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.

Cocochoco Burfi (Vegan)

Sweets in India have always been rich with milk or ghee/butter. A sweet dish which is ‘Vegan’ an absolutely no, no for us, Indians…. My family will think I have gone nuts!!!
Well, for this festive season; I’ve tried  a fusion of Indo-western sweet…I know it sounds a bit too much to compromise on the  Indian burfi; but why not try something different 🙂

The recipe was  born with some basic ingredients lying in my fridge. A bit of mixing, tasting and hoping….’Cocochoco Burfi’ was  born. The strong taste of tahini takes over the flavour and keeps you wondering on every bite what is so different about it….

2cups grated coconut
1cup demerara sugar
1/2 cup mixed dried fruits (I used cashews, raisins & walnuts)
2tsp cocoa powder
1tbs tahini (I’ve used home-made)
1tsp olive oil
1 tbs dry cocoa powder (mixed with powdered sugar; 1/2tbs cocoa+1/2tbs powdered sugar)for garnish
grated chocolate for garnish ( I used dairy free & organic chocolate)

Melt sugar in a pan on low heat. Once melted; add cocoa powder and keep stirring; turn off the stove immediately.
Take some oil in a pan and add grated coconut. Let it turn a little brown and add dried fruits and turn off the stove.Mix both the cocoa and coconut mixture in a bowl with tahini.

Grease the plate with some oil and add the mixture evenly.Garnish it with dry cocoa and grated chocolate. Allow it to set for 4-5 hrs or refrigerate for 24hrs.
Carefully cut them into pieces and serve cold. You get about 12 medium sized pieces.

Cocochoco burfi is a little sticky and not dry like the coconut burfi. The use of tahini makes it a little moist.

This is my submission to this month’s SOS Challenge – Sesame, hosted by  Diet, Desserts & Dogs and Affairs of Living, to Only Festive Foods, hosted by Khaugiri and Foodelicious, to Virtual Party Snacks hosted by Ruchika Cooks and From My Home Kitchen, and to The Chocolate Fest, hosted by Cook-curry nook.

Kele ki Halwa/Banana Pudding (Indian style) & Burning Effigy of Ravana

I wanted to try something simple and lite as the coming few days are going to be lined with festivals; with more sweets…… In India, we make all kinds of halwa and I’ve never tried or tasted banana halwa before. So I came up with my own recipe on how to make one…
Banana halwa has of course a strong banana flavour and it’s got a nice nutty and crunchy taste because of the nuts and coconut…..
Beware….it is for those  who don’t mind bananas in any form 🙂

4 big ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2tbs butter or ghee
1 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup cashews and raisins mixed
walnuts and sesame for seasoning

Mash the bananas. Cook the mashed bananas with milk, until the milk dries up.Add butter/ghee and stir continuously. Allow it to cook for 10 minutes on low flame.Add sugar, grated coconut and dry fruits. Allow the sugar to melt and cook for about 5 minutes and turn off the stove.

Grease the plate with butter/ghee and pour the prepared mixture.Pour it evenly and season it with sesame and walnuts. Allow it to set for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Carefully cut into square pieces of desired size or spoon it into a serving dish and serve cold.

This is my submission to this month’s Only Festive Foods, hosted by Khaugiri and Foodelicious and to Virtual Party Snacks hosted by Ruchika Cooks and From My Home Kitchen.

Some clicks on  “Burning effigy of Ravana“, Chowpathy,Mumbai.
Dussera is celebrated as the homecoming of Rama the hero of the epic Ramayana, after his victory over Ravana, the king of Lanka.

A vendor selling  gold armours.
The process begins…
There were crackers too…
 The enitre show takes about 5 minutes and before you realise; Ravana has turned into ashes…

Apple & Cinnamon Sorbet

I personally like the blend of apple and cinnamon….. I sometimes dust powdered cinnamon on cut fruits and they really taste good 🙂
We are just out of monsoons and what better way to enjoy the frozen dessert in the coming season of heat and humidity.

1 big apple
1 cup water
3tsp natural brown sugar or demerara sugar(you can add more if you like it sweeter)
2tsp lemon juice
1tsp cinnamon powder

Slice apples into thin slices, leaving skin on.Blend the apple in a liquidiser to get a smooth purée.
Make a simple syrup with sugar and water, bringing liquid to a boil.It should have a thin syrup like consistency.Let the syrup cool.
Combine the syrup with purée,lemon juice and cinnamon.Freeze overnight or till it is set . Spoon it into martini glasses and serve immediately (serves four).

This is my submission to this month’s SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Kim of Affairs of Living.The SOS challenge invites blogger/non blogger to create new recipes based on one key ingredient and should be vegan, no refined sugars, and natural, whole foods ingredients only.