Thursday, 27 October 2016

Vegan Kesar Badam Katri / Katli - Vegan Saffron Almond Thins / Diamonds #Diwalispecial #Diwalisweets

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Vegan Kesar Badam Katri / Katli , so simple yet elegant and graceful looking thins with subtle saffron flavouring just to die for. Temptingly thin slice of Almond saffron flavoured marzipan that melts in your mouth, moderately sweet without any intense flavours with scrumptious taste of almonds. This sweet makes a fabulous gift, even if it's only to yourself !!!





The most anticipated time of the year is here, can't believe Diwali is just couple of days away.  Diwali is the festival that I wait for all year around. For many generation we have been indulging with sweets on this festival in abundance, also we have been taught that a clean house, beaming inside with Diya ( clay lamps ) will help Goddess Laxmi to find her way into our house, and she would bless us with Health, Wealth and Happiness.

A Diya ( Clay lamp ) plays an important role during Festival of Diwali, diya is the synonymous to the festival of Diwali.



The Diwali or Deepavali "The festival of Lights" derives its name from the rows or array of diyas, which creates a peaceful ambience of light driving away the darkness of the night. Diyas are lighted up and used adorn every corner of the house on this auspicious day of Diwali. Lighting up the diya signifies triumph of good over evil.


The lightening Diya is a way to honouring God for the attainment of peace, health and happiness and shows one's gratitude, which can be a symbol of a person's own illumination. Diya doesn't merely represent a decorative item but holds a greater spiritual significance which remind us that one must attempt to remove negativity from within themselves instead of trying to change the outer world, which is just reflection.




The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor do lightning shine, All the lights of the world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner light of the self. Merge yourself in this light of lights ! Shubh Diwali ....


On the occasion of Diwali, mostly every Indian house is full of umpteen numbers of sweet delicacies, but these luscious silver sweet Kaju Katri ( Cashew Thin ) always grab the most attention. Which one will be your favourite ? silver or gold ? It's hard to choose right ?


Notes :-
I have used store bought almond meal ( Ground almond ).
Not vegan  use normal dairy products.
Instead of almonds , cashew nuts can be used for making this.

You will need :-

  • 1 cup + 4 tbsp. almond meal ( Ground almond )
  • 1/2 cup sugar ( use can use less too )
  • Big Pinch saffron threads 
  • 5 tbsp. almond milk 
  • 1 tbsp. flavourless oil or vegan margarine 
  • Grease proof paper
  • Silver or gold edible foil ( Varq ) 


Method :-
Soak saffron in lukewarm almond milk for at least couple of hours.
In a wide non stick pan mix water and sugar, heat it on a medium heat.
You will see small bubbles appear on the surface, stir gently and let it come to rolling boil. Lower the heat and check the sugar syrup consistency, it should be 1 thread or string . 
Once you achieve that, add saffron milk and turn the heat high.
Cook saffron milk for couple of minutes.
Add almond powder and keep stirring to avoid any lumps.
In 2-3 minutes you'll be able to see that cashew mixture is getting thicker.
To check the right consistency, take a very small pinch of mixture in your hand and see if you are able to shape a little ball with your fingers. ( you should be able to mould it like play dough ).

If it does remove pan straight away from the heat. If not cook further one minute or so.
After removing from the heat pour the mixture into a another clean wide plate.
Let it cool little, apply little oil on your palms and knead the dough for 3-4 minutes till become less grainy, glossy and smooth.
On the rolling board place a greaseproof paper and put the mixture on it.
Now place another paper, sandwiching the mixture between two paper.
Roll out with rolling pin into 1/4 inch thick sheet, stick the silver foil and press gently and cut diamond shape pieces with cookie or pizza cutter.
Gather all the end pieces knead again and repeat the process.
If you can't find silver foil , you can prinkle edible glitter on the diamonds or leave it plain. 
Let it cool completely and store in a airtight container.
It can stay fresh at room temperature up to 6-7 days.
Enjoy !













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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Kesar, Badam and Elychi Balushahi / Badusha - Indian style Spiced Crispy Doughnut Dunked in sugar syrup #Diwalispecial

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Kesar, Badam and Elychi Balushai / Badusha a delicacy you must prepare on Diwali, A crispy melt in your mouth delicacy with a soft flaky saffron and cardamom centre, a unique taste you won't forget in a hurry because every mouthful is a truly pleasurable and memorable experience !


Diwali is a time for nostalgia and traditions, for family gatherings and for remembering moments in time and Diwali magic fills your hearts with joy but the sounds, images and the smell make it even more significant.


Decorations, upbeat music and aromatic feasts are setting up festive moods in every corner of my house. The change in decorations reinforces the sense that something special is going on. From the kitchen wafting aroma of pure ghee,  make it impossible to forget the big day that's coming, unique flavoured spices such as cardamom and saffron, creating welcoming, warm and fragrant atmosphere. Sweets and Mithai adorned with rich nuts, gold and silver leaf, fill my senses with festive smell and spirits.


And amidst the festive atmosphere, I have prepared Kesar, Badam and Elychi Balushai, a slight variation compared to traditional Balushahi. The original Balushai recipe does not have kesar, badam and elychi, but I took the risk to give it a try and it ended up tasting even better. So let's see the recipe...

Notes :-
If you prefer plain Balushahi, omit saffron, cardamom and almond meal.
Do not knead dough too much.
Fry balushahi on a very low heat to make sure they get well cooked inside.
Sugar syrup must to stay on one to one and half string consistency.



You will need :- Dough

  • 1  cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal 
  • 4 tbsp. ghee melted 
  • 3 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp.soda 
  • Big pinch saffron
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 2-3 tbsp. Chilled water 
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Pistachio slivers and silver foil ( Varq ) for garnishing

You will need :-

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Few drops lemon juice
  • Pinch saffron
  • Pinch cardamom powder


Method :-

  • Sieve the flour with soda in a big and wide plate.
  • Add saffron, cardamom and almond meal.
  • Mix well.
  • Add melted ghee and yogurt ,  mix the flour with your fingers and rub til you get crumbly mixture. 
  • Add very little water and make a soft and pliable dough.
  • Cover the dough with clean kitchen towel and rest it for 30-40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make sugar syrup ( chasni ) by mixing sugar and water .
  • Bring it to boil and prepare 1 to one and half string consistency.
  • Add lemon juice, cardamom and saffron.
  • Turn off the heat, but leave the syrup pan near stove.
  • Now divide the dough in equal size balls and slightly make depression in the centre using thumb.
  • Heat oil in a kadai over medium heat.
  • Gently slip 3-4 balushahi in hot oil, keep heat very low at this step and fry it until golden brown. ( One batch should take at least 7-8 minutes to fry ) 
  • Once cooked , remove it from the oil and add them in the sugar syrup. 
  • Leave it for couple of minutes and remove.
  • Place them on the butter paper.
  • Garnish it with pistachio slivers and silver foil.
  • Once cooled completely store in a air tight container.
  • Enjoy !   



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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Farsi Khaman Puri / Poori - Deep Fried Spicy Crackers #Diwalispecial #Diwalisnacks #Diwalifood

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Farsi Khaman Puri, an another creation of mine, flavourful and delicious!  Inspired by my favourite Diwali snacks such Farsi Puri , Methi Farsi Puri and Khaman Dhokla. My take on these lip smacking crisp Farsi Khaman Puri made with Plain flour, Gram flour and spices.





Diwali seems to close, I am sure many of you are grossly under prepared to keep up to expectation of the celebrations and just hit the panic button. But with time management, by involving family members to share your tasks, we can make up for the lost time and can have great festival celebrations. I always make a list of errands and try to stick to my plan.



I finish Diwali cleaning well before even Navratri Celebration starts, and maintain cleanliness in the house. I plan our Diwali menu beforehand and buy all the necessary items in advance and make my job lot easier on the event day, and start preparing snacks for Diwali 3-4 days ago. So far I am on schedule, I have already prepared Suwari, and this morning I prepared Farsi Khaman Puri, in next couple of days I have planned to prepare one or two sweets, stay tuned :)




Farsi Khaman Puri, is easy to prepare, make sure you fry them on a very low heat. These puri's can be savoured at tea time with hot beverages or at anytime as snacks, surely it will be enjoyed by young and old.



Notes :-
These puris will not stay fresh for long time like normal farsi Puri would be as it contains fresh ingredients such as coriander, chillies and ginger.
Make sure to fry these on a low heat, so it cooks inside properly.

You will need ;-

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 150 g gram flour
  • 2 tbsp. semolina 
  • 5-6 tbsp. ghee ( Vegan use oil )
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  • 3-4 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped ginger and green chillies
  • Oil for deep fry
  • Red chilli powder to sprinkle ( optional ) 

Method ;-
In grinder place coconut and ginger-chillies, grind til you get smooth powder.
Add one tsp. oil and mix well. Leave it aside.
In a big bowl place all the flours, add ghee and rub together with your fingers.
Add salt, sugar, lemon juice, turmeric powder and finely chopped coriander.
Now heat just one tsp. oil and add cumin and sesame seeds, once it crackle pour oil  on top of the flour mixture.
Combine everything and knead a semi stiff dough using little water.
Resat the dough for 8-10 minutes.
Once again knead the dough and divide the dough into equal portions.
Make round balls and roll out in a thin small circle, just like puri.
Spread tiny amount of coconut mixture thinly. then fold into half and fold into triangle.
Repeat same procedure with the remaining dough.
Heat oil in a kadai, gently slip 4-5 triangles into hot oil and turn the heat on low.
Gently fry on a low heat until crispy and golden brown.
Let it cool completely, puris will become more crispier upon cooling.
Sprinkle little red chilli powder if using .
Serve with Masala Chai.
Enjoy !




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Suwari / Suvari - Gujarati style sweet and deep fried thin Crackers #Diwalicelebrations #Diwalisnacks #TraditionalIndiandiwalirecipes


Suwari or Suvari is a unique and traditional snack that can be seen in many Gujarati households during Diwali festival, unfortunately in this modern era this old school gem is loosing it's popularity.   It's mildly sweet, crispy, crunchy yet melts in your mouth and these deep fried thin crackers are my favourite. Suwari translates Smooth.  These crackers made using Plain flour, Ghee, Sugar and Sesame seeds. Although these delicious crackers are specially made for Diwali, we don't serve these to guests. Nowadays it is considered as old fashion but for family members it's a favourite tea-time munchies during the festive holiday.



Suwari / Suvari is one of those snacks, that brings bucketful of nostalgia, one of our childhood favourite. In our family every Diwali my mum would set out on  her Diwali Mithai Bonanza by first preparing Suwari. She would prepare dough and hand it over to us, and me and my brother would roll it out for her then she would fry them. She would fill a large container full of Suwari, will last almost 3 weeks  post Diwali, and she would not raise an eyebrow even if we would eat in the middle of the night, why she would become so generous around Diwali time ? I always wondered :)



Suwari was being made during my childhood every Diwali and today brings such great feelings of the past and the only way I can describe to my family the joy of this old school dish is by preparing it this year and passing on the previous experiences of my Diwali celebrations.  So to set the festive mood in the house this year I involved my daughter in making these, while the hands did their job, my chitter chatter about my childhood and laughter flowed freely :) And surely scraps of these woven memories will be cherished in the family.

Traditional Suwari is normally made without any flavours, but I made small batch with cardamom flavours along with plain Suwari. If you are a fan of traditional recipes, make it on this Diwali !

You will need :-

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 75 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds lightly crushed
  • Pinch Cardamom powder ( optional )
  • 4 tbsp.Ghee ( melted )
  • Ghee or oil for deep fry   

Method :-
In 5-6 tbsp. water dissolve sugar and leave it aside. ( I used milk )
In a big plate sieve plain flour and melted ghee and mix well.
Add sesame seeds and cardamom powder.
Add sugary water and once again mix well.
Knead the dough, if you need more water add very little.
Knead the dough for 10-12 minutes.
Divide the dough into equal pieces.
Keep the dough balls covered with a clean kitchen towel.
Make balls and roll out in a circle very thinly.
Keep them separate on a clean kitchen towel and let it dry little.
Repeat with the remaining balls.
Heat ghee or oil in kadai on a medium heat.
Slip one or two rolled suwari in hot oil or ghee and fry without getting pink or brown. ( fry like papad )
Remove it from the kadai and leave it separate to cool down quickly, once it cools, it will become crispier)
Let it completely cool down , then store in a air tight container.
Enjoy with glass of milk or masala chai.




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Friday, 21 October 2016

Beetroot Kalakand - Indian Beetroot Fudge #Diwalispecial

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Beetroot Kalakand, is a scrumptious make ahead Beetroot Fudge. Stewed Beetroot in ghee and milky goodness, the final result gives you sticky, gooey, mini beetroot morsels with the warmth of the aromatic cardamom and crunch from the pistachio and almond mix. Every bite of this decadent delicacy is a sheer delight.


Seeing as Diwali is well and truly upon us this innovative dish is the perfect canape style pudding to serve at your Diwali party. I am sure it will gain you extra brownie points from your guests for serving something different yet delightful, that you will be persuaded to reveal this recipe.


Since I started Food Blogging, so much has changed, I have totally come out of my comfort zone, in the past I would pondered the question of will I be able to pull off the new recipe? But since you see millions of new recipes flooding the net, your confidence level boosts and innovating ideas start to creep in your mind.



And as such, I had some beetroot in the fridge. And now that the festive season is in full swing, making something sweet was playing on my mind. So I checked with family members and we all agreed to try out Beetroot Kalakand and it turned out even tastier than what we expected, taste was so similar to Lauki (Bottlegours) and Gajar (Carrot) halwa..phenomenal.

You will need :-

  • 200 g peeled and grated beetroot
  • 75 g paneer
  • 75 g khoya , Khoa or Mawa
  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 g sugar
  • 3 tbsp. ghee
  • Pinch cardamom powder
  • Slivers of almonds and pistachio 
  • Silver foil ( Varaq )
Method :-
Grease tray or thali with little ghee and leave it aside. 
In a large heavy base pan or kadai heat ghee, add grated beetroot and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Add milk and let it cook on medium heat, until milk thickens and beetroot cooks properly.
Then add sugar, paneer and khoya, combine well.
Sugar will release the water, but not to worry, keep stirring the mixture until it starts leaving the pan.
Turn off the heat, tip in the cardamom powder and mix well.
Tip the kalakand mix in the greased thali or tray, and use the back of the spoon to flatten it out evenly.
Let it cool a little, then apply silver varaq and nuts slivers.
Allow to cool completely and refrigerate for couple of hours or overnight.
Once the kalakand is set, cut into bite size squares.
Serve Beetroot Kalakand at room temperature.
Enjoy !















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Marinated Fig, Pomegranate and Mozzarella Salad

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Marinated Fig, Pomegranate and Mozzarella Salad, is so simple and so delicious, just simple as that! Sweet, a little tangy, peppery and creamy salad is ideal for a starter or a side dish.

Why am I talking and posting salad recipe in the season of autumn, where entire food blogging community busy posting Halloween and Diwali recipes? Keep in mind, each recipe has it's own story :)  In my parts of the world Figs season appears from late summer until fall/autumn, I brought luscious figs in season three-four weeks ago, prepared this easy salad, devoured and clicked ready to post on JCO.



To transfer the pictures I removed SD card from my camera, before I load them unfortunately I lost the card and turned the place upside down to find it but no luck. But recently I have been doing Diwali Clean up, and guess what ? I found it :) So here I am with lost and found Marinated Fig, Pomegranate and Mozzarella Salad !


Let me grab a opportunity to thank you folks from AKI Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sending a generous package of their product to say hello to us. What a fabulous product it is, we are loving it !



You will need :-

  • 4-6 ripe fresh fig 
  • 3-4 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
  • 150 g light mozzarella cheese 
  • 80 g rocket leaves 
  • 3-4 balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I used AKI Brand )
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Few mint leaves
  • salt and pepper  


Method :-
Prepare vinaigrette by mixing vinegar, olive oil , lemon juice , salt and pepper.
Trim the fig stalks , cut each them lengthwise into four wedges.
Place cut figs in a large dish and scatter lemon zest and drizzle vinaigrette. Leave it to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Drain the mozzarella and slice it. Chop the mint leaves and combine with cheese, salt and pepper.
To serve the salad, arrange cheese slices around the marinated figs, scatter with rocket leaves and drizzle some olive oil.
Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.
Enjoy !

 
Recipe source here 









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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Giveaway - IChaitea Hapmer

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THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED !

RT this link 
https://twitter.com/JCookingOdyssey/status/789033703691448320

As the great Indian festival of Lights ( Diwali ) approaches, Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey ( JCO) is excited to team up with Ichai Tea on this Giveaway. There is a hamper from Ichai worth £28.

Let me tell you IChai Tea is gorgeous, addictive and of course premium quality. You can read my review on Ichai Tea here.



It is a custom that playing card games during Diwali is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the year ahead. Well, I am not sure about that, but definitely by entering this giveaway you are increasing your chances of winning something this Diwali!





To celebrate this Diwali Ichai launching their 2016 Great Taste Winners in beautiful caddies and Ichai Tea is generously offering our readers a Prize. The giveaway hamper from Ichai includes 2 Tea Caddies - Black Cardamom and Green Cardamom, 2 foil pouches- Ginger Chai and Spice Chai. The total value of the hamper is £28.

To be in chance of winning all you have to do is follow instructions below:


JCO has received a IChai Tea hamper in exchange for hosting this giveaway. This is not a paid post, and all the opinions are my own. Thank you IChai for this fantastic giveaway, wishing you a very Happy and Prosperous Diwali .

Please do visit our Giveaway page to increase your chances to win more giveaway !







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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Paneer Matar Pasanda

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Paneer Matar Pasanda is without doubt one of the most delicious paneer curries you can find in the Indian menu. This creamy, rich and delicious curry is sure to win your heart and mind. The silky stuffed paneer sandwich is shallow fried and doused in the  smooth, creamy and mild spiced gravy prepared with tomato, nuts and aromatic Indian spices. It's THE perfect curry you were looking for Diwali Celebrations !



Paneer Matar Pasanda always on top of the list for any get together or functions. especially when you are planning to make feast for vegetarians. Paneer Matar Pasanda is great accompanied with Paratha, kulcha or Vegetable Rice.

By the way guys, Pasanda translates Like, as the name suggests this Paneer delicacy liked by everyone, whoever is willing to try it.



You will need :-

  • 250 g paneer - Indian Cottage Cheese
  • 1 tbsp. paneer grated 
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped nuts
  • 1 tbsp. raisins 
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp. corn flour 
  • 75 g steamed green peas
  • 2 tbsp. cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp. white poppy seeds ( Khus-Khus)
  • 1 cup ripe chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large onion grated 
  • 2 tbsp. green, chilli and ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 black cardamom 
  • 2 green cardamom 
  • 1/2 tsp. kasoori methi
  • 1/4 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin and coriander 
  • 2 tbsp. cream ( optional )
  • salt to taste
  • Finely chopped coriander 

Method :-
Soak cashew and poppy seeds in warm water for about an hour, then grind it in the mixture until you get smooth paste.
Mix cornflour with water and make paste.
Cut the paneer in desired shape and make a slit in the middle.
Mix grated paneer, raisins, chopped nuts and finely chopped coriander.
Stuff tiny bit of stuffing in the slit which you made in the paneer. Press it gently and dip in the cornflour paste.
Heat little oil on a non stick frying pan, arrange stuffed paneer pieces on it and shallow fry til light golden.
Leave it aside.
Make tomato puree by mixing chopped tomatoes in the grinder.
Now prepare gravy, heat oil in a pan or kadai and add whole spices. once they crackle add grated onion and saute til light pink.
Add garlic. ginger and chilli paste and cook for another couple of minutes.
Once oil starts separating, add tomato puree and cook until oil starts separating sides.
Now add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala , ground cumin and coriander and salt.
Cook the masala for couple of minutes, then add cashew and poppy seeds paste and keep stirring.
Saute for couple of minutes , add 1/4 cup water and mix well.
Bring mixture to boil, add steamed green peas and let the gravy cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Add kasoori methi and fried paneer pieces.
Mix gently and cook for one minute or so.
Add cream, mix well and switch off the heat.
Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot.
Enjoy !
















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