A Cool Lassi(e)

The minute I came to know about two days off in a row for my kid and husband, I started packing. Our choice of vacation spots are almost always the same. My parents place or my brother’s place. With my parents on their own vacation (humph!) the only choice is my brother’s place.

The place has an added attraction of my 3 month old niece, who coos and goos and does the most cute belly laugh when the mood hits her. So there is a good demand for live entertainment and the place is overcrowded with grandparents, aunts and uncles making funny faces and noises. I am here, determined to do my share for my niece!

For Radhika’s Blog Hop Wednesdays, I am assigned to Vatsala’s awesome blog for this week. I get things done only in the last minute and this time, since my camera’s memory card got damaged, I had to wait till I reached my brother’s place. I had to cook after I reached there and had to use his camera to take the pictures.

After a sleepless night of travel, I preferred something comforting to perk me up. Hey, I have some serious comedy to do for the little one! So finally zeroed down on the all time favorite, Lassi from Valsala’s blog. The pistachos really added a ‘rich’ flavor to this.

Ingredients:

  • Yogurt                                    :   1 cup per person
  • Chopped Pistachos            :   1/2 tsp per glass
  • Sugar / Salt                           :   per taste
  • Vanilla Extract                    :  1/2 tsp, if using sugar (optional)
  • Ice Cubes                              :   Optional, if using cool yogurt

Method:

  1.  Blend the yogurt with sugar or salt, per preference. You can add vanilla extract too here.
  2. Pour into a glass, add the ice cubes and decorate with pistachos.

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Microwave Chocolate Pudding

chocolate_pudding1

I had zeroed down on a garlic rice recipe and a simple potato stew, as the last two recipes under the 5 ingredients or less category. Now, what should have been a post for garlic rice, is replaced with another decadent recipe!

Why? Because I tried doing things I shouldn’t have, and messed up our camera’s memory card. I have assigned (read as : bugged and threatened) Harry to fix it for me, so can’t post the garlic rice photo nor take a new one till the issue is fixed. So, here is a recipe from the draft.

I had made this a couple of months back and it was extremely delicious. Microwave makes it even simpler to make, making it all the more dangerous!

Honestly, I don’t need more calories, but I am like an ant when it comes to sweets. There is an undeniable and inevitable pull towards anything sweet. I don’t seem to have any control over it!

chocolatepudding

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • Sugar                         :  1/2 cup
  • Cocoa powder       :  1/3 cup
  • Corn Flour              : 3 tbsp
  • Milk                           : 2 cups
  • Vanilla Essence    : 1 tsp
  • Chocolate strands, few silver balls : for decoration

Method:

  1. Combine the sugar, cocoa and corn flour in a microwave safe bowl. Add the milk, a little at a time, and whisking so that there aren’t any lumps.
  2. Cook on high in the microwave for 3 minutes. Stir, then cook again for 2-5 minutes – keep stirring in between at one minute intervals. The pudding is done when its shiny and thick.
  3. Add the vanilla essence or extract and a tbsp of butter (optional, I didn’t add) and refrigerate once it’s cooled down. Serve cold. Decorate with chocolate strands and silver balls.
choc_pudding
Note:
You can check out the original recipe here.
Before my brother accuses me of stealing his idea, let me tell you that the description for sweet tooth (ant attracted towards sweets) came from him.
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Deceivingly Simple Peanut Chikki

I had mentioned about my pathetic memory only a couple of posts back (or, did I?!). Now to the portion where things get affected because of that. The beautiful peanut chikkis you see here, is the result of – not 1st, not 2nd, but a 3rd trial!

I visited quite a few sites and saw a couple of videos to familiarize myself with the process. Ingredients: only two items – sugar (or jaggery ) and peanuts. Process : Melt the sugar or Jaggery to soft ball stage and then mix in the nuts. That’s it, can’t get simpler than this – can it?

Now, I had the ingredients, I had the information. I had made fudge only the day before, without any disasters. So I was confident. Nothing can go wrong, or so I thought!

Step 1, Take 1 : Melting jaggery. Simple. Quite simple. But wait a minute, did I read something about water being added?

I went to check the recipe and by the time I was back, the jaggery had started burning. Stir. Stir. Stir. Phew, avoided a disaster. Need something to cool me down. A glass of cool water perhaps. Now what’s that smell again? Oh oh, forgot about the jaggery completely! Now there is no doubt about it. They are absolutely ruined.

Step 1, Take 2 : Scolding myself, I started once again from scratch. This time I tried with sugar. I didn’t move a bit from my place and I was stirring continuously. Stupid thing I did was to use the non stick pan. I couldn’t see the sugar getting caramelized and before I realized, I was stirring a stubborn black mass. Sigh…

Step 1, Take 3 : Melting jaggery once again. Not taking any chances. Added LOTS of water, too much actually. And no nonstick pan too this time. Stir, stir, stir. Yes, the syrup became thick (finally)! Soft ball, yes! Mixed in the peanuts and switched the heat off before I did more damage.

I poured this into a greased plate, preferring a square to a ball. Now, to flatten them, you need to press them with another plate of the same size. I did that, now this time, I should have used a non stick plate, which I didn’t. So half of the peanuts ended up in the bottom of the plate meant to press them down!

Can’t have a square with gaping holes, so peanut balls it is! I am seriously contemplating whether I should stop here or I should mention that the balls kind of flattened out in 4-5 hours! Apparently, the syrup was not set properly. Deep Sigh…

They tasted fantastic though, at least that made up for effort!

Lesson learnt : Don’t judge a recipe by the number of the ingredients or the simple method. Sometimes, these might be the most difficult to make.

Ingredients:

  • Roasted Peanuts   :  1 1/2 cups
  • Jaggery / Sugar    :  1 cup
  • Water                        :  1/2 cup

Method:

  1. Break the jaggery into small pieces and add to the water. Heat this till the jaggery or sugar melts. Its a good idea to filter this at this point to remove the impurities from jaggery.
  2. Let this come to a boil, stirring continuously. Once they start getting thick, check whether they have reached the soft ball consistency.
  3. For that, add a drop of this slowly into a bowl of cold water. If the sugar or jaggery forms a soft ball and feels slightly thick when rolled between fingers, the consistency is correct.
  4. Add the peanuts and stir in low flame for a minute, till the nuts are coated with the syrup.
  5. Pour into a greased plate and once it cools down a bit, form balls of same size.

Note:

You can check here and here for better luck with these. You can check here for video.

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Candies – The Daring Bakers Challenge, August 2011

In this post, you will find

When there is almost 4 weeks notice time for me to whip something up, one would think it will get done by the third week at least. Mmm Hmmm – No No. This is my second DB challenge and I ended up doing this too in the last minute.

This month’s challenge was hosted by  Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives, and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. The challenge was making candies, a real challenge – since I didn’t know where to stop!

Tempering of chocolate is out of question for me since I don’t have any candy thermometer and again, for the hot and humid weather here,  it wouldn’t have worked well.

So truffles it was, since it didn’t need any thermometer. I decided and planned, in my mind of course, but didn’t spring into action till the last minute. Now for truffles, you need cream. And last week I went to at least three supermarkets in my area and they were out of stock. I have never had that problem before. Its always there when I don’t need it, and now that I want it, its out of stock!

Well, I came home and made some chocolate bark instead. I would have loved truffles though. I didn’t temper the chocolate, but melted them in microwave. Added a bit of this and that and tada… a beautiful chocolate bark.

I made peanut chikkis, called kadala mittai locally. The cooking disasters there deserve a separate post. So reserving that for a full post later, but the picture shows what I had after the third trial.

I had made Dulce De Leche too, unrelated to this challenge. Scroll down for a photo of that, the full post is available here.

The last one is Chocolate Fudge. The plain old traditional recipe. It was yum yum yummy! I made it in the evening one day and there was hardly any left by morning. The recipe is adapted slightly from here.

Ingredients: Chocolate Bark

This is not really a recipe, just the summary of what I did.

  • Chocolate                                              : 150 gms
  • Tutti Fruity (Candied Papaya)     : 1-2 tbsp
  • Sugar crystals                                     : 1 tbsp
  • Almonds, chopped                           : 1 tbsp
  • Peanuts                                                  :  1 tbsp
  • White chocolate                                 :  40 gm

Method: 

  1. Melt the chocolate and white chocolate in separate containers in the microwave. Mix thoroughly every 30 seconds.Stop when all the chocolate has melted, making sure that the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  2. Keep the white chocolate aside.
  3. Spread the chocolate in a parchment paper. Put the toppings and press them a bit so that they won’t come out. Drizzle the melted white chocolate on top.
  4. Refrigerate till it is set. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Ingredients : Chocolate Fudge

  • Cocoa Powder          :  1/2 cup
  • Sugar                            :  2 cups
  • Milk                              :  1 cup
  • Butter                          :  2 tbsp
  • Vanilla Essence       :  1 tsp

Method:

  1. Grease a square baking pan and set aside.
  2. Add milk, sugar and cocoa in a big, thick bottomed vessel and mix till well combined.
  3. Bring this to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to minimum and stop stirring completely.
  4. This needs to be cooked till temperature reaches 238 degrees F(114 degrees C) in a candy thermometer.
  5. Else, you can cook till a drop of this mixture forms a soft ball when put inside a cup of cold water. The ball should flatten slightly between your finger when you touch it.
  6. Remove from heat. Add the butter and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until the fudge loses its sheen.
  7. Pour into the greased pan and let it set.

Thank you Lisa and Mandy, the real challenge wasn’t making these – it was resisting the temptation to finish these off in one go!

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