Appetizers/Snacks

Cream Cheese Puffs

Cream cheese puffs

These are delicious melt in the mouth rolls. I found this amazing recipe from www.compulsivefoodie.com. Asmita has shown this recipe in a very simple and easy to follow video.  I will definitely make it again :) Original recipe can be found here http://www.compulsivefoodie.com/2012/08/06/cream-cheese-puffs-2/

Ingredients:

Pillsbury Crescent roll- 1 box

cream cheese, at room temperature-4 ounces

garlic powder-3/4 tsp

red chilly powder-1/4 tsp

 finely chopped cilantro-1 tbsp

Method:

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, garlic powder, red chilly powder and cilantro . Keep aside.

cream cheese puffs

Cut out a wax paper or parchment paper, open the crescent roll, split it into 2 halves and join the perforated lines together and apply the cream cheese liberally on one side.

cream cheese puffs

Roll this and close both ends. Roll this in parchment or wax paper and keep aside . Do the same with the remaining dough and take both the rolls and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

cream cheese puffs

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, cut the rolls into 4 or 5 pieces, and place them on a cookie sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove and let it cool for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with sauce of your choice. Enjoy!

cream cheese puffs

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Main Course

Methi mutter corn pulao (Fenugreek peas and sweetcorn rice)

Finally we get ample amount of rain in our bay area and its a great relief to everyone….

Last week was really easy-going, work as well as house wise, as I had to work only four days since there was a major electrical shutdown in our building on friday, and we had to take a mandatory off. We knew this before so I had asked my husband to take a day off too and we planned for a day out starting with a nice lunch at a restaurant called dish dash (Mediterranean food) the food was heavenly and we enjoyed it thoroughly followed by watching a movie in the theatre. We watched “The grand budapest hotel”  which recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend… its a comedy drama and all the casts have played their role wonderfully…..I recommend it to all who have not watched it yet. Having a relaxed friday, I was all refreshed to cook at home over the weekend and planned to make “Methi mutter corn pulao”. This is a very simple yet delicious recipe with flavorful spices and rice.

Methi Mutter sweet corn pulao

Ingredients:

Cooked green peas- 1/2 cup

Cooked sweet corn kernels- 1/4 cup

Chopped fenugreek (methi) leaves- 1 cup

Oil-3 tbsp

Cooked white long grain rice- 1  1/2 cups

Thinly sliced onion- 1/4 cup

Ginger paste- 3/4 tsp

Green chilli paste- 3/4 tsp

Peppercorns-4

Cloves- 2

Cardamom- 2

Cinnamon – 1/2 inch

turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp

Salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a non stick pan, add pepper corns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and sliced onions, sauté on a medium flame for 1-2 minutes. Add  turmeric powder, ginger and chilli paste and sauté for 30 seconds.

Methi Mutter sweetcorn pulao

Add cooked green peas, sweet corn kernels and chopped fenugreek leaves. Sauté again for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of water if it becomes very dry.  Add salt according to your taste. Once everything is cooked. Add the cooked rice, mix well. Adjust salt to your taste and serve hot with yogurt or just plain.

Methi Mutter sweetcorn pulao

P.S. I  soaked the rice in water for about 10 minutes then drained the water completely. I added 2 cups of water to 1 1/2 cups of rice and cooked in a rice cooker.

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Salads

Kale and apple salad

 

Kale salad

Having determined to post every week since the beginning 2014, I need to excuse myself this time, as I am already two days behind my schedule. My aunt and uncle visited us from India last week and was pretty excited about their arrival, so I was busy cleaning the house which is nearly impossible having a toddler at home but tried my best. Thought I would enjoy completely with them as I was going to see them after a year and thought to start my blog work on sunday, which is a day ahead of my schedule, but still felt okay with the plan…Well I had a wonderful time with them and they returned back to their son’s place by saturday evening.. I just spent sunday morning doing nothing but play with my son… and evening went in planning which recipe to post first :) So, here I am with no further delay in posting a refreshing salad which was actually hated by my toddler “naturally” but my husband and I loved it and will be making it again!

Ingredients:

Fresh lime juice- 3 tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil- 2 tbsp

1 bunch kale, ribs removed- leaves thinly sliced

Soft dates- 1/4 cup sliced

Cranberries- 1/8 cup

Honey crisp apples- 1, sliced thin and long

Carrots- 1/2 cut into match stick size strips

Purple cabbage- 1/4 cup chopped (optional)

Roasted pumpkin seeds- 1/4 cup

Freshly ground pepper

Kosher salt

Method:

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  Toss kale in this mixture, allow to stand for 10 minutes. Massage the kale in between, which helps it to soften….

Kale salad

Then mix with dates, sliced apples, carrots, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. I also added some chopped purple cabbage which I had in hand. Add pepper and salt according to your taste, mix well and serve!

A very refreshing salad and having massaged the kale removed the bitter taste and eating with apples and dates gave the perfect sweetness to the salad!

Kale salad

 

 

 

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Cakes n bakes

White butter cake

White butter cake

White butter cake

Time to celebrate my brother’s birthday! My sweetest and dearest brother turned 34 on March 14th and this cake is baked thinking of him…

He is in Spain completing his masters in business administration. Having his masters in engineering degree already he had a desire to do his MBA in one of the top ranking business school in Europe and is pursuing it. And we are all very proud of him..  he loves to explore and learn and keeps everyone happy in and around him.  I have a darling sister-in-law, who is as sweet as him.

Its nostalgic ……My dad had an opportunity to work in different states when we were growing. Being a girl, I was much protected and taken everywhere, my parents moved, while my brother was living at my aunt’s place until he completed his high school. So, I did not get to spend much of my childhood days with him. That might be the reason, I never got to fight with him when we were together during holidays. I was the naughty one and got yelled by my parents every single time something went wrong! and he was a polite, decent and well-behaved child in my family.

Time moves by so fast, now we have our own lives and families but one thing is for sure, no matter where we are or how far we live, I love him and respect him for what he is!

Though I cannot share my cake with him, I share it with my family thinking about all the happy times we have spent together! CHEERS….

Ingredients:

2 large egg-  separated

Sifted flour- 175 gms or 1 3/4 cup

Baking powder- 2 tsp

Salt- 1/4 tsp

Unsalted butter- 1/2 cup room temperature

Granulated white sugar- 1 cup

Pure vanilla extract- 1 tsp

Cream of tartar- 1/8 tsp

Milk- 1/2 cup

Filling

1/4 cup any of your favorite jam/ fruit sauce

Frosting:

Unsalted butter- 1/2 cup room temperature

cream cheese- 8 oz room temperature

Confectioner’s sugar- 2 1/2 cup

Vanilla extract- 1 tsp

zest of 1 lemon or orange

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Grease two 8 inch pan with baking spray or butter. While the eggs are still cold, separate the white and yolks and place them in separate bowls. allow them to come to room temperature.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In an electric mixer or hand mixer beat butter until soft, add 3/4 of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolk, scrape down the sides and beat well. Add vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

Now alternating with flour and milk, mix them with low-speed. Beginning and ending with flour.

White butter cake

In another clean bowl, beat the egg white until foamy, add cream of tartar and mix until soft peaks appear. Add the remaining 1/4th of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks forms. Now with a spatula slowly take little of this mixture and fold it with flour mixture. Then mix the remaining of this mixture with the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix and deflate the batter.

Pour equal amount of batter into the 8 inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cream cheese frosting:

Cream the butter and cheese together and until nice and smooth. Add the confectionary sugar one cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the zest and vanilla extract and beat on high-speed until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Assembling the cake

I did not assemble my cakes, instead I made two separate cakes spreading the frosting completely over the cake.

IMG_2496

If you wish to assemble the cake, place one of the cake layer, top facing down. Spread 1/4 cup of your favorite fruit sauce or  jam. Now spread 3/4 cup of the frosting on top of the jam/sauce and place the next cake layer, top of the cake facing down onto the filling. Spread the remaining frosting on top and sides of the cake and refrigerate until its time to serve. Decorate with colorful berries or just serve it plain!

White butter cake

Reference:

Purdy, Susan G. ‘A Piece of Cake‘. Collier Books. New York: 1989. 

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Appetizers/Snacks

Onion Pakoda

onion pakoda

Having rain in California is a relief to all of us here. Well, we are not completely out of drought situation but something is always better than nothing. There was nothing much for us to do outside, while it was raining. My son was taking his afternoon nap, and it was the best time for me to watch a movie with my husband on a weekend! While my husband was browsing the movie list on Netflix, I thought I would quickly make some of these pakodas and munch them while we watch it. Movie was decided, pakodas took a little time for frying but we could wait… Pakodas turned out crispy and crunchy, and we were all set to watch the movie!

Ingredients:

Onion – 1 cup (sliced very thin)

Gram flour- 1 cup

Rice flour-1/4 cup

Curry leaves- 4 to 5 leaves

Baking powder- 1/2 tsp

oil- 2 tbsp

Green chillies-1 (minced)

Red chilli powder- 1 tsp – 1 1/2 tsp (according to your spice level)

Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp

salt- to taste

Oil for deep-frying

Method:

Slice onion into very thin strips.

IMG_3369

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. (add red chilli powder according to your spice level) Add onion, minced chilli and 2 tsp oil to this mixture and combine everything well.

onion pakoda

Sprinkle very little water (1 to 2 tbsp) and mix.  Mixture should not come to a dough consistency, it should just come together when pressed gently.

Heat oil in a frying pan and take a ping-pong ball size mixture in your hand, press very gently and drop into the oil slowly.

IMG_3376

Fry until golden brown and remove and place them on a paper towel. (Do not shape or press the dough mixture too hard while dropping into the oil). The long strips of onion slightly coated with flour gives a wonderful crunchy texture.

onion pakoda

Enjoy with tomato ketchup or just plain!

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Chaat

Masala Puri

Masala Puri

Another yummy, appetizing chaat from Indian streets… One of the vivid memory I have of eating chaats in India is this one! I have a very good friend who is living in Chennai, India.  She loves street chaats and knew every street vendor in our neighborhood. After her boyfriend, I was her best companion for eating these, as I enjoyed having them too! Rain or shine, we had these chaats every week and  relished it to the fullest.

This is one among the few that I miss here. Though, I find many chat corners… none of them taste like the one we get in India. So I thought I would make it myself.. After researching and trying different masala puri recipe versions, I fell in love with this particular recipe. I felt this recipe is the best of all that I have tried and have been making at home every single time I think of eating “one plate of masala puri” :).

Ingredients:

3/4 cup dry green peas, soaked overnight and pressure cooked with little salt (do not use frozen peas, the taste will vary)

1/4 cup toro dal (yellow pegion peas) cooked till soft with a pinch of turmeric

carrot-1, grated

onion-1, finely chopped

Puris – used store-bought (pani puris)

Sev- 1 cup (o size, store bought)

Coriander (Cilantro) leaves- 1/2 cup, finely chopped

Shredded coconut-1 tbsp

Sugar-1 tsp

Red chilli powder- 1 1/2 tsp

Salt
Dry Spices :

cloves-3

cinnamon- 1 inch

coriander seeds- 1 tsp

cumin seeds- 1 tsp

peppercorns- 1 tsp

Nutmeg- a small piece

Method:
Dry roast all the spices until light golden brown, then add coconut and fry for a minute and keep it aside.

IMG_3353

Grind the spices with coconut, red chill powder and 1/4 cup of water to a smooth paste. Add the toor dal and grind again for a minute.

Take the ground paste in a heatproof pan and add half cup of water to liquefy it. Add salt, sugar and cook for a 5-6 minutes. Add the cooked peas and allow the mixture to blend well. Add more salt if needed. The gravy should not be too thick or too thin.

Crush 4-5 puris on the serving plate.

Masala Puri

Spread  about 1-2 ladle full of gravy.

IMG_3357

Top it up with some grated carrot.

Masala puri

Then add chopped onions

Masala puri

and a layer of sev.

masalapuri

and finally with some cilantro!  Serve immediately. (Add the topping according to your taste)Masala Puri

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Cakes n bakes

Eggless garlic rolls

Garlic rolls

Being in the bay area, my husband and I have never missed the garlic festival that  happens in Gilroy every year. We are just amazed by the array of dishes that’s been prepared and processed using garlic and sold there… from garlic pop corns to garlic ice cream.. yeah you heard me right :) garlic ice-cream ! It actually tastes great, with just right amount of garlic in it.

I always buy a string of garlic bunch when I am there and it remains fresh for weeks or even months! Having few heads remaining, I thought of preparing this rolls yesterday and it turned out great… Little crispy on the top and bottom middle part being super soft and fluffy.

Makes 8 individual roll

I reduced the original recipe to half.

Ingredients:

Plain Flour- 1 1/2 cup

Warm water-1/2 cup+2 tbsp

Yeast-1/2 tbsp

Salt- 1/2 tsp

Sugar-1 tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil- 1 1/2 tbsp

Sesame seeds and milk- 1 tbsp each

Garlic spread:

Garlic clove-2 tbsp minced

Salted butter- 25 grams (room temp)

Cilantro- 2 tbsp

Method: For making dough

Mix plain flour, yeast, sugar and salt with warm water, knead well. (Add water slowly and mix. Depending on the flour, we might need little less water or few tablespoons more)

Garlic rolls- dough

The dough should be a little sticky. Add olive oil to your finger tips and knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until all the olive oil has been used up. Cover and keep the dough aside for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the spread by mixing  salted butter, garlic and cilantro and keep aside.

Garlic rolls-spread

Dough would have puffed up to double its original size, when ready. Knock the air out. Divide the dough into two parts and roll each dough to 1/2 inch thick round. (sprinkle flour if it’s too sticky).

Garlic rolls- dough

Spread the garlic mix to two parts equally leaving behind a tablespoon for the end.

Garlic rolls

Roll them and cut  each roll into 4 equal parts.

Garlic rolls

Grease a loaf pan. I used 3/8 lb bread loaf pan. Arrange the cut side on top and spread the remaining mix on top. Spread little milk on top and add sesame seeds. Allow it to further puff for 20 minutes.

06-IMG_7814

Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 360 degree Fahrenheit.

Bake for 25 minutes. (Time may vary depending on the oven and temperature). Rolls are ready when they turn light golden-yellow on top and your kitchen filled with wonderful aroma! Serve it hot….

Garlic rolls

Garlic rolls

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Desserts/Sweets

Carrot Halwa (Gajar ka halwa)

Carrot Halwa

This post was sitting in my draft section since a very long time. I have prepared this ample amount of time but never really got to right down the measurements. And last week when I prepared this I made sure I am jotting down every single ingredient and measurement and finally got to post it.

Who doesn’t love gajar ka halwa in India or elsewhere, it’s the most popular sweet served in several occasions. Having a scoop of vanilla ice-cream is a greatest combination to have this sweet in my opinion!

Ingredients:

Carrots- 6 medium (grated)

Unsweetened khoya- 1/2 cup (grated)

Sugar- 1/2 cup

Ghee or clarified butter- 4 Tbsp

Cashew- 3 Tbsp

Raisins- 2 Tbsp

Cardamom powder- 1/2 tsp

Method:

Heat clarified butter in a pan on medium heat, then add cashews and sauté until light golden brown. Add raisins mix for 5-6 seconds and quickly remove the cashews and raisins leaving behind clarified butter in the pan.

Carrot Halwa

Now add the grated carrots and cook them nicely in the ghee (for 8-10 minutes).

Carrot Halwa

Add khoya give it a nice stir and lastly add  sugar.

Carrot Halwa

Mix and cook for 6-8 minutes until everything is well combined and comes together. Add in cardamom powder and mix.

Carrot Halwa

Garnish with cashews and raisins!

Carrot Halwa

Enjoy!!!

Carrot Halwa

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Cakes n bakes

Chocolate-Caramel bars

Chocolate caramel bar

My cousin is enamored of baking like me and has tried and tested fair amount of recipes from around the world. He is a good chef and is perfect in what he does. Last year he had brought some home made peach bread and these chocolate-caramel bars. These were the yummiest I have tried so far and hence been wanting to post this in my blog. All thanks to him for sharing the recipe with me!.

P.S. At the end I myself was so tempted to have it that, I never waited it to cool completely and cut them into squares too quickly and hence can see in my pictures that they are not prefect squares :)

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients:

All purpose flour-1 cup

Brown sugar- 1/2 cup packed

Butter- 1/2 cup

Pecans- 2 cups coarsely chopped

Flaked coconut- 1 cup

Sweetened condensed milk- 1 14oz can

Vanilla extract-2 tsp

Vanilla caramels- 20 (unwrapped) or 160 gms uncovered morsels

Milk- 2 tbsp

Semisweet chocolate morsels- 1 cup

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

For crust: In a medium bowl, stir together flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Chocolate caramel bar

Press onto the bottom of ungreased pan  13X9X2 inch pan.Chocolate caramel bar

Bake for 15 minutes.

Chocolate caramel bar

Sprinkle pecans and coconut over the hot crust.Chocolate caramel bar

Meanwhile for filling : In a small bowl combine unsweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. carefully pour over the pecan and coconut spreading evenly.

Chocolate caramel bar

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling is set. Cool the pan on wire rack for ten minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine caramel and milk. cook and stir over medium-low heat just until the caramel is melted. Drizzle caramel mixture over the filling. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels. Cool completely.

Chocolate caramel bar

Cut into bars.08-IMG_7793

Chocolate caramel bar

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