No-bake Eggless Peanut butter Tart

There are countless number of times when people who I have known for a long time come and ask me if I have quit being a CA and turned into a baker. And as much as I like baking, being a CA and running our company is what pays the bills. Baking is a hobby, something that I love to spend my weekends doing. Trying to find out different flavour combinations, baking varied types of cakes, breads, mastering the art of making the elusive macarons and their feet – this is all very relaxing.

So here is one such no-bake eggless peanut butter tart. Very easy to make, looks festive and is rather nutritious. It just needs to set in the refrigerator for an hour, so it can even be made last minute as there is no baking involved. Perfect for making when little hands want to help you in the kitchen.

This recipe has been adapted from Epicurious.

No-bake Eggless Peanut Butter Tart

tart coming out from pan

What you will need:

  • 450 gram dry roasted unsalted peanuts, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 500 gram chopped chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil

Making of peanut butter tart

What to do :

  1. Firstly, dry roast the peanuts either in a big kadhai or in a microwave. Remove the skin and let the peanuts cool down.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate with the oil over double boiler or in a microwave till it is fully melted without any clumps. let it cool slightly , about 10 minutes.
  3. Take one 10 inch or two 5 inch fluted pans with removable bottom and spray the inside lightly with a non-stick spray or butter it. Cover the bottom ring fully with a plastic saran wrap. Put it inside the fluted pan.
  4. Pour about half of the slightly cooled melted chocolate into the pan and let it coat evenly. Let it set at room temperature.
  5. In a mixer, pulse the roasted peanuts to a grainy powder.
  6. To this add powdered sugar + peanut butter and salt. Pulse till it all comes together to form a dough.
  7. Take it out on a surface and blend it with your hands to make a smooth dough.
  8. Transfer it onto a wax paper and roll it in a disk, slightly smaller than the pan.
  9. Transfer the peanut butter disk onto the fluted pan over the chocolate disk. Peel off the parchment paper.
  10. Pour remaining chocolate over the peanut butter disk and let it set in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
  11. Before service, remove sides of the tart pan and lift off the bottom ring. Slide it onto a serving plate from the plastic wrapped ring.
  12. Decorate with fruits before serving and keep it in the fridge while storing or the chocolate will start melting.

Chocolate top of tart

Notes :

  • This is a perfect make ahead dessert and can also be made into smaller cup sized tart pans.
  • I use cocoa craft pure chocolate, but it also works very well with compound like Morde.

Slice of tart

Cheers!

RC

Palak and Cheese Kofta Curry

Koftas in curry

A few years back, cooking classes were a rage among all my mom’s friends. And they found one Mrs. Kapoor who taught all North Indian curries, rice preparations, koftas, Indian chineese, soups, cakes etc. I had attended one cake workshop with her, my first one, long time back. And then my sister-in-law attended a few of her classes and this is her creation.

The list of ingredients is long, but once you get it all together it is very simple. Just mix it all, fry and put it in the curry.

Filling a kofta

In Indian cooking, unlike baking, a few ingredients and measures can be adjusted. Feel free to do so if you don’t have any particular thing in your house. Or you can replace aamchur powder with say mint powder or substitute with lemon juice altogether. Feel comfortable.

My friends have come up with a specially coated range of stoneware – frying pan and kadhais called the Khlos Life. Its beautiful and we have been using it even for all our daily cooking since we got it. You can check them out on Amazon.

Palak and cheese kofta

Palak and Cheese Kofta in Curry

What you will need:

For the koftas outer covering –

  • 3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger- chilli paste
  • 2 tablespoon corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon aamchoor powder
  • salt to taste, 1/2 teaspoon or so

Kofta Potato cover

For the kofta filling –

  • 1 bunch palak (boiled, squeezed and chopped finely)
  • 3 cubes cheese grated
  • 1 teaspoon ginger chilli paste
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • salt to taste , about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • few drops of lemon juice

Palak and cheese filling

For making tadka for the gravy –

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain

For the gravy –

  • 4 tomatoes pureed without skins
  • 1/4 cup curd
  • 2 teaspoon besan
  • 3 tablespoon kaju powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon jeera powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste, about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup coriander chopped
  • pinch of orange red color (optional)

What to do :

  1. Mix all ingredients for the kofta outer covering and knead it like a soft dough. keep it aside.
  2. Mix all ingredients of the kofta filling and check for seasoning.
  3. Make small balls of the filling and stuff them into disks of the outer covering and seal well. You will get about 10-12 koftas.
  4. Heat some oil in a kadhai, and fry the koftas on medium heat. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. To make the gravy, I used the Khlos Deep kadhai. Heat the 2 tablespoon of butter, add the ajwain, onion and garlic and saute for  minutes.
  6. In a mixer or a food processor, churn everything required for the gravy.
  7. Pour it over the tadka in the kadhai and cook it on medium heat for 5-6 minutes till it starts to thicken.
  8. Put the koftas in the curry just before serving. Serve piping hot with some chapatis or rice.

Palak Kofta

Notes :

  1. 1 bunch of palak is roughly 3/4 cup when boiled and chopped.
  2. I have used fresh ginger and fresh chilli paste. And packaged ready garlic paste. You can use all fresh or all packaged. Adjust the salt accordingly.
  3. If you wish, add more water to the curry and keep it thinner for rice.

Tomato Curry

Rutvika Charegaonkar

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

 

Vegetable Manchurian with Garlic gravy

The Indian Chinese is our favourite go-to when the body craves for some salty, err, tasty treats. When we pass by the Chinees stalls on the road and the China Garden hotel (I am sure every city has several by the same name), the aroma makes me want to linger. And stare at the man behind the stall making his manchurian swirl in his wok or tossing the fried rice up in the air, to expertly catch it at the right moment as it lands back in his wok. And those red dragons painted on the stalls. Oh, I want to go to one right now.

Vegetable manchurian

Never mind. We love to make the Vegetable Manchurian in the thick garlicky gravy at home. It is without the drama of the banian-clad man on a chinese stall, but tastes excellent. I also add a pinch of ajinomoto in the dough and gravy, we love that umami taste. But you can totally skip it. My husband believes it is safe and naturally occurring in many a foodstuff like mushrooms etc., and I take his word on that.

Generally veg manchurian goes well with any rice or noodles. Last Sunday we ate it with some boiled pasta, sautéed in butter and some herbed red sauce. It was a good lunch!

Vegetable Manchurian with Gravy

Manchurin gravy noodles

What you will need :

For the Manchurian balls :

  • 3/4 cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 4 tablespoon maida
  • 2 tablespoon corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more as per taste
  • a pinch of ajinomoto (totally optional, but I love the taste)
  • a little water, if required for kneading
  • Oil for frying

For the gravy :

  • 7-8 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoon oil
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly crushed pepper powder
  • 3 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour mixed in 1 and 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • a pinch of Himalayan chilli for flavor
  • a pinch of ajinomoto (totally optional, but I love the taste)

Spring onion greens for decoration.

What to do :

  1. Keep all the vegetables washed and chopped, ready to use in a large bowl. To it add all the ingredients as mentioned in Manchurian balls, except the water.
  2. Knead it all together to form balls. I needed about 1 tablespoon of water. It should be a sticky dough which can be roughly rolled into balls.
  3. In a large kadhai, heat some oil and fry these Manchurian balls on low heat. Drain on kitchen paper and let them cool.
  4. To make the gravy, in a thick bottomed vessel, heat some oil. Fry the garlic and add the onions. Cook till translucent.
  5. Then add rest of the ingredients mentioned in the gravy and let it simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes. The sauce will begun to thicken.
  6. Once fairly thick, take the sauce off the heat and add the fried manchurian balls.
  7. Sever hot with some fried rice or noodles.
  8. I made some pasta noodles (cooked as per instructions on the packet) and topped it with some herbed red sauce. Recipe here.

Noodles with marinara

Notes :

  1. You can also use beans and your choice of vegetables, but keep the proportion same.
  2. Ajinomoto is entirely optional, skip it if you don’t like. But I am sure your Chinese guy uses it. So once in a while it is okay to use.
  3. If the manchurian balls are coming apart in the oil, knead it well with a little more water and always cook on low flame so that the vegetables get cooked till the centre.

Manchrian with noodles

Balsamic Mushroom Pasta and the end of my maternity leave

This week is the last week of my maternity leave and I will soon resume work. It is difficult to believe that it’s been 3 months since I gave birth , since the first time my baby boy tightly held my little finger till his fingertips looked white. He still does that, but now he wants to firmly hold on to my index finger. And he looks directly into my eyes, follows me as I move from one side to the other while doing my chores and sometimes I just move to check his ability to follow me. He has also graduated from ‘newborn’ clothes to ‘3-6 months’ set of tee shirts and onesies. And my little boy now generously showers everyone with that toothless gummy smile.

I talk to him a lot. I tell him how momma needs to go to office now, but his ajji will take care of him. He coos as if he understands, but makes me promise him that I will cuddle and hug him as soon as I come home. I promise, he animatedly waves his hands and I pick him up. He is my son, we have a connection and he knows momma will be happier when she works.

As for me, it’s been four months since I am at home. Initially bed rest for a month and then these three months. Now that my baby has a set routine, it gives me time to think of things beyond him. I have to restart from the basic things. I have nothing to wear, pregnancy has made me an L from an M and I need to go shopping. My hair is in a frizzy mess, good foot wear is non existent and my sense of traffic has gone for a toss. I ride my two wheeler at the speed of 20, because after being home-borne for 4 months, even 20 kmph seems very fast. I gotta get back on track before I can resume work.

It’s strange the ways in which motherhood can change you. It has made me paranoid. I worry over his every sneeze, try to monitor his next milestone and insist on placing his blanket exactly at the same place every night.  Moreover I am constantly worried that something might happen to me when the baby is so fully dependent on me. Every fast approaching vehicle feels as if it will bump into me and give a bloody fracture. And so I need to start working. I need to start spending some amount of time away from baby worries otherwise it would make me go crazy.

My baby is exclusively breastfed and I plan to continue that for another 3 months. Office is close by so I can drop in for his feeding times and perhaps also express milk for alternate feedings. It’s a good thing, I will be on my toes. And anyway work expands to fill the time available. So I guess I will be able to do justice at my workplace too.

This baby boy and hence we as parents are lucky. He has one set of grandparents living with him (or we living with them) and another set of grandparents just 5 minutes away. And all four of them dote on him and are indulgent babysitters. It makes it so much easier for me to go out, knowing that he is in very good hands. In fact it becomes my responsibility to be very efficient at work and at home since I have a strong support system.

But right now when I look at him having a conversation with his beloved ceiling fan,  I wonder if I will constantly miss him while at work.

May be. But I need to slightly detach to attach better.

Xoxo,

Loving mama

*******       *******       *******

For the last few days, I have been baking and cooking a lot. Experimenting with new flavors and textures. And one such byproduct is this Balsamic Mushroom Pasta. I like my pasta little well cooked so that it melts in the mouth with the creamy balsamic glaze. Without much ado, presenting a simple pasta dish which can be whipped up in half an hour.

Mushroom pasta

Balsamic Mushroom Pasta

What you will need :

  • 2 cups mushroom, washed and sliced
  • 2 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup penne, cooked al dente for 10 to 12 minutes or as per instructions on the packet
  • 1 cup water in which the pasta was boiled
  • 3-4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar / balsamic glaze
  • 2 cubes or 40 gms Cheedar cheese cubes, grated
  • dried oregano, basil or other herbs as per taste

Pasta in a pot

What to do :

  1. In a big pot, melt butter and olive oil. Add the mushrooms and let them cook on medium heat till soft.
  2. Then add the chopped or crushed garlic and stir.
  3. Ad the cream and salt and mix well on low heat.
  4. Then add the pasta to this. Mix well.
  5. Add water and milk to the pan and cover and cook for about 10 minutes on low heat so that the sauce gets creamier and coats the pasta well.
  6. Then add the balsamic glaze, stir well. Add the grated cheese, dried herbs and stir well.
  7. Serve when hot with some red chillies or paprika.

Pasta in a pot and bowls