Sunday, July 7, 2013

Basil Pesto - Simply Italian - Made in 5 minutes

I instantly fell in love with Pesto when I tasted it for the first time - in Rome! Yes, the most authentic Pesto one could ever get! Earlier, I knew that pesto is analogous to Indian "thogayal" and that, it is very simple to make. But when I tried it myself, I was really amazed at the wonderful flavor that comes when we put together fresh basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts and some parmesan!  It is one easy recipe that even a beginner could get right easily! :-)

Ingredients -

 1/2 cup basil leaves
 3 tbsp pine nuts
 3 tbsp pure olive oil
 1 garlic clove
 1 tsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
 a pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper

Method -

Blend basil leaves, pinenuts and garlic in a food processor.

Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar and pepper and blend again. You can freeze this paste at this stage if you're not planning to eat pesto today.

When required, bring close to room temperature and blend with parmesan cheese! Voila! All you now need is to cook some pasta. Saute the prepared pesto with a little bit (~ 2 tsp) of olive oil and let pesto coat the pasta well! Bon Appetit! :-)

Elbow pasta with Pesto

Reference :

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mango Shrikhand - Creamy Sweet Mango Yogurt with crunchy nuts :-)

The Mango season is about to be over and now I rush to the Indian store to grab a few and make some Mango specialties :-)  I have been thinking of making Shrikhand at home ever since I shortlisted it as a fat-free recipe (basically if u make yogurt with fat-free milk, that is :P)  Finally, got around to make this delicacy for my hubby who said it's equivalent to Meiji/Marigold Mango yogurt :-) That's a compliment, I suppose! :-)

Mango Shrikhand

Yield - 4 ramekins (as in the picture)

What You Need-

Ripe Mango - 1 (medium size)
Fresh Yogurt/ Curd - 1 litre
Sugar - 3 to 4 tbsp (adjust according to the sweetness you prefer)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Nuts of your choice - I used Almonds and Cashews

Mango Shrikhand

Procedure -

1. Make Greek Yogurt following the procedure here. This takes 6-8 hours in the fridge. But you don't have to do much actively!
2. Blend mango in a mixer and get the puree.
3. Powder sugar.
4. Mix in powdered sugar, cardamom powder and the mango puree into Greek Yogurt and whisk them all together until you get a smooth texture. This is reallly important.
5. Chop some nuts and mix them too. Almonds would need to be blanched. Pistachios would be awesome, but I didn't have any yesterday. Reserve some nuts to garnish on top later.
6. Pour into ramekins or ice-cream cups and decorate with nuts. Refrigerate for another 3 hours to let it set well.
7. Serve chilled.

Simply awesome! Don't go by my words, try for yourself :-)


Make Greek Yogurt and Sour Cream at home! Very Easy :-)

Did you know that Greek Yogurt is basically strained yogurt that's made from full-cream milk? So, all you have to do is place a strainer on top of a container that fits in exactly, pour the yogurt over, cover it and let it sit overnight in the fridge. The next morning, you'll have THICK, CREAMY yogurt on top of the strainer and all the water drained into the container. Now, this is your Greek Yogurt. Go ahead and use it in all dishes that uses Greek Yogurt - like Shrikhand, Tzatziki, etc.

To get Sour Cream, all you need is to squeeze some lemon juice into the thick Greek yogurt and whisk it well together. Voila! Your Sour cream is now ready to use in burritos, chalupas and more!

Some pictures now :-)

Thick n Creamy Greek Yogurt!

The water that's strained

See you soon with the recipe for Mango Shrikhand :-)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Aval Kesari / Poha Halwa

Hello friends! I've been away from blogging after little K arrived and life has been really busy yet sweet :-) Nevertheless, with a little help around, I hope I can manage to keep my passion for cooking alive and continue to dish out new stuff that everyone enjoys!

Yesterday, I made a really quick Kesari with Aval (Rice flakes) and it turned out awesome!! Rawa Kesari aka Sooji Halwa is quite a popular sweet and this variation uses Aval in place of Rawa/ Sooji and reduces the cooking time drastically as well as makes the sweet practically foolproof. With the traditional Kesari, one has to take care to ensure there are no lumps while the rawa gets cooked and once there ARE lumps(which is usually the case), it's a tiring job to mash them and create a uniform texture.

Aval Kesari / Poha Halwa

Yield - 2 to 3 persons

Time - 15 minutes end-to-end

Ingredient List -

Aval / Poha/ Rice flakes- 1 and 1/4 cups
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Boiling Water - Start with 1/2 cup and add as you go
Ghee - 3 to 4 tbsp
Cashewnuts - 10 nos.
Food color (orange) - a pinch or two
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

Recipe -

  • Roast the cashewnuts with a tbsp of hot ghee on a pan. Set the roasted nuts aside but let the remaining ghee stay on the pan.
  • Transfer the measured Aval into the pan with ghee (add some ghee if there's nil left after roasting cashews) and fry them for a short while.
  • When all the aval flakes are covered with ghee (and not dry), pour boiling water (just microwave water for a minute) into the pan.
  • The Rice flakes/ Aval starts cooking. When all the water is absorbed and the aval doesn't seem fully cooked yet, add some more water (boiling). Reduce flame to low.
  • When its 3/4th done, add the measured sugar. As the sugar melts, there is more liquid in the pan. Add a pinch of food color and cardamom powder. 
  • Let the Kesari get cooked well and come together. You may add the remaining ghee at this stage if the sweet starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. I used a non-stick pan and I didn't have to add anymore ghee.
  • Finally, mix in the ghee-roasted cashewnuts! 

Enjoy :-) If you're a fan of Aval, do check out Aval Payasam / Kheer made with Poha(Rice flakes).


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