Friday, October 31, 2008

Gajar ka Halwa(carrot dessert)

On a lazy Friday,leafing through the FRIDAY magazine,I saw this fantabulous recipe and equally inviting picture of Gajar ka Halwa. Now I was not at all in the mood of grating the carrots ,so I dropped the idea of making it ,but then I started craving for it,so much that I started wondering whether I was pregnant,because during my first pregnancy I was craving for gajar ka halwa like crazy,never knew it was so simple,that time following the instructions from shan masala mix and making a decent dish was an accomplishment,I couldnt cook! either the mutton wouldnt get soft,or I would have put LOT of salt,or once I had put lot of chilli powder,so after realizing that,I was terrified,so to mask the chilli powder I added sugar,1-2 tbsp!!!! just imagine,my husband had to put up with my food,cribbing all the time,why didnt I learn cooking!!
Anyways now he is happy that I am improving! Credit goes to him,for being my connoisseur !
So coming back to the topic,to fulfil my cravings I brought some from a desi sweet shop in Devon,I was not satisfied by the quantity,but then beggers cant be choosers right?
So as I went to drop Sameeha for school bus,I brought a kilo of carrots from the grocery and started working on it!

Oh talking about Sameeha,she is enjoying her school,goes happily,sometimes she says "mumma school mein aapki yaad aayegi na mumma":)
Huda on the other hand is very very very naughty! She bullies Sameeha,breaks things,spills everything........and of all her mischievous endeavors,the most annoying one was when she dropped my NEW mobile phone in a cup half filled with tea!!!

1)Carrots- 1 kg
2)Milk 1 Ltr
3)Ghee 150 gms
4)sugar 350 gms
5)cashews-50 gms(chopped)
6)almonds-50 gms(chopped)
7)unsalted pistachios 50gms (slivered)


--Wash and grate the carrots.
--In a saucepan,put about a tbsp of ghee,and then put the grated carrot into it,saute for some time and then put milk,cover and let it cook on medium-low flame ,stir every now and then so that it doesnt stick to the bottom of the saucepan!
--Now after the milk has been absorbed and the carrots are soft,add sugar and mix well,and let all the moisture evaporate,such that the mixture is dry.
--Now in another saucepan,heat the rest of the ghee,when it is warm throw in the chopped cashews and almonds,and fry them till golden brown color,then put the carrot mixture into it,mix really well,such that the carot mixture glistens because of the ghee coatedover it.
--Serve warm garnished with slivered pistachios!


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dosa and Takkali ki chutney

Thakkali is the Tamil word for tomato. This chutney is an accompaniment to idli and dosa.
Now I have seen so many variations of tomato chutney,hyderabadi style is called tamate ki chutney is made like this
this one is without onion, then again there is kache tamate ki chatney,then some people like it with the list goes on...

This particular dip is a Tamil speciality,I learnt it from my MIL,since she is visiting us, idli,dosa has become a regular breakfast at home!
Back in my school days,on my reports day(the day on which our report cards were handed to our parents),for getting good marks we were given a treat by mummy,so our first choice was Taj Mahal,Abids...and there,I dont remember ordering anything other than masala dosa...little did I knew that I would be eating it so regularly, I mean when I am at my in-laws place,our breakfasts are either dosa or idlis or paniyaram or uthappam or aappam,.I never knew the names of last two dishes till I got married, for me the only two south indian dishes were idli and dosa...but there is more to it,the batter is same for all ,but you can make variations,I never thought that this would be so easy,some failed attempts to make dosa before marriage made me think that making dosa is not my cup of tea!

But see I am here making dosas,like a pro.
Ok so enough of my self dabba,lets start up with the ingredients for dosa
4 cups parboiled rice
1 cup Urad daal
1 tbsp methi seeds

--Wash and Soak the rice,daaland methi for 4-5 hours.
--then grind it in grinder(too good if you have sumeet mixie),use minimal water,coz if the batter gets watery its very difficult to handle.
--then a tip I learnt that if yoy have some leftover steamed white rice,put about a cup of it while grinding,as this will make the dosas softit seems.
--After grinding it to a fine paste,leave it on counter covered for about4 hours at normal temperature or 2 hours if it is really hot,for the dosa batter to get fermented.
--not after it gets fermented,using a deep spoon,mix the batter well,add some salt
--Heat tawa(i use non stick),put about 1.5 deep spooon of batter in the centre of the tawa,and take in in circular dirctions,using the spoon,till entire tawa is covered,put some oilfrom the sides,for crispy dosa put more oil,for soft dosa use less oil,wait till the colour of the dosa changes to golden brown colour,the outer sides of the dosa will not stick to tawa,then flip the dosa....u know this needs a practical demonstration,I dont think anybody can understand with what I am writing,anyways inshallah will take and post if possible.
the flame should be low when spreading the batter,once the batter is spread all over the tawaincrease the flame,cook the dosa, then after cooking dosa ,befor putting another dosa sprinkle some cold water on the hot tawa and lower the flame,this willbringthe tawa temperature down ,if tawa is hotthe batter will stick in one place.

looks like I have confused you guys a lot..
I like to make this because my daughters love idli/dosa,I dont have to run around the house to make them eat it,I make it with a dollop of ghee for Sameeha,and sometimes I spread sme grated carrot on the dosa for her tiffin!

Mostly Idli/dosa are accompanied by naaryal(coconut)chutey,or potato curry everywhere,but the Tamil Nadu speciality is tomato chutney,I prefer this to the naaryal chutney,because of its tangy taste!
Takkali chutney

1)Ripe tomatoes-3
2)onion 1 medium
3)whole dried red chilli
4)Ginger small flake
5)garlic 3-4 flakes
6)dessicated coconut-2 tbsp
7)curry leaves
8)chana daal-1 tbsp
9)urad daal-1 tbsp


--Heat oil in a kadhaai,throw in the mustard seeds and the daals and fry till golden brown,then put curry leaves,dried whole red chilli.
--Then put chopped onion,tomato,ginger,garlic,curry leaves,cilantro and fry till tomato is soft ad sqeeshy.
--Turn off the flame ad let it cool,after sometime,blend the mixture coarsely in a blender.

Enjoy this with idli/dosa/paniyaaram!

Yasmeen of Healthnut has awarded me with the chocoholic award,Thank you so much Yasmeen!
I love chocolate,especially the crunchy ones like kitkat and crunch,I will let you in a secret,back when I was a kid,my eldest brother once sent us a bag full of goodies hershey's kisses,MnMs,snickers...which were divided equally between all of us,my sister and brothers kept it safely hidden from me,and had it once in a while, but within a couple of weeks I finished my share,and like sherlok holmes found out each ad every person's share of goodies and finished all of theirs:), but after some days when confronted by my brothers ad sister in front of my mom,I was cornered!
To protect me I had the most the powerful weapon....tears!Shedding few tears spared me,though Baji and bhayya were cross at me for almost a week:)

Thanx Yasmeen once again for the award!

I would like to give this award to Lubna

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Qubaani ka meetha

Qubani ka meetha is a traditional Hyderabadi dessert made from dried apricots! The dried apricots are soaked,deseeded and then cooked along with sugar to form an amber coloured saucy syrup.

This dessert is the most popular one in hyderabadi weddings! Qubani ka meetha is served with a topping of thick cream,generally I have seen some variations in the toppings,you can put custard or thick cream or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream!You can also put the apricot kernels in it to make the dessert nutty!In my recipe,when I was deseeding the soaked apricots and breaking the shells to take out almonds,Sameeha was sitting on the counter and watching the whole procedure,she got really excited to see tiny almonds coming out of the apricots, and was popping in the almonds as i deseeded each of 'em, so I chopped the regular almond & mixed it with the dessert.

The preparation is too simple,the result is too good and rich. I tell you, dont eat this in a hurry,take your time and let your taste buds tickle with each mouthful of this nutty dessert! A perfect end for a sumptuous hyderabadi meal of Biryani and mirchiyon ka saalan.

As far as I remember,mom used to put qubani:sugar in the ratio of 1:1,i.e the weight of qubaani before soaking and deseeding it,I saw in the recipes online,very less quantity of sugar relatively,so you can adjust according to your taste ,because generally qubaani is little bit sour,so the sugar content will mask the sourness of the apricot,so you can go either way.I used 1:1 method.

Qubani/apricot-300 gms
thick cream for the topping
chopped almonds,for extra nutty dessert
food color(optional)

--Soak the qubaani overnight in water or at least for 4 hours.
--After getting soaked qubani will swell double its size,deseed and keep the seeds aside.
--Now take about 2 glasses of water and boil the deseeded apricot till it is soft andd mushy.When it is mushy press the mushy apricot with the back of the spoon to the walls of the saucepan,when the consistancy has reached the semi liquid state,add sugar,mix well and if you want a darker colour you can add food colour.
--Let it cook on low heat,meanwhile break the seeds that you deseeded from apricot to get a tiny heart shaped almond from it!
--Put the almonds in the qubani mixture,if for some reason(my reason,Sameha ate all:D) you fail to get apricot almonds deseeded,you can chop regular almonds and stir in the apricot mixture.
--When the desired consistency is reached,remove from heat and serve at room temperature or chilled, Spread thick cream on the qubani ka meetha generously.
--Close your eyes and enjoy each mouthfull.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Lubna of Yummy food has honoured my blog with an award,my first award....thank you so much Lubna

The rules of the award are:

Put the logo on your blog.
Add a link to the person who awarded you.
Nominate other blogs
Add links to those blogs on yours, and leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.
I would like to nominate Mona,Yasmeen,Anjum,Armina. congratulation to all!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

mutton rogan gosht- the sequel

Rummaging through an old carton of books, I found a really good cook book,which I almost forgot that existed in my kitchen bookshelf,that had come handy in many situations!

A book on mughlai cuisine!
Mutton roghan gosht caught my attention, I generally make it using another method,this method was completely different from my method,so I decided to give it a try,it turned out really good,and my picky eater husband loved it.So the verdict is PASS for me, coz he seldom says that something is GOOD,so when he says that its good,that means its really good!

Mutton-1/2 Kg
onion-1.5 medium(blended to pastealong with 2 green chillies)
green chillies-4
tomato 1 medium(blended)
tomato paste 3tbsp
yogurt-3/4 cup
ginger garlic paste 2 tsp
haldi-1/8 tsp
red chilli powder-1/2 tsp(adjust accd to ur taste)
coriander powder 2tsp
fennel seeds powder 1tsp
caraway seeds 1/2 tsp
cinnamon 1 inch stick
cardamom 2
ghee 1 tsp
garam masala 1 tsp
cumin powder 1/2 tsp
cashews 1/2 cup
almonds 1/8 cup
cashews and almond grounded togeather with the help of little water to form a paste like consistancy.

P.S: As you can see that I have used both tomato paste and tomato,because the recipe called for tomatoes, I am using tomato paste for the deep red color that is imparted to the gravy,and the tomato simply for the presence of a fresh tomato in my gravy:) (i know very stupid of me!), and one more point, the recipe does not call for blended onion and tomato,it just needs to be chopped, but my husband hates even when a single string of sliced onion is found in his plate,so I blended the onion.

--peel.chop and blend onion with 2 green chillies in a blender,keep aside.
--chop tomato and blend it in blender and keep aside.
--grind the cashews and almonds togeather with about 1/4th cup of water,to form a smooth paste.
-- In a bowl whip the yogurt.
--In a pressure cooker,put oil and ghee,and put it on flame,when it is hot,put caraway seeds,cinnamon and cardamom,then put half of the ginger garlic paste in oil(i.e 1 tsp),fry for some time,then put the onion green chillies paste, and fry till the paste is not watery ,put a thick paste,then add the remaining ginger garlic paste,salt,haldi,red chilli powder,garam masala,fennel seed powder,coriander powder,cumin powder.
--Fry for some time,then put tomato paste as well as the blended tomato,fry for about 5 minutes,then add the cashew,almond paste,fry it till the oil oozes from the sides.
--Then add the whipped yogurt,mix well add, little water if required...I dont think that will be needed.
--Shut the lid, and cook till the meat is tender.
--If you find it less spicy,after cooking then what you can do is finely chop a green chilli,mix it in the gravy well and put little water and let the gravy simmer for about 3-4 mins.
Garnish with cilantro
Serve Hot with naan, I made the kawan's frozen parathas available in any indian grocery store.
P.S: the rogan gosht of this recipe is better than my old one.
Hope you like it!
Leaving you with some quotes from a magazine based on parenting,which I liked a lot...

*** There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life-happiness,freedom and peace of mind - are always attained by giving them to someone else --Peyton Convey March

*** You must be the change you wish to see in the world. --Mahatma Gandhi

***The happiest people dont have the best of everything but,make the best of
everything they have.
--Marcus Aurelius

***Stop trying to perfect your child,but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him. --Dr Henker

***Parents need to fill a child'sbucket of self esteem so high that the restof the worldcant poke enough holes to drain it dry. -Alvin Price

***The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them. --Frank A.Clark


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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Atlantis - The Lost Chambers

Eidakom Mubarak !!!So the festive season is over ,back to normal life.It was great fun during the eid holidays ,we had an entire week off here!

So,not much cooking was done during these days,first day was a trip to Abu Dhabi to exchange eid greetings,then second day was at the Dubai Festival City where we enjoyed the new initiative by Dubai called 'Eid In Dubai' with events ranging from laser and fireworks to Barney show for kids, lots of festive discounts especially on gold and jewellery,and offcourse lots of eating of eid delicacies at the well decorated eid tents,..

We then had a fishy third day of Eid when we visited this new resort called ATLANTIS which opened in Dubai Palm recently after its success story in the carribean. It was quite an experience to enter through the trunk of the PALM over the ocean until we reached the tip of it, to find nothing less than this gigantic setup of Atlantis.

The above Photo, Courtesy PhotoPumpkin..

We then visited The Lost Chambers in it, which showcased the beautiful underwater life . Sameeha and Huda truly enjoyed every bit of it..Here is a collage made by my husband of some of our favourite pictures

It was a visual treat,to all of us. Just come to think of it how GOD has created so MANY different species,each having its own distinct color,shape and beauty ,and how beautiful they are....the fishes had such vibrant colours,even the best fabric designers will have to come down to check out how beautiful shades and tones these fishes have and the combnation of colors that these fishes have....Subhanallah,just look at this family below, as good as ours.. Dad, Mom and Kids.. don't these Creations point to the Creator..

So all in all we enjoyed the trip,my husband being a nature lover,loved the entire trip,Huda loved watching the fishes, but for me and Sameeha the best part was when we saw the starcast of FINDING NEMO(obviously the stars in it were NEMO,MARVIN AND DORI),I was pleasantly surprised to see that NEMO really does exist. Before this I thought,it was just an animation, and also Dori.Sameeha got all excited when she saw Nemo and Dori, and was jumping up and down when she saw the real underwater diver too, who CATCHES NEMO in the movie!

Here's the collection of pics of REAL Nemo and Dori (actually clownfish and i dont know whats the real name of Dori) with a Nemo potrait as background

And if you can spare 6:06 minutes, here's a video on our trip.. Enjoy!!

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