Saffron Coconut Burfi


Almost every Indian loves coconut burfis and its usually plain and chewy. Well this recipe has its own twist- I have added saffron and also they are not chewy but moist and soft to eat.  If you are looking for a twist and a different sweet recipe for the festive season try these and you are sure to win the hearts of your family and friends
Recipe Source ~ slightly modified Nestle
Makes ~ 8-10 medium sized burfis
 Ingredients
5 tablespoon hot milk (I used semi-skimmed)
Few strands of saffron, approx 15
2 tablespoons ghee (I used KTC)

2 tsp milk powder
1/2 Cup condensed milk (I used Nestle)
2 cups desiccated coconut 
1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom
Few pistachoes for decorating (optional)
Method
  • Dissolve Saffron powder in hot milk and set aside.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt ghee, add Condensed Milk, add desiccated Coconut, milk powder and stir to an even consistency. Let it cook for 1 minute stirring often and making sure it does not get burned. You will find it forming into a thick consistency, more like a dough
  • While its hot divide the mixture in two separate bowls, add saffron milk to one and Cardamom to the other part and mix well
  • In a square tin/air-tight container, grease the inside with some ghee and layer the cardamom Coconut mixture and flatten it with greased spoon/ greased fingers until smooth on top, top with the saffron coconut mixture and flatten top.
  • Place in fridge to cool for 2 hours before cutting the layered Burfi using a greased knife into desired shapes. Place your preffered nuts on top to decorate (optional)
  • Keeps fresh for 4-5 days in a air-tight container, take out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving.

Tips 

- Use good quality ghee for better flavor 
- Using quality saffron stands gives a wonderful flavor as well us color, if your burfis don't show the color simply add a drop of orange color and mix well
- You can replace condensed milk with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup whole milk, if you desire so
- Adding milk powder is optional, for me the burfi was soft and moist

Chilli Chicken Balti

Balti is a British-style one-pot curry and they say its originated from Birmingham. But to me Balti is a fusion of spices (mostly Indian) in a rich tomato- yogurt curry. Well this chicken balti is sure to have a spice route with lots of green chilli's and replace red chilli powder with paprika and is guaranteed to fill your house with a wonderful aroma and a sure tickle to your taste buds. If you are someone who does not fancy much spice simply reduce the addition on green chilli's. 
Recipe Source ~ I ♥ Curry (slightly modified)
                                          Prep & Cook time ~ 20 mins

Ingredients

For grinding:

1 inch fresh root ginger and 6 fat garlic cloves (or simply use 1 and 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste)
2 large tomatoes quartered
1 heaped tbsp thick yogurt/ curd
1 tsp red chili powder (for less spice version use paprika)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 and 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 and 1/2 tsp coriander powder
Salt (as per need)

For Tempering:
1/4 tsp mustard seeds1 bay leaf
Oil - 5 tsp (I used sunflower oil)

For Curry:
1 big onion, finely chopped5-6 green chilli's slit vertically
Chicken (with/without bone, skinless) 1 whole baby chicken 
1 tbsp lemon juice (depending on tartness of curry)
Chopped corriander for garnishing


Method

  • In a mixie jar / food processor blend all the ingredients mentioned in the ingredients to grind into a puree with a little water and keep aside
  • In a heavy bottom vessel/ kadai heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and once they pop. Add bay leaf, onion and green chilli's and cook over moderate flame until the onions are well browned, stirring every 3o seconds for 6 minutes. Careful not to burn them too much.
  • Add the puree and cook on high flame stirring well until the mixture comes to boil and the excess liquid had evaporated. Continue cooking until the paste releases excess oil
  • Add the chicken and stir it in the thick masala for a few minutes. Add enough water until it comes to halfway up the chicken. Bring to boil and cook for 7-8 minutes.
  • Increase the heat and stir until it turns to a thick masala, the curry will reduce to a thick consistency . Now check a piece of chicken by cutting it through, it should not be pink and should be fully cooked until the centre. If not cooked let it cook for few more minutes
  • Adjust seasoning based on your taste and add  the lemon juice if you find your curry to be less tart.

Serve hot topped with corriander leaves along with roti/ rice



Tips


- The important stage of making this curry is  frying the onions brown and reducing the puree in moderate heat and them increasing heat, later adding the chicken and water.
- For a less spicy version simply reduce the number of green chillis and replace red chilli powder with paparika
- The curry can be dialuted or thickened based on your taste, I have reduced it to a thick consistency, cos that's how we love it :-)

Check out my other Chicken Side-dish Recipes Below
Chicken Roast ~ One pot
Chicken Tikka
Cashew Chicken
Chicken Spinach Stir-fry

Besan Laddoo ~ A sweet guest post by Divya Prakash


Life is super interesting for me and I have been blessed with wonderful friends from the blog world. Today I am so happy to share this guest post by my dear friend and blogger Divya Prakash (Divya's Culinary Journey). A proud mom of 2 cute children (5 yr daughter& 15 mts old son), a ever smiling wife, an active blogger, amazing photographer and not to forget a super cook. Divya to me is a wonderful friend and we share more common interests leave alone the food part in life as well :-). I really wonder how Divya manages her time and gives such wonderful recipes to us and admire her creative touch to her blog and recipes. Recently she had posted in facebook about her successful 9 months of blogging and over 50,000 views. So if you are someone who has not visited her, take a peep here, but do come back :P for the laddoos and to know more about Divya.
Now I know you already saw the picture below well that was Divya's cute daughter handing over her mom's laddoos virtually to me, now I wish i had someone to pose for my recipes :-/.... although she has promised for more in person which I am sure she agrees :D Thanks to Divya for showering me with her sweet ladoos, and my friends enjoy this post

Over to my lovely friend's Guest post .I was so thrilled when Priya asked me to do a guest post. I instantly agreed to it. And also I was so excited because I am doing it for the first time. I love Priya's blog- the lay out, the design of it, the words, her recipes etc., are really good and it has attracted me a lot.  I came to know Priya personally after being part of Baking partners , a baking group in which she is also there and facebook is also another main reason.  She is a very bubbly person and she is sure to leave me smiling when we chat (we do that often).  I would take this opportunity to thank Priya for inviting me to her space to do a guest post. 

She also sent me a bunch of questions to answer. They were quite interesting which made me really think because I have never thought in that angle, may be.. I asked her if there is any choice like choose the best answer or select two and answer, she laughed it off saying that they are simple and answer in your own words.. ha.. ha.. ha..  So the questions and answers are here
5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT DIVYA
1. 3 words that best describe you- Creative, Un-Predictable, Emotional

2. Best Foodie Moment- When I try a new dish and kids/hubby love it and appreciate it, that is the best moment for me. More than me what they love is important.Recently it is the besan ladoo.. My daughter just gobbled them up

3. Your Best Recipe, something that is your own,Eggless Apple muffins

4. Life as a blogger: Passionate,  Exciting, adventurous, Chaotic(because of time management issues), Satisfying

5. Something about you that we don't know: I am kind of nocturnal. Yes.I can stay up all night but very difficult to wake up early in the morning. Thats why I work on my blog posts in the night.

I think that is pretty much about me. Now we will come to the recipe, Besan Ladoo.Since this is my first guest post, I wanted to do something sweet. Though I was initially thinking about baking something, changed it in the last moment, thinking that festivals are to arrive one after the other now, so Indian dessert would be much appropriate.

For me, this is the first time trying it, so browsed and got it from Manjula's kitchen. It was so easy to make and was so skeptical at first, but it tasted awesome, with every bite, ladoo melted in mouth and there was toasted almonds that added crunch. I really scored with this ladoo at home and also it just disappeared so fast.

What are the ingredients needed?

Gram flour( Besan) , 1 1/2 cups
Unsalted Butter(melted), 1/2 cup
Ghee, as needed
Sugar, 3/4 cup
Almonds, 1/4 cup+ little extra for garnishing
Cardamom, 4-5 nos

How it is made?
  1. Toast the almonds and chop them roughly.
  2. Remove the cardamom seeds and powder the seeds along with sugar and set them aside.
  3. Mix the melted butter and gram flour and roast them in low flame till they change colour and there is change in the texture, also at this point the aroma of roasting besan flour comes out.
  4. Remove from flame. Let it cool lightly. 
  5. When the mixture is  warm enough to handle, To this add the powdered sugar, toasted and chopped almonds and mix well.
  6. Grease the palms with ghee, take 2 tablespoons of this mixture and with two palms press and roll them to get the desired ladoo shape. 
  7. Then once all the ladoos are made,  dip them such that 1/4 of it is covered in melted ghee and press the chopped almonds/pistachios for decoration.
  8. Leave them to cool down completely, before they are transferred to air tight container.
It resulted in around 20 ladoos. It depends on the size you make though.

Notes
  • Instead of melted butter you can do it with melted ghee too.
  • Also you can add sooji to this, to get a texture. 
  • You can toast the almonds in the stove top or in the oven (Pre heat the oven to 350 F and toast the almonds for 6-7 minutes till the color changes and you get the aroma)
  • Slice the almonds when it is still hot, so can slice them easily and beautifully, if you intend to use them for decoration. 

Fried Prawn ~ Kerala Style

I have been busy all week and had some guests come-over for dinner. So what do you do when you have guests coming over? I usually go by what I love and what I have done over and over again just to be sure that it works right on D day. Today I am sharing with you a great tasting and fool-proof dish which I tried from my blogger friend & baker Suja Manoj. I tried to modify the dish a little but took inspiration from hers and it turned to be a hit among guests and got over in no time. Thanks to Suja for this wonderful tasting dish which is a pure favorite at home now :-)
I had pan fried the prawns instead of deep-frying them and fried the excess shredded coconut and later combined it all which a good mix along with fried curry leaves. I had served this as a starter ~ The aroma and color of the dish makes it absolutely stunning and tastes great and is sure to vanish in seconds, so make sure you double the quantity if you have guests coming home. Did I tell you that every-time I tried to re-create the dish it still tastes great, so you can be sure that its a yum factor.
Recipe Source ~ Suja Manoj(slightly modified)
Serves ~ 4-5

Ingredients 

Tiger Prawns (de-veined with tail) - 500 gms
Shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder (black) - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - a generous pinch
Curry leaves - handful
Rice flour - 1 tbsp
Lime juice - 1 tbsp
Salt - a per taste
Oil (sunflower) - as required to pan fry

Method
  • In a bowl add all the masala powders along with salt and lime juice and mix well, to this add the shredded coconut and prawns mix well and let it marinate for 15 minutes in the refrigerator
  • Heat oil in a deep pan/ skillet, in the mean-time add the rice flour and mix well and once its hot add the curry leaves and wait till it turns crispy, drain in kitchen towel. Now add the prawns in a batch of 3-5 and let it cook on each side for atleast 60 seconds and turn the other side, and do the same, drain the excess oil using a kitchen towel.
  • In the same pan add the curry leaves, the remaining shredded coconut and saute well and let it cook for 2-3 minutes to this add the pan-fried prawns and give it a good mix 
Tips 
- remember to put the rice flour just before frying, if you make it cook in the mixture the result is soggy prawns.
- also remember not to wet the mixture too much, this can also result in soggy prawns

Serve hot with toothpicks :-)

Special K Cookies ~ A healthy snack

Bored with your cereal and want something different for a breakfast snack? try these Healthy Special K cookies with a hint of coconut and some chewy raisins.  You don't have to be an expert to bake them, so try your hand at it even if you are totally new to baking. I chose to bake the cornflakes cookies, recipe picked by Priya and I modified it a bit to make it healthy and they were so yummy. Thanks Priya (Priya's Versatile Recipes) 

Recipe Source ~ slightly modified Baking: Commonsense by Murdoch  Books 
Makes ~ 12- 15 small-medium sized cookies

Ingredients

65grams Softened unsalted butter
1/4cup Sugar (i used light brown sugar)
1 Egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Black raisins (choice of nuts/raisins)
1/4 cup Dessicated coconut 
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Cup flour- plain/ wheat (I used wheat flour/atta)
1 Cup Crushed Cornflakes (I used Special K)

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F, line two baking trays with parchment/ grease-proof paper. Take 23 bowls in the first one sieve the flour with baking soda and baking powder, the second one crush the cornflakes and set aside.
  • In the third large bowl cream the butter and sugar using electric beater/ free stand beater until they turns light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating thoroughly and add the vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape through the sides of bowl to combine the entire mixture.
  • Combine the raisins, dessicated coconut and mix well with a wooden spoon. Fold the flour mixture with a metal/ wooden spoon and stir until the mixture is almost smooth.
  • Use your measuring tsp and grease it (make sure to grease hands), take a tsp size dough and roll it into a small ball and gently dab all the sides with the cornflakes mixture. Be gentle and don't press it too much and place it in the lined baking tray and slightly tap on top for it to sit well. Continue the same until you have made balls out of the entire dough, make sure that you space them atleast 1.5 inch space as they will spread during baking.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes until they turn golden brown. If you want your cookies to be crunchy bake for another 8 minutes.
  • Once baked cool completely in a cooking rack and arrange it in an air tightened box.
Tips 

- make sure you use butter at room temperature and sieve the flour to combine all dry ingredients
- taste the mixture to check for sugar level
- you can use your preferred flour (plain/wheat), i wanted it to be healthy so used wheat and brown sugar
- If you want your cookies to be crunchy bake for another 8 minutes
- the reason i have used a measuring spoon to take the dough is to get even sized cookies but if you can eye ball the quantity just skip that

Enjoy the great healthy cookies with a cup of tea/ coffee
To check out my other healthy bake ~ Oatmeal cookies

Rose Cake for A Wonderful ♥Husband♥ ~ Happy Birthday Darling ♥

To My sweetheart, 
You are all that I ever wanted & the best Gift from Above

♥ Happy Birthday Sweetheart ♥

This post is a Special dedication to my dear Husband

All my friends and well-wishers and readers of this blog, I have been getting constant mails, chats and even messages on what plans I have on my Husband's Birthday.  Well its time to reveal :D, this time around I had main focus to bake him a cake, wait bake 2 cakes and this is my very first attempt to make a Birthday cake. Like I had mentioned in my earlier post on ideas for Husband's Birthday, I incorporated one of the idea, which is to do what he likes and why not its his special day. So like most busy housewives I was planning my husband's birthday for nearly a month (too much huh?). I love to put in all my best efforts and ideas and to tell you he was just blushing the whole time :-), I thoroughly enjoyed if every bit and made me think of the earlier days before marriage when we used to meet and blush :P. 

Surprise 1

Alright going to what I had done, I made some lamingtons. Ok not just some, quite a lot around 60 pieces which took me nearly 2 whole days. Now I know you might ask why 60, well he is not that old (will reserve his age for his sake ;-), I had promised to send some to his friends at work. And I did make a tower of Lamingtons and added a candle, sparklers to make it even more surpricy. Made him cut the lamingtons at 12 midnight and he was so pleased. 

His Verdict: He totally loved the sweet treats and the melt-in the mouth snow-flaked beauties. And he like always was worried if the sparklers would make the smoke alarm ring :-/ but thankfully it didn't

Surprise 2

Since He loves roses and white cake, I tried to combine both and I baked a vanilla sponge (eggless & butterless) with vanilla butter icing and decorated with hand-made crystalised flowers/edible flowers. Well I went for the eggless butterless  version cos Lamingtons had both of them and wanted to try something different. This was the cake for the morning session before he could hit work

His Verdict: He loved that the cake was less fatty and the cake was a totally pleaser, spongy, moist and just melts in you mouth. He totally went bonkers for the crystallised roses. Well the cake did win his heart and he told me this "This is the best Birthday cake I ever had" and I said "Me too :P", now tell me what else could make my day even special?

Surprise 3

Well well well this is a secret will tell you when time comes, not in this post :P so you might have to wait for this and so does my Birthday Boy

Recipe Section 

Australian Lamingtons


Vanilla Sponge Cake (No Butter No Egg)
Source ~ Nags & Sharmi, Orginally from Nita Mehta cookbook



My Thoughts : This is a super easy cake and you do not need a whisk (electric/ free stand) to do the cake and just a spoon is more than enough to beat the ingredients. Its quick to mix and easy to do. Although the cake was eggless and butterless, it did not feel or taste different, and in my opinion it was too good. The icing gave a lovely balance to the cake.

Ingredients for Sponge - for 8" pan serves 10
(Please Read Notes Below)

All Purpose Flour/ Maida 1 and 1/2 Cup (200 gms)
Granulated Sugar - 3/4 cup (165 gms)
Plain yogurt (curd) - 1 cup (250 ml) ~ I used Onken, at room temperature
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1 and 1/4 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1 ad 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil - 1/2 Cup 
Milk - 1 tbsp (for brushing on top)

Method
  • Preheat oven to 350F / 180C and grease an 8" cake pan (or loaf pan) with some butter or oil and set aside. In a bowl sift the flour and set aside.
  • In another large bowl beat the yogurt with a spoon to remove any lumps and add the sugar to it, beat again and wait for the sugar to dissolve well, this would take 5 mins. Now add the baking powder and baking soda to it. Beat again and set aside for 5 mins until you see small bubbles on the surface of the mixture.
  • Its time to add the vanilla extract and oil. Mix well until the ingredients are combined. Now add the flour in 3 batches, gently fold the mixture using a whisk or rubber spatula (or even a wooden spoon) until you see no more bubbles/streaks of flour. Pour into the prepared pan and tap it firmly on the counter top a couple times to get rid of the air bubbles
  • Bake in center of a pre-heated oven for 30-35 mins until the top turns a golden brown and a tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with dry crumbs. Brush the milk on top. Let the cake sit in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert it onto a cooling rack for 3 hours and later decorate with icing (see icing recipe below)
Notes

- Don't let the cake mix sit for too long outside before baking, it might end up in a hard cake
- use flavourless oil and make sure you use good quality vanilla essence
- make sure that curd is in room temperature
- you can also make the cake in a loaf tin and without icing

Basic Vanilla Butter Icing

Unsalted butter, softened at room-temperature-50 gms
Icing sugar-2 cups
Milk- 3 tbsp to loosen the mixture (use according to need)

Method
  • In a large bowl using a hand-held or free-stand mixer beat the butter until soft and gently add the icing sugar 1/4 cup each time and beat well. You will find the color changing from yellow to light cream color. It took straight 15 mins for me to get to this consistency, add milk to loosen the mixture. 
Note
- If your cream is still yellow either you need to whisk for a longer time or this could be cos of the butter you had used, they say that cow's milk butter gives a yellow tint.

Crystallised Flowers/ Roses
Prep time ~ 3-4 mins
Drying time ~ 8+ hrs
(Please Read Notes Below)
I made the crystallised flowers a day before so that they can dry up well. I left it in the kitchen counter top and it dried perfect.

Ingredients
1 Egg white
Roses/ petals/ flowers ~ as needed
Caster sugar 1 cup
A paint brush
Edible glitter (optional)

Method
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place egg white in a bowl and sugar in another. Beat the egg white lightly. Hold the petal/ flower at the base and paint wit egg white. Gently sprinkle on the sugar, making sure that every surface is covered. Shake off the excess and let it lay on the parchment over night in room temperature/ slightly warm. You can also used some edible glitter to give it a bit of a sparkle like how i have used a silver one. But make sure it is edible glitter and not the one's we get in stationary shop. They will harden and turn brittle, it would take atleast 8 hrs to get this stage. Handle them with care

Assembly
  • Since I did not layer the cake i did not divide it to two, its upto you if you want to layer the cake double the quantity and divide in the center. Drop tbsp size icing on the cake and start spreading it with a off set spatula and create swirls, peeks or just vertical streaks with them.
  • Decorate the cake with the crystalised flowers/ edible flowers and refrigerate for atleast 20 minutes before cutting. This helps the cake to set well and icing to get firmed up but not too much
Notes
- you can use leaves and small fruits to crystallise but I have not tried it. In my opinion its best to get roses from a florist and make sure they do not spray harsh chemicals onto it. On a personal note we did not eat the petals and I have reserved them to see how long they last.

Hope you'll having a wonderful day :-)

Energy Smoothie ~ Goodbye to Olympics (check out Oylmpics pictures)

The big Olympic fever is fading away and so is the lovely summer weather. This is a post dedicated to every person who fought hard and who fought well for their country. 

Sago (Javvarisi) Banana Payasam / Sago Banana Pudding

This is a sure late Onam Special and with my own twists to it, but I did feel like posting this as you don't really need a special occasion to have payasam. It can even be a weekend dessert, so give it a try and let me know what you think. As always I don't finish bananas very quickly and this calls me to try and make something different with them. This time I had more ripe bananas on my counter top and I just don't like throwing fruits away, now which good cook would do that? 

Spinach Coconut Rice ~ One pot variety rice/ Lunch-box meal

Planning a lunch box meal is a great challenge to most of us, its easy to get stuck with ideas and get bored preparing the same old recipes over and over again. We always make sure that lunch is full packed meal since breakfast in our house-hold does not happen regularly and adding to this the climate at times is chill doesn't make us hungry. 

Spiced Buttermilk / Masala Mor & a useful health tip

How many of you face indigestion problem? I am a victim of this ever since I moved base to UK. Like most people I started to fetch flavored yogurts but little did I know that what I thought would help me would actually cause greater harm to my body. 

Coconut Ladoo with Rose Syrup

After a stressful house shift, we have settle down well in our new house and the sun has been showing its face which makes things more pleasant for us. I had picked up a rose syrup to make rose milk and as I was sipping through it last evening thinking what to do for my next post, I got this idea to make coconut ladoos using rose syrup. Totally loved these cute little snow-flakes beauties and they tasted yum, had to save a few to click some pictures. 

Dates Balls ~ A guest post by Reshmi

Today is a special day for Cook like Priya, this is the first guest post by my dear friend Reshmi Mahesh. A week back I happen to ask Reshmi to do a guest post to feed my blog as I would be busy with a house change and she immediately said yes and I was very excited. 


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