No Bake Cocoffee Cheesecake Shots

Its been a while I could post anything on my blog. The past 4-5 months had been crazy for Us (me, my husband) and for both of our families. It surely gave us a taste of what life is all about and who are the real loved ones around us. We are definitely blessed with the best families on the earth and we know that the Almighty is looking after us.

But now we are back on out feet and the good news is we bought a new house yayyyy… and now I have a big kitchen to get all my cooking done.. what more would a girl want than that who is a food blogger?

Time flew off and we had our 2nd Valentines as a married couple.  I am trying to keep a pattern of trying a new dish which I never have cooked in my life and which is also my BH’s (Better Half’s) favorite one. So this time I tried Paneer Tikka Sizzlers and No baking Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake Shots. I first thought of trying Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake Shots but my BH is not a big fan of Strawberries.

Here is a glimpse of the Sizzlers:

Paneer Tikka Sizzlers
Paneer Tikka Sizzlers

I also made spiced butter milk and Tomato mozzarella salad with the Paneer Tikka Sizzlers. As if this wasn’t enough that I made something for our sweet tooth too. :)

Believe me the Cocoffee Cheesecake Shot was so much decadent and yummylicious that I couldn’t resist and try other batch of Orange Ginger Flavor.. And more over, it is so simple just mix couple of ingredients and give any kind of flavor you want. Not forgetting that Cheesecakes are always rich in calories I thought of preparing it in shot glasses reducing the serving size and so reducing the calories.

Cocoffee Cheesecake Shots
Cocoffee Cheesecake Shots

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbsp of strong coffee (prepared coffee in liquid form)
  • 2 tbsp coco powder
  • 6 tsp sugar
  • 8 tsp Any kind of coco biscuits, crushed ( I used Bourbon without the cream inside it)

Note this makes approximately 8 servings if served in shot glasses so the crushed biscuits are 1 tsp per serving you can change it as per your taste.

Steps:

    • In a bowl add the room temperature cream cheese and whip for 10-12 mins to make it light and fluffy.
    • To the fluffed cream cheese add mascarpone cheese and whip until its all mixed together.
    • Then add sugar, coffee and coco powder and whip more to mix properly.
    • In shot glasses add 1 tsp of crushed biscuits then add the above mixture.

Garnish with Chocolate accents or strawberry or Cherry as per your taste.

Orange Cheesecake shots
Orange Ginger Cheesecake shots

Tips:

  • To give a different look work a little with the coco, coffee quantities and layer it as it looks in the picture.
  • You can keep the base same and instead of coco, coffee you can use any fruit based compote and layer it with the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese mixture.

Plum Cake/ Rum Cake/ Christmas Cake

Yummmm and Mom is what comes to my mind when I think of Plum Cake. It’s my Aai’s most FAVORITE  cake. Most of my Aai’s (Mom’s) Christian friends and Baba’s (Dad’s) Christian students used to bake wonderful Plum cakes at home back in India for every Christmas. Christmas also gives me my Santa memories…. ohhh it was so sweet of my Baba, Aai and surely my Sisters too.. I am the youngest in my family, my sisters used to get my wish list and to my kiddo surprise I used to get all those gifts in my stockings on Dec 24th at midnight. Less did I know that my Santa were non other than Baba, Aai, Tai and Samu. Less did I think about why does dear Santa gets gifts for me only and not my sisters? I guess I better stop here about my memories or else I am pretty sure I can write a whole book on how did this start and how it come to an end. I still tease my Baba giving him my wish list before Dec 24th of every year.. :)

Well, that was my Christmas memories but when it comes to baking Tai (my elder sister) is my Guru. I remember we baking cakes in our summer vacation in the round electric oven borrowed from our Vahini (sister-in-law) next door. In those days we used to beat butter with hands/spoons, baking cake was such a huge process then but worth it once it was baked and ready to eat ;). Watching our enthusiasm our Baba got a cooking range during my school days, can you imagine cooking range were not so common in those days in India. Infact it is still a premium Product to be owned in India but Baba bought it for us when I was in 6th grade which is like 20 years back. So by now you know that I love baking. But I had never baked Plum cake back in India. It was not until last year when my dear hubby wished to have plum cake as he had his own special memories for Christmas and he just did a ‘Farmaish’ (humble request) for this plum cake. How on earth can I say no to his ‘Humble Request’? And to my surprise there are very less recipes online that I could try so with a little google, youtube and R&D I finally came to this full-proof Plum cake recipe.

Here are couple of pictures of the cake in make!!

Initially the prep, so here is how I made caramel at home. Starts with sugar for sure!!

20 tsp sugar, sprinkle a little water over it

Start cooking over medium to high heat

Sugar starts caramelizing

Sugar bubbles…

Bubbly sugar…

Dark sugar. At this point keep half a cup water ready by you side.

dark sugar

Now let the sugar get DARKER in color, your kitchen would smell like burnt sugar. But that’s what we are looking for. So if any of your family members at home ask ‘is something burning?’ you know you are on right track!! Now be wayyyy too much cautious (I don’t want you to burn yourself) and add the water to the burnt sugar n please be as far as possible as soon as you add the water just for 30 seconds. we add water to the burnt sugar so that it stays in a liquid form rather than crystallizing.

Hot Caramel

In the above picture you can see the splattered caramel in the vessel. Now let this cool down and come to a room temperature.

Cooled Caramel

Now prepping for cake.. Sifting dry ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Now add the rum soaked nuts to this dry mixture

Nuts in dry mixture

The Heavenly Butter…. ignore the quantity that you see in the picture, I made a huge batch.

Room temperature Butter

Beating butter.. look how fluffy it should be…

Fluffy butter

Add sugar to the fluffy butter and beat more..

butter n sugar

Adding eggs and beating more n more…

Eggs in the mixture

The dark caramel dives into the mixture..

Caramel diving in

Dusting cake pan

Butter and flour dusted Cake pan
Butter and flour dusted Cake pan

Now goes the mixture in the cake pan

Ready to get baked
Ready to get baked

The Final product… Sorry but this time I cud only take picture of these two little ones!! They are so addictive!!

Plum Cake
Plum Cake

So Finally here is the recipe… enjoyyy

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup All purpose flour (Maida)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup room temperature butter (if you want to be a little generous go ahead and take 1 cup butter)
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup caramel ( home made, a real bitter one and dark in color. should be at room temperature.)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of rum soaked nuts (walnuts, black currents, dates, orange peel, lemon peel. Soak them at least for a week. )
  • 1/4 tsp Orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl sift dry ingredients: all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Save the rum and add the nuts to the dry ingredients. Keep it aside.
  • Beat the room temperature butter.
  • Then add sugar and beat more to make it fluffy. It took me somewhere around 15-18 mins.
  • Add eggs one by one, beating after every egg that has been added. Add next egg only when the previous looks pretty much blended in the mixture. Don’t add if the mixture looks curdled, if so keep on beating the mixture. (Patience is the key for baking :))
  • Add Orange zest, Vanilla essence and beat.
  • Add room temperature caramel to the mixture. Fold the mixture do not beat anymore.
  • Add the remaining rum to the mixture and fold again.
  • Finally add the dry mixture and fold in do not beat.
  • Grease a cake pan with butter and then dust with all purpose flour.
  • Now get the mixture in the preped cake pan and bake it for 30-35 mins.
  • Keep a watch after 22-24 mins on the cake by putting a knife in the center of the cake if the knife comes out clean your cake is done if not give it some more time in the oven.
  • The yummylicious Plum cake is ready to dive into. Enjoy!!!

Tips:

  • If you ‘can’ wait for a day the cake tastes more yummy after a day. Trust me!!

Kheema Samosa

Wow its already 1 year that I started blogging and I just have 12 post!! Today is my Mom’s birthday on this very occasion I started blogging. Wishing my Mom a very happy birthday and good health!!!

Its been a while I wished to try these kheema samosas but my dear hubby being a somewhat vegetarian I don’t have anyone to experiment on.. lolz. This weekend couple of friends are visiting us and I am going to experiment it on them lets hope they turn out well. (they better should!!).

Pictures were surely taken later.. and please neglect my plating.

Kheema Samosa
Kheema Samosa

Ingredients:

    • 1/2 lb Minced goat meat (any other kind of minced meat)
    • Whole garam masala (4 cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon, 1 black cardamon, 5 black pepper corns, 1-2 whole anis star)1/2 inch ginger (in form of paste)
    • 5 garlic cloves (in form of paste)
    • 2 green chillies, finely chopped.
    • 1 medium sized Onion, finely chopped.
    • 1/2 bowl frozen peas (I use frozen as they are cooked)
    • 2 tsp Oil
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust as per your taste)
    • 1 tsp garam masala.
    • 1 tsp of roasted white poppy seeds (khas khas)
    • Salt to taste.
    • 1/2 cup water.
    • 2 tsp of lime juice.
    • 2 tsp Chopped cilantro.
    • Spring roll sheets (ready made that you get in frozen aisle of any grocery stores)
    • 1 egg or 3 tsp of thick all purpose flour paste for sealing the samosas.
    • Oil for frying.

Whole garam masala in oil

saute onions
saute onions
Ready to add minced meat
Ready to add minced meat
Adding minced meat
Adding minced meat
Kheema ready to be stuffed
Kheema ready to be stuffed
Frying Samosas
Frying Samosas

Steps:

  • In a wok heat 2 tsp of oil and add all of the whole garam masala to it.
  • Then add finely chopped onions and saute it for a minute on medium flame.
  • Add ginger garlic paste to it.
  • Saute until the onions are light brown.
  • Now as the onions turn light brown add turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala and poppy seeds to it and saute for another 30 secs without letting the mixture stick to the wok.
  • To this add minced meat and saute properly until you see all the onion and masala mixture is mixed properly with the minced meat.
  • Add half cup water to this and let it cook with a lid on the wok and on a medium flame for 8-10 mins. Keep a watch and saute in between if needed this really depends on the type of wok you use.  We just have to take care that nothing sticks to the bottom of the wok and get burnt.
  • After 10 mins take off the lid and add peas to this and let it cook another 5 mins with lid.
  • Then take off the lid and if you see any moisture in the meat increase the flame to high and saute until the mixture is dry.
  • Then add finely chopped cilantro and switch off the flame.
  • Let the mixture cool and then fill the spring roll sheets with this mixture.
  • For sealing the samosas you can either used egg white or use a thick maida (all-purpose flour) paste.
  • Once done shaping and sealing all the samosas deep fry them in oil.
  • Serve with either green chutney or ketchup.

Batata Bhaaji / Dosa stuffing

I have a friend / colleague of mine who visited India and had dosa (famously called as “Indian crepes” ) most of the time in his visit. He really liked the stuffing that was served with these dosas. Matt- this one is for you!!

In Mumbai its famously called as “Batata Bhaaji” where Batata means “Potatoes” in my native language ‘Marathi’ and Bhaaji means a mixture of veggies with some spices. I guess this is the only bhaaji every veggie kid loves in his/her childhood for its simplicity and for not being very spicy. So here is a simple yet delicious recipe for Batata Bhaaji.

Batata Bhaaji Prep
Batata Bhaaji Prep

Ingredients:

  • 4 big boiled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 medium sized red onion, sliced length wise
  • 1 minced garlic clove (optional)
  • 4 green chilies, slit them length wise (adjust as per your taste)
  • 2-3 curry leaves (kadhi patta)
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds (whole)
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp Chopped cilantro for garnishing.

Steps:

  • Boil the potatoes until just tender. Don’t over cook them as it would make them mushy, also on the other hand don’t under cook them as the next steps are just to give flavor and not really cook them. I use a pressure cooker but you can even boil it in any covered pot. Peal them and cut in medium sized cubes. Chop onions, garlic and chillies keep it aside.
  • Place the cooking pot on the stove with a medium flame and add oil to it. Let the oil heat (not to a smoking point) add mustard seeds to the heated oil. Wait until the mustard seeds splatter, this is really important, as if these seeds won’t splatter then seeds would be under cooked and these tiny little things will completely spoil the dish. But hey its not that hard if the oil is perfectly hot the moment you add seeds they start splattering and if they don’t then just wait until they do. This may just take couple of seconds.
  • Then add asafoetida, minced garlic, curry leaves, chillies and then onions. These are to be added one after another in the same sequence as mentioned above.
  • Now saute until the onions changes their color to light brown.
  • Next add turmeric and salt, saute for another 15 secs.
  • Then add the cubed potatoes and mix well by well I mean all the potatoes should be covered with the mixture that was in the pot before adding potatoes.
  • Saute for another minute and switch off the heat.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve Hot!!
Batata Bhaaji
Batata Bhaaji

Tips:

  • To give it more of a south Indian taste add some urad dal after adding mustard seeds in the oil and let them turn light pink. Then continue the steps as they are above.
  • There are many variations that can be made with this, like adding minced ginger or adding one whole lemon juice if you like tangy taste.
  • I even add a little sugar with salt, very little like when you taste you should not notice there is sugar in it.
  • Have it with dosa or roti.
I enjoyed it with some dosa... yummmmm
I enjoyed it with some dosa… yummmmm

Kesar Shrikhand

Gudi Padwa comes to my mind when I think of Shrikhanda. Gudi Padwa is Maharashtrian New Year and every year at my home sweet home back in Dombivli my mom use to make yummy Shrikhanda. But that was in our childhood.. as we grew up we started buying it off the shelf.

It was only a couple of years back that I started making it from scratch as the shelf brand is not that yummy back here in the States. And hey guess what??? Its super duper easy to make and yummylicious to the taste buds… And once you know how to make the main base there are plenty options to have n number of different flavors.

To make Shrikhanda we need ‘chakka’ also known as ‘Hung yogurt’. It is easily available in India but if you are in any other place than India don’t worry keep reading ahead.. Here I will be making chakka from scratch. No rocket science is involved… all you need is yogurt and a muslin cloth also known as ‘cheese cloth’. If you have a super clean pure cotton cloth go ahead and use it but the cloth should be loosely woven as our main motto here is to drain the excess water from the yogurt. Yes, as the name suggests the yogurt should literally be hung in this muslin/cheese cloth. Also I go for a full-fat yogurt to get the right texture.

So here is the simplest recipe of Kesar Shrikhanda.

Kesar Shrikhanda
Kesar Shrikhanda

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of Desi yogurt ( Desi is a brand, but you can even use your home made yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cardamon powder
  • 1 pinch of kesar
  • 2 drops of yellow food color (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of mixed nuts ( Pistachios and almonds go well with kesar shrikhanda, though I was short of pistachios I substituted it with walnuts)

P.S.: A muslin/cheese cloth would be needed to make hung yogurt

Steps:

  • Hung the yogurt in a muslin/cheese cloth overnight. Let the water completely drain from the yogurt so that we are just left with the yogurt cheese. Next day you’ll observe that the amount of yogurt is half from what it was a day before as the half amount of water is being drained.
  • Now mix the sugar in the hung yogurt well. I use hand mixer to blend it better as the yogurt is now of a thick consistency. You can also just use a spoon to blend the sugar properly in the yogurt a good advantage of doing so is you’ll have good workout. :)
Shrikhanda under construction ;)
Shrikhanda under construction ;)
  • Once the sugar is properly blended in the yogurt add yellow food color and mix it. This step is really optional I at times avoid food color but use it when I really want to do a good presentation. So its all up to you.
  • Then add cardamon powder, kesar and nuts and mix well. You really have to do a bit of guess work here as not all cardamon powders give the same amount of aroma.. Over here we just need the cardamon aroma so kindly add it in portions because too much would make the shrikhanda bitter.
Eliachi/cardamon in Shrikhanda
Eliachi/cardamon in Shrikhanda
  • Cool it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (though you can have a couple of teaspoons right a way but it tastes more good once chilled!!)
  • Garnish with more chopped nuts before serving.
Shrikhanda
Shrikhanda

Tips:

  • Substitute Nuts, Kesar and cardamon with any kind of fruit and you can make delicious fruit Shrikhanda.

Shankarpali

Shankarpali is a snack popular in Maharashtra, India. It is traditionally enjoyed as a treat on the Diwali holiday.

It is rich in carbohydrates, making it an instant source of energy.

Do not confuse it with Shakkar para, though it has almost the same ingredients the procedure to make is different.

Shankarpali
Shankarpali

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • All purpose flour (maida, Quantity really depends on the mixture of above ingredients while kneading the dough but approximately it will be 3-4 cups)
  • Oil for frying.
Shankarpali Dough
Shankarpali Dough
Raw Shankarpali Rolled
Raw Shankarpali Rolled
Shankarpali Befor Frying
Shankarpali Befor Frying
Frying Shankarpali Just Started
Frying Shankarpali Just Started
Frying Shankarpali Almost Done
Frying Shankarpali Almost Done

Steps:

  • Heat the ghee, whole milk and sugar in a vessel until the sugar dissolves completely.
  •  Let the mixture boil for about 1 min. after the sugar is dissolved. Notice that the butter will form a layer above the milk. Do not worry this is how it should be.
  • Switch off the heat. Now transfer the mixture in a different big bowl in which you wish to knead the dough.
  • Slowly start adding the maida in the mixture. Initially use a spoon to mix maida.
  • Keep on adding maida and mix until you have a good dough. Good dough here means it should be a little tight than our regular roti dough.
  • Divide the dough in different portions.
  • Heat oil on medium heat.
  • Now take one portion and roll. The thickness of the rolled dough should be like a paratha.
  • Now make pieces of the rolled dough in diamond shape. This is usually done with a special cutter which forms curvy edges to each shankarpali. But if you don’t have it use a knife to do so, even I used a knife.
  • Now fry these diamond shaped shankarpali on medium heat. You need lots of patience to do so. By which I mean, please do not turn the heat on high as this will change the color of the shankarpali golden brown but will not be cooked through.
  • Fry these until they turn golden brown on “medium” heat.
  • Once the frying is done let the shankarpali cool and then you can store it in an air tight container.

Tips:

  • If the prepared dough is not tight enough then let it rest for about 5-10 mins.
  • Don’t wait long after kneading the dough. Because as the time goes the dough becomes more tight making it tough to roll.
  • You can use a pizza cutter to cut the shankarpali in diamond shapes.
  • After frying these can be stored in air tight container for at least 3-4 weeks and enjoyed with tea.

Chocolate Cup filled with fruit cream.

It was my first Valentines as a wife :). So I wished to make a beautiful, yummy, special, different and creative dessert. Naming it as “Chocolate cups filled with fruit cream”.

Measurements are not important here as its all up to our taste.

Chocolate Cup filled with fruit cream
Chocolate Cup filled with fruit cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Milk chocolate bar
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 20 strawberries
  • Few blueberries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tblsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 balloons

        For Strawberry wine compote:

  • 4 chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup red wine ( can skip this one)
  • 2 tsp sugar
Chocolate Cup filled with fruit cream
Chocolate Cup filled with fruit cream

Steps:

  • Blow 4 balloons.
  • Melt chocolate on a double boiler. Get it to a thick saucy consistency and let the sauce be at a room temperature before dipping balloons.
  • Dip balloons in the chocolate. To get a tulip shaped cup dip the balloon once in the chocolate and move it in top, down, left and right directions. To get a regular cup shape just dip it once in the chocolate.
  • Arrange these balloons on a butter paper and keep it to set in freezer.
  • In a bowl add mascarpone cheese, sugar and  whip it for 3 to 4 mins.
  • Then add cream to the whipped cheese and whip for another 4-5 mins.
  • Add chopped strawberries, blueberries, orange zest and vanilla essence. Mix it properly. Keep it in fridge to cool.
  • In a sauce pan add all the three ingredients for the compote and cook until the strawberry is soft.
  • Strain this cooked sauce.
  • Now take the balloons dipped in chocolate and slit the balloon to get the air out. With delicate hands get the balloon out of the chocolate cups.
  • Arrange the chocolate cup in a plate and add chopped fruits in the cup.
  • Add the fruit cream over the fruits.
  • For garnishing add a chocolate accent, one clean cut strawberry, 2 slice of orange over the cream.
  • Finally decorate the plate with the strawberry compote.
Chocolate Cup filled with fruit cream
Chocolate Cup filled with fruit cream

Tips:

  • You can be creative and add anything to the chocolate cups like chocolate pudding, chocolate mousse, etc.
  • For a healthy choice add hung flavored yogurt.
  • There are many videos on web for the chocolate cup demo, watch that once.

Misal

A month back it was Diwali.. Festival of lights. Missed my home as everyone who is away from their home misses.. Made me Nostalgic.. but on the other hand it was my first Diwali after my marriage. We received 2 huge packages from our homes beautiful sarees and lots and lots and lots of sweets and snacks. But believe me all these snacks, sweets and gifts does not compensate on the presence of our family members.

Rangoli
Rangoli for Diwali 2011

So after having all these sweets I thought it would be worth to have a super spicy misal. Every person who lives or lived in Maharashtra knows that Misal is one of the most spiciest dish. And I can also use some of the Diwali snacks.. :)

Misal prep
Misal prep

Misal (Marathi:मिसळ), meaning “mixture”, is a delicacy in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The dish is eaten for breakfast or as a midday snack or meal. It remains a very popular snack since it is easy to make, is relatively cheap and has good nutritional value. The taste of misal ranges from mildly to extremely spicy. Misal is also a popular street food

Ingredients:

Roasting Misal Masala
Roasting Misal Masala

For masala:

  • 1/2 cup grated dried coconut
  • 1/2 Medium sized Onion sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch Ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (coriander)
  • 7-8 cloves
  • 12-14 black pepper corn
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 2 aniseeds (badiyana)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tblsp Red chilli powder (yes, its not a typo mistake I said 4 table spoon of red chilli powder as Misal is generally very spicy it does require that much of it. Though if you want to make it as per your taste kindly reduce the amount as per your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

For Gravy:

Misal
Misal
  • 1 cup of dried peas (pandhara vatana)
  • 1/2 medium sized finely chopped onion
  • 5-6 Kokum (or 2 tsp of Tamarind pulp)
  • 4 tblsp Oil (Misal calls for too much of oil which finally makes the “Tavang” the oily layer above the gravy. But if you want to be a little light on oil make changes )
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 4 cups of water

For Garnishing:

Finely chopped Onion, Tomatoes and cilantro
Finely chopped Onion, Tomatoes and cilantro
  • 1 medium sized finely chopped Onion
  • 2 finely chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups Poha Chivda
  • 2 cups Farsan (I bought a store made , check for the one which has more gathiyas)
  • 1 Lime
Poha Chivda
Poha Chivda
Farsan
Farsan

Steps:

  • Soak the white peas in warm water for at least 3 hrs. and then cook in pressure cooker. Don’t cook it until the peas are mushy.
  • In a pan roast cloves, black pepper corn, jeera,  coriander seeds, Cinnamon stick, aniseeds,  bay leaves.
  • Once you get the fragrance of all the masalas add onion, garlic, ginger and cilantro and keep roasting until the onions turn brown then add dried grated coconut and roast until the coconut turns light brown.
  • Once the Coconut turns light brown add red chilli powder and turmeric.
  • Roast everything for 30 secs and then let it cool.
  • Once the roasted masala is cooled down grind it in a grinder/blender to make it a fine powder.
Misal Masala
Misal Masala
  • Add little oil if needed to grind the masala, do not add water. Keep the powder/paste aside.
  • In a big pot heat oil. Once the Oil is heated add hing and curry leaves.
  • Then add the masala and saute it for a minute.
  • Add cooked white peas. Saute for 4 minutes.
  • Add water and let it boil.
  • After 5 mins add kokum and let it boil.
  • Let it boil for another 10 minutes on medium flame.
Misal prep
Misal prep

For Garnishing:

  • In a big bowl serve the Misal gravy, just fill it half way of the bowl.
  • Then add poha chivda just 3-4 tsp and almost 2-3 tbsp of farsan.
  • Then add tomatoes, onions and cilantro as per your taste.
  • Finally add lemon juice.
  • Enjoy this ‘Misal’ (Mixture) with bread. Traditionally it is accompanied by a special bread called as “pav”.

Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

One of the most Internationally famous Indian dish is “Murg Makhani” aka. Butter Chicken. Just listening to the name itself waters my mouth… yummm!!! ‘Murg’ in the national language of India which is Hindi means ‘Chicken’ and ‘Makhan’ means ‘Butter’.

This dish was originated in the capital of India- Delhi in a restaurant called “Moti Mahal” . Butter Chicken is made mainly with a base sauce of tomatoes with tandoori chicken. Tandoori chicken is on its own a specialty.

For Tandoori chicken, the chicken is marinated in Yoghurt and seasoned with tandoori masala. It is moderately piquant in India, but the heat is reduced in most Western nations. Cayenne pepper, red chili powder or kashmiri red chili powder is used to give it a fiery red hue in the original version. A higher amount of turmeric produces an orange color. In milder versions, both red and yellow food coloring are used to achieve the color. It is traditionally cooked at high temperatures in a tandoor (clay oven), but can also be prepared on a traditional barbecue grill.

So pals here is a recipe for Murg Makhani.

Ingredients:

For Tandoori Chicken:

  • 4 Boneless, skinless Chicken breast chopped bite sized.
  • 2 tsp Ginger paste (preferably freshly grind)
  • 2 tsp Garlic paste (preferably freshly grind)
  • 1 cup hung yogurt. (you can hang usual non-flavored yogurt in a cheese cloth for 2 hours or use Greek yogurt)
  •  2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp of coriander seed and cumin seed powder.
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 2 tbsp Oil (preferably mustard oil)
  • Salt to taste.

Tip: If you want to avoid buying all these kind of masala (like: Kashmiri red chilli powder, coriander seed, cumin seed powder and garam masala) simply substitute these with 5 tsp of Shaan Tandoori chicken masala from any Indian Grocery stores.

Gravy:

  • 6-8 Plum Tomatoes (perfect red in color) chopped in cubes
  • 1/2 inch Ginger (cut into julian i.e. thinly sliced)
  • 4 whole green cardamon pods
  • 2 whole Mace (jaipatri)
  • 1/4 tsp Kasoori Methi (Dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Honey
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Steps:

Tandoori Chicken:

  • To the chicken add ginger garlic paste and salt. keep it aside for 30 mins to marinate.
  • Then in some other bowl add rest of the ingredients and whisk the paste to a smooth texture.
  • Now add the marinated chicken to this smooth paste and mix well.
  • Each and every piece of chicken should be coated with this paste.
  • Let the chicken marinate for another (minimum) 2 hours. Overnite would give the best results.
  • Pre-heat the oven on 450 degrees.
  • In a baking sheet place the marinated chicken pieces. Place in such a way that every piece has atleast 2 cm of space all around it.
  • If the marinate remains keep it aside do not throw it we can use it in our gravy.
  • Place the baking sheet with chicken in the pre-heated oven and let it bake for 20 mins (this really depends on how small or big are your chicken pieces. I am considering medium size pieces)
  • After 20 mins take the baking sheet out, brush some butter to each piece of chicken.
  • Increase the oven heat on Broiler and keep the baking sheet in the oven for another 5 mins.
  • Take out the tandoori chicken from the oven immediately and let it cool for the gravy. (chicken pieces should have dark edges)
  • Taste couple of them. Caution: They are highly addictive, don’t eat them all or else you have to eat the gravy on its own without chicken :)

Gravy:

  • In a non-stick sauce pan heat oil and 1 tbsp of butter on a medium flame.
  • Add the cardamon pods (before adding hit each of the pod so that it splits and you can see the seeds) and mace.
  • After 30 secs add tomato cubes and let it cook for 15 to 20 mins, stir in intervals of 3 mins.
  • Once you see that the tomatoes are smushing, off the heat and let it cool.
  • Once cooled, grind this mixture to a fine paste. Strain this mixture to get a silky smooth gravy.
  • Heat a non-stick wok on a medium flame. Add the rest 2 tbsp of butter.
  • Add the julian ginger to heated butter and saute for 30 secs.
  • Now add the strain mixture to the butter (if there is any left over marinate of chicken tandoori this is the right time to add in the gravy).
  • Put a lid on the wok and let the gravy cook on a medium flame for 15 mins. Stir the gravy in intervals of 4-5 mins.
  • Now take off the lid add the tandoori chicken in the gravy. Mix thoroughly and let it cook for 3 mins.
  • Now add heavy cream and stir.
  • Then add kasoori methi and stir.
  • And finally add Honey and salt to the gravy and stir for another 1 min.

Murg Makhani aka. Butter Chicken is ready to hog on with either some naan or Jeera rice. Though its a long procedure believe me it is worth every bite!!

As we say in India “Pet bharke khao” which means “Eat until your stomach is Full” :)

The first meal I prepared after my Marriage

Its been 4 months and 10 days that I am married now… :) After our marriage we were in India just for 10 days, a very short time to have some post marriage rituals and relative visits. I did not prepare more things at my in-laws place as I wanted my hubby to have his mother’s made favorite food. So after we landed in US after a beautiful honeymoon in Swiss, Belgium and Paris and shifting our stuff from one state to another I had my playground my kitchen after almost 1 month and 10 days.

First Meal
First Meal after my marriage..

And with a broken ligament in my knee all I could manage to do was this meal… Paneer pasanda, Varan bhaat, Chapati and Gulab jamun.

I will soon post the recipe for these!!