Sahlab – Milk pudding

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BM # 74: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Are you pudding me?
Recipe: Sahlab / Milk pudding

Its rare that I get so attached to a book, but the book Puddin’ has had that affect on me. I have tried about 3-4 recipes from that book and not a dud so far. The bad part is that I didn’t click pictures of those, but they were delicious nonetheless. What I like is the ease of preparation, especially when it comes to a crowd. Ten minutes, maybe fifteen and you are done!

The negative side of that book is that it uses whole milk and cream. A.lot. For someone who is trying really hard to stop expanding in size and trying harder to shrink a little bit, that’s not the right book. So for this theme, I wandered into the world of internet looking for “waist friendly” puddings. That’s how I came across this recipe.

Sahlab is a popular Middle Eastern drink. It is a silky smooth milk pudding made with a ready made mix called Salep which contains root of a special orchid. I used corn flour, which is the recommended substitute if you can’t find Salep. This pudding is extremely simple to prepare and tastes nice on a cold winter day. Do give it a try!

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Recipe source:

Serves 3 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoon corn flour or sahlab powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or per taste
  • Cinnamon/ nutmeg/chopped nuts/coconut flakes for sprinkling on top

Method:

  1. Heat milk with sugar and corn flour whisking continuously until the milk starts to thicken. It took about 8-10 minutes for me.
  2. Pour onto a cup, sprinkle nutmeg and chopped nuts on top and drink cold or hot.

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Ragi puffs chivda

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BM # 73: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Ingredient swap
Recipe: Ragi puffs chivda

When I met Pavani,Usha and Mireille last month, we exchanged the ingredients for this week’s theme. I picked three ingredients but the funny fact was that I couldn’t guess any of it. Things looked familiar, but spotting them right away would have been impossible for me. If not for Mireille and Usha, I would have spent a lot of time sniffing and tasting and googling about those. :D. Anyway, thanks to my smarter friends, I was able to find out what was in each bag. 

Last and final ingredient for the theme is Ragi puffs. If I am guessing right, these are meant to be eaten as such for a crunchy snack, the concept is same as rice puffs or pori/murmura. I used them in a chivda mix along with oats, rice flakes and cereal. The usual elements of chivda like peanuts and roasted gram are there to add to the crunchy taste. 

Read on for the recipe. 

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This post goes to Blogging Marathon#73. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this month. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup rice flakes/poha
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • a good pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 1/4 cup peanuts/ broken cashews
  • 2 tablespoon pottu kadalai/roasted chana dal
  • 1 green and red chilli each
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • salt as needed
  • 1/2 cup ragi puffs
  • 1/3 cup corn flakes or cereal of your choice – Special K, vanilla almond here

Method:

  1. In a heated pan, dry roast the oats first. Once its toasted, transfer it to a medium to big bowl. We will use the bowl for mixing everything together.
  2. Now, toast the rice puffs or rice flakes in the same pan. Once toasted, add it to the oats mix. Once the rice flakes are done, toast the ragi puffs next and add it to the bowl. Do not toast the cereal. It should be added directly to the chivda.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Tip in the green and red chillies and hing. Follow it up with peanuts and roasted chana. Keep an eye on the nuts and saute with a spoon to prevent it from burning. Add the turmeric powder and chilli powder along with salt as needed.
  4. Now add this mix to the big bowl with oats and poha and ragi puffs. Add the Special K cereal as well. Add two more tablespoons of oil to prevent it from drying out. Mix everything well carefully. Transfer to an airtight container.

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Lentil bulgur kofte

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Its shameful admitting that your pantry supplies are low to the world multiple times. But unfortunately, that has happened too many times with me. So now I accept it as a fact in my kitchen and move on. But moving on meant some real big changes to the recipe here.

I started with the Turkish recipe for red lentil kofte made with Bulgur, my second ingredient from Pavani. To begin with I didn’t have masoor dal, but I had whole masoor dal. So that seemed a reasonable comprise, though it meant the beautiful orange color had to be sacrificed. Second and more importantly, I didn’t have parsley or coriander which are really important to the recipe. Thirdly, spring onions had to go cause I had none. And then, there wasn’t any lettuce leaves to serve them on.

My solution was a simple one. Make substitutions and omissions, enjoy the result but don’t claim that its the original in anyway. So here I am, a recipe inspired from Mercimek  Koftesi, but with many many changes to call by its original name. It was really tasty, so despite the adjustments, I really loved it. Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe adapted from: My Cooking Journey

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup masoor dal (red lentils, I used whole masoor)
  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, pureed or 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika/chili powder
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped ( I didn’t have any)
  • 4 spring onions, chopped (I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Soak the dal the night before, this step is optional.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the chopped onions until they turn pink. Add the spices, seasoning and tomato paste/pureed tomato. Let it cook until the raw smell goes off.
  3. Add dal with two cups of water and let the dal cook until its done. There should be a little water left in the dal mix for the bulgur to cook. Wash bulgur, let it drain and add it to the onion-dal mix. Cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes. Cover and set aside for 20-30 minute to let the bulgur cook. You have to use fine bulgur here, so its a good idea to pulse in a blender if you have coarse bulgur.
  4. After 20-30 minutes, the mixture would have absorbed all the water. Its time to add the chopped parsley or coriander leaves and spring onions along with lemon juice. Taste test and adjust seasonings. When the mix is cool enough to handle, take about 2 tablespoon and shape it into a kofta. Serve on lettuce leaves. I added sriracha for me and my husband and served the plain ones to my son.

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Banana Wheat germ pancakes

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BM # 73: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Ingredient swap
Recipe: wheat germ pancakes with banana

Last month we had a mini blogger meet at Pavani’s place. It was a perfect timing since Valli had an interesting theme for February – Ingredients swap. So instead of mailing each other, we were able to exchange it when we met. All of us had about 3-4 ingredients to share and picked whatever we fancied from the lot. I ended up picking all three ingredients from Pavani.

My own (ingredient) shopping for the event was a hurried one. Its in my blood to postpone things to the last possible minute and you can’t question habits ingrained that deep. I realized much later that I had a lot more interesting ingredients right in my pantry itself. Well, may be for the next meet, I will be a little more smarter and shop my own pantry before rushing to the store.

I picked wheat germ from the lot for the first post and made a banana based wheat germ pancake. Its the first time I am using my tripod, so I was able to get some hands free maple syrup shot. Its an entirely different thing whether the pictures are good or not. Whats more important is the fact that I used the tripod ( last year’s birthday gift ) before my next birthday. So hurrah for that!

In my enthusiasm to get a good picture, I ended up pouring too much syrup and making my son very happy as a result. Eating pancakes drenched with syrup is a happy sacrifice from his end for my little space on the web :-). Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe adapted from: Prevention RD

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup milk

Method:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Blend the banana, eggs, oil, vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients. Mix in enough milk to get the batter to the consistency of cake batter.
  3. Heat a pan. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter. Let the pancakes cook on a medium heat until the bubbles subside, flip carefully and let the top side cook as well. Take off the pan when golden brown. Serve with syrup.

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Ricotta Lemon mini cupcakes

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BM # 73: Week 1, Day 3
Theme : Mini baked treats 
Recipe: ricotta lemon mini cupcakes

When I am at the supermarket, my impulse wins over my common sense. I almost always buy things that I don’t need and then I would spend time and effort to finish up things I didn’t need in the first place. One of the regular culprits is Ricotta cheese. I just can’t resist it. The soft cheese always seem to be calling me when I pass that aisle.

After making a batch of instant rabdi using it, I still had some left over cheese that needed to be used up. A Google search led me to this recipe for soft, Madeline like cookies at Food.com. I didn’t realize that these cookies would have cake like texture when I started baking them. I should have guessed it when I made the batter itself since it was just like cake batter. After a couple of batch of making cookies, I used the same batter for making a batch of mini cupcakes.

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I liked the cupcakes better because some of the cookies stuck to each other when stored inside a container. It wasn’t bad, but cupcakes with their wrappers has its own charm.

I liked these cookies for their lightness and lemony taste. Each cookie felt like a mini cake. This may not be my go to ricotta bake recipe, but still it deserves a mention in the blog for tempting me day after day until it all got over!

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Recipe source: Food.com

Makes about 50 small cookies/ mini cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1  teaspoons baking powder
  • one pinch salt
  • 1 stick butter (113 gms) at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1  container ricotta cheese (15oz)
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar until its light and fluffy using a hand or a stand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat it in. Add the ricotta cheese next and beat using the mixer. Follow the cheese with lemon juice, extract and zest.
  4. Bring the mixer to low speed and fold in the flour mix carefully. You can use a spatula as well to do this. The batter will be similar to that of cakes than cookies.
  5. Take 1 tablespoon of batter and bake for about 15 -20 minutes as mini cupcakes or cookies in a lined baking pan. Remove from the oven and let the cookies or cupcakes sit undisturbed in the pan for ten minutes at least before moving them to a cooling rack.

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This is for Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event , guest hosted by Gayathri, themed on Mini Baked Goodies.

Mini Pizza and Coca cola cake

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BM # 73: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Mini baked treats 
Recipe: Mini Pizza cake

Three days before my husband turned 40, my son turned 10. Their birthdays fall right after Christmas and three days apart from each other. So that means, the oven is quite busy during that time. I am either baking or decorating the cakes for their big days.

I am yet to upload my son’s 9th birthday cake. It was a Lego cake, but I wasn’t happy with the outcome. He doesn’t like fondant and I couldn’t get a finish I liked with buttercream. This year he wanted his favorite food – coke and pizza. It was my idea actually :D, but he agreed wholeheartedly.

The coke cake seems intimidating, but its actually not. I followed this particular video by How to Cook That for it. I used a different recipe for the cake, for everything else, I followed the video as such.

I didn’t want to put the candle on the coke cake, so I made a mini pizza cake to keep the candle. On hindsight, I should have made a much thinner cake for the pizza, but at that point, I wasn’t thinking much. The pizza cake is pretty straight forward to make. Fill and frost your cake layers and cover it with fondant. You need to color the fondant with a teeny bit of copper or brown color. Use bits of black, green and red fondants to use as toppings, teeny bit of red buttercream for tomato sauce and grated white chocolate (chips here) for the cheese.

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You have to use a 2L coke bottle as a mold for the coke cake. Cut the bottle into two carefully at the middle. Save the label, you will need it for masking the joint and to give an authentic look. Melt chocolate and coat the bottom and top half. I followed the video and used white chocolate near the bottle cap to give the illusion of bubbles. Now refrigerate this to harden a bit and its ready to be filled and layered with cake.

The layers inside are as follows:

  • Whipped cream infused with coke that is boiled down to the consistency of honey
  • Chocolate cake
  • A jelly layer made with coke and plain gelatine
  • Vanilla cake made with coca cola

If I make this again, I would skip the jelly and use whipped cream as such without any coke flavoring. The cake won’t suffer at all because of these deductions.

You will need a cutter of some sorts to cut the baked 4″ cakes and the jelly into smaller circles that can get inside the bottle. So layer the bottom half of the bottle with fresh cream, followed by chocolate cake cut to fit inside correctly, a jelly layer, some fresh cream again and then the vanilla cake. Once the layers are done till the top, refrigerate the cake. So now  you will have top and bottom of a Coca Cola shaped chocolate mold with cake layers inside it. The last step is to carefully cut the plastic off the cake. After that join the two parts using melting chocolate as a glue. Keep the label back to cover the joint. Make a small cap using fondant.

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The best part of this was the vanilla cake. I had already baked the chocolate cake and wanted a vanilla cake for the color contrast. I also wanted some coke to be infused somehow in the cake.An internet search led me to this space and please check it out for some excellent food photography. I really loved those. The cake was very soft and tasted absolutely delicious. I couldn’t taste the soda in the final cake. I used the recipe below, which makes two 9″ cakes, to bake 2 tall 4″ cakes and 24 mini cupcakes. This recipe is a keeper.

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Recipe source: Local Milk Blog

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks (226 gms) butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coca cola

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180 C/ 350F. Grease and line two 9″ pans or in my case, two 4″ pans and line a mini cupcake pan with baking cups.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg) in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Beat butter for 3-4 minutes using a hand or stand mixer. Add the sugar carefully and beat it in until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and beat it in. Add vanilla extract and let it combine well.
  5. In three batches, add the coca cola and the flour mix in, alternating between the two. So first add 1/2 cup coke and once its incorporated, add 1/3rd of the flour mix. Add the 2nd batch of coke only after the flour is mixed in well. Another half cup of coke, beat it in well. Next 1/3rd of the flour mix. One more round of alternate mixing like this and take the bowl out of the mixer and fold everything well with a silicone spatula to ensure that there aren’t any dry lumps.
  6. Pour the batter until its a little over half way  into the prepared pans. Bake until a skewer comes free when inserted in the middle of the cake, about 35- 40 minutes. For mini cupcakes, the time was around 20 minutes.
  7. Take the cake off the oven and let it rest for about ten minutes undisturbed. Carefully remove from the pan and frost and use once its completely cool.

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This is for Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event , guest hosted by Gayathri, themed on Mini Baked Goodies.

Emoji Mini cupcakes

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BM # 73: Week 1, Day 1
Theme : Mini baked treats 
Dish: Emoji mini cupcakes

This post is about expressing emotions. 13 kind of emotions, to be exact. Some expressions were ‘swallowed’ in the process of making these.

I made two batches of mini cup cakes for my husband’s 40th birthday. One batch was an eggless mango cake and the other was a coke based vanilla cake. I will be sharing the recipe tomorrow.

The theme I had in my mind was ‘range of emotions’ for turning 40. Happiness, love, tears, kiss, wink, astonishment…My friend put it in a nutshell for me, she said that’s quite an emotional baggage there ;-D.

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Of the 48 mini cupcakes, 8 cakes were sacrificed for the delicate art of taste testing. The rest 40 formed the number 40 to greet my husband and his friend who shares his birthday. So 40 mini cakes for 40th birthday, in shape of the number 40.

For the Coca cola cake, this is the same recipe used for making the mini pizza cake in the next post.

Recipe source: Local Milk Blog

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks (226 gms) butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coca cola

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180 C/ 350F. Grease and line two 9″ pans or in my case, two 4″ pans and line a mini cupcake pan with baking cups.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg) in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Beat butter for 3-4 minutes using a hand or stand mixer. Add the sugar carefully and beat it in until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and beat it in. Add vanilla extract and let it combine well.
  5. In three batches, add the coca cola and the flour mix in, alternating between the two. So first add 1/2 cup coke and once its incorporated, add 1/3rd of the flour mix. Add the 2nd batch of coke only after the flour is mixed in well. Another half cup of coke, beat it in well. Next 1/3rd of the flour mix. One more round of alternate mixing like this and take the bowl out of the mixer and fold everything well with a silicone spatula to ensure that there aren’t any dry lumps.
  6. Pour the batter until its a little over half way  into the prepared pans. Bake until a skewer comes free when inserted in the middle of the cake, about 35- 40 minutes. For mini cupcakes, the time was around 20 minutes.
  7. Take the cake off the oven and let it rest for about ten minutes undisturbed. Carefully remove from the pan and frost and use once its completely cool

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I looked at the internet for making these. A google search for emoji cupcakes gave a lot of ideas. Yellow fondant with a bit of red, white, blue and black fondant is what you need here. I used an edible black marker for the emoji eyes. That made the work a lot lighter than it would have been otherwise. The emoji has to be made separately and then kept on top of a frosted cupcake.

To make the work easier, I made three cupcakes for each emoji. Forty different emojis would have been extremely tough otherwise. I used a piping tip for cutting out the mouth for most part. The smaller end of writing tip for making the eyes. I also used a flower mold and used the petal as eyes for the winking emojis.

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This goes to Blogging Marathon #73 under the theme mini bakes. Check out the link to know more about the event and to see the other participants posts. 

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This is for Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event , guest hosted by Gayathri, themed on Mini Baked Goodies.

Multi grain orange pancakes

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We are cereal for breakfast kind of people and we like it that way. Earlier, I used to make pancakes for my son’s lunch box at least once a week. On those days, me and my husband would have it for breakfast with syrup. Its been quite a while since I made pancakes. But I don’t think I will wait that long to make it again. 

These pancakes are easy to make. There is a hint of orange and cardamom now and then. Next time I might try to add some juice also to increase the flavor. The recipe is adapted from Pam Anderson’s  The Perfect recipe for losing weight and eating right. I have already tried the basic pancake recipe before, now I am planning to give the different flavor options a try.

This recipe goes to this week’s Cooking from Cook Book Challenge. Please follow the link to know more about the event.

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Recipe adapted from: The Perfect recipe for losing weight and eating right

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups butter milk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla

Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients from flour to ground cardamom in a big bowl.
  2. Microwave milk and buttermilk for about 30 seconds to stop it from being really cold. If you are using them at room temperature, you can skip this.
  3. Whisk the eggs with oil and vanilla. Add it to the milk and buttermilk.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry flour mix. Use a whisk to mix everything until you don’t see any dry lumps.
  5. Heat a skillet and brush it lightly with oil. Add 3 tablespoons or even 1/4 cup batter and let it cook, about 2-3 minutes. Flip it and cook until it turns golden brown. Cook in batches or one at a time. Serve with syrup.

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Sorry about too many pictures in the post, I know that most of them look alike. Yet I seem to be incapable to restricting it to just three. I am trying to curb my enthusiasm, so please bear with me. I promise, I will improve.

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Peanut butter smoothie

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BM # 72; Week 4, Day 1
Theme : So many smoothies, so little time
Dish: Mango smoothie bowl

While me and my son like smoothies in a bowl, my husband likes it direct from a glass.The man likes it fuss free, but I love to fuss over it and ‘dress it up’. Anytime I am serving him smoothies, I pour it straight out of a blender to a cup or glass. Its easier for him to keep sipping while working or taking a call.

One of our most repeated smoothies is the basic peanut butter banana smoothie. I almost always add some source of chocolate as well, some cocoa powder, hot cocoa packet or nutella. But today I didn’t…today I took it back to the basics.

Smoothies are filling by themselves but after about an hour or so, my stomach starts crying for food again. That hunger pang stopped when I started adding some peanut butter  also to it. A tablespoon or two can go a long way to keeping the hunger in check till lunch. The calories maybe higher, but hey..it stops you from reaching out for that packet of cookies.

So here is a simple smoothie which can be modified in so many ways to fit your mood and your pantry contents.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • honey as needed
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup milk

Method:

  1. Blend everything together. Pour into a glass or bowl. Use toppings of your choice. I added some granola, banana slices and strawberry.

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Kiwi Strawberry Smoothie Bowl

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BM # 72; Week 4, Day 2
Theme : So many smoothies, so little time
Dish: Kiwi Strawberry smoothie bowl
There is a farmer’s market nearby our place where you get really good fruits and vegetables at really reasonable prices. I don’t go there often, but whenever I go, I always pick up kiwis from there. And pears. And oranges. And apples. Grapes too. Strawberries are a given. Oh well…you get the picture.

My fridge would be overflowing for many days after my trip. My son, who is fine with fruits in general, is not a fan of kiwi or pears. Now, kiwis are sold a dollar for 5 pieces at that place. How can I resist buying it?! So I buy a big bunch of it and then make smoothies to erase the evidence of the forbidden fruits. I have always felt that pear lends a wonderful flavor to smoothies. I am a fan of fruits, so I might be biased.

So here is what went into the smoothie today, kiwis, pears, strawberries and bananas. I spared the apples and oranges and grapes this time. Read on for the recipe, which is more of a guide than a fixed recipe.

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Ingredients:
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pear, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 8-10 strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • honey to taste
  • 1/2 cup yogurt or milk to blend
  • Toppings of your choice
Method:
  1. Wash and clean all the fruits. Peel and cut them into smaller pieces. Reserve 2 strawberries and a small portion each from kiwi and banana. Blend the rest with milk or yogurt, adding honey per your taste.
  2. Pour into a bowl and decorate from the pieces set aside before blending.
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