Saturday, January 30, 2010

Date and Almond Laddu - Moroccon Dessert

This is a sweet that I had made way back during Diwali. It is very easy to make plus lots healthier than the other sweets normally associated with Diwali since this does not include any ghee and needs no sugar to be added. The Dates give the natural sweetness to this dessert. If you find it a little subtle on the sweetness quotient you may add some sugar like how I did. Else you can avoid it totally.
I give this recipe two thumbsup for anyone who has just started cooking and wants to show thier little culinary expertise to friends and family!!

The original recipe can be found at Alia's site for Moroccon cuisine. According to Alia, dates are prominently used to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan and this sweet is widely used during this season.

I have made the sweet with some changes. So here goes.


  • 2 cups of De-seeded Dates (Used the Lion Brand)

  • 2 cups Roasted Almonds

  • Dessicated Coconut (I used the Maggi Brand)

  • 2 tablespoons of honey

  • 2 tbsp of castor sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of Rose water

  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder

  • Method:

  • In a double boiler steam the dates for 20 minutes.

  • Now take the dates and the almonds in a mixie and make a paste out of the same.

  • When done, add honey, cinnamon, castor sugar and rose water and mix into a dough.

  • Make laddus from the paste and then roll them into the dessicated coconut. Enjoy!!

  • Homemade Paneer

    I often am questioned by my friends at work on how to make Paneer or the cottage cheese at home. It is so easy to make and is much better than the store bought variety. Since this is the base ingredients for most of the north indian cuisine I find it important enough to be included in my list of recipes.

    It is very easy to make Paneer. All you need is available in the Indian Pantry.

    First of all take about a litre of fresh cow's milk and bring it to boil. Once it is boiled then reduce the heat to a simmer, add a pinch of salt and juice of 1/2 a lemon right at the middle of the vessel. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then check if the milk is curdled. If it hasen't you may add some more juice of lemon.

    Once the milk has curdled switch off the gas and keep stirring the mixture. You can now see that the water and the fat content in the milk have seperated.

    Strain this mixture through a muslin cloth and what remains in the muslin is the Paneer. Leave it for a few minutes till all the water has drained and then use it in any dish of your choice.

    Now the water that is left behind is the "Whey" and is very nutritious in nature. You can reserve it for kneading your Chapati dough for soft Chapatis.


    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Tava Vegetables

    I am posting this on behalf of my better half whose culinary expertise is quite famous among all his friends. This vegetarians dish that he churns out for them is always the talk of every party or get together that we have ever had.

    So here goes his own words.. The famous Tava Vegetables..

    I have made this recipe over a period of time and did lot of experiment on the way and finally its here. Finding it difficult to name, because reaction to food resides as much in our heads as in our mouths, if we believe a food is going to be delicious, we're more likely to enjoy eating it. That's why simply making the name of a food more descriptive or tantalizing can lead us to believe it is tastier and it happens. But believe me whatever name I choose for the “crispy”, “spicy”, “luscious”, “tangy”, “Bitter”, “Piquant”, just ambrosial, it’s the tastiest of all to fulfill all your gustatory organs and ya the “tender”, “slimy”( bit ;-) ) texture is absolutely crucial in any gustatory experience

    So here it goes:

  • Red Bell Pepper (Big size) – 1 – Cut lengthwise

  • Green Bell Pepper (Big size) – 1 – Cut lengthwise

  • Yellow Bell Pepper (Big size) – 1 – Cut lengthwise

  • Brinjal (small) – 5 – cut into roundels

  • Baby Potato - 250 gms – peeled

  • Cherry Tomato – 250gms – whole, poked with fork

  • Beans - 100gms – cut into 3" lengthwise

  • Ladies fingure(Okra) – 200gms - cut into 3" lengthwise

  • Baby corn – 6-7 Pcs - cut into 3" lengthwise

  • Bitter Gourd – 4 Pcs – Boil in salt water and cut into 2 pcs

  • Sambar Onion - 200gms – peeled

  • Green chillies – 3-4 big size

  • Oil - 4 tbsp

  • Salt - to taste

  • Method 1:

    Fry all the above vegetable in oil in a wok one by one and keep it aside


    Method 2:

    Spray oil and add salt in all vegetable and bake in an oven on medium to high till the veggies turn crispy brown. You may need to toss them a couple of times in between.

    For the Masala:

  • Onions – 3 medium size – finely chopped

  • Ginger – 1 inch – ground

  • Garlic – 10 pcs - ground

  • Cumin seed – 2 tsp

  • Pav bhajji masala – 4 tbsp

  • Tava Veg Fry Masala (MDH) - 2 tsp

  • Garam masala – ½ tsp

  • Butter - 2tbsp (Optional)

  • Method:
  • Put oil in a wok and add cumin seeds once they sputter add the chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and fry till light brown.

  • Now ensure the flame is on a simmer and add all (except the green chillies) the fried or baked veggies, mix it carefully ensuring that the veggies are intact and are not mushy.

  • Add salt, pav bhaji masala and incorporate into the veggies carefully

  • Add tava veg fry masala, garam masala, butter, and put it in on slow flame for 20-25 mins stirring once in a while.

  • Garnish with corriander and fried green chillies.

  • Tasty Tips:

    If you fry the veggies in the masala on a slow flame carefully for a long time the masala will get incorporated well into the veggies making it more tastier.