Jeera Poli ~~ Deepavali Special

Jeera Poli

Jeera Poli

My mom prepared this sweet Jeera Poli which is my grandmother’s signature dish. My paati used to prepare this sweet for every Deepavali. I am happy to share this traditional recipe with my readers.

Ingredients:
Maida / All purpose flour -1 Cup
Sugar -1 Cup
Water -1/4 Cup for sugar syrup
Oil to Deep fry
A pinch of salt
Water to make maida dough
Ghee 4 or 5 tbspn

Preparation:
1. Combine maida, water and a pinch of salt to make a tight dough like chapathi dough
2. Separate the dough into 5 big balls
3. With a rolling pin, roll these thin chapathis
4. Now place one chapathi, spread 1 tbspn of ghee and stack the next maida chapathi on the first one. Continue stacking all maida chapathis one over the other
5. Now roll all the chapathis together
6. With a knife divide the roll into 10 equal sized rolls
7. Now make medium sized pooris with each of those 10 rolls
8. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the pooris
9. While you fry the pooris, prepare sugar syrup by dissolving 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. The sugar syrup should be in a sticky consistency
10. After the pooris are deep fried, drain the oil by placing it on a paper towel. Once the oil is drained (a minute or so), drop the pooris in the sugar syrup
11. Garnish with coarsely broken elachi and saffron strands
12. Serve the jeera polis hot

Kalakand/Qalaqand /Kalakanu ~~ Deepavali Special

Kalakand

Kalakand

Kalakand

Happy Deepavali to all my readers! Deepavali means sweet.. Carackers..happiness… joy. When I grew up in Chennai I used to eagerly wait for Deepavali to taste the milk sweet from ‘Sri Mithai Sweets’. My mind mom’s office would give her a packet of Kalakand from Sri Mithai which at that time was a rarity in other shops. That so soft grainy textured sweet cooked to perfection that would melt in the mouth was such a sweet pleasure. To me Sri Mithai meant Kalakand n Kalakand has to be had only from Sri Mithai..

Years later, this year I surprised my family by preparing this addictive sweet. I used only 1 ltr milk and got 8 pieces.yes, its that rich.

Ingredients:
Milk 4 cups
Sugar 1/4 cup and 2 tbspn
Ghee or butter to grease the plate

Preparation

1. Heat 2 cups of milk in a saucepan. If you are using a stainless steel pan, pour a spoon of water before adding milk. This will help with the milk not sticking to the sides of the pan (pic I)
2. When the milk comes to a roaring boil, add 2 spoons lemon juice and let the milk curdle (pic II)
3. In a strainer lined with cheese cloth, filter off the whey and retain the fresh paneer (pic III)
4. Wash the paneer in cold runny water and let it hang in the cloth for an hour (pic IV)
5. In another pan, heat 2 cups of milk in med- low heat till it reduces to 1/2. It took me almost 45 mins (pic IX)

Kalakand_Making

6. Now crumble the paneer and add it to the boiling milk (pic X)
7. Keep stirring for another 15 to 20 mins (pic XI)
8. Milk thickens and you will be see the bottom of the vessel as you stir (pic XV)
9. Now add the sugar. The thick milk will turn watery as sugar melts (pic XVI)
10. In another 15 mins, it comes together like a jelly (pic XVII)

Kalakand Making

11. Now switch off the flame and transfer the contents to a greased pan
12. Adjust the sides so that its a perfect square. Garnish with thinly sliced pista and saffron soaked in milk (pic XVIII)
13. Cut into slices. You can serve after 15 mins

Happy Deepavali! What sweets did you prepare this year?

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha ~~ Deepavali Special

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha

Hyderabadi double ka Meetha is a very popular and easy sweet to prepare.

Double ka meetha (Urdu: شاہی ٹکڑا) is a bread pudding dessert of fried bread slices soaked in hot milk with spices, including saffron and cardamom. Double ka meetha is a dessert of Hyderabad. It is popular in Hyderabadi cuisine, served at weddings and parties. Double ka meetha refers to the milk bread, called “Double Roti” in the local Indian dialects because it swells up to almost double its original size after baking.

The dish is similar to Shahi Tukda which has its roots in Pakistani cuisine and is a famous dessert in Mughlai cuisine. It is particularly prepared during the festive month of Ramadan and on Eid. The recipe uses bread, condensed milk, and dry fruits.

I had tasted this sweet few years ago in an office potluck. For the first serving I didn’t bother to try this sweet thanks to its nonchalant looks. A colleague of mine casually remarked how awesome the ‘Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha’ was. That’s when I turned to look at the small placard reading ‘Hyderabadi Double ka Meeta’ at the corner of the table. One bite was all it took to convert me into an instant fan. I told myself that the person who prepared this should have woken up at probably 4 in the morning and should have spent quite a long time in front of the range to make this sweet. – I didn’t quite guess the simplicity of the recipe at that time

A week or so later I read about this recipe in Chefinyou’s blog and was surprised by the easy recipe. I decided to prepare this high calorie sweet some day. Time passed by and the ‘to do’ was still in the ‘to do’ list. This Deepavali I finally gave in and prepared this wonderful sweet. Its easy to put together and consumes very less time (both to prepare and to disappead ;-)) . Why not try this easy sweet for Deepavali?

Ingredients:

1. Bread – I used 7 pieces cut into triangles

2. Ghee to deep fry

Sugar Syrup:

3. Sugar – 1 Cup

4. Water – 1 Cup

Sweetened Milk

5. Milk – 1 Cup

6.  Sugar – 1/2 cup

7. Saffron threads – few mixed in 1 tbspn of hot water

8. Roasted nuts

Preparation:

1. Cut bread into triangles. Heat ghee in a pan and deep fry the bread into golden brown color

2. Place the bread pieces in a bowl

3. Mix sugar and water for sugar syrup and heat till they mix well and boil

4. Pour the sugar syrup on the bead pieces. Let it stay for 10 minutes till the bread absorbs all of the sugar syrup

5. Meanwhile in a pan , combine milk, sugar and saffron threads and boil to prepare the sweetened milk

6. When the milk reduces to half , switch off the flame and pour on the bread pieces

7. Let it sit for another 10 minutes and the bread will absorb all the milk

8. Garnish with toasted nuts. I served it by adding a spoonful of sweetened milk on the dry bread pieces

Rasmalai ~~ Deepavali Special

Rasmalai 

I always consider the the last 6 months of the year are not for calorie counting as there are so many festivals starting from Varalakshmi vratam in July and so many sweets.;-) Deepavali is the most famous and most celebrated of them all. This year Deepavali  falls on the 23rd of October this year. Starting today, I am going to post several Deepavali sweets and savories on this blog. One of the sweets I tried earlier this month was this very sweet and soft ‘Rasmalai’. Rasmalai originated from Odhisha, an Eastern State of India, from where it moved on to ‘West Bengal’ along with its elder sister, ‘Rosogulla’. If ‘Rosogulla’ is sweet, ‘Rasmalai’ is the sweetest! The preparation of ‘Rasmalai’ is similar to ‘Rosogulla’.  Unlike Rosogulla, we need to shape the chenna as round discs. You have to prepare chenna just like Rosogulla and boil it in sweet water. For Rasmalai, we also have to prepare a sweet sugary milk called the ‘Ras’ in which the chenna balls are soaked. Delectable isnt it?  If Deepavali is the ‘King of Sweets’, then this is the most fitting sweet for the king :-)

I followed the ‘Rosogulla’s recipe from Srimathi Meenakshi Ammal’s cookery book and adapted it to prepare the ‘Rasmalai’. Since the preparation is similar to Rosogulla, I re-used the preparation photos.

Rasmalai

Rasmalai

Rasmalai

Ingredients:

Chenna:

Whole milk – 1 litre(4 Cups)

Sugar for Chenna balls – 1 Cup

Water – 2 cups

lemon juice from 1 whole lemon

Ras:

Whole milk – 1 cup

Sugar – 1 cup

Saffron strands – 5 to 6

Elachi powder(Cardamom powder) – 1 tsp

Roasted pistas for garnishing

Preparation:

1. Boil 1 litre (4 Cups) of whole milk in a wide vessel. When the milk comes to a roaring boil, switch off flame and add the juice of one whole lemon while constantly stirring.

2. The milk will separate into cheese and whey. Using a tea filter, filter out the whey. Now wash the retained chenna in cold running water to remove any trace of lemon.

3. Hang the chenna in a cheese cloth for 1 hour. You should also keep a heavy object on the cheese cloth so that the pressure gets the water out.

4. While the chenna is getting dried, prepare ‘Ras’ by boiling 1 cup whole milk in a vessel along with 1 cup sugar, saffron strands, elachi powder. The milk has to reduce to half. Switch off the flame and set it aside

5. After one hour, using the paper towel, wipe out the any moisture. Now the chenna will look crumbly. (refer pic 1)

Rasmalai Steps

Rasmalai Steps

6. Spend the next 10 minutes in kneading the chenna to a fine dough (refer pics 2,3)

7. Make small round balls of chenna and then flatten them to form round disc. Keep the size small as they will double their size after boiling

8. Heat a mixture of 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar in a pressure cooker (preferably pressure pan). When the sugar water comes to a boil, carefully add the chenna discs one by one. Close the pressure cooker and let it cook for 1 whistle. After the first whistle, switch off the flame and let the pressure release on its own

9. When the pressure is released, open the cooker. You will notice that the chenna discs have doubled in size. With a ladle, carefully take a chenna disc. With another ladle lightly press the disc so that the sugar water is expelled. Now place it in a clean serving bowl

10. Repeat this for all other discs. Now spoon the prepared ras on the chenna. Garnish with roasted pistachio. Keep it chilled for a hour.

11. After an hour, you can serve the rasmalai in a serving bowl topped with roasted pistachios as a dessert.

  • 1 litre of milk yields almost 20 medium sized rasmalais

Panchamrutham – a healthy dessert

Panchamrutham 

The grand celebrations of the ‘Navarathiri’ festival have finally come to an end and we are wrapping up and stocking away those golu dolls till next year. Now on the kitchen front, I am left with a cornucopia of fruits (apples, bananas, grapes, rambuttan, mango, dates and pear), all nearing their expiry. How does one consume so many fruits? The answer is ‘Panchamrutham’.

Panchamrutham

Panchamrutham is a healthy and tasty dessert made with mixed fruits and jaggery. All you have to do is cut the fruits, mash the bananas, add the jaggery and voila you are done. You can call it the Indian fruit salad. In Chennai, temples usually serve Panchamrutham as an offering to the Gods. The Palani temple is known for its panchamrutham. At home, my dad usually prepares this dessert with all the remaining fruits in the fridge. This time, my husband prepared this wonderful panchamrutham. Here is the recipe…

Panchamrutham

Ingredients:

1. Mixed fruits and Bananas – I used apples, bananas, grapes, mango, rambuttan, dates, pear

2. Jaggery – start with 2 tbspn and add if needed

3. Ghee – 1 tsp

4. Cardamom – 3 or 4 pods crushed

5. Honey – 1 tbspn

6. Pachai karpooram (edible camphor) – 1 small piece

Preparation:

1. Mash the bananas and finely chop the fruits

2. In a big bowl, add the fruits, Jaggery, roughly crushed cardamom pods, honey and mix well.

3. take a small piece of pachai karpooram and powder it  on the panchamrutham

4. Mix well. Drizzle a tbspn of ghee

5. Let it rest for 30 mins. You will see that the water starts to come out of the fruits making the dish slightly soggy

6. This is the right consistency. Scoop into a bowl and serve with love!

  •  While you are preparing at home, you can get creative and use any fruit but you should not skip bananas.
  • After you mix in the fruits with the jaggery, you have to let it rest. Probably place it in the refrigerator. The more it marinades in the jaggery, the better it tastes

Navarathiri Day 9 – Black Chickpeas Sundal

Black Chickpeas Sundal

This is the last one on my Navarathiri series. Check out the nine different sundals from day 1 to day 9, here. This black chickpeas sundal is traditionally prepared on ‘Saraswathi Pooja’ day.

Black Chenna Kadalai Sundal

Ingredients:

1. Black Chickpeas – 1 Cup

2. Salt to taste

3. Oil to temper

4. mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

5. Coconut powder – 1/4 cup

6. Red Chilli – 1

Preparation:

1. Soak black chickpeas overnight in a deep vessel. The next morning, pressure cook black chickpeas with required salt and water for 2 to 3 whistles. You should be able to squish the black chickpeas between your fingers,

2. In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds followed by red chilli, coconut and cooked black chickpeas

3. Stir and transfer to a serving bowl.

Navarathiri Special Day 8 – Yellow Pattani Sundal

Yellow Pattani Sundal (Yellow Peas Sundal) 

I am racing with time to finish up the blog posts on Navarathiri. We prepared the ‘Yellow Pattani Sundal’ (Yellow dried peas) on the 8th day. Here is the recipe.

Yellow Pattani Sundal

Ingredients:

1. Yellow pattani – 1 Cup

2. Oil to temper

3. Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp

4. Coconut powder – 1/4 cup or lesser

5. Red Chilli – 2

Preparation:

1. Soak the peas in a deep vessel overnight

2. The next morning, pressure cook the dried peas with necessary water and salt for not more than 2 whistles

3. Let the steam release on its own

4. In a pan, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, red chilli, coconut powder and the cooked peas

5. Carefully stir without breaking

6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves

Navarathiri Special Day 7 – Sweet Karamani Sundal

Sweet Karamani Sundal

We are celebrating Navarathiri in my household by preparing different sundals for each and everyday. Check out how we celebrated day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5, day 6. For day 7, we prepared a different sweet karamani sundal (sweet black eyed peas) instead of the usual savory version. I soaked the black eyed peas in water overnight.

Karamani Sundal

Ingredients:

1. Karamani (Black Eyed Peas) – 1 Cup

2. Jaggery – 1/2 Cup

3. Coconut – 1/4 Cup

4. Oil to temper

5. Salt to taste

6. Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp

7. Red Chilli – 1

8. Coriander Leaves to garnish

Preparation:

1. Pressure cook the soaked black eyed peas along with required salt for 1 whistle in a pressure cooker. Once its done, open the cooker and check the consistency of the peas. You should be able to easily crush it between your fingers. If its not done, cook for one more whistle

2. In a pan, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, red chilli and the cooked black eyed peas. Add powdered jaggery and mix well. Finally add coconut powder and mix the sundal well

3. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves

Navarathiri Special Day 6 – Pachaipayaru Sundal

Pachaipayaru Sundal

We are celebrating Navarathiri in my household by preparing different sundals for each and everyday. Check out how we celebrated day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5. For day 6, we prepared pacha payaru sundal (green gram sundal). I soaked green gram in water overnight.

Pachapayaru Sundal

Since I soaked the green gram for almost 8 hours, I had to pressure cook for only 1 whistle.

Ingredients:

1. Pachapayaru (Green moong dal/ green gram) – 1 cup

2. salt to taste

3. Oil to temper

4. Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp

5. Red Chilli – 1

6. Coconut powder – 1/4 cup or less

Preparation:

1. Pressure cook pachapayaru for 1 whistle along with required salt. Open the cooker and check the dal. If you press it between your fingers, it should disintegrate. That’s the consistency

2. In a pan heat oil. Once the oil is hot, temper mustard seeds, red chilli, coconut.

3. Drain the water from the dal and add it to the pan. Carefully stir without breaking till its mixed well with the mustard and coconut

4. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves

Navarathiri Special Day 5 – Chickpeas Sundal (Vellai Konda Kadalai Sundal)

Chickpeas Sundal

Its day 5 of Navarathiri and we prepared white kondakadalai sundal (chickpeas sundal). I soaked the white chickpeas overnight in a deep vessel with a lot of water.

Chickpeas Sundal

Navarathiri Celebration at home

Navarathiri celebration

Ingredients:

1. Chickpeas (Kondakadalai) – 1 Cup

2. Salt to taste

3. Oil to temper

4. mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

To roast and grind:

1. Oil to temper

2. Bengal gram dal – 1/2 tsp

3. Red chilli – 1

4. Coconut powder – 1 tbspn or less

5. Asafoetida – 1 pinch

Preparation:

1. Pressure cook overnight soaked chickpeas for 3 whistles with required salt

2. Roast and grind the ingredients mentioned to ‘roast and grind’

3. In a pan, heat oil. Once the oil is hot add mustard seeds. Once mustard splutters add coconut and the chickpeas and the roast and ground powder. Mix well

4. You may optionally add finely shredded carrots.

5. Transfer to a serving bowl and add fresh coriander leaves