Monday, 29 December 2014

Gajar Halwa using condensed milk

I have already posted the traditional method of making Gajar halwa using khoya before : Gajar ka halwa . This time, i made the recipe using condensed milk (Milkmaid). Not only did it make the halwa quicker, but the thick consistency and texture was perfect! I saw this recipe on a food show on television and decided to try it out, since i wanted to make a quick dessert for guests coming over.

Yes, grating the carrots is no quick thing, and requires tremendous efforts and patience if you are making the halwa in bulk quantity. But one spoonful of the halwa melts in your mouth, and all the efforts seem worth it :) And when better to make it than this season!!! The carrots these days are so red and juicy, that we are eating it as a salad with almost every meal! 

Adding milkmaid already makes the halwa sweet, so there is no need to add extra sugar (we like it a bit less sweet), but if you like it very sweet, then do add more milkmaid or some extra sugar on top. Adding kesar is totally optional, but i somehow love it.


Carrots - 1/2 kg
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Milkmaid - A little less than 1/2 tin
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Nuts - Almonds, cashews, raisins - add any of your choice. I crushed almonds and cashews coarsely in a mortar and pestle. Keep some aside to garnish.
Kesar - a few strands
Milk - 1 tbsp


Wash, peel and grate the carrots.

Warm the milk and add the kesar strands to it and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the carrots. Saute them till they are cooked. They will change a bit of colour and leave water. Keep stirring in between to avoid burning.

Now add the condensed milk. Stir well and then add the cardamom powder.

Always keep the flame low. Keep stirring to let the halwa cook. You will know it's cooked when it dries up and starts forming a ball.

Check the taste if you need to add more milkmaid or sugar.

Now add the kesar and nuts and mix it all well.

Garnish with some nuts and tastes best when served warm in this season.

You can store it in air-tight container and refrigerate. The halwa stays good for almost a week.

Happy Cooking :)))

Friday, 26 December 2014


Nankhatai's are basically Indian cookies or shortbreads, majorly made with Maida or All-purpose flour. They are a popular tea-time snack and serve as a nice pop-in-the-mouth sweet when you have those midnight cravings ;) They are made with ghee instead of butter and hence the aroma of these nankhatai's when they are baked is enigmatic. Nankhatai's are found in different flavours/versions and popularly available in local bakeries all over India. 

Here i am posting a recipe of Nankhatai that i saw recently on a blog which was made from Atta (Wheat flour). I decided to try them for Christmas, since i wanted to bake some cookies anyway. And they turned out absolutely great. The addition of rava made the nankhatai's more crispy and i am surely going to make them again with a little additions and twist.

Note: The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar, but i would advise putting a little less than half, as mine turned out a little too sweet with 1/2 cup (For our taste). It is according to personal liking, but at first try making it with a little less than half cup. 

Recipe adapted from : My Cooking Journey


Wheat flour (Atta) - 3/4 cup
Maida - 1/4 cup
Rava (Sooji) - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 1/2 cup (melted) - Might require more or less
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 cup (Please read the 'note' above)
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Chopped almonds and cashews to garnish (Any nuts of your choice)


Grind the sugar to powder in a mixer/grinder.

Grease a baking tray and keep aside.

In a mixing bowl, take the flours, rava, baking powder, powdered sugar and cardamom powder. Mix it all well.

Now slowly, add the ghee and knead it into a crumbly dough. It shouldn't be too soft or too stiff, hence add ghee little by little and knead.

Keep the dough covered for 10 minutes or wrap in a cling foil and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degree celcius.

Make small round balls of the dough after 10 minutes (original recipe says 18, but i made 16) and flatten them a little. Line them on the greased baking tray.

Now bake them at 180 degree C for about 15 minutes. (You will come to know it's done when they change colour a bit to brown)

Let them cool (They become stiff and crunchy after they cool)

Now, isn't your home smelling of some real good aroma?

Happy Cooking :))

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Sabudana Khichdi

As much as the health experts say to control eating the 5 white things in kitchen - Sugar, Sabudana, Rice, Salt and Maida - we can't keep ourselves away from any of it ;) Rice is one ingredient that we don't make too often as compared to rotis, but both of us love Sabudana. So, this recipe is a fixed once-a-week breakfast menu on our list. Hubby loves it so much, that whenever (i really mean, whenever) i ask what should i make for breakfast, Sabudana Khichdi is his reply! :)

Well, it tastes best when served warm and is a hassle-free recipe, if you have your things ready, especially the peanut powder. We Maharashtrians normally stock the "Danyacha kut" (Roasted Peanut powder) as we call it, and use it in various curries, sabzis or even chutneys. Danyacha kut is basically a coarse powder of peanuts which are dry roasted and skin removed.

The recipe varies from place to place. Some people add crushed roasted peanuts instead of powder, some add red chilli powder instead of green chillies, some add onions instead of potatoes or both, some don't add sugar but only salt. I make it in different ways each time, just to give a different taste. But this one is the way my mom used to make it and it absolutely tastes delicious!!

The key to make a good khichdi is to soak the sabudana in proper quantity of water. It shouldn't be a lot, as we soak our sprouts in, niether too less that the sabudana doesn't remains raw. Also, we normally leave it to soak overnight, so a minimum of 7-8 hours of soak is good.


Sabudana - 3/4 cup
Green chillies - 2 (chopped finely)
Boiled potato - 1 (chopped)
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Peanut powder (Danyacha kut) - Just enough to marinate the sabudana well, so add little by little and see how much is required
Oil - 2 tbsp + ghee 1 tbsp (This is the way to get a great taste out of the khichdi, you can make it in only oil or only ghee, but we prefer mixing both)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (i added green chilli and red chilli powder both, as we like it little spicy)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Lime juice - on top (optional but gives a nice tangy taste)
Corriander leaves - to garnish (optional)


Wash the sabudana well in cold water 2-3 times and then soak it in water overnight. The water level should be just a little above the sabudana.

Heat oil + ghee in a pan, and add cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add the green chillies and then boiled potato and fry till the potatoes are little golden brown.

Now, marinate the sabudana well with peanut powder, sugar, salt, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Add peanut powder little by little, just enough to coat the sabudanas well.

Now add this to the pan and fry well till the sabudana gets cooked. It should take about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring, so it doesn't get sticky or stick to the pan.

I normally cook uncovered, that way it doesn't become sticky. 
You will know when it's cooked when it starts changing colour. Also taste for salt and add more if required.

Serve hot and garnish with corriander leaves if you want and put some lemon juice on top.

Isn't it absolutely tempting?

Happy Cooking!!! :)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Appe from Readymade Idli Batter

Appe as it is called in Maharashtrian or Konkani language, this is a popular breakfast recipe is South India known as Paddu. They are made of various ingredients - Sometimes with rice, sometimes adding Poha, and at times only with lentils (majorly Urad daal). 

These days, we get readymade Dosa/Idli batter in the market. I have sourced one amazing south indian guy who makes this fresh and sells it near to our home. So, one packet of this in fridge and i can make varied breakfast of idli, dosa, uttapas and at times Appe. My aunt gifted me this special "Appe Tava" that is required to make these. It is a non-stick tava, so naturally makes for a healthy breakfast with less oil. You can make it with no oil too, but i prefer brushing a little oil, just to get a nice brown colour and also to make sure the batter doesn't stick to the tava (as the batter varies from place to place).


Idli batter - as required 
French beans - a few (chopped finely)
Onions - Half for about 1/4 kg batter (chopped finely)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - little
Corriander leaves - 1/2 cup chopped
Oil - to brush the tava

You can also add pepper for a different taste and replace/add vegetables of your choice like cauliflower, carrots or even peas.


In the appe tava, brush little oil and place it on the stove.

Mix turmeric powder, salt, beans, onions, corriander leaves with the dosa batter and add little water if the batter is too thick. Don't make it too thin like a dosa batter. It should just have the consistency to pour easily.

Once the tava is hot, put small amounts in each mould (about a spoonful), cover the tava with a lid and let it steam-cook till the outer sides become brown. 

Now turn over the appe's, so the other side is cooked. This time don't cover the tava.

Serve hot along with coconut chutney or tastes great with any chutney :)

Happy Cooking!!! :)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Peanut butter squares

It's always my worry on a weekday night, of what different breakfast to pack in tiffin for hubby the next morning. I guess each of the ladies with kids or working husbands would have this worry before going off to bed. Not only different, but something that can be made quick and is easy, yet, healthy and tasty. Now to get all these adjectives in one recipe is really a task. There are times when i make the ever-green poha, Upma , Bread poha or Sabudana Khichdi. And at times when i am extremely sleepy or bred, i would even pack away a simple bread-butter toast or a cheese and tomato sandwich. But there are times, when i have time at hand, and i am all excited to make something new. So, those are the times, i make recipes such as today's post.

Peanut squares are basically peanut butter sandwiches with a twist. You can just apply the peanut butter on bread and eat it like that, (I love it this way!!!), or toast the bread and apply the peanut butter or make it this way. I also added mayonnaise in a few bread pieces to make it interesting and believe me, this makes for an awesome breakfast recipe. A little sweet but absolutely delicious!!!


Bread slices - 4
Peanut butter - to apply on the bread (as per needed or by choice) - Can be replaced with Mayonnaise.
Egg - 1
Cream (I used Amul fresh cream, but you can use homemade cream or even skip this) - 1 tbsp
Milk - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Butter - 1-2 tbsp to toast the bread

Note: If you don't want a sweeter taste, skip the sugar and add salt. Or add little of both for a neutral taste.


Apply peanut butter on the bread slices. I have kept the sides of the bread, so it gives a crispy feel after toasting. But you can cut the sides, if you don't like them.

In a bowl, break the egg and whisk it. Now add milk, cream, and sugar (or salt) and whisk it all well.

In a pan, heat butter.
Keep one slice of bread on top of the other and dip in in the egg mixture and immediately put it on the heated pan. Let it toast till brown and crispy. Now flip it to the other side and toast till brown.

Remove it and cut the bread into squares.

Have it with a warm cuppa milk or chai. Some great winter mornings are like this: 

Happy Cooking!! :)

Monday, 22 December 2014

Winter special : Tomato soup

Before i start writing about today's recipe, i wanted to share a very funny photograph that i clicked recently at one of the wholesale markets selling masalas and spices. People do make spelling errors always, and some of them are so funny that they are worth capturing :) Here is one example:

Meet the "Meet" Masala :)

Well coming back to the post, Soups are easy to make, soups are healthy, soups are appetizing! Well...errr...No...At least that doesn't hold true with me and hubby. Infact, we feel soup almost fills you up and since we both like to eat something "solid" always, most of the time we skip having soup when we go out. Even at home, i would make a soup very rarely. But since winters are here, feels nice to dig into that warm bowl and hence i made a simple tomato soup along with Matar Bhaat (i will post that recipe next). Tomato soup, Matar rice and papad is how my hubby has been eating it all these years. I don't really know if it's a Vidarban way of eating, but it surely tastes awesome.

Everyone knows the recipe of a tomato soup. Yes, it's the most easy and most common soup. But i wanted to post the recipe, just because it came out very well and this time, i had cream at hand. So, the soup tasted even better :) Tomato soups taste different at different places. Sweet, sour, tangy, creamy, the variations are immense. You can make it thick or make it to a thinner consistency. The taste also varies according to how the tomato is - Red, ripe, soft, raw, fresh, yellowish etc. 

Recipe adapted from : Dassana 


Tomatoes - (Preferably red and ripe) 4
Butter - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1 small (chopped)
Garlic - 3 (crush to a paste in mortar and pestle)
Cream - to garnish
Salt- to taste
Pepper - to taste
Maida - 1 tbsp (optional)
Water - 1 1/4 cup or as required according to choice to maintain consistency


Boil enough water in a pan, that the tomatoes get completely immersed in water. Once the water comes to boil, add tomatoes, let it boil for another 2 minutes and then put lid. Close off the gas and let it stand for 15-20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, you will see the skin of the tomatoes peeling off naturally. Take out the skin.

Now make a puree of the tomatoes. Heat butter in a pan, add garlic. Once they turn brown, add onions. Fry them well.
Now add the tomato puree. Let it come to a boil and then add the maida. It will become a thick puree. Now add water as the consistency required and let it simmer for a while.

Mix in salt and pepper according to taste. Garnish with cream or butter as per liking.

Note: You can also add a bay leaf to the butter (just to enhance the taste)

If you have bread croutons or soup sticks, nothing like it. 

Enjoy this warm easy soup anytime in winters :)

Happy Cooking! :)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Chicken Curry

People always say that it becomes difficult when you marry a person with different food habits. Just as, i am a vegetarian (egg-etarian) and my husband is a non-vegetarian. Well, i guess it doesn't remain an "issue" when you take food as food (and don't really categorize it), and respect what the other person likes or dislikes. Like our day-today meals are vegetarian, but i make sure i make one non-vegetarian dish on weekend, just to satisfy hubby's cravings. At times, when we go out, i insist that he eats chicken or meat and i love it when he enjoys it. So, we maintain a balance of our habits and things become simpler.

Last weekend, i made Chicken curry. I don't really like to give names to a curry as the basic ingredients are always the same - onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger. What differs is the spices (masalas) that you add. It brings out a different taste and flavour to the onion-tomato paste. The last time, i had posted Kaala Masala Chicken curry recipe, this time i kept it quite simple and didn't add any special masalas but the regular kitchen masalas that we have. Guess keeping minimalistic is always the key ;)


Chicken pieces - 250 gms
Onions - 3 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Garlic - 8-10 pieces
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Red chillies - 2 (optional). 
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Corriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Water - as required
Asafoetida - a pinch

To marinate :
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
salt - a pinch


Wash the chicken pieces and marinate it with ginger garlic paste, lemon juice and salt and keep aside for an hour. You can cover it with a cling foil and refrigerate or just keep it aside till you make your masalas.

Roughly chop the onions and heat little oil on tava and fry the onions till they turn golden brown. Make sure the onions don't burn.

In a mortal and pestle, crush the ginger and garlic together.

Burn the whole tomatoes directly on flame (As we burn brinjal while making Baingan Bharta). This way, the tomatoes get a burnt/smoked flavour. Remove the skin if it has already come out, or use it as it is. Chop the tomatoes roughly when cooled.

Let the onions cool down and make a paste of it in mixer grinder (Add little water only if needed, or else avoid).

In a kadhai, heat 3 tbsp oil, add the red chillies and asafoetida. Now add the onion paste and fry till it becomes more brown. 

Meanwhile, make a paste of tomatoes in mixer-grinder. The paste should be smooth.

Now, add the crushed ginger-garlic to the onions and fry for about a minute.

Then add the tomato paste and mix well.

Now add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, corriander powder and some salt. Mix it all well and keep frying the masala till oil starts leaving the sides (takes about 20-25 minutes). Keep adding water little by little (from the sides, and not in the middle) when the masala starts to thicken and become sticky. 
Don't add a lot of water at a time, as the masala would lose the colour and look.

Now add the chicken pieces, and mix well so that the pieces are quoted well with the masala.

Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Now, add garam masala and adjust salt.

Add water to the desired consistency (from the sides) and cook uncovered till the chicken is done.

I served it alongwith Bhaakri (the traditional Maharashtrian bread), but it can be eaten with chapati/paratha or even rice as per your choice.

Enjoy this simple chicken curry :)

Happy Cooking :)