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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Meetha Paan Shots/ Betel Leaf Shots


So today had to go for a potluck brunch but wasn't sure till the end if I will be able to make it for the brunch or no. So hadn't planned anything ahead of time. Also my very enthusiastic friends who all are by the way great cooks too, had already declared what they were going to get. And my desert plan flopped because there were already 2-3 deserts. All of a sudden struck a nice “after the meal” idea, Meetha Paan (Betel leaf mouth freshener) but again didn’t want to go to the traditional way. So decided to make nice little paan shots. I didn’t have fresh betel leaves or paan at home but had nice crushed ready-made Kolkata meetha paan so used it instead of fresh one but didn’t notice any difference in the taste at all (sometimes semi-homemade cooking is good and easy). Obviously since it was for brunch couldn’t add any alcohol to these “shots” but still they were as tasty as they would taste with alcohol. So here we go!!!

Ingredients:

  1. Readymade Paan Mukhwas (crushed): ½ Cup 
  2. Vanilla Ice-cream: 1Cup
  3. Chilled Milk: ½ to 1 Cup (for grinding) 
  4. Saunf/ Aniseed: 2-3 Tbsp. 
  5. Green food color: 4-5 Drops (optional) 
  6. Crushed Ice: ½ Cup (optional) 
  7. Shot glasses: 20


Method:

  1. Take out vanilla ice-cream from the freezer and keep it out for around half an hour. 
  2. Now put ice-cream, crushed paan mukhwas, milk, 1½ Tbsp saunf (keep rest for garnishing) and crushed ice (optional) in a mixie bowl. 
  3. Grind it till everything is well incorporated. 
  4. Now put green food color and grind again. This is an optional step altogether. 
  5. Take shot glasses and fill them ¾. Garnish each cup with little saunf. 
  6. If you are going to use them immediately you may keep them open in the refrigerator.
  7. Since I wanted to use them the next afternoon, I cling wrapped each shot glass and put it in the tray which I was going to carry it along with me to the venue.
  8. I refrigerated it overnight and in the morning took the tray outside and filled the tray with ice cubes, so they were served chilled. Also they didn’t move much in the transit. I cling wrapped the entire tray for more safety.
The shots were a big hit and everyone wanted more than one. Since I had expected it, I had already carried extra cups for the party.


Note:  

  1. Since I had to take it for the brunch I didn’t add any kind of alcohol in it. However, if you plan to serve it post dinner and you have guests who drink alcohol beverages, you may add around 90ml vodka while grinding other ingredients.
  2. I have heard even white rum tastes good in these shots, never tried though.
  3. Today after having these shots, one friend suggested we may add mint ice-cream instead of vanilla ice-cream and I loved that idea too. Haven't tried it yet but maybe next time I will try it.
  4. If you have all the ingredients for making any kind of meetha paan, please use them instead of readymade mukhwas.
  5. I got these shot glasses from Dollar store. 24 for $1.00, isn't it a great deal?
Please try these super easy shots for your next party and surprise your guests with it. 
My MIL tried it and sent the picture to me :)

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Also check my Paan Laddos recipe too. 

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Instant Shahi Tukada


Today I’m writing my 20th recipe and feeling really happy about it. This mark was achieved in less than 2 months. I’m thankful to each and every person who motivated, helped and encouraged me to start this blog. So to celebrate this day wanted to make something which is really close to heart and couldn't think of anything else but this Royal Sweet Dish called Shahi Tukada, only with my version of it is called as instant shahi tukada.

As a kid I always loved an awesome delicacy called Shahi Tukada which my mother used to make once in a while. Feast for sure. She used to make it with rabadi which used to take like forever to make. Sometimes she used to make it with left over rabadi or basundi. Yummy in our tummy!!!! When I started instant 2 min rabadi here in the US she was really curious about the outcome but loved it in the end. Win-win situation. Now the next step to instant rabadi obviously was shahi tukada with rabadi. However, I don’t know why but I was little skeptical of the outcome. Tried it the other day and wow the outcome indeed was the same as traditional shahi tukada. As always my two guinea pigs (hubby and a 3.5yr old toddler) were ready for a taste test and I passed. So thought of sharing it with you all. Hope you love it too. Here you go!!!!

Ingredients:

  1. Bread slices: 4-6
  2. Milk: 1 ½ Cup
  3. Sugar: ½ Cup
  4. Green cardamom powder: 1 Tsp
  5. Clarified butter/ Ghee: 8-10 Tbsp. 
  6. Almonds: 8-10 (blanched, peeled and sliced) 
  7. Pistachios: 8-10 (blanched, peeled and sliced) 
  8. Rose water: 1-2 Tbsp. (optional) 
  9. Warm Rabadi: 2 Cups
Method:
  1. Take bread slices and with the help of any cookie cutter or mold (heart shape, circle, triangular etc.) cut shapes out of them. Traditionally it is cut in triangular shapes.
  2. Chop the nuts and keep them aside.
  3. Take milk in a non-stick pan and add sugar to it. Now add cardamom powder. Warm the milk on medium-law flame, keep stirring it continuously. Scrape the sides too and now let the milk boil. At this time if you like rose flavor, put rose water in the milk and stir it (this step is completely optional)
  4. Now take another non-stick pan and put ghee in it. Put bread slices in the ghee and shallow fry it till nice golden-brown color. Drain all the ghee and put it in the milk. Traditionally it is deep fried but I wanted to keep it little healthy and with less calories so I shallow fried the bread, choice is yours if you want to deep fry it.
  5. Take the bread slices out of the milk and put them aside.
  6. Now take serving plate and put prepared rabadi as a base. I have a very easy recipe for instant rabadi. You may want to click on the link for this rabadi. Put bread slices which were dipped in milk, top it with more rabadi and nuts. 
  7. Serve it chilled or warm, choice is yours.
  8. Presenting to you a very healthy yet quick recipe of our favorite and royal sweet dish.
If you like this recipe, give a thumps up and please share it with others. Happy Cooking!!!! 

Please leave your comments and suggestions about this recipe. We welcome your feedback.

Related recipes: 


Homemade Desi Ghee with Unsalted Butter


When I first came to the US few years back I had brought the homemade desi ghee with me. Obviously it didn’t last for a long time and I ended up buying ghee from Indian grocery store. Did I like the taste? Yes and no, since didn’t have any other option. One day a friend of mine told me about the magic of unsalted butter which transforms it into our own desi ghee or tup (in Marathi language) or clarified butter. I was so excited to try it. We always have unsalted butter in the house so tried it and voila yes it was our own desi ghee. Couldn’t stop thanking her enough. She made my life easier and tastier. Here you go with step by step description of this most easy recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. Unsalted Butter: 4 Sticks (1Lb) 
  2. Tulasi leaves- 3-4 (optional) 
  3. Cardamom/ choti ilaychi: 2 (optional) 
  4. Water: 1-2 Tsp



Method:

  1. Take a heavy and thick bottom pan.
  2. Put all the sticks of butter (room temperature) to the pan.

  3. Switch on the gas on the medium to low setting. 
  4. In less than 2min the butter will melt. Now put the gas on the lowest possible setting. 
  5. Keep stirring in between and after it starts to leave its foam add tulasi leaves and crushed cardamom powder to the ghee. Adding these ingredients is completely optional. But it surely leaves a nice aroma to the ghee.
  6. Once the foam starts clearing off and you can see the bottom of the pan, sprinkle a tea-spoon of water in the ghee. If it bubbles and makes cracked kind of sound, your ghee is ready. If not let it simmer for couple of minutes more and repeat the water test.

  7. Once the ghee is ready, you may want to let it cool down a little bit before you transfer to a glass jar/ bottle.
  8. Your glass jar/ bottle has to be extremely dry and clean. If you feel it’s damp, microwave the empty bottle for a minute or so. Or alternatively you may want to keep it in a preheated oven just for a minute or so. 
  9. If you wish you may filter this ghee and then transfer. I do not like to filter it since we like the flavor of tulasi leaves to remain in the ghee for a longer time.
  10. Pour the ghee in the glass bottle but do not put lid immediately. Otherwise the lid will have moisture and it may spoil the ghee. 
  11. Take out some ghee for regular use and refrigerate the rest. If you have made a big batch then put it in two different bottles and freeze one of the bottle for the future use. This will be good for more than 2 months. 
  12. Do not put damp or wet spoon in the ghee otherwise it will be spoiled in no time.

Note:

  1. Recently found out that you can make this ghee in microwave too. Just keep room temp. butter sticks in a big microwave safe bowl and microwave it on full power for about 12-14 min, stirring it occasionally. Once it changes the color, take it out. Obviously every microwave is different so keep a close eye on it. 
  2. Also got to know about pressure cooker method. Keep the sticks in a pan and keep it in the pressure cooker on the lowest possible setting. Since it will be on the lowest setting, it won’t whistle. However as soon as it starts leaving bubbles switch the gas off and your butter will be ready. 
  3. Some people also make it with salted butter but I have never tried that one.

Found all these recipes useful and easy. If you like this recipe, give a thumps up and please share it with others. Happy Cooking!!!! 

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Instant Khajuri Shahi Tukada/ Double ka Meetha



Ok so again the same craving. Something sweet but something different and should be healthy too. How is it possible every time? You know what, it is possible. Dates (Khajur) has all the good qualities and it helps you to increase your Hemoglobin levels in your blood stream. So decided to try something with it along with assorted nuts. This time master chef came to my rescue. So made this instant khajuri shahi tukada and just came to know today that it is also called as Double ka Meetha in AP, India. Traditionally it is also called as Khajuri Shahi Tukada and the bread is deep fried in ghee, but to keep it little simple and healthy I have shallow fried it. Hope you all like my version of this recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. Bread slices: 4-6
  2. Milk: 1 ½ Cup
  3. Sugar: ½ Cup
  4. Green cardamom powder: 1 Tsp
  5. Seedless Dates/ Khajur: 8-10
  6. Clarified butter/ Ghee: 8-10 Tbsp. 
  7. Almonds: 8-10 (blanched, peeled and sliced) 
  8. Pistachios: 8-10 (blanched, peeled and sliced) 
  9. Rose water: 1-2 Tbsp. (optional) 
  10. Warm Rabadi: 2 Cups

Method:

  1. Take bread slices and with the help of any cookie cutter or mold (heart shape, circle, triangular etc.) cut shapes out of them.
  2. Cut the dates in very small pieces. If you feel the dates are little hard then microwave them for 10-12 sec. 
  3. Chop the nuts and keep them aside.
  4. Take milk in a non-stick pan and add sugar to it. Now add cardamom powder. Warm the milk on medium-law flame, keep stirring it continuously. Scrape the sides too and now let the milk boil. At this time if you like rose flavor, put rose water in the milk and stir it (this step is completely optional)
  5. Now take another non-stick pan and put ghee in it. Put bread slices in the ghee and shallow fry it till nice golden-brown color. Drain all the ghee and put it in the milk.
  6. Take the bread slices out of the milk and put them aside.
  7. Take a bowl and mix dates and chopped nuts together. Make a pattice of this mixture.
    Since I cut the bread in heart shape, I made date pattice in heart shape too. 
  8. Now take serving plate and put prepared rabadi as a base. I have a very easy recipe for instant rabadi. You may want to click on the link for this rabadi. Put one slice of bread which was dipped in milk and then put date pattice and top it with one more milk bread. 
  9. Top it with rabadi and garnish with dates and nuts.
  10. Serve it chilled or warm, preference is yours.
  11. Presenting to you a very healthy yet quick recipe of our favorite sweet. 
If you like this recipe, give a thumps up and please share it with others. Happy Cooking!!!! 

Please leave your comments and suggestions about this recipe. We welcome your feedback.

Monday, January 5, 2015

कैरीचे लोणचे/ Raw Mango Pickle (Maharashtrian style)


कैरीचे लोणचे or Maharashtrian mango pickle…yummy, mouthwatering etc. etc. Whenever I think of it, this is what happens to me. I’m sure just like me you all must be thinking about it the same way. Lol. Just like other Maharashtrian delicacies, I used to feel this raw mango pickle must be very hard to prepare. But with little bit of cheating i.e. by using readymade pickle masala, my life became easy. Everyone loved it. So here we go. Quick and easy recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. Raw mango: 1 Kg or 2.20 Lb. (Finely chopped in small dices) 
  2. Readymade pickle masala: 100 Gm 3.5Oz
  3. Salt: 125 Gm or 2/3 Cup
  4. Oil: Around ¾ to 1 Cup (I prefer vegetable oil) 
  5. Mustard seeds/ Mohari: 2 Tbsp. 
  6. Asafoetida/ Hing: 1Tsp. 
  7. Turmeric powder/ Halad: 1Tsp.  

Method:

  1. Take raw mango and peel it. Cut it in fine dices or in small cubes.
  2. Put it in a glass jar or bottle. 
  3. Measure the salt and put in in the jar.
  4. Put the entire packet of pickle masala to this and stir everything properly. 
  5. Now take a kadhai or wok and put oil in it. I prefer vegetable oil, however, you may take oil of your choice except olive oil.
  6. Put mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add asafoetida and turmeric powder to the tempering (Phodani). 
  7. Let the tempering (Phodani) cool down completely.
  8. Once the oil mixture has cooled down completely, put it in the mango mixture and stir it well.
  9. Your कैरीचे लोणचे or raw mango pickle is ready.
  10. Usually it takes at least 12 hours for mangos to absorb all the flavors from masala and oil. So definitely give it enough time to absorb all the flavors. 
  11. Serve it with roti at the time of any meal. You may serve it with any parantha, poha, cutlets or with any snack item
  12. This pickle will last longer if you put tight lid every time and if you don’t put wet spoon in it. This pickle will remain good outside the refrigerator for more than 15 days. If you are making in a large quantity, make sure you keep it in 2 different containers. One for every day use and keep the other one in the refrigerator for later use.

Note:

By using the same masala you can make any vegetable pickle. Mix vegetable pickle (भाज्यांचे लोणचे) or carrot pickle (गाजराचे लोणचे) are the most popular ones. You will need to add around 3-4 Tbsp. of lemon juice while making the vegetable pickle. It will retain the color and also will increase the shelf life of it. Always refrigerate vegetable pickle.  

Don’t forget to enjoy this yummy & authentic Maharashtrian side dish during the meal. If you like this recipe, give a thumps up and please share it with others. Happy Cooking!!!! 


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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Instant Rabadi


I love all kinds of sweets. I do have a sweet tooth and so does my 3 year old son. So I’m always in a hunt of new and easy recipes of desert. The other day I happened to read an instant rabadi recipe posted by Poonam’s kitchen and instantly fell in love with the recipe.

My mother used to make rabadi on the cooking gas with 5 liters of whole milk and she used to reduce it to around 2 liters in the end. Yummy!!!! Can’t forget that taste. 

So when I tried this instant rabadi recipe for the 1st time, it just reminded me of my mom’s rabadi but instead of spending 2-3 hrs, I spent just 2-3 minutes on it. Thanks to Poonam’s kitchen. I made few minor changes to the original recipe and it was a big hit on all the occasions. Recently made it on the New year’s eve and instant rabadi was an instant hit :)

Ingredients:

  1. Sweetened condensed milk: 14 Oz can
  2. Ricotta cheese (Fat Free or Part Skim): 15 Oz can
  3. Cardamom powder: ½ Tbsp. 
  4. Pistachios: ¼ Cup (finely chopped) 
  5. Slivered Almonds: 8-10 
  6. Cashews: 10-12
  7. Saffron: ½ Tbsp. 
  8. Warm Milk: ¼ Cup

Procedure:

1.    Take a big bowl.
2.    Add ricotta cheese. (see the notes at the end of the recipe)
3.    Add full can of sweetened condensed milk to ricotta cheese. If you like it less sweet, you may add around 10 Oz of it.
4.    Add all the dry fruits to it. Keep some finely chopped pistachios and almonds for garnishing later.
5.    Put cardamom powder.
6.    Take warm milk and put some saffron strands in it. Stir it well and add this milk to the above mixture.
7.    Stir everything well with whisk till all the ingredients are incorporated well in each other.
8.    Put the lid and put it in the refrigerator for serving. Alternatively, you may put rabadi in disposable cups and garnish with pistachios and slivered almonds. Put cling wrap on each cup and refrigerate it.


9.    Serve it chilled. You may microwave it for 15 to 20 seconds before serving if you want it to be warm. It tastes good in any form.


Note:

1.    I usually use “part skim” ricotta cheese. The original recipe calls for a full fat ricotta cheese. However, I felt it was too thick to consume after refrigerating it. Also we felt it was little powdery. It was my family’s observation so I started to use partly skimmed version of it. Part skimmed cheese obviously has less calories so I prefer to use it. It is totally up to you if you wish to use full fat ricotta cheese.


2.    Before chopping the almonds, soak them in warm water for about 15-20 minutes. This will ease out the process of taking the cover off and cutting them.
3.    If your pistachios have dry skin on them, please take it off before chopping them. That dry skin doesn't have any pleasant taste.

You may eat this rabadi with warm jalebi, gulabjamuns or with malpua. Also you may freeze it in kulfi molds to make it nice milk kulfi. Obviously it tastes the best when consumed just like that without any additional items. Presenting to you a very healthy yet quick recipe of our favorite sweet!!!

If you like this recipe, give a thumps up and please share it with others. Happy Cooking!!!! 

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Quick Vegetable Pulav (in pressure cooker)


We all love rice. However, if it’s nicely seasoned and if you add veggies in it, obviously it tastes better and also it’s healthy. Vegetable Pulav was one of the two dishes (2nd was simple dal-fry) which I was able to cook before marriage without any help. I was a terrible cook and I’m still trying to be a good cook. LOL. My mom had taught me how to make this simple pulav. So presenting my mom’s recipe of vegetable pulav.

Ingredients:

  1. Basmati rice (uncooked): 2 Cups
  2. Hot Water: 4 ½ - 5 Cups
  3. Onion: 1 Medium (cut in julienne or thinly sliced) 
  4. Green peas: 1/4 Cup
  5. Carrot: 1 Small (cut in julienne or thinly sliced)
  6. Corn kernels: 3-4 Tbsp. (optional)
  7. Green pepper: 1 Medium (cut in julienne or thinly sliced) 
  8. Cauliflower florets: 1 Cup (chopped) 
  9. Bay leaf: 1 Large
  10. Cinnamon stick: 1 Medium
  11. Peppercorns: 5-6
  12. Cloves: 2-3
  13. Star-anise flower: 1
  14. Cumin seeds: 1 Tbsp.
  15. Cumin-coriander powder: 1Tbsp.
  16. Ginger- Garlic paste: 1 Tbsp.
  17. Clarifies Butter: 5-6 Tbsp.
  18. Cashew nuts: ¼ Cup or just a fistful (either cut in halves or chopped in small pieces, as per your preference)
  19. Coriander/ Cilantro leaves: ½ Cup (finely chopped)

Procedure

  1. Take a large pan or wok or a pressure cooker and put 3 Tbsp of clarified butter to it.
  2. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, clove and star anise to it. Sauté nicely till the beautiful aroma of this whole Garam masala fills your kitchen. Put cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  3. Now add onion and fry it till crispy golden brown. Do not over fry it to black color.
  4. Once the onion is done, add cashews and little salt.
  5. Start adding other vegetables to it starting with green peas, green peppers, corn kernels, cauliflower and carrots. Saute them well.
  6. Now add ginger-garlic paste. Stir well.
  7. Add remaining spices like cumin-coriander powder more salt.
  8. Once the veggies are cooked, add some cilantro to it and stir well.
  9. Now add rice carefully. Stir it well. Do not stir it vigorously otherwise the rice grains will break and the pulav will lose its beautiful look.
  10. Add hot water. Add remaining clarified butter and put the lid on and let it cook. If you are using a pressure cooker, put the pressure cooker lid and hear one whistle on medium-high heat. Put the gas to lowest setting and switch it off in another minute.
  11. Once the rice is done, take the lid off. Take the rice out in a serving bowl and garnish it with the remaining coriander leaves. You may want to take out the whole garam masala or you may garnish the dish with same whole garam masala.
Presenting to you a very healthy yet yummilicious rice variety. If you like this recipe, give a thumps up and please share it with others. Happy Cooking!!!! 


Please leave your comments and suggestions about this recipe. We welcome your feedback.


Note: 

  1. You may add or omit veggies according to your choice and availability of the vegetables. Also you may use mixed frozen vegetables. Just wash them thoroughly and keep them in warm water.  
  2. Clarified butter gives an authentic aroma and taste to this pulav so as per as possible, please do not substitute in with any other oil or butter.  
  3. Please add hot water to the rice so rice will be cooked quickly.