Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings. · Sweets

Badushah / Balushahi – Sweets for Anubhavati Second Bloggiversary!!!

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Two of my  favorite sweets are Badushah and Jangiri. Its a very strange pick as one of them is extremely sweet and dripping with syrup, whilst the other is very moderate in its use of sugar, flaky and dry. Yet I love these two contrasting sweets and enjoy them immensely. Badushah was a sweet I make almost very year for Deepavali and this time was no exception.  Today my little one wanted something sweet to go along with her savories and  today also  co-incides with the second bloggiversary of Anubhavati. I decided this was the occasion we were waiting for…Raks version inspired me last year and its a winning formula so Ive stuck to her proportions!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 Cups Maida/All Purpose Flour.

3 Tbsp Butter.

3 Tbsp Hung Curd / Thick Curd.

1 Tsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Ghee.

1/2 Tsp Baking Powder.

1/4 Tsp Baking Soda.

1/4 Cup  Water.

FOR THE SYRUP:

1  Cup Sugar.

1/ 3  Cup water or just about to immerse the sugar completely.

Saffron.

A few drops of rose essence.

A few drops of  lemon juice.

Grated Coconut to garnish.

PREPARATION:

  • Start by making the dough – In a mixing bowl, add the butter at room temperature, and curd and whisk to incorporate.
  • Sieve the measured amount of All Purpose flour along with the baking soda and baking powder,
  • Add the flour and a Tsp of sugar to the mixing bowl and gently mix until you find its almost crumbly..
  • Now add the water slowly and keep kneading it with your hands until you get a soft dough.
  • Heat 1 Tsp of Ghee in a small kadai and pour over the dough. Keep covered for at least ten minutes.
Dough – Soft and pliable.
  • Meanwhile set a kadai with enough oil to fry the badushahs. Keep the flame on medium low. Do not allow to smoke.
  • Divide the dough in to small equal sized balls and roll them out smoothly without any cracks.
  • Press them flat between your palms and pinch the edges to sort of turn them in to decorative rims. They were almost looking  like little Ravioli cuties!!!

  • Optionally you could slightly flatten them between your palms and make a very small depression in the middle. I enjoyed Raks method of decorative rims so I went ahead with that. I made another batch in the traditional way too.
  • Slowly slide in the badushahs and allow them to fry in the oil. When you pop them in , they will sizzle and slide up after a couple minutes.
  • Flip them over and allow them to fry to a golden brown color on both sides.
  • If the oil is too hot or smoky, the badushahs will not cook completely….almost the same rules as in Gulab Jamuns.
  • Keep the flame on medium low and allow them to stay in and cook completely.
  • Drain them on paper napkins and then toss them in the sugar syrup until they are completely coated in them.
  • Allow a couple minutes and then remove and let them sit for some time.
  • When warm garnish with saffron strands, coconut flakes or chopped pistachios.
  • When completely cooled, enjoy flaky, sweet and yet soft badushahs!!!

HINTS:

  1. Kneading the dough plays an important part of getting soft and flaky Badushahs. Do not scrimp on the butter as this makes the dough pliable and extremely soft.
  2. Do not keep the unfried badushahs exposed for a long time before frying as this might crack them up. Cover  them with a soft towel if needed.
  3. The temperature of the oil is the most important. The badushahs need to stay in oil and cook up slowly so do not allow the oil to smoke. If this happens, bring down the heat to low and wait until right temperature is reached.
Mexican Cuisine.

Veggie Enchiladas – Tasty Mexican Fare.

Veggie Enchiladas

An Enchilada is a corn or flour tortilla rolled tightly around a filling and baked in a sauce. With the modifications in the diet and to suit ones tastes one can change the type of tortilla or filling or the sauce to make it more healthy and filling. In this case I used whole wheat tortilla from Whole Foods, roasted veggies for the filling, and medium tomato salsa and tangy tomatillo salsa for the sauce. As always, my all time favourite mexican restaurant has been Macayos and as far as Enchiladas goes…it has always been a personal favourite of mine..served with dollops of guacamole, salsa  and sour cream its a gratifying meal in itself.

INGREDIENTS:

6 Whole Wheat Tortillas.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Medium Tomato Salsa.

Medium tangy Tomatillo Salsa.

Prepared Guacamole.

Grated Mild Cheddar Cheese.

1 Medium Onion.

1 Zuchinni cut in to half moons with skin.

2 Carrots peeled and diced in to long strips.

1 Medium Bell Pepper cut in to long strips.

Salt.

Pepper.

Mexican Fiesta Seasoning.

For Plating:

Sour Cream.

Salsa.

Guacamole.

Shredded Lettuce.

Half a Lime.

PREPARATION:

  • The first step is the preparation of the filling, for which with a little creativity, the sky is the limit. Here I have used only roasted veggies.
  • Once the veggies are cut season them with salt and pepper and a generous dash of the mexican fiesta seasoning. The seasoning normally would have salt, so watch out for this.

Roasted Veggies.
  • Heat the grill/grill pan and toss the veggies and slightly char roast them – Make them in batches as each veggie has a different texture and water content and takes different times to roast and carmelise.
  • Organise them on to a plate in bunches.
  • Take a long baking tray and line the base with a thin layer of salsa. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  • Slightly toast the whole wheat tortillas until they are warm and pliable.
  • Set them on your working board, line it with a dab of guacamole. This forms as the base on which all the filling sticks to.

  • Now add the roasted veggies, chopped cilantro, mild cheddar cheese and tightly roll and place on to the tray with the fold facing down.

  • Continue and complete all the tortillas. If you  have left over roasted veggies left, save them so they can be served as a side.
  • Pour some salsa over the tortilla rolls. Add more grated cheese and roasted onions.
  • Bake for ten minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted and oozing out.
  • I made two batches one topped with roasted veggies and one without.

 

PLATING:

  • Serve up a stuffed enchilada on the plate. Drizzle some more salsa on the top and on the side.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream, shredded lettuce, roasted veggies, and guacamole. Black Beans Optional.
  • A filling yet healthy meal all rolled in one.
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Capsicum & Corn Butter Masala.

Capsicum & Corn Butter Masala.

My husband is a big fan of the Restaurant Style Mushroom Butter Masala and always wanted me to make it everytime around. Today my pantry was completely out of cashews , which is needed to make the base paste. I decided to substitute it with almonds instead as I loved the taste of the Mint Kofta Curry that we had ordered for our daughter`s birthday party. The restaurant prided on the fact that it was their best selling gravy and also that its base was made with Almonds and mint. It`s been on my mind ever since to try and recreate that gravy base combining two profoundly rich ingredients – Mint and Almonds. Today I had to be satisfied moving one step at a time, by simply using Almonds and  making this very creamy rich gravy. The taste of the final dish is definitely influenced by the use of Bell peppers which  have a an enticing flavour and aroma. Try it and you`ll love the subtle yet bold flavours coming through.

INGREDIENTS:

12 Almonds.

1/3 Cup Milk.

1/2 Tsp Sugar.

5 Cloves.

1 Onion.

1 Medium Vine Tomato.

Salt to taste.

1 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Cumin Powder.

1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

Turmeric.

2 Tsp Kasuri Methi.

1/3  Tsp Cardamom Powder.

1 Tsp Jeera.

1 Medium Capsicum.

1 Cup Thawed Corn Kernels.

Chopped Cilantro.

PREPARATION:

  • Drop the almonds in boiling water and allow to oil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and then soak them in the milk. Add sugar.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and lightly saute and corn and capsicum for a few minutes. Do not overcook. Keep aside.
  • In a kadai, add a tsp of oil and when hot add the cloves, and onions and fry for a few minutes.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes, and all the dry powders to it and allow to saute very well until all the water has completely cooked out.
  • Now switch off the flame and allow it to cool and grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile transfer the almonds to a mixer after removing the skin. Add milk, saffron and little sugar and whisk to a creamy paste.
  • Take the same kadai you used to fry the onion tomato mixture and add 2 tsp of oil/ butter.
  • Add jeera and when its hot add the ground masala paste. Follow on with the almond milk mixture.
  • Add 2 tsp of kasuri methi also and stir in well. When the butter slowly oozes out, add the sauteed corn and capsicum.

  • Stir for a couple minutes until its well incorporated in the creamy rich gravy.
  • Switch off and garnish with finely chopped cilantro.
Eggless Cakes

Eggless Fruit Cake – Christmas Special!!!

All through my childhood, I have always had a fancy for the Kerala Style Plum Cake. It is available in Kerala Bakeries, in Chennai, and as you even pass through them, one simply cannot walk by. The  aromas of freshly baked bread, cup cakes, vanilla sponge cakes, biscuits, vegetable puffs, and  yes my favourite – the plum cake, all linger around you as you walk past them. One whiff of this aroma, and you are a goner. Almost every time these bakeries are “conveniently” found near auto stands, crowded bus stops or colleges and schools. It is inevitable to ignore these bakeries without tasting their sweet and tart delicacies! When I found Anu`s Eggless Fruit Cake , Jyothi`s Plum Cake and so many others on the websites, it was really time to put  my thoughts on paper and try them out…My daughters and TH loved them and finished them up almost in two days flat!!! Shall definitely try them again!!!

INGREDIENTS:

Dry Ingredients:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour.

1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder.

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda.

1/4 Tsp Nutmeg Powder.

1/4 Tsp Cinnamon Powder.

1/4 Tsp Nutmeg Powder.

Wet Ingredients:

2 Cups of a Mixture of  Dark Raisins, Currants, Figs, Dates Tutti Fruiti – (Green Cherry Halves, Orange Peel Halves, Red Cherries) Apricots, Cashews and other nuts.

1 Stick of Butter at Room temperature.

1/2 Cup Melted Margarine.

1/2 Cup Orange Juice.

1 Cup Light Cane Sugar.

1 Cup Water.

1 Tsp Baking Soda.

1 Tbsp Orange Zest.

2 Tbsp Yoghurt.

1 Cup Smoothly Mashed Boiled Potatoes.

1/2 Overripe Banana.

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.

1 Tsp Rose Essence.

2 Tbsp Cranberry Jam.

PREPARATION:

  • The first step is essentially preparing the wet ingredients. For this take a saucepan and add all the dry fruits, sugar, butter, maple syrup, orange juice  and water.
Tuitty Fruit, Raisins, Candied Orange Peel etc.
  • Stir it all well and place over heat on medium flame until the sugar melts.
  • Once the sugar melts, and the liquid boils, lower the flame to medium low and keep stirring for about 20 minutes. Switch off the flame, allow to cool and then add the 1 tsp baking soda to it. Set aside. By now all the dry fruits would have plumped up and absorbed all the flavours, and in turn drawn out their flavours to be absorbed by the fluids.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a round 9 inch cake pan with melted butter. Set aside.
  • Mash the boiled potatoes in to a soft creamy mix, devoid of any clots. Mash the overripe banana.
  • Once the mixture has reached room temperature, stir in the whisked boiled potatoes, whisked yoghurt, vanilla essence, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg powder, banana, and whisk well until you see a soft creamy mix. Fold in the flour, nuts and carefully incorporate it until you get a homogeneous mix.

  • Slowly spoon out the batter in to the greased cake pan and gently smooth the top with the help of a spatula.
  • Decorate with almonds and other nuts on the top, but my daughter shares a love-hate relationship with almonds and I decided to best leave it out when I am making her a cake…
  • Cover the cake pan with an aluminum foil and bake for around 45 mins to 1 hour depending on whether the cake is completely done and a toothpick inserted in to the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool well before you flip it on to a cake plate.
  • Allow sufficient time for the cake to set – around 2-3 hours before you try to slice it. Since this cake is very dense, it takes a little time to set, and so any attempt to cut it might cause the cake to crumble a little.
  • Dollop some fresh cream or eat it like me just like that and allow the tastes of sweetness from the maple syrup and dry fruits, and a little tang from the orange zest to take over your senses.

Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Delicious Vegetarian Soya Chunk Kheema.

Vegetarian Soya Kheema Subji

Textured or texturized vegetable protein (TVP), also known as textured soy protein (TSP), soya chunks is a meat analogue or nutritious meat extender made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of extracting soybean oil. It is quick to cook, with a protein content equal to that of the meat, and contains no fat.

Soya chunks were introduced in Indian market some 15-20 years back. People liked its chunky and meaty texture and it goes great with simple vegetarian curries. A much healthier alternative to eating ground meat is to completely or at least partially substitute it with TVP (textured vegetable protein). TVP is also known as soy granules and is available by brand name “Meal maker” and “Nutrela” etc. Actually any kind of meat cooked on high heat produces HCA, a kind of dangerous chemical that could generate nasty toxins in your body. Mixing TVP with such meats reduces the release of this chemical to a large extent. Use TVP to make garden burgers and your kids will not make out the difference.

Health food stores everywhere carry soy protein in powder form which can be added to homemade fruit smoothies, soups and even baked goods without appreciably changing the taste. These protein powders also usually lists the isoflavone content. Additionaly you can buy soy flour from health food market and mix quarter part of your normal chapati dough with soy flour. The difference in taste of chapatis and paranthas is negligible and you get your dose of isoflavones.

Soya is a very important part of my weekly meal planning. I add it to many gravies, sambar, and even some south indian kootu preparations. Its hardly ever noticed, but adds that extra protien boost to your everyday meal. I was infuenced by Kanchan`s Recipe which I instantly had to make!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium Red Onion.

Half Pound Soya Chunks.

2 Slicing/ Heirloom Tomatoes.

4 Green Chillies.

2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste.

2 Bay Leaves.

1 Tsp Cardamom Powder.

2 Tsp Tamarind Concentrate/ 1/4 Cup Thick Tamarind Extract.

Turmeric Powder.

2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

Salt.

1 Tsp Garam Masala Powder.

1 Tsp Lemon Juice.

Corriander to garnish.

Roast dry and powder:

4 Tbsp Dry Coconut Powder.

4 Tbsp Dhania Seeds.

3 Tbsp Poppy Seeds.

1/2 inch Cinnamon Stick.

8 Black peppercorns.

3 Cloves.

PREPARATION:

  • Boil 6 cups of water in a large vessel and add all the soya chunks to it. Add salt and switch off the flame. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
  • Squeeze out all the extra water from the cooked soya chunks and mince in the food processor until they are roughly shredded.
  • In case you dont have a food processor, I am guessing you can roughly pulse the dry soya chunks and THEN soak in boiling water.
  • Meanwhile dry roast the ingredients mentioned above, until they turn a light brown and you smell the aroma wafting from the cinnamon and poppy seeds. Remove from flame and allow to cool.
  • Powder to a coarse consistency and mix the 2 Tsp Tamarind Paste to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Chop the onions, tomatoes, green chillies.
  • In a wide bottomed kadai add 2 Tbsp of oil and when hot, the bay leaf and the cardamom powder.
  • In a few seconds, add chopped green chillies, ginger garlic paste and saute for a couple more seconds.
  • Now add the chopped onions and saute until the onions are brown and slightly carmelised.
  • Pop in the chopped tomatoes and saute until the oil separates.
  • Add the minced soya and the prepared paste and stir well.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and sufficient salt and allow to cook until the entire dish comes together.
  • Finish off with a squeeze from a fresh lemon and serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro leaves.

HINTS:

  1. Is an excellent accompaniment with Parathas, Rotis and Paav Breads.
  2. Is an excellent filling for a sandwich. Simply make the sandwich fresh as the dish has water content, it may make the sandwich soggy.