Sunday, October 30, 2016

Coconut Almond Laddoos /Balls





It's that time of the year, yeah "Festival of lights" ...Diwali is here. You have the perfect excuse to indulge in all mouth-watering delicacies. Around Diwali, I always want to make and share some homemade sweets with my dear and near ones ,but  I always dread making sweets which require spending lot of time in the kitchen and have the elaborate procedure. Our lives are so hectic that between work, kids, and zillions of other commitments, I feel we always are on look out for things in this case recipes which are easy to make and high on taste/nutrition scale. 
So here is one recipe, which I love making and everyone who has tried these laddoos is hooked on to it. My kids just gobble them up like anything. 
Wishing you and your family a very happy Diwali and a prosperous new year.  


Servings: 30 - 32 approximately

Ingredients :
4 cups : freshly grated coconut
1 can (14 oz) : Sweetened condensed milk  like Nestle's Le Lechera
1cup: whole almonds
1/4 cup: milk
3/4-1cup: dried coconut powder
3-4: cardamom pods
2 Tbsp: Ghee
4-5  Saffron threads 

Directions: Grate the coconut and keep it aside. Crush the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle and soak the  crushed threads in the milk. Now take the almonds and make a coarse powder in a blender. Peel the cardamom from the pods and crush them with a rolling pin or in a mortar and pestle.Keep aside.

Take a heavy bottom pan or kadhai. Add ghee to it, when it's warm add the grated coconut and stir it for at least 4 -5 mins, now add the almond powder and continuously stir on medium flame for another 5 minutes and make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Now add the condensed milk to the pan. The condensed milk is very thick, make sure to incorporate it nicely into the mixture. Now add the saffron milk to the mixture and keep stirring it on the med-low flame. It will take approx 10-12 minutes for the mixture to thicken.Add the crushed cardamom to the mixture. 

You can test the mixture after 10 mins by taking a small amount of mixture and rolling it into a ball into your hand. If it rolls into a ball ,then turn off the gas and let it cool. If not stir it for another 2-3 minutes.

After 10 minutes or so, when the mixture has cooled down, rub some ghee on your palms and take a small amount of the mixture and make it into small balls with both your palms. Then roll it into the dried coconut powder. The coconut almond laddoos(balls) are ready to enjoy.
Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

"Happiness is knowing that you can eat sweets before the main course"

Monday, September 19, 2016

Giuseppe Inspired Garlic Cheese Dip








The inspiration of this mouth watering dip is an Italian restaurant Called "Guiseppe's Cucina Italiana" in Pismo Beach,CA. 
I tried to replicate the dip which is served at Guiseppe's along with bread as everyone in my family loves this dip and especially my kiddos. We all crave for this dip, so I thought of recreating it and luckily I got "Thumbs Up" from my kiddos. 
I can say with confidence that if you will try this dip one time, you devour it all in no time.
The best thing about this dip is you can use it as a base for Pizza, Pasta,Soups,Salads...the options are unlimited. You can also store it at room temperature for a long period of time.

Serving size: 20


Ingredients :
1 cup : Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup: Trader Joe's grated Parmesan Romano cheese mix
10 cloves of garlic: Peeled and finely grated
1 tsp: salt 



Directions: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and incorporate everything nicely so that there are no lumps. You can adjust the flavors like add more salt or cheese if you want to  by adding salt or cheese . Store it in an airtight container and enjoy.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Buttermilk with Mint & Spices ( Pudina Masala Chaas)




Chaas or Chaach is a traditional Indian yogurt based drink. It is  commonly taken after meals in many Indian households. It's consistency is thinner and it is mostly consumed cold. It helps in digestion.  It is also a great healthy drink on hot summer days, better than sugary and artificial drinks. I have added a twist by adding mint for a different flavor. Here is one flavorful, healthy, and easy drink for your taste buds.


Serving size: 3-4

Ingredients :
1 cup low fat plain yogurt (I use Trader Joe's plain nonfat yogurt)
1 cup water 
8-10 ice cubes
1/2 tsp :Jeera(Cumin Powder)
1 tsp Rock salt
A pinch of  regular white salt(if needed)
1/2 tsp-1 tsp :chaat Masala* *
5-6  Mint leaves



Directions: Put all the ingredients  and blend it until it's smooth.
Strain the  blended yogurt mix   and ready to enjoy   Taste to adjust the flavors according to your taste  buds by adding salt. Garnish with some some mint leaves and chaat masala.


**: Chaat Masala is blend of  spices .You can find it easily in any Indian grocery store.

Quote to ponder: In life, much like smoothies,you get what you put in it.

Chia-Chayote-Corn MEDLEY


    

This is a recipe I created for a Cook-Off. 
This dish is a fusion of traditional and western flavors. It uses simple ingredients and is ready in minutes. Perfect for a lunch box, picnics or whenever you crave for a flavorful and guilt-free meal. This dish contains whole grains, fruits & veggies full of fiber with the right amount of fat in the form of Olive Oil.


SERVING SIZE: 6-7

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Corn kernels (either frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cup Chayote squash diced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. Chia seeds
  • 1 cup Cracked wheat/ Couscous
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (red, orange or yellow  bell peppers, carrots)
  • 1Tbsp Tava fry masala (any brand)*
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice
  • 8-10 almonds chopped/toasted pecans
  • Handful of cilantro julienned and some more for garnishing
  • 1cup Pineapple chunks diced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup Mango peeled, diced into ¾- inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup Pomegranates seeds (optional)
  • Salt according to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)                                                                   
  • METHOD:
  •   Rinse all the vegetables. Pressure cook the cracked wheat   with 3/4 cup of water until two whistles. After taking it out of the pressure cooker let it stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add lemon juice, little bit of salt and set aside.
  •  Meanwhile, in large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium, add minced garlic, chopped onions and chia seeds. Stir fry until onions are translucent. Stir corn, chayote squash and all the other vegetables until cooked for 5-10 mins approx.
  •   Now add the fluffed cracked wheat into the vegetables. Stir well. Next add the chopped almonds/pecans, salt if needed, pepper flakes, Tava fry masala, and mango & pineapple chunks and chopped cilantro. Incorporate everything well. Garnish with Cilantro and pomegranates.
  • ·       Let it sit for 10-15mins for all the flavors to blend in. Serve at room temperature.
    *Tava fry masala is readily available in any Indian grocery store.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Versatile Strawberry Topping

Strawberries are nature's candy. Summer brings an abundance of Strawberries aka "Nature's Candy". They have such a versatile use,but very short shelf life. Here is one way to preserve  those yummy red juicy strawberries   to use in Lemonades, waffles,pancakes, one ice-creams and list goes on and  on.
So next time, you have an overload of these red gems,  here is one recipe to pull out, roll up your sleeves and  then enjoy your "fruits" of labor year long.








Ingredients

Strawberries 
(washed,hulled and chopped small pieces) : 4 cups
Sugar: 5 cups
Lemon juice: 1/4 cup

Method: 

 Combine  the strawberries  and sugar. Let stand overnight. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes - add lemon juice and boil 2-4 minutes. Stir occasionally while cooling. Store in the deep freeze. It will not freeze so is ready to use on whatever you fancy. Keeps indefinitely.

Five fun facts of Strawberries:

1) Strawberries are the only fruit that wears their seeds on the outside. The average berry is adorned with some 200 of them. No wonder it only takes one bite to get seeds stuck in your teeth.

2).Strawberries are members of the rose family. Should you come upon a bush of them growing, you’ll see: they smell as sweet as they taste.

3).The strawberry plant is a perennial. This means if you plant one now, it will come back next year and the following and the year after that. It may not bear fruit immediately, but once it does, it will remain productive for about five years.

4).Belgium has a museum dedicated to strawberries. In the gift shop at Le Musée de la Fraise (The Strawberry Museum), you can buy everything from strawberry jam to strawberry beer.

5).California produces some 80% of the strawberries in the U.S. They grow about 2 billion pounds of the heart-shaped fruits per year. Every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada grows their own.


Plum Panna( Plum summer drink with Indian spices)

 

 Plums are one of my favorite stone fruits. Me and my kiddos can eat a whole bunch of them  at a time.No matter how many you eat, there  is always a bowl full of plums in my kitchen.That's what happens when you have  a huge Plum tree in the backyard.How do you use them after eating a lot, making goodies, giving bag fulls to friends, neighbors.So I created this signature drink.My inspiration is  the Indian Raw mango drink(called Panna(Panna). But I have substituted plums with raw mango. For this drink, I normally don't use exact measurements, just eyeball everything and you can always adjust it according to your taste buds.


Serving size: 3-4

Ingredients :
8-10 med Plums (if they are of small size take around 12 )
1/2 tsp :Jeera(Cumin Powder)
1 tsp Rock salt
A pinch of  regular white salt(if needed)
A pinch of fresh black pepper powder
1/2 tsp-1 tsp :chaat Masala* *
3-4 Tbsp Sugar
5-6  Mint leaves
Sparkling water (Plain or lemon Flavored) 8-10 oz
Crushed ice for garnishing


Directions: Chop the plums in small pieces or if they are soft, just mash them with bare hands. Put a rest of the ingredients except sparkling water in a blender and blend it until it's smooth.
Sieve the  blended plum mix   in  a pitcher and let it cool until ready to use.  Taste to adjust the flavors according to your taste  buds. When ready to serve, fill the plum mix in a glass until 3/4 and add sparkling water and some crushed ice. Enjoy and chillax.
The drink transports you to the blissful state of mind.

Quote to ponder: Don't chase anything but drinks and dreams.

**: Chaat Masala is blend of  spices .You can find it easily in any Indian grocery store.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Garbanzo Bean salad with Avocado Dip

                                      

Garbanzo beans can be used in so many versatile ways. Being a vegetarian, i know how important  beans are to my diet.Not only is this salad fulfilling,it also makes a great detox meal. Here is one recipe which is lunch-box favorite not only with my DH ,but also with my kids






Total servings : 2-3

Ingredients:
1 Cup:chickpeas/Garbanzo beans (cooked)
1 Cup:finely chopped  assorted veggies like red and green bell peppers,zucchini,tomato,onions.
 Handful of any salad mix,or some lettuce,red cabbage leaves shredded.
 2-3 black olives (sliced)
 1-2  sliced Jalapeno pepper(optional)
 Salt &Lemom juice according to taste.
  Red-pepper flakes(optional)

For Avocado dip
1 medium Avocado
1/2 small onion chopped
1 small tomato chopped
  5-10 cilantro leaves
salt and lemon to taste



Method:
For the Avocado dip.
Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel.In a blender,blend avocado,chopped onion,tomato with salt,lemon and cilantro until it's creamy and smooth. You can leave it a bit chunky if you like it that way. Incorporate nicely and transfer it to a bowl and cover it.

For the Salad:
Rinse the garbanzo beans if using canned ones. In a bowl add garbanzo beans, assorted veggies,salad leaves,sliced jalapeno peppers,olives.Mix everything nicely. Now add Avocado dip,add more salt and lemon if needed.Sprinkle some red pepper flakes.
Enjoy by itself or using it as filling in a toasted pita bread.