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‘by the window’ strawberry shake

shakestraw evenings

glam straw straw

pink strawberry evenings

pink strawberry evenings

 

Long walks and window shopping.

Narrow lanes. And clatter of evening traffic.

Vendors’ shout. Riot of street colours.

And there sat these these glamourous strawberries beckoning to be turned to something smooth and sexy.

And this afternoon while experimenting with the camera, depth of field..focus, defocus, colour enhancements, I craved for an instant strawberry shake/ smoothie to be sipped at ease sitting by the window.

Easy peasy recipe follows:

Take couple of medium sized strawberries – 10 to 12 units

straw cut

Vanilla and strawberry essence : 2 drops each

Sugar: 1 tbsp (to cut through the sourness of the naughty strawberries)

sugarr

sugar

Cold milk : 1 big glass

milk

Condensed milk: 2 tbsp

essence

Apple and banana: half an apple and half a banana. Cut into 4 to 5 tiny pieces each.

Blender.

Mix them all and give a nice foamy blend. Taste to test the sweetness you want and relish with a loved one or if alone just indulge in memories of loved ones and beautiful thoughts!

 

 

straw doodhgreg

Crispy leftover lentil rice jeera (cumin) fritters

 

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Invention is always a challenge….Or discovering something that’s experimental and stimulating to the mind and taste buds as well.. Just not with food but with anything don’t we like to wonder if its worth the effort and experimentation and the investment, Well I say sometimes let things be for the joy of it… And if it brings joy to the heart, the returns come to you naturally.. Let the process be fun…no matter what the outcome.

With leftovers sometimes you just want to reheat and have them because else by then they get boring and mundane..

And Leftovers are common. But creatively churning out something that’s worth eating the next day too.. is quite a challenge…

I had left over Dry Spicy Khichdi/ an Indian preparation made from rice and lentils (dal).

Khichdi is commonly considered to be a comfort food, and was the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree. Khichri is also thought to be the inspiration for the popular Egyptian dish, kushari.

In India Khichdi is usually prepared atleast once a week (Just a guess). An absolute comfort food.
If you are new to this, you must try and have it hot with the family with some pickle of your choice.

A quick recipe of Khichdi would be:

In a pressure cooker, temper in two tsp of hot refined oil, some chopped onions, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and green chillies. Add one cup of lentil (moong/ tuar),one cup of regular rice and three cups of water. Add two pinch of turmeric powder, 1/4th tbsp of red chilly powder, two tbsp or more tomato puree or chopped tomatoes, salt and let pressure cook with two whistles or till rice and lentile are just cooked. Garnish with chopped coriander.

 

khichdi

So, since I had these leftovers, I ended up whipping these fritters/ snackers that would go perfect with you cuppa tea or coffee.. Click on the link to get a ginger tea recipe done the Indian way.

You can use left over steamed rice too and play with flavours by adding more spices to the fritters dough

The ingredients used in this recipe have a lot character and Indianess ! By that I mean, they all together add to the final recipe and taste!

To make this mathri kind of fritters or snackers,

Take a quarter plate or a big cup of khichdi.
Add 1 and half cup of sieved maida/all purpose flour.
Throw in 1/4th cup of fine semolina and 1/4th cup of sieved rice flour. And one tbsp of gram flour.
Add dry ingredients like, 2 tbsp jeera/cumin seeds, one tsp ajwain/ carom seeds, one tsp turmeric powder, one tbsp red chilly powder, some dry fenugreek/kasuri methi if you have. Add a pinch of baking soda and a pinch of castor sugar.

 

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Now add two big onions chopped very very finely and a tbsp of chopped garlic. These added an interesting dimension indeed since the touch of onions added a sweet and crunchy taste/texture.

 

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Knead it into a pastry kind of crumble. Do not over knead. Not soft but slightly firm. Add flour as per your judgement here keeping in mind that you would need to roll them and cut into pieces later.

 

Take tiny batches of these kneaded dough and spread on flat surface with a rolling pin. Not too thick. Maintain medium thickness.

Pierce all over.

Cut into pieces of your desired shape.

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In a deep bottomed pan, heat sufficient oil for deep frying.

Once smoky hot, add these bits and let fry till crisp. Golden brown. Place them in paper towel so excess oil gets absorbed.

 

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Let them stand for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy them crisp with a cuppta tea!!

 

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Good to keep in mind:

You can also make soft round  flatbreads /parathas  with them if you do not want to deep fry

Cumin seeds add great taste so add as per your whim

Since these have onions and left overs its better not to store them beyond a day. Have them fresh once slightly cooled.

 

 

Instant Creamy Golden Brown Coconut dessert or Instant nariyal barfi

Homemade Coconut Round dessert or laddoos are my all time favourite dessert. I can finish 20 to 30 of them in a matter of two days. No seriously!

 

Since I am out of patience but had the craving.. here is the instant version. No. Not as good as the original. But perfect and delicious for sudden sweet cravings…if you know what I mean.

 

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So, take two cup of dessicated coconut (readily available in food outlets)

 

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Dessicated coconut is crisp, snow white in colour and has a sweet pleasant and fresh taste of the nut. It is made from fresh coconuts which are harvested at just the right time to ensure the best flavor. The coconut is then dried to the perfect moisture content to ensure long shelf life, best flavor and mouth feel. is produced from matured coconuts and the white coconut meat is granulated into the various desired cuts and is available as Macaroon, Medium, Flakes, Shreds, Chips, or as Coconut Flour. It’s also available either as Sweetened, Toasted, or Toasted Sweetened. It can be used as a substitute to grated fresh coconut in household preparations. It is a very important coconut kernel based product having very good demand all over the world in the confectionery and allied food industries (Source:tarladalal.com)

 

 

Toast them well in a deep bottomed pan by continuously stirring for a minute.

Add one cup of sugar granules and stir well. CONTINUOUSLY!

The aroma now will fill your kitchen and senses completely. But don’t get all lost…Stir as you watch these two ingredients turn golden brown and gooey…

Once golden brown, moist and not burnt! add one cup  of condescend milk goodness to it and stir/mix for another minute.

Remove from the gastop/flame.

Spread it in a plate carefully. Once slightly warm cut into square or triangular pieces….

Just in case you do not finish them all up, store them in an air tight container for upto a week or more..

 

 

coconuty rustic charm

coconuty rustic charm

 

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Toasted Golden Brown Coconut Dessert

Toasted Golden Brown Coconut Dessert

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Instant Basil pesto & red chilly Zucchini, Bellpeppers Veg

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Watching the sunlight seep in secretly and undeclared into the kitchen can fill ones heart to brim.

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Also a trip to the greens and sunsets to the town outskirts, had added a craving for something green and unique!

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The idea popped up for some Sunshine and smiles and colours. And something instant.

I was a fan of basil pesto from the day I had Pasta in basil pesto with garnish of pinenuts and cherry tomatoes.

I had ordered these ready made pestos after confirming their quality just for such a Situation! 😉

Basil Pesto and red chilly dip

Basil Pesto and red chilly dip. The ancient Romans ate a paste called moretum, which was made by crushing cheese, garlic and herbs together.Basil, the main ingredient of modern pesto, likely originated in India and was first domesticated there. (Source: wikipedia)

Red Chilly Dip ingredients!

Red Chilly Dip ingredients!

Green pesto Goodness

Pesto is traditionally prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. First, garlic and pine nuts are placed in the mortar and reduced to a cream,then the washed and dried basil leaves are added with coarse salt and ground to a creamy consistency. Only then is a mix of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino added. To help incorporate the cheese a little extra-virgin olive oil is added. In a tight jar (or simply in an air-tight plastic container), covered by a layer of extra-virgin olive oil, pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week, and can be frozen for later use. (Source: wikipedia)

This recipe is good for a different menu in the middle of the week and a fresh change to the taste palate. NOT MUNDANE. No NO!

1) To prepare these unique yummies cut one zucchini, two yellow and red bell peppers and one small cauliflower into square half cubes.

2) Add one tbsp oil (olive/sesame or refined) into a preheated pan

3)Once smoky hot, add the zucchinis. Stir on high heat for 30 secs.

4)Now add the bellpeppers and cauliflower florets. Stir on high heat for another minute

5)Reduce heat, cover for a minute

6) Remove the lid to add two tbsp of basil pesto and two tbsp of red chilly dip with a dollop of tomato ketchup or puree

7)Stir to let it all cuddle up well with each other with sprinkle of salt and black pepper

7)Add chopped fresh parsley and cover for another minute with a squeeze of lemon on top

And that’s ready to serve !

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Zucchini and parsley

Serve with raw onions and lemon and flat bread or rice of your choice

Colours!

The zucchini, also known as a courgette, has origins which can be traced back more than 9,000 years to Mexico. Zucchini is a type of summer squash. They’re available in green and yellow varieties. Both have soft, succulent flesh. Zucchini is an excellent source of vitamin C, and provides some beta carotene and folate. Select firm zucchini with glossy skin. Store in an sealed plastic bag in the crisper for up to three days. (Source: taste.com.au)

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Sweet Mushy Banana Coconuty Fritters

Banana fritters

 

 

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Happens to me a lot..but these fritters… I tell you they are delicious if you have the slightest of sweet tooth!

 

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I enjoy very particular kind of sweet stuff.

And I love these. Have always done. Sweet, savoury, deep fried,  with a lingering soft taste in the mouth and something you can pop in the mouth the next day too…and the next…

Nostalgia. Family. Togetherness.  The fritters personify these things and more…

HOW  DO I MAKE IT ?

Take two almost ripe bananas to prepare this recipe. Mash them and keep aside.

3/4th cup all purpose flour / maida

Two tbsp wheat flour/ aata

One tbsp rava/sooji/semolina (For crispiness)

Two tbsp rice flour (For crispiness)

l/4th cup of ready made desiccated coconut or better still FRESHLY GRATED COCONUT..

3/4 cup of milk

1/4th cup of condensed milk

half a cup of sugar

2 tbsp jaggery

1 tsp baking powder and a punch of baking soda (Just avoid if you don’t want to use these)

 

 

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Mix mashed banana, sieved all purpose flour, sieved wheat flour, sieved rava (semolina), sieved rice flour, coconut,  and sieved baking powder and soda together.

Now, preheat a deep bottomed solid pan to melt the sugar and jaggery. I usually screw up sugar caramelization process so got to be careful if you are new at this too..

Once slightly preheated add the sugar granules. Let them turn brown from the edges. Stir initially and then stop stirring to avoid them from getting crystallized. These sugary lil things can turn evil and go all sticky and hard within miliseconds.. Add the jaggery pieces after 10 secs or so . Just when the sugar granules are slightly light brown add the milk and stir till it all mixes well into a smooth consistency.

Add this beautiful liquid to the dry mixture of flour. Add slowly and keep mixing with a whisk  to avoid lumps. Add the condensed milk and let it cuddle up well too.The consistency should be slightly runny like a pancake batter but not too thin or thick. Add milk accordingly.

Now, while this liquid rests, take a deep bottomed pan in a gastop  and fill with two cups of oil for deep frying. I like to add 1/4th of clarified butter or ghee too for a beautiful flavour.  Let the oil get smoky on medium flame.

Now, take a ziplock plastic bag and fill it with the banana, flour mixture that you have already gotten ready. Or use hands!

In the hot oil deep fry by slowly adding little rounds of the mixture. See how they puff up ! 🙂 Dont worry about the shapes 😉 its okay to have uneven shapes. They add to the rustic memories…and traditions of cooking homemade recipes..

 

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Do it in a batch of 4 to 5 fritters if you are new at this.  Keep an eye to make sure the oil doesn’t get so hot as to burn up, so keep lowering the heat as and when you feel the fritters are going too dark. Look for golden brown . Try different shapes if you want.

Some like to shallow fry it too like tiny pancakes…

Let the oil get absorbed in a paper towel every time you take they off the pan after frying.

 

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Maggi Chowmein Style

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Instant yet elaborate… sometimes we need to taste something restaurant style but want to cut down on the time. Neither do we want to step out and eat at a restaurant at all times. Like Hakka Noodles or chowmein?

Say when you are watching your favourite show on TV and crave to bing on something delicious and mouth smacking…

We have all grown up with it. In India Maggi is a hot favourite of most kids…and even adults!!!

Instant noodles that needs to be boiled in water with the spice mix or the ever popular maggi masala! that comes with it in the package, is enjoyed in different styles, by different people.

This is one of the very many styles I like relishing  my Maggi Instant Noodles…

To whip up a delicious, easy and comforting Maggi chowmein style, heat half tsp of butter and 2 tpsp oil in a tapered pan..

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Saute onions

Throw in two small sliced onions and let it saute for a minute. The onions needn’t turn golden brown. Let them be slightly raw or just sauteed and soft.

At this time also, add 10 to 12 diced square potato cubes… Add thinly slit green chillies, pinch of garlic paste, and let it all saute for another minute.

Add the maggi noodles after potatoes turn tender

WP_20140902_040Add the maggi spice or masala  that comes with it and mix well.

Sprinkle half tsp black pepper powder.

WP_20140902_038Stir for few seconds and add few tbsps  of water. The water should be sufficient enough to give sufficient wetness to the mix in the pan. We do not want this recipe to be very watery like a normal maggi.

Cover with a lid and let cook for 7 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle some Italian seasoning for added flavours and some chopped coriander…

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adrak ki chai and life!

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Ginger tea is the quint-essential ingredient to my day!
The flavour rejuvenates my senses and can make one believe in life all over again 😉

Tea and India is an inseparable pair. To know more about Tea/ Chai read below.

Chai (pronounced as a single syllable and rhymes with ‘pie’) is the word for tea in many parts of the world. It is a centuries-old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures.

Excerpt from chai-tea.org/ :

Chai from India is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world. It is generally made up of:

• rich black tea
• heavy milk
• a combination of various spices
• a sweetener
The spices used vary from region to region and among households in India. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Indian chai produces a warming, soothing effect, acts as a natural digestive aid and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. It’s difficult to resist a second cup.

 

 

Drinking chai is part of life in India and most Indian’s are amazed at all the current fuss in the West. Many who have traveled in India come away with fond chai drinking experiences. We have included many of these in our Chai Experiences section.

In the past three years we’ve seen a phenomenal growth in the popularity and interest in chai. Chai has become very common at over-the-counter specialty beverage shops and there is a growing line of prepackaged consumer products. Many industry analysts are predicting that chai will eventually become as popular and common as coffee lattes and cappuccinos.

Great chai can often be found in Indian restaurants along with great food, but making your own chai provides immense satisfaction (and makes the house smell yummy!). Recipes and tastes for chai vary widely and a multitude of chai recipes are used around the world.

Indian grocers carry various chai masala mixes which you can use to make your own chai. Commercially produced concentrates can be found at many health food grocers and coffee shops. Ingredients for making your own chai are available just about everywhere. See our Recipes Section for a wide variety of chai recipes.

Of course the modern world has elevated chai to new planes of experience–chai ices, milkshakes, chocolate chai, non-fat, low-cal sweeteners, decaf, and so on. We have included a section on New Chai Serving Ideas.

We prefer traditional freshly made chai: hot, creamy, fragrant with black tea, fresh cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorns and enough sugar to bring out the spice flavor. While we personally drink regular tea without sugar, chai must have sweetness or the spices seem to lose their full robustness.


How to make Ginger Tea:

For making 2 cuppa Chai/Tea:

Take half a cup of water in a saucepan and heat. When its starts bubbling, add half tsp of chai patti or branded tea leaves to it (I prefer red label natural or even tajmahal is good)

 

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Along with it add half tablespoon of of grated ginger. Add two cloves, and tiny bit of crushed elaichi to it and tiny pinch of black pepper powder. Let it come to further boil till a gentle yet strong aroma fills your senses to the brim!

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Image Source: spicelines.com

Add 1 and half cup of milk to the liquid along with 2 big spoons of sugar as desired.

Switch off the gas/flame/stove for half a  minute.

Switch it on again and bring to a quick boil.

Strain the same through a sieve and relish the monsoons!

 

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Tricks &  Tips:

1)Keep a check that the final output that is the chai is not too blackish in colour . The colour should be slightly brownish and milkish. So make sure not to add too much of tea leaves and not too boil it beyond a point.

2) Stuff other than ginger are optional. It varies according to taste preference.

3)Its good to taste a slightly creamy frothfilled chai just like coffee..just not to that extent. So, all you need to do it keep stirring the liquid in between once milk is added and making it slightly frothy as possible.

4)Serve/have this tea hot! Sip it as ease to relish the flavours.

5)Try Mathris/bhujia sev or your fav biscuits with it just like Oreos dipped in milk 🙂

6) Make sure to separate the cream/malai from milk while adding to the liquid

 

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Poppy seeds paste with raw mustard oil & steamed moist rice

image: google

 

Monsoon & hot cuppa rice!

Poppy seeds raw paste, drizzled with mustard oil, green chillies, hint of salt, with steaming hot rice! 

Source: http://raindropsbasmatirice.wordpress.com

Monsoons are here and what better than a hot plate of steamed rice with my favourite Poshto !

image source: ebay

Here you need to grind the poppy seeds (khuskhus) to a coarse paste. Traditionally the same is done in a stone mortar and pestle to get that perfect texture.

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However the trick for today’s generation is to soak the poppy seeds in some water overnight and then grind it in the food processor.

Poppy seeds are popular in West Bengal as recipes of aloo poshto or “potato & poppy seeds dish”… and many others.. Poppy seeds pastes add great taste to traditional aloo dum recipes as well.

Image Source:ashcooking.blogspot.com99bef14df378ef36364d416d4335bc14 (1)

Now to this paste of say one small bowl, which I like un-cooked… add mustard oil (about 2 to 3 tbs), finely chopped or slightly grinded green chillies, salt (half tsp), and two drops of lemon juice.

Ah, heavenly!

 

image: pinterest

Enjoy it just like that with Hot plate of steamed rice. Let the rice be cooked all moist…

image: coffeetalkwithbarkha.blogspot.com

 

Note: The images have been sourced from google images and pinterest… 

 

 

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