Thursday, 19 January 2017

Eggless Black Forest Cake



Hurray !! I have reached a milestone, this post is my 100th no. of post. While writing my first food post, I realized I was a bit late to this foodie blogger marathon. But as they say, better late than never, right ? 

I started food-blogging as a bit of hobby. I knew it was something I enjoyed doing, but had no idea how much it would take over my life. My blog is like my second baby, I am nurturing it and helping it grow every time.




Hmmm.... I think this is a cause for celebration, so made an eggless black forest cake.

Eggless black forest cake is my most favorite cake. The cake is so soft and juicy. If you are planning to make this cake for any celebration, then it's better to make it on previous day, refrigerate over night and then use it for the best result. 





Black forest cake can be prepared with 2-3 layers of cake. I have just kept with two layers. The base cake used here is purely eggless, butter free chocolate cake. The process is not difficult at all; but yes, the whole process takes a lot of time. This cake is perfect for celebrations. So thought of making and then share over here. Lets go in details step by step method of preparation.


Preparation Time : 60 mins      |      Cooking Time : 40 mins


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Chocolate cake
All purpose flour
3  cup
Cocoa powder
6 tbsp
Baking soda
2 tsp
Sugar
2 cup
Oil
½ cup
Milk
2 cup
Vanilla essence
2 tsp
Apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp
Salt
1 pinch
Cherry Syrup
Water
½ cup
Sugar
½ cup
Cherry
10 no.
Frosting
Heavy whipping cream
1 cup
Powdered sugar
½ cup
Vanilla essence
¼ tsp
Garnishing
Dark chocolate bar
1 no.
Cherry
1 cup

​Method :

A- Chocolate Cake :
  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Lightly grease a cake tin (I have used a square cake tin) lined by butter paper with oil and keep aside.
  2. Sift all purpose flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Keep aside.
  3. Take sugar in another bowl. Add water, oil, vanilla essence and vinegar. Mix well.
  4. Next add the shifted dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Just gently fold in, don't over mix.
  5. Immediately pour the batter into the greased cake tin and bake for 35-40 mins.
  6. Take out from oven and let the cake to cool down for 10 mins in the cake tin. Then invert and allow to cool down completely.
B- Cherry Syrup :
  1. Take water, sugar and cherries in a saucepan.
  2. Boil for a while till sugar syrup consistency reaches. Keep aside.
C- Frosting :
  1. Take heavy whipping cream in a bowl.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla essence.
  3. Whisk using electric whisk for about 7-8 minutes in the highest speed or until stiff peaks arise. Don’t overdo the beating as the cream might turn into butter. Keep in refrigerator till needed.
D- Assembling :
  1. Scrape the dark chocolate using a peeler. Collect all the chocolate shavings and keep in refrigerator till needed.
  2. Now cut the cooled cake into two halves horizontally. 
  3. Take a serving platter (must be bigger than the cake base), first place the top half of the cake in center of the platter.
  4. Brush the top of the cake with some cherry syrup. Make sure the cake should not be soggy.
  5. Take out the whipped cream from refrigerator. 
  6. Then using a spatula, apply some whipped cream on top of the halved cake and spread evenly.
  7. Tear some cherries from the syrup and put over the whipped cream layer.
  8. Now place the other halved cake over the cherry layer. Repeat the same method of spreading syrup, whipped cream for this second cake.
  9. Next spread whipped cream covering all the sides and make it smooth. 
  10. Keep in refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to set the cream a bit.
  11. After 5-10 minutes, take out from refrigerator. Apply the chocolate shavings on sides and top of the cake.
  12. Take a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Fill it with some whipped cream and decorate the cake top and sides as desire.
  13. Finally put some whole cherries on top. Cover the whole cake by putting a big bowl over it without touching the cake, refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
  14. After 3-4 hours the frosting part has set well, then slice and serve this delicious eggless black forest cake !



Notes :
  • If there is some left over whipped cream, then just store in an air tight container. They can stay fresh for 3-4 days in refrigerator.
  • Instead of cherry syrup, normal sugar syrup can be used (skip the cherries while making cherry syrup).
  • The cake may taste hard as soon as taken from refrigerator. So just keep the cake outside for 30 minutes before having it.
  • Always keep the whipping cream in refrigerator till needed to maintain the peak in the cream. 

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Dahi Baingan | Doi Begun | Eggplant in Spiced Yogurt



Almost in every state of India, you can find different variety of this dish. They have their own style of making doi begun or dahi baingan. So this is a recipe where you can do a lot of combination.
Basically the brinjal or baingan or begun are sliced neither thick nor thin. Then they are cooked / topped with a spicy flovured yogurt. Also some tempering of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry red chilies in oil is added to this dish. But here in this recipe, I have not used the tempering part. That tempering variation I'll give in another post soon. The yogurt used here gives the cooling effect. The taste is wonderful and goes very well as a side dish with rice or paratha. This recipe is very sophisticated but very simple to make. 

So lets see the method of preparation !



Preparation Time : 5 mins      |      Cooking Time : 5 mins


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Brinjal /eggplant (medium)
2 no.
Yogurt
1 cup
Turmeric powder
1 tsp
Red chili powder
½ tsp
Roasted cumin powder
1 tsp
Chat masala
1 tsp
Coriander leaves
For garnishing
Salt
As needed

​Method :
  1. First wash properly and then cut the brinjals or baingans or eggplants or begun into about 1 cm thick round slices. 
  2. Marinate those slices with turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt. Keep aside.
  3. Heat a pan and shallow fry the brinjal slices with a drizzle of oil.
  4. Meanwhile in a bowl, take yogurt. Add in roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, chat masala. Beat well.
  5. Arrange the shallow fried brinjal slices in a serving plate and top with flavored yogurt. 
  6. Sprinkle some roasted cumin powder & red chili powder, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot !





Notes :
  • Some tempering (oil, cumin seed, mustard seed, curry leaves and dry red chili) can also be added to yogurt. I'll give this variation of dahi baingan in some other post.
  • Prefer to serve these doi begun or dahi baingan hot.

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Spinach Fritter | Palak Pakora | Palak Bhajia

Spinach fritters or palak pakora or palak bhajia - a vegan crispy snack prepared with spinach leaves.

This cold weather is the perfect time to make these fritters. If your kids are annoying to have palak, then I can assure you that these spinach fritters'll be loved by them. The main ingredients in these fritters are besan (chickpea flour) and spinach (palak).




Sometimes we need something crunchy to grab as well as that should be prepared quickly and easily. So these spinach fritters are perfect match and a must try recipe since it is easy, quick and a great snack food. 

All we need to be handy is some spinach leaves which should be fresh, a batter of besan for dipping the spinach leaves and oil for deep frying. In the batter, both baking soda as well as rice flour is added. The baking soda provides a softness to the fritters from inside where as the rice flour provides a crispiness to the fritters from outside. So lets go in details of preparation of these crispy spinach fritters which'll be a great accompaniment to a hot cup of tea in this cold weather evening.



Preparation Time : 15 mins      |      Cooking Time : 20 mins


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Spinach whole leaves
20 no.
Besan (chickpea flour)
1 cup
Rice flour
1 tsp
Baking soda
1 pinch
Red chili powder
1 tsp
Turmeric powder
½ tsp
Ajwain (carom seed)
½ tsp
Water
As needed

​Method :
  1. Rinse well all the spinach leaves. Pat dry and keep aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, take besan. Add rice flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well.
  3. Then add red chili powder, turmeric powder, ajwain and mix again.
  4. Next gradually add water in order to get a batter of neither too thick nor too thin consistency.
  5. Now heat oil in a deep pan on medium heat.
  6. Then first hold the stalk of a spinach leaf, dip into the batter, coat it evenly and drop gently into the hot oil.
  7. Deep fry until crisp and golden. 3-4 no. of spinach leaves can be deep fried in a single batch.
  8. Take out the fritters and place on paper towel to remove excess oil. 
  9. Repeat the same method for rest of the leaves.
  10. Serve these hot spinach fritters with tomato ketchup or tamarind chutney or a cup of tea !


Notes :
  • Oil for deep frying should be medium hot.
  • Rice flour is added to give a crispness to the fritters.

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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Makara Chaula - Makar Sankranti Odia Cuisine

Makara Sankranti is one of the Hindu festivals which fall on the fixed date (14 January) every year(15 January if leap year). This festival celebrates the harvest and the end of winter. 





In details, from this day on wards sun becomes uttarayan or it starts moving towards north. This festival marks the return of longer days which signals a change of season. In Indian subcontinent, it is celebrated with some regional variations. 




In odisha, particularly the tribal population celebrate this with a great enthusiasm, singing, dancing and mostly having an enjoyable time. Makara chaula is the traditional food made in every household of Odisha on makara sankranti. A mixture of fresh harvested rice with some jaggery, milk, chhena, banana, sugarcane results into the most delicious makara chaula. First the prepared makara chaula is offered as naivedya to God, then serve to everyone. The rice used is preferably from the fresh harvest. So below is the step by step method of preparation of this Odisha special makara chaula.




Preparation Time : 10 mins | Soaking Time : 4 hours | Cooking Time : 0 mins


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Basmati rice
1 cup
Milk
1 ½ cup
Coconut (shredded)
¾ cup
Banana (ripe)
3 no.
Apple (cut into small chunks)
¼ cup
Sugar
¾ cup
1 cup
Pomegranate seed
2 tbsp
Cardamom powder
1 tsp
Black pepper powder
1 tsp

​Method :
  1. Wash the rice properly and then soak for minimum 3-4 hours or overnight.
  2. Then drain completely and put in a grinder jar. 
  3. Add in shredded coconut and milk. Coarsely grind and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Then add chopped apple, sugar, pomegranate seed, chhena, cardamom powder, black-pepper powder. Mix everything well.
  5. Just before serving, peel and crush the banana. Add into the mixture. 
  6. Again mix and the result'll be a semi liquid.
  7. Serve and enjoy the Odisha special makara chaula !




Notes :
  • Since the rice is consumed as raw, so soaking is the important part. Soak the rice properly. Prefer to soak overnight if not in a hurry.
  • Any food can be added as per choice.

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Puffed Rice Chikki | Murmura Chikki

Makar sankranti or uttarayan celebrates the harvest and the end of winter. In details, from this day on wards sun becomes uttarayan or it starts moving towards north. This festival marks the return of longer days which signals a change of season. Makara Sankranthi is one of the Hindu festivals which fall on the same date (14 January) every year. (15 January if leap year)





This is celebrated in many parts of South Asia with some regional variations. In India, it is known by different regional names such as pongal, makar sankranti, uttarayan etc. In Odisha, people celebrate this festival by preparing makara chaula (a mixture of uncooked newly harvested rice, banana, coconut, jaggery and chhena) as naivedya to god. Kite flying is traditionally observed as a part of this festival in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh. The sky is filled with a lot of kites which creates truly a beautiful site.




Being an Odia, I always make makara chaula on this occasion. I will discuss about the detail preparation of makara chaula in my next post. In addition to makara chaula, I have also prepared the murmura chikki (puffed rice chikki) this year.
The murmura chikki is very easy to cook and can be munched anytime. This is a popular sweet during makara sankranti festival and is prepared basically from puffed rice and jaggery. So lets go in detail.


Preparation Time : 2 mins      |      Cooking Time : 10 mins


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Puffed rice (murmura)
3 cup
Jaggery (grated)
1 cup
Ghee
2 tsp

​Method :
  1. First grease a large plate with little ghee and keep aside.
  2. Now in a pan roast the murmura (puffed rice) on slow flame till crisp.
  3. Next heat ghee in another pan on low flame.
  4. Add the shredded jaggery and keep on stirring on medium flame until it melts.
  5. Soon the jaggery begins to bubble up and slowly changes its colour to golden brown.
  6. Immediately put the flame to low, add the roasted puffed rice slowly. Keep on stirring continuously until all the puffed rice well coated with jaggery.
  7. Then turn off the heat, transfer all the puffed rice onto the greased plate. Evenly spread like a thin layer as soon as possible.
  8. Allow to cool. When it is still warm, make cuts with sharp knife. 
  9. Break from the cuts when it reaches to room temperature.
  10. Store these beautiful chikkis in an air tight container.
  11. Yummy and delicious puffed rice chikkis are ready to be relished !




Notes :
  • While spreading the puffed rice on the greased plate, do spread quickly. Otherwise those puffed rice coated with jaggery becomes crisp and then it's much difficult to spread.
  • Traditionally chikki is made with jaggery, but normal / brown sugar can also be used instead of jaggery and taste is very similar to the jaggery version.
  • These chikkis remain fresh for a week if store in an air tight container.

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Chocolate Dipped Banana Bites

Chocolate dipped banana bites is a quick snack recipe. Made of just two ingredients, this simple treat is healthy and delicious. Chocolate is a rich source of metabolism-boosting MUFAs (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids-MUFAs are a healthy type of fat) and bananas are the richest source of resistant starch, hence the result tends this dessert to a weight loss winner.




These frozen treats don’t require a whole lot of effort and are great to keep on hand for a quick grab. In just a few minutes and with minimal ingredients (2 ingredients), anybody can have these banana bites dipped in chocolate ready to place in freezer. After a couple of minutes in the freezer, they are ready to be enjoyed. I have used the normal toothpicks for dipping easily, but any fancy skewers can be opted too. Try this fun and easy dessert that uses on-hand ingredients. These can be a best treats for kids. Below is the recipe for these chocolate dipped banana bites.


Preparation Time : 30 mins      |      Cooking Time : 2 mins


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Banana
5 no.
Dark chocolate / dark chocolate chips
1 cup
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
As needed

​Method :
  1. Take a large plate and line with a butter paper, keep aside.
  2. Peel the bananas, slice into bite sizes (approximately 1 inch).  Insert toothpick into each slice and arrange in a single layer on prepared plate. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. Melt dark chocolate chunks by using double boiler or just microwave for 1 - 1.5 minute.  Stir in between until smooth.
  4. Take out banana slices from freezer. Dip each banana slice in melted chocolate and sprinkle some chocolate-sprinkles over the coated bananas all around.
  5. Place again on the plate lined with butter paper. 
  6. Freeze the coated bananas for at least 15 minutes to set the chocolate completely.
  7. Once frozen in the freezer, then these can easily store in an freezer-safe airtight container to store for longer period.
  8. Whenever needed, take out and serve frozen !




Notes :
  • Always leave the bananas in freezer until the moment you are ready to dip them in chocolate.

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