called the Paan creepers, grown in hot and humid climate but under the shade so that direct sunlight does not burn the leaves. These different types of Paan leaves are made into many different varieties of Paan by adding various different ingredients and then folding into triangular shaped Bidas.
.
Paan has various forms and flavours. The most commonly found include; sada paan - betel leaf filled with a mixture of a coarsely ground or chopped areca nuts and other spices; and meetha paan - betel leaf with neither tobacco nor areca nuts. The filling is made up primarily of coconut, fruit preserves, rose petal preserve (gulkand) and various spices. It is also often served with a maraschino cherry. 

The delicately flavoured paan from Bengal is known as deshi mahoba. Maghai and Jagannath are the main paans of Benaras whereas paan prepared from small and fragile leaves from South India is known as chigrlayele. 


 
                   All varieties of preparations are made in all three types of paans i.e., Kalkatta, Banarasi and Maghai . Kalkatta paan is dark green in colour, compared to Banarasi paan which is lighter green and Maghai is available in both shades but it's much smaller in size. The Maghai leaf is soft and melts in the mouth and it leaves no resha (strands) in the teeth.

You can even get a gold paan, silver paan, chocolate paan, marriage special paan! The cheapest costs Rs. 5 and the costliest is the marriage special one at Rs. 1500/- !!!

My favorite pan is Maghai pan, two paans filled with gulkand, coconut,mint and other goodies. This one melts complete in your mouth leaving behind good aroma and flavor in your mouth.

But what if you could get the same pleasure without the need to chew leaves...
What if you could drink the pan... Ya there is no error in the statement.. How about Paan Shot...
Got the Idea while I was browsing net and came across digestif paan shot served in Punjab Grill... Pictures looked very tempting and idea of Paan Shot was interesting. They serve two versions: alcholic with rum and non alcoholic... This one is non alcholic version.. But you could always spike your drink with rum/ vodka in proportions you like!!!!!!

Ingredients:
  • 4 maghai paan leaves
  • 2 tsp gulkand
  • 1 tsp mint coated fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp desiccated coconut
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 scoop ice cream
  • 2 tbsp water
Blend paan, gulkand, fennel,cardamom, coconut and water in blender till you get coarse paste. Add ice cream and give it quick pulse to mix all together.
Cool in fridge for 30 mins and serve with cherry..
Serves 2




Apr 19, 2012

Mango Masti


Mango, the king of fruits has finally made its appearance in our home.. Though not have been able to welcome “Hapus” , the king of mangoes we were blessed by presence of Payari Mango yesterday..



Payari is ideal choice for aam-ras and mango juices. The mango is one of the most versatile fruits, it can be pickled,made into jams and ice creams, make amazing desserts and can be even added to curries. 

 
             You can also call mango a superfruit, the one being appealing to look at and tasty is also full of nutrients and antioxidants that help fight disease and make you look young..

           “ A mango a day makes you look young forever”



                  Wanted to try something simple but different with mango pulp. Hence came up with an eggless dessert which is not only low cal but tasty and easy to make..

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cup mango puree
  • 1 1.2 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp fine sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn flour
  • mango slices
  • grated chocolate
Method:
  • Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and add mango puree, 1 cup milk and sugar and cook for 4-5 min till all the sugar dissolves
  • Mix cornflour with remaining ½ cup of milk ensuring there are no lumps.
  • Stir in cornflour mixture in the sauce pan and cook for further 5 min, till the mixture starts thickening.
  • Now let the pudding cool.
  • Arrange few mango slices in serving glasses/ bowls.
  • Add the pudding to the glasses and top with some grated chocolate and cherry...
  • Chill the pudding for 3-4 hours..
  • Serves 6 

I also added some chopped mangoes to smaller cups for Neil, which he enjoyed throughly. I am so glad to know that he loves Mangoes.. The consistency is like a thick shake. To make it even more rich, you can substitute milk with cream.
Enjoy this Mango Masti with all you loved ones....


Apr 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Pancakes !!!


2000...

Thats the year which made a big decision of my life. A decision that changed my life, made me a dentist.I got admission in Dr D. Y. Patil dental college. That was also the year when I was introduced to few amazing girls in my class, who later on went to be become my best buddies till today.


                        Bijal, Aditi, Priya, Dhruti, Aksha, Chaitra & Zeeba.. So many wonderful memories together. We studied together, ate lunch boxes during lectures, played pictionary in boring lectures, called each other at 4 in the morning on exam day to make sure we are all awake and studying,,,,

         
                    Now twelve years have passed by and life has changed so much.. few of us got married, few have children, few are not in Mumbai, we don't talk that often now...Many things changed but one thing hasn't changed.Even if we meet after long periods of time, we can still chat about anything and everything..


 Feel blessed to have such friends in my life.. Today is birthday of a special friend Bijal and I so wish I was with her to celebrate. But.....

So here's my pancake birthday cake for her with a wish that she has many more cheerful and happy birthdays to come..





Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour(maida)
  • 3 tbsp sugar 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp melted butter
Method:

  • Sift together 1 cup all purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter and milk
  • Add to flour mixture, stirring so that there are no lumps
  • If the batter seems too thick to pour, add a little more milk.
  • Cook on a hot, greased griddle, using about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  • Cook until bubbly, a little dry around the edges, and lightly browned on the bottom; turn and brown the other side.
  • This will give you 4 pancakes..
  • Serve with maple syrup/ butter/ honey

I made few changes to pancake method. I added 2 drops of red colour to ¼ batter. I put white batter in one plastic squeezy bottle and red batter in smaller plastic squeezy bottle. Then I piped shapes on the griddle, keeping the flame very low.

We had fun enjoying these pretty pancakes...



The Floating Rose

Rooh Afza is drink concentrate made from rose, lotus, keora, mint, orange and multiple more ingredients. Its super coolant and is a must item in our fridge once the summer starts..

Its also very easy to make, just add 2-3 tbsp of syrup with ice and water and mix together to get this pretty pink cool drink.

This recipe made by Abhi, calls for addition of sabja seeds and falooda noodles in this drink with ice cream on the top...











Ingredients:
  • 1 litre cold water
  • 10 tbsp rooh afza syrup
  • few falooda noodles boiled
  • 1 tbsp sabja seeds
  • 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Method:
Add rooh afza syrup tu cold water. Put boiled falooda noodles & sabja seeds in the drink. Let it stand for 30 min in the fridge. This will allow the sabja seeds to become gelatinous and noodles will also absorb sweetness of the drink.
Serve in a tall glass adding some noodles and sabja seeds in the drink. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and few dried rose petals..
Makes 4 drinks

Apr 16, 2012

Aam Panna

I am not at all fond of summers, but there is one thing which I do look forward to to,, that's MANGOES.  I love mangoes green or yellow, ripe or raw, any any form... One great way to have raw mangoes is to make Aam Panna.
Aam Panna or Kairi Panna is summer cooler drink which is commonly made in our home. Its basically raw green mango squash which has excellent heat resistant properties.
This drink not only tastes great with sour and sweet taste but looks also refreshing yellow. A great drink to sip on in summer afternoons.


I cant give you exact measurements. Drink can be adjusted according to ones taste.You could replace or add on ingredients such as jeera as well. This version is the way my mom makes it and we all love it...

3 large raw green mangoes
1.5 liters water
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp rock salt
1 cup sugar
a pinch of saffron

Boil green mangoes with water in pressure cooker, till they are well cooked. once cooked, remove the mangoes from the water and extract all the pulp using a spoon to scrap pulp from skin and seed. Mix the pulp in the water and add sugar, saffron, cardamom powder & salt to taste... mix it all well..


Serves 6 glasses...





Apr 13, 2012

Café Frappe

Summer heat is on the rise… To cool off here is delicious combination of chocolate and coffee with vanilla ice cream topped with whipped fresh cream…





                       Café Frappe is often our preferred choice when we visit coffee shops with our pals. Here have tried to re create the Café Frappe which you can have in the comfort of your home.


                  So many important decisions are taken over the coffee…
I decided to get married to The Guy over the coffee in Café Coffee Day.

        So heres the my treat to My Guy with this Café Frappe.. I am sure all of you trying to woo your Guy or Gal can whip up Café Frappe.



Here’s what you need:
·         400 ml cold milk
·         100 ml water
·         2 tbsp instant coffee
·         1 tbsp cocoa powder
·         2 tbsp brown sugar
·         1 scoop vanilla ice cream
·         Whipped cream

Blend all the ingredients except whipped cream in the blender for 2 min till all the sugar dissolves. You will get nice froth. Pour in tall glasses and pipe some fresh whipped cream on the top with a sprinkle of cocoa powder. 
Serves 2 glasses
 



Enjoy the Cold Coffee and Hot Conversations

Apr 11, 2012

WaterMelon Mojito



                                When I was a kid, summers was vacation time and I used to be touring all my aunties and uncles house having a gala time with my bestest cousins.. Lots of great memories. One such memory is of my uncle cutting out slices of watermelon and seeding them and giving it to all of us. We used to sit surrounding him and wait for our turn to bite into a large slice of watermelon. It used to be a messy affair. All the faces used to get sticky. But that’s the best way to eat watermelon, start from one end and go all the way to other end of the slice.. Now we all have grown up but my uncle who is now grandfather to our kids still does it for them.. Whenever we get watermelons, I eat atleast one whole slice.


Nowadays I am trying my hand at watermelon caving.. this is my First attempt which needs loads of improvement... After i was done with craving, Neil got up from sleep and had nice snack of watermelon flowers.


                            Its really HOOOOooooot in Bangalore.. So we make it a point to have some fresh juice daily. Neil also loves “jussh”. So have to make something special for him. Since I had a nice big watermelon sitting in the house, decided to make Watermelon Mojito .
    
                Watermelon mojito is adapted from the refreshing Cuban cocktail which has lemon, mint, sugar, soda and rum… I made this version non alcoholic and used watermelon juice instead of soda…
Ingredients:
  • 200 ml watermelon juice
  • 3-4 mint leaves
  • 2-3 lemon slices
  • Sugar (to taste)
  • A pinch of rock salt

Method:
In a large glass, crush the mint, sugar and lemon slices. Its called muddling.. Just muddle enough to get the minty extract of the leaves, don’t crush them completely. Add cool watermelon juice and stir well.
You could add lots of ice
One more interesting way would be to freeze watermelon pieces and then make slushly mojito.

Neil was so tempted by the watermelon and grape garnish that he immediately got hold of it as soon as I clicked pictures.