Friday, March 20, 2015

Gorgeous Summertime Popsicles!

When summer comes calling, we all look to cool down with so many things - Ice Creams, Golas, Lollies and what not! Especially kids, who love everyone so flavourful and colourful. That being said, it's often repeatedly told how bad the food colouring and flavouring is, which goes into these products. Well, fear not - we have a solution now! Make these completely natural popsicles which are sure to win everyone's heart and tastebuds!

  • 4-5 Tablespoons of Home-made Rose Syrup (or Rooh Afza!)
  • 1 Juice of lemon
  • 2 Spoons of Chia / Sabja seeds pre-soaked in water

  • Make a good 500ml of Sherbert with Rose Syrup, Lemon juice, Jellied Chia Seeds and Water.
  • Use a good quality popsicle maker, and fill it with the sherbert, making sure the chia-seeds get equally portioned. Add a slice of lemon (optional) or some fresh chopped fruit (strawberries or kiwi work exceptionally well!)
  • Seal with lids or wooden sticks (depending upon you popsicle maker) and freeze these for a good 6-7 hours till set.
  • Once set, gently slide them out of the moulds and enjoy!
Tip: You can make popsicles with fruit juices, yogurt shakes and milkshakes - get creative with your recipe and you'll never want the outside stuff again!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Beetroot Cupcakes!


Who doesn't love cupcakes? They're perfect little treats for anytime! The other day, I saw a recipe for a Red Velvet Cupcake which required using a shocking amount of food-colouring and things I would normally not consume myself. I immediately decided to come up with a recipe using natural beet-root juice as a colouring agent and no eggs. It worked! It worked marvelously well!

  • 1 cups fine wheat flour (maida)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (room temperature)
  • 200 grams condensed milk (milk maid or mithai mate)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup beetroot juice (for colouring and binding) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of good-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 tea-spoon of baking powder

  • Sift all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, except for baking powder, and set aside.
  • Using a hand-beater, whisk together butter, condensed milk, beetroot juice, buttermilk together till the mixture is nice and red. Adjust quantity of buttermilk to make sure the batter doesn't turn too thick or thin.
  • Gradually introduce dry ingredient mixture to wet and continue whisking until you have smooth cake batter.
  • The last step is to add the raising agent, in our case the baking powder and whisk for good 2-3 minutes.
  • Once done, immediately line the cup-cake tray with paper cups and pour the batter till the 3/4th.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 180 degree celsius over for about 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  • And, viola! There you have them - delicious Beetroot Cupcakes! 
  • Decorate them with whatever you like - Freshly whipped cream, Cream cheese, Jam, Sprinkles or even Frozen Yogurt!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Uramaki Sushi Roll

Uramakizushi rolls are Sushi rolls where the rice is out, and nori with filling is on the inside. It's often called as outside-in Sushi roll and is very popular, mostly in the US. Making it is very simple and exactly same as making the Sushi Rolls, except this time, we put the rice on the 1/2 sized nori (and sesame on top of it, ofcourse) and flip it. Then the fillings go on nori and everything gets rolled up pretty much same way!

Uramaki Sushi - It looks beautiful and you can actually play more with appetizing colours!
I made mine with lot of peppers, cucumbers, carrots, avocado and a drizzle of cream cheese. In my opinion, a roll like this is better suited if you're using mostly veggies and no tempura / tofu as they need the rice around them to stick up better.

Definitely looks prettier, doesn't it?
Again, Sushi can be only as imaginative as you are - so feel free to mix and match with some wildest combinations and always prepared to be delighted!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Making Sushi, My Way!

Simple, Elegant and Very Comforting - Sushi is a canvas for creativity!
Sushi is definitely one of my top 10 favourite things to eat. Till now, I was widely fascinated by it's presentation, flavours and simplicity. I mean, it's all Rice, Nori and Veggies and one could really play so much by ingredients / colours and flavours. There's so much fuss about Sushi rice (cook it this way, do this, do that!) and Rolling it that I honestly kept myself away from making it for a long long time. Something inside me told me to break out of my comfort zone and try it - and turns out, this is probably one of the easiest, non-fussy foods you can make!!

Seriously, if you can make Tea - you can make Sushi! I got it right the first time - no practice, no fuss! I highly recommend everyone (who loves Sushi) to go ahead and make it - it's fun, super-cheap to do it at your home and you can always customise it just the way YOU want! Do check my 1st rolling attempt in video below!

  • Nori (or Yaki Nori - which is roasted seaweed sheet)
  • Sushi Rice (or any short-grain rice)
  • Assorted Vegetables cut into strips - Cucumbers, Carrots, Peppers, Avocado, Chilly (I used fiery hot red ones!)
  • Cream Cheese - optional, but highly recommended
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Accompaniments: Wasabi Paste, Pickled Ginger (Fresh Ginger + Lime juice marinated for 30 mins), Dark Soy Sauce.

  • Cooking Sushi rice is very easy. All you need to do is cook rice normally, and then once cooked add seasoned rice vinegar (3-4 table spoons of vinegar + 1tsp sugar + 1/2tsp salt) and mix gently into the rice, while folding it. Allow the rice to cool down by spreading it on a flat surface and then keep in a bowl with wet towel on it to ensure rice is not dry.
  • Assembling Sushi is very simple - simply lay down the Nori (shiny side down and rough side facing you) on a Sushi rolling mat, and spread rice on Nori (about 1/2 cup of rice is enough). Ensure an even spread of rice which is not too much. Sprinkle Sesame Seeds and then layer your favourite vegetables on it. Try to be very colourful and innovative here. I even added some cream cheese to it to make it decadent. The Indian in me couldn't help but add beautiful strips of Benares-red-chilly! In the end, all the flavours really came together very well and tasted incredible!
  • Roll the Sushi and then gently cut it using a sharp knife, while cleaning knife after every cut to ensure smooth and even cuts.
  • Serve with Soy, Pickled Ginger and Wasabi - itadakimasu!
Ps: This is a jain recipe! You're welcome!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Grapemary - Grapefruit & Rosemary Spritzer!

Cheers! Isn't that music to ears? Often when we all party, probably the teetotalers are the ones sulking around. Here's a recipe to cheer all of those up! A simple, delicious and stylish drink - Grapemary.
I love Grapefruit for it's versatile citrusy and mild-bitter flavour. What compliments it best is the subtle hints of Rosemary and together they sum up into an unbelievable potion. Let's get started!


Ingredients (for 2 portions):
  • 1/2 Grapefruit - look out for something on ripe side
  • 3-5 sprigs of fresh Rosemary (you can use dried if fresh is not available)
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar
  • Sparkling Water - Definitely, Perrier. If not, then settle for Soda.
  • Ice
Easy, Versatile and Stylish - A Drink To Make and Serve!

  • Start by making a Rosemary-infused simple syrup. Bring to boil 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar and add 2 sprigs of Rosemary and gently simmer it for 5-7 minutes. Turn the heat off, let the syrup cool down. Strain the syrup and discard the wilted Rosemary sprigs. Set it aside, and let it completely cool down. Do not refrigerate the syrup, ever.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a Grapefruit (we're looking at about 90ml per serving, so adjust appropriately). Set the juice aside.
  • Add 90ml Grapefruit juice, 30ml of Rosemary-infused syrup over some ice to a handy-dandy shaker and shake it off for a good 15 seconds.
  • For assembly, take a nice Glass (isn't that what makes everything come alive?!). Add ice and pour the drink carefully.
  • Top off with a nice splash of Sparkling water and stir / garnish with a fresh beautiful sprig for Rosemary for a stylish end!
  • Smile. Wink. Sip. Cheers!
Tip: If you're the boozy types, 30ml 45ml of Vodka is all you need to perfectly unwind :)

Note: Measurements are not for bartenders. Go ahead and adjust to your taste.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Makhane Ki Kheer - Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding!

I recently discovered Makhane Ki Kheer via news - our beloved PM, Mr. Modi, loves it so much so that it was served to the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his recent visit to India! Well, if it's NaMo's choice - there has to be something special right? Indeed it is.

Makhane Ki Kheer is a very versatile, easy and nutritious dessert which is often served in Gujarat and Rajasthan during Navratras and Fasting Festivals. It's wholesome, very simple and takes no more than 15 minutes to make with bare minimum ingredients which are available in every pantry. Let's get started!!

A very simple, versatile and nutritious Makhane Ki Kheer!
Ingredients (for 5-6 servings):
  • 250 Grams Makhana (or Puffed Lotus Seeds)
  • 1 Liter Milk
  • 4 Table Spoons of Condensed Milk (Milkmaid / Mithai Mate etc) - we're using this instead of sugar. Go light on sugar.
  • 1 Cup of Freshly Grated Coconut (substitute w/ dried one if fresh isn't handy)
  • 1 Table Spoon of Ghee
  • 1/2 Tea Spoon of Cardamom Powder
  • Slivered Almonds & Raisins to Garnish
Can't believe it just took like 12-15 minutes to get this from thought to plate!
  • Add Ghee to the pan and once it's warm, roast the Makhanas in it for 3-4 minutes until gently crisp (don't brown them).
  • Take them off the flame, and set aside to cool. Put them in a ziploc bag and crush them coarsely with a rolling pin or pestle. Do not powder them.
  • Add milk to the pan and mix the makhanas in milk. Cook for few minutes until makhanas are well incorporated and kheer begins to gradually thicken up.
  • Add freshly grated coconut and stir well. Also add the condensed milk and the cardamom powder and keep stirring frequently.
  • Your kheer should be ready in about 10-12 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved. 
  • Transfer in serving bowls, and garnish with slivered Almonds and Raisins. Serve lukewarm and enjoy this simple, comforting dessert!
Tip: You can also add a touch of coconut milk to make it more rich and creamy. A few drops of rosewater as a fragrant garnish is a good idea too!