Thursday, February 25, 2010

Coconut Macaroon Cookies

Coconut macaroon cookies are traditionally called Fraser bell cookies. It is a delicious cookie which is crispy outside and soft and chewy inside. Egg whites gives them the soft and airy texture.

Makes : 25 pieces

Preparation time : 45 minutes
Baking time : 12 minutes

You need :
  • 3 cups of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Preparation :
  • Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  • Cut the parchment paper to exactly fit the bottom of the cookie tray.
  • This step is optional : If the coconut flakes are too long, then you can shred them fine using a blender.
  • In a bowl, add the egg white, sugar, vanilla extract and salt and whisk them until the sugar is melted.
  • To the above mixture, add the all purpose flour and mix without forming any lumps.
  • Now add the coconut flakes to this mixture and fold the mixture gently.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Scoop them into small balls (using a cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop) and place them in the prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake them for about 12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is slightly brown.
  • Remove the cookies (along with the parchment paper) from the cookie tray and allow them to cool.

Variations:
  1. You can dip these cookies in chocolate or drizzle them with chocolate syrup.
  2. You can use fresh egg whites instead of the ready to use one. In that case, you will have to whisk the egg whites (from 2 eggs) until they form a stiff peak. Have the other ingredients already mixed in a bowl and then add the egg whites and fold them gently to mix.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Rava Ladoo

Rava ladoo is a traditional sweet of south India. This is one of my husband's and son's favorite. There are many ways of making this ladoo, this is one of them.

Makes : 20

Preparation time : 1 hour 30 min

You need :
  • 1 cup rava (semolina/sooji)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fried dhal (pottu kadalai/ buna channa)
  • 1/4 cup moong dhal (paasi paruppu)
  • handful of cashew nuts
  • 3/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 tsp elaichi (cardamom)

Preparation :
  • In a pan, roast the rava (semolina) until it turns slightly brown. Remove them from the pan and transfer to a bowl.
  • In the same pan, fry the moong dhal for 5 minutes.
  • In a blender, add the roasted rava (semolina), moong dhal, fried dhal (pottu kadalai) and sugar and blend them to make a fine powder and set aside.
  • Add 1/2 tsp of elaichi to this powder and mix well.
  • In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of ghee. When the ghee melts, add the cashew nuts and roast them till golden brown.
  • Add the roasted cashew nuts to the powder and mix well.
  • In same pan add 3/4 cup of ghee and heat it for 10 min.
  • Add this hot ghee to the mixture and mix them with a spatula. (Be cautious not to touch the mixture with your hand as the ghee will be hot and it might burn your hand).

  • When the mixture is still warm, take small amounts of the powder and make them into small balls(lemon-sized).

Variations:
  1. Have some powdered sugar in a bowl and roll these ladoos in them for extra sweetness. Tap the ladoo to remove excess of sugar powder sticking onto it.
  2. The powder that you get after grinding the ingredients can be stored for a very long time. This way, you save time and you can make ladoos in just 10 min.





Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eggless Cake for V'Day


I have always wanted to make a cake at home but , never had the perfect recipe, until today. As I am a lacto-vegan I wanted to try an eggless cake. I came across this recipe just in time for valentines day.

Serves: 8

Preparation time: 30 min
Cook time: 15 min

You need:
  • 1- 1/4 cups all purpose flour (maida)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (unsalted)
  • 8 x 2" round cake pan
  • Waxed paper for baking

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F (162 c).
  • Cut the wax paper to exactly fit the bottom of the cake pan.
  • Grease the pan with vegetable oil or vegetable shortening, place the wax paper and grease the top of the wax paper and the sides of the cake pan.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the center and pour the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, orange juice and melted butter.
  • Mix them slowly without any lumps.
  • Pour the mixture in the pan and bake for 15 min or until a toothpick or a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow it to cool for 10 min. Don't let the cake cool of completely as the cake might stick on to the pan. The cake must still feel warm while transferring.
  • Run the knife on the edges of the cake, this makes it easy to remove the cake from the pan. Invert the pan on the cake platter or you can also use a thick cardboard piece.
  • Tap the inverted pan slightly. Now, remove the cake pan slowly.
Since I didn't have cake platter or a thick cardboard I used a cookie sheet.
  • Remove the wax paper.

  • Decorate the cake as wild as your imagination goes.
Variations:
  1. If the cake looks dry, brush generous amount of orange juice using the brush while the cake is still warm (so that it absorbs the juice)
  2. Instead of orange you can use pineapple juice and also cut some small fresh pineapple pieces and add them to the cake mixture while making the batter.




Thursday, February 11, 2010

Paneer Butter Masala


Paneer butter masala is a bright orange colored smooth and creamy North Indian dish.Paneer Butter Masala is basically a Punjabi preparation, also termed as Paneer Makhani. This dish tastes good with naan, roti or any type of bread.


Preparation time : 30 -40 min

Serves : 2 - 3

You Need :

  • 1 cup of panner (cubes)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/4 inch ginger piece
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup thick curd (whipped)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seed(jeera)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (according to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt (according to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • coriander leaves for garnishing (cilantro)
  • Pinch of Asefoetida (hing)
  • 1 teaspoon Corn starch (for thickening the gravy)

Methodology:
  • Deep fry the paneer cubes on medium heat until the paneer has turned slight golden brown. Set them aside.
  • Blend 2 medium sized tomatoes, 1 green chilli and ginger to make a puree.
  • In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable/sunflower oil. Once the oil is heated, add cumin seeds,bay leaf and asefoetida.
  • When the cumin seeds crack, add the tomato puree, red chilli powder, salt and coriander seed powder and cook closed for 5 minutes. Tomato puree will leave oil and will reduce in quantity by half.
  • Add the whipped curd now and cook for 3-4 minutes with occasional stirring.
  • Add green peas and paneer and cook for 5 minutes until the peas are tender.
  • If the gravy is thin, dissolve 1 teaspoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water and add to the gravy.
  • Add garam masala and let cook for 1 minute.
  • Garnish it with cilantro.

Variations:
  1. For a richer taste, you can substitute curd with heavy cream.
  2. You can add any combination of vegetables to this dish.




Monday, February 1, 2010

Naan Katai

Naan Katai (Butter biscuit) is a light and crispy biscuit, ideal for evening snack with coffee or tea.

Makes: 35-40 pieces.

Preparation time : 30 min
Baking time :15 min

You Need:
All purpose flour or maida - 1 1/2 cup
Besan flour - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoon
Baking soda - a pinch
Cardamom - 1 teaspoon
Vegetable Oil- 3/4 cup

Preparation
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Melt the butter in the oven.
  • In a bowl add all the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter.
  • Add vegetable oil in little portions to the above mixture and mix gently by folding in.
  • Make small balls and press them with your palm slightly(don't flatten them)
  • Place them well spaced on the cookie sheet and bake them in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
  • After 12 minutes, keep checking if the bottom of the cookie has turned light brown.
  • When its done, remove from the oven and allow it to cool down.

Notes:
  1. If you are not able to make a ball then that means you need to add little more oil to the dough, but make sure you dont add too much because that can make the cookies brittle.
  2. If the cookie is still brittle then reduce the amount of butter a little.
  3. Do not try to move the cookies when they are hot as they can break. Allow them to cool down completely.
Variations to this recipe:

  • You can add coconut to the mixture to make coconut cookies.
  • You can add sliced almonds and pistachios on top of the cookie before baking.