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Indian Desserts

Apr 102013
 
Malpua

Malpua

 

 

Let’s count the reasons why the Malpua with Banana & Ricotta Cheese is Sinful. It is filled with whole milk Ricotta cheese, it is deep fried in ghee and then dipped in a sugar syrup.  All those things make it sinful. Now let’s see the reasons why it is oh so delicious.  Well.. all the sinful reasons!

For the above mentioned reasons I make this only once a year, on Holi – the festival of colors celebrated to mark the beginning of a new season. It is quite a fun festival to celebrate. It usually starts with making all the food for the festivity in advance as there really is no time to do something later once you start playing. And then a friend lands at your door, you open the door and the friend splashes ‘Gulal’ on you and you do the same. You try your best to not get the homes drenched in color, so when someone knocks, you just go out and play. Then you invite the friend in and share some of the goodies you made. Then you join the friend and go to another friend’s house and the circle of friends keeps getting bigger and happier. There are many stories about why Holi is celebrated, but this is the one I chose to share.

While it has been years since I last went out and played with colors, I still do make one or two traditional dishes, if not all.  It keeps me rooted to where I am from and helps make memories.

 

There are many traditional recipes to make Malpua,  the Malpua with Banana & Ricotta Cheese  is not one of them. But this is the one I love and this is the one I chose to share.

Malpua

 

Till we meet next

Stay Blessed

Ansh

 

Malpua with Banana & Ricotta Cheese

Malpua with Banana & Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C milk
  • 3 tbs ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • ghee for frying
  • 1/4 c water if needed
  • Sugar syrup (chashni)
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 C water
  • a few strands saffron
  • For garnish : - a few chopped nuts

Instructions

    Make the batter :
  1. In a bowl mash the bananas and then mix everything together.
  2. I usually just use a hand blender and mix. The consistency should be like a pancake batter, so use water if your batter looks thick.
  3. Keep this aside for about an hour.
  4. Make the (sugar syrup)
  5. In a heavy pan, put together sugar, water, cardamom powder and the saffron
  6. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  7. Once it starts boiling, switch to medium heat and let simmer until the syrup thickens – about 15 minutes
  8. At this point do a consistency check -What you want is a single thin string consistency
  9. Stir the syrup with a spoon and then lift the spoon up – lift a tiny amount of the syrup with your forefinger and press the forefinger to your thumb.
  10. Now gradually separate the thumb and the forefinger – if the sugar syrup is of ‘one string’ consistency, you should be able to see a single string between your thumb and forefinger. You do not want a thick string for the Malpua.
  11. Once you achieve this consistency, your sugar syrup is ready.
  12. Add in three to four Tbs of water to this, bring to a quick boil and keep this warm until further use.
  13. The frying
  14. Take a small wok/ medium kadai and heat ghee, you will need about a cup of ghee to heat.
  15. Once it is hot, reduce temperature to medium high and pour 1/4 C of batter into the ghee to fry.
  16. Once it fries up on one side it will be easy to flip over and cook on the other side.
  17. Remove from ghee, immerse in sugar syrup for a couple of seconds, lift up carefully and place on a wire rack or plate, garnish with dry fruits of choice.
  18. Let them rest a few minutes before serving. Best served within a couple of hours of frying. These do not store well.
http://www.spiceroots.com/2013/04/malpua-with-banana-ricotta-cheese/

 

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Shufta

 Uncategorized  8 Responses »
Apr 082010
 
shufta

 

So what’s for dessert? This is not something you will hear a true blood Kashmiri ask. And that’s not because we don’t like all things sweet, but because we just don’t have the tradition of serving sweets or desserts after a meal.  We eat the chocolates and the Mithai and we also do make a few sweet things like Kheer, Modur pulao ( rice cooked with nuts and sugar) and phirni. We serve the Modur pulao at the beginning of the meal ( beat that) and we make kheer on auspicious occasions as an offering to the deity.

It did not take a lot of effort on my part to appreciate a good dessert. I just needed a subtle push now and then. After all I am a mere human who succumbed to the eternal sinful sweet delights. Now I do ask – ‘What’s for Dessert?’ and draw a scowl from my mom or grand mom!

Featured today is a very Kashmiri sweet delight. I am not sure if we categorize this as a dessert traditionally. But its quiet a delightful mix.

serves 6 Continue reading »

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Mar 042010
 
kulfi

On a scorching summer day in India, when I wanted some thing cool and delicious to make me feel happy, I would land at the cart of “Kulfiwala” (a vendor who sells Kulfi ), and relish this nutty, creamy dessert.

Traditionally, Kulfi was a labor intensive dessert or sweet treat, where milk would be flavored, sweetened and boiled for hours to evaporate and condense it. Now it need not be – labor intensive that is. Here is a recipe that I tried after a suggestion from a member of a social networking site I am part of. The idea of serving the kulfi in a wine glass is hers as well and a good one too. Thanks Rohini.

The inspiration and the recipe  also came from these two wonderful ladies who have an amazing website dedicated to Indian food. Check them out here : Showmethecurry

Plan:

  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk  [It’s usually a 14 oz can]
  • 1 Can Evaporated Milk   [it’s usually a 12 oz can]
  • Heavy Whipping cream [22 oz]
  • Saffron, A couple of pinches
  • 1/3 C Pistachios, sliced thin or chopped
  • 1 tbs warm Milk
  • 1/4 Tsp cardamom powder

Procedure

  1. Add the Saffron to the  milk and soak.
  2. Take the whipping cream in a bowl and whisk it until soft peaks form
  3. In another bowl, take the condensed milk and the evaporated milk and blend with a whisk.
  4. Now add the cardamom powder, half of the pistachios, the saffron and mix well.
  5. Add the whipped cream and  fold in to make a homogeneous mixture.
  6. Pour into plastic wine glasses, garnish with remaining Pistachios and cover with a cling wrap and freeze for at least 5 hours. Serve as is.

Alternate presentation options:

you can pour it into a bundt cake pan, cover it completely and serve on a platter ; Pour this mixture into Popsicle molds for children to enjoy holding it in their hands; or do what I usually do : Pour this mixture into air tight plastic containers to freeze and cut thick slices to serve.

Note:

1)For all the alternate presentation options, immerse the base of the container in warm water for a minute to ensure smooth transfer of kulfi from the container.

2) Soaking the saffron leaves some strands of saffron whole, thus creating pockets of deep yellow kulfi, which really adds to the presentation.

3) Try and use Organic Dairy products from a local farm.

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Feb 162010
 
IMG_4303

IMG_4303

Traditionally made with the reddish/pinkish  (salmon colored ) carrots in the Northern parts of India, this much loved sweet dish has undergone various transformations in my own kitchen. First came the substitution of carrots – Orange for the salmon colored ones .  Finding those carrots proved to be an almost impossible task.  When they surface, it’s only one in a bunch.  So I switched to using the orange ones.

Then came the substitution of the Mava/khoya with ricotta cheese. Not that I can’t find Mava at the Indian Grocery store, but the fact that it usually is more than a couple of months old and does not taste anything like fresh Mava, I did the next best thing- substitute with Ricotta cheese. There always is an option of making your own Mava, but Ricotta cheese works well in this dish.

The final substitution came in the form of technique. The orange carrots that we buy here, get cooked to a mush in no time. So the traditional method of cooking them over stove top with a lot of milk, does not work for me. Instead, I microwave them for a few minutes until the carrots are tender but not mushy. The result of all this substitution is a gorgeous orange colored dessert that is a mouthful of sweet delight.

The Gajar Halwa with Ricotta cheese is the easiest way to get the dessert fix for a party.

Gajar Halwa with Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 C coarsely grated carrots
  • 1/4 C whole milk
  • 2 Tbs Ghee or Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C Ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • A few raisins & cashew nuts

Instructions

  1. Put the carrots and the milk in a Microwaveable dish, mix well
  2. Cover tightly with a cling wrap and make one or two incisions on top to let the steam escape
  3. Cook on high for 4-5 minutes [ time varies from one appliance to the other]
  4. At this point, check if the carrots are done. Not too crisp, not mushy. Just about tender with a little resistance
  5. Now put the Ghee or butter in a heavy bottomed pan . Add the cashews, roast for minute on medium heat until lightly browned. Remove the cashews from the pan and set aside.
  6. To the same pan, Add the Ricotta cheese into the leftover ghee and cook it for about 2 minutes, until it slightly browns and the moisture dries up.
  7. Add the cooked carrots along with any leftover milk
  8. Mix it all together and cook until the mixture dries up
  9. Add the sugar, raisins, cashews and the cardamom powder. Stir.
  10. Cook and keep stirring until the mixture starts to leave sides.
  11. I like to serve it hot and with a big smile. How about you?
http://www.spiceroots.com/2010/02/gajar-halwa-with-ricotta-cheese/

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Feb 092010
 
gobi kheer

gobi kheer

So there is cabbage in this kheer? Yes (smile). Why is it not stinky? Because the cooking process takes care of that (smile). Oh this tastes so good! I am glad you like it (smile).

This is usually how the conversation would go when I treat anyone to this kheer. It’s unusual, but it really is delicious. I do not know the origins of the recipe, but this is a variation of a sweet song I heard many years ago at Jaipur. I was visiting a family friend and the lady of the house made this for dessert. She gave me the general instructions to make this dish and the recipe I am sharing with you is my own variation.

Plan: (Serves 6 )
  • 1 C minced Cabbage ( chop some cabbage and process it in the food pro)
  • 3 C Milk
  • 2 Tbs slivered almonds
  • A few Tbs of condensed milk
  • 1 TBS Ghee
  • A dash of cardamom powder
  • couple of strands saffron
  • 1Tbs raisins
Procedure
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed or non stick pan
  • Add in the cabbage and cook on medium heat for about two minutes, until the cabbagey smell disappears.
  • Add the milk, stir and turn the heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes.
  • At this point the cabbage and milk should look homogeneous, if not- cook for some more time.
  • Add the cardamom, saffron and the condensed milk. Since the condensed milk is sweet, I do not add any sugar.
  • For this recipe I add about 2 TBS of condensed milk, but you can add more or less as per your taste.
  • Add the Raisins, Stir to mix, cook for a few more minutes
  • Garnish with slivered almonds when you serve. Enjoy it after cooling it in the fridge for about an hour or so.
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Feb 082010
 
gulabjamun

 

“Gulab Jamun is an innocent looking sin” , squealed some of my friends.  Well, they asked for it. They wanted to know what do Indians eat for desserts and I couldn’t help but put my wickedest smile on and tell them, “I shall bring a dessert to the next meet”. So I made a batch of  Gulab Jamuns and watched them eat  until they had their fill (read – they finished it all ) and then told them what all went into making them as heavenly as they were! The squeals followed.. and no surprise there.

My SO is from Gujarat, the region known for its sweet, tart & spicy combination of food. And a sweet dish after a meal is something he ‘needs’.   I don’t have a sweet tooth,  and oh yes!  it’s not even in my DNA (Kashmiris do not traditionally have a “dessert” on the menu ). Since he ‘needs’ dessert, he often makes them – Here is one such recipe from him : His very famous fusion Gulab Jamuns.

Plan :

  • 15 oz pack Ricotta cheese [ I use Frigo ,whole milk Ricotta]
  • Milk Powder [about 200 gms)
  • Ghee/ Oil for frying – 1Cup
  • 1- 2 tbs all purpose flour

Sugar syrup/Chashni

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • a few strands of saffron crushed
  • 1/4 tsp powdered cardamom
Procedure : (sugar syrup)
  • In a heavy pan, put together sugar, water, cardamom powder and the saffron
  • Bring to a boil on high heat. Once it starts boiling, switch to medium heat and let simmer until the syrup thickens – about 15 minutes
  • At this point do a consistency check -What you want is a single  thin string consistency
  • Stir the syrup with a spoon and then lift the spoon up – lift a tiny amount of the syrup with your  forefinger and press the forefinger to your thumb. Now gradually separate the thumb and the forefinger – if the sugar syrup is of ‘one string’ consistency, you should be able to see a single string between your thumb and forefinger. You do not want a thick string for the Gulab Jamun.
  • Once you achieve this consistency, your sugar syrup is ready… Add in three to four Tbs of water to this, bring to a quick boil and keep this warm until further use.
Procedure  : (Gulab Jamun)
  • Take out the Ricotta cheese out of the container and into a strainer. Ensure you drain any excess liquid out.
  • Start by placing the milk powder in a bowl and add in One Tbs flour and mix.  Now Add the cheese a Tbs at a time.
  • You may also add the second TBS of plain white flour. Most of the times I don’t need to, but those of you living in humid climes may need to do this.
  • Stop  adding more ricotta cheese when the dough is soft and springy to touch and not too dry /wet.
  • Knead it all into a ball and let it rest for about 20 – 30 minutes, covered with a plastic wrap.
  • Then divide into 40 equal sized balls for medium sized Gulab jamun. You can vary the size as per your choice.
  • Ensure each of the dough ball you make is similar in shape. I like to make them  sphere shaped.
  • Heat a kadai or a wok with the ghee in it over a medium flame. The shape of the kadai is an enabler for frying in small quantities of ghee. Remember the bigger the wok, the more oil/ghee you need. If you don’t have the kadai or wok , you can use a heavy pan for frying. Ensure that when you put in the dough balls into the oil/ghee they are completely submerged.
  • Now once the ghee heats up – here is how you test the temperature : pinch out a small portion of the dough and add it to the ghee . If it rises up too fast- the ghee  is too hot. If it stays in – the ghee is not yet hot. The ideal temperature is where this piece of dough will slowly rise to the top.
  • Once you are sure that the ghee is at the right temperature, slowly add the dough balls.
  • Do not add more than a few at a time as it will lower the temperature of the ghee. Fry at medium heat until dark brown in color.
  • Strain and drop them into the sugar syrup.
  • Repeat for the rest of the dough balls.
  • Let the Gulab Jamuns soak for at least a couple of hours before you attempt to taste. The soaking process is critical to let the sugar syrup seep into the Jamuns.

Now you can bite into those globes of sin and close your eyes to enjoy a moment of pure bliss. For the Diva dessert touch serve hot Gulab Jamuns with Vanilla Icecream.

 

Alternately, use a pack of ‘Chitle bandu’ Gulab jamun mix and repeat the whole process. Instead of milk powder and flour, you will be using the prepacked milk powder and flour combo. This is particularly helpful if you have never made Gulab Jamun before.


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