Dried Cranberry-Walnut Muffins

Looks like Fall/Autumn has finally arrived in Toronto. Strong cold winds, falling leaves, and the beautiful red, orange and yellow hues on the tree leaves indicating that a new weather has commenced.

Frozen Moment #5 – Vivid blue sky against Autumn leaves

This summer seemed very short to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed and made use of the beautiful sunshine with whatever little gardening I was able to do in my backyard. Now, my lovely tomato plant is slowly dying, and raspberry plants will soon be asleep. Herb pots have all be brought indoors to adapt to the scanty indirect sunshine.

Bed of Fallen Leaves

This kind of weather leaves me craving for warm baked goods. Mornings are commenced with warm coffee or tea, and something baked fresh from my oven. Today I baked these delicious muffins using dried cranberries which I bought from Bulk barn and some walnuts that I had lying in the refrigerator from a long time.

Toasted and chopped Walnuts & dried Cranberries

I really enjoyed the raisin like dried cranberries with a hint of tartness bursting in my mouth with every bite.

Dried Cranberry-Walnut Muffins
Recipe adapted from: Cakes – 1,001 recipes from around the world


All-Purpose flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Dried Cranberries – 1 cup
Walnuts – 1/2 cup, toasted & chopped (you can also use any other nuts you like)
Buttermilk – 1 cup
Brown Sugar – 1/2 cup, firmly packed
Eggs – 2, large, at room temperature
Butter – 1/4 cup, melted

Warm, freshly baked Cranberry-Walnut muffins cooling on rack


1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with aluminium foil or paper baking cups.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.
4. Beat buttermilk, brown sugar, eggs, butter in medium bowl with an electric hand mixer at high speed.
5. Stir the egg mixture into dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into muffin cups filling each 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the muffin pan on rack.

My friends of Northern hemisphere, enjoy the fall weather and keep warm!


Kaddu Ki Kheer

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


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


  • 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)


Sheer Qurma

We celebrated Eid-Ul-Fitr, our festival after the month of fasting 3 days ago. On Eid I had prepared Chicken Biryani, Sheer Qurma and Cholay.

Sheer Qurma is a meetha/dessert prepared using roasted fine Vermicelli Noodles, or Seviyan cooked in milk with some fried dried nuts and sprinkled with saffron and nutmeg, cardamom powders to enhance the savory flavour of the dessert.


It is traditionally served after the Eid prayers to the entire household and also to all the guests who arrive to greet you on Eid, and is served hot along with other snacks, I usually serve spicy Cholay along. Some people like this dessert rich and slightly thick in consistency and some people like it a bit thin in consistency with less seviyan and more of milk. To make it rich, you can add khoa to it, or add a bit of condensed milk. I and my family prefer the latter kind. If you like it thick, you can cook the Sheer Qurma a bit more on medium heat till you get your desired consistency.

Sheer Qurma – Vemilcelli Cooked in Fragrant Milk

Serves: 4


*Fine* Vermicelli noodles/Seviyan – 3/4 cup
Ghee/Oil – 2 tbsp
Almonds – 1 tbsp, deskined and thinly sliced
Pistachio – 1 tbsp, halved
Chironji nuts – 1 tbsp, soaked in water for 15-30 minutes and skinned
Melon seeds – 1 tbsp, shelled
Dates – 5 dates, halved and stoned
Saffron strands/Zafraan – 1/2 tsp
Raisins/Kishmish -1 tbsp
Milk – 5 1/2 cups
Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp
Green cardamom/Elaichi powder – 1/4 tsp
Green Cardamom/Elaichi – 1, whole
Sugar – 4 to 5 tbsp


1. Soak the saffron and the halved and deseeded dates in 1/2 cup warm milk. Cover and keep aside.
2. Pour milk into a large pan. Throw the skin of the whole cardamom and add the seeds to the milk. Boil milk in the pan at high heat with sugar and green cardamom powder, nutmeg powder until it is reduced by one-fourth.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan at medium low heat add ghee/oil and stir-fry the raisins, almonds, chironji, pistachio and melon seeds separately for just a few seconds until golden and remove using a slotted spoon into a small cup and keep aside. In the same oil/ghee roast the vermicelli noodles stirring them until they are a just few shades dark. Pour the reduced milk into it and let it come to a boil once. Add the dates and the saffron with the milk in which they have been soaking. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. By now the noodles must have become very soft. Remove from heat. It can be served hot or cold.

Note-Make Ahead:You can roast the vermicelli and store in the refrigerator for more than a week, a make ahead for this dish. If you prepare the whole thing and store it in the refrigrerator it will become a thick paste in consistency as the days pass. You can also fry the nuts and store in the refrigerator a day before to prepare this sweet savory instantly when your guests arrive, as you will just have to cook it all in milk and serve.


Veggies and Me!

I had always disliked vegetable biryani. My Ammi had to run behind me to make me finish my plate. The other day while I was browsing through this cookbook, I came across this recipe and I am so glad I tried it. This recipe is a keeper and I will definitely be trying it again and again in my kitchen.

Vegetable Dum Biryani –  Rice Cooked With Vegetables and Spices
Source: India’s Vegetarian Cooking
Serves: 4


  • Spices for the Rice water:
  1. Bay Leaves – 2
  2. Fennel Seeds/Saunf – 1 tsp
  3. Nutmeg Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Cinnamon – 1 small stick
  5. Cloves – 5
  6. Black peppercorns – 8
  7. Green cardamom – 3
  • Milk – 4 tbsp
  • Saffron strands – 1/2 tsp
  • Rose Water – 4 tbsp (optional)
  • Green cardamoms – 2
  • Butter/Canola Oil – 6 tbsp
  • Yellow Onion – 3, medium, thinly sliced
  • Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Tomato paste – 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 1/4 tsp
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables (Corn, Carrots, Potatoes, French Beans, Lima beans) – 270 gms
  • Red capsicum – 1, chopped
  • Basmati Rice – 300 gms
  • Mint leaves – 1 tbsp
  • Cilantro – 1 tbsp
  • Slivered Almonds – 3 tbsp

Vegetable Dum Biryani / Tarkari Ka Chawal


  • Preheat Oven to 425 °F /220 °C/Gas Mark 6
  • Put the spices meant for the rice water in 600 ml of water. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Cover the pan and allow the flavours to infuse. This will be our liq. 1.
  • Meanwhile crush the two green cardamoms with milk and saffron and rose water and keep aside in a small bowl. This will be our liq. 2.
  • In a pan on medium heat, pour 3 tbsp of butter/oil and stir fry the chopped red capsicum. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • In the same pan and butter/oil fry the onions until brown. Remove half of them and reserve for garnish. Add Ginger garlic paste to the pan and stir fry it along with the remaining onions. Remove from heat and let it cool. Grind the fried Ginger-Garlic and Onion.
  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp butter/oil in a pan and pour the above grinded mixture along with turmeric powder, Garam masala and tomato puree. Season with salt and let it cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the frozen mixed vegetables to the tomato and onion mixture in the pan. Also add the stir fried red capsicum. Mix Well and simmer. Let it cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
  • Strain the liq. 1 and keep aside. Throw away the spices.
  • In a pan add 1 1/2 tbsp of butter/oil and fry the rice over high heat. (Note: Do not wash the rice before hand. Rinsing will wash away the significant amount of surface starch that contributes to the dish.)
  • When the rice has become shiny, add half of the liq. 1 and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover for about 6-8 minutes or until the water has evaporated.
  • Take an oven proof dish and start the layering process of the Biryani. The top and bottom layers are always the rice in a Biryani. Start by a layer of rice in the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of Vegetable mixture, then a layer of rice, and layer of vegetable mixture, and then the final rice layer. Pour evently the remaining liq.1 and the liq. 2 and the reserved fried onions on the rice layer. Also sprinkle the chopped coriander and mint leaves, and the slivered almonds on it. Seal the dish with tinfoil.
  • Cook the biryani for 40 minutes in the oven reducing the heat to 375 °F/190 °C/Gas Mark 5 after 20 minutes. Open the dish/Remove the tinfoil from the dish, just before serving.

Suggested Accompaniments: Tamatar ki Chutney

This goes as my contribution to Sharmi for the event she is holding Jihva for Ingredients JFI and its Rice this month at her place.


Garma-Garam Qimah Samosa

Samosas are triangle shaped Indian pastries that are filled with meat or vegetables, or both. The filled pastries are generally deep-fat fried but can also be baked. These pastries are eaten as snacks or appetizers. I’m a BIG fan of Samosas. I and my hubby usually go and get potato stuffed samosas for us all from the Samosa King Embassy Restaurant here, but today I thought of preparing them at home, Hyderabadi style.

This non-veg version of Samosas are my favorite,, which I prepare occasionally at home. I will also post the recipe of Aloo/Potato Samosas very soon in the coming days. I remember the wonderful aromas of all kinds of snacks and appetizers and the fast foods… tempting us to stop by from the road side stalls on the way home from College back in India. My Mom also used to make these samosas in large quantities in the month of Ramadhan, when we all Muslims fast, and at occasions or celebrations. This is my Mom’s recipe, and here it goes:

Qimah Samosa – Spicy Ground Meat Samosas


For the Dough
Wheat Flour (Durum Atta) – 1 cup + Extra flour while rolling the dough
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Canola oil – 2 1/2 tbsp (optional)
Warm Water – 1 cup
For the Filling
Canola Oil – 2tbsp
Yellow Onion – 1, chopped
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander seed/Dhaniya powder – 1 tsp
Cumin seed/Zeera Powder – 1 tsp
Tumeric/Haldi powder – 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1/8 tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Minced Lean Lamb meat – 200 gms
Salt – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Mint leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Green chilli – 2, small, finely chopped
Canola Oil for deep frying the Samosas.

For the Dough
1. Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl. Rub in oil and gradually add water.
2. Knead and mix the dough, preferebly 10 minutes, until it is soft and leaves the side of the bowl.
3. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and keep aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
For the Filling
4. Pour oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat and fry the onion till it changes color. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir fry. Lower the heat and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and garam masala powder and mix well. Add the minced meat and stir it well, mashing it against the walls of the pan, with the spoon to prevent it from forming lumps. Add lemon juice, chopped mint leaves, green chilli and stir well. Cover and cook it until the mixture is dry. Remove from heat and let it cool.
5. Now, Lightly knead the rested dough. Divide into 8 balls and press each ball and cover with a plastic wrap.

The Dough Balls

6. Now roll out each ball, one by one, on a lightly floured work surface woth a rolling pin into approx 12 cm circles.
7. Cut each circle into semi circles and brush the edges with water.

Preparing Samosas

8. Put a generous teaspoon of the filling on one half of the semi circle and fold the free half over the filling to form a triangle.
9. Press the edges firmly to seal.
10. Fold until all the samosas are ready.

Prepared Samosas ready for frying

11. Heat oil in a wok or kadai or a deep, heavy bottomed sauce pan until it begins to sizzle.
12. Fry the Samosas, a few at a time, on medium heat, gently, until they are golden brown in colour.

Frying Samosas

13. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. The Samosas are ready to be served.

To Bake the Samosa:
After step 10, place the samosas in a greased or non-stick baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated 220° C oven for 20 minutes or until light brown in color. Serve immediately

This recipe goes as a contribution to Hima for the event ‘Whats Your Favourite..’ she is holding. For this time, the theme is ‘Whats your favourite Snack’. I’m sure her inbox will soon be overflowing with lots of snacks. So, it will a snack party at Hima’s place in the month of September. Be sure to drop by at here place! Eagerly and impatiently waiting for the round up Hima.

These Samosas make great Snacks, or you also serve them as Appetizers. Enjoy.