Friday, 28 February 2014

Eggless Banana Walnut Muffins

Breakfast Blues : Every evening, i always have to sit and think what to pack in tiffin for breakfast the next day to give hubby dearest at work. The regular recipes of Upma, Poha, Idli, Dosa etc takes a toll sometimes. Yes, egg is always an option ! I would like to mention about this friend of mine who is called "Anda Iyer"... seems, eggs are his life! He can't do without them ! But it's interesting to see his egg-recipes in the forum, always a different one, and the tempting pictures too :)

With "Anda Iyer " Rajiv :)

So, it was one of those days when i had Bananas at hand, but no eggs and no butter. I decided to make some Banana muffins without egg, and they turned out superrrr soft and spongy. I had made the Yogurt Cake earlier with oil,( ) but i had added an egg then. This time i tried making these with only oil. I did use Olive oil, but you can use regular vegetable oil too. Olive oil of course gives it a good aroma and a rich taste ! This one is a simple-easy to make muffins recipe! Packed in tiffin for breakfast, hubby loved them with a mug of coffee :)

You can otherwise store them in an air tight container in refrigerator for about 2-3 days. Warm in a microwave just before eating. They taste as fresh as ever :))

Ingredients :

Maida ( All purpose flour ) - 3/4 cup
Powdered sugar - 1/2 cup ( Put little less if you don't like it too sweet, adjust according to taste )
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Walnuts - 1/4 cup
Olive oil - 1/4 cup ( or any other vegetable oil )
Bananas - 2 ( medium size)

Recipe :

Mash the bananas in a bowl with hand or a fork to make it into a paste.
Now add the oil and mix well.
Add the sugar and vanilla extract, Mix it all well and keep aside.
Chop the walnuts.
Sieve the Flour, Baking powder and baking soda together twice.
Now Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and mix it all well. Don't beat/whisk...Just mix everything together with a spatula.
Add 1/2 of the chopped walnuts into the batter and mix again.
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Line a muffin tray with muffin liners or else grease it with oil and dust with flour. 
Fill the batter till 1/2 or 3/4th into the mould ( Don't fill it to the full, as it will raise and the shape will get distorted ). 
Now Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes or till upper portion gets brown. I baked for 5 minutes more to get that fine brown colour. Check after 25 minutes with inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, means its done!
Let them cool on a rack for about 15-20 minutes. Then remove and let them cool completely.

These Tempting muffins are ready.... Have one right there!!!:)

If you have butter at hand, then you can try this recipe which i had made a few days back...This one is easy too, and you can replace the cashews with walnuts or any nuts of your choice but i would say, the walnuts are the USP of these muffins !!!

Banana Cashew Muffins :

Ingredients :

Bananas - 4 ( of medium size )
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Maida ( All purpose flour ) - 1 n half cup
Melted Butter - 1/3 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Cashews - a few ( 1/4 cup )
Salt - a pinch

Recipe :

Chop the cashews.
Mash Bananas with a fork or with hand and keep aside.
Sieve the flour, baking soda and baking powder together twice.
Take butter in a bowl and add sugar and whisk till it turns creamy.
Now add the mashed bananas and vanilla essence.
Slowly add the flour mixture and mix well.
Add about 1/2 of the chopped cashews into the batter.
Preheat oven to 190 degree Celsius. Line a muffin tray with muffin liners or grease with oil/butter and dust with Maida ( All purpose flour )
Now fill the muffin moulds with batter, fill it only to half or 3/4th.
Bake for abut 20 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean. If not, bake for more time and check every 5 minutes.
Happy Baking :)

Linking this recipe to :

Monday, 24 February 2014

Bengali cuisine : Dinner at Joey's :)

Ghar ka khana : Foodies, as we are, we love to gorge on different cuisines. Being Maharashtrians, all that we have eaten of Bengali food is at specialty restaurants. So, when our Bengali friends in Delhi invited us for dinner, we jumped at the idea!!! Bengali food, cooked at home, that too with a touch of "Maa ke haath" ( Mom's food )... it all sounded a perfect Sunday evening.

Woofs from Joey : I had mentioned about "Aloo Poshto" to my friend just last month, and she had promised me then, that she will make it and invite me for dinner. So this was definately on the menu :) After a warm welcome from all of them ( we were meeting their parents for the first time, who are basically Bengalis from Bihar), and lots of licks and jumps from our sweetheart Joey-Poey ( My client from pet sitting ), we had some dhoklas as a starter.

Minimalism is not lack of something, Its simply the perfect amount of something : As the saying goes, we loved that the dishes were minimalistic...That way you get to taste it wholeheartedly and it lingers on your tongue for quite a while ! The main dishes.... Chicken ( for hubby dearest, who loves it to the core ), aloo poshto ( specially for me ), Chane ki daal, salad and Jeera Rice followed by the desert of the evening - Gur ki Kheer .

The Nolen Gur( new jaggery) or Gud, as it is called is Jaggery made from Khajoor (Dates ). It is known as Bengali's jaggery, as it is made from the sap of date palm trees found in Bengal. It tastes different than the normal jaggery, the aroma is heavenly and is slightly costlier than the original jaggery. Though a winter speciality, is found these days all year round with a special technique of preserving the jaggery in solidified form for months. 

There is also a different type of rice that is used for making the kheer. It's tiny and aromatic. Looks like this :

So, the basic way to make the kheer would be :( As told to me by aunty )

Ingredients :

Milk - 1 litre
Rice - 3/4 cup ( 2 handfull)
Nolen Gur (Jaggery) - Add according to taste
Cardamon powder - 1 tsp
Cashews/ raisins - chopped  to garnish

Recipe :

Boil Milk and rice together. Cook till the rice becomes soft and keep stirring in between.
Then add the jaggery and mix it all well and cook for another 5 minutes.
Lastly add the cardamon powder and cashewnuts.
If you find it too thick, add a little milk, or else it can be eaten thick as a pudding too.
Refrigerate if you like to have it cold. 

With our tummies full, we came home and went off to bed to have some "Mishti " ( sweet ) dreams !!! :))

The Chefs of the evening : 

Thank you for such a wonderful meal !!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Sheera : Angaarki Chaturthi special

Angaarki Chaturthi : Yesterday was Angaarki Sankashti Chaturthi. Sankashti Chaturthi is celebrated in every Lunar Month or Hindu Calender Month on the fourth day of the waning phase. ( i.e it comes on every 4th day after Full Moon of Hindu Lunar Calender Month ). This day is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and if this chaturthi falls on a Tuesday, it is called Angaarki Chaturthi. It is considered an auspicious day and people observe fast to pray to Lord Ganesha to remove all their problems ( Sankat Hara Chaturthi ) in life, as HE is known to be!!!
People break their strict fast only after the sight of the moon followed by prayers to Lord Ganesha. Normally "Sheera" is made as an offering to the Lord as "Prasad".

The Story our Granny told us : According to Hindu Mythology, Angarak, the son of Mother Earth and Bhardwaj Rishi, was a great devotee of Lord Ganesha. And on one such Tuesday which was Sankashti Chaturthi, Lord Ganesha blessed him and asked him for a wish. Angarak expressed his wish to be associated with Lord Ganesha forever. Hence Lord Ganesha granted his wish and proclaimed that whoever worships Lord Ganesha during Angaarki Chaturthi will be granted the prayers. That's how Angaarki Chaturthi came to be known as.

Sheera is a very popular sweet dish. It is normally prepared during pooja or any auspicious occasions and is offered as a sweet to the Lord and then distributed amongst all. Sheera is also eaten for breakfast in some parts of Maharashtra. A very easy-to-make dish and very healthy too.

Ingredients :

Rava/Sooji - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup ( or adjust according to taste )
Milk - 2 n half cup
Assorted Nuts ( Almonds, Cashews, Raisins etc)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp( You can't skip this ingredient... it adds all the taste to the sheera )
I Added a few saffron strands dipped in milk for the "Pajama Twist"

Recipe :

Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp ghee. Add all the nuts and roast for about a minute or two. Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan, add the 1/4 cup ghee. Once it melts, add the rava and roast on low flame till it starts leaving fragrance and turns golden brown in colour. Don't roast it on high flame or else it will burn and become black. Keep stirring in between and roast for around 10-15 minutes.
Now add warm or room temperature milk to the rawa. Keep stirring, so no lumps are formed.
Cook on low flame for about 5 minutes till the rava becomes soft and milk starts thickening.
Now add the sugar. Mix well and add the nuts. Cook covered till it becomes like a soft thick ball. ( takes about 3-4 minutes )

For prasad, People add a Tulsi leaf on top while offering to The Lord. Some even add banana on top or a mashed banana while cooking.

Happy Cooking :)

Friday, 14 February 2014

Shahi Tukda : Valentine Special

Shahi Treatment for The Prince Charming : Shahi means Royal, and what better way to make your husband feel royal on Valentine's day than to cook his favourite meal and top it all with a royal dessert :) As it was a working day, i decided to arrange a surprise for him...Yes, the usual surprise cards, aromatic candles, love messages in tiffin box, a photo collage, a bottle of wine, some homemade choclate muffins.... All this was definately making him smile. But i guess the way to a man's heart is definately through his stomach...when i cooked his favourite chicken dish for main course, that got him showing me all his teeth :)) And i topped it all off with this dessert....A super fun filled valentine's :) 
Basundi ( Recipe uploaded earlier ) ( ) is one of his favourite desserts.. so i normally make it once a month...So, to make something special for Valentine's , i decided to make Rabdi ( More thickened milk ) and top it on the shahi tukda. 

I had never tried this dish before, had only eaten at several restaurants. But making it was super easy and super fun ! Makes for a good sweet craving, and  a dessert everyone will enjoy at your home :)

Ingredients :

Milk - 1 Litre
Sugar - 1/3 rd cup
Water - A little
Ghee - To fry the bread slices
Saffron - a few strands 
Milkmaid ( Sweetened condensed milk ) - 2 tbsp ( This is optional, you can totally skip this or if you want, can add 1-2 tbsp of sugar instead )
Chopped nuts - almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, raisins ( Any of your choice for garnishing )
Bread slices - 4

Recipe :

Soak saffron in about 2-3 tbsp of milk.

Bring milk to boil in a non stick or a heavy bottomed pan. Reduce the heat to sim, and bring the milk to 1/2 of it's original...Keep stirring in between. It will start becoming thick and changing colour.

Now add the condensed milk ( or sugar ). If not, just add the saffron-milk mixture. Keep stirring again and reduce the milk to 1/2 of it's consistency ( comes to about 1/4th of it's original consistency ). It has to be of pouring consistency and not too thick. 

Let it come to room tempertaure. And then keep it in the fridge to cool. This is called Rabdi.

Meanwhile, take sugar in a saucepan and fill it with water just enough to cover the sugar. Let it come to a boil, and then simmer it for around 3-4 minutes more..( Remove a drop and see if it sticks to your finger, and forms a thread... That's when you know it's done)

Now Take the bread slices and cut it's edges. Now cut them diagonally into triangle shapes ( You can cut each slice into 2 or 4 parts, i prefer cutting them into 4 ). Heat ghee in a pan. Now fry the bread slices in ghee on medium/low flame till they become crisp and brown. Its important that the slices be crisp.

Remove and soak on a tissue paper. Now dip them into the sugar syrup for about 10 seconds and arrange them on the plate. Add the cool rabdi on top and garnish with chopped nuts.

Enjoy in the royal dessert... Tastes Heavenly delicious....:))

You can add the sugar syrup to the rabdi and even eat rabdi as a dessert in itself. Adjust the sugar content according to taste.
Alternatively, you can make shahi tukdas and store it in fridge. It stays for about 3-4 days.

Happy Cooking :)

Tamatar Ki Kadhi

Phatte Huye Tamatar ki Kadhi : This was a joke that i had to mention on my blog !!! On being a part of a food forum, i have made some great virtual friends there where we keep posting "what's cookin in our kitchen" ," where we go to dine", "what we eat" etc...On one such post where a lady asked about making punjabi style aloo parathas, my friend Ritika Khullar mentioned the process and said that she fills the stuffing so much, that the parathas actually Phatte ( gets torn - here meaning, pops out of the covering)!!!! I loved that word and a series of conversations followed, with renaming my blog as "Cookin in Phatte huye pajamas"..Hahaha... So, lets dedicate this Phatte Huye Tamatar ki Kadhi to Ritika :)

I usually have this habit of watching the channel "Food Food", one of the most popular food channels in India, during my lunch time. Maybe it increases my apetite or it just makes the food more tasty!!! Whatever the reason, i love watching food while eating...One such weekday, i had Sanjeev Kapoor showing the recipe of Tomato Kadhi. The name sounded interesting, and i decided to make it the same evening. It tasted heavenly with rice !!! So, if you are bored to cook one such day, this kadhi and rice ( with accompaniments of papad and some achaar ) combination would surely be a go-go!!!

Ingredients :

Besan ( Gram flour ) - 4 tsp
Tomatoes - 5 big ( Pureed )
Red chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Dry red chillies - 3-4
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Fresh corriander leaves - a few ( chopped )
Pepper - to taste

Recipe :

In a bowl, take besan. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt ( according to taste ). Mix it well. Now add the Tomato puree. Add about 2 cups of water and mix it well again. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a kadhai and add cumin seeds and mustard seeds.( No Oil added ). When they crackle, add the asafoetida and dry red chillies. Now pour the tomato mixture into this and let it come to a boil. Reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes ( or till it thickens )

If you feel the tomatoes are sour, add about 1 tsp sugar. Or else you can adjust according to taste. Now garnish with corriander leaves and pepper and serve hot with Steamed rice :)))

Happy Cooking :)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

"Pajama" Carrot Chutney

It's Raining Carrots in my Kitchen : It was my first winters in New Delhi and i saw some amazing fresh vegetables here in this season. With new introductions to me such as Salgam, Red Radishes, different types of saag ( which we normally never found in Mumbai ), i had a fun time making salads...In winters, we get nice red carrots too here...Fresh, juicy and red...Last two months, i had a lot of gajar ka halwa ( topped with my favourite Rabdi ice-cream ) - Recipe uploaded earlier :

When my mother visited me last month, she also made me some homemade mixed pickle of carrots, cauliflower and green peas. ( I will upload that recipe and pictures later ). On the menu, was also mixed vegetable which i made couple of times with carrot as one of the main ingredient. But it was the time for me to try my hand at Gajar ki Chutney. One of my friends Valerina Anthony had given me a recipe last month to just add carrots, Imli ( Tamarind ), Red chillies ( dry), Jaggery and salt in mixer and grind it all together. I had not tried it... So decided to add my own "Pajama Twist" to it, and make my own Yummy Carrot Chutney.

Its simple to make, and you can store it in the fridge for a couple of days in an air tight container. Remove, get it to room temperature and use ! I purposely made this a little spicy to negate the sweetness of carrots. But if you like a sweet tangy taste, you can adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Ingredients : 

Carrots - 2 medium (Wash and peel the carrots and grate them)
Onion - 1 medium ( chopped )
Ginger - 1 inch piece (chopped )
Dry red chillies - 2-3
Garlic - 6-7 ( chopped)
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp ( adjust according to taste )
Sesame seeds - 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Jaggery - a small piece 
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds ( Jeera ) - 1/2 tsp
Since i had garlic chutney ( Lasun chutney ) at hand, i added 1/2 tsp of it. Its optional. You can add garam masala or even corriander powder according to your taste.

Recipe :

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add the grated carrots and saute for about 10 minutes on low flame. They will leave water ( become moist)... Saute till they almost become dry ( they won't become completely dry ). Keep aside.

In the same pan, add 1 tsp oil, add the ginger, garlic, red chillies and saute for about 30 seconds. Now add the onions and saute till they become golden brown. Now add the garlic chutney, sesame seeds , red chilli powder, amchur powder and any other powder or masala if you adding. Saute for a minute more and now add the jaggery ( to the pan itself ). Switch off the flame and then transfer all the contents to a mixer-grinder along with the carrots.

Grind it all together ( without adding water as carrots will leave its water ), to make a paste.

Now Heat 1 tsp oil in the pan, add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add a pinch of hing ( asafoetida ) and cumin seeds. Now add the chutney mixture to this. Add salt and saute till it becomes a round thick ball.

Yummy Yummy chutney is ready...:) You can have it as a side dish, or along with parathas. You can even use it as a spread of chapatis, add some veggies or corn and make a roll. You can use it as a spread over bread for sandwiches. Or can add a little water and make it watery to have with idlis or dosas :)

Happy Cooking :))

Monday, 10 February 2014

Cashew Muffins

I am the Baker : Baking has become a weekly affair at our home now !!! Infact, just last week when i went past a pastry shop, i had this urge to buy and eat one!!! But, the baker inside me told myself, that i might as well go home, bake some ( not to forget the freshhhh aroma of a cake baking that fills the home...Oooh...laaaa...laaaaa ) and cherish it with a cup of coffee :))) 

I am simply in love with baking... As mentioned earlier, me or hubby dearest are not much fan of icings or any toppings on cake... we like pure fresh spongy cake!!! And i had tried the chocolate, tutty-fruity, and rum-n-raisin cake before !!!( Recipes uploaded before )
This time i thought of trying my hand at muffins with cashews ( Cashews being hubby's favourite dry-nut ). I had a lot of them at home ... Yes, people generally eat a lot of dry fruits and nuts during winters to keep warm, and this time when my mother came to Delhi, she got me a whole big packet of all the raisins, almonds, figs, cashew nuts, and pistachios !!!

These muffins are so easy to bake, you can make them on regular basis changing the cashew powder to almonds or any dry fruit of your choice.

Ingredients :

(Makes 8-9 muffins )

All purpose flour( Maida) - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup ( If using powdered sugar, adjust according to taste )
Butter - 2.5 tbsp
Cashew powder - 1/4 cup ( Grind the cashews in mixer for a fine powder )
Egg - 1
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Recipe :

Sieve Maida, Baking powder, Baking soda and salt together. Sieve it one more time and set aside.
Beat Cashew powder and butter together in another bowl.
Now add the egg and beat again.
Now add the sugar and mix it all well.
Mix in the vanilla essence.
Add the flour mixture and milk alternatively to cashew-butter mixture. Add slowly and mix it all well, so that you get a fine smooth texture.

You can add some cashew chopped pieces in the mixture or on top ( after setting in the muffin tray ). You can even add tutty-fruity , if you like.

Grease and dust the muffin tray with butter and Maida. Now put the muffin mixture into the the tray. ( Fill it only till 1/2 or 3/4 th , as it will tend to rise up when it bakes ).

Preheat oven to 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Bake the muffins at 180 degrees for around 30-35 minutes or till you see a browning on top!!!

So, how about having them with a cuppa coffee???

Happy Baking :)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Pajama "Pop in the Mouth" ladoos : Rose Day special

Peanut Urad Daal ladoo : I have already posted the recipe of Peanut ladoo earlier :
This time when my mother visited me, she gave me this idea of adding Urad daal to peanut ladoos. This, i suppose is a south indian combination and one of her office colleagues had mentioned about this to her.

Grown in southern parts of Asia, Urad daal ( also known as Black gram or Black daal ) has numerous health benefits. Its extremely high protein content makes it a hit with workout-enthusiasts. It is rich in fibre, and hence easy to digest too. It boosts energy in your body, and it's good amount of iron content, makes it a must-have for women!!!

My husband is not much of a urad daal fan, if cooked in a normal way ! So i thought this is a great idea to incorporate Urad daal in our diet, as ladoos are a favourite sweet of his and can be popped in the mouth anytime of the day!!!

Now what's the "Pajama twist" to it is, i added "Gulkand" to it...That makes it extremely healthy, nutritious and more yummmyyyy.... Everyone loves Gulkand and it has some good health benefits too...You can make and store this for a week at room temperature in winters, and in summers, keep them in the refrigerator after 2-3 days ( lasts for about a week or so )

Ingredients :

The ingredients are same as peanut ladoos, the only addition is gulkand and urad daal.
Peanut Powder - 1 cup ( Dry roast peanuts till light brown, remove their skin and then grind it to a powder in mixer. Make sure you grind it slowly and check in between, otherwise it starts oozing oil and powder turns sticky. You can make ladoos even with the sticky mixture, but a course powder tastes better than the sticky one )

Jaggery - 1 cup ( If you are adding powdered sugar, add 3/4 cup or according to taste. The powdered sugar has to be little coarse and not too smooth )

Urad daal powder - 1 cup ( Dry roast Urad daal till it turns brown. Grind to a fine powder after cooling. Sieve the powder.

Cardamom powder - 1 tsp

Ghee - 3 tbsp

Gulkand - According to taste ( to stuff in the ladoos )

Recipe :

Mix Peanut powder and Urad daal powder well. If needed, give a pulse in the mixer-grinder together.

Now add the jaggery ( or powdered sugar ) and cardamom powder.

Now add the ghee and mix it all well.

Make small round balls ( ladoos ). While rolling the ladoo, make a small hole in the center with your finger... Add little gulkand and then press it well inside ( so it doesn't come out ) 

Pajama Pop in the mouth ladoos are ready !!!

Happy Cooking :)