Tag Archives: Indian sweets

Happy Holi

Wishing you all a very Happy & Colorful Holi.

Happy Holi

Holi special menu: Puran Poli & Mixed Dal Vada.

Enjoy!

ashu ūüôā

AamRas and Kurudi Papad

ashuskitchen- Aamras & Kurudi Papad.
ashuskitchen- Aamras & Kurudi Papad.

The food available during the season decides the menu for most festivals in Indian homes. For us summer is the mango season, the market is flooded with lots of varieties of mangoes. The fruit starts appearing first in the market as the suns intensity increases from end of February to early March. March ¬†month sees the Badam variety of mango starting to appear on the fruit stalls. The taste of the mangoes is best as¬†the summer heat peaks up.¬†In today’s times many fruit¬†sellers resort to methods to quickly ripen the fruits, but that alters the taste. ¬†With the market flooded with mangoes, the different dishes or recipes of mangoes dominate the dining table menu :). The summer months also is time for school vacations, and it was the best time during my childhood to enjoy as many varieties of mangoes. Too much or over excess of mango eating results in the boils appearing¬†overnight , but still one would not care as it was vacation time. Also we had many local varieties of the fruit available brought directly from the farms, something that is greatly missed now as an adult, something that my kids have never even got to taste, as we reside out and here the supermarkets have fruits supply coming from many countries.¬† Still I ¬†try to make the dishes with whichever variety of mango¬†is available in this region.

Aamras is the sweet dish made up of ripe mangoes. It is just mango pulp, sugar and little milk or water added to get a thinner consistency. It is part of the meals as a sweet dish. When the aamras is made, then the kurudi or papad are also deep fried to eat along with the Aamras. Also, boiled homemade Sevai or Vermicelli is eaten along with the Aamras. This becomes a part of the whole vegetarian meal or thali. It is a popular and delicious sweet dish. The many different varieties of mangoes can be used to make Aamras. The best taste would be from Alphonso variety of mangoes, but I equally prefer the Junagad Kesar variety of mango that I used to buy when I was residing in Gujarat, India. The Kesar mango that we get is Gujarat is my personal favorite.

Currently I reside in the UAE, and the supermarket or vegetable vendors have mangoes from many countries being sold here. As I visited my home country in the month of May I was able to relish the fresh mango produce of Alphonso mangoes and also the Aamras. ¬†This weekend I got the Chaunsa variety of mango, a produce of Pakistan from the supermarket, and decided to make the Aamras for¬†this post. The taste of this Aamras is definitely different, but when Alphonso mangoes are not around then this or whichever variety is available would do if one craves for the Aamras, right?! ūüôā

AAMRAS & KURUDI PAPAD

INGREDIENTS: 

Ripe Mangoes : 500 gms

Sugar: 25 gms

Milk: 100 gms

METHOD:

Chaunsa variety of Mango.
Chaunsa variety of Mango.

Wash and dry the ripened mangoes. Remove the skin using a sharp knife and cut the mango into small pieces and throw away the seed.

Mango chopped in small pieces
Mango chopped in small pieces

Take mixer pot and put the cut mango pulp and sugar into it and whisk the mixer on high speed so that we get a smooth paste. Add milk to it and get the thinner consistency as desired.

ashuskitchen -Aamras
ashuskitchen -Aamras

Kurudi papad, a type of papad made of soaked wheat .
Kurudi papad, a type of papad made of soaked wheat .

The kurudi papad is deep fried in oil and served with Aamras.

ashuskitchen-Aamras & Kurudi papad
ashuskitchen-Aamras & Kurudi papad

NOTE: The amount of sugar used depends upon the sweetness of the mangoes.

The Chaunsa mangoes that I have used were extremely sweet and I had to add very little quantity of sugar for the mango pulp/cubes used to make the Aamras. Do use the sugar quantity as needed depending on the mangoes used and also the sweetness preferred.

Any traditional Vegetarian Maharashtrian or Indian meal for that matter is served in a thali form , a big steel plate with all the dishes for the day served in small portions along with the sweets that form as the dessert and served to the guests. It consists of two to three types of vegetables, curry, pickles, chutneys, papads, roti, rice & dal with ghee, and the sweets. When you serve the Aamras with the Kurudi, the meal served becomes a feast, the guests too are happy. This was the way we ate our meals in childhood, but now mostly only on festival days or special days, as any regular day it is usually not so elaborate but simple and more of regular kind of food.

Nowadays one mostly prefers to make mango milk shakes or smoothies, but do give this dish a try and serve it as part of a vegetarian meal or thali meal and enjoy the different flavors in your meal.

Wishing you all a good day.

ashu ūüôā

 

 

Makar Sankranti Special: TilGul Satorya

Satorya- A Marathi recipe made on occasion of Makar Sankranti. It is puri with TilGul (Sesame seeds and Jaggery) filling.
Satorya- A Marathi recipe made on occasion of Makar Sankranti. It is puri with TilGul (Sesame seeds and Jaggery) filling.

We all know that January  is the first month of the English calendar, a month when all of us are geared up to bring in the new year with new goals, resolutions and lots of plans for the rest of the year.

In the¬†Hindu calendar it is the month of Paush and it brings with it an auspicious harvest festival-Makar Sankranti. Different parts of India celebrates this harvest festival with different names, in Punjab it is called Lohri, in Tamil Nadu it is called Pongal, in Gujrat it is called Uttarayana, in Maharashtra it is called Markar sankranti etc.¬† It is celebrated on the 14th of January, but this year it happens to be celebrated on the 15th. It is the harvest festival and all the new harvest crops are worshipped and shared.¬† In Maharashtra, sesame seeds or Til and Jaggery or Gul¬†that is made of the sugarcane¬†is offered to the gods and shared with others in the form of sweets made of it. TilGul is given to all the family members and also distributed. The other harvest crops worshipped include green peas, carrots, sugarcane, ber, wheat, beans etc. In my house I have seen mother keeping all these crops along with tilgul as offerings or Prasad to the gods. Maharashtrian households do Makar Sankranti Haldi kumkum, a custom to invite¬†married ladies and¬†distribute these goods¬†as ‘oti’ along with TilGul. The tilgul ladoo or laddu is very yum and it is very difficult to stop oneself from eating more than one. Both the til and gur¬†are good for consumption in the winter season. Til is¬†a good source of protein, and also rich in fibre¬†, calcium, and¬†iron. It is also used to make chutneys so that one can consume Til in our diet on a daily basis.

I have grown up eating tilgul delicacies that my mother made, she is an expert cook and a great foodie. I salute her enthusiastic spirit, is always lively, energetic,¬†and ever ready to¬†feed us her delicacies. Today on the occasion of Makar Sankranti I am sharing one of my aai’s (mother) recipe that I have grown up eating, always loved these puris, a grab it and munch along food relished so fondly Continue reading Makar Sankranti Special: TilGul Satorya

Diwali 2015

Last week we celebrated the festival of lights, Diwali. It is the big festival that brings with it an excitement all around with lot of preparations, lot of household work from cleaning to painting the walls, shopping for gifts, new clothes, some utensil or silverware and/or gold, lot of festive cooking of meals, as well as the traditionally associated snacks that one is so fond of eating. A Diwali without the traditional savory and sweet snacks and loads of Mithais and ladoos would be incomplete.

I grew up with fond Diwali memories of the customary rituals followed by my mother, her homemade snacks, the fire crackers, the new clothes, the visiting relatives and the good food being served to all. It was a time with lot of activities and family gatherings. I have tried to continue the rituals that I grew up following, and thus every year Diwali is a busy time, occasion that brings with it lot of festive mood and celebrations. The past week was thus family time, with diyas being lit, handmade rangolis done on the floor and colored, tried making first time a sweet that I like a lot but had never tried making in my kitchen. Yeah, this was my first try of making Anarsa, a sweet that is made of rice flour and sugar. I was under the impression that it involved a lengthy process and needed perfection to make and hence had never tried making it ever. But, this time I tried and they turned out just the way I like them.

Sharing here some snaps from my Diwali this year.

Anarsa: A sweet made from rice that is soaked for 3 days, then wiped dry and finely ground to flour. Sugar is added to the flour and a tight dough ball is made and Anarsa is made from this dough. It is deep-fried on slow flame. The frying takes a bit of patience and expertise and technique, but nothing that a beginner cannot follow. I was able to get the perfect shape, so anyone who knows how to fry them can do it. I have used fine Semolina coating, a change from the regular recipe ingredients.

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Ashu wishes you all Happy Diwali.
Ashu wishes you all Happy Diwali.

Homemade Diwali snacks.
Homemade Diwali snacks.

Traditional snacks for Diwali include Chakli, Chivda, Sweet and salty Sankerpala, Besan Sev,  Mathri, Anarsa, Karanji or Gujjia, Ladoos, and Barfis. Above are some of the snacks that I made this Diwali.

It is a different type of Chakli I made this Diwali, a family recipe that uses rice flour and sesame seeds and are shaped by hand. I have started making this type of Chakli since last two months, a never tried recipe before that is getting mastered with frequent attempts. This rice Chakli making is a bit tedious process, but a favorite of my daughter and hubby and hence the extra efforts to master it.

Rice Chakli, a family recipe that is being mastered with frequent attempts of making it, since September’15.

They are shaped by hand, made on cloth and later deep fried.
They are shaped by hand, made on cloth and later deep-fried.

The handmade décor of rangoli design at the door during the festival, a ritual followed by making this Rangoli. The design is inspired from internet images.

Handmade rangoli that is colored using colored rangoli.
Handmade rangoli that is colored using colored rangoli.

The Laxmi Puja day Prasad:

Diwali puja prasad
Diwali puja Prasad

Diwali festivities have now come to end. It was a week of food indulgence, lot of tasty snacks and yummy and rich food eaten, both at home and at parties. Now, with the end of the festival, it is time to start the fitness regimen and go for walks with friends. Yup, the weather is turning out perfect for outdoor activities and hence no excuses.

ashu

 

Amrakhand/Mango Shrikhand or Dessert

Summer months bring with them this yellow/ green fruit- Mango, also called as the king of all fruits in my homeland, India. Ripened mangoes are delicious, wonderfully sweet in taste, delight in each bite. There are a lot of varieties available in the market depending upon the region where it is grown. Childhood memories are filled with scenes of the vegetable markets that sold bullock-cart loads of the local variety of small mangoes, they had lot of fibrous pulp, we would drink the juice from the fruit, some very sour while some very sweet in taste. During the mango season basket-full of these would be bought and we kids had quite a joyful time eating more than one at one go. Mom would always warn of the boils that one would end up getting after eating lot of mangoes. Today, upon reflecting back, those were the best times that I enjoyed eating this fruit.  Now, I see the same love for the fruit in my kiddos at home. Shifting residence from one place to another resulted in new mango varieties being sought after, usually the ones that are available in the market is bought, and thus they are more fond of the  Hapus or Alphonso variety. The Ratnagiri and Konkan belt is famous for the Alphonso mangoes, a saffron-colored, very sweet and delicious variety. But having lived in Gujarat, my personal favorite now is the Junagadh Kesar variety that is grown in the Junagadh region of the state.

Living in this part of the world now so I get to see Mango varieties from all over the world, but I still prefer the fruit coming from my homeland. Fortnight back, during my vegetable market visit, I found my favorite Kesar variety in the shop, and was able to use this mango for preparation of this Shrikhand.  Although this homemade Amrakhand is made using hung yogurt and pulp of the Kesar mangoes, but one could use pulp of any mango variety  depending on  the choice or availability . If one wants a more creamier taste than cream can be added. One could also use tinned Alphonso mango pulp for making this. I buy yogurt and hang it in a thin cloth so that all the water drips away. Usually I hang the Yogurt overnight so I can make Amrakhand for lunch time.

INGREDIENTS:

Yogurt: 1 Kg

Sugar: 100 gm ( or more, as per the preferred sweetness)

Ripe Mangoes: 1/2 kg (Alphonso or Junaghad Kesar)

Cardamon: 2 nu.(Powdered)

Note: The sugar quantity varies depending upon the sweetness of the mango used. I normally choose the sweetest variety so as to avoid adding additional sugar or add very little quantity.

METHOD:

Empty the yogurt tub into the Muslin cloth, tie it, and hang this some place high so that all the water in the yogurt drips away.

Hung Yogurt and Mango pulp.
Hung Yogurt and Mango pulp.

Beat the hung yogurt to make it a smooth consistency, pass it through sieve or use a hand mixer for this.  Then add the mango pulp and powdered sugar and beat with the hand mixer so all ingredients get evenly mixed, we should get a smooth consistency.

Add powdered cardamom to the Amrakhand.

Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand
Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand

SERVING TIP: Serve it cold as a dessert after meal or as sweet dish of a vegetarian meal along with steaming hot puris.

One could use ready-made hung yogurt, if available, but freshly made one gives this dish a more delicious taste. We love eating this sweet dish, do give it a try and find out if you too like it as much as us.  Do leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on my homemade yummy preparation.

Wishing you all a good day. Happy cooking homemade meals.

ashu

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut Barfi

IMG_8452

Sometimes we plan something and it does not happen, well this is what happened with this post. This post was due last week and it so happened that it got unnecessarily delayed, but better late than never.

Once on my grocery shopping spree I randomly put a tin of Nestle’s sweetened condensed milk into my shopping cart, thinking I will use it to make something sweet. The tin was placed on the first rack of the fridge and was completely forgotten. Last week one of my kids suddenly asked me to make coconut barfi, listening to this remark was definitely music to my ear, never has this kind of demand come up and that too for the barfi, it’s something they never wanted to eat and hence I stopped making it altogether. So when this demand came, I had to make it soon before some other demand cropped up. I got the grated coconut and finally the condensed milk tin saw the daylight, was removed from the fridge to use in the recipe.

I have to share, I have never used condensed milk ever to make coconut barfi/laddu. I always followed method using milk, sugar and it was a lengthy one. I am pleased with the way this recipe turned out, hassle free, and so fast. So this is yet another one of the Zhatpat dishes, a homemade Indian dessert. Go ahead and try making this sweet, delicious, and effortless recipe.

COCONUT BARFI:

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh Coconut-1 1/2 (grated)

Ghee-2 tbsp

Sweetened condensed milk-1 tin (I used 3/4th tin)

Green Cardamom (ground)-1 tsp

For Garnish– Nuts of choice-Pistachios/Almonds/Cashew nuts.

METHOD:

  1. Heat a thick bottom pot/kadai on medium heat and then add ghee. Once the ghee melts then add the grated coconut and cook for 10 minutes or so, using spatula to continuously stir, till the raw taste of the coconut is gone. This prevents the coconut from getting burnt and gives an even color.
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk to the coconut and mix it well. Adjust adding the milk according to your preferred sweetness.
  3. Cook it on medium/slow flame till the coconut and milk mixture is sticky enough to form barfi.
  4. Add the ground cardamom powder and coarsely crushed or chopped nuts of choice and mix well.
  5. Grease a square brownie tin or a round plate and spread the coconut mixture evenly on it and let it cool and get set.
  6. Cut the set mixture into small even-sized squares/barfi shape and serve.

This can be served as dessert/mithai after a meal or along with snacks. I found making this to be extremely easy and less time consuming. As the tinned condensed milk was sweetened, so  add quantity as per sweetness preferred. I did not use the whole tin, 2-3 spoonful milk was still left at the bottom of the tin. The Barfi was prepared within 30 minutes, and almost half of it was consumed within minutes of making it, a fast disappearing item if one is fond of sweets!

Enjoy!

ashu ūüôā