Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy And Spooky Halloween

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.  The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows' Evening also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, and costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and carving jack-o-lanterns.

Everywhere in the market you see the celebrations of Halloween. The whole lot is so orange and black, spooky costumes, masks etc are seen all around the shops. One thing that is most common is carving pumpkin; why not after all it is so apt to make it look like a ghost. I so very much wanted to try carving pumpkin myself, so here is how I did it. It was easy only if you have good grip and sharp knife. I have this amazing knife from Argos, you can see here

So here is me wishing you and your family a very Spooky Halloween. Enjoy

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Karva Chauth Sweets Recipes

Karva Chauth is round the corner ladies. What are your plans?  What are you wearing? Have you decided about the henna design? So much work isn’t it? I like karva chauth a lot. The beautiful saris, colourful bangles, glowing faces- wow is the word. Just like all the festivals this too is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country.
Karwa is another word for pot (a small earthen pot of water) and chauth means 'fourth' in Hindi. All married women fasts from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands without eating or drinking anything at all. They apply henna on their hands, wear good traditional clothes. In the afternoon prayers are read. Then the women await the rising of the moon. Once the moon is visible, she sees the moon with a seieve and then sees her husband. Water is offered to the moon to secure its blessings. We believe that "Like the gold necklace and the pearl bracelet, just like the moon may my husband’s life also always shine brightly."The husband then offers water and gives his wife her first sip and feeds her with the first morsel of the day (usually something sweet). The fast is now broken, and the woman has a complete meal.
Cool isn’t it? All these rituals adds love to your life and you get a good change from daily routine. My husband from past 3 years fasts with me to show his support and love for me. I just find this very sweet and comforting *clap clap*. He comes from office; we look for moon, pray and then eat together. I always make Jalebi on this day, it is his favourite sweet dish *happy dance*.
Just like me, if you also want to make this day more special, and then do make some quick and new sweet dishes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baked Chickpeas Patties

How is the festive season coming for you all? Are you people linking your amazing recipes at my Cook With White Event And 2 Giveaways? Talking about festivals, they do bring lots of work and guests at home. Most of us cook the traditional mathri, namkeen and sweets during this time and we gain lot of attention as well as KGs.I know back in India I used to prepare what not to please guests and finally gaining lot of weight. Things have been different after coming to London. I now look for different and healthy snacks.

I always prefer to make patties for my guests. Reason? You can prepare them and keep in the fridge and when guests arrive all you need is to roast or grill on pan and serve hot. Who doesn't like hot snacks? I have made loads of patties in past. Please see here.

Chickpeas patties are very popular but it is generally fried. No no, not at my place. I baked these ones and I got healthier and crispier patties. Chickpeas are great sources of fibre and protein. These tikkis are very much like falafel but only baked and thinner. Trust me these patties are great alternative in your burger buns. Hot and spicy.

1 can of chickpeas (250 grams)
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion, diced
3 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optinal)
2 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1 Tablespoon.)
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400F/200C
  2. Drain the chickpeas and rinse well. 
  3. Place the garlic in a food processor, and pulse a few times to chop it roughly. Now add the onions, the chickpeas, the parsley, cilantro, cumin, and coriander and lemon juice to the food processor. Add the salt, the red pepper flakes, flour and the baking powder. 
  4. Cover and pulse until the mixture is well combined. Do not over mash, it should be chunky.
  5. Now drizzle about a tablespoon of the olive oil onto a baking sheet. 
  6. Form the patties into 1-1/2-inch rounds and flatten slightly with your fingers. Place on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the upper side of patties with oil.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven 15-18 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.
  8. Turn and  bake another 5-7 minutes until browned on the other side.

If not using canned chickpeas, then soak chickpeas overnight. Next day boil it.
The patties can be kept in fridge for hours before baking.
I chose to bake, where else this can be toasted on pan or even fried.


Crispy, spicy and healthy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kesar Kalakand With Navratri Wishes

Navaratri starts tomorrow. Nine days of fun and festive mood. Navratri is such an important festival in Indian culture. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or Dussehra.

Gujratris perform garba and dandiya these days where as bengalis have thier traditional durga puja. Both have their own importance and charm. I have studied in Gujarat for over 5 years and I am also married to a guy who is from Gujarat, and thus this festival becomes special for me. Back at home my family will do pooja of mataji (goddess) for all 9 days with complete dedication. But the other side of Navratri is doing garba.

Garba nights in Ahmadabad are crazy. All, with no barriers of caste, age or gender perform dandiya. What a colourful sight it is! The beautiful dresses, with traditional touch- wow is the word.  Ah! It makes me so nostalgic.

Like all the other festivals, Navratri is also about cooking fresh and yummy dishes. I just find people so happy these days- they wish that may these 9 days never get over. May be I am getting bit carried away. Anyways for the beginning of this festival I made Kesar Kalakand. This recipe is very quick and easy. I am not very good in making Indian sweets; to tell you I can’t even make sheera/halwa properly. But making kalakand is easy for me. Kalakand can be made in many flavors and ways. I used trouble-free cottage cheese/paneer to make this. Here comes my simple Kalakand recipe.


1 tin (400g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 heaped tablespoons Milk powder
1 tablespoon Kesar/saffron
2 tablespoon warm water
Pinch yellow colour
Almonds halved-6-8
500 g Paneer/Cottage Cheese
3-4 powdered Cardamom/Elaichi


Mix saffron in warm water and leave aside for 10 minutes. Wait till water changes it colour to yellow-orange.
Mash Paneer coarsely and mix in milk powder, yellow colour, saffron water and condensed milk.
Heat the mixture in a thick bottom pan. Cook on medium heat with constant stirring till the mixture becomes thick and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Remove from heat and mix cardamom powder.
Spread onto a greased plate. Let it cool and set for 1-2 hours.
Cut in squares and top each piece with halved almond.

Add in 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to make chocolate kalakand.
I used food colour to bring bright yellow effect, however this is totally optional.
Keep mixing the mixture else it will stick at bottom and give that burnt taste.
If in hurry, leave the mixture in fridge. It will set quickly.

Sweet, aromatic and soft

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Panchratn Onion Pakoras With Zeo

The weekend was amazing with weather being so generous to us... loads of sunshine with little wind.  We were outdoors all the time and came back tired and exhausted. We both wanted some nice chilled drink to rejuvenate ourselves. It was then when I remembered that a month back ZEO drink was delivered at my address for review. Life became very busy after that and I just could not post the review. Well better late than never- Right?

I tried Peach and Grapefruit flavor from their Burst range. I was quite fascinated by this new drink. Like me if you do not fall for unhealthy soda, or so called diet drinks then ZEO will surely win your heart; Yup- this drink has 45 calories per 275ml and is loaded with goodness of fruits with no artificial flavour; Simply enjoy it guilt free *happy dance*. When you sip in, you get the sweetness of peach with the hint of bitter grapefruit – remarkable twist isn't it? Once you gulp in, the tingling sensation oozes out and makes it more extraordinary. *Warning*- this drink tastes best when served chilled without ice- Trust me it does. I am surely going to try Zest and Crush range as well.

With this tingling dish we craved for some steaming and spicy snack. Any suggestions come in mind? Yeah, I hear you- that is what I did. I made some pakoras. Pakoras also known as pakodas or bhajiya is a fried snack made in many ways and with different ingredients. Even in Britain, pakoras are very popular and are enjoyed a lot, some even think that they are best alternative for French fries*happy nod*

I can’t even think of any Indian home where they don’t make this snack in monsoons. Panchratn which means five jewels is a mixture of 5 different dals.  I soaked 5 kinds of lentils with which I planned to make simple dal and rice, but my mood changed and I opted to make some pakoras. I prepared the batter and threw in some chopped onions which later proved out to be the best decision as it brings out that missing crunch. So, are your mouths watering? See the recipe then.

1 cup channa dal
½ cup moong dal
½  cup masoor dal
¼ cup urad dal
¼ cup tuar dal
2 tablespoon Coriander seeds/dhaniya
2 tablespoon cumin/jeera
½  inch ginger/adrak
5 to 6 cloves of garlic/lehsun
½ cup Coriander leaves  chopped
1 onion/pyaz chopped in rings
4 tablespoon gram flour/ besan
3-4 green chillies
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Oil for deep frying

Wash dals and soak them for about 3-4 hours.
Remove the water  and make smooth paste of ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander seeds, gram flour ,cumin and soaked dals into a coarse paste. Add little water if needed.
Lasltly add salt, onion and coriander leaves. Mix and keep aside.
Heat oil in pan or kadai on medium heat.
When the oil is hot, mix baking soda in the batter and give quick mix. Do not over mix the batter.
Make small balls or drop with small spoon in preheated oil and fry till light brown.

Eat hot with tomato ketchup or chutney of your choice.

I made using 5 dals, but any other dal can be added or removed as per choice.
Why not add some vegetables like sweet corn, potato, capsicum for more royal treat.
Use leftover dal to make this. Mix in more gram flour and onions and fry.

Spicy, crunchy and hot.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiasedThanking ZEO, for sending drink to review.