Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Double Celebrations with Sinful RAS MALAI !

My MOTHERLAND INDIA is celebrating her 62nd Republic Day...!

The Republic Day of India sparks a patriotic fervor in our hearts, reminding us of our glorious history, our rich culture and heritage. It is a day to remember and honour our heroes. It is a day to renew our pledge to protect and cherish our motherland. Come let us celebrate the Republic Day of India 2011 together... HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY TO MY FELLOW COUNTRYMEN (womens too) ;)

Today 17 years ago exact We were blessed with An Angel....and we call her Hayley....She counts herself very lucky to be born on this very very special day...

"Family life is many things....and one of the nicest joys it having a daughter as dear as you
Who's thought of in a special way...Not only on a special day....But warmly and with love...The whole year through!"
Happy Birthday Princess ! I would like to dedicate this beautiful poem for her....Hope she likes it;)

A precious little flower

that is in constant bloom

I watch as yet another milestone

around the corner looms.

It seems like only yesterday

that we shared a breath

but now it seems like tomorrow

you will leave and I'll be left.

A tiny little angel

that always is in flight

as soon as you came into my life

you brought me so much light.

Your beauty is so stunning

your smile makes me melt

I'm so proud to be your mommy

It's the best I've ever felt.

Oh perfect little princess

with you I'm so in love

every night before I dream

I thank the lord above.

How did I get so lucky

to have as sweet of a gift as you

If ever you should need me

there's nothing I wouldn't do.

( Source :- lovethepoem )
To honour a double celebration, I made her favourite Indian Dessert RAS MALAI...which I haven't made in the last ten years...Previously I made it on 26th jan 2001, and same day India witnessed the largest second earthquake in Bhuj, Ahmedabad GUJARAT..It was the worst natural disaster in India in more than 50 yrs...when I saw those devastated pictures on heart sank, I just couldn't believe my eyes what I was watching...since then I never had a courage to make Ras Malai...but then people told me LIFE GOES ON.... eventually thought I'll make Ras Malai for a birthday treat ....

Ras Malai is dumplings made from cottage or riccotta cheese soaked in sweetened, thickened milk delicately flavored with cardamom. Serve it chilled and garnished with slivers of dried fruit.

You will need :-
  • 250 g Paneer ( I made at home )
  • 1/2 tsp plain flour
  • 500 ml milk ( I used full fat )
  • 200 ml cream
  • 100ml eveporated milk
  • 11/2 cup water
  • 8-9 tbsp Sugar ( 4 for sugar syrup + 4-5 for milk syrup)
  • saffron 7-8 threads soaked in milk
  • Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
  •  Handful Pistachio
Place a paneer in a bowl or plate, and mix it very well with your hand. when it goes smooth add plain flour to it and mix it again very well. Make small balls from this mix.( roughly 10-11)..Leave it a side. In a pressure Cooker bring water and sugar to boil. When sugar syrup starts to boil add paneer balls into it and cook till 2 whistle.( it will take less than 10 minutes ) Mean while heat milk,sugar and cream in heavy bottom pan and let it simmer till it reduced to half...add cardamom powder and eveporated milk and switch of the heat. Now remove balls from the sugar syrup and press them gently remove excess syrup and add them into ras...(milk syrup)...Leave them in there for 2-3 hours in the fridge... Garnish with pistachio and saffron...Ready to serve, Enjoy as much as my daughter did..!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Caramelized Onion Hummus !

Most of the time I do follow very healthy diet for me and my family, specially we like to follow low GI diet...I learnt about it more that 6-7 years ago and I found it very helpful..."The glycemic index is a measurement of the type or quality of carbs in a particular food, and how fast 50 grams of this carbohydrate raises blood glucose levels, (and consequent insulin secretion and effects produced by the pancreas) as it is digested."

For more info on GI  read The University of Sydney website I found this website very helpful...I was amazed by looking at GI rating of the CHICK PEAS- LOW 28  that means, Carbs in Chickpeas have a slow effect on blood sugar levels....lower the GI value..Better for you ! one of the reasons I use chickpeas in a variety of healthy dishes...So you can enjoy best of worlds in that it has low GI on one side and many authentic flavored dishes on the other....for e.g. chickpea curry (chole),Bhel -Puri, Salads and Hummus..

Caramelized Onion Hummus....Me and my family love an appitizer, dip, or spread ...I do make diffrent versions, like Jalapino hummus and red pepper hummus...

Nutritional Benefits :-

Although hummus does contain a lot of fat, it is good fat, with plenty of Omega 3 in it. It also contains important nutrients, such as iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and copper. It even contains folic acid, which has been found to prevent birth defects when eaten by pregnant women. In addition, hummus has a low glycemic value, which means that it doesn’t raise your glucose levels very quickly, leaving your feeling satiated for longer.

Interestingly enough, hummus also contains large amount of tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine, which are mood lifters that can also lead to a more satisfying sleep. These amino acids, along with some others that make up hummus, are essential, which means that your body cannot make them independently; you need to get them from foods instead. For all of these reasons, hummus is indeed good for you, as it is jam-packed full of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids.(

You will need :-
  • 2 medium sized onions or 1 big( diced )
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 450 g cooked chickpeas ( I used from tin)
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic
  • salt per taste
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • Extra liquid for consistencey
Method :-
Heat olive oil in a non stick pan and add onion..Toss to coat an oil. Stir fairly frequntly, for about 20-25 minutes or until onions are evenly browned and caramelized.  In a blender or mixer add all the other ingredients with the caramelized onions . Add little water or oil for a smooth hummus. Blend till you achive your desired consistency.

Serve with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil on top, and garnish with pinch of paprika and some caramelized Onion. Enjoy this awsome Healthy dish as much as I did...

Monday, 17 January 2011

Cream cheese, Beetroot and truffle tarts !

Few months back I borrowed a cookery book from my local library...Pure Vegetarian by Paul Gayler ! while I was glancing through the recipes a certain picture caught my eye, and I thought I must try this one...because sweet beetroot is favourite of mine, very colourful and healthy...also very easy to prepare and you can make them in advance for party or any other occasion..

You will need :-
  • 420 g prepared shortcut pastry
  • 2 medium sized boiled beetroot ( I bought them from store)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 125 g  cream cheese ( I used low fat )
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Method :-
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/ gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry thin and using a biscuit cutter, cut out round twelve rounds of pastry. Line twelve tarts cases with the rounds and cook in the oven for 10 minutes until golden.  Leave it to cool.
Cut the beetroot into small dice and place in a pan with the vinegar and maple syrup.  Cook over a low heat for 4-5 minutes so that they become slightly caramelised and have a sweet and sour flavour. Remove and leave to cool.  Mix the cream cheese with the chives and season to taste.  Fill each tart case with cream cheese, then top with spoonful of beetroot. Drizzle a little truffle oil over each tart.
Ready to serve and Enjoy as much as we did..!

Friday, 14 January 2011


On this auspicious day of MAKAR SANKRANTI, I would like to wish you all very happy and safe Makar Sankranti....!

The harvesting festival, Makar Sankranti, was celebrated to mark the transition of the Sun from Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius ) to Makara rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path. The Makar Sankrati is also regarded as the 'holy phase of transition'. It marks the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December....

Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Poush in mid-January, it commemorates the beginning of the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated with distinct names and rituals in different parts of India. In the states of northern and western India, the festival is celebrated as the Sankranti day with special zeal and fervor. The importance of this day has been signified in the ancient epics like Mahabharata also.

In Northern India, people offer thousands of their colorful oblations to the Sun in the form of beautiful kites. The act stands as a metaphor for reaching to their beloved God, the one who represents the best. Makar Sankranti identifies a period of enlightenment, peace, prosperity and happiness followed by a period of darkness, ignorance and viciousness with immense sorrow.

Makar Sankranti also known as Uttarayana in Gujarat and Rajsthan...
The name Uttarayan comes from joining two different Sanskrit words "Uttara" (North) and "ayana" (movement towards). Uttarayana (Makar Sankranti) is the day when the sun starts to travel towards north as a sign of coming summer. People from all age groups, come to the roof of their houses and apartments to fly kites in celebration of the festival.

On this beautiful day, millions of people pitch themselves at their roof-tops(terrace) to fly kites. The thread used to fly kites is specially made with granulated glass pieces to facilitate kite wars. Here people will fly kites and get the thread intertwined with one another and pull on the thread until one of the thread gives way. The sky is filled with a rainbow of kites. In Gujarat cities like Ahmadabad, Surat and Vadodra people celebrate this festival by kite flying. It is the only Hindu festival which has got perfect date that is 14th of Jan. the next day is also kite flying day and called "basi uttarayan". The whole sky in these two days filled with kites. People cut one and other kites and also celebrate their kite's win by moaning loudly saying 'kaipo che which means i cut , i cut states of India mainly from Uttar Pradesh. They prpared thread by adding colour and , glass alloy to thread reel and it is locally called "Manza". Manzas from Surat and Bareli are very popular in these cities....

There is no celebration considered complete unless and until rich food is served among friends, family and relatives. The festival of Makar Sankranti is also not different from the other Indian festivals...With Makar Sankranti, a sunny bash is called for by way of a garden or roof top party. Merriment flows in company of family and friends. The celebration tempo is high with kite-flying, antakshari, family jokes, til laddoo, peanuts chikki, Gajar halwa,Undhiyu,jalebi and puri...

But this time I thought instead of making traditional til ladoo... tried dry fruit and seeds brittle (chikki)...

You will need :-
  • 1/3 cup almond silvers
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/3 cup cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp ghee
Roast seeds about 5 minutes, leave it a side.In a heavy bottom pan melt ghee, sugar with cardamom powder...Keep heat very low, keep stirring till sugar changes it's colour, caramelize. Now add dry fruit and seeds and mix very well. Quickly put it in a parchment paper and roll it out with the rolling pin to desire thickness. You have to work very fast or it will harden immediately.  Cut into any shape you want..let it cool and enjoy as much as my family did....

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Spring Onion Kadhi - Spring Onion in seasoned yogurt and gram flour soup !

Spring Onion Kadhi, my mum's recipe, very easy to make...

You will need:-
  • 1 bunch spring onoin washed and cut
  • 400 g low fat sour yogurt
  • 3-4 tbsp Gram flour (besan)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dhana jeera powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 11/2 cup water
  • salt to taste
Mix gram flour with yogurt and water, make smooth paste. Heat oil in a heavy bottom kadai or pan and add cumin seeds and hing.  when spultter add spring onion and fry 1-2 minutes.  Now add all the masala, salt and few spoons of water.  Let it cook about 7-8 minutes.  Add besan mixture. Stir and simmer about 12-15 minutes. Switch off the heat...Ready to serve with Rice, Khichdi..I love it with Millet flour roti...(Bajri na rotla) ! Enjoy as much as I did...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

STARGAZING LIVE with Cabbage and Carrot Paratha....!

Hi Guys...How are you all?..Hope you all had a great weekend !

Here in UK we were very lucky enough to watch live Space programme STARGAZING LIVE on BBC 2 daughter and Raj gets really fascinated by watching space's her biggest interest and these types of programme are her favourite...She has taken GCSE in Astronomy and she achieved top Grade...So she was spellbound by this programme and after I watched it too..and I was blown away deep into space;)...

(Image Courtesy


So many round planets and stars got my daughter inspired even more to go further into stargazing....I was also inspired so I ran into the kitchen and got my imagination running and thought of these nice round shaped Parathas...

If you are interested in watching please follow this link....

You will need:-
  • Cabbage shredded 1/2 cup
  • Carrots shredded 1/2 cup
  • Medium Onion finely chopped
  • Whole wheat flour (any chapatti atta) 2 cup
  • Gram flour or Soya flour 1/4 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Green chillies and Ginger crushed 2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder 1 tsp
  • Carom seeds 1/2 tsp (ajwain)
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder (optional)
  • oil 3-4 tbsp and more for frying
  • Finely chopped Coriander 3 tbsp
Place everything with 3-4 tbsp oil in a big bowl and mix well. add sufficient water to the flour and knead into a soft dough. Cover the dough and leave it for 10-12 minutes. Now divide into equal portions and roll out into parathas.  Heat the tawa (Griddle) a paratha on it and fry with little oil till brown patches appear. Repeat this with the rest of the dough. Serve hot with Pickle, Raita , chutney of your choice or Potato Bhaji...Enjoy as much as my family did !

Friday, 7 January 2011

Wonder Kid ? - KARELA (Bitter Gourd) Sabji !

We were given a pleasant surprise years ago when my Son Yash enjoyed Karela sabji on it's own...That was an incredible experience for us , because I don't think so I heard any kid would even like to hear the name of this vegetable..CERTAINLY not my daughter...even when I was kid me and my sibling used to hate Karela Sabji...Can't blame any one can you?...I started enjoying karela since I was around 15-16...just my taste buds changed and I loved it...Raj started eating them when I came here and made it forthe first time, he ate it to please me, since he enjoys it too...........otherwise NO ONE in our family wants to know THIS most hated vegetable....whenever I make karela, my daughter tells me "I wish every thing we like to eat..was good for us".............I want to agree with her..but I can't :( and I always answer her " Not all healthy food is tasty and not all tasty food is healthy "...This recipe I learnt from my mum...she used to love KARELA !

Benefits Of Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd is a tropical vegetable, which is cultivated mainly in the Asian and African countries. It is also known by the name of ‘Karela’ and has a rough, warty skin. As the name suggests, the vegetable is bitter in taste and has a skin that is dark green in color. Bitter gourd has been found to have great medicinal value. In fact, it is said to have antidotal, antipyretic tonic, appetizing, stomachic, antibilious and laxative properties. This is the main reason why the vegetable is used in a number of native medicines of Asia and Africa. Given below is information of the health benefits and nutritional value of bitter gourd.

Nutritional Value of Bitter Gourd

100 grams of bitter gourd comprises of the following nutrients:

Calcium - 19 mg

Copper - 0.034 mg

Dietary Fiber - 3 g

Dietary Folate Equivalents - 72 mcg

Folate - 72 mcg

Food Folate - 5.6 mcg

Iron - 0.43 mg

Magnesium - 17 mg

Manganese - 0.089 mg

Pantothenic Acid - 0.212 mcg

Phosphorus - 31 mg

Potassium - 296 mg

Protein - 1 g

Selenium - 0.2 mcg

Sodium - 5 mg

Sodium - 5 mg

Total Carbohydrates - 4 g

Zinc - 0.8 mg

Vitamin A

Vitamin C


Total Fat - 0g

Saturated Fat - 0g

Cholesterol - 0 mg

Folic Acid - 0 mcg

Sugars - 0 g

Nutrition Benefits of Eating Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd has been associated with lowering sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes.

Bitter gourd is said to be helpful in fighting against cancer and a number of infections.

Bitter gourd has been known to provide relief from constipation and is also effective in the treatment of psoriasis.

Bitter gourd helps in improving circulation and in turn, generates slimming effects on the body.

Regular consumption of bitter gourd has been associated with prevention as well as treatment of hypertension.

Bitter gourd is believed to be helpful in preventing eye complications, apart from treating neuritis.

The juice of the leaf of bitter gourd plant has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of alcoholism.

The essential vitamins and minerals present in bitter gourd help in treating defective metabolism of carbohydrates.

The bitter tonic properties of bitter gourd have made it effective as a blood purifier.

Fresh juice of bitter gourd is good for patients suffering from piles. ( Source : )

You will need :-
  • 3-4 medium sized Karela (bitter gourd)
  • 1 medium size Onion
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Tumeric
  • 3-4 tsp dry coriander and cumin powder ( dhanajeera powder)
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp Jaggery or Sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Method :-
Scrape the skin of karelas. I don't peel them. Wash them in running water. slice them and Onion too. I never discard the seeds when cooking karela, but I know some people do it. Discarding or not discarding the seeds. Heat oil in a heavy bottom kadai and saute onion about 4-5 minutes or till light brown.  Now add karela and mix well. add all the masala and salt..stir well and cover the kadai with lid. cook about 10-12 minutes on a low heat.  In between stir and make sure vegetables do not stick to the base and burn. When sabji is ready add jaggery and lemon juice. Mix well and cook 2-3 minutes more. Ready to serve with Phulka, Roti and paratha...I make Gujarati daal and rice with it...Enjoy as much as my son does...:)

Sending this to PJ's event Complete My Thali - Sabji started by me ...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Double Celebration...First Blog Anniversary and 150th Post with Vermiceilli Pudding

Today, Joy of Cooking (my blog baby ) turns one !

Glitter Words

[ - *Glitter Words*]

I can't believe I've been blogging for a year already....It's been such an amazing year and I got to know so many great, lovely people and foodie bloggers from around the world...who I consider to be my ardent friends !

 I am really grateful to all of you, who visit Joy of Cooking...take their valuable time out, read my posts and leaves very encouraging and kind remarks..It really means a lot to me and makes me feel greatly appreciated...I want to express my gratitude to all of you, my beautiful kids, my husband and my family for your unconditional support and inspiration....This blog wouldn't have been same without you and I hope you'll continue to support me and regularly visit Joy of Cooking...

Today Joy of Cooking turns one with it's 150th post...215 friends with Google connect...501 fan's  on Face Book....Starting a blog was a great experience for me...learnt so much new stuff...Tried so many new dishes , learnt new methods in cooking and at same time gained huge knowledge in IT skills!..

 In this one year I've achieved so many things or I should say so many milestones...(5th Jan 2010-5th Jan 2011)

My recipe Potato Gnocchi won a prize at Tobias cooks..also I've hosted a few cooking events and few guest event too..My current event Complete My Thali CMT is a series event and Guest Hosting by PJ of Seduce your taste Buds ....

 To celebrate this fabulous year I made Vermicelli Pudding...In South East Asia called Seviya Kheer..which is very popular sweet dish...It can be made on very special occasion..very easy to prepare and extremely delicious...

You will need:-
  • 1 cup vermicelli broken
  • 4 cup Milk (any)
  • 1/2 cup single cream (optional)
  • 3/4 cup Sugar or Splenda ( or your liking)
  • 1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • 1/4 cup any nuts ( I used pistachio nuts )
  • 2 tbsp milk masala ( I make at home )
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom and nutmeg powder

Boil milk in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Meanwhile heat ghee in a heavy bottom kadai and roast vermicelli till golden brown..around 5-6 minutes...Now add milk and let it cook till vermicelli becomes soft and milk starts to reduce. Keep stirring it to prevent it to getting burnt.  Add sugar and mix till it dissolves.  Now add cream and cook 2-3 minutes more, add cardamom ,nutmeg and milk masala powder. Turn heat off. Garnish with pistachio nuts...Serve hot or cold...I like it both ways so I can have double portion;;;;;)))))) ! Enjoy as much as my family did...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Bill Gates in Gujarat :) - Pesto filled Crescent Rolls !

Bill Gates organized an enormous session to recruit a new Chairman for Microsoft Europe. 5000 candidates assembled in a large room. One candidate is Kantibhai Shah.

Bill Gates: Thank you for coming. Those who do not know JAVA may leave. 2000 people leave the room. Kantibhai says to himself, 'I do not know JAVA but I have nothing to lose if I stay. I'll give it a try'
Bill Gates: Candidates who never had experience of managing more than 100 people may leave. 2000 people leave the room. Kantibhai says to himself ' I never managed anybody by myself but I have nothing to lose if I stay. What can happen to me?' So he stays.

Bill Gates: Candidates who do not have management diplomas may leave. 500 people leave the room. Kantibhai says to himself, 'I left school at 15 but what have I got to lose?' So he stays in the room.
Lastly, Bill Gates asked the candidates who do not speak Serbo - Croat to leave. 498 people leave the room. Kantibhai says to himself, ' I do not speak one word of Serbo - Croat but what do I have to lose?' So he stays and finds himself with one other candidate.

Everyone else has gone. Bill Gates joined them and said 'Apparently you are the only two candidates who speak Serbo - Croat, so I'd now like to hear you have a conversation together in that language.' Calmly, Kantibhai turns to the other candidate and says `kem chho' The other candidate answers 'ek dam majama..'

Gujarati     -      English

Kem Chho - How are you?

Ek dam Majama - Absolutly fine !

I haven't baked anything for long time...So during Christmas holiday I made this crescent rolls..I should say Indanized crescent rolls.. I saw recipe for this rolls here..........

You will need:-
  • 21/2 cup Bread flour
  • 1 sachet Yeast (fast active)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds and Ajwain
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 green chillies chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • 2 tbsp skimmed milk powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • little oil and Milk for brushing
For the pesto:-
I used a bottle of ready made

To make  dough I used my bread maker....when it's ready... take out the dough deflate slightly and divide into two or three portions, and make them into round shape, roll out on a flat surface...Now cut the pieces (Shown in the pics)..Spread the pesto into these and roll out as it shown above..Start rolling from the wider end...


Place them on to baking tray and brush them with oil and milk...Preheat oven to 5-6 gas mark..and bake them for 20-25 minutes or till golden brown...let it cool and serve...Enjoy as much as my family did...

Saturday, 1 January 2011

My First Post Of The Year 2011 - Warm Stuffed Avacados !

Hey Guys......Wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New year....Hope it brings all the joy in the world...Hope you all had a fantastic holiday with your family and friends...I am sure at the same time you had feasts loaded with calories at this time of the year..well I had too;)...and now I am worried that I might put on few inches around my waist..;) which I never like to see..........So started straight away I thought about having something light...I had a few avocados in my vegetable basket I thought let's finish them..but didn't know what to make of it...and Google came to help...I found this recipe on BBC Good Food website...

It was really fresh and can be great alternative to salad as a starter...I had it for my lunch and oh boy I enjoyed it immensely....From now on I will have this more often...I used the same recipe with no changes..

You will need:-

2 large ripe avocados

3 tbsp olive oil

1 plum tomato , deseeded and chopped

4 sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

50g pitted black olives , quartered

2 spring onions , finely sliced on the diagonal

1 tbsp capers

1 tbsp each freshly squeezed oranges , lemon and lime juice

1 tbsp cider vinegar

2 tsp caster sugar

2 large fresh torn basil leaves

1.Heat grill to hot. Halve the avocados and discard the stones. Brush each half with ½ tsp of the olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Grill for 5 mins.

2.In a small bowl, toss together all of the remaining ingredients. Season to taste, then divide between the hollows of each avocado. Serve immediately. Enjoy as much as we did...