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Category Archives: indian desserts

Beat the Heat Series ~ Rose Falooda

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Rose Falooda

Rose Falooda

This blogging is a dangerous activity, yes it brings you in touch with like minded people, you make friends, you connect offline, but it also means that you can get quite obsessed with making / cooking what someone else is eating because you are bombarded with pictures or descriptions!

R of Hungry and Excited blog, was talking nonstop for a couple of days about replacing her meals with Falooda that she made at home to combat the heat and I was insanely jealous. I usually make falooda at home. We love having it to beat the hot summers here in Hyderabad. There are also a lot of popular places where one can have falooda that people flock to. But it was past 10:30 PM and I didn’t have ice cream on hand so I made K drive me to the nearest place and slurped more than sipped this sickeningly sweet but yummy drink/ dessert.

kesar falooda

kesar falooda

We had the special kesar falooda with dry fruit. The other popular flavours are pista, khus and ofcourse kesar

Falooda is by no means a low calorie indulgence. It is sugar laden and very filling. No wonder R was replacing her meals with it.

Falooda (makes 2 servings)

2 cups chilled milk

4 teaspoons sabja seeds soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained (basil seeds)

1/2 cup falooda sev (if not use regular semia, cook in 1/2 cup water with 2 teaspoons sugar)

3 scoops butter scotch/ vanilla or pista icecream

1/4 cup rose syrup / rooh afza

Divide all the ingredient equally as you layer in the glasses first add the rose syrup next add the soaked and drained sabja seeds

Next add the cooked falooda semia and gently pour the chilled milk so that it doesn’t mix with the rose syrup

Top with icecream & drizzle some more rose syrup, serve immediately

Instead of rose syrup any other syrup like khus / pista or kesar syrup can be used.

The pairing of icecream is as follows khus/ pista syrup with pista icecream

kesar with butterscotch or vanilla icecream

rose syrup with vanilla or strawberry icecream

Festive Fare ~ Balushahi (Badusha)

Balushahi

Balushahi

Wishing all my readers a Happy Diwali. May the festival bring you Laughter and joy and may you always be surrounded with family and friends and bask in their love. Celebrate in whatever way you choose, stay safe!

I thought I wouldn’t post any more sweets or savouries. Frankly, my blog has never seen so much activity! but yesterday I did a trial run of Balushahi’s at my MIL’s house and everyone was unanimous with the verdict ~ very good for a first attempt. Not one to be smug with that, I wanted a “very good”. So this morning, after my morning routine, I made a second set. Even if i say so myself, these were almost perfect! Its an easy and forgiving recipe. The only thing to remember is that you do not over mix / overknead the dough and fry the dumplings very slowly on medium heat.

If you know how to make Pooris, this is easier… just make small balls of the dough and deep fry.

I have been fascinated with recipe videos on youtube. I can watch them all day and night. I especially love the ones in Urdu by Shirin Anwar. The format of the programs have changed over the years. She’s now become the elder sister/ aunt and counsellor leaning a lot on prayer (She prays for ages before each program), and her dishes may not be what I may ever make, I cant explain why i watch her videos! I also like the ones by Manjula’s Kitchen from where I got the recipe for Balushahi.

balushahi

balushahi

Balushahi (Makes 12)

Time Taken: 1 hr including resting the dough for 30 minutes)

Ingredients:

1 cup Maida

1/8 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 cup Ghee

1/4 cup Plain Yogurt/ Dahi (make sure it is not sour)

For the Sugar Syrup

1 Cup Sugar

1/3 cup water

4 Green Cardamom’s crushed and remove the peels

A few sprigs of saffron (optional)

1 tablespoon unsalted Pistachios (cut into slivers)

Oil to deep fry

Method:

Mix the maida with the baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the Ghee and rub it in with your fingers lightly till it resembled wet sand. Add the yogurt and mix into a shaggy dough. Do not over-knead the dough. It needs to be shaggy and light to make crisp Balushahis. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

In the meanwhile, make the sugar syrup by heating the water and sugar together. when it has melted add the powdered elaichi and saffron strings. Skim off the scum if any and turn off the heat when it has reached one thread consistency.

Remove the cover from the bowl containing the dough and lightly bring everything together. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. make sure the pieces are no larger than 11/2 inch in diameter. It will expand slightly while frying.

Roll into a circle between your palms, press down slightly and make a dent in the middle with your thumb like a thumbprint jam cookie.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a clean vessel (use a kadai) and test with a small pinch of dough for the right heat. the dough should rise very slowly up and not brown quickly.

The Balushahis have to be fried to a deep golden brown on low-medium heat. If the oil is too hot, they will become overcooked outside and remain undercooked on the inside. Fry about 6 per batch, turning them over gently once or twice to make sure they are evenly fried.

Drain on absobent paper for a minute and while still fairly warm, drench them in the sugar syrup for 5 minutes. Remove them from the sugar syrup and lay them out on a plate. garnish with slivered almonds/ pistachios while still sticky. Store them in an airtight box once they are cooled completely.

Note: The most difficult part for me has been to believe that the shaggy mess of the dough will actually come together after resting to form pillow soft balushahis. I made mine really small and bite sizes and ended up with 16 pieces to a cup of maida.

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Festive Fare ~ Semiya Payasam

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semiya payasam

semiya payasam

Growing up, payasam almost always meant Semiya Payasam to us. Credit it to the ever busy working mater who tried her best to do something to mark a festival day as special and to the easy and quick to cook vermicelli that is so easily available. There are many ways to make any recipe and I stick with what works for me – read as easy and fuss free. So although I admire multi step preparations, I rarely turn to them in my cooking. This payasam can be ready in under 30 minutes and is a great addition to a meal, especially when entertaining at short notice.

Semia Payasam (Makes 4 Servings)

Time Taken: 20 Minutes

Vermicelli                                – 100 grams

Milk                                            – 3 cups

Sugar                                         – ½ cup

Condensed Milk                    – 1/4 cup

Elaichi Powder                      – ½ teaspoon

Slivered Almonds                – ¼ cup

Ghee                                          – 2 teaspoons

In a thick bottomed pan, heat the ghee and fry the almonds till they are just changing colour. Remove from the ghee and set aside.

Add the vermicelli and fry gently on low heat till golden brown.

Heat the milk and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and mix till the sugar has melted. Add the fried vermicelli and cook on slow heat stirring frequently for about 10 minutes till the vermicelli has cooked.

Add the condensed milk and powdered elaichi and stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Take off the heat and cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled garnished with slivered almonds.

 

Festive Fare ~ Bobatlu (Puranpoli)

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I’d made this for sankranti when I did a festival spread for the newspaper that I write for. What i like is that you can use maida or whole wheat flour for the outer covering or a combination. I love this freshly made and piping hot off the tava with a dab of ghee… also love it with a little milk when it is sitting in the fridge!

Bobbattu or Puranpoli (makes 6-7 medium ones)

For the filling

Chana dal/bengal gram – 1 cup (soaked in water for an hour and drained)

Sugar – 1 cup

Cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon

Salt – a pinch

For the covering

Maida – 1 1/4 cups

Oil – 3-4 tablespoons

Ghee – 1 tablespoon

Pressure cook channa dal adding a cup of water till the dal turns very soft. Grind to a fine paste.

Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, add the ground dal paste and sugar and cook till they blend and form a thick lump like paste with no moisture left. Keep stirring on slow flame.

Add cardamom powder and salt and combine. Cool and make small lemon sized balls for stuffing. Keep aside.

Combine the maida, pinch of salt, oil and enough water to make a very soft and sticky dough(softer than puri dough).

Knead well and keep aside for one or two hours.

Grease your hand with oil and pinch a small portion of dough and flatten it into a 2″ disc. Place a ball of channa dal stuffing in the centre and draw the edges of the dough from all sides to cover the stuffing completely.

Take a plastic sheet or a plantain leaf and gently flatten each ball carefully with your fingers to form a 6″ diamater flat circular roti/bobattu/poli. You can also roll gently with a rolling pin.

Heat a tawa and fry it on low flame such that its roasted on both sides till brown spots appear. Smear oil over the bobbatu while frying.
Serve warm with ghee. Store them in an air tight container or in the refrigerator. Stays fresh for a few days.

This is part of the blogging marathon… have stopped to catch my breath a bit!

Festive Fare ~ Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

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Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

This is an easy to do variation of the popular 7 cup burfi. I couldn’t get myself to add 3 cups of sugar that the original recipe calls for. For those intimidated by indian sweets, this is a good place to start. One needs to just mix everything together at room temperature and then stir and cook till the desired consistency is achieved.

I added orange peel instead of the traditional elaichi powder and it tasted wonderful. this is my new go to recipe for a quick indian sweet.

Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

Orange Scented Besan Milk Burfi

Besan Milk Burfi (Makes 25 pieces)

Besan                                      1 Cup

Milk                                         1 Cup

Sugar                                       2 Cups

Ghee                                        1 Cup

Shredded Coconut            1 Cup (fresh or frozen)

Orange Peel (or powdered cardamom) 1 teaspoon

In a clean large pan, stir all the ingredients together and heat it on a medium flame / heat.

Stir this continuously on medium flame till everything begins to thicken and it begins to leave the sides of the pan.

Reduce the heat when the bubbles appear (be very careful as this is extremely hot).

Take a small teaspoonful of the mixture and shape into a ball when the heat is tolerable and check if it is retaining its shape. If yes, it is ready to be transferred to a plate. If no, continue stirring till the right consistency is achieved.

Grease a flat plate with a spoon of ghee and transfer the mixture onto it. Flatten it with a spoon and allow to cool a little.

Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or diamonds and allow to cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

Beat the Heat Series ~ Aamrakhand

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This is an easy to make Indian dessert that uses the seasons offering and my favourite fruit in the world – Mangoes. Following the aam ras of the day before, this is mango shrikhand also called aamrakhad. It is very easy to make and serves both as a low fat (and relatively low sugar) dessert. Tastes great with puris and parathas.

For those of you looking to beat the heat, aamrakhand will be a delicious option, combined with the health of yogurt.

Aamrakhand (makes 6 servings)

2 cups hung yogurt

(i used homemade yogurt from 1 litre skimmed milk. after the curd is set, place a cheesecloth or any other clean very thin fabric over a sieve, place it over a bowl to catch the drip of the whey, pour the curd into the cloth covered sieve and place the vessels in the fridge for atleast 4 hours or overnight to drain out all the water)

1 1/2 cups mango pulp (i used the rasaalu variety)

10-12 teaspoons of sugar (adjust according to the sweetness of the mango pulp – use powdered sugar for ease of mixing)

1/2 teaspoon of finely powdered green cardamom

a few tablespoons of sliced almonds for the garnish (also can use crushed pistachios or leave out completely)

place all the ingredients except the almonds in a bowl and whip with a whisk or a ladle till everything is incorporated and it has a nice creamy texture. chill for atleast an hour before serving. spoon out individual portions in serving bowls, garnish with sliced almonds (or any other nuts of your choice). sprinkle a little cardamom powder for an additional touch. serve as dessert, or with hot puris or parathas.

Beat the Heat Series ~ Aam Ras

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As kids, we waited for summer vacation like any other child to be free from the bondage of school. It didn’t help that we had no living grandparents or a ‘native place’ to go back to like our friends. As a result of which, there were hardly any other kids to play with and we were a nightmare to our poor old nanny who was with us from before my brother was born. She had absolutely no control over three and later four boisterous kids. We’d spend the whole day playing in the sun much to her chagrin. The poor old lady would chase after us in our ample open yard, often pleading with us to stay indoors and play inside. Of course we never heeded to what she said, only running into the house to guzzle water from the fridge and wallop multiple mangoes. She had a polio limp and her name was kamalamma. But as ignorant and insensitive kids, we insisted on calling her kunti (limp in telugu) kamalamma.

She loved both me and my brother dearly and to this day, whenever he is sick, he craves for her touch. She would sit by his bedside applying a cold compress on his forehead and overzealously guarding the freshly squeezed mosambi (sweet lime) juice that was reserved only for the sick!

Summer months also meant that apart from eating mangoes as is, we’d have it for breakfast. Either rolling the succulent strips of banganapalli within a paratha or having aam ras made from the sucking variety with puri. Now ofcourse because of health and the effort that goes into making puris, I settle for rotis or parathas. Scooping up the sweet – tangy aam ras with a piece of flaky roti and shoveling it into the mouth is the stuff my childhood summers were made up of.

Legend has it that every alternate year will be bountiful in mango produce but like all legends, I don’t really know if  there is any truth in this. Last year K and I went bonkers eating mangoes all day long. It helps that the summer heat is so debilating that I refuse almost all kinds of cooked food and reach out for that chilled mango from the fridge. I mostly like them as fruit, cut or whole. On occasion I manage shrikhand or lassi. I haven’t yet found the heart to cook / bake with mangoes.

The best thing about summer inHyderabadis the availability of the myriad varieties of mangoes. From the home grown banagapalli (my favourite), to the cheruku and china rasalu of the Andhra region, himayat or imampasand, dusseri, mallika, alphonso etc. cutters, suckers…take your pick….

Today is nostalgia ridden. Aam ras needs just three ingredient the most succulent variety of mangoes, sugar and some elbow grease.

Aam Ras (makes 6-8 servings)

1 kg cheruku rasam sucking mangoes

½ – 2/3 cup of granulated sugar

Wash the mangoes and press gently all over the skin to soften it a get the juices out. Remove the black part around the stalk and press out about a teaspoon of the liquidy juice (this needs to be discarded). Into a bowl, press out the remaining pulp / juice of the mango. Working with your hands and squeezing the seed with all your might. Repeat with all the mangoes. Some of the mango fibre will also fall into the bowl. Once all the mangoes have been pulped, push the pulp through a soup strainer, stirring with a spoon to speed it up and remove all the fibre. Add the sugar and stir well. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar according to the tartness of the pulp. Chill for a couple of hours. Serve with hot parathas or puri. If you are conscious about oil etc, phulkas will also do.

If you cant get the sucking variety of mangoes and are using cutting mangoes, remove the skin, cut into pieces and pulse with the  sugar and a little water to get the right consistency. It should not be runny, neither too pulpy.

Other serving options:

  • Whisk together equal quantities of aamras and hung curd (greek yoghurt) to make amrakhand
  • Serve as a topping sauce with vanilla or mango icecream
  • Topping for fruit salad

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