Special Occasions

Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli – Lentil Stuffed Sweet Roti

Diwali is the festival of lights , an occasion to celebrate the triumph of the good over evil. It is an auspicious day when one would try and please ….well pray to the goddess of wealth ‘Laxmi Devi’ .  Traders and businessmen celebrate Diwali by having  huge prayers at their place of work, give bonuses to the employees and distribute sweets to everyone you know. They organise parties , exchange gifts, lots of sweets and dry fruits. I remember the day after Diwali , we would be sitting there staring at fruit baskets, sweet boxes and dry fruits in addition to the cooked treats from the neighbours and friends not knowing what to do with all the food. But the women folk always had a plan , fruit salad for breakfast , smoothies and dry fruit laddus and  sweets sometimes have been recycled …oops!! There I go spilling the family secret J  . It was crazy looking at my mom running towards us when you are just about to open a new packet of sweets to stop ..I am actually chuckling while I am writing this ,  but looking back she had a point , what would you do with 20 packets of sweets which  you know won’t last more than a week. But as kids , we always want one sweet from a gift box, another sweet from a different gift box and never finish the whole thing. It’s basically the thrill of unwrapping and opening the gifts. Adding to that , we ourselves end up cooking so much at home, stocking up savoury and sweet meats weeks ahead of Diwali.

On the day though, you ought to cook at least seven different things as an offering to the goddess laxmi. This is where the home chefs want to get creative and strive and plan to cook something that different and unique to impress the friends. We usually did well at this task at ours but there has to be one thing that is to be made repeatedly in the name of tradition and for you to carry forward. We have the pooranpoli or Bobattlu, in our case as a must for Diwali. Now, I am not that keen on deserts and sweets but this is quite different. It is almost like a sweet parata , so the carb element in it does enough for me to keep making it again and again. The pooranpoli and bobbatu are very similar while the former is a north Indian version , the latter is a south Indian version. The cooking method and seasoning does vary from region to region. I personally prefer the south indian version , because its more luxurious and made with plain flour whereas most pooranpolis are made using wheat flour. So , while six of the dishes are cooked , offered to god and enjoyed by afternoon , we have to wait for these bobattlu till evening. Reason being, the dough needs to soak in oil for at least four hours …..yes, immersed in oil until its absorbs some of it. Now, you know why I called it luxurious 🙂 . So , the usuall practice is get out of the house and start on some lightweight fireworks, come back to eat bobabbtlu, sit there with a cranky dog petrified of the loud crackers and bombs. Poor thing , it used be exhausted at the end of the day. The crackers , bombs keep going off till really late. We used to take turns , lock ourselves up in a room and keep ‘Nancy’ (our dog) distracted  in our laps most of the time to calm it down. Fireworks  are fine but , the 1000 wala , 2000 wala 5000 walas , which are literally 1000 small bombs tied together  are just too much …how can one gain pleasure putting the labyrinths through that sort of sound, is beyond my understanding. As they say  there are always some things that can change and this is one of the things that should definitely change with Diwali. Well , along with the green movement ,  cleanliness movement, a lot of awareness towards a responsible Diwali has been promoted both by Ngo’s, private sectors and government and hopefully we will see some change soon.

Staying back home all night , means us chomping on more and more bobattlu . As I said I am not a big fan of sweets , so I used to ask for just the paratha  without the filling or with very little filling. My brother used to love the filling (I think he still does) so he used take away balls of the sweet lentil filling to munch on. Worked out perfectly with no fights and arguments for a change. I started making them for every Diwali in my kitchen as well and again my son just loves the paratha  J …just like me J . They can seem a bit tricky at first but as you make them , you will get used to it as with anything else and you will get the hand of it. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the bobattlu my family style, especially if you have tried the north Indian version of them and let me know what you think of them .

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You will need :

500gms Plain ( Maida)

650gms Yellow split lentils (Chana dal)

200gms Sugar

1 tsp. Cardamom powder

500ml groundnut oil

Pinch of salt

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Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli

Method:

Make a soft dough with the plain flour adding a pinch of salt and one tablespoon sugar.

Soak this dough in a bowl of oil ( Fully immersed ) for at least 4 hrs and keep aside.

Meanwhile boil the lentils in a pressure cooker and make a nice paste of it. Add the remaining sugar, cardamom powder and mix well, try and keep this thick with no added water. You should be able to make balls and handle it to shape the roti’s. Keep aside until you are ready to make the Bobbatlu.

When you are ready, divide the dough and the lentils mix in equal balls . Take a clear plastic sheet, smother some oil on it and flatten the ball of dough with your fingers to form a small roti .

Place a lentil mix ball on top of the dough and seal the lentils mix with the dough from all sides and make a parcel. Now press to make a roti with your fingers.

On a pan cook the roti with more oil if required on both the sides till it’s done. The lentils are already cooked so you don’t need to worry about the inside bits being cooked.

Enjoy hot Bobbatlu with desi ghee …Ah …the aroma is to die for !!

Some pointers :

You can make with whole wheat aswell , equally tasty and this definitely can be made without soaking it in oil , they just won’t be as indulgent.

For a clear sheet , I usually use the liners which in between frozen paratha’s , works perfectly. Or, you can shape the rotis on the back of an oiled plate.

Cardamom is optional, but it does add a lot of flavour !

Serving the bobbatlu with ghee takes the dish to a new level so try not to miss it J

I make cupcakes with the bobabbtlu/pooranpoli flavours and they are quiet good. So if you have some lentils mix left over after making these for Diwali , head over to my pooranpoli Cupcake post and make some delicious fusion cupcakes !!

A Quick Recipe to Make Kalakand!!

We all like simple and easy recipes. Every now and then, we want to be able to whip something up in minutes, treat the unexpected guests, celebrate the sudden success, and reward the husband on a rare occasion when he delivers (haha) . Everyone would like an impromptu treat. I don’t have massive sweet tooth but I would definitely go for a small serving just to remind myself of that fact.

Some of the Indian sweets I do like to dig in though is Kalakand. I have found that texture and the look bear a great deal of significance and factor into my tastes. Kalakand is usually not very sweet and has that brown ombre effect. Kalakand is usually a very long winded recipe, from reducing the milk, condensing and sweetening it and then setting it in trays. It takes hours of hard work and labour to get to the final delicacy.

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What I have today for you is a short and quick recipe to make this sweet. A recipe that is passed on to me by my mum. I have always counted on it during crisis when you NEED a desert. The recipe leads you to a quick easy and delicious sweet meat which you will love!!

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You will need:

370 grams  can of condensed milk (not sure why the weight is so odd and not rounded off on my can)

2 Tbsp. Full Fat Yoghurt

1 ½ Tbsp. Ghee

Appliances/tools :

Microwave

Tray

Greaseproof paper

Makes : 10-12 small Squares of kalakand

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Method:

Empty the condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl, add the yoghurt and ghee.

Give it a good stir and microwave at high speed for 10 minutes. Stirring at least twice in between.

You will see the milk has curdled and all the liquids have reduced. You should end up with a gooey, kalakand with its gorgeous aroma. Remove from the microwave, spread it in a tray lined with greaseproof sheet and let it cool and set

Now, I like it a bit gooey so I usually remove it from microwave in about 12 minutes maximum. You can always microwave for couple more minutes if you rather prefer a drier version. Once the kalakand is set, cut it up and enjoy.

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Pancakes with Berry Compote

I have only recently learnt that Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is celebrated on a day before Lent day before starting the 40 day fasting and eating not so rich foods like eggs, meat and dairy products. It’s interesting to see how we have embraced just the pancake bit as a tradition and overlooked the fasting bit. Oh, well, I guess that is how it rolls these days. It’s a pick n mix kind of culture. And moreover who doesn’t like pancakes??

We are a small family of three and yet have to struggle when it comes to mealtimes because all three of us have very different tastes. And that is where my favourite breakfast comes into picture – Pancakes!  Pancakes are something where you can make the basic recipe and then everyone can choose their toppings right from sweet, savoury, meaty. My five year old likes the traditional lemon and sugar pancakes, I love my chocolate and anything fancy J and my guy wants it savoury. Yeah …..As I said .we do have varied tastes

I have an age old basic fool proof pancake recipe which I am going to share with you today. And if you have followed me on any social media sites, you will have noticed that it has been a busy week for me making pancakes for a wide range of friends and family. Thy have loved it and have been tagging me with their plate of pancake on social media sites. Again I give the credit to my fool proof recipe, which came to my rescue so many times when asked to make them impromptu, but the highlight was the pots of berry compote I have been making to serve my pancake with an of course the generous dollops of crème fraiche. Do give it a try …It is gorgeous!

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Ingredients:

For the pancakes:

300 ml Semi skimmed milk

140 grams plain flour

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

2 large eggs

100 grams unsalted butter

For the Berry Compote:

150 grams Strawberries cut in quarters

100 grams Blueberries

50 grams Raspberries

200 grams Crème Fraiche

2 Tbsps Sugar(Optional)

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Method:

For Pancakes:

In a good size mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add the pinch of salt and sugar. Slowly add the plain flour and keep mixing the batter until it is smooth and does not have any lumps.

Heat the pan and brush it with butter. Depending on the size of your pan, pour one or two ladles of batter. Use the handle of the pan to rotate and spread the batter as a thin layer. Once you have a thin pancake after spreading the batter, pour any excess batter into the bowl. Practice makes it perfect and your understanding of how hot your pan is. Once the bottom side of the pancake is cooked, flip it to the other side and cook for the next one minute and remove it to serve on a plate or place them as a stack.

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For the Compote:

Take a deep pan and place all the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and cook on a low flame.

Let the juices of the berries ooze out and the raspberries are the first ones to disintegrate and hold the rest of the berries together in a sauce. Taste the sauce at this point and add the sugar if you need it. You can always leave it fresh and the berries you have used are sweet naturally.  Remove from heat and serve it as a beautiful topping with your pancakes along with generous helping of crème fraiche.

Variations:

  • Just sprinkle some chocolate chips before you fold the pancake for a pleasant surprise for whoever are digging into the pancake
  • For the pancake mix, if your are using whole milk, dilute it with about 100 ml water
  • Spread some cheese on the pancake before folding them for a savoury twist.

Have a delicious pancake day!!

 

Pumpkin and Courgette Croquettes

Hello my dear lovely readers, this morning I woke up to another gloomy day and here’s me wishing that I am tucked in bed, with huge mug of hot chocolate. But hey, after all life is about winter and summer. So I have decided I will just deal with it and get on with the day to day chores. But that’s easier said than done. Weather or weather related topics rather, are hard to run away from. We don’t have a way out apart from dragging our gloomy selves to work in the freezing cold, greet the other gloomy faced colleagues and talk about how bad it is outside.

The only thing that cheers our sick faces is of course piping hot deep fried food! It is almost customary in India to make something hot, spicy and crispy when it rains. Onions bajis are the most favoured on these occasions. I wanted to make something similar and so gawked at all the deep fried recipes available and was amazed of the ongoing croquettes craze going on all over. It was on the fine dining menus, the café menus and on almost all the food blogs. Now, my blogger instinct immediately ordered me to make some. This is of course way back during Halloween last year …err yes, I do leave my posts pending for months. If you have to ask me , this time I will blame it on a really busy work schedule, travelling to meet clients and working in their strange offices and of course a holiday to India which put a beautiful end to the year. And since I have started blabbering, a quick one about the strange offices I mentioned earlier. I said strange because, A. though I have worked with them from our office in London, I have never met anyone there, so it was always a weird ‘guess the face from the voice’ sought game on all the time. And B. there used to be an annoying alarm that would go off in regular intervals which I didn’t have a clue what it was about. Later I was told that the siren was to remind employees to take a coffee break, lunch break etc….how cool is that? Totally different from my big boss back in London office who I definitely think has a spreadsheet to keep record of our coffee and toilet breaks.

OK, so we were talking about me thinking about making some croquettes just after Halloween and for obvious reasons I had loads of pumpkin in the fridge. I have seem pumpkin croquette recipes on the web and it was just that day when all my creative juices were on a high and I whipped up a combination of Pumpkin, Courgette and Cream Cheese croquettes. Trust me, I loved it and was so proud of it.  With that cream cheese texture and the sweetness of pumpkin, they are a melt in the mouth. They are also very easy  to make (well, apart from the grating bit). The croquettes can be made till the last stage and frozen for those cosy evenings or unexpected visitors.

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Ingredients:

1 Cup grated Pumpkin

1 ½ Cup grated Courgette

150grams Cream Cheese

1 Tsp Cumin powder

1 Tsp Ginger powder

1 Egg

1 Cup breadcrumbs Seasoned

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Method:

Mix the grated pumpkin and courgette. Try to use fresh ones, and squeeze all the moisture out of the pumpkin and courgette. Add the cumin powder and the ginger powder. Add the cream cheese and season well.  Now depending on the mixture, if you feel it is a bit runny to make the shapes, feel free add any binding agent like soft white bread or corn flour.  Shape the croquette using your palm. Do use some oil on your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands and makes shaping the croquettes easier.

Dip the croquettes in beaten egg and then generously toss them in breadcrumbs.

Deep fry them in hot vegetable oil until golden brown and serve with any sauce.

To Freeze:

Make the croquettes and place them in the fridge for at least one hour before freezing so they will hold their shape together.

Variations:

  • Add some crushed Chillies for some fiery treat!
  • You can use some boiled peas in them for extra texture
  • Add a herb if you like that fresh flavour
  • Milk or just plain flour can be substituted to egg to coat the croquettes with breadcrumbs

Do let me know if tried these !!

Scrumptious Pooranpoli Cupcakes

Deserts are the way to celebrate any occasion and if that’s cupcakes then it can’t get better. But hey, It CAN get better when they are shared with fellow bloggers and when you get to taste quiet a selection of them. It gets even better when you are feeding your brain aswell in the process by learning how to photograph those delicious cupcakes. That is exactly what had happened at the bloggers buzz photography club session which was led by Nisha Thomas of  Look who’s cooking too and hosted by Suchismita Mazumdar of Kitchen Karma .  A very informative session which had focus on diffused lighting and post processing. The videos for the post processing  are up on Blogger’s Buzz  website which, for me, is a feast. I have been cupcake fed all the tips and tricks of using lighting for your advantage and of course lot’s of insight on how to finish up your photo using picmonkey.

Here are some photos I clicked during the session and have been processed using picmonkey. 

Rose petal cupcake                      Beautiful Cupcakes by Vinnetha Sush of  Ruchi

chocolate cupcakes           Delicious Cupcakes by Manjiri Chitnis of Sliceoffme also

Also Joined by Vaishali of Cloves & Capers

It was ‘world cupcake week’ and we were asked to bring some cupcakes to photograph. I had this fusion cupcake concept in mind for a while now and I thought , who else could be better judges than some of the food blogging experts. The whole idea was inspired from the pooranpoli or bobbattu which is a paratha stuffed with sweetened yellow lentils. This is a must for us, in the family for Diwali. I remember my grandmother used to soak the plain flour dough in oil in the morning and make the pooranpoli in the evening after we returned from the community diwali celebrations. I never used to like the stuffing which is too sweet for me. My granny always made a couple of plain ones with very little the stuffing and my brother demanded for the stuffing on its own. So, that compensated the amount she had to cook. The pooranpoli’s also have a very significant flavour of cardamom.

This fusion cupcake has got almost all the major ingredients and especially the cardamom and the yellow lentils. I started off with the basic Hummingbird cupcake recipe but, by the time I developed the entire recipe, the ingredients and the measurements have changed. I used mascavado sugar which gives you really earthy flavour which most of the Indian deserts have.

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To make 12 these amazing cupcakes you will need:

For cupcakes:

140g  Plain Flour
160g Dark Mascavado Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
40g Unsalted Butter
1 Tsp cardamom Powder
110ml Whole Milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the Lentils and creamcheese Frosting

30g Yellow lentils boiled and mashed (drain all extra water)
150g Cream cheese
300g Icing Sugar
20g Unsalted Butter

Method:

For the cupcakes: Combine the flour, butter and the mascavado sugar. Don’t worry if the sugar is slightly lumpy. It will caramilze and give a very good texture to the cupcake. Add the cardamom powder, baking powder, salt and give it a quick mix.
In a separate bowl, combine milk vanilla extract, egg and start adding the flour mixture slowly while beating the mixture in medium speed.
Line the cupcake tray and fill the cupcake cases half way. Bake for  25 minutes or untill the skewer comes out clean when you run it through the cupcake. Cool the cupcakes.

For the frosting : Beat the Icing sugar, butter and cream cheese untill well combined and add the smoothly mashed lentils and mix it.
Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes, and wait for the compliments and praises!!  I have even caramalised some lentils after dry roasting them and sprinkled them on one of the cupcake. They were crunchy, delicious and make a great garnish for your cupcake.

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Panakam

Sri Rama Navami is a holy day in the hindu calendar when the birth of Lord Rama  is celebrated. Rama is one incarnation of the lord who has all good reputation and is known for his obedience and respect for elders, his loyalty and love for his wife, his caring nature for his brothers, his sacrifice for family etc,. Hero of the great scripture ‘Ramayana’, Lord Rama also has a great devotee in The Mighty Hanuman and his brother Laxmana. The stories of the trio are very popular are often told to children to inculcate good morals  in them.

So Happy birthday to Lord Ram hope his blessings are bestowed upon everyone. Alongside the usual rituals of offering food, fruits and prayers to the lord , a certain drink called ‘Panakam’ is offered on this special day. It is a traditional drink consumed in summer. Panakam has all ingredients to make a perfect coolant in summers. black pepper corns is one of them which is known for using as a home remedy for sunburns,viral infections, cough etc,.SO , irrespective of the occasion, if you are feeling bit under the weather or by gods grace if we in UK  are blessed with a lot of sun then keep this recipe handy and have this refreshing drink to cool off:)

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Ingredients :

250ml Water

2 Tbsp Powdered Jaggery or mascavado sugar

2 Tsp  Black Pepper corns

3 Cardamom

1 1/2 Tsp Grated coconut

 

Method:

Add  the jaggery to the water and mix untill all the jaggery is dissolved.

Crush the black Peppercorns and cardamom in a mortar and add it to the prepared water. Finally add the grated coconut.

Chill and enjoy on a hot sunny day !

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