Traditional turkish pudding – Muhallebi

Turkish cuisine is one of my favourites :). I visited Istanbul in the year 2009, and found instant connection to the place. Since last year I started experimenting with  Turkish cuisine and my first experiment was Lentil Kofte.

Turkey is the land of yummy kebab, seafood and baklava. Turkish kebab is longer, flatter and a little bland compared to our Indian ones. It is one of the cuisine that I  love to explore to the maximum.

My husband and I have a Salon dinner  – a networking dinner called Coral(you can see the FB page for more information) every week we explore new cuisines. One of the week I had chosen Turkish and was in search of a simple dessert which is quick,easy and at the same time traditional. I came across Tony Tahhan’s blog showcasing Muhallebi, which is a sweet milk & rice flour pudding dating back to the Ottoman period. The rice pudding is traditional scented with orange blossom water and garnished with cinnamon powder, pistachios or almonds. I twisited the flavouring by adding rose water but forgot to add  cinnamon powder :(

This was served at the Salon Dinner and it was an instant hit! Go ahead and note down the ingredients for this easy pudding which can be made in minutes.

½ cup rice flour
3 cups whole milk
4 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp orange blossom water / rose water
ground cinnamon
pistachios/almonds
pomegranate seeds (optional)

In a saucepan, whisk together rice flour, milk, sugar & salt until dissolved. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon on a medium flame until the mixture comes to a simmer. To check for the mixture to be cooked, do a simple test – when you can make a line with your finger without the liquid coming together, bingo!

Once the spoon test is cleared, turn off the heat and add orange blossom water or rose water and mix well. Pour into individual bowls of your choice (I used the famous Indian tea glasses) and garnish with almonds or pistachios, pomegranate seeds and dusted cinnamon. Serves 6 in medium sized dessert bowls.


Namaste says Santa & a double treat!!!

Warning: This is going to be a long read, so please stock up your coffee & cookies…..

Santa greeted me first by saying Namaste, when I visited him in 2009 in Rovaniemi (Finland), Santa’s official address. The Santa park has it’s own post office from where you can post greetings to your loved ones sitting anywhere in the world. Rovaniemi is the land of reindeer and yes I got to try out reindeer meat with wild berries and I know I sound like a carnivore now….
This Christmas, I’m  remembering my wonderful holiday and would like to share some of my happy times!

That’s ME with Santa
Reindeer meat served with wild berries
All smiles with Lapish hospitality
No…wait! I’m not done yet….

I would also like to share with you a double treat of  sweets that I made from sesame seeds that I received from iherb, for being  selected as one of the winners among ten  in  SOS Challenge in the month of October, hosted by Diet, Dessert & Dogs and Affairs of Living.
I’m heading home for this holiday season to Bangalore and looking forward to some travelling and exploring new recipes.Since it’s Christmas time and you would want to gift some cookies, cakes or nibbles and I have come up with two easy to make recipes that would be easy to pack and can last up to a week even without refrigerating. So here it goes…

Sesame Chikki (Til ke Chikki)
4cups of sugar
1cup hulled sesame seeds
1tsp lemon juice
2tsp cardamon powder

Heat sugar in a pan and just when it’s melted and before it’s crystallizes, add lime.Once the sugar is fully melted, add sesame seeds, cardamon powder and turn of the gas. Mix well. Grease back of a plate or tray and spread the prepared mixture while hot. Allow it to set for an hour. After an hour, you will be
able to break the pieces easily. Break them into desired sizes and store them in an air tight container. I got about 30-35 medium sized pieces.

Sesame & Chocolate Balls
2cups hulled sesame seeds
1cup dessicated coconut
4tbs butter/ghee
1/2 cup honey
2tsp cardamon powder
1tbs raisins
1tbs cashew
50gms dark chocolate

Mix all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate in a bowl and mix well. Make small balls and keep them aside. Melt the chocolate in a bowl (microwave it) and dip the balls one by one, until it is fully covered with chocolate. I prefer to have a thin layer of chocolate rather than thick one. Allow it to dry and refrigerate for an hour. Store them in airtight containers either at room temperature for a week or refrigerate until they can last. I got about 25 pieces.

My tastebuds: I’ve had sesame chikki before and they are not my favourites. Sesame & Chocolates balls has been tried out  for the first time with the intention to clear my  fridge before I head start out on my travel. This recipe seems to have become an instant hit with me and hubby.

Wish you all Merry Christmas!!!

Sesame & Chocolate balls is my submission to this month’s Monthly Mingle – Chocolate Extravaganza hosted by Ria’s Collection and What’s for lunch, Honey?


Orangettes

My sweet craving since my last post seems to be continuing……
Orangettes are strips of candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate.This is a great recipe and makes your house smells good too.They can be tedious to make but I can assure you that the hard work does pay off; in a very sweet and fruitful way…..

4 oranges
6tbs sugar
4 cups water for sugar syrup
250gms dark chocolate

Slice the ends off of the oranges, score the peel from one end to the other, and remove the peels off the oranges.Slice the peels into thin strips and trim the edges.

Using a medium size pot, place the peels in boiling water and blanch them for a few minutes. Rinse the peels, and repeat this process a second time (it’s best to use cold water again for the second time to repeat the process). This is done to remove the bitterness of the peels.

Prepare the simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a pot. Bring the syrup to a simmer, place the peels in the pot, and simmer for 20 mins. Once the peels have cooked, remove them from the pot, and place on a rack to cool and drain.

Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler or microwave. Just heat the chocolate in short intervals in the microwave, stirring and checking the temperature after each time. If you go over the max. temperature, just add small pieces of the original solid chocolate until it drops back down to the max. temperature.Dip the candied orange peels in the chocolate, remove them quickly, and let them cool on a piece of parchment paper. Allow it to rest for an hour.

Store and refrigerate orangettes in an airtight container or pack them up to gift  your loved ones. This recipe serves about 30-40 orangettes.
This recipe is adapted from here.

My tastebuds: I loved them! Even now I’m biting into one while writing this post.

This is my submission to Gulten-Free Holiday, hosted by Tasty Eats At Home, to Choco-Delite’s Event, hosted by Taste Buds, to AWED – French, hosted by Priya’s Easy n Tasty Recipes and Chefinyou and to The Chocolate Fest, hosted by Cook-curry nook.


Sweet Potato Halwa

What do you do when you have a sweet craving, do you give in?  I know eating  fruits is better than eating chocolates, cakes, muffins….but there are times when you really want more than a fruit to satisfy you…..I was reading an article on how not to give into sweet craving and one of the tip that it shared was to read the label on the packet, the label does make you realise the amount of sweet it contains and that can help you stay away from it….
Hmmmm makes me wonder whether it will really work; especially at a time when you have only sweet on your mind. I did go through this phase a few days back and I thought of making something home-made  and at the same time something healthy too…Sweet Potato Halwa is definitely lite and does satisfy your sweet tooth….well it did mine :)

4 cups grated sweet potato (cleaned, pealed and not cooked)
1/2 cup black jaggery (you can add more if you like yours sweeter)
2tbs ghee/coconut oil
1tbs raisins
2tbs cashews
1tbs cardamon powder
1tbs desiccated coconut for garnish

Heat oil/ghee in a pan and add the grated potato. Constantly keep stirring on medium flame, until they have turned golden brown. Add jaggery, raisins, cashews, cardamon and keep stirring on medium flame, until the halwa is cooked. Garnish it with desiccated coconut and serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4.

My tastebuds: Jaggery gives a strong flavour and it’s hard to say whether you are actually eating sweet potato.

This is my submission to this month’s, SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Affairs of Living.

Sweet Potato on FoodistaSweet Potato


Passion Fruit & Couscous Trifle

Passion fruit juice has always been one of my favorite. I like the flavour and the sweet fragrance of the fruit. I recently visited my mother-in law and got to taste  her freshly grown passion fruit. Strangely, not many people know about the fruit as it is rarely found in any super markets in India; at least I’ve never seen anyone selling it here. I’ve always tasted them fresh from the garden. I came back home excited with a basket-full of passion fruit and an urge to try something totally different.
Passion fruit is rich in vitamins A and C and  a good source of potassium and iron. The seeds are high in fibre.I used to throw away the seeds,  thinking that they may be bitter, without even tasting them. Only recently, I discovered that the seeds are not bitter and also have a nice crunchy taste.
If using the pulp and seeds simply cut in half and spoon out the flesh. To extract the juice, scrape the pulp and seeds against a sieve with a wooden spoon (if you want to omit the seeds). A lot of fruit are needed for a little juice, but a little juice goes a long way.A syrup made by boiling down the diluted juice with a little sugar further intensifies the flavor and makes a wonderful fruit salad dressing or cocktail ingredient.
I was inspired to try this recipe in one of the websites, taste.com and liked the entire blend of flavours. I have made some changes in comparison to the original and the result turned out to be tasty and visually appealing.

125ml mango juice
1 tbs caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds removed
100gms couscous
4 large passion fruit, pulped
2 bananas, peeled and chopped
1 cup sweet cream
Extra cinnamon for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, heat mango juice, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until simmering. Add couscous, cover and set aside. Stir with a fork to separate the grains.
Divide the couscous into 4 portions. Using 200ml glasses, place a layer of passion fruit and banana in the base of each glass followed by couscous then a layer of sweet cream. Repeat the layers finishing with a layer of sweet cream.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and allow it to set for 4-5 hours or overnight. Serve cold. Serves 4.

My tastebuds: Passion Fruit & Couscous trifle is a pleasant surprise. Every bite transforms you to a world of flavours.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by A Food Lover’s Journey.


Happy Diwali with Tri-Flavoured Kheer

  (Image Source: Livetoeat!!!)
Everyone I know is busy cleaning their house and shopping for new artifacts. Wondering  how you are going to celebrate this Diwali…….here are some simple suggestions without being heavy on your pockets.
I like the simplest things of using just clay or ceramic diyas; they light up the house beautifully and dramatically or welcome your guests with  simple rangoli and a diya at the entrance.
 (Image Source: Livetoeat!!!)
 (Image Source: Internet)

I also used some lights (mirchi lights) from the previous Diwali and managed to create a romantic atmosphere in my living room (I made used of the throw-away wine bottle). These lights are commonly seen in Mumbai for decorating balconies. One more item commonly seen are the colourful lanterns used outside everybody’s balconies. There are all kinds of Indian and Chinese lanterns widely available during this season.

(Image Source: Nature’s Basket)

It is also the time when you gift your special ones. One best thing would be to gift some really good gift hampers – an assortment of various products. Nature’s Basket has some really cool gift hampers this Diwali. You might want to check them out and get some ideas. You can also go to Crawford Market and buy your own assorted products and create you own basket. That sounds like really good fun and it’s a  personalised way of gifting.

And of course a time to eat and share some good food. Every festival is celebrated with sweets and what a better way to start Diwali with Kheer.Kheer is everybody’s favourite and easy to make. It is a rice pudding which requires the right consistency. Kheer is not complete without cardamom and Kesar again is optional. Tri-flavoured kheer has a vanilla twist to it. Thats right..a vanilla, cardamom and kesar flavoured kheer. A beautiful blend of these flavours keeps you guessing on every bite, whether it’s vanilla or kesar or cardamon…..Enjoy the fun- filled flavours and Happy Diwali!!!

The Recipe:

1 litre milk
1/2 cup Basamti rice
2tsp vanilla extract
2stp cardamon powder
2tsp kesar soaked in warm milk
1cup sugar ( you can add more for your liking)
Almonds for decoration

Wash and soak the rice for about an hour. Heat milk in a pot. Add vanilla extract before the milk comes to a boil and enjoy the vanilla fragrance taking over your kitchen. Add soaked rice (without any water) to the boiling milk. Let the milk and the rice cook on medium flame for about 20minutes. Add sugar and let it cook for 15minutes.You will see that the whole grain rice would have become half it’s size. It kheer is almost done and you will also notice the thick consistency. Add cardamon and turn off the gas.
Let it cool. Serve cold or at room temperature, garnished with kesar and chopped almonds.

This is my submission to this month’s event Celebrate Sweets – Kheer, hosted by Taste of Pearl City and Nivedita’s Kitchen, to Virtual Party Snacks hosted by Ruchika Cooks and From My Home Kitchen and to this week’s Blogadda Diwali Moments. 

Go to http://www.myntra.com/ and check out Myntra Diwali Offer. Shop for Rs 500 and get Rs 500 off on your travel with Cleartrip! Also visit the largest community of Indian Bloggers at BlogAdda.com


Sweet Memories of Badam Ka Halwa

My dad has always been fond of  sweets and they have to be made with lots and lots of ghee…..
When I was a  kid, he would always buy badam halwa from MTR, Bangalore (MTR is famous for it’s spices and ready to make packets).The halwa used to be very heavy and literally ghee used to drip from the packets. My mother would get atleast a tablespoon of ghee, each time she warmed the halwa. You could only taste ghee…and I didn’t like it too much. MTR still makes the halwa  and it’s been ages since I’ve had it.
I remember the halwa, not for it’s ghee or sweetness; I remember it because my dad used to buy it for us with  lots of love and enthusiasm.

I came across DK’s blog – Chefinyou and her post on Badam Ka Halwa. It got me back to my memories of badam halwa and I thought of trying it out myself.  It gets a bit tedious with the constant stirring; nevertheless I enjoyed it…I felt like a Halwai (Indian sweet maker) and I made myself comfortable by  sitting on the kitchen platform ;)

I followed every step of DK and the halwa just turned out perfect. I also sent some to my dad and he liked it too and requested me to use more ghee the next time I make badam halwa.

A quick tip on how to remove the skin of almonds: Boil some water in a pot. Once the water is  hot and bubbly, turn off the stove and add the almonds. Cover the top and let the almonds sit in the pot for about 15mins. After 15mins, wash the badam in cold running water and just slide the skin with your fingers.See how easy that was!!!

This is my submission to this month’s event Tried & Tasted, hosted by Priya from Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes and Lakhsmi from Kitchen Chronicles.


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