Celebrating Eid and Blog Anniversary with Khajoor Rolls (Sugar Free)

August 6th, 2013 Mona Posted in Almonds/Badaam, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Dates/Khajoor, Dry Desiccated Coconut, Fig/Anjeer (dried), Pistachios/Pista, Raisins/Kishmish 8 Comments » 7,661 views

Wishing an advance EID MUBARAK to all my muslim readers and friends!

This week insha’Allah muslims all over the world will be celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr. Can you believe Ramadan is coming to an end, how quickly does Ramadan pass by every year. May Allah accept our siyam, qiyam and all other ‘ibadah that we do for His sake, ameen! Taqabbalallâhu minnâ wa minkumMay Allah accept from you and us, our fasts and deeds. Ameen ♥

There is also an another reason to celebrate. My blog turned 6 this last month Alhamdulillah. I can’t believe its been 6 years since I started this little blog of mine. Masha’Allah!! Thank you everyone for being a part of my journey. With the arrival of my baby in my life Alhamdulillah, I haven’t been able to blog as regularly as I used to. But Insha’Allah I will continue to blog and share my recipe with you all for a long time. Your support and encouragement means lot to me ♥

With two special reasons to celebrate, today I am sharing with you all a very simple, sugar free and oh so yummy sweet that you can make for your loved ones on festivals and special occasions. They are healthy, tasty and look gorgeous. Also, this is a delicious way to use up leftover dates from Ramadan.

These date rolls are dense little discs that give you a bit of energy and also cure a sweet tooth. Nice, soft, dense and chewy. These date rolls would make a delicious Eid gift that’s also loaded with nutrients. A gift that’s playful enough for a child and sophisticated enough for an adult.

Khajoor Rolls – Date Rolls (Sugar Free)

Ingredients:

Pitted Dates – 1 1/2 cup, tightly packed
Dried Figs – 3/4 cup
Raisins – 1/8 cup
Cashew nuts – 1/8 cup
Pistachios – 1/4 cup
Almonds – 1/4 cup
Dessicated Coconut – 2-3 tbsp

Method:

1. In a food processor, add the pitted dates and dried figs. Process until it is a sticky pasty ball. Transfer it to a mixing bowl.
2. Add the dry fruits and nuts to a chopping board and chop them all up roughly. Add these chopped dry fruits and nuts to the dates and fig mixture and mix well.
3. On a chopping board, shape the mixture into a log about 3 inch in diameter. Sprinkle dessicated coconut and roll the log in it to cover the entire thing with coconut.
4. Refrigerate the prepared log for 1-2 hours. Then just before serving, slice them into discs using a sharp knife. Serve. These can also be stored in the refrigerator for a long time in an air tight container with lid.

Note:
1. Instead of using dessicated coconut, you can use icing sugar or warq.
2. You can add a variety of other dry fruits and nuts that you love instead of using them ones I have listed above.
3. You can also use dark chocolate chips, oats, ground flax, chia seeds, a little bit of orange juice or lemon juice, vanilla powder or cinnamon powder etc whatever you fancy to mix with the dates.
4. Instead of shaping them into logs and then cutting into slices, you can roll them into small balls and serve in gorgeous cupcake liners as date truffles to impress the guests. Or you can even shape in the form of Barfi.

Luv,
Mona

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Seviyan Ka Meetha

March 19th, 2012 Mona Posted in Almonds/Badaam, Canola Oil, Cardamom/Elaichi, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Ghee, Milk and Milk Products, Pistachios/Pista, Sugar/Shakkar, Vermicelli/Sewaiyya 14 Comments » 13,112 views

Seviyan Ka Meetha is an another lip-smacking dessert with fine vermicelli as the main ingredient. A drier version of Sheer Qurma, the delectable traditional sweet dish without which no Eid is complete for Hyderabadis. Infact I can easily say that Seviyan ka Meetha is much more enjoyed than Sheer Qurma in my house.

In Hyderabad, there are shops that even sell special hand made vermicelli or semia or seviyan or sewayya. These can be found in shops much more easily during the month of Ramadan. I have to make do with whatever brand of vermicelli I can get from shops here. Usually my MIL gets many packets of vermicelli during her visits to our place from Saudi Arabia as she is well aware of the fact of our love for this dessert. So as the supply for vermicelli has recently been restocked in my pantry, these days I have been preparing it very often.

This dessert is good for those moments when you have unexpected guests, as it is super quick to whip up and is a dessert most loved and enjoyed, one of my favorites. I am sure your guests will be impressed too inshallah.

Seviyan Ka Meetha – Vermicelli Dessert
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Ghee – 1/2 tsp
Canola oil – 3 tbsp
Dry fruits and Nuts – any, your choice; I added: almonds, pistachios, raisins – about 1/3 cup
Fine Vermicelli/Seviyan – 200 gms
Milk – 2 cups
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Granulated Sugar – 1 cup (add more 1/4 cup if you have a sweet tooth)

Method:

1. Gently crush the seviyan into pieces about 2 inch long (that is not too fine) with your hands while still in the packaging.
2. In a wide saucepan at medium heat add ghee+oil and and as soon as it warm, add the dry fruits and nuts. Fry them all together for a minute and remove into a cup. Keep aside.
3. In the remaining oil+ghee, add the crushed seviyan and roast in the oil while stirring continously until the seviyan are a chestnut color. Now add the milk and cardamom powder and let it cook for 2-4 minutes. As the seviyan absorb the milk, add the sugar. Once sugar melts, add the fried dry fruits and nuts and mix the seviyan gently. Cook for 2-4 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Once cool, chill in the refrigerator. Serve.

Sending this dessert to the #IndianFoodPalooza event going on at Indian Simmer.

Welcome to my Etsy Shop:

As you all might have noticed, I have very recently embarked on a new venture to quench my thirst for sewing crafts. Please click on the logo below to visit my online shop:

I have named my online Etsy shop “Omee’s Boutique”. It is still very new and inshallah I plan to make more items as my little baby will allow me to. Please visit my online etsy shop and and I hope you will support my endeavor.

JazakAllah Khair.

Luv,
Mona

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Panjeri

February 29th, 2012 Mona Posted in Almonds/Badaam, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Cast-iron skillet, Chironji/Charoli, Edible Gum, Ghee, Hyderabadi special, Misri, Phool Makahana/Lotus Seeds, Pinenuts/Chilgoze, Pistachios/Pista, Raisins/Kishmish, Sugar/Shakkar, Walnuts/Aqrot 2 Comments » 12,900 views

Life has ever so been wonderful and oh so busy since babyjaan happened. Days seem to be flowing without me even noticing them. But my little chickadee has given me a reason to look forward to each new day and my life has a now a meaning alhamdulillah. Motherhood has indeed been a blessing alhamdulillah. I am happy to resume blogging, I missed you all.

I havent been cooking much lately, other than quick one dish meals or semi home made dinners. A baby changes your routines in ways you might not have even imagined. MIL was handling most of the cooking during my postpatrum days. Now that both my MIL and FIL have left, I am back to cooking meals daily. My mom had been after me to prepare and eat Panjeri as soon as she was born. Panjeri is made of rich and beneficial food products such as dry fruits and nuts and is meant for post partum and lactating women, traditionally prepared in our family and eaten by new mothers. Panjeri is also given to young girls.

The quantities of the amount of nuts and dry fruits used in the recipe can be altered according to your desires. I love almonds, so I have used more of them here. I am not sure what Kangi ke beenj are referred to in english language.

Panjeri

Ingredients:

Edible Gum – 100 gms
Cashewnuts – 150 gms
Pinenuts – 100 gms
Walnuts – 100 gms
Pistachios – 100 gms
Almonds – 350 gms
Raisins – 100 gms
Kangi ke beenj – 30 gms
Chironji – 20
Phool Makhana/Lotus Seeds – 40 gms
Granulated Sugar – 100 gms (or) Misri [both according to taste, add more if you want it sweeter]
Ghee – to fry

Method:

Shallow each ingredient one by one except misri in 1 -2 tbsp ghee in a frying pan or a cast iron skillet for 2-5 minutes and then transfer to a platter. Edible gum once fried changes from a translucent color to white color like popcorn. After all have been shallow fried, let them cool to room temperature. Later transfer them all to a food processor. Add misri and process until the whole thing is granular, need not be too fine. Transfer to a storage container or a canister and store in the refrigerator. Post partum and lactating women should eat about 1-2 tablespoon of this everyday.

Sending this recipe to Ayeesha’s Healthy Morsels Pregnancy

Luv,
Mona

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Tarkari ki Biryani

November 9th, 2010 Mona Posted in Almonds/Badaam, Broccoli, Canola Oil, Carrot/Gajar, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cinnamon/Dalchini, Clove/Laung, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Ghee, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Green Onion/Hari Pyaz, Hyderabadi special, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Peas/Matar, Red Chilli powder, Saffron/Zafraan, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz, Yogurt/Dahi 22 Comments » 15,922 views

I was immensely thrilled to learn just a few months back during this last Ramadan that Haleem is the first Hyderabadi delicacy to be granted the Geographical Indication Certificate (GI status) along the lines of the famous Tirupati laddu, Darjeeling tea, Goan feni and Banarasi silk. So it will only be referred to as ‘Hyderabadi Haleem’ from now on. How cool is that. I wish that Biryani and many other such iconic dishes of the city too get the recognition as soon as possible.

Biryani is a dish of royalty, of the nizams of the Hyderabad and the Moghuls, known for its cooking method, delicate flavor, heavenly aroma and the use of many spices in the right proportion. In Persian “Birian” means ‘fried before cooking’. There exist two kinds of Biryani, the non-vegetarian and the vegetarian versions. I have already blogged about both the kachchi (raw) and pakki (cooked) method of the Chicken and Mutton Biryani. You can find the recipes here. Apart from the Hyderabadi Biryani, many other versions also do exist, like the Iranian Biryani, the Khaibari Biryani (from Afghanistan) and Pakistani Biryani, all with a few regional variations that change with religion, geography and culture, but all under the same name Biryani. Today Hyderabadi Biryani caters to palates all over the world.

Chopped Mixed Vegetables

Like I had mentioned in my last post, I love to prepare traditional dishes like Nihari, Biryani and Haleem during the cold season. So the last weekend, I prepared Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani along with Tomato Chutney as the main course for a dinner party.

Tarkari in Urdu language means vegetables. Just like the non-vegetarian version, the vegetarian version is just as ambrosial and a delightful crowd pleaser. All my guests loved it. I do not know how I missed writing about this Biryani all this while. So without further ado, for all those who were waiting for the Hyderabadi version of the Vegetable Biryani, here goes. Following is my Ammi’s recipe.

Hyderabadi Tarkari ki Biryani – Vegetable Biryani
Serves: 6- 7

Ingredients:

Fragrant long grained Basmatic Rice – 3 cups
Warm milk – 3/4 cup
Saffron strands – two pinches
Canola oil – 5 tbsp (or Ghee)
Yellow Onions – 2, large, finely sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Long Green chillies – 2, each slit lengthwise and chopped into half
Mixed Vegetables – large cauliflower florets, large broccoli florets, carrots cut into 2″ long thick sticks, capsicum (any color) cut into long and thin strips, green beans cut into 2″ long pieces, boiled/frozen green peas, quartered potatoes, quartered firm red tomatoes – 5 cups
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 4 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Cilantro – 1/2 cup, loosely packed, roughly chopped
Yogurt – 250 ml, 1 cup
Caraway seeds/Shahzeera – 1 tsp
Dried Bay leaf – 2
Cloves – 4
Green cardamoms – 5
Mint leaves – 1 cup, loosely packed, roughly chopped

Tarkari Biryani – Vegetable Biryani

Method:

1. Wash the rice in several changes of water and let soak in cool surplus water in a vessel.
2. In a small cup, pour in warm milk and saffron strands. Keep aside.
3. In a large and wide saucepan, add oil and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions and fry them while stirring frequently until evenly golden brown in color. Remove the pan from heat and using a slotted spoon transfer half of the fried onion into a platter and reserve for garnish.
4. In the same saucepan, add the cumin seeds, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies, stir fry for a minute. Immediately add all the mixed vegetables. Also add red chilli powder, 1 1/2 tsp of salt and turmeric powder and chopped cilantro. Mix well very gently. Increase the heat to high and let the vegetables sear. Give the vegetables a stir every two minutes, until they get seared on all sides. Now add the yogurt and mix. Lower the heat to medium high and let cook covered for 3-5 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked, (but not mushy) (do not overcook the vegetables) (pierce a knife into a potato and check if it is done) uncover and cook on high while stirring whenever required until the vegetables are almost dry. Keep aside.
5. In a large heavy bottomed vessel pour in surplus water and add shahzeera, dried bay leaf, cloves, green cardamoms and cover with a lid. Let it come a rolling boil. Once boiling, drain the soaking rice and add to the boiling water. Let it cook until the rice if half done. Once done, drain the rice and keep ready. Now starts the layering process of the Biryani. Working quickly, in the same vessel, add half of the drained rice. Now add the cooked mixed vegetables. Spread over the rice evenly. Now spread the reserved fried onions meant for garnish, and the chopped mint leaves evenly over the vegetables. Next, arrange the left over rice evenly covering the vegetables. Lastly, pour evenly the saffron milk. Cover the vessel properly with aluminium foil or a tight lid (with vents closed with dough if any) so that no steam can escape. You can also apply dough to seal the lid which is the traditional method.
6. Cook the Biryani on high for 2 minutes. You will notice that a good amount of steam has built up, which is called as the pehli bhaap, meaning first steam. Then take a flat dosa tawa and keep it below the vessel (so that the bottom does not burn and it slow cooks evenly) and lower the heat to simmer and let it slow cook for 30 minutes, until done. Remove from heat. Let the Biryani sit for 15 minutes before serving. Dig a spoon into the vessel and gently mix the Biryani. Serve on a platter. For a special touch, garnish with more fried onions, finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves, toasted/fried almonds or cashewnuts or pinenuts or raisins.

Serve this Biryani along with Mirchi Ka Salan or Baghare baingan or Tamatar ki Chutney or plain and simple Dahi ki Chutney for a sumptuous Hyderabadi meal.

Note:
1. You can also add chopped paneer cubes, sliced mushrooms, and soy nuggets along with the vegetables.
2. Brocolli is not usually added to the Biryani, I added it because I love it.

Luv,
Mona

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Gajar Ka Meetha

November 4th, 2010 Mona Posted in Almonds/Badaam, Carrot/Gajar, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Chironji/Charoli, Ghee, Hyderabadi special, Khoa, Milk and Milk Products, Pinenuts/Chilgoze, Pistachios/Pista, Raisins/Kishmish, Sugar/Shakkar, Walnuts/Aqrot 8 Comments » 10,323 views

Come winter, and my taste buds keep craving for a meetha/Indian dessert. Though not a big meetha loving person, I tend to enjoy subtly sweetened home made Indian desserts. The last fall, I had tried my hands on pumpkin meetha which had turned out fabulous, this year the classic gajar ka meetha was foreordained. I happened to spot some beautiful carrots at the regular food mart at a very reasobale rate, and who could resist this nutrient laden root vegetable.

Farm Fresh Carrots

This winter dessert of reduced carrots and milk never ceases to appeal both me and my hubby. He even enjoys this meetha warmed along with hot parathas in the breakfasts. I restrict to eating it a little only after dinner.

Gajar ka Meetha can be enjoyed hot or cold, and can even be reheated. This meetha is generally prepared from the red carrots that are available in India throughout winters. For this preparation, use a food processor thats effortlessly grates the carrots in a jiffy.

I do not like my meetha saturated with either sugar or ghee, and I also hate a mushy disintegrated gajar ka halwa. So feel free to alter the amounts of sugar and cook the meetha mushy if you desire.

Gajar Ka Meetha – Carrot Sweetmeat

Ingredients:

Red Carrots (preferably) or any Sweet Carrots/Gajar – 1 kg, washed, scraped and finely grated (grate them as fine as possible, as long), cores discarded (I often use baby carrots which are quite sweet)
Ghee – 2 or 3 tbsp
Khoa – 1/2 cup, finely grated (or) Milk powder – 1/2 cup
Milk – 1/2 cup
Sugar – around 1 cup or less (according to taste)
Mixed Dry Fruits and Nuts – chopped walnuts, chironji, pinenuts, cashewnuts, raisins, slivered almonds and pistachios, etc – 1/4 cup, lightly toasted or shallow fried in oil or ghee
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Gajar Ka Meetha – Carrot Sweetmeat

Method:

1. In a large non-stick heavy bottomed saucepan (or a large iron kadai is best) at medium high heat add the grated carrots and dry roast them while stirring every 2-3 minutes for the first 8-10 minutes, then every minute for the next 15-20 minutes. Add ghee and continue roasting it for a few more minutes. This is the most important step to develop a deep roasted flavor in the carrots. Do not burn them and stir very gently, do not mash up the carrots while stirring. During this time a wonderful fragrance of roasting carrots will fill your kitchen.
2. Once the carrots are nicely roasted, lower the heat to medium and pour in the milk and khoa and let cook until the milk is absorbed by the carrots. Add the dry fruits and nuts and cardamom powder. Add the sugar little by little and keep tasting until you get the desired sweetness and the meetha thickens a bit. Mix well. And cook for a little longer while stirring very gently every once in a while until the meetha is almost dry. Remove from heat. Serve it warm or chilled or along with vanilla ice cream. Store the meetha once completely cooled in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Suggested Serving: To impress your guests, serve the chilled meetha in mini pastry cases that are easily available in stores. You can name it as ‘Gajar Ka Meetha Tarts’.

Luv,
Mona

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