Inviting you all to Viki's kitchen in facebook too. Also welcoming you all to visit my arts and hobbies page in facebook.. Have a nice day !

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Carrot Halwa

Halwa means a fudge like sweet / dessert. Indians make a wide variety of halwa using flours, nuts, fruits, vegetables and the halwa gets the name of the main ingredient. Among them all, the carrot halwa is very popular worldwide. It is served as dessert during Indian weddings, festivals like Diwali , Christmas, Eid and in restaurants.
Halwa or halva came to India through the traders from Middle East during the Mughal period in India.
Other popular halwas are :
Flour based - sooji ka halva (rava kesari),  wheat halwa, coconut oil muscat halwa, besan halwa
fruits halwa - banana halwa, pine apple kesari halwa
vegetable halwa - pumpkin halwa, carrot halwa, white pumpkin kaasi halwa, beetroot halwa
milk and nut halwa - milk halwa (pal kova), badam almond halwa, pistachio halwa

Here is a well known simple but delicious Indian dessert. There are so many ways to prepare carrot halwa. My recipe includes a milk based carrot halwa, but we can make it with lesser milk too. I am sure you all will love this recipe. Try this and let me know.

Ingredients:
carrot (shredded) - 4 cups
whole milk - 3 cups
condensed milk - 6 tbsp (or) make paneer from 2 cups of milk.
(Click to see my paneer preparation)
sugar - 1 cup
cardamom - 1/2 tsp
saffron - a few strands
ghee - 2 tbsp
almond - 10
cashew - 10
raisin - 10

Method:

Shredding:

Wash and scrape the skin of carrot.Discard the ends. Grate it in bigger teeth of the grater. I don't prefer vegetable chopper for this, as we won't get the restaurant touch by using it.
(Anyways the halwa is going to increase my calorie intake and no harm in giving some exercise by manual shredding..he..he..)



Halwa:
We may need a non stick vessel or a heavy bottom wok.

Fry the nuts and raisins in 2 tbsp ghee. Keep aside.
In the same pan add the shredded carrots and fry till raw smell vanishes.
Now add milk to it.
Wait till the milk is absorbed. Add the saffron now.

After that add sugar and let all the water in carrot gets evaporated.

Add condensed milk / paneer and mix well.
Stir continuously in medium heat till the carrot halwa starts leaving the sides.

Now add the fried nuts, raisins and put off fire. Mix the cardamom powder.

Carrot Halwa is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve hot or cold as dessert.
It would be an excellent choice for a tea party along with vadai, masala chai and this halwa:)
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Merry Christmas !








Wish you all a Merry Christmas
as well as
beautiful, Prosperous and Blessed
Happy New Year!


Love,
Viki.


------------------------------
Update:
 April 25, 2012 (Wednesday) Carrot halwa I made for International food festival in hubby's office  
This time I improvised my earlier recipe and got it more delicious.
Ingredients:
Carrot - 2 kg
condensed milk - 1 1/2 tin
whole milk - 3/4 liter
whole milk - 1 cup
ghee - 1/2 cup
sugar - 2 cup
cardamom - 1 tsp
bay leaf - 2
cloves - 4
cashew, pistachio, almond, raisin - 2 tbsp each
home made fondant flowers - to decorate

Method: 
Shred the carrot in bigger side of mandolin. Fry them 1/4 cup ghee with bay leaf.
Add 1 cup whole milk and cook well. after it is cooked (10 minutes), add sugar, condensed milk.
 Let all moisture evaporate (1 hour) in low heat and constant stirring.

Boil the milk and add juice from 1/2 lemon and boil for a minute. Strain and get the cheese (cheena). (Reserve the whey water for cooking rice or face wash).

 Remove all liquid from chenna and add to the carrot halwa. Mix well. Fry the raisins and nuts in 1/4 cup ghee and add to the halwa. Heat till the carrot halwa leaves the edges. Add cardamom powder. Keep in serving tray. Garnish with shredded almond. Decorate as per need.

 Takes almost 2 hours.
Makes more than 30 - 35 generous serving.



Sweet note:
Thanks to hubby dear, I made it easy, as he shredded the carrots for me:)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Muttai kuzhambu (poached)

Muttai kulambu is again a simple curry prepared in Indian households.
(Muttai means Egg and Kuzhambu or kulambu means gravy).

A touching novel (I can't remember the title) explains like this while describing a lower middle class Indian family...In India Sundays are the family days and we can smell great flavors in air through almost all the chimneys in the street. A poor mother in that novel tries to make something special for their Sunday lunch and finally fixed a tasty meal within their budget. She tells like this....'Dry fish curry can be equated to the real fish curry and muttai kuzhambu for chicken curry' what a lovely thought ..right! Happiness is purely a choice and we get what we choose !!!! Some stories like this leave a permanent mark in our hearts .....

Muttai kuzhambu is always my first choice whenever I run out of ideas or time or chicken:)

Egg curry can be prepared in numerous ways. I know many who prefer hard boiled egg curry along with biryani. That would be very attractive and easy to serve as well. I will post mine soon.

But here is another method called the Poached egg curry or 'udachi oothina muttai kulambu' (Tamil).The raw eggs are simply poured into the boiling curry and cooked in that flavorful masala . This will arouse more flavor because of the great combination of egg and masala.

This is my mom's favorite version.



Ingredients:
Egg - 3
Onion - 1
tomato - 2
oil - 2 tbsp
fennel (sombu) - 1 tsp
salt - to taste
Turmeric - a pinch

To fry and grind:
channa dhal - 1 tbsp
coriander seed - 2 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
cashews - 5 (optional)
dry red chilly - 6
black pepper - 10 numbers
cinnamon - 1 inch
cloves (kirambu) - 4
cardamom - 2
fennel seed (sombu) - 1 tsp
shredded coconut - 1/4 cup

To grind:

cilantro - 3 stems
mint leaf - a handful
ginger - 1 inch
garlic - 3 pearls


Method:
Slice the onion into small pieces. Chop the tomato finely keep aside.

Grind the ginger, garlic , cilantro and mint together.

Heat a tsp oil in a wok and fry all the items given above except coconut.
Grind them to a fine paste.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok and add the fennel seed.
Now goes the chopped onion. Fry till it becomes tender.

Add ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell vanishes.
Then add the chopped tomato and fry till oil oozes out.

Grind the items given and add it to the fried items in wok.
Add salt and let it boil for five minutes.

Then reduce flame. Carefully break and pour the eggs one by one without overlapping one another into the hot curry.
The eggs should not touch one another. Do not stir after this stage , till eggs are cooked.

Now close the vessel and reduce flame to minimum.

Let it remain there for 10 minutes. Switch off after the egg gets completely cooked.

Muttai kuzhambu is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve with rice / roti.
Today I prepared cabbage peas poriyal as side dish along with hot rice to go with this spicy egg curry.

Note:
we can add hard boiled eggs or omelet also instead of poaching.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A pleasant award and an event entry.

Last week my friend Jaleela of Samayal Attakasangal presented me a blogger appreciation award.
It is so touching to receive this award from a noble blogger like her. She has a stunning blog filled with knowledge and tips on house administration and cooking.
Should I tell more on a blogger with 20 years of cooking experience ? The photos itself will speak for the flavor and taste of her dishes.
I adore her biryani recipe , nonbu kanji and house keeping tips (especially the chudithar stitching tips) very much. She is so pious and We can learn a lot on Islam from her other blog too. Her blog has a very homely touch and I really felt at home there.


Thanks Jaleela!
This award means a lot to me and I feel honored to get it from a very pleasant person like you.



I would like to pass this 'Smart chef' award to Jaleela. Congrats dear!

Event:

In my last post I wrote how to make an Icecream cake and here is how we should not. You can read my adventures and mishaps about an Icecream cake in this post, which I am sending for Malar's Kitchen Mishaps event. I usually do not photograph my spoiled dishes. So I could not send her a snap, but here is the story behind.
If you want to see my perfect recipe, click here.



I am a person who believes in the proverb 'Failure is the stepping stone to success'.
Here I am narrating how I climbed my stepping stones to land at this delicious ice cream cake. After that heavy turkey biryani on Thanks giving day , a scoop of this cake made me tell ....wow... Worth the effort !

The plan:
Last month I planned to prepare an Icecream cake for our Thanks giving celebration.
Hubby was pestering me to do this for an year and somehow I got some courage to try this time consuming cake.

Adventure:

The major problem I dealt was with the melting time of the ice cream and my frosting speed. You all know , I am not a professional baker, so my skills on frosting (according to me frosting means - apply cream on cake) the cake was so limited.

My 3 layers were very perfect. So I was kind of floating ....guess what happens now:)

Havoc:
I had the guidance of a website, which told me to take out the ice cream to melt before we start applying. I had it on my counter top, finished dinner and even did my dishes and started the icing process....hi hi..what could you expect! Mindless viki poured all the ice cream over the cake just like a heavy cream and stashed it in to the freezer. After all my bed-going rituals, when I opened it there was a huge shock....all the ice cream I poured and leveled were on the freezer floor....myself started panicking:(

Plan B:

Then I somehow made up my mind ....started doing the research. Took out the cake, kept it in fridge area, cleaned the freezer and again kept it in freezer.
Now I figured out that the website didn't tell me the timing to freeze it.

Luckily I started doing this experimentation by Monday....3 more days left for Thanks giving day. So I used another pack of ice cream and finished doing it by Tuesday.

Lesson learned:
1.Always have some back up plan and extra groceries if you plan a new recipe.
2.Start preparing the time consuming dishes very ahead.
3.Stick to the recipe and be sensible if we follow any newer dish.

Hope this suits the event. Happy hosting dear!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ice cream Cake

In my home town there is a very beautiful ice cream parlor called 'Arasan ice cream'. It is famous for its Ice cream , chocolate cakes, falooda, Ice-cream cakes and desserts. The interiors are so cool and creative. No need to say it is always crowded by youngsters and couples. It is my most favorite spot even now and we have tasted almost all the varieties there:)
Whenever I talk about those lovely days, hubby has always expressed his craving for this icecream cake. So I planned to do it for our Thanks giving party (2009).

I could not get a complete procedure through internet. I coined my own version and had some challenges like the melting ice cream and timing sense etc:) But I managed to get a perfect one and we finally got our native style ice cream cake.

Icecream cakes can be made in two ways. One by crushing the cookies and pressing them to form a cake and top it with ice cream . The next method is to bake a cake and freeze it with ice cream

Mine belongs to the second variety.

I always prefer to incorporate some store bought goodies to reduce my cooking time. So if you are looking for one from scratch , then you need to research more. But I am sure this recipe won't disappoint you . Here is the ice cream cake and get ready to surprise your guests with this delicious cake.

Ice cream cake:




Ice cream cake served:




(Pardon me for my unprofessional icing)


You may need:

Ice cream (French vanilla flavor) - 1 liter.
A cake mix (white cake mix) - 1 packet
(I used Betty crocker super moist white cake mix )
Cake frosting mix - 15 oz tin
(I used Pillsburry funfetti frosting mix)
A fruit jam - 1 cup
(I made my own strawberry preserve)
A flat plate
Sharp knife.

To prepare strawberry spread:
Strawberry - 10
Sugar - 1/4 cup

Chop the strawberry and cook it with 2 tbsp water and sugar till it gets a preserve like consistency.
Cool and store it in refrigerator.
(We can use a store bought preserve also).

Cake frosting Method:
Bake two square shape cakes from the above said cake mix, as per instructions in your box.

Cool them completely. Keep them in refrigerator overnight for better cooling effect.

Level the cake with a sharp knife by removing the dark surface.

Slice each cake into two , so that we can stack up the icecream, frosting and strawberry preserve as layers.

Now place one slice of the cake on a flat plate. Spread the cake frosting mix.

Take out the ice cream from freezer and spread 3 scoops over the frosting mix.
Immediately keep the ice cream inside freezer.

Place another slice of cake over it. Spread the Strawberry jam we made uniformly.

Place another slice of cake over the strawberry spread.
Now spread the frosting mix and ice cream above this slice.

Finish all the above procedure within three minutes. This is very very important.


Immediately place the next slice above it and keep in freezer for nearly an hour.

Then take it again do cover the top of the cake completely with cream frosting mixture.
Again let it cool for another 15 minutes inside the freezer.

Now take out the cake and icecream , carefully cover the whole cake with ice cream....starting from the bottom sides.

If you feel it is melting then cool it inside freezer for 10 minutes and finish it.

After 5 hours sprinke the sugar balls or decorate as per the need.

Ice cream cake is ready!

Note:

This procedure may seem very difficult. But if you imagine layering a sandwich then it will be an easy breeze.

Always keep the ice cream in side the fridge before we start decorating the cake.
During frosting process, for every 3 minutes outside keep the cake and icecream inside the freezer for 10 minutes and continue decoration. Otherwise everything will melt down and we may need to recreate.

Event:
Sending this Ice cream cake for Saraswathy Iyer's cakes n cookies event.
Saraswathy has completed 3 years in blogging and celebrating an anniversary through this beautiful event.
Congrats saraswathy!Your blog really rocks! You have so many unique recipes and I love them very much. Your delicious wheat dosa has helped me much in the diet plan.
Thanks and happy hosting dear!

My other entries are as follows:-

1. Butter biscuit

2.Christmas plum cake.

3.Easter bunny's carrot cake

4.Frosted sugar cookies.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beautiful awards.....

Last week I got a beautiful award from Vinolia of Akal's Saapadu. I know, I know...our Vino doesn't need an intro'. She is known for her explicit recipes ,helpful for even a novice to master the art of cooking. I love her desserts, especially the western style ones made with the perfection of a professional and the vast variety of non veggies too.



I feel so honored to receive this award from an expert like her. Thank you dear!

Another cute award is from Malar of Kitchen Tantra. We all know Malar is a great blogger with a flair to cook authentic foods with rich quality. Her Non veg foods are noteworthy. I am sure her cooking classes are in great demand for the royal Moghal cuisines . Don't miss her wise anecdotes as they will enlighten us with the history and the medicinal secrets behind the food.



Thanks Malar. I feel so glad to get this from a knowledgeable person like you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kadappa

Kadappa is the traditional side dish for Poori or Idly, dosai in Tanjore of TamilNadu, India.

As the theme of this blog is to remember my mom's passion for cooking, I am narrating here how she got this recipe. Long back, as a newly married couple mom and dad visited her sister's family in Tanjore. And there she had this kadappa with poori and dosa in a restaurant. Then she searched for the recipe through cook-books and finally arrived at this one. After that it has become our favorite too.

This dish resembles a kuruma like gravy with dhal as a base. Turmeric and tomato are not generally added, as the primary color of the kadappa should be white / beige. So easy to prepare and great to enjoy for a special weekend:)



Ingredients:
Potato - 4
green gram dhal (paasi paruppu / chiru paruppu) - 1/4 cup
Red onion - 1
mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
oil - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
lemon - 1/2

Masala - 1

puffed channa dhal (pottu kadalai) - 1 tbsp
poppy seed - 1/2 tsp
green chilly - 6
cinnamon - 1 inch
cloves (kirambu) - 2
fennel seed (sombu) - 1 tsp
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup

Masala -2

ginger - 1 inch
garlic - 5 pearls

Method:
Wash the potatoes well. Pressure cook the potatoes and green gram dhal for 2 whistles.
Peel and chop potato into small cubes.
Slice the onion into small pieces.

Heat oil in a wok and splutter the mustard seed. Then add bay leaves.

Now goes the chopped onion. Fry till it becomes tender. Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell vanishes.
Then add the cubed potatoes and green gram dhal.

Grind the items given under masala 1 and add it to the potatoes in wok.

Add salt and let it boil for five minutes.

After switching off , add the lime juice and serve hot.

Kadappa is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve with dosa or poori / roti /idly / chapathi.

Note :

1.we can prepare it without tempering also.

2.Pressure cook raw, chopped potato with green gram and all masalas including ginger garlic together. Then temper after it gets cooked. Add lime juice at the end. This is the short cut method.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rasgulla

Rasgulla / Rosgulla is a famous Indian Bengali sweet. It is usually served as dessert along with some jeera (syrup).
It is my hubby's top pick whenever we visit some Bengali sweet shop. So I prepare this often in small batches before he starts craving :)

There are two ways to make the rasgulla. The authentic version is to slow cook in a half closed pan and the modern type is to pressure cook it.
I am used to the authentic one, which my mom taught. I feel it as more safer to make soft rasgullas. My mom's recipe note book would emphasize the usage of lemon instead of vinegar and rose essence instead of cardamom. I followed her way completely and got the best result.

Here comes the well known recipe.

Chenna after straining:



Rasagulla soaked in sugar syrup:



Ingredients:
Milk (full fat) - 1 litre (5 cups)
AP flour (maida) - 2 tsp
Lemon - 1
(or)vinegar - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Rose essence - 3 drops
(or)cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

Method:
Boil milk in a vessel.
Squeeze the lemon and mix 1/2 cup water to the juice.
Add the lemon juice / vinegar to the boiling milk and stir slowly.
Put off heat.
Now the milk gets curdled to form paneer (a cheese variety).

(Chenna preparation is beautifully explained by Vinolia. So just click to see if you need more clarity.)


Place a cheese cloth / new white cloth over the strainer and pour the curdled milk.
Pour some cold water to remove the lemon's sourness.
Squeeze out all the water and make a bundle using the cloth. Place it on the strainer or hang over a kitchen sink to loose all the water content.
Let it remain in this position for 45 mins to 2 hours , depending upon the quantity.

The hard cheese we get is called chenna. We can buy it in Indian grocery stores also.

Now knead the chenna to make a smooth dough. Add flour and knead again.

Make small balls of equal size of 1.5 cm diameter approximately and keep aside.

In another vessel mix sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to boil.

Once it starts boiling add the chenna balls and cook covered for 30 minutes (with lid partially open).

The rasagulla will become double the size.

Drop one ball in cold water and if it sinks to the bottom , then it is cooked well.
If not so , then cook for another 5 minutes.

Switch off flame and add rose essence / cardamom powder.

Rasgulla is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve chilled as dessert.
The above said quantity is enough to make 15 - 20 rasgullas.

Tips:

Apply some ghee and roll the rasgulla balls , as the cracked ones may disintegrate quickly.
some people prefer pressure cooking the rasgulla instead of my pan method.
We can add 1/2 the quantity of sugar and some Zero calorie sweetener to get a more healthier version too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent season, an award and some reposts.

Anu Ramesh of Anu's Kitchen has presented me the below award. Before that I would like to mention here a few things about this wonderful budding blogger. Anu has a lovely collection of recipes along with adorable pictures. Moreover she has the spirit to appreciate and encourage others. I am so glad that she passed me this inspiring award.


Thanks Anu, I feel honored.

Smart Chef award:
Now I am wondering...OMG ! people are showering me with love and how should I reciprocate!
I can't think of anything else but a group hug and to create an award:)
I am sure everyone who loves to cook surely deserves this award.



Actually I wanted to present this cute award to all of my friends and to all those who love to cook. But now I am crowning a very few of my friends.

Anu of Anu's Kitchen
Ann , my friend.
Gita of Gita's kitchen.
Malar of Kitchen Tantra.
Sanghi of Sanghis food delight.
Sumathy of Sumi's kitchen.
Vino of Akal's saapadu
Vineela of Vineela Siva
Usha of Ushanandhini's recipes.

Please accept this well deserved award my friends! You can pass this to as many as you wish.

Re-post
:

I am reposting the following recipes for Sanghi's FIL-Fruits event. Happy hosting and Best wishes dear.


Mixed fruit jam.

Apple rasam

Pineapple rasam

Vaazhai Pazha paniyaram

Tomato sweet

Christmas plum cake

Panchamirtham

Apple pie

Cranberry sauce


Christmas is around the corner and it is the advent season too . Advent means a time of preparation, just like the Mother Mary and St.Joseph got prepared for the arrival of Jesus. It is the time of expectation, anxiety and cleanliness.
Let's look around for the needy people in our neighborhood and help them . Think of the unnecessary but usable stuff in our home and consider some donation. Don't forget to put your older winter coats in the cloth donation box to make someone warm.

Thanks and Happy blogging friends!
Cheers,
Viki.