Friday, January 30, 2015

Palmiers.......Cute Little Hearts Cookies

Palmiers is a French Pastry which is also known as Elephant Ears or Angel Wings because of its shape. It is extremely light, flaky, caramely and buttery. Each time I bake Palmiers, I just fell amazed that how effortless and painless its recipe is. It's a perfect snack to munch on when you want something to eat during those odd hours of the day. 

These cookies are made up of puff pastry which is a dough wrapped around butter so the butter gets completely enclosed within the dough which is then rolled and folded over to double the number of layers and then the whole process is repeated. The number of times you repeat this process the more flaky your pastry will become. But making puff pastry at home is a very time consuming process and needs a lot of elbow greasing. Thanks to the frozen puff pastry sheets available at the supermarkets these days.

Making Palmiers at home becomes super easy if we have frozen puff pastry sheets in our freezer. You just need to thaw them, roll them, sprinkle granulated sugar and bake them. Ta-dah you're done! I know it's very difficult to resist until they cool down. I myself can't stay away from them for long. 

So let's get started:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nargisi Kofta Curry

Mughlai Cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the Indian subcontinent. It's origin can be found back in Mughal empire where exotic dishes were prepared in the royal kitchens. Many of the dishes in Indian cuisine are influenced by their imperial cooking style.

Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the generous use of ground spices, nuts and dry fruits which make the dish quite spicy and give it a very unique aroma. The rich flavors and the exotic aroma are so tempting that can make any food loving person carve for more. 

The name of the dishes in this cuisine are so alluring that they invite you to try them out at least once. Whether its Biryani, Kofta, Korma, Shorba, Nihari, Haleem or Kebabs we love them all and usually end up licking our fingers. A huge thanks to the Mughal dynasty who introduced us to the special ingredients and techniques used in this form of cooking. 

We both are huge fans of Mughlai Cuisine and that's the reason our Sunday's are incomplete without Biryani and Shorba. I have already posted few recipes from this cuisine; you may check them out:
Today I'm again posting a delicacy from this cuisine which is Nargisi Kofta Curry. The term "Nargisi" is derived from the word "Nargis" which refers to "Narcissus"; a winter flower which has a yellow center with white petals around it just like a boiled egg. These koftas are hard boiled eggs coated with minced meat and then cooked in a gravy. When you cut the kofta it resembles the Nargis flower. There are two parts in making this recipe firstly making the koftas and then the sauce. The sauce can be a simple tomato based gravy or a Makhni sauce which enhances the flavors of these koftas. I prefer tomato based gravy over Makhni gravy to keep flavors intact yet adding a subtle richness to the gravy.

So let's start preparing this exotic dish:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Skinny Mango Cheesecake.........A Cheesecake Without Cheese

By now you all know that I have a ginormous sweet tooth. My dinner is not complete unless I have a bowl of anything sweet. But whenever I eat anything sweet I always get a guilt feeling that how much calories its been adding up! This feeling turns me upside down and muddle up the state of bliss.

There was a time when we would gobble up everything without even giving a second thought. That was the time we never thought how would we look like in our profile pic. Well, time changes so do our thoughts. 

I'm a huge fans of Cheesecakes, aren't you? But we all know that cheesecake adds a lot of calories in your waistline.......Sigh :(. So, I decided to cheat these "Caloricious Cheesecakes" without any "Cheese" content in it. Yes, you heard it right: "A Cheesecake Without Cream Cheese". It not only helps you to get rid of that "guilt" but it does full justice to the taste of an original Cheesecake. Isn't that great!

This recipe is very easy and requires very few ingredients. It is also a party pleaser which can be prepared in advance. So let's dig into this recipe of making my version of "Skinny Mango Cheesecakes":

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cream Horns

From past one and half month I'm just roaming around my oven. I know that but I'm so addicted to it that I become helpless when it comes to baking. The aroma of freshly baked cakes, cupcakes and cookies pulls me towards my oven. 

Whenever I go to my nearby grocery store I always get stick to the bakery section those cute little cupcakes, beautifully decorated cakes, freshly baked breads magnetize me. I can fell the magnetic properties of that section. My husband literally drags me out of there. Anyway enough of rambling lets come back to today's recipe.

Cream Horns or Kremrole is a pastry made with flaky or puff pastry and filled with flavored whipped cream. My husband love them but the saddest part is we don't get them in our local grocery store. We get them in an Asian Store tough. I'm not a big fan of these cute little pastries, last time when we bought it , they somehow invited me and compled me to try one; that day I decided to try them at home. But I was not having molds or funnels for making the cream horns then I "Googled" a little bit and got the idea to make these cutie pies without molds.

So let's start making these Cream Horns without molds:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Malpua....Sweet Indian Pancakes

As I mentioned in my last post that I'm celebrating "Poush Sankranti" or "Makar Sankranti" on my blog so this will be my last recipe to celebrate the same. We Bengalis celebrate this festival with Pithe-Payesh. Since childhood I have seen my Mom and Grandma to make different varieties of "Pithe". Among them Patisapta (Indian Rice Flour Crepes) and Malpua (Indian Sweet Pancakes) were my favorites. I used to call them Dosa Pithe (as they look like Dosas) and Bhaja Pithe respectively.

I learnt the skill of making Pithe from my Mom. But this year I tried two very unusual Pithes; Hridoy Horon Pithe and Golap Pithe. They not only include cooking but crafting too. As far as their taste is concerned they are ambrosial. I have already posted the recipes of Hridoy Horon Pithe and Golap Pithe. Check them out :)

To wrap up this festival I decided to make Malpua. It is fennel flavored sweet Indian pancakes dipped in sugar syrup and when served with Rabri, believe me its just a slice of heaven. There are many variations and proportions used for this recipe but I'm penning down what I learnt from my Mom.

Let's begin:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Golap Pithe.......Edible Rose Garden

As I'm celebrating "Poush Sankranti" or "Makar Sankranti" on my blog so my posts are revolving around "Pithe". Let me just give you an idea of what this festival is all about, so basically its a major harvesting festival which is celebrated in many parts of India. As India is a very diversified country, this festival is celebrated in many regions but with different names: 

Assam==> Bhogali Bihu
Andhra Pradesh==> Makara Sankranti
Bihar, UP and Rajasthan==> Sankrat
Gujarat==> Uttrayan
Goa and Maharashtra==> Makar Sankranti
Himachal Pradesh==> Magha Saaji
Karnataka==> Suggi
Kerala==> Pongal
Punjab==> Maghi
Tamil Nadu==> Pongal
Goa and Maharashtra==> Sankrant
West Bengal==> Poush Sankranti

I believe it really doesn't matter how a same festival is being celebrated in different regions, but what counts is same level of happiness that it brings along.

We Bengalis celebrate it with "Pithe-Payesh". For those who don't know what is "Pithe" so let me introduce it to you its basically a type of cake or dimsum common in the Eastern India and Bangladesh. They are made up of rice flour or wheat flour batter (or dough), stuffed with sweet or savory ingredients and then cooked and "Payesh" is rice pudding which is made with "Nolen Gur" (date palm jaggery) available only this time of the year.

To keep the spirit up of this festival I chose a very unique dessert called "Golap Pithe". It involves not only "Cooking" but "Crafting" too and when these two combine they give a recipe which pleases your mind aesthetically.

So let's begin:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hridoy Horon Pithe.....A Heart Stealing Delicacy

The foodies just need a reason to celebrate and slurp some of the sumptuous delicacies. Whether it's Holi, Diwali, Eid, Christmas or a simple weekend, we don't miss any chance to cook and then wolf it down. But this time for sure we have a reason. Yes, it's "Makar Sankranti" or "Poush Sankranti" (in Bengali) which is a major harvest festival in many parts of India. In Eastern India this festival is also called as "Poush Parbon" or "Poush Sankranti" as this festival marks end of the month "Poush". 

During this auspicious time of the year several desserts are prepared using freshly harvested paddy, nolen gur (date palm jaggery) and coconuts which are called as "Pithe" or "Pitha". The sweet shops in Kolkata are bursting with the sweets made up of "Nolen Gur". Every household is filled with the aroma of Pithe at this time of the year.

I grew up seeing my Mom and Grandma making these pithe. They use to spend their whole day (of Sankranti) making several types of pithe and payesh (rice pudding); I'm just following their footsteps. Well, I have to also confess that I don't make so many varieties of pithe-payesh but I do make three to four varieties. 

Pithe or Pitha is a type of cake or dimsum common in the Eastern India and Bangladesh. They are made up of rice flour or wheat flour batter (or dough), stuffed with sweet or savory ingredients and then cooked. 

"Hridoy Horon Pithe" is a very palatable and easy on the eye delicacy. "Hridoy Horon" is a bengali term which means "Heart-robbing". This dessert literally steals your heart when you look at it. When I made it at the very first time, trust me I couldn't have it, not because it didn't turn out well but due to its exceptional and affectionate look. Anyway that's another story :)

So, let's start with this heart stealing recipe of the pithe:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vegetable Chop (Vegetable Croquettes)...........A Winter Must-Have


There's no doubt that Kolkata is the hub of street foods. It is one of the friendliest cities for street food lovers. Vendors selling Fuchka (Pani Puri), Jhal Muri (spiced puffed rice), Bhel Puri, Ghugni Chaat, Chowmein, Egg Rolls (and the list goes on) can be found at every nooks and corners of the streets. 

Bengali's love to enjoy their evening tea with "Muri and Telebhaja" (Puffed rice with deep fries). These so called "Telebhaja" can be Aalur Chop (Potato Croquettes), Mochar Chop (Banana Blossom Croquettes), Dimer Chop (Egg Croquettes), Macher Chop (Fish Croquettes) etc....etc......

"Chop" is nothing but Cutlets or Croquettes. They are small, cylindrical shaped, stuffed with minced meat, mashed potatoes or mixed vegetables. They are then dipped into corn flour batter, rolled in breadcrumbs and then deeply fried. It doesn't matter whether it's vegetarian or non-vegetarian variety they all have different taste and equally tempting. They serve as a great appetizer and a complete party pleaser. 

Today I'm going to share Vegetable Chop which are stuffed with mixed vegetables and they pair well with tomato ketchup and finely chopped salad :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Gajar Ka Halwa.......A quintessential dessert of Indian Winters

A very Happy New Year to all my readers. May this new year flourish with new discoveries, wonderful inspirations and happiness to fulfill all your desires. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and enjoyed with your near and dear ones.

I know last week I was bit irregular in posting since there was so many things going on at my end. It was my husband's birthday so we hosted a small party at our home followed by a Christmas potluck, a dinner invitation at our friend's place, prepping for the new year celebrations and finally welcoming the new year.

There are few food items which are specially prepared in winters and without which the winters are incomplete; "Gajar Ka Halwa" is one of them. Back in India, marriages and parties during winter are incomplete without it. Such is the influence of this delectable dessert.

There are many variations of this recipe like microwave version, pressure cooker version, sugar free version blah...blah...blah but this tastes best when it's made in a traditional way, where grated carrot is slow cooked in milk and then a generous amount of ghee, khoa and dry fruits are added to it. This makes the recipe very rich in calories. I need to confess here that I'm not that much calorie conscious but yes, I do care about my waistline.

During winters those red, sweet and long carrots can be found copiously and my mind starts drifting shall I have them in salads or make some Gajar Ka Halwa out of those. After having a prolonged dilemma I manage to convince myself to indulge into this sinful bowl of Halwa. Whenever I have a bowl it makes me feel guilty :( So, I tried to keep this recipe low in calories as much as I can. 

So, let's relish this bowl of bliss: