Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chocolate Barfi - Khoya/Mawa Barfi - Chocolate Milk Fudge

Barfi's can be prepared in many ways like caramelizing whole milk from scratch, simmering it slowly over stove top for hours or by using condensed milk or by using khoya/mawa which is readily available in the shops. The first method is highly time consuming. So, I have used the khoya method here. You can also make khoya at home using milk powder. By using homemade khoya, you can save lots of time in making this Barfi. Here is the recipe for home made khoya and the Chocolate barfi as well...

Home made Khoya

Milk powder - 1 cup
Ghee/clarified butter - 1/2 tbsp
Milk - 1/4 cup

Preparation method
  1. Take milk powder in a bowl. Heat the milk and ghee in a small pan. Heat the mixture just till it comes to a boil.
  2. Add this hot milk-ghee mixture to milk powder. And mix it with a spoon. It will look like crumbled khoya. If it looks still dry you can add more milk, add very less at a time.
  3. You can shape it however you like while it is warm. As it cools it will hold that shape and it will harden. After that you can grate or crumble it and use in many Indian Sweets

Khoya/Mawa - 250 gms
Sugar - 100 gms
Ghee - 2 or 3 tbsp
Cocoa powder - 2 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Chopped cashews/almonds - 2 tbsp or 1/4 cup (optional)
Sliced pistachios - 1 tbsp, for garnish (optional)

Method for preparing chocolate barfi

Add ghee to a heavy bottomed pan or kadai, add khoya and roast on a slow heat till it gets medium brown. ( it will take around 10 minutes )

Meanwhile in another pan make sugar syrup by adding sugar and very less water, just to wet the sugar. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. The idea is to just dissolve the sugar. No string consistency is required. Remember, if you boil the sugar syrup too much the barfi will become chewy or very hard. Sugar syrup consistency is the key thing here.

Add sugar syrup to the roasted khoya and keep stirring, add cardamom powder, cocoa powder and chopped cashews/almonds.

Mix everything for 4-5 minutes on a medium flame. Transfer a mixture into a greased tray, garnish with sliced pistachios and level it out with spoon.  Let it cool completely and cut them into desire shape.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Paneer Butter Masala - Restaurant Style Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer butter masala is the most popular side dish when compared to the other paneer curries. Its a rich Punjabi dish made with paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese). The near perfect combination of spiciness and creaminess of its gravy makes it simply irresistible and versatile to be served with any Indian bread or with pulav or any biriyanis. Tomato puree is the key in this recipe. To get the right color choose red ripe tomatoes and good red chilli powder. Now to the delicious recipe.

Onion -2
Tomatoes - 4 or tomato puree - 1 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Paneer - 200 grams, cubed
Cashews - 10 nos
Kasuri Methi -1 tsp (dry fenugreek leaves)
Salt as required

Spice Powder
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

For the seasoning
Butter- 2 tbsp + Oil-1 tbsp
Cinnamon -1 inch piece
Cloves- 2
Cardamom -1

For Garnishing
Fresh cream - 2 or 3 tbsp
Finely chopped coriander leaves


First, you need to make 3 pastes out of these ingredients. And then its just as easy as that to prepare the gravy. 

Onion Paste -Remove the skin, chop the onion into 4 pieces and boil them in water for 10 minutes. Drain the water completely and grind it to a paste.

Tomato puree - Blanch tomatoes- (ie) put the tomatoes in boiling water and close it. After 10 minutes, drain the water, remove the skin and puree the tomatoes.

Cashew nut paste- Soak 10 cashew nuts in hot water for 15 minutes and grind it to a paste.
Heat 2 tbsp butter +1 tbsp oil, add cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, when it splutters, add onion paste and saute till it becomes golden brown, then add ginger garlic paste and saute for some more time.
Then add tomato puree and all the spice powder mentioned under spice powder. Cook until the raw smell of the tomato goes and it starts leaving oil. Do not add any water now, else the raw smell will not go off completely
Then add cashew nut paste and saute nicely for a few minutes till the raw smell goes.
Add the paneer cubes to the cooked tomato paste. Add 1/2 cup of water, needed salt, kasuri methi and coriander leaves. Simmer and cook for a few minutes.

Garnish with fresh cream and serve with pulao or roti or chapati.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bread Besan Toast - Eggless Spicy French Toast - Quick Snack

Bread besan toast is a nice alternative to the French toast, for those who do not eat eggs. This is a very quick snack which can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. Use a wheat or multi-grain bread to make this evening snack a healthier option.


Bread - 3
Besan flour - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1/2, finely chopped
Coriander leaves - 1/2 tbsp, finely choped
Green chilli - 1, thinly sliced
Salt - as per taste
Hing - a pinch
Water - for making the batter

Oil/Ghee to toast 
1. Mix all the above ingredients except bread to form a thin batter.
2. Dip each bread piece in the batter.
3. Heat the tawa, drizzle oil and toast both sides till light brown.While toasting press the bread slices so that all sides are cooked properly.
4. Cut each bread pieces into half diagonally.
5. Serve hot with tomato sauce!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vanilla Panna Cotta Using China Grass/Agar Agar

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert prepared using fresh cream and full fat milk. Panna Cotta means "Cooked Cream, with a smooth and velvetty like texture which can be achieved by using China Grass/Agar Agar powder. You can also use gelatin instead. As gelatin is not a vegan option I opted for china grass. China grass can be easily found in any departmental store in the aisle where you can find other baking/pudding ingredients.

I was introduced to this dessert from one of the cookery shows. From then on it was on my To Taste and Try list. Few months back I happened to taste this in the Cream Centre restaurant and it was absolutely heavenly. Just melted in my mouth. I desperately wanted to try this and planned for a special occasion. Yeah, its been one year since I started this blog and its our anniversary too. So here comes one special recipe with lots of tips that I have learnt. I got it right only on my third attempt and all my learnings are here for the benefit of you :-)

What does a perfect panna cotta look like? Once you pour the cooked cream in any mould or ramekins and refrigerate, it should be set in 5 or 6 hours. Set in the sense, you should be able to flip it down and unmould it. Still it should hold its shape. Nor runny or too cheesy either. It should wibble-wobble like a jelly and should be soft and creamy when you eat. It can be achieved with the right quantity of china grass/agar agar. If too less it wont set, if too much it will be too stiff and cheesy. Fresh cream and full fat milk are the must. They cannot be substituted with any other ingredients. Else the you won't get the exact creamy and soft texture and taste.

Vanilla extract or vanilla essence? Both are really different. Vanilla extract is originally obtained from the vanilla bean or pod in the natural way. Whereas vanilla essence is just the flavor obtained by some chemical processing and is watery than the extract. Vanilla essence can be replaced for extract just use a little more than the mentioned quantity. 

Here comes the recipe!


Fresh Cream - 1/2 cup
Full fat milk - 1/2  cup
Sugar - 2-3 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp (OR) Vanilla essence - 1 1/2 tsp
China Grass/Agar Agar powder - 2 tsp
Water - 2 tbsp

  1. Slightly grease the moulds in which you are going to pour the cooked cream with any unflavored oil. 
  2. Heat the water in a small vessel, once it starts boiling turn off the flame and add the agar agar powder. Stir well until it dissolves and set aside.
  3. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add the fresh cream, full fat milk and sugar. Bring to a boil in low flame. Stir well so the sugar dissolves completely. Now add the agar agar dissolved water to this, mix well and cook on low flame for two more minutes. Turn off the flame and add the vanilla extract. Mix well and immediately pour into the greased moulds.
  4. Allow them to come to room temperature and then refrigerate for 5-6 hours or overnight. Even before refrigerating, the mixture would have thickened and starts setting. 
  5. To unmould, run a thin knife around the sides of the mould/ramekin. Dip the mould in a bowl containing water for 5-10 seconds. Invert the mould over a serving plate and shake it gently so that it can easily come out of the mould and fall in the plate.
It is very important to cook the china grass dissolved water along with milk and cream for atleast couple of minutes. I missed this step in my first two attempts and the panna cotta didn't set at all. Do not worry, if it didn't set. Take it out of the refrigerator and add it again to a heavy bottomed pan and cook for few minutes. Allow to cook down and now refrigerate. Voila, its all set now and ready to be enjoyed :-)

Serving suggestions
  • Garnish with fresh fruits (any berries, pomogranate etc.) 
  • Drizzle with chocolate sauce
  • Warm some strawberry or fruit jam with very less water and drizzle on top of it
  • Sprinkle some grated chocolates or chopped nuts

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mango Rice - Mangai Sadham

Mango rice is such a simple and easy recipe. This is VJs favorite. Whenever he sees raw mangoes in the vegetable shop he will pick one and ask me to prepare this rice. You don't need much of ingredients or any spice powders to prepare this. All you need is some cooked rice and grated mangoes, the mango rice will be ready in minutes. Preparation method is just the same as we do for Carrot Rice. So, here is the recipe!


Cooked Rice - 2 cups
Mango - 1, peeled and grated
Onion - 1, chopped
Peanuts - 1 tbsp (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Hing -a pinch
Salt as needed

To Temper

Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds -1 tsp
Bengal gram/channa dal - 1 tsp
Urad dal -1 tsp
Green chillies -2 slit
Curry leaves - few

If using peanuts dry roast them separately first and set aside. You can also use the store brought salted peanuts. Or instead of peanuts you can also use cooked peas. 

Take a wide pan, add oil and do the seasoning with the ingredients mentioned. Then add onions and saute until they turn transparent. Now add the grated mangoes, peanuts/peas, hing, turmeric powder, salt and stir well, just to mix them together and turn off the flame. Do not over cook.

Add the cooked rice and mix gently. Check and adjust salt. Enjoy with papad/chips or with any fry.