Appetizers/Snacks

Gobi Manchurian

Anytime favorite in my family and a must to order appetizer when we go to Indian restaurants. Tangy spicy sweet sauce with crunchy cauliflower bites is just irresistible and my kids are never satisfied without asking for seconds! It’s become a regular thing to make at home too!

Ingredients:

Medium size cauliflower-1

Medium size onion-1

Capsicum/Bell pepper-1/2

Spring onions-a small bunch

Coriander/ Cilantro- 8 to 10 strands

Garlic cloves- 6

Ginger-Small piece

Green chillies/- 5 (medium hot)

All purpose flour/ Maida- 3 Tbsp

Rice flour-1 Tbsp

Corn Flour- 3 Tbsp

Red chilli powder- According to spice level

Black pepper- 1 tsp

Salt –to taste

Tomato Ketchup -1/2 cup

Red Chili sauce -1tbsp or according to your spice level

White vinegar-1tbsp

Soy Sauce-1 Tbsp

Sugar-A pinch

Oil for frying

Preparation

Cut the base of the cauliflower and separate the florets.  Soak them in salt water for 5-10 minutes in order to remove dirt and germs. Dry the florets.

Chop onions finely, cut spring onions and capsicum/ bell pepper lengthwise. Mince garlic cloves, ginger, green chillies/ jalapenos and coriander/cilantro and keep aside.

Mix all the flours, red chilli powder, pepper powder and salt, add the florets to the dry powder and mix well. Add 4-5tbsp of water just enough for the mixture to form a thin coat on the florets. Too much water will make the manchurian soggy.

Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the battered florets till they turn golden brown on medium high heat. Keep them aside while you prepare the sauce.

Sauce

Heat 2-3 Tbsp of oil in a pan.  Add minced garlic cloves, ginger, and green chilies. Sauté for a minute and add chopped onions. Cook till they turn translucent. Now add capsicum/bell pepper and spring onions. They do not have to be cooked long (they have to be crispy). Add salt (according to taste), tomato ketchup, red chili sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and mix well. Finally toss the fried florets with the sauce for a minute, garnish with cilantro/coriander and serve HOT!!!
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Cakes n bakes

Super moist chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting

As a mom of two kids my mind and heart always leans towards homemade cooking, not that we don’t eat out but my first preference goes to home cooked meal. When my kids ask for something I ask myself if I can do it at home before buying and this is one such thing I love to do! I not only get the satisfaction of knowing what goes inside it but when my kids show a thumbs up and gives a big tight hug all my efforts are worthwhile 😊

These cupcakes are so moist and tender that you can’t just eat one! Since oil and buttermilk is used, cupcake remains moist for 4-5 days at room temperature covered.

Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients

3/4 cup -all-purpose flour

1/2 cup – unsweetened natural cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon- baking powder

1/2 teaspoon -baking soda

1/4 teaspoon -salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup – granulated sugar

1/2 cup – packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup -vegetable or canola oil/ any flavorless oil

2 teaspoons – pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup – buttermilk, at room temperature

Frosting: chocolate buttercream

Ingredients

1 cup – unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 and 1/2 cups- confectioners’ sugar. I personally prefer less sugar. You can add another cup depending on your sweet tooth.

1/2 cup -unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder

2-3 Tablespoons- heavy cream or milk

1/4 teaspoon– salt

2 teaspoons -pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 3 to 4 liners – this recipe makes about 15-16 cupcakes. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk or beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until just combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thin.

Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream or milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.

I have used a 1mm star pipette to decorate my cupcakes!

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Desserts/Sweets

Peanut sesame laddu

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Great healthy snack especially during winter for everyone! 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup peanuts

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup jaggery, crushed

METHOD:

In a heavy bottom pan, roast peanuts on medium low flame and keep stirring to ensure it gets roasted evenly. You are looking for light golden brown color with nutty aroma. Once done, transfer to a bowl/plate to cool it down.

In the same pan, roast sesame seeds until it starts to pop. Set aside in a separate bowl/plate. Once both are cooled, rub the peanuts between your palms to eliminate the skin. This step is optional. 

Pulse the peanuts and sesame seeds separately in a blender. (Pulse in the blender couple of times for few seconds to ensure they form fine powder). Remove and keep it aside.

Pulse crushed jaggery for few seconds and add both sesame seed powder and peanut powder into the blender and give it one final pulse.

Transfer to a mixing bowl, mix well and roll to small laddus.

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Appetizers/Snacks

Chakli

img_2407Ingredients:

½ cup urad dal

2 cups rice flour

1½ tsp salt

1½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds

1½ tsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp oil/unsalted butter (hot)

¼ tsp hing/asafetida

1½ to 2 cups of water

More oil for frying

Chakli Press

Method:

First wash the Urad dal and pressure cook with 1 cup of water (3-4 whistles)

Once it is cooled, transfer it to a big bowl and mix salt, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, red chili powder, rice flour and hing. Mix well. Adjust salt and red chili powder according to your taste.

Now heat 3 tbsp oil/unsalted butter and pour it on the mix. Add around ½ cup of water and mix it to make a soft dough.

Heat the oil in the pan to fry on a medium low heat. Using the chakli press, make few and keep them ready to fry. Once the oil is hot enough (check by putting a little dough into the oil, it has to come up immediately), add the prepared chaklis

Fry them until they turn light golden brown on both sides or until there are few oil bubbles bubbling on the chaklis. Flip them once or twice in between.

Once they turn light golden brown on both sides (it usually takes 6-8 minutes), take them out and transfer them onto a paper towel to drain the extra oil. Repeat the same procedure with the remaining dough.

Once the chaklis have cooled completely, store it in an airtight container.

 

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Soup

Garden fresh tomato soup

Tomato soup Ingredients:

4 cups chopped fresh tomato

1 onion sliced

4 whole cloves

2 cups vegetable broth

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp  white sugar

Pepper to taste

Method:

In a pot , over medium heat, combine tomatoes, onion, cloves and vegetable broth. Bring them to boil for about 20 minutes to blend all the flavors. Remove from heat and run the mixture through a blender or food mill into a large bowl . If using food mill discard any stuff left over in the food mill. In a empty pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to  ale a roux, cooking until the roux is medium brown. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture , so that no lumps form athen stir in the rest. season with sugar, salt and pepper and adjust the taste.

Tomato soup

 

 

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Soup

Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup

This Italian meal is just not hearty and healthy but it’s really flexible too…There’s something incredibly satisfying about using up whole bunch of vegetables, beans and vegetable broth, this soup is a meal in itself .

Ingredients:

4 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 celery rib chopped

7 cups vegetable broth

1 medium potato peeled and cut into cubes

1 medium zucchini trimmed and cut into cubes

1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cup cannellini beans

Method:

Remove and discard the stems from the spinach. Wash, chop and keep them aside. Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add the leeks, carrots, onions and celery and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add the stock, potato, zucchini, spinach and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour. stir the beans and salt to taste. Simmer just until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve immediately with grated cheese!

Minestrone soup

 

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Appetizers/Snacks

Sun Dried Tomato and Black Olive Puree

Sun dried tomato and black olive puree

I made this purée for an italian dinner party and it was an elegant crowd pleaser!  Filled with loads of  flavors which are distinct, dense and absolutely delicious.. you can not go wrong with this recipe, its simple and easy to make… This puree is great served as a dip/spread along with a sliced baguette or pita chips.

Ingredients:

15 sun fired tomatoes packed in oil, drained

8 large black olives, pitted

1 medium garlic clove

2 tbsp whole fresh parsley leaves

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt

1 loaf Italian bread cut into 24 pieces 1/2 inch thick

Method:

Place the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic, parsley and thyme in the work bowl of a food processor or a blender . Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Pulse in oil, 1 tbsp at a time to form a smooth but a still slightly coarse paste.

Scrape the purée into a small bowl. Add salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet. Bake, turning the slices once, until they are lightly browned  and crisp.  Place the toasted bread slices on splatter and spread 1 generous teaspoon of the purée over each slice. Serve immediately.

Sun dried tomato and black olive puree

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