A CAKE-y cheers to the women power

 Semolina Cake - A slice of indulgence

Another women’s day is here. And I was so at unrest? There was a small celebration in Mahi’s daycare and I was looking forward for it. And then came the news that maid is not turning up (must be celebrating a grand day for herself!). Phew!! So, we are gonna late by an hour almost. Milk spilled on the kitchen counter when that treacherous scissor played a trick with the packet and me and was smiling at my vulnerability. Mahi was very cranky and was not willing to settle for anything but a day off (from my office to attend her). I started getting armed for more such mishaps welcoming me further on the “International Women’s Day”.

dense suji cake

Suji ka Cake

The celebration was quite fun filled and mixed for us. We prepared a card using some decoration items, colors and flowers. Mahi was supposed to give it to me as her token of love. But, that card came to rescue me and console her from her tantrums and tears. It’s with her now, safe in her custody. We prepared a sandwich using 2 bread slices, ketchup, boiled potato slices and cucumber. Some chaat masala was also provided to zing up the sandwich. We were (read me! mahi was busy licking chaat masala with fingers) trying to come up with a nice sandwich. By the time I designed my bread, I realized, the challenge was to feed the sandwich to the kids fully and nothing was to be displayed as a creative thing. LOL. Anyways, I was failed to feed her my so called creation while others proudly finished that. She had a heavy n late breakfast and the cucumber slices were gone slowly into her tummy Smile. Ahh, and not to forget the full glass of water, she gulped in daycare while crying her tonsils out.

Mahi's Sandwich

-Sandwich we made-

So, this is how the day passed, almost. Another usual day in a woman’s life. Another common day for a mother.

Okay, back to women’s day, I really feel proud of being owner of this blog and know, most of you also do so at yours. We do this solely for the purpose of sheer joy and satisfaction. So cheers for us!!! I feel no need of praising how women have exceled in the world, how they are epitome of love and care, what they do for the family and what they deserve. Just a virtual slice of this cake I baked y’day. And yes, now that I am trying to convince my self that caking and baking is not that tremendously gigantic thing, this cake is the most successful one in the recent past (in last 2-3 months). Before that, I just baked a chocolate cake successfully last year and heaven!! it came out pretty well. Back to this cake, this is a dense cake with thick texture and less moisture because of semolina. So here we go.

Preparation Time: 20 mins (I am a novice baker, I took much more as I messed up many things)

Baking Time: 30 mins (33 for me)

Serves: an 8 inch cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Semolina/ suji
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour/ atta
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour/ maida
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk approx.
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. green cardamom powder
  • handful of chopped cashews and pine nuts
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven at 200° C. Grease the baking dish of size 8-9’’ with butter at the base and inner walls too. Dust with some maida.
  • Sift maida, atta, soda and baking powder together. Sift suji separately and mix together.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, oil and sugar. Stir in one direction until sugar blends in.
  • Add suji mix, saffron strands, cardamom powder and milk until you get a soft dropping consistency. Beat with an electric beater for 4-5 mins.
  • Immediately pour the batter in the cake tin and sprinkle with dry nuts. Quickly push inside the oven and bake for 30 mins.
  • Before the end of baking, check with a toothpick or sharp thin knife to see if it comes out clean. I baked for 3 more minutes.
  • Relish!! the dense sinless cake.

a tiny-mini sinful experience

Glazing: Because I don’t like thick creams and frosting, I glazed it. I read about this glaze in a site, not sure of the link but this is a very easy one. Simple, beat the fresh cream (milk topping) and add some vanilla essence and sugar. Beat them well and liquify using a little milk. I used a tbsp. of cream, same amount powder sugar and 1/4 tsp. vanilla essence. Milk I added was not measured but should be a 1 tbsp. or lill more. you can adjust the amount as per your required consistency. BTW, the glaze got thicker with time. How?? I am not sure.

Semolina Eggless Cake

Notes:

Please do not sieve the suji with other flours/dry things. It may not pass at all from the sieve. My 1st big mistake.

Because suji is 1 notorious thing which will keep absorbing the liquids and continuing to fluff up, don’t waste a minute after you are ready with batter. I took my own sweet time for chopping nuts and then realised, the batter has very thick dropping. My next blunder. I added some more milk.

I did not dust the base and walls with flour. My cake stuck a bit at the bottom. another one.

This cake is quite thick and dense, not moist like a usual chocolate cake or others. But quite a healthy thing to go for and tastes pretty well.

My saffron didn’t impart a good yellow color, next time I am going to increase the amount.

Anyways, I am learning after all!! Smile

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Rich Creamy Pearls – Paneer and Coconut Laddoo

Paneer-Coconut Laddoos

Paneer is always been favourite among Indians. And, if it comes in the form of dessert, it is something out of this world (sone pe suhaga!!). I simply love rasmalai. These paneer laddoos are simple to prepare and fabulously tasty to dig in. Because Mahi loves chocolate (which kid does not?), I simply added some cocoa powder in half of the paneer mixture and rolled out chocolate paneer laddoos. Trust me, they were a huge hit and are healthy too. I was left with few white paneer laddoos by the time, I was ready to take clicks.

These laddoos have a lesser shelf life like 3-4 days, that too, needs to be refrigerated because of paneer. But, actually, you may find the platter empty in your fridge in 2 days only 🙂

Time: 45 mins

Serves: 25 laddoos

Source: Book by Sanjeev Kapoor on Paneer

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters full cream milk
  • juice of 1.5 medium sized lemons
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 pinches elaichi/cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp. rose essence
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 2-3 tsp. milk powder (optional-use only if require)
  • 2 tbsp. coco powder (optional)

Preparation:

  • Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring it to boil. After one boil, pour the lemon juice and keep stirring.
  • Once the milk splits, the hay will look pale green-yellow in color and the milk will curdle making cottage cheese/ paneer.
  • Strain the paneer through a muslin cloth and tie the cloth tightly to remove excess water. Immerse it in ice cold water to stop further cooking process.
  • Once the paneer cools down a little, spread it in a plate/ counter top (a clean one!!) and knead the paneer with the palms until the granular texture becomes a finer one. This may take 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the powdered sugar, grated coconut and elaichi powder.
  • Divide mixture in 2 equal parts. Add vanilla essence and cocoa powder in one part. Add rose essence in another part. Add milk powder if the dough is too moise to bind.
  • Divide the mixtures in equal portions and make laddoos out of them.
  • Crush pistachios in a blender coarsely.
  • Roll the laddoos in pista powder and Chill in fridge for 1 hr or until firm.
  • Serve your guests and family and enjoy the applauds (I really did).
  • Relish!!

Paneer and coconut laddoos

Notes:

A drizzle of chocolate sauce on the black laddoos would have been a cheery on the ice. Alas! I had none at that time.

Do not forget to refrigerate the laddoos.

Notes:

Tips for Paneer making and usage: (source – Sanjeer Kapoor’s book – Paneer)

Whey

  1. The whey can be used to knead chapati dough or to boil rice.
  2. Can be used to make paneer in the next batch.
  3. Produces a soft crumbly paneer.

Paneer-

  1. Firmer paneer is prepared by using lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Keep it fresh by immersing in water to cover and refrigerate. Refresh the water every 8 hours (preferably) or 12 hrs (otherwise).
  3. For sweets, just squeeze the whey out through a muslin cloth or use a weight for just 10 mins.
  4. Sprinkle a little water over a dry paneer dish while reheating, to prevent the paneer for getting harder and rubbery.
  5. Add paneer towards the end of cooking, as far as possible.

Paneer Pearls

Carrot Kheer

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!!

Carrot Kheer

 

I know, traditionally, a chocolate cake or a similar thing goes well for a V-day and you must be thinking, I am celebrating this in quite a desi way but, I have lots of apprehensions for baking after I have spoilt a carrot cake and a plain vanilla cake recently. So, I decided for a carrot kheer. (kheer is a safe bet, isn’t it?) I had good amount of milk in fridge and some grated carrots handy. So utilized them to the fullest. And, after all, if you are planning to impress your spouse (or rather, make happy, now this sounds like an old couple, apt. for me) with culinary ways on V-day (rather on any day), it should go according to his taste, right? yeah. So a kheer (or custard or halwa) is a better option for me Open-mouthed smile

Rice-kheer is just too festive and a regular sweet. So, I decided for carrot-kheer, a healthier and a newer version, which I read in a Hindi daily.

Gajar ki Kheer

Time: 45 mins

Serves: 4-5 regular bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1.2 liters full cream milk (feel free to use skimmed milk)
  • 4.5 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. ghee / clarified butter
  • handful of finely chopped mixed nuts like pista, cashews and almonds
  • 1 tsp. cardamom powder

Preparation:

  • Boil the milk in a heavy bottom pan. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a pan/wok and add grated carrots to it. Roast for 4-5 minutes.
  • After the milk reduces to 2/3rd of its quantity, add the fried carrots and stir well. Keep stirring in between so that carrots do not stick to the pan. Add sugar after 5 minutes and mix well. Keep stirring in between. After 5 mins, add cardamom powder and switch off the flame. Add the dry fruits now to keep the crunch intact.
  • Serve you valentine Smile and Relish!!

Notes:

I did not reduce the milk a lot for the sake of nutrition. You can bravely do so.

The sugar was a bit on higher side. I completely forgot that carrots will impart their own sweetness to the kheer. (that is the reason of odd amount of sugar I mentioned– 4.5 Tbsp. Smile )

I lightly fried the grated carrots in ghee to soften them for my daughter. You can skip this and maintain a crunch. Apparently, she has no issues with crunchy nuts Smile. (Kids are also manipulative! at times)

Kheer with carrot

PHIRNI

When was it last that that you cooked for your baby, just for her, all your heart out and she just turned away her face? Not few…huh??  Those low moments make your heart sink. Right?? Such moments are not few in my life too. So I am always in a hunt of fast but tasty yet healthy something for her. Once such is “PHIRNI”.

Phirni

The day, I made it for the first time, I was a bit apprehensive and anticipating a wrinkled nose. But, to my sheer amazement, Mahi had it, almost a bowlful of it, without a tantrum or fuss. My effort vs. reward was a win-win situation. Effort was less, reward was her cute indulgence. Phirni is not just tasty, being a dessert, but has the goodness of milk and rice goes in which supplements the cereal need. Throw in, dry fruits of their choice and see the Firni vanishing, effortlessly.

Time: 30 mins or even less.

Serves: 5-6 medium sized dessert bowls

Ingredients:
    Milk – 750 ml
    Sugar – 3 Tbsp.
    Rice – 50 gms, soaked for 2 hrs.
    few strands of saffron – soaked in warm milk (optional)
    Cardamom powder – 1 tsp.
    Dry fruits – chopped finely ( I used a coarse powder of kaju, badam and apricots for Mahi)
    Raisins / kishmish – 1 tbsp.

Preparation:
    Make a fine paste of soaked rice after draining the water. To check the texture, when you take a pinchful of rice, you should feel the granules and not a fine powder.
    Bring milk to boil and put on low flame for 2-3 mins.
    Add the rice paste and keep stirring. At this point, do not leave the milk on itself and keep stirring because rice will stick to the pan before you even notice.
    After 5 mins, add sugar and dry fruits and keep stirring.
    Add cardamom powder after 5 mins. Switch off the gas and decorate by pouring the saffron soaked milk.
    Phirni will not take a min more to be served.
    Relish!! 
    

Phirni

Notes:

Phirni tends to stick at the bottom of the pan. Don’t forget to stir every now n then.

Unlike traditional kheer, milk need not be boiled too much and reduced to half. The rice paste does the job. So milk retains much of the nutrients.

Serve hot or chilled.

Phirni

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