Archive | April 2013

Eggless Banana Cookies

I got this recipe when I was watching  Chellam Rani’s cookery show on Jaya TV with my mom few months back. However at that point of time I did not have an oven. I tried to recollect the recipe and jot it down for my sister who is now a Pro in baking :)! My mom is interested in all these recipes and used to do a lot of baking when we were young. I will get the recipe of my mom’s lovely butter biscuits and Omum (Ajwain) biscuits and put it in the blog sometime.

This banana cookie recipe may not be exactly what was mentioned on the show because I did not write it down while I was watching the show – Nevertheless I have tried this out a couple of times and  it came out well!

Ingredients

Margarine/Saltless Butter – 50gm (I used butter)

Maida – 100gms

Baking soda/Cooking soda – 1/4 tsp

Castor sugar – 50gm (I used regular sugar)

Brown Sugar – 50gm

Banana – 50gm (about half of a big banana – I used 2 small elaichi banana)

Vanilla essence – 1tsp

Almonds/Walnuts (chopped) – 1 tbsp (Optional)

Cinnamon powder – 1/4 tsp (Optional)

Procedure

  1. Bring the butter to room temperature (if it was frozen)
  2. Since I used Granulated sugar, I powdered it a little in the dry jar of mixie along with the brown sugar (for which I used Deremera sugar). If you are already using fine sugar, you can chose to skip this step.
  3. With a fork/masher/hand, mash the bananas.
  4. Mix the mashed bananas, sugar, brown sugar, butter and mix it all well till it forms a smooth mixture. Add the vanilla essence to this and whisk it together. Also mix the cinnamon powder if you are adding it.
  5. Take the maida and baking soda and sieve it together (about 2 or 3 times) so that it is mixed well.
  6. Now mix the dry maida+soda into the wet mixture – but dont beat it or mix it too hard. Just gently fold it till it is mixed well.
  7. You can add the chopped walnuts/almonds to this and mix it.
  8. Dust the baking tray/aluminium sheet (Spread butter and pat it with maida) or line it with a butter paper.
  9. Now you can take this cookie mix (dough) and roll it into small balls (You can use your hands for this. Greasing your hands will not be necessary as the mixture contains the butter required for this. If it is too sticky, then you can grease your palms before you do this)
  10. Put these cookie balls on the tray and ensure you leave enough gap between them as they are going to rise and expand as it bakes.
  11. Use a fork and press these gently to make it a little flat and also to give it a striped design/effect. You can also poke holes in the cookies using the fork. [Note: If you make them too flat, your cookies will come out too crispy.]
  12. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150 deg Centigrade for about 15-20 mins. (Mine took about 18 mins to have the right cookie texture)
  13. Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool completely before you can taste them. (This is really important as it would seem very soft when you take it out. However it gets crisp once you let it cool off)

Cookies just out of the oven – needs to cool off!

Tips

  • The cookies taste really yummy but it was a bit too sweet for my taste – so maybe you can reduce the sugar a little. However I am not sure if the cookies would come out fine if you reduce it considerably (My son and hubby seemed to like it this way, so I dont plan to alter this recipe much)
  • If you make the cookies too flat/thin, they turn out very crispy (my son loved the batch that I made crispy!) However, if you make them a bit thick, they are more cookie-like – They had a nice crispy crust and chewy inside.
  • The cinnamon powder was not in the original recipe. I just tried to add it to give it a different flavour.
  • The measurements above would make about a dozen regular sized cookies (Approx  – Honestly mine got over so quickly I could not even count them after it was done :)!)

Enjoy your cookies with a cup of hot coffee! Perfect for a relaxed weekend 🙂

Cookies with Madras-style coffee – Heaven 🙂

Gudi Padava/Ugadi

Happy New Year to all of you!

Gudi Padava/Ugadi is one of the most important festivals for us. It marks the beginning of a new year and we celebrate it in a grand fashion.

Disclaimer – Please note that the below documented pooja is the way I perform it based on what I have learnt from my parents/inlaws. We are Marathi Madhwas (Desistha) and I usually try to follow whatever I can with my limited time and resources. Please check with your respective families before performing the functions. Constructive feedback is welcome.

Significance

Ugadi marks the new year and is celebrated with new clothes, sweets and by opening the new calendar (Panchanga). (Some families also keep the Gudi with stick etc but since that is not done in our family, I have not updated that here)

Preparation

  • Mango leaves (For thoran outside the house)
  • Rangoli powder (Kola maavu)
  • Paat (Plank)
  • New year calendar (Panchanga for the new year)
  • Diva/Lamps for lighting
  • Fruits, Flowers and Cocunut
  • Haldi, Kumkum, Mantarakshata, Vasthra

Procedure –

1) Take oil bath and wear new dresses (if you have purchased for Ugadi)  (Usually when new dresses are bought, before wearing them, the elders in the family keep it in front of God and put some kumkum on it and then give it to the person wearing it along with their blessings)

2) Make a rangoli outside the house – you could do an elaborate one if you have the time.

3) Make Thoran out of the Mango leaves and tie it outside the house (on the door) or for the entrance of the pooja room.

4) On the Paat, Make a rangoli and place the new Panchanga. Light lamps in front of it along with Incense sticks(Agarbathi). Keep haldi, kumkum, mantarakshata, vasthra and flowers on a tray for the pooja. Also keep the fruits and broken coconut on another tray for neivaidya.

5) Do pooja by putting the kumkum, haldi, mantarakshata, vasthra and flowers for the Panchanga. Also do aarathi and do neivaidya of all the fruits. Do namaskara.

6) Thank God for the previous year and pray for a great year ahead.

7) Once the food is ready, do neivaidya of the food before eating.

Ugadi Pooja

Mango leaf thoran

Menu/Neivaidya items –

As in the case of most festivals, typical madhwa festival food is prepared –

  • Kosambari, Paanaga, Buttermilk
  • Bhaji(Palya)
  • Kadi or Pitla or both
  • Ambode
  • Saaru (Rasam)
  • Kheer
  • Puranpoli
  • Neem flower pachadi (Vepampu pachadi) – New Year Special

Out of the above, the Neem flower Pachadi (recipe below) and Kheer are definitely prepared for the New year celebrations. The rest of the items are as per your time and convenience.

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Neem Flower Pachadi Recipe

Significance

This pachadi has ingredients which give it a sweet-bitter-sour tangy taste. This is eaten on Ugadi day to signify that Life will be a mix of sweet-bitter-sour experiences and we should learn to accept all these elements in our life.

Neem Flower Pachadi

Ingredients

  • Neem Flowers (Few numbers)
  • Tamarind juice
  • Jaggery
  • Raw Mango pieces
  • Salt to taste and a Pinch of haldi powder

Procedure

First clean the neem flowers. In a small kadai, dry roast the Neem flowers (very lightly). Then add the tamarind juice, jaggery and raw mango pieces to this along with a pinch of salt and haldi. Just let it simmer a little and take it off the flame. (If you let it boil too much it would end up being too bitter and you dont want that element to rule your life 😛 )

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Tips

  • Try to get all the things you need for the Pooja and keep it ready on the previous day. If Ugadi is a working day for you, you could even do the Rangoli etc on the previous day.
  • Plan your menu and make sure you have all the ingredients stocked up in the kitchen (I never do this and land up having a grumpy hubby on the festival day as he has to go in the last minute to pick up stuff from the grocery store ;-)). You could also do some of the activities like cutting veggies, grating coconut etc and store them in the fridge.
  • Enjoy the festival and dont worry if you are not able to do everything!

Sweet Corn Kosambari

Kosambari is a salad that is usually served along with festival food or at marriages and other functions. Traditionally Kosambari is made out of yellow moong dal (the salty version) and channa dal (sweet version).

However, nowadays at functions, caterers have become very innovative in coming up with new kind of kosambaris such as Sweet corn kosambari, Green moong sprout kosambari etc.

I tried out Sweet corn kosambari and it came out very well. So I thought I will share this very very simple recipe in the blog.

Sweet Corn Kosambari

Sweet Corn Kosambari

Ingredients

  • Sweet Corn
  • Pomogranate
  • Grated Coconut
  • Grated Raw Mango
  • Corriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • For seasoning –
    • Urad dal – 1 tsp
    • Mustard seeds
    • Cooking oil – 1 tsp
    • Asafoetida (hing)- a pinch
    • 1 green chilli – finely chopped

Procedure

Boil the sweetcorn till tender and remove the corn kernels.

In a bowl mix the cooked corn kernels along with all the ingredients except the ones mentioned for seasoning. In a small kadai, heat cooking oil, put in the mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter. The put in the urad dal, green chilli and hing. Pour this seasoning into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and toss it up like a salad.

Your Sweet Corn Kosambari is ready :)! The sweetness of the corn, tanginess of the mango, flavour of the coconut and the richness of the pomogranate will definitely make this dish yummy and a visual treat!

Tips

  • You can add a few more ingredients like Grated carrots, finely chopped cucumber and leave out a few like coconut as per your taste and preference.
  • You could omit the cooking of the sweet corn if you like it raw.
  • This could also be served chill – so put it in the refrigerator for sometime if you like cold salads!

Appicha Kheer (Appi Payasa)

Appicha Kheer or Appi Payasa is one of the special sweet dishes prepared for special ocassions, festivals etc. It is very rich, heavy and tastes really divine. It is considered to be one of the more complicated kheers in terms of procedure and time but in reality it is not as difficult as it seems.

Ingredients

  • Fine Rava/Sooji – 1/2 cup (If you can get Chiroti rava, that is best)
  • Water – 1/2 cup (approx)
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Milk – 2 cups
  • Sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Oil/Ghee for frying
  • Cardomon powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder (Jaipala/Jaadhikai) – a pinch
  • Cashews – few
  • Raisins – few

Procedure

  1. Mix the Rava with water and mix well to form a hard dough (like Puri dough). Dont put all the water at once, mix the rava along with 1 spoon of ghee and add the water little by little and mix well to form a dough (like a puri dough).
  2. (If you are using Chiroti rava, then you can skip this step) Split the mixed dough into small parts and blend it in the dry jar of the mixie in installments. Work this dough again with your hand and it should be a bit rubbery and elastic in nature. If you have used Chiroti rava, the dough should be elastic without putting it in the mixie.
  3. Make the dough into small balls and roll them into circles (like puri) – you can use some ghee/maida to roll it without sticking onto the surface.
  4. Fry these papads in hot oil/ghee
  5. After the fried papads have cooled, break the papads into small pieces.
  6. Boil milk in a wide vessel and put the broken papad pieces into them. Once the papads are well cooked and the milk is thickened (condensed), put in sugar and let it boil for 2 more minutes.
  7. Put the cardomon powder, nutmeg powder, saffron and mix well.
  8. Garnish with Cashews and raisins roasted with ghee.

Delicious Payasa is ready 🙂 Enjoy!

Appi Papads

Tips

  • You can prepare these Papads and keep them in an air tight container. They would stay good for a week. Then on the day you need to make the kheer, you can prepare it very quickly.
  • While cooking the papads in milk, you can also mix some water if you do not want the kheer to be too thick.
  • If after the kheer cools down all the milk has been absorbed by the papads, you can add some boiled sweet milk and mix.
  • If you need to get back to work after having this kheer, be careful with the amount of nutmeg powder you use – this can make you really sleepy 😉