Chuqandar ka Halwa

March 10th, 2009 Mona Posted in Beetroot/Chuqandar, Confectionary, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Ghee, Half and Half Cream, Hyderabadi special, Pistachios/Pista, Raisins/Kishmish, Sugar/Shakkar 13 Comments » 5,287 views

Chuqandar, in Urdu, also called as Beetroot in English are one of my favorite veggies. This nitrate rich, gorgeous root vegetable is best eaten as a salad, roasted, boiled or steamed and then seasoned lightly for added flavor. They are high in fibre, calcium, potassium, folate, antioxidants, vitamin A and C, minerals and other micro nutrients and quite low in calories. They are also used to treat hypertension and hence maintain a healthy cardio vascular system.

Beetroot – Chuqandar

Be careful when you are working with these ground vegetables, as its juices tend to stain whatever comes in contact, like your hands, chopping board etc.

Beetroots are also commonly referred to as Sweet Beets, as they are very sweet in taste. They have a unique earthy sweetness in them, and are hence perfect for halwa or a dessert to serve on special occasions.

Serves – 2 to 4

Chuqandar ka Halwa - Beetroot Dessert

Ingredients:

Beetroot – 1, medium sized, washed, peeled and coarsely grated
Fat free Half and Half cream – 1 cup
Sugar – 4 to 5 tbsp or according to taste (the amount of sugar depends on the size and sweetness of the beets)
Ghee – 1 tsp
Finely slivered blanched almonds+pistachios – 1 tsp
Raisins + chopped walnuts – 1 tsp

Beetroot Dessert -Chuqandar Halwa

Method:

-Heat a thick bottomed non-stick saucepan at medium heat and add the grated beetroot.
-Pour in the cream and let simmer uncovered on low until most of the cream has been absorbed by the beetroot. Keep stirring it occasionally.
-During the mean time, heat ghee in a pan at medium heat and throw in the prepared dry fruits and nuts. Roast them until they turn golden brown. Reemove from heat and keep aside.
-Add sugar to the cooking beetroot and let cook for a furthur 5 minutes or until the halwa is thickened.
-Serve warm or cold garnished with the roasted dry fruits and nuts in ghee.

I am sending this royal halwa over to RCI-Lucknow cuisine.  

For some more ideas on how to use beets, head over to the healthnut blog.

Luv,
Mona

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Chocolate Muffins

February 2nd, 2009 Mona Posted in All-Purpose Flour/Maida, Canola Oil, Chocolate and Cocoa, Egg/Anda, Honey/Shahed, Milk and Milk Products, Salt/Namak, Sugar/Shakkar 15 Comments » 3,310 views

Breakfasts are the *most* important meals of the day and I am one among those people who can just not live without a proper breakfast every morning. Nevertheless, breakfast is most neglected and disregarded by people.

Chocolate Cupcakes/Muffins

These Chocolate cupcakes/muffins are another of my favorite breakfasts. Bake them on the weekends and store in air tight plastic boxes in a single layer, so that your breakfast for atleast a week is ready for you to just pick and go, and what more, these are butter free! They keep well for around a week or so.

Recipe adapted from:Cakes – 1,001 recipes from around the world

Chocolate Cupcakes/Muffins

Ingredients:

All-Purpose flour – 2 cups
Unsweetened Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 3/4 cup
Canola Oil – 1/2 cup
Granulated Sugar – 1 1/4 cup
Honey – 1 tbsp
Eggs – 2 large
Semi sweet chocolate chips – 1/4 cup

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Spray a 16 muffin-pan or individual muffin cups with cooking oil, or line with foil or paper cups.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
4.  Beat the oil, sugar and honey in a large bowl in a food processor or using an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, until just blended after each addition. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
8. Cool the muffins on racks.

Enjoy, and remember, Never skip breakfasts! Start having a delicious healthy breakfast from today and make your kids always have their breakfast too right from their childhood.

Luv,
Mona

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Perfect Pound Cake

January 19th, 2009 Mona Posted in All-Purpose Flour/Maida, Baking powder, Butter/Makhan, Confectionary, Egg/Anda, Milk and Milk Products, Sugar/Shakkar 8 Comments » 5,425 views

Pound cakes are my favorite for a quick breakfast. Slice them up, spread a jam of your choice, or enjoy them as it is, and you are good to go until lunch. I usually bake a pound cake once every month. I also savor them along with a cup of warm tea in the evenings. Heres the recipe that I follow -

Source: Everyday Food

Pound Cake
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter – 1 cup (2 sticks), room temperature, plus more for pan
All-purpose flour- 1 1/2 cups, (spooned and leveled), sifted, plus more for pan
Granulated sugar – 1 cup
Vanilla powder – 1 teaspoon
Eggs – 5 large, room temperature, lightly beaten
Coarse salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Sliced Pound Cake

Note: Let refrigerated butter sit at room temperature for 30 minutes; it should hold an indentation when pressed. If your eggs are cold, submerge them in warm water for 15 minutes.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter and flour a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan (I used a Bundt pan). In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until very light and fluffy, 7 minutes. Scrape down bowl and beat 1 minute more. Add vanilla, then gradually add eggs, beating well and scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add salt, then gradually add flour, beating well to combine and scraping down bowl as needed.
2. Transfer batter to pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 65 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 1 hour. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack before slicing. (To Store, wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Alterations
1. Brown Sugar, Maple and Nut Pound Cake:
Swap 1/2 cup light brown sugar for 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 tbsp pure maple syrup for vanilla.
Fold 1 cup nuts of choice (walnuts, pecans, pinenuts, almonds, etc) lightly toasted and chopped, into batter before transferring to pan.

2. Berry Cornmeal Pound Cake:
Swap 1/2 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal for 1/4 cup flour
Fold 2 cups mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, gently tossed with 1 tbsp flour, into batter before transferring to pan.

3. Double Chocolate Pound Cake:
Swap 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for 1/4 cup flour
Fold 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips, into batter before transferring to pan.

4. Citrus Glazed Pound Cake:
Add 1 tsp lemon zest plus 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp orange juice to batter along with vanilla and eggs.
Make a glaze by whisking together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp orange juice until smooth. Pour citrus glaze over cooled cake.

Note: To freeze the cake- When the cake is cool, wrap in plastic. Freeze for upto 3 weeks. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature.

Cheers,
Mona

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Qubani Ka Meetha

November 5th, 2008 Mona Posted in Apricot kernel, Apricot/Qubani (dried), Confectionary, Dry Fruits/Qushk Mewah, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Heavy Cream, Hyderabadi special, Sugar/Shakkar 38 Comments » 37,746 views

Qubani ka Meetha never fails to reminds me of the grandiose and pompous Hyderabadi weddings. A Hyderabadi gathering is never complete without the presence of this glorious meetha that has become synonym and a glory to the place of Hyderabad.

Qubani Ka Meetha topped with thick cream

Qubani, in Urdu language means Apricot in English. For this particular meetha, only dried apricots are used along with their seeds. The seeds contain kernels inside. The dried apricots are rehydrated in a sugary syrup into a thick compote. I prefer Kashmiri or Afghanistani dried apricots with their seeds to prepare this dessert as I find the dried apricots from Kashmir or Afghanistan very delicious and sweeter in comparision to others.

Dried apricots are high in fibre and proteins. I usually stock up my pantry with a few extra packets of dried apricots as they keep very well in room remperatures.

Anti-Cloclwise from top-Dried apricots, soaked and halved apricots,
its seed, white kernel without skin, and kernel with skin

The amount of sugar you use in the preperation of this dessert depends on the sweeteness of the kind of dried apricots you are using. Be careful before you add sugar, use it according to your tastes.

Qubani Ka Meetha – Apricot Compote

Ingredients:

  • Dried Apricots/Qubani – 400gms (preferably dried naturally)
  • Saffron threads – a pinch (optional)
  • Sugar – 300 gms
  • Thick cream/Custard/Vanilla Ice-cream for serving

Method:

  • Wash and soak the dried apricots overnight in a deep bowl with surplus water so that the water covers them by about 2 inches. The next day, slit the sides of the swelled up apricots to remove their seeds and keep them aside in a cup. Put the slit apricots into a large non-reactive saucepan with the soaking liquid. Add sugar and cover the lid. Let it cook on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes or until the apricots are very soft. Add more hot boiling water if needed. Once the done, let it cool down. (You can even pressure cook for speedy cooking)
  • Meanwhile, crack open the apricots kernels using a nut cracker and soak the badam or nuts in a cup of water to loosen their skin.
  • Once the apricots are cool, pour half of it into a blender container and blend till pureed.
  • Pour the pureed apricots and the other half of the cooked apricots back into the saucepan and let it cook until it has become thick and pasty in consistency. Taste check for sugar. Add more if you need.
  • Remove the skin of the soaking apricot nuts or badam. This should be pretty easy as they have been soaking.
  • Garnish with the badam/nuts and the saffron threads and serve it chilled topped with fresh thick cream, custard or a generous dollop of (Amul) Vanilla ice cream.

Qubani Ka meetha served garnished with nuts

Note: You can use pureed dates instead of sugar for sweetness in this recipe.

It is one of the most simple but incredibly delicious Hyderabadi desserts that you will definitely love and remember always.

Mansi from Fun and Food Cafe has requested me to send this dish to her Vegetarian Thanksgiving event that is hosting on her delicious blog. Mansi, so, here it is.. my recipe all the way to you :-)

Foodbuzz: A couple of days ago, I recieved a lovely Apron and a Rubber Spatula from Foodbuzz. Thankyou for the genorosity for sending me those gifts. I am enjoying using them in my kitchen everyday.

Luv,
Mona

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Kaddu Ki Kheer

October 2nd, 2008 Mona Posted in Bottle Gourd/Kaddu, Cardamom/Elaichi, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Confectionary, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Hyderabadi special, Milk and Milk Products, Nutmeg, Raisins/Kishmish, Sugar/Shakkar 29 Comments » 41,588 views

Eid-ul-Fitr Celebrations after the month of Ramadhan

Eid Mubarak Everyone!

Alhamdulillah its been a wonderful Eid, May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) accept all our Duas and make us better Muslims inshallah.

I prepared Kaddu ki Kheer on the second day of the celebrations of the Eid-ul-Fitr, after coming back from work. Its a pity that its not a public holiday on the religious festivals. I think, especially in a multi-cultural place like Canada, this should definitely be given a thought.

Kaddu Ki Kheer – Bottle Gourd Milk Pudding

Kheer is one the most delicious, simple and quick pudding/dessert to prepare. I usually use rice, bottle-gourd, sago, white potato and sweet-potato to prepare different varieties of Kheer. The basic steps remain the same, boiling milk with sugar, cardamom, nuts and saffron for flavor.

Kaddu ki Kheer is also referred to as Gil-e-Firdaus (or Gul-e-Firdaus or Dil-e-Firdaus). This pudding is prepared by cooking grated Opo Squash/Kaddu in sweetened milk along with nuts and Tapioca pearls to give it body/thickness.

Kaddu Ki Kheer – Bottle Gourd Milk Pudding

Ingredients:

Bottle Gourd/Opo Squash/Kaddu – small sized, 400 gms (approx)
Full fat or Low fat Milk – 2 1/2 cups
Sabudana/Tapioca pearls - 1/2 cup, soaked in water for 15-30 minutes
Chopped Pistachios – 1 tbsp
Sliced Almonds – 1 tbsp
Chopped Walnuts – 1 tbsp
Chopped Raisins – 1 tbsp
Khoa – 1/4 cup, grated (or) Milk Powder – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 55 gms
Ground Cardamom seeds – a pinch
Saffron strands/Zafraan – a pinch

Method:

  • Wash, peel and remove the seeds from the bottle gourd, reserve only the flesh. Shred it either in a food processor or using a grater.
  • Pour 2 cups milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the drained sabudana and simmer heat and let it cook uncovered for 10 mins. half cover witha  lid, keep an eye on it, and stir frequently so that it does not boil away.
  • Add khoa or milk powder, whatever using, to the remaining 1/2 cup milk. Pour this into the saucepan. Also add the shredded bottle gourd, ground cardamom seeds, sugar and chopped nuts.
  • Let it cook for 10 more minutes on simmer. As the milk cooks it begins to turn light yellow in colour, and gets more concentrated and cremier. Once done, remove from heat and serve warm or chilled.

(Note: To make it more rich for a special occasion and for an indulgence, you can even use Unsweetened Condensed milk/Evaporated Milk in the recipe)

Luv,
Mona

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