Easy Gulab Jamun

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Hello My Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing? Today, I finally got my Diwali lights out on the balcony and my son was super excited! He ran out onto the balcony saying “Wooow..so pretty! “. He was in his PJs and his little eyes twinkled in the reflection from the fairy lights. Hey do you follow me on Instagram? Cause if you do, then you can see the live photos of what I describe here. Search for A cupcake for love and you will find me. I share most of my day meals or finds on my Instagram handle and I would love to hear from you.

So Diwali is a few days from now and I did make a few sweets but I have been procrastinating and not putting up the recipes on the blog. To make amends I am starting with my ‘easy peasy’ Gulab Jamun. Now as we go move along you will notice that most of my Diwali sweet recipes include Milk Powder. This is the lazy mum’s easy way to make home made sweets, satisfy sweet tooth’s, not spend too much time in the kitchen and also enjoy the holiday. So I am not saying these are authentic in anyway, but you know what, they taste just as good and they guarantee satisfaction 🙂

So here is the recipe for my Milk Powder Gulab Jamun

Ingredients for the sugar syrup –

  1. Sugar – 1 cup
  2. Water – 1 + 1/2 cup
  3. Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
  4. Saffron – 8 – 10 strands

Instructions :-

  1. In a heavy bottom pan, combine water and sugar
  2. With the heat on medium, slowly mix the water and sugar till it dissolves
  3. Then add the cardamom and saffron
  4. Now bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the flame and let it simmer till the mixture begins to thicken (around 10 mins)
  5. Continue stirring till the sugar and water mixture thickens ( dip a ladle into the mixture and see it it coats the back in a nice thick layer )
  6. Set aside

Ingredients :-

  1. Milk Powder – 1 cup
  2. All purpose Flour/ Maida – 2 tbsp
  3. Baking Soda – 1/4 tsp
  4. Oil – for frying (depends on the vessel)
  5. Milk – 1/3 cup
  6. Butter – 1 tbsp (melted and cooled)

Instructions :-

  1. In a large bowl, combine milk powder, maida, baking soda and mix well
  2. Then add the melted butter and combine well with the flour
  3. Finally add little milk at a time and slowly knead the flour to form a nice ball ( may be a little sticky but that’s ok)
  4. Leave it to rest for 10 mins
  5. During that time heat a heavy bottom pan with oil on medium ( use enough to deep fry)
  6. Finally make tiny lemon size balls with the milk powder mixture and set aside
  7. Slowly fry these balls on medium till golden brown
  8. After you have fried them, drop it into the prepared sugar syrup ( its best if the sugar syrup is warm)
  9. Let it soak for an hour and they are ready!

Strawberry, Pistachio and Rose Lassi

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Hello my dear wonderful readers!

Did I tell you how awful last week was? And I am still hopeful that this week will be better. I haven’t started using my new camera. These photos are from the old one but I will write about the new camera soon. For now I am leaving you with this simple recipe for the perfect summer afternoon/ evening drink.

Ingredients :-

  1. Fresh Strawberries – 3 cups
  2. Thick Yogurt – 2 cups ( cold)
  3. Water – 1 cup ( cold)
  4. Rose Essence – 2 drops
  5. Pistachio – 10 – 11  (half chopped fine)
  6. Sugar – 2 – 3 tbsp ( according to taste)

Instructions :-

  1. In the bowl of your blender add all ingredients  apart from the chopped pistachio
  2. Blend for 5 – 6 mins or till the mixture is smooth and red
  3. Pour into individual glasses and garnish with chopped pistachio
  4. Serve cold

 

Beetroot and Carrot Thoran – Stir Fry with Coconut and Curry leaves

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Hello My Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? How has the week been so far. I can’t not wait for this week to end. It has been such a landslide of incidents! From my husband falling sick, to my camera dying on me during a shoot, to my phone falling from my hand and losing its display. It has all been one eventful week. My son has on the contrary been so understanding and cooperative. I think children just know when some thing is wrong and its not them just misbehaving 🙂

Now coming back to the recipe. “Thoran” is basically any vegetable (or sometimes meat)  that is cooked on high flame almost like a stir fry and is accompanied with freshly grated coconuts and a variety of tempering. In this recipe, the tempering is made up of Urad Dal- Black (gram without the skin), red chillies, loads of curry curry leaves, mustards seeds fried in a little bit of oil. This is what gives the entire dish its wonderful fresh yet spicy taste and aroma.  “Thoran” can be made with all kinds of vegetables but the spices used for different vegetables vary. For some you could use garlic and cumin seeds and others may require other spices.

In the coming weeks,  I wanna make a conscious effort to share more Malayali cooking on my blog. Also I firmly believe that pure coconut oil is a very healthy alternative to refined oils like sunflower, peanut and mustard. But thats just me 🙂 What you should know is that this dish is the perfect, light, accompaniment to a bowl of hot rice and maybe a dal or sambar.

Ingredients :-

  1. Beetroot – 3 cups ( chopped)
  2. Carrot – 3 cups (chopped)
  3. Shallots – 6 (chopped fine)
  4. Coconut Oil – 3 tbsp
  5. Urad Dal – 2 tbsp
  6. Dry Red Chillies – 4
  7. Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
  8. Fresh Desiccated Coconut – 1 cup (packed)
  9. Salt – according to taste
  10. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  11. Curry Leaves – 10 – 14

Instructions :-

  1. In a heavy bottom wok, heat oil.
  2. Once the oil is nice and hot, add the Urad dal. When the Urad Dal turns from white to light yellow add the mustard seeds
  3. This way you will fry both the Urad dal and the mustard seeds cooking and popping at the same time
  4. Now add the red chillies and the curry leaves
  5. Once the leaves have fried well, turn off the flame and with a slotted spoon, spoon out the the mixture. Make sure to drain out all the oil in the same wok. Set the curry leaves tempering aside ( we will use it at the end)
  6. Now turn on the flame again and when the oil is nice and hot add the shallots. Once the shallots are translucent add the beetroot. Give it a quick mix
  7. Cover and cook the beetroot till they are cooked half way through
  8. Then add the carrots and cover and cook till they are both cooked well. ( I find that beetroot takes a little longer than carrots to cook thats why I use this method)
  9. Finally open the cover and add salt and turmeric powder
  10. Give it a good mix cook for 2 mins on high flame
  11. Then add the fresh coconut and turn off the flame
  12. Just before you serve add the curry leaves + urad dal tempering on top of the beetroot and carrots and give it a quick mix
  13. Serve with hot rice and dal or sambar

Kesar Badami Dhoodh – Almond milk infused with saffron

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers,

It has been a crazy few weeks and I cannot begin to explain how time flies when you have a one year old at home! But amongst all the tantrums, chaos, food spilling and noise, we have our share of giggles, tickles, big wide smiles and lots of running around the couch. When most times I say oh I can’t wait for him to grow up, secretly I am saying ” I hope you never grown up”. Confused mum syndrome! LOL

So this is my favourite alternative to ice cold smoothies and juices. We usually serve it hot specially during the winter months but in summers it’s served cooooldd. My grandmother would take me to this “Bengali Sweets” shop close to home and we would have some rasmalai and one glass of this milk. I remember how she would hold my hand all the way from home to the shop. We walked slowly, looking at the blue and grey walls of the air force base, the shops and owners all waving their hands to my granny and she smiling back politely. To me, my grand mothers are the strongest and bravest women I have ever known! Even today given a chance she would walk all the way to the temple and back ( just after her hip replacement surgery). She still stays at the same house and when ever we go there, I turn to see if the old “Bengali Sweets” shop still stands and trust me, there is never a time that it isn’t crowded. The distinct smell of khoya and badam alway comes rushing to my mind as I think of the shop and the sweets there. This recipe encases a small piece of that old memory for me 🙂

Ingredients :-

  1. Milk – 1 ltr
  2. Almonds – 1 cup
  3. Saffron – one good pinch ( more like 1/4 tsp)
  4. Sugar – 4 – 5 tsp ( according to taste)
  5. Cardamom – 4

Instructions :-

  1. Heat a mug of water in the microwave and once it’s nice and hot take it out and drop the almonds into it
  2. Let it sit for a half hour. This helps to remove the skin easily
  3. Once done, simply pinch one end of the almond and the skin comes off easily
  4. Using a blender, blend the de-skinned almonds to a fine smooth paste. You could add a little milk to the almonds
  5. Now in a pot, add milk and bring to a slow boil
  6. Once it begins to boil reduce the heat and add the smooth almond paste, saffron strands, cardamom and sugar
  7. Stir the mixture a couple of times and let the mixture boil for another 10 mins
  8. Your saffron almond milk is ready. Before you serve the milk, use a spoon to fetch out the cardamom from the milk
  9. Serve hot right away or cool and chill in the fridge for later
  10. Garnish with dry rose petal and crushed pistachio for that regal feel!

Enjoy!!

 

Chemmeen Theeyal – Prawns cooked in roasted spices and coconut gravy!

Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!!

This time around I am taking you back to my roots. This recipe has been on my ‘to do’ list for quite sometime now but I honestly haven’t had the time to make it. Simply put, this one is a little tough and time consuming to make and for me this recipe is complex.

But just because I said that, please do not be dissuaded from trying this one out. If you have never tasted authentic Prawn Theeyal from Alapuzha, Kerala then trust me, you have missed out on something really unique. This dish does not use a single drop of oil. All its colour, taste, texture, flavour and aroma is derived from the roasted fresh coconuts. The prawns may also be substituted for fish, vegetables or just potatoes and cashew nuts (with certain minor changes to the recipe)

We Malayalee’s have a way of adding coconuts to everything! It’s actually quiet interesting to note that there is not a single part of the coconut tree that gets wasted! Every part finds a very unique use in our culture. The coconut itself is used in almost every Malayalee recipe, the leaves of the coconut tree are used for thatched roofs and chicken huts, the flowers are used in every Hindu Malayalee wedding, the branches are used for cooking fuel, the list is endless! So when I say, I am going to share a Malayalee dish, 99.9% chances are that there is a coconut or two used in the recipe! LOL

Now another thing with this recipe is that, this dish tastes better the day after it is made. Yes! Somehow the flavour just enhances overnight and by the next day the dish has so much more flavour and tastes divine. The recipe is divided into two, first is the roasted spice coconut and then the main dish. The roasted spiced coconut mixture (Araap) can be made in large batches and stored in the freezer. But remember you have to bring the mixture back to room temperature and then heat it a little bit in order to be used again for the recipe. Also fresh coconuts have to be used throughout the recipe an not the dry dehydrated kinds.

Ingredients for the Araap / the roasted spiced coconut mix

  1. Coconut – 1  large (grated fine)
  2. Dry Red Chilli – 4- 5
  3. Fenugreek Seeds – 4 – 5 seeds
  4. Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
  5. Curry leaves – 10 leaves ( fresh)
  6. Shallots – 10 ( cut into three)
Instructions :-
  1. In a large kadai, add the coconut and start to fry on low heat. Make sure to stir constantly and on low so that you do not burn the coconut. Roast the coconut evenly till light brown
  2. Then add the rest of the ingredients and fry till the coconut is golden brown to a little dark brown
  3. At this time you will be able to smell the coconut roast and the spice also emit a wonderful pungent aroma (it takes around 15 – 20 mins, be patient and ensure the heat is on low)
  4. At this stage turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down
  5. When the mixture is just a little about room temperate, empty into a mix jar and blitz on medium
  6. Do not add water to the mixture
  7. Open the lid at every one min interval and give contents of the jar a nice stir
  8. Finally you will see the mixture begin to become wet! that is because of the oil that comes out of the roasted coconut. This is key to the recipe. Make sure to blitz till you achieve a nice paste-like consistency
  9. Your Araap is ready!
Now to assemble the main dish
Ingredients :-
  1. Prawns – 1 kg – de shelled, de veined
  2. Coconut Pieces – 1 from one coconut ( cut to small rectangles)
  3. Green Chilli – 3
  4. Tamarind Paste – 3 tbsp
  5. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Water – 1 cup ( divided into 3)
Instructions :- 
  1. Place a khadai / Mann Chatti on medium flame.
  2. Then add the turmeric and 1/3rd of the water
  3. Once the water is hot add the coconut, green chilli and tamarind paste and bring to a boil
  4. Then add the prawns and cook for 5 mins
  5. Finally add the Araap to the mixture in the Mann Chatti and add a little more water
  6. Cover the pot and let it cook for another 5 mins
  7. Now if you see that you do not have enough gravy, add rest of the water and cook for 2 mins
  8. You will see the gravy thicken and turn from light yellow to golden dark brown
  9. Your Theeyal is ready!
  10. Serve with hot rice or crisp dosa 🙂

Lepakshi – Arise Oh Bird!

 

 

 

 

 

On a rock, the shape of a tortoise, there stood 5 separate Lingams. Each bearing its own story of how they came into existence. A pious king decided to bring them together under the guard of one stone wall and honour each lingam with its own sanctum sanatorium. Sanctioned by the kings of the Vijayanagara empire in the 1500s the two brother Viruppanna and Veeranna began building this temple to specialy honour the god Veerbhadra. The temple in itself consists of the inner temple, a dancing hall, a marriage hall that depicts the wedding of Lord Shive to Godess Parvathy, and a court yard with pillars, no two similar to each other.

The dancing hall inside the temple is held up by 70 pillars carved from the same stone that this beautiful temple sits on. Each pillar has a different designed carved into it and the main pillars show a beautiful maiden dancing under the guidance of her guru. It is in this mantapa that you will find the famous hanging pillar. 69 pillars of this hall rest on the ground, yet this one pillar remains hanging. It is said that this pillar is the key to holding the entire roof of the hall up! But sadly curiosity got the better of the Britisher who tried to move the pillar and in turn caused a chain reaction therefore ruining all the 69 pillars of the hall. The damage can be seen in every pillar, either bent, broken or crooked.

The temple is an unfinished piece of artificial magnificence. It is said that the king Achutaray had accused Viruppana for embezzling funds from the state treasury and Virupanna was to be blinded for his wrong doing. In his rage, it is said that Virupanna blinded himself and threw his eye balls on the walls of the enclosure behind the main idol of the temple. Even today there remain two holes on the wall with what appears to be a reddish blotch around it and it said to have been tested positive for human blood.

 

 

Like many other temples made during this time, this temple is also filled with stories from hindu mythology. It is said that the temple was built by Agasthya muni and he created the magestic statues of lord Ganesha, Shiva and Parvathy.

 

It is said that during the time the temple was made, the average person measured 8 feet and goddess Sita Devi was considered short.  It believed that the goddess left her foot print on the face of the rock when the great bird Jatayu sacrificed its life trying to save her from Ravana.

The carving on the rock is said to be the platter in which the architects of the building would have their meals.

 

 

This temple is a beautiful piece of history that is situated 100kms from the bustling city of Bangalore and is surrounded by farms and rocky landscape. The temple stand as a reminder that no matter how big we aspire to become or how much we dream to create, every step of the way, we must aim for greatness. Greatness not measured by another appreciation but a greatness that we know is different, unique and unparalleled to what we thought was the best!

 

Summer of 2015!

Beyond these four walls and all that could be considered life and its “shade” is that common flower or that unseen tree that stood so bold and gallant yet so ignored by our fear of leaving our “shade” for the summer heat.              

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