Monday, 21 August 2017

Vermicelli Modak with stuffed Dry Fruits

Modak or modakam is an Indian sweet rice flour dumpling. The modak is the favorite sweet of the Hindu deity, Ganesha. Lord Ganesha has a special place in everyone's heart — he is cute, adorable and loves to eat. So, Ganesha Chaturthi is the best time to pamper your sweet tooth with none other than the Elephant God's favorite, modak. It is said that any offering to Ganesha is incomplete without the Modaks. 

Modak or sweet rice flour dumplings are traditionally made by stuffing grated fresh coconut and jaggery, then steamed or fried. These are consumed primarily during Ganesha Chaturthi. During Ganesha Chaturthi, the puja always concludes with an offering of 21 modaks to Ganesha as prasadam. Modaks made with rice flour shell are often preferred for this purpose. 

Steamed modaks are cooked in a steamer and they need to be consumed immediately where as fried modaks are deep fried in oil which makes modaks last longer and have different taste too. Apart from the traditional modaks, there is a lot of variety available in the market which gives a modernized twist to the classic sweet. Some popular and easily available versions are chocolate, mango, pista, kaju, khoya etc. I make traditional modak every year for this special occasion, but this year I am sharing an unique version of modak. It is made from vermicelli or seviyan. I have stuffed these modaks with finely chopped dry fruits. These are awesome in taste as well as texture. 

Traditional or not, modak in any form is a great way to honor our favorite god, Ganesha while satiating our sweet tooth too. Again this is Monday and the theme for 106th Foodie Monday Blog Hop is 'Ganesh Chaturthi Special'. I have contributed these 'vermicelli modaks with stuffed dry fruits' for the theme. So lets go in details method of preparation of vermicelli modak with stuffed dry fruits as mentioned below.

Preparation Time : 15 mins  |  Cooking Time : 10 mins 

Ingredients :        

Vermicelli / seviyan
1 cup
Condensed milk
3 tbsp
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
Desiccated coconut
2 tbsp
Cardamom powder
¼ tsp
2 tsp + extra for greasing

Method :
  1. Grease all the modak molds with little ghee.
  2. Finely chop almonds, pistachios,cashews and raisins.
  3. In a pan, dry roast the desiccated coconut till lightly browned. Take out to a large bowl and keep aside.
  4. Next heat 1/2 tsp ghee in the same pan, then add all the chopped dry fruits together and fry till lightly browned.
  5. Transfer all fried dry fruits to the large bowl and mix properly with coconut and keep aside to cool completely.
  6. Next add 1 & 1/2 tsp ghee to another pan and roast vermicelli or seviyan until golden and the aroma emanates.
  7. Switch off the flame and add condensed milk.
  8. Mix it well quickly as the condensed milk will become hard as toffee.
  9. Take a modak mold, close or lock the mold gently.
  10. Put 1-2 tbsp of vermicelli mixture in the mold depending upon the size of the mold.
  11. Press the mixture along the side of the mold, so that there will be cavity.
  12. Add 1 tsp of dry fruits mixture, then cover with little amount of vermicelli mixture on top. Press gently to have an even layer.
  13. Now open or unlock the mold.
  14. Gently remove the modak from mold.
  15. Similarly make modaks from rest of the vermicelli mixture.
  16. Store all vermicelli modaks in an air-tight container and keep in refrigerator.

Notes :

  • Shaping the modaks can be done in mold as well as by hand. To shape them by hand, first grease your palms with ghee. Put 1 tbsp of vermicelli mixture in the palm of one hand, press gently as thin as possible, place 1 tsp dry fruits mixture at the center, then again put 1 tbsp of vermicelli mixture over dry fruits and form a conical or round shape.
  • Always prefer to store these vermicelli modak in an air-tight container.
  • These modaks will last in refrigerator for about 2-3 days.
  • Keep applying ghee on the mold for every modak.
PIN for later

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Tricolor Shrikhand - Independence Day Celebration

Shrikhand is an Indian sweet dish made of strained yogurt or hung curd. It is one of the main desserts in Gujarati Cuisine & Maharashtrian cuisine. The name shrikhand is derived from the Sanskrit word “Shikharini” which means a curd prepared with added sugar, flavoring agents, fruits and nuts. Basically to prepare shrikhand, curd is tied in a muslin cloth and left under pressure to drain. The hung curd or 'chakka' in Marathi language is then mixed thoroughly with sugar. Cardamom, saffron and any other flavors are then added and mixed well. It is then kept in the refrigerator. This is purely a no-cook dish and so easy to make.

In Gujarati cuisine, shrikhand is eaten as either a side-dish with poori or simply as a dessert. It is commonly served as part of a vegetarian thali in Gujarati restaurants and also popular in weddings. It is preferably served chilled as a counterpoint to hot and spicy curries too.

Tomorrow is Independence Day which marks 70 years of India being a free nation. Independence Day is a day of glory and pride for us Indians. Let's do something special on the 70 years of our independence. So I have prepared shrikhand in three color which will symbolize our national flag. One is plain kesar elaichi shrikhand, second one is pistachio flavored shrikhand or pista shrikhand, third one is mango shrikhand. So the step by step method of preparation of this tricolor shrikhand is mentioned below.

Preparation Time : 6 & 1/2 hrs  |  Cooking Time : 0 min 

Ingredients :        

Yogurt / Curd
3 cup
Mango puree
¼ cup
Cardamom powder
3 tsp
Powdered sugar
½ cup
Saffron strands
1 pinch
Pistachio powder
1 tbsp
Green food color (liquid)
1 drop

Method :
  1. Take a broad deep bowl, place a large strainer over it.
  2. Spread a thin muslin cloth a kitchen napkin over the strainer and then pour the curd in center of muslin cloth.
  3. Wrap the muslin cloth from all sides and tightly tie it to drain whey.
  4. Then place a heavy weight on top of the tied cloth or just hang the tied cloth keeping a bowl under it, so that excess whey will drain off completely.
  5. After a few hours (5-6 hours), if any more whey is not dripping from the tied cloth, then it is ready to be used for shrikhand.
  6. Then untie the muslin cloth and transfer thick strained curd to a bowl.
  7. Add saffron, powdered sugar and cardamom powder.
  8. Mix properly using a hand beater or in a blender until smooth.
  9. Divide the smooth mixture into 3 parts and keep separately in 3 bowls.
  10. Keep one bowl as it is.
  11. Add mango puree to the second bowl and mix well. Mango shrikhand is ready.
  12. Add pistachio powder, green food color to the third bowl and mix well too. Pista shrikhand is ready.
  13. Take three piping bags and fill bags with three colored shrikhand.
  14. Now take shot glasses or dessert bowls.
  15. First pipe a swirl of pista shrikhand at base of the glass or bowl, then pipe a swirl of plain shrikhand and lastly pipe a swirl of mango shrikhand on top.
  16. Refrigerate all layered glasses for at least an hour before serving. Serve chilled !

Notes :

  • Use the curd that is not sour otherwise, shrikhand will turn sour.
  • Do not throw away the drained whey, use it to knead chapti/paratha dough as it is very nutritional.
  • Pistachio powder can be homemade or store bought. Homemade method is first roast the pistachios 3-4 minutes at 170 deg C in microwave, allow to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder.

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Rose Buns with Stuffed Mushroom | Rose Bread with Stuffed Mushroom | Rose Shaped Dinner Rolls with Stuffed Mushroom

Rose bun or rose shaped dinner rolls with mushroom stuffing !! whichever you may say, but these are lovely and cute looking rolls. Not only these are pretty in looks, but also delicious in taste. These are light and fluffy, soft and moist as well. These pretty rolls are guaranteed to be a big hit in party as well as loved by kids.

The theme for 105th Foodie Monday Blog Hop is decided as 'Savoury Baked Dish'. So I have prepared these buns as contribution of mine. The dough used is completely egg less. Also I have used the mushroom stuffing. Any other stuffing can be used depending upon choice.

Apart from looking great, the taste of these rose buns with stuffed mushroom is outstanding. You can make these buns with any bread dough recipe, but I can assure that this is the much simpler version with no fail.
So below is the details method of preparation of these soft rose buns with a delicious mushroom stuffing.

Preparation Time : 12 mins(except resting time)  |  Cooking Time : 35 mins 

Ingredients :        

For bun
All purpose flour (maida)
1 & ½ cup
Active dry yeast
1 tbsp
Water (Luke warm)
½ cup
½ tbsp
¾ tsp
1/8 cup
For stuffing
Mushroom (finely chopped)
½ cup
Onion (finely chopped)
¼ cup
Ginger garlic paste
½ tsp
Green chili
2 no.
Turmeric powder
½ tsp
Red chili powder
½ tsp
2 tsp
As needed
Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
As needed

Method :
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix sugar with luke warm water. Then add yeast to the sugary warm water and keep aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the mixture should turn frothy and have risen well.
  2. Take another broad bowl. Add all purpose flour, oil, salt along with the frothed yeast mixture.
  3. Gather to get a smooth dough. No need to knead so much.
  4. Keep covered with a wet cloth for 1-2 hour or till doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, start preparing the stuffing.
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add in finely chopped onion and saute a bit.
  7. Then add ginger garlic paste and cook for some more minutes.
  8. Add finely chopped mushroom, turmeric powder, finely chopped green chilies, red chili powder and salt.
  9. Mix everything well, cover and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.
  10. Add chopped coriander leaves and give a quick stir.
  11. Once done, remove from the heat and allow the stuffing to cool completely.
  12. After 1-2 hour, the dough will be doubled in size.
  13. Now sprinkle some all purpose flour on a flat surface, punch down the dough and knead on the floured surface until smooth with the help of your palm.
  14. Divide the dough into 6 no. of small balls.
  15. Take one ball and roll out to about 5" diameter.
  16. Place a round cookie cutter of 1.5" diameter in center without pressing down.
  17. Make four diagonal slits, leaving 1.5" center area.
  18. Now take out the cookie cutter. Place 1 tbsp of stuffing in the center. 
  19. Brush a bit of butter on the edges of rolled dough.  
  20. Take one of the sections and cover the side of the filling with it.
  21. Next take the opposite side's section and cover the other side of the filling with it. Press a little on the edges so that it stick to each other.
  22. Next similarly take and cover other two sections and finally give to a rose shape. 
  23. Repeat for rest of the dough balls.
  24. Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
  25. Place all the roses on a baking tray lined with butter paper.
  26. Brush those with milk and sprinkle some white sesame seeds.
  27. Bake the roses for 18-20 minutes at 200 degree C or until the tops are golden.
  28. Take out from oven and brush them with melted butter. 
  29. Serve as it is like me or with some sauce or as an accompaniment with any soup.

Notes :

  • Keep the baked rose buns covered until time of serving so that they stay soft.
  • Proofing the yeast is the most important part.

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Monday, 7 August 2017

Apricot Pudding Trifle

Who doesn’t love desserts !! And when it comes to desserts of Hyderabad, 'khubani ka meetha' is a must dish on menu whether the occasion may be a wedding or any celebration. 
Apricots is named as khubani in Urdu language. Khubani ka meetha or sweet dish from apricot or apricot pudding is a very popular sweet dish of Hyderabad- the city of nizam's.

Apricot or khubani is extremely good for digestion because of its alkaline and fiber content. The reason that we are more familiar with the dried version of apricot is that, these fruits don’t last for more than a few days and hence they are dried to keep them consumable.

Preparation of the dish involves boiling apricots with syrup until they assume the consistency of a thick soup or compote. The dessert is topped with chopped almonds or apricot kernels and is traditionally garnished with thick cream. Now-a-days khubani ka meetha is also served with custard or ice-cream. Here I have given a twist to the traditional hyderabadi dessert and presented this special dessert as a trifle. It is so simple, quick and easy to make. Lets go in details.

Preparation Time : 5 mins(except soaking time)  |  Cooking Time : 20 mins 

Ingredients :        

Apricot (dried)
25-26 no.
Heavy cream
½ cup
¼ cup
Almond (finely chopped)
As needed
Cardamom powder
2 pinch
As needed

Method :
  1. Rinse all dried apricots well, then soak overnight or at least 4-5 hours in enough water.
  2. Next day drain the re-hydrated apricots and keep the water aside.
  3. Deseed the apricots and keep the hard kernels aside if any seed present in the dried apricots.
  4. Chop the apricots roughly.
  5. Cook the apricots along with strained water in a pan on a low flame for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. If the mixture looks dry then add some more water.
  7. Now add sugar,cardamom powder and cook for 5-6 minutes more or until the mixture becomes pulpy and blended well.
  8. Switch off the flame and allow the pudding to cool.
  9. Meanwhile whisk the heavy cream for about 7-8 minutes in a large bowl.
  10. Now take a dessert glass, pour 2 tbsp apricot pudding as base layer, sprinkle some finely chopped almonds, top it with cream. 
  11. Repeat again the layering if desires.
  12. Finally sprinkle some chopped almonds and serve chilled !

Notes :

  • If possible just add few drops of orange extracts while cooking the chopped apricots with water. It enhances the flavor to another extent.
  • Cinnamon powder can be used instead of cardamom.

This apricot pudding trifle recipe is contributed for 104th Foodie Monday Blog Hop where the theme is 'Festive Recipes'.

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Strawberry Sandesh

Sandesh is one of the most widely known sweet recipe of Bengali cuisine made from curdled milk called chenna or cottage cheese and sugar. The chenna used here can be flavored with essences of fruits, different colors, cooked to many different stages of consistencies or can be of plain. Sometimes it is also filled with syrup or molded into a variety of shapes such as conch shell, fish etc.

The simplest kind of sandesh is the makha sandesh ('makha' means kneaded). Makha sandesh is prepared by tossing the chenna lightly with sugar over low heat. In this recipe I have used strawberries while making sandesh, hence the name is strawberry sandesh which has a beautiful pink color. Previously also I have posted another sandesh post which is 'pista sandesh'.

The chenna used here is purely homemade. This sandesh is so easy to make and tastes heavenly. If the chenna or cottage cheese is ready, then this sandesh can be made within 15 minutes. This recipe uses cooked chenna or cottage cheese technique that removes the raw smell of chenna. However it can be prepared without cooking technique, but I prefer to cook in this way. So the step by step method of preparation of these pink beauties are mentioned below.

Preparation Time : 10 mins      |      Cooking Time : 15 mins 

Ingredients :        

Chenna (cottage cheese)
500 gm
Powdered sugar
7- 8 tbsp
2 tbsp
Strawberry (finely chopped)
2 cup
Cardamom powder
1 tsp
2 tbsp

Method :
  1. In a heavy bottom pan put chopped strawberries, sugar & water. Cook it on medium flame till strawberries are soft & the sauce gets thick, keep it aside to cool.
  2. Take the chenna in a plate and mash it with heels of the hand till it becomes soft & you start feeling the oil in the palm.
  3. Then stop mashing and add powdered sugar, cardamom powder and prepared strawberry sauce. Mix well.
  4. Take this mixture in a heavy bottom pan and cook on low heat.
  5. Stir continuously, till the mixture starts leaving the pan and is thickened like a soft dough consistency. 
  6. Turn off the heat and keep aside to cool completely.
  7. Make small balls from the soft dough, give desired shape.
  8. Keep these strawberry sandeshes in refrigerator until ready to serve !!

Notes :

  • While cooking the chenna and strawberry sauce mixture, do not cook on high heat as it will curdle the chenna.
  • Since these strawberry sandeshes are made with fresh chenna, so consume within 24 hours of preparation.

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