Winter delight : Methi Laddoos

img_5306

A couple days back I posted a photo of methi laddoos, a delicious winter variety of nutty ladoos on my Facebook feed. Everyone kept asking for the recipe, so here it is. Straight from my mami, who lovingly sent a box with my cousin who came over.

All winters we have literally hogged on these laddoos since childhood. But because of the very intense ingredients used, the quantity was limited to only one laddoo per day. May be a second one if you coaxed someone enough and drank a full glass of milk with it. I always did.

These laddoos stay well at room temperature even for a month. During my internship days when I used to go to Delhi for a month in December, my mom used to make and give me 30-40 of these laddoos. And they used to be my breakfast every morning. Wholesome, compact and nutritious. Methi (fenugreek) is also a galactagogue, that is it enhances milk production in lactation mothers. They were my quick snack everyday when baby Arjun was born and I was feeding him.

Caveat : Methi laddoos are I think an acquired taste. I love the bitter, nutty, sweet deliciousness but not everyone can handle it. If you are trying it for the first time, you can reduce the quantity of methi powder and gradually add in more if you find it suitable!

Recipe for Methi Laddoos

What you will need :

  • 1/2 kg of desiccated coconut (khobra)
  • 250 gms of Poppy seeds (khaskhas)
  • 250 gms of Dry dates (kharik), powdered
  • 100 gram walnuts + 100 gram almonds + 100 gram cashew nuts
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fenugreek powder (add more if you like it more bitter)
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 200 grams pure ghee

What to do:

  1. Grate the dry coconut. Roast it on low flame in a thick bottomed pan till it turns golden brown. Remove on a plate and keep aside till it slightly cools.
  2. Roast the poppy seeds. Once cool, grind them along with some sugar. Poppy seeds release oil and become sticky, so we use sugar along with the roasted poppy seeds to grind.
  3. Grind all the dry fruits too.
  4. And the powdered dry dates to the dry-fruits. You can get powdered dates if you know a reliable source or shop. I make the powder at home.
  5. Now the roasted grated coconut can be crushed by hand itself. After you break the grated coconut into finer particles evenly, add all the above powdered material to this coconut along with the fenugreek powder.
  6. I get fenugreek seeds ground from the flour mill because I make a lot of laddoos in winter. But you can grind the seeds at home for the recipe as you need. If you roast the seeds just a light brown the bitter taste will lessen.
  7. Warm the container of pure ghee in a vessel containing hot water so that it turns liquid. Add this liquid ghee to this mixture. Don’t put the ghee to direct flame.
  8. Then roll the laddoos with your hand. Add a little more melted ghee if required for it to come together. Nice tasty laddoos ready to eat.

“Rutvika I hope I have been able to convey the recipe. With lots of best wishes to all.” – Mami 🙂

There! Let me know how it turns out of you do make them.

Rutvika

img_5310

Fried Coconut Modaks

For the Daring Kitchen challenge in September, I made a trio of modak. One of them is this fried modak with a desiccated coconut filling. It is delicious and can be stored for upto a week in an air tight container.

Step-by-step recipe :

Fried modaks

 

Fried Coconut Modaks

What you will need:

  • 100 grams desiccated coconut (khopra)
  • 2 tablespoon dry fruit powder (comprising of 4 almonds, 4 unsalted pistachios and 4 cashews)
  • 5 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoon milk powder
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

For the covering / shell :

  • 1 heaped cup all purpose flour (145 grams)
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoon heated oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For frying :

  • 2 cups vegetable oil

What to do:

  1. To make the filling, pulse dessicated coconut in a mixer till it breaks into crumbs.
  2. Dry roast it in a pan till slightly browned.
  3. Take it off heat and add the dry fruit powder, cardamom powder, milk powder and put it back in the vessel over heat.
  4. Add 5 tablespoons of condensed milk to it.
  5. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes till it becomes slightly dry. Take care to see that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  6. If it feels sticky, add another tablespoon of milk powder.
  7. Let the mixture cool down completely before using.

Making fried modak stuffing

 

  1. In another bowl, take one heaped cup all purpose flour, and add ¼ cup water with ½ teaspoon salt.
  2. In a small wok, heat 2 and half tablespoon oil. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of rice flour and let it sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add this oil to the bowl with flour and mix it well. Knead it for 2 minutes. And then keep it aside for 30 minutes to soften.
  4. After that, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls.

Fried modak shell

 

  1. Roll each ball into a disk and then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk.
  2. Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till all are done.

Shaping a fried modak

 

  1. In a big wok, heat 2 cups of vegetable oil. Fry two modaks at a time. Insert it into the oil pointed side down so that once that side cooks a little bit, it won’t open up while the rest of the modak are fried.
  2. Drain it on kitchen paper and serve.

Frying a modak

 

Ukadiche Modak – Hosting for Daring Cooks Challenge

Sweet steamed modaks

When the new year started in January, I had made a list of resolutions. Some of them like losing 10 kgs in a year etc. never work out, but one of them was hosting a Daring Kitchen Challenge. And I did! My favourite modaks for the month of September. The details and precision which go into preparing a challenge is tremendous. And then once I submitted the draft of the challenge, it went through a rigorous testing schedule by the volunteers at the Daring Kitchen. A few modifications later, it was up for the world.

Every year during Ganpati, we make these modaks at home. Essentially, it has two parts. One is the covering (ukad in Marathi) and the other is the filling (saran in Marathi). Different households have slight variations in making it, but basically the covering is made of rice flour and the filling is made of a mixture of fresh coconut and jaggery.

For the Daring Cooks challenge, I made three different varieties of modak. Two of them steamed, and one fried version. I am hoping cooks all around the world will try this little traditional western-Indian delicacy and like it.

Excerpt for the challenge :

“The legend of Ganesha , the elephant headed God goes this way – Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, created a boy out of the sandalwood paste she used for her bath and breathed life in to him.  Then she asked him to guard her door while she went for a bath. Meanwhile, Lord Shiva who had gone out  hunting came back. Ganesha did not allow him to enter, as he did not know who Shiva was. Enraged, Shiva severed the head of the child. Parvati was very angry and disheartened by this. Lord Shiva promised to find a head for him and bring the boy back to life. His devotees tried to find the head of a dead man, but only found the head of a dead elephant. Shiva fixed it on the body of the boy and brought him back to life, and from that day was called Ganesha.

So this month I bring to you “modaks”, an offering made to Lord ganesha. A delicate preparation of coconut and jaggery (a sweetner made from sugarcane juice) filled in a tender rice flour covering and then steamed. It is an age old recipe followed by several generations in our family.”

Blog Checking Lines : “For the month of September , Rutvika the talented lady behind  sizzleanddrizzle.com challenged us to make modaks: a delicate preparation of coconut and jiggery filled in a tender rice flour covering that is later steamed to produce a delicacy that is usually served in the Ganesha festival in India”

Recipe 1 : Ukadiche Modak

Servings: Makes 12 modaks

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 200 gm fresh shredded coconut
  • 100 gm chopped jaggery
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder

For the covering/ shell

  • 1 heaped cup of Basmati rice flour, sifted (310 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup water (180 m)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 35 grams unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Firstly, we make the filling of the modak. Take the fresh shredded coconut, jaggery and water in a thick bottomed vessel. Put it on medium heat and stir continuously till the jaggery begins to dissolve.
  2. Alternately, you can melt the jaggery in microwave for in bursts of 30 seconds and then add it to the fresh coconut, it will come together faster.
  3. Roast it for a couple of minutes, till the mixture becomes slightly dry.
  4. Add cardamom powder and mix it well.
  5. Take the mixture off heat and spread it on a plate and let it cool down completely while you make the covering.

Modak sweet stuffing

  1. To make the covering, sift the rice flour and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour with the smallest sieve twice so that it is very smooth. The all purpose flour is used to make the rice flour more sticky.
  2. In a thick bottomed vessel, take the water and add butter and salt to it. Let it come to a boil.
  3. Once water starts to boil, add the flour mixture all at once. Take it off heat and mix it together with a spoon.
  4. Then put the mixture back on heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoons water. Cover and let it steam for 1 minute over low heat.
  5. Take it off heat and let it stay in a corner covered for 10 minutes, It will get softened.
  6. Once it has considerably cooled down, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.

Modak ukad covering

  1. Prepare the steamer. Fill a large vessel with water covering the bottom of the steamer. Place steamer on top and keep it ready. We place the modaks on a banana leaf for steaming, but you can use a plain tea towel instead.
  2. Make 12 equal balls of the dough.
  3. With a little water, flatten each ball into a thin disk with your hands or in a non-electric roti maker, about 4 inches in diameter. Then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk.
  4. Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till a few are ready to be steamed.
  5. Immerse each modak in water before placing it in the steamer filled with boiling water. Steam for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter).

Shaping a steamed modak

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Rutvika

Note : I have tried to simplify the recipe as much as possible for the non-Maharashtrian and the non-Indian cooks. The shaping of the modaks can get quite complicated, my mom’s grandma used to make a tower of 7 modaks on top of each other, starting from one single modak.

“A Bollywood Affair” and Home-made Kaju katli

Book Review : A Bollywood Affair

As a teenager, I was a die hard fan of Mills and Boon. I would rent out one every couple of days from the local library and immerse myself in those books and almost always imagine myself to be the heroine. And however independent I was in real life, I loved the damsel-in-distress part in those novels. Perhaps it was something about the description of the hero, that you wanted him to come and rescue you, even if you didn’t need it. Ah yes and the the racy cover photographs! I would stare at them every few pages later and it would lead me to imagine things on my own.

Then abruptly that era of romance novels stopped, or came to a screeching halt. As if I had gathered all the know-how to fall in love. And while becoming an accountant, or working as a banker, I assumed I had to read more serious books and poor little Mills and Boon genre went through the window, taking with it all warm and soft feelings which that kind of books give you.

And then a few days back I got an Advanced copy of an Indian romance novel set in Michigan, ‘A Bollywood Affair’. It tugged at my heart. The characters Mili and Samir and Virat, they are endearing and brash at the same time. It is essentially the story of Mili who is married off to Virat at the age of 4 in a small village in Rajasthan and then for the next 20 years, she doesn’t meet him or hear from him. Yet in her heart she believes that she is married and acts accordingly. And its the story of Samir, Virat’s younger brother, who is in Michigan, USA to secure a divorce for his brother, for a marriage which they don’t consider to be existing ever.

And then Mili and Samir fall in love, bollywood style!

ABOLLYWOODAFFAIR_Cover

Its a beautifully crafted book, the scenes are so vividly explained that I could almost smell the samosas being fried at Mili’s best friend’s wedding. Or for days later I could imagine a yellow cycle which Mili has, standing in our own driveway. The book grows on you. On one side I wanted to hastily finish reading the book so that I come to know of the whole story, but at the same time, I wanted it to linger, to last, for some time more so that I can be in their beautiful “fallin-in-love” world just a little longer. Well, I couldn’t put the book down ad stayed up all night and finished it.

The most empathetic part of the book for me was Mili. She is shown to be very traditional yet pragmatic, she yearns for her husband to come claim her and yet goes to US for higher education. She has a belief system in place and that helps her set things right in the lives of people she cares for. And quotes of her grandmother throughout the book would make me go and squeeze and hug my grandma.

The only part in the book that did not go down well with me was the number of times Mili fainted. Eat something, girl! But Samir was always around to catch her midway through the fall, and the fluttering sparks which flew between them still made it enjoyable.

The book is set for release on Tuesday, 28 October. How did I get an advance copy? Yes, my aunt-in-law has written the book and everytime I see the pre-release activity on Facebook, I get a star-struck moment. I can see what a huge deal it is to write a full book, get a publisher, go through numerous rounds of edits and then finally release it. One important thing for me in a book is to know that there are no unforgotten characters. Each one is led to a logical conclusion.And none of the characters are left hanging here. When I asked the author Sonali Dev, how long it took her to string this one together , her words were “This book took about a year. It was one of those books that just flew out of me”. 🙂

Like I grew up on Mills and Boon I was very curious to know what shaped her romantic view of the world. But Sonali Dev says ” I didn’t actually read a lot of romance novels growing up. One odd Mills and Boon in college and a few Danielle Steele’s. When I was a young mother in my early thirties, I got sick and my husband took the kids to the library. Since I was out of books and I had time to read, thanks to being sick, I asked my husband to pick up a book for me. He, of course, walked into the library and grabbed the first thing off the display shelf. It was Catherine Coulter’s Rosehaven. A ‘full-on’ Medieval Historical Romance. I read the back, gave him my angriest wife glare and said, ‘You’ve been married to me for 10 years and this is what you think I read?’ But then I made the mistake of starting to read it and I finished it in one night. Could not put it down. It was absolutely delicious, I was hooked. I inhaled all of Catherine Coulter’s books after that and then went on to discover Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nalini Singh and on and on. ”

If that’s what pulled this fabulous author into romance writing, the next book I want to read is definitely Rosehaven.
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (See it here on Goodreads) releases on 28 October, and I already have a list of people I want to gift it to. If you love romance, this one is not to be missed. And if you don’t, this one will convert you.
*******       *******       *******
And while Diwali is in full swing here, I had decided to make one new Diwali faraal item which I have never made before. This time its home-made kaju-katli, something like a diamond shaped cashew maripan.
I have loved kaju katli forever but I never knew it can be so easy to make. It has just three ingredients. Cashews, sugar and water. Thats it. And it comes together in 20 minutes!
Home-made kaju katli
 Kaju katli
What you will need :
  • 1 cup good quality cashews
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Kaju katli collage

What to do :

  1. Pulse the cashews in a mixer to make a powder, but do not let it turn into a paste. Take a few cashews at a time and pulse them. If you think it is starting to release oil, add a teaspoon of powdered sugar while grinding.
  2. Take the sugar and water in a thick bottomed vessel and let it come to a boil to make the sugar syrup. let it reach the one string consistency. (See picture)
  3. Then add all the cashew powder to the sugar mixture and mix well. Keep stirring on a low flame till the mixture starts to thicken and leaves the sides of the pan.
  4. Continue to cook on low flame till it forms almost a dough. If you pinch a ball of the mixture and roll it between your fingers it should form a smooth ball without crumbling.Once that stage is reached, in about 7-8 minutes, take it off the heat.
  5. While it is still warm (let it cool slightly), knead the dough till it becomes smooth. Then on a Silpat or a greased butter paper, roll it out with a rolling pin to the desired thickness. Cut diagonally.
 Kaju katli stacked
 Notes :
  • I doubled the recipe and cooking time increased by 3-4 minutes. Keep a check on the consistency and keep it stirring at low flame.
  • If it appears too dry, knead with a little ghee.
  • It stays well at room temperature in an air-tight box for 4-5 days and refrigerated for even 7-8 days.

Maharashtrian Chirote or Fried layered crispies

Currently as I write this post, it is just 5 days before I leave for Paris, and I still do not have the Visa in my hand. It is in process since the last 2 weeks, but our not-so-competent (realized just now) travel agent did not mention that an original document notarized in Paris is required for the visa. I had to then urgently call my host in Paris, an amazingly sweet and efficient lady (which I realised now), had to rush to the Paris town hall, get the required document and courier it to me. I will get the document today and then I have four more working days before I fly to Paris. Pray for me.

I have been making to-do lists with a blue pen, then ticking off with a red one, then making another list and working on it, and then another one. It has come to a point where I will need to make a list to index and manage other lists. Phew! You know what I am talking about? It’s that sort of frenzy here right now. I always go crazy when there is a lot of stuff to be done, but right now my craziness is at its worst. To top it, Akshay has gone on a jungle safari which was planned way back , and he has limited phone range there, my mum had fractured her foot and is in a plaster, and my best friend has disappeared to another non-cell phone range area. Where are you guys?!

So for now its just this crazy-to-do-list girl and her my mum-in-law.

The Diwali week has come to an end, and we had a fantastic fun filled Diwali! A healthy mixture of meeting family, partying with friends and then cooking and learning from the masters. In current scenario, my grandma-in-law. Like all grannies, she has a box full of hidden treasures, and I can’t get enough of it. Her secret recipes can be learnt only if you cook with her. If you ask her the recipe, she would shrug it off and say “There’s nothing to it. Just heat some oil, do tadka, saute some things, let it simmer, add some coriander and its ready.” I replay it in my head and try it alone at home. It comes nowhere close to what it tastes like when she makes it. Nowhere close.

So this time around during Diwali, I tricked her into making her crisp, light and multi-layered chirote while I “help” her and for record, I took zillion photographs. Each time I would take out the camera, she would ask me “You will click this too? Whats to click in this?”. I persisted and got the detailed procedure.

So chirote, are a Maharashtrian delicacy made during Diwali. They are a bit cumbersome to make, and takes a while. And hence it is disappearing from Marathi households. Most of us don’t have the technique and/or the patience to do these beautifully ghee-layered crisps. We made about 15-20 2-inch chirotes, and it took us 2 hours. Or more. But once you make them, and they melt in your mouth, you will want to make them again. That’s my promise.

Multi layered Chirote

Chirote or Multi-layered Crisps Recipe

What you will need :

  • 2 cups regular all purpose flour or maida
  • 3-4 tbsp hot ghee or hot clarified butter
  • 4 tbsp whole milk
  • 4 tbsp corn flour
  • 6 tbsp ghee
  • 3 cups ghee/ clarified butter for frying
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

What to do :

  1. Mix all purpose flour, hot ghee and milk and form into a thick dough. Knead well for 5 minutes, till all lumps are broken down and it forms a non-sticky smooth dough. Tip: The dough should peel off the hand without sticking to it.
  2. Let it rest covered on the countertop for 10 mins.
  3. Divide the dough into 11 (eleven) equal size balls. We will be needing 9 ultra thin rotis, but there is a chance of breakage, so make additional 2 as a precaution.
  4. On a well floured surface, with a rolling pin, roll out the dough on all sides evenly, adding flour as needed. The rotis need to be really thin, each one about 8 inches in diameter.
  5. Then in a separate dish, take 4 tbsp cornflour and ghee and mix it with your fingers till it forms a very smooth mixture. Divide this mixture into 6 parts.
  6. Now, take one roti and generously apply one part of the ghee and corn-flour mixture. Then place another roti on top and repeat with the cornflour mixture. Place the third roti on this stack and repeat.
  7. Once this stack of 3 rotis is ready, fold it from both sides and then roll it up from the third side till the centre and the opposite side till the center. Both the rolled up layers should meet and stack on each other in the center.
  8. With a sharp knife, cut this roll into 5 equal pieces.
  9. Take each piece on a flat surface and again flatten it delicately with a rolling pin to upto 2 inches wide. Be careful to not squeeze too much into the layers.
  10. Repeat with the other 6 rotis, stacking them up into groups of three and follow the same procedure.
  11. Now your chirote are ready to be fried.
  12. In a thick bottomed vessel or kadhai, heat the butter. Lower the flame and fry the chirote one-by-one.
  13. Hold the chirota in a slotted spoon over the inside of the vessel. Gently with another spoon, pour the hot ghee from the vessel over the layers in the chirota. Pour the ghee over each side 6-7 times, till it sizzles and becomes slightly brown in color.
  14. Then drain on a sieve for a couple of minutes.
  15. While still hot, sprinkle powdered sugar on it generously and coat it from all sides.
  16. These sexy delicate layered melt-in-your-mouth crispies are ready!

Careful, they are super hot till the core!

Here a step-by-step photo tutorial :

Slathering the rotis with a mixture of ghee and cornflour

Slathering the rotis with a mixture of ghee and cornflour

After stacking 3 on top of each other, start folding it from the sides

After stacking 3 on top of each other, start folding it from the sides

Fold from all four sides and start rolling into a cylinder

Fold from all four sides and start rolling into a cylinder

Cut into 5-6 parts

Cut into 5-6 parts

Flatten each part lightly

Flatten each part lightly

Check out the beautiful multiple layers

Check out the beautiful multiple layers

Hold each on eon side of the vessel with a slotted spoon and pour hot ghee on each side

Hold each on eon side of the vessel with a slotted spoon and pour hot ghee on each side

Continue till slightly brown from all sides

Continue till slightly brown from all sides

When still hot, sprinkle with powdered sugar generously

When still hot, sprinkle with powdered sugar generously

Delicate and melt in your mouth crispies are ready

Delicate and melt in your mouth crispies are ready! Grab a bite!

Enjoy these darlings with some milk. I am sure you can’t stop at one.

And yeah, if you wish I can say Thank you to my granny-in-law on your behalf 🙂

P.S: Dont forget to say a small prayer for my visa.

 

Rose Misti Doi or Sweetened Curd

The last whole week was quite a frenzy, and I was utterly unable to post. I was preoccupied with so many things, that the transition from unrelated short sentences in my head to coherent, meaningful paragraphs was just not happening.

It feels strange, but just a few weeks back, my mom and brother were down with dengue, and this time around my mom-in-law (Mom-IL) and dad-in-law (Dad-IL) were down with typhoid and pneumonia respectively. I had only heard of these things before, and in a matter of three months, I am dealing with all of it, in my own house. With not one, but two people to be looked after suddenly.

My Mom-IL and Dad-IL are super-independent and I realized that even after 2 and half years of my marriage, I knew so little about their daily habits and routines. For instance :

  1. Dad-IL likes to have masala tea atleast 15 times a day, and just a super hot quarter cup each time. And he complains if you give him any more than a quarter cup.
  2. Mom-IL liked to have something sweet everyday. It is odd, because on normal days, both of them swear away from sweets, and only ‘taste’ it when I make some new dessert.

It was not an easy task keeping those two almost hyper-active individuals home-bound, but being a daughter in law here, I could not be over-assertive.  My secret weapon was my husband, their son. I would immediately call him up in office and ask him to call them to persuade them from doing something, viz. gardening on the third day after being detected with pneumonia. Yeah.

IMG_5846

I also realized certain things about myself in this week. I found my brain was working like clock. It would automatically wake me up at 2 hour intervals at night to check on their temperature. I found that when left on my own, I do kitchen-work exactly like my mom. I line up used cups on the wash-basin just like she does, heck, I even cut onions the same way she does. I teased her for being so particular, but now I am doing the same things!

It was a hectic week, no doubt, but interspersed with so many realizations, it was quite a ride. And both of them are quite fine now.

Sweetened curd SnD

Meanwhile, last week I had made this Misti-Doi or Sweetened Curd. I remember a few years back, when I was in Kolkatta for audit, I had this misti–doi in the earthen pots and it was so good, that I ‘smuggled’ a big pot of that curd on the flight back home. It was thick, full of flavor and very creamy.

IMG_5862

The real method is to boil and simmer and reduce milk and then add sugar, and some curd as a starter and let it rest. But I substituted it with condensed milk, making it a very easy and quick dessert, which can even be made on a large scale for house parties. It is baked to get a thick creamy texture, but it can also be kept to set overnight in a warm environment.

Misti-Doi or Sweetened Curd recipe :

What you will need:

Plain Yogurt : 2 cups / 500 gm / 17.6 Oz
Sweetened Condensed Milk – 1/2 can or 200 gm or 7 Oz  or as per taste
Sweetened Rose Syrup (preferably with rose petals in it) – 5-6 tbsp

What to do:

  1. Take a cheese cloth, or a soft cotton cloth, pour the yogurt into it, tie the cloth loosely and hang the yogurt along with the cloth on the kitchen faucet / tap for 15 to 20 minutes or till most of the whey ( yogurt-water) has been drained.
  2. Take the yogurt out from the cloth, put it in a big bowl and add the sweetened condensed milk and the rose syrup. Mix all the ingredients nicely by using a spoon and check the sweetness. Pour the mixture into a oven proof dish. ( cup / bowl / pan )
  3. Preheat the oven to 220°F or 100°C. Bake the yogurt for 30 minutes on the middle rack.
  4. Check it if the top of the yogurt has set, and turn off oven. Cover the yogurt with foil and let it sit there in the oven for another 4-5 hrs or overnight.
  5. Then take it out and put it in the refrigerator for couple of hours.
  6. Serve chilled, garnish with rose petals.

The next time, I am going to let it set in earth pots, for a very rustic Kolkatta feeling.

IMG_5893_2

Ukadiche Modak

It is that time of the year again when Ganesha or Ganapati bappa comes to our homes, our hearts and even our streets. And with him he bring lots of festivities and of course good food. The entire region gets swathed in lights and flowers, and all of life’s miseries are forgotten for a while.

We did not have Ganapati at our home and I felt quite bad about that. Then when we shifted to a new apartment when I was 12.  That year I realised, my friend Ketki, had Ganpati bappa at her place and I went to her place for the evening of actual celebration. It took us just one year to become BEST friends. Needless to say, for 10 years after that I would be at her place throughout the festival, and even for several evenings before that to make the decoration for the idol to be set in. Those were quite fun times, with the two days filled to the brim with festivities. We would wake up really early in the morning, her dad and uncles would do the pooja (where we would help), and then her mom and granny would do the modaks (where we would again help).

Modak (2 of 2)

Giving those complicated structural designs to the rice flour dough and then filling it with a sweet sticky coconut mixture, we would get our hands totally messy. And if the coconut particles would get into the dough, that was the end if that particular modak, and we had to redo it. But everyone was patient with us, and soon, we somewhat mastered the art of making a beautiful modak. Ketki was always good at it, but I had a tough time getting them into the right shape.

This post is dedicated to the Ganpati at Ketki’s house and to her mom. For giving me beautiful memories and allowing me to be a part of their home and their hearts.

Now, I will get down to the recipe of this ukadiche modak. Not only in Maharashtra, but several states in south India have different ways of making this steamed delicacy. In essence it is much like momos. The outer cover of these dumplings is made with rice flour and it is filled with coconut and jaggery mixture.

Modak saran (1 of 1)

Ukadiche Modak (Coconut and Jaggery Dumplings) Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 1 and 1/2 cup freshly dessicated coconut
  • 3/4 cup jaggery, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons khova / mava
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder (optional)
  • 3 cups fine Basmati rice flour
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter / mild unflavored cooking oil

Continue reading

Home-made Chocolate

My fondest memories of going to my granny’s house in Pune have been of the time when she would be be making this chocolate and the resulting sweet aroma that would fill up the entire house. Her sari would smell of the cocoa and cream for an entire day and I would go and hug her several times just to feel the scent of that warm chocolate.

This one here, is her original recipe, true to the last bit and believe it or not, has just 4 simplest ingredients. None of the fancy-shmancy oven or olive oil or that baking soda blah blah.. Just some fresh white cream, milk powder , cocoa powder and sugar. And cooking it in a pan on the stove top. Easy and chocolaty. Need i say more??

chocs stacked

Serves : A group of people

Continue reading