Saturday, October 31, 2015

Besan Laddoos

It was the summer of '88. My uncle was home from his training academy and my grandmum had spent most of her waking hours in the kitchen. She lovingly doled out all his favourite dishes, and cooked enormous amounts of sweets and savouries for him to carry back. One of the many snacks in his care package was Besan Laddoo. These melt in the mouth balls of sweet, addictive goodness were the perfect pop for a quick dessert fix.
When the time finally came for his departure, and all the goodies were being packed, my granny realized something was amiss. The box of laddoos seemed much lighter than she expected. When she opened it, she was aghast! The box was completely empty! Not a crumb in sight. Uh-Oh! It was confession time! Over the past few days I had snuck into the kitchen at every possible opportunity, and popped a couple of them. And before I knew it, well, the seemingly endless supply ran out! In my defence, there were only 50!
Fast forward to the present. Hubby dear is as fond of these laddoos as I am. So I borrowed this recipe from granny. It is a healthier alternative to the traditional ghee dripping, syrup soaked ones. And as I watch the lil one sneak one into his mouth, I know we don't stand a chance! So I am gonna quickly type this out and go grab one while they are still around!


Besan                    3/4 cup
Melted Ghee         1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon
Sugar                    1/2 cup
Semolina              1/4 cup
Green cardamom     5


Powder the sugar along with the cardamoms and keep aside. Heat 1 teaspoon of ghee in a wok and roast the semolina till golden, but not brown. Empty onto a plate. Now heat the rest of the ghee in th wok and add the besan. Cook on high flame till darkens and turns red. Take care it doesn't burn, so keep stirring continuously. Add it to the semolina on the plate. Spread this mixture and let it cool till it is luke warm. Now add the powdered sugar. Shape into balls, and pop one for instant gratification ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Akhni Pulao

In the pre Internet era, I remember my mother meticulously copying recipes from library books and magazines into her diary. Those were also days when she maintained a file filled with recipes clipped from varied newspapers and publications. As a ten year old, this weekly ritual fascinated me. And in an attempt to emulate her, I started my own food file. My love affair with cooking began that day but I rarely revisited the indiscriminate clippings of those early days. 
Recently, however, I was cleaning out the trunk of books and chanced upon the old yellowing clippings. Browsing through those memories I discovered this little gem. Akhni Pulao is a one pot cousin of the Biryani, and ideal for those lazy Sunday brunches. And the quantity is sufficient to feed even last minute weekend guests. So grab a pot and impress everyone this week!

                   Chicken                         1 kg
                   Rice                               1/2 kg
                   Curds                             250 gm
                   Onions                           3
                   Potatoes                         3
                   Ginger Garlic paste       4 teaspoon
                   Garam Masala               4 teaspoon
                   Cumin seeds                  1 teaspoon
                   Oil                                  8 tablespoon

             Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add the onions. When the onions are translucent, add the ginger garlic paste, salt, chicken and garam masala. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Remove from the flame. Cool slightly and add the potatoes, curd and rice. Cover and cook again for 4-5 whistles. And your minimal fuss Akhni Pulao is now ready! Serve up with some salad and raita.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Quick Mocha Cake

I love baking. I love all its finicky measuring and obsessive temperature control. But there are some days when I still want my cake fix, but minus the long drawn complicated process. Enter the Quick Mocha Cake. Not only is this a one bowl wonder, but it also cooks in double quick time. Really win win in my opinion. Now, the purists can scoff all they want, but the proof is definitely in the eating. And this one is addictively delicious!

Whole Wheat Flour         1 and 1/2 cups
Cocoa Powder                  1/2 cup
Baking Powder                 1 teaspoon
Baking Soda                     1/2 teaspoon
Milk                                  1 cup
Vinegar                             1 tablespoon
Kahlua essence                 a few drops
Sugar                                 1 cup
Butter                                3/4 cup

Mix the vinegar and milk. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Sift all the dry ingredients together. Grease a 7 inch square baking dish. Finally, mix all the ingredients well. Pour into the prepared dish. Level it out. Microwave on full power for 7 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes more. The Quick Mocha Cake is ready.
Slather it with ganache. Or serve up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Munch it with some coffee. Or jus eat it as is!

Note: The Kahlua essence can be substituted with a mix of 3 heaped teaspoon instant coffee powder and 1 teaspoon hot water.