Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A taste of home: 2-ingredient Kalakand

One of the things I didn’t see made at home was sweets. Growing up in India, it was easy to step out to a halwai ki dukan (sweetmeat shop) and choose whatever caught your fancy. My mom usually made a couple of basics like halwa and kheer in her kitchen to mark a holiday, but we bought the rest. As with everything else, it’s easier to shift the responsibility of not being able to make desserts to my life as a child in India J.

It was hard to live without Indian sweets after moving to USA. Throughout my first pregnancy, I craved for boondi-ka-laddu and kaju-ki-katli.…..Things weren’t the same 15yrs ago – we had one small grocery store that sold Indian staples, and the variety of frozen food that you see today was non-existent. Even if you did drive 1-2h to the big grocery stores, things didn’t exactly taste like they should have. Over years, the sweet taste buds kind of dampened, and I started forgetting things that I’d liked in India. And then, as my daughters grew older and got to eat sweets that our friends brought back from their trips to India, my forgotten love re-ignited. We started to ask visiting friends and family to carry boxes of Indian sweets; just so the girls could enjoy them.  

Very recently have I started learning how to make a few of the common sweets at home. To many of you, these would appear trivial; for me anything that the girls decide to like, is a triumph!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gujhiya- Taditional Holi Recipe


Wishing you all a bountiful spring- Happy Holi!!!

If Holi is here, can spring be far behind? 

Traditionally marking the beginning of Spring in India, Holi used to be quite an affair in Delhi. After hours of running around with water pistols, colors and water-balloons, we would return home exhausted and ready to curl into sleep. Except that our mom had a different idea... she, for the first time since winter set in, would make us take cold water baths. All my childhood years, I remember being bathed in ice-cold water with our teeth chattering while my mom scrubbed away the colors of Holi from inside our ears and hair. It seemed like hours before she considered us clean enough to step in anywhere inside the house. And all through the ordeal, she kept repeating that since it was spring time, we had to start bathing in cold water….

After a tiring day and her ruthless cold-water scrubbing, lunch this day was usually something good - hot and deep fried. Mostly pakoras, the sweet saffron rice called Zarda, and a cup of warm milk to beat the cold- followed by a short nap. Late in the afternoon, my dad's friends gathered in our house for a "mushaira". Not quite sure what went on there, but they laughed loud and made plenty of ruckus. All the "aunties" would pack their kids and their knitting, and meet up in the neighborhood park themselves for some "girl time". Before my mom left for the park, she and I would ply the uncles with goodies to sustain them for a few hours - pots of Kanji and Thandai, Mathi, Gujhiya and besan ladoo - all from my mom's kitchen. By the time we came home, the uncles usually had eaten them all!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slow cooker Rabri

Hard to believe that fall is knocking on our doorstep.

Just as hard as believing that I haven't touched base with you all for more than 5 weeks now. For some reason, time slipped away un-noticed. Doesn't mean I haven't been cooking or wanting to share. Just never did. 

Summer ended on a whirlwind vacation to Puerto Rico. I need to get back to you with highlights from that trip, soon. Then a flurry of activity with back to school, teacher meetings and beginning of all other hustle and bustle. And then the girls' birthdays. In my family, both the B-Days fall within a week of each other. Which means a massive partying spree in September.  It is just now that life has taken on a semblance of normalcy befitting routine. 

For want of a better reason- I decided to come back to this space with a recipe that several of you had a chance of tasting recently. Rabri. This was a last-minute addition to my daughters' birthday party menu. Initially, I had decided that the cake and Gulab Jamun would suffice as desserts. Somehow, the morning of the party, I started having misgivings about my decision. Store-bought desserts didn't exude the kind of personal touch that I like my guests to experience. While I have made Rabri before the traditional way, this was my first time making it in a slow cooker. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gajar Ka Halwa - slow cooker


Gajar-Ka-Halwa and Delhi winters are synonymous, in more sense than one.  Start November, and fresh, red juicy carrots flood the vegetable markets. By December, the were the most prolific fresh produce you’d find for the next three months. This deluge of carrots also coincided with the festive and the marriage season back home. There just was no escaping this rich Indian fudge like sweet made with fresh grated carrots, milk, and loads of ghee.  

Although it requires relatively few ingredients, the actual recipe varies from family to family. My mom’s style of cooking this popular North Indian dessert involved roasting the grated carrots with  a humongous amount of pure ghee in a heavy bottomed karahi, till the moisture evaporates completely. Then she’d add whole milk and sugar and cook till the carrots were mushy and milk evaporated. Then she’d top off with khoya, nuts and raisins and crushed cardamom seeds.  It was melt in your mouth delicious, but it also took a greater part of half- a- day from start to finish to get it done. Whenever I made it here in the US, I never got it right. First because I did not have any heavy-bottomed cast iron pots to cook it in- so the milk eventually, almost always, got stuck towards the end and gave me the burnt flavor. Second; for all my faux-health conscious issues, I always skimp on the ghee….and third, my patience usually lasts about 45 min or so. So if it don’t cook by then, I just assume it’s done :-)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gulgule: A Childhood Favorite


Holidays have this way of creeping up and evoking nostalgia. Long forgotten memories, of people and things that we have taken for granted for too long....and when life gives you a breather, you turn back to realize that those memories have gotten a lot hazier than you ever thought they could. 

Today we celebrated Karwa Chauth- an annual ritual I grew up with - a day, that my mom described as her day off. For according to tradition she couldn't touch any needles.  Without her sewing machine or knitting needles, she had the whole afternoon to while away. And she did that by spoiling herself and me. She couldn't eat or drink till moon-rise. But that didn't keep her out of the kitchen. Together, we made a whole bunch of goodies for the special dinner at night; went shopping for red glass bangles and bright red vermillion, oiled, washed and braided our waist long hair. Around mid afternoon, she sat me down to listen to the "katha"- mythological folk-lores glorifying the day of Karwa Chauth- before handing me a plate of the mouthwatering, strongly fennel-flavored Gulgule.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Teej Greetings- with Malpua/ Indian Pancake

Today, I learnt this morning, is Shravani Teej.....the festival of swings and mehendi.

For many many years in my growing up years, the first rains of monsoon would begin an impatient wait for Teej. More often than not, I knew it was around the corner when some strange messenger rang our doorbell with a box-ful of goodies for my mom - saree, red and green bangles, bindi-kajal-sindoor, toe rings, mehendi and mouth watering sweets made especially for my mom by her mom.....The D-day I'd see my mom deck up in all her finery, and dream of looking as beautiful as she did then; someday.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Orange Creamsicle

Baby P is taking an inordinate amount of interest in cooking now-a-days. First they made apple sauce and rice crispies in school. Then, not long ago, she came back with a Princess Tiana cookbook from her school library, spent a laborious one week reading all the "lecipes", asking me if we had a particular ingredient listed in the recipe or not, before deciding that we should make Jambalaya.
"It has meat in it", I said.
"No, we can make it without the meat- it will still be good".

So, I made Rajma Chawal, heaped them in a bowl and passed it off as Jambalaya

That night at dinner, we had a face that shone with happiness because she was eating what Princess Tiana eats for dinner. 

Realization hit home- hard - two days later. She come from school literally in tears. 
"I did nothing when you made Princess Tiana dinner- that's not cooking!!"
"But little kids can't cook- you've got to grow up a bit..."
It took some mighty effort to hush her down.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Til Ke Laddoo for Dusshera


In a blink, this year's gone. And here we are, on the verge of another Diwali celebration. But for now, we're still at Dusshera.  One day last week, a friend and I got talking about the reasons we celebrate Navratris and Dussehra in our respective families. She's from a region near Hyderabad; and she said that Dusshera in her place is linked to the story of Mahishasur and they believe that he was killed on Dusshera day.  For us, growing up Dusshera was all about the killing of Raavan, and we'd be so excited about going to see the effigies of Raavan, Meghdoot, and Kumbhkaran go up in flames at dusk- to mark their demise. In retrospect, our festivities seem loud and boisterous compared to the celebrations down South!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A "Berry" Good Crisp.....

One of the traits I seem to have inherited from dad is this deep-rooted need to have my family experience everything food that I've liked.....anywhere.  And if I knew how easy it would be to make this Blueberry Crisp for A to taste, I'd probably have done it 2yrs. ago and rested easier.

I first ate a Blueberry Crisp  almost a decade ago while I was at a official dinner, at a colleague's insistence. I was pregnant big time with my first daughter, and must have eaten more of this than he anticipated because I remember this look on his face when I finally put my fork down!!
"Your baby must have a really big sweet tooth", he'd said then....much to my embarrassment.
Despite that comment, I'd had this little niggle in my head saying that I should have A taste this lovely dessert; for he's the one with a sweet tooth.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Soda-cream: Perfect Summer Chiller

This post has been sitting there, ready to be posted for 10 days now....just a sign of how crazy things have been this summer till now. Finally, today I get to upload it. We are 2 and half weeks ion summer vacation at this point....and the girls are thoroughly enjoying themselves....


----------------------------------------------------------------------
Our first week of summer vacation went by lazily. The girls were excited to stay home; and be with their grandmother all day. They woke up late, ate all the Indian junk food that came out of their daadi's bags, and watched TV all day.  Despite that, it didn't feel like summer to me. The weather's been cool, cloudy and somewhat wet. So this past week, when the TV forecasts rang out a heat wave warning; I got excited for my girls. My summer vacation list includes: lazy afternoons, grandparents AND heat!  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's in a name? Gajrela or Gajar-ka-Halwa

The carrots back in India were a bright-red color, very tender and as juicy as can be. They appeared in the markets every year in mid-November, gave way to purple carrots around early March before disappearing altogether till next winter.  My mom was a huge fan of gajar-matar ki sabzi (which my dad and I wouldn't even look at). The two of us (my dad and I) could munch on kilos of raw carrots, everyday, for as long as they were available; much to the amusement of my mom.  My brother held the fort for carrot-haters in my family.  But we all came together and were united in our liking for the dessert made out of carrots; called Gajar-ka-Halwa; or Gajrela, as it was known in the Punjabi families around us.   Between the four of us, we probably bought a kilo of gajar (carrots) everyday, for the entire season. And as far as I can remember, we were never out of gajar-ka-halwa for as long you could buy carrots at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Yay!!! Uh Oh......Oh well- Holi Hai!!

Yay!!! This is my 100th post!! Never thought I'd reach this far.  It's taken me a good 3 yrs. (well, almost) to make it here.  Ever since my last post when the counter pointed that my 100th was coming- I've been thinking about what I want this post to be about. I wanted it to be just about itself. A milestone. An excitement. I thought about host an event to mark this event. Then I thought about hosting a giveaway of some sort. All that thinking....with zero ideas. I couldn't come up with any themes for an event; and I couldn't figure out how the heck to host a giveaway either.

All that thinking....and my birthday came up (it was this past Monday). Till the day before, I was so looking forward to it. A milestone birthday...of sorts. I was going to do something special, and blog about it. A milestone; and a milestone. Makes good blogging....Then came Monday- and my mood came crashing down.  In case you're done snickering at me by now, let me tell you...it's not easy celebrating milestone b'days. Especially not if you're gonna be stepping on the other side of the line. ...if you're going to enter a phase of life that isn't what now is. (Hope you get my drift. I'm definitely not going to tell you how old I actually turned this week. But I will tell you that  from now on, my b'day clock counts down....).  A brought me my most expensive gift to date (not counting the big rocky studs..or the car he's bought me ...those I think should have come earlier than they actually did).  And I haven't even looked at that awesome bag that he gave me this time- that's how mad I am that this birthday of mine actually did come up. Oh....well!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eggless vanilla Sponge Cake- for bookmarked recipes

Baking is not something that comes to me naturally- I am tempted to try on everything that I read about, but am too much of a chicken to do. What does appeal to me a lot are the eggless recipes.  
A and the kids eat eggs, and I am pretty impartial to using eggs in baking. But if I can lay my hands on any eggless recipes, I am absolutely eager to try them out. My main incentive being that my MIL comes to visit, and eggs get banned out of the kitchen, I can still sustain the kids hankering for a home-baked cake. I recently came across this recipe for an eggless  sponge cake that I had to try. I made this on Sunday to take to for the kids after-class-snack in Hindi school. As fate would have it, we missed Sunday Class (they changed venue quite suddenly), and I was left with a cake, but no kids!! My girls, a friend (one of the hindi class kids' mom)  and I polished off half the cake and I brought back the remaining to A.  He wolfed it down in less time than it took to mix the batter :-))

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Coconut macaroons: and our Halloween Pumpkins

Just as the Diwali excitement seemed to be dying down, I got swamped with "What are we doing for Halloween" concerns. My uninterested "nothing" for an answer did not go very well with little anxious hearts.   "Can we at least go trick-or-treating with Vienna?" asked Anya. "Yes mommy. I be a butterfly with Bienna", chimed in baby P. A and I exchanged a look, 2 looks actually. One with a "no" (yours  truly); and the other with a "let them go" (A, of course). And the decision was made. I called Vienna's parents to ask about the plans, and got invited to a pre-trick-or-treating sweet tooth affair. Which meant that instead of getting to spend a lazy Sunday, I had to come up with something to take to their place.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Diwali party: starring Kesari Phirni!!

It's the season again. If we've just started thinking about Dussehera in past tense, can Diwali be far behind? The countdown to India's brightest festival has begun: clean and shine.
Meet and greet.
Feast and diet.

Lost and found!!
I'm talking about this picture now, if you're wondering. This picture from last year's Diwali season resurfaced a couple weeks ago as I was cleaning up my desktop to make a move out of my then-job. As I looked at the picture, I remembered how proud I'd been the day I clicked this. It was for a Diwali potluck at A's friend's. I

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sinfully sweet: Shakkarpara for Dusshera

Oftentimes, my everyday life is accented by memories of past that flash out of nowhere. I am, where I was in a different avatar long ago, and I just want to turn the clock back and be what I was and do what I did then. At times, this happens because I'm missing those days. More often than not, I feel like I want my children to experience the little things in life that marked my childhood. And never does this desire hit me harder than during the traditional Indian Holidays, when I think about the celebrations as they used to be - the sights, the sounds and the smells that ushered in our Holidays. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two year birthday, Rakshabandhan....and Besan-ka-Laddu.

Time flies...literally. Can't believe I started writing this blog two years ago today. I haven't really marked any milestones for my writing till now. But today, as I sat here penning my thoughts, I realized that my first post on this blog also celebrated the festival of Rakshabandhan. A nostalgic look back, and I realize that I wrote down the recipe for Paneer Nargisi exactly two years ago. So let me begin by thanking you all for your readership and support. I've made many new friends through this blog, and have gained a lot of exposure in the blogosphere. It couldn't have been possible about you all.

Another co-incidence is that my recipe for today is a Mithai (sweet) - just what we need to celebrate both a festival and a birthday.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A July update; and sweet welcome to August.


This past month was a god-send in terms of catching up with my reading. I was on complete bed rest for the first two weeks, and up and about with restrictions for the other two. Between hours of wait time at doctor's office and the luxury of chauffered drives to those visits, I managed to browse through numerous magazines. Then after I got my fill of day-time soaps and started to get antsy, A even drove me to the library to replenish my reading. Of the four books that I picked up, I actually finished three (and a half)- a pretty good feat considering that of late, I have really fallen behind. Now that I am back to work, reading times will again be few and far between. Till then, here is what I read.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A cup cake is.....a cake in a cup

The summer of 2007, we were a work place full of pregnant ladies. 3 to be exact; all due within 4 months of each other. Looking back, I think only two of other female colleagues had escaped the pregnancy bug that summer; only because they were not committed yet! Plus we had many other friends that got pregnant that year. We had loads of fun comparing notes on aches and pains, doctors' visits and all matters icky related to pregnancy. We'd spend more time onliine looking at baby sites and ultrasound pictures than working! Those were fun times.... and it was that summer that I came across this recipe...rather the recipe came across my way.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Baking basics: Jeera Biscuit

I spend a lot of luggage-space bringing back food from India, both when we travel (which isn't often enough) and when I get my MIL to visit us. This past month, while A was busy finalizing his mom's travel plans, I was scribbling down hundreds of "most wanted" items. Then everything went haywire when he told me the new Airlines baggage policy, and asked me to pare down my list....to almost nothing! The first things that got thrown off the list were my Jeera Biscuits, ostensibly because these are available in Indian stores in US. A refuses to believe that somehow the ones from back home are just different. Not to mention that they evoke special memories for me..........