Rasgulla – Rasmalai

One of my favorite desserts since my childhood is this Bengali delicacy Rasgulla. The white spongy balls in the sugar syrup please me to no extent. Its cousin is Rasmalai. The first time I tasted Rasmalai I remember very nicely was in one Ramadan during my childhood when we were staying at my Mama’s house for holidays. It was love at first bite.

In order to prepare Rasmalai you have to have Rasgullas. When you have guests and you need a quick dessert to make, you can use tinned store-brought rasgullas to make rasmalai, or making them from scratch is also as easy, but it needs a little time.

Rasgulla and Rasmalai 

For Rasgulla – Cheese Balls in Fragrant Sugar Syrup:
Milk – 4 cups
Lemon juice – juice of half a lemon
Water – 2 1/2 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
1 green cardamom powdered

In a heavy bottomed saucepan at medium high heat, pour in milk and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir and keep aside for 20 minutes. The milk will curdle. Line a sieve with a muslin cloth and drain the curdled milk. Bring the ends of the cloth together into a bundle and squeeze it to drain water. Hang for a further 30 minutes until all the water is properly drained out. Transfer the milk solids to a bowl and knead into a soft ball. Make smooth equal sized 10-12 balls. In a pressure cooker, boil sugar in water and add green cardamom powder and the prepared balls. Pressure cook until you get a whistle. The balls will now swell up in size. Let cool, chill and serve. Or use them to make Rasmalai, recipe below.

For RasMalai – Cheese Cakes in Fragrant Thickened Milk Sauce:
10-12 Rasgullas
Milk – 3 cups
Rasgulla Sugar syrup – 3/4 cup
Saffron – a pinch

Grease the bottom of a heavy bottomed saucepan with few drops of ghee, this will prevent burning of milk at the bottom. Pour in milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for a hour. Meanwhile, take the rasgullas and gently squeeze them between your fingers to flatten them, but not break them, so that most of the sugar syrup is removed. Keep them aside in a bowl. Do not discard the sugar syrup. By now the milk will be reduced to about half its quantity. Drop the squeezed flattened rasgullas in the milk. Add the sugar syrup, saffron, dried nuts and let simmer for 15- 30 minutes. In a couple of minutes, they will soak up the milk and puff up. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature. Serve chilled.

Note:
You can store the sugar syrup and use it to flavor tea, coffee etc. It will last a few weeks in the refrigerator.

Luv,
Mona

Pyaaz ki Pakodi – Crispy Onion Fritters

Every time I visit Hyderabad, I ask my father to get some crispy pyaaz ki pakodi from sweet shops in the city. I just love them. Small sweet shop at almost every corner in Hyderabad sell an array of sweets and also savory snacks.

But when I am in Toronto, missing them, I make these myself in my kitchen trying to replicate them as close as possible to the ones that I get in Hyderabad. I love these pakodi along with tamarind chutney on a rainy day. They also make a yummy Iftaar snack. Sometimes I also enjoy them along with my meal on the side.

Pyaaz ki Pakodi – Crispy Onion Fritters

Ingredients:

Besan – 1 1/2 cups
Rice Flour – 1/4 cup
Green chillies, finely chopped – 8
Ginger – grated, 1/2 tsp
Onions – 2, large, thinly sliced
Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 1 or 2 sprigs, roughly chopped
Salt – 3/4 tsp
Pinch of baking soda
Canola Oil for deep frying

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, add sliced onions, besan, chopped green chillies, curry leaves, salt, olive oil and baking soda. Mix well. Add just 1/4 cup of water and mix well to form a thick-hard batter. Go easy on water as onion and salt release water too.
2. In a kadai or wok, pour oil to deep fry and as soon as it is piping hot, drop small and flattish balls of the batter using your hands into the hot oil. Reduce heat to medium and deep fry till they turn golden brown. Remove using a slotted soon into a large strainer for excess oil to drip away. Continue until all the batter is used up.
Serve hot with chutney/sauce of your choice, along with chai/coffee or juice. I served them with tamarind chutney along with other sides at Iftaar yesterday.

Note:
1. If you want do not want them crisp, omit rice flour and add a little bit more water, to make onion bhajiyas.
2. If you do not want to fry them, you can even shallow fry them in about 2 tbsp per batch in a non-stick frying pan. Make sure you flatten the batter so that they shallow fry evenly. You can even bake them for a healthier version. I have tried baking them a few times and will still continue to do for a few more trials until insha’Allah I come up with a perfect recipe for you all soon.

Luv,
Mona

Healthy Ramadan Recipe – Chicken Phyllo Fingers

These Chicken Phyllo Rolls are a healthy take on Meat and Chicken Samosas. They make a perfect healthy iftaar during this month of Ramadan. Serve them along with your favorite dipping sauce, or chutney.

Phyllo is a thin dough made mainly of flour and water, mixed to a stiff paste, and machine-rolled. It has been used for centuries in Greece and the Middle East to make sweet and savory dishes. It is easily available in major grocery stores in the freezer section. Today I have a simple chicken filling for the rolls. You can experiment and try different fillings too.

Chicken Phyllo Fingers
Makes – approx 12 rolls

Ingredients:

Phyllo Pastry Sheets – 12
For brushing the rolls – Milk, or Olive oil, or lightly beaten egg
Boneless Chicken Breasts – 2, cubed into small pieces
For Marinade:
Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro and Mint – finely chopped, 3-4 tbsp
Juice of 2 lemons

Method:

1. The night before you plan to cook these, put the frozen phyllo pastry in the fridge to defrost. Take the packet out of the fridge the next morning two hours before you plan to use it to bring to room temperature, otherwise the sheets will stick together..
2. In a mixing bowl, add chicken and the rest of the ingredients for the marinade. Mix well and keep aside.

3. In a pan at medium high heat pour oil and as soon as it warms up add the chicken and cook covered while stirring occasionally until tender. Add chopped cilantro and mint. Mix. Let cool. Once cool, either chop it up into tiny bite size pieces, or shred it. Keep aside.

4. Preheat oven to 375° F. Unroll the phyllo and lay it flat on a clean, dry surface. Place one sheet of phyllo on work surface, keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with damp towel to keep from drying out. Using a pastry brush, apply either olive oil, or milk, or lightly beaten egg all over the sheet. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of cooked chicken in the center of the narrower side. Fold the two edges towards the center. Now roll it up into a log. Brush the top with either olive oil, or milk, or lightly beaten egg. Arrange on a rimmed baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Bake until phyllo is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Luv,
Mona

The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival 2012~Season IV-Roundup

As promised, I present to you all the round-up of the Season IV of the ‘The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival 2012’.

I thank all participants for their enthusiasm. Here is the list of entries:

Click on the recipe title to go through the recipe.

Amrita, author of Mittu Cooking Love, has shared with us her recipe for Easy Chicken Malai Kabab. Yumm, they look delicious!

She says:

“Its mild and very easy to make,it will be perfect for your Ramadan Menu

Amina, author of Amina Cereations has shared with us all some delicious Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani.

Amina says:

“Biryani is one of the most popular rice delicacies in India and abroad. No other dish has such an aura and demand throughout India. The rich texture and aroma of Biryani is enough to activate hunger pangs in the stomach.”.

Nakhat, author of Indian Culinary Delights has shared with us all her recipe for Falooda.

Nakhat says:

“Falooda is a traditional Persian cold dessert. It was brought to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal period. Basil seeds (sabza/takmaria), tutti frutti, sugar, and ice cream can be add-ons for this dessert. “

Wajiha, author of My Kitchen and Beyond, has shared with us all very delicious looking Kathi Rolls.

Wajiha says:

“Kathi rolls probably originated in Calcutta, but are hugely popular here in Bangalore as well. The most common fillings are chicken, paneer and egg. It can be modified as per one’s personal taste, I like egg in mine and since my hubby hates raw onion, I stir fry the onions before adding them. “

Sadaf, author of My Culinary Aadventures has shared with us all Aloo Qeema Cutlets.

Sadaf says:

“I had sworn off fried foods during Ramadan but after ten days of fasting I couldn’t resist making this old favourite of mine for iftar. These cutlets can be frozen too. Alternately, you can make and freeze the minced meat filling (which can be used for samosas too) and simply boil the potatoes and stuff the cutlets when you have to serve them. “

Zareena, author of My Experiments with Food has shared with us all some delicious Pav Bhaji.

Zareena says:

“On the first day of fasting I prepared our favorite dish. I know this will be very heavy for an empty stomach to have, but since I cannot resist any chat dishes, I thought of making this on the first day for iftar. This is my first attempt in making pav bhaji and was successful and tasted just like what we get from stalls outside.”

And following are my entries to the event:

Murgh Samosa – Chicken Samosa

Dahi Baday – Chickpea Flour balls in Yogurt

I once again thank all participants. I hope you have all enjoyed the roundup. If in case I have missed anyone’s entries, please let me know. I will inshallah update it immediately.

Luv,
Mona