Delicious FROYO - 3 gorgeous flavours

The Genius Dessert for weight watchers – Froyo, 3 ways

The dessert world is not a secular place, you know. I didn’t think of it that way until I started on project 50k (my weightloss project). I remember when I waited for dessert course in delicious anticipation. It was my favourite course. Tiramisu or Rum chocolate mousse or pannacota or .. ? I ate but with latent guilt. There aren’t very many options for people watching their weight.   It’s hardest when your friends are eating dessert and they coax you to have a bite too. You have a good mind to snatch the bowl from your friend and gobble it all up. Instead you demurely refuse citing a resolve that you very much doubt and pray that he finishes it up before you change your mind. I can manage most days when I have nothing within reach. But sometimes I just need something sweet and creamy. Enter FroYo or frogurt or frozen yogurt. It’s almost better than ice cream especially when you don’t want something as sweet, when you’d like something more complex, something sweet yet slightly tangy and with that luscious velvety mouth feel. The base for froyo is fresh thick yogurt. Our regular homemade or store bought curd/yogurt is just not thick enough for dessert. So start by straining yogurt to make hung curd/yogurt. Simply place a sieve inside a bowl, line with a cheesecloth and pour yogurt into it. Place the entire set-up inside the fridge overnight. Thick cheese-like yogurt will be ready in the morning. Basic Vanilla Froyo If you want to keep it really simple, add good quality vanilla extract (like Fabflavours, that has a huge variety of flavour options to choose from) and sugar to the strained yogurt and blend. Freeze for 5-6 hours and scoop into bowls for a velvety smooth, creamy, tangy- sweet vanilla fro-yo. I like it at soft-serve stage. So I let it soften a bit before digging in. If you’re in the mood to try new flavours, then give these flavours a shot. I came up with them in a fit of creativity and inspired adaptation. The Fabflavours contest on Home Bakers Guild was the push I needed to dive in and do this. Thank you to Home Bakers Guild and Fabflavours for that! Beet Khova Froyo The inspiration for the beet-khova froyo comes from the beetroot halwa that my periamma made often when we were little kids. The...

Cardamom Flavoured Milk

I always looked forward to the annual exams in April because I could go home earlier, because while riding home from school Appa would buy me  flavoured milk from Aavin, because two whole months of unbridled fun with cousins awaited me – slurping entire mangoes through tiny holes (no knives needed for this method), taking turns learning to ride the lone BSA SLR, playing carrom pauper and losing every time, sweeping the driveway, plucking leaves and tossing them in the air while dancing to “Pattasai chuttu chuttu podatuma” and littering the driveway, getting chased, plucking nellikkai off trees and running around the house. No TV except Friday evening, when we’d wash our faces, oil and plait our hair, powder our faces and get ready to watch the biggest show – Oliyum Oliyum – chart busting Tamil cinema songs for a full half hour. Afternoons, there was nothing on TV even if you wanted to watch. Static meant no programmes now or your antenna was off. Someone would run up to the terrace, shoo away the birds and adjust the antenna, another would position himself on the stairs midway between antenna operator and the TV viewing public and shout back and forth – ‘Now?’, ‘Not ok’, ‘Now?’, ‘Innum mosam’ (even worse), ‘No go back to previous position’, ‘Hey I can see neighbour’s TV from here’, ‘Shut up and hurry’, ‘Ok podhum’ (enough). What brought on this wave of nostalgia is the cardamom flavoured milk I made a couple of days back. Aavin Cardamom flavoured milk is still my favourite. Every day after my exam, while coming home with Appa on our scooter, we’d stop at Aavin on Thirumalai Pillai road and I’d get myself a pack of flavoured milk – usually cardamom flavoured and sometimes Pistachio flavoured. Nothing for Appa. I’d sip on my flavoured milk the rest of the ride home. Hot sun blazing above, sweat drenched shirt sticking to my back, hair sticking to my head, shoes are hot too and then with the first sip of the chill, daintily sweet flavoured milk – Aah what pleasure! I couldn’t grab Hasini and Yuvan’s attention for a couple of minutes amidst ‘Ninja Hattori’, ‘Motu Patlu’ and ‘Chota Bheem’ to introduce this cardamom flavoured milk to them. Yuvi is already the ‘Coke’ type of guy and Hasini the ‘Slice’ girl. I have bought new spiral straw cups to entice the little...

Papaya Apple Halwa

If only I were as good a planner as I am a dreamer, I’d have made a Valentine’s day themed post. I’ d have the menu for the entire month printed in a calendar format and pinned to my pin-up board. I’d have gone through my son’s Pre-KG syllabus at the beginning of the term rather than now, 2 weeks before his evaluations. I: Yuvi, young one of hen? Yuvi: Kozhi I: No Yuvi, Kozhi is hen. Young one of hen is chick. Young one of cat is kitten. Young one of dog? Hasini, don’t answer. Yuvi: Kitten? I: No Yuvi, young one of dog is puppy Yuvi: Yellathayum kitten sollalama? (Can we call all the young ones kitten? Please?) I crack up. He prances around thinking he has passed the test, thinking his lessons are over for the day.  I put away the books after one last round of rhymes he recites as he somersaults across the bed. Hasini joins along in the rhyme instead of writing her English essay. The Pizza arrives. We pack up for the day. I decide to be rational and steady and composed and think we can make it if we do little every day. I plan a rich heart shaped chocolate pudding cake for Valentine’s day because I couldn’t make it for the last wedding anniversary or the last valentine’s day. I am out of chocolate. I think I may buy it the day before and just bake this pudding cake off last minute. Without too much fuss, too much pre-planning and worrying. Just do it type. But I happened to not do it. Of late I’ve been leaning away from cake, towards non-fussy luscious halwas and kheers you can just scoop into a bowl, top with some crunchy nuts and call them dessert. And no less sensational. One mouthful of this papaya halwa makes me close my eyes and moan in pleasure. Note that the papaya is the surprise element. But the halwa tastes nothing like papaya. You may do away with the apples and make just a papaya halwa by subbing the apples with papaya. Not the other way around. Papaya haters will love this halwa too. It is an open challenge. Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 35 mins Serves: 8-10 Ingredients Papaya – 1 medium sized, peeled, seeded and diced fine Apples – 3 peeled, cored and grated Condensed...

Kheer Poori

First the score: How many movies did you watch this Pongal? I watched 5-1/2. Not in theatres. On TV. My butt is still sore from sitting all day watching TV. My un-mentioned resolution is to watch more movies, good movies and all of Balachander’s movies. But the DVD player needs to be fixed first. But hey, the mechanic is back. Jagan is back from the US. I hope he has resolved to get the DVD player fixed and along with that the alarm clock and all our wrist watches (I mean all the wrist watches that the family ever owned. I don’t have even one that works. Is that a sign?). I hope he has resolved not to give the gym and personal trainer his annual donation. Hey, it is not easy making resolutions for others. I bought a Vivofit fitness band last week (just like fitbit but this one doesn’t need to be charged with a USB cable! That is way too much work to get a fitness band working) that I’d been eyeing for a long time for myself but gifted it to Jagan very magnanimously only to be told that he doesn’t really like wearing things on his wrist. He brought it home in its packaging. In my long history of gift flops, this one is number one. In another Freudian interpretation, maybe I feel guilty buying it for myself but feel good buying it for him although I subconsciously know that he may not be interested and I’ll get to use it. Did any of us actually use the Vivofit? Ahem… No, not yet. Something that did become a hit was this Kheer Poori. The original recipe is from a beautiful treasure trove of Chettinad recipes called “Chettinad Cookbook”. I picked this book up a couple of weeks back and it has quickly become my favourite reference. I made this Kheer Poori as a “Welcome home” dessert for Jagan and he loved it. It is super simple to make and much quicker than traditional desserts. I like to serve the Kheer chilled with the crisp pooris scattered on top. You could let the pooris soak in the kheer and garnish with a few crisp pooris too. Either way it is luscious. This will make a wonderful ending for an Indian meal. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Serves: 4-5 Ingredients – Kheer Whole Milk...

Kasi Halwa – My 200th post

It’s pleasantly cool and drizzly in Chennai in the midst of a sweltering May. The last few days have been humid hell, we were sweating in buckets. But the rains are right on cue. Only yesterday I thought I was late with my summer vathal making and that I’d better start soon and this morning it rained. I am well known for my luck with these things.The trees wear that nice fresh, green look after the showers and I just want to sit and gaze at them. I am in no mood for work of any kind. Not that I’ve done a lot lately. Jagan is on a business trip and I am lazing it at my mother’s place. I am spending a lot of time with the kids. Yuvi makes good conversation these days. He talked me to sleep yesterday. This is my 200th post by the way. I am very slow by general food blogger standards. It has taken me nearly 1 and half years to reach this milestone while many active bloggers cross double the number of posts in half this time. I’ve decided to take it slow too. I think that’ll be my style. Slow blogging. It suits me. Kasi Halwa fits the occasion. It is my most favourite Halwa (even over carrot halwa and beetroot halwa. Tirunelveli Halwa comes a close second) in the world. We had Kasi Halwa as part of my wedding breakfast menu. Kasi Halwa is made from Ash gourd (locally called Vellai poosinikkai or Kalyana poosinikkai – white pumpkin). The procedure is usual – grate, squeeze out the juices, sauté in ghee, cook in milk, add sugar and ghee and cook to a Halwa – simple. But the taste is unbelievable. The Halwa is nothing like what it’s made of (try drinking Ash Gourd juice if you don’t believe me). Here is the Kasi Halwa recipe for you. If you’ve never tried it before, just believe me on this one and try it. If you’re a sweet lover like me, you’ll send me a money order. It is that great. I made this as part of my TamilNadu meal last week. Ingredients Ash Gourd/Vellai poosinikkai/White pumpkin – ½ kiloGhee – 6 tbspSugar – ¾ cupMilk – 1-1/2 cupsYellow food colour – a pinchCardamom powder – a pinch (optional, I skipped)Fried Cashews – 10 (for garnish) Method 1.      Peel the ash gourd....

Rasmalai – Bengal special

Whoever came up with these little milk soaked sweet melt-in-the-mouth treats was a genius. Rasmalai is one thing the entire family agrees upon – everybody even both mother-in-laws, the two ends of a spectrum do. This was the first time I tried Rasmalai at home. I’ve come halfway before – I’ve made Rasgullas before but not Rasmalai. If you can make Rasgullas then you’re pretty much there. You just need to slightly flatten the rasgullas, squeeze out the sugar syrup and then dunk in the reduced sweetened milk. I made these Rasmalai for a pot luck and they were a hit. They’re a crowd pleaser and they really aren’t too difficult at all. Rasmalai is from the state of West Bengal which lies in eastern India. West Bengal has a rich tradition in literature and arts and most definitely food. Fish and rice are important Bengali staples but so are sweets. Bengali sweets are distinctive – they’re light, spongy and not overly sweet. I am really looking forward to trying more Bengali sweets in future now that the Rasmalai turned out well. Freshwater fish are abundantly cooked in Bengal. The panch phoran whole spice mix and mustard paste are characteristically Bengali and are used in a variety of dishes. I can vouch for the panch phoran being a magical combination. I don’t know about mustard paste though. I think you’ve got to “get it” to like it. I am always impressed by the pride and passion with which Bengalis talk about their food. Bengali food is something that’s always been on my to-try list. With this state-wise marathon my interest has been piqued even further. This state-wise blogging Marathon has opened up a world of dishes made right here in India. I am rediscovering the food of my own land (TamilNadu) and it was fascinating learning about it. Put together, India’s cuisine is as fine, rich and intricate as any other world cuisine. I am no expert but I don’t know if any other country would have such a massive, ingenious variety of foods. The curries, kebabs, biryanis and dosas are just the popular few that restaurants chose to sell. The wealth of Indian food is made every day in homes, roadside stalls and villages. I need look no further for inspiration. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 1 hour Makes: 40 small Rasmalai Ingredients – Sweetened milk Milk –...

Dutch Apple Pie | Eggless Apple Pie

This long pending Dutch Apple pie is January month’s baking partner challenge which I actually did make in January but could not post until now. I braved my conjunctivitis and made this during my sick leave so that I could post it at least before the month end but I just couldn’t get everything together. I am always in such a hurry working in shifts – either the morning rush-hour before work or after-work before bedtime hustle that I got greedy when I finally had sick leave. I wanted to make as much as I could of the time I had and so I made Dutch Apple Pie. The pie turned out great and Jagan really liked it a lot. What I really liked about this pie was the crust – it was buttery, flaky and just sweet enough and all this without any eggs. The apple filling I thought was a tad too sweet, so add sugar in small increments and taste as you go along. I love apple pie with vanilla ice cream – Sparky’s in Egmore used to serve this combination for a dessert and I loved it. Sparky’s is not there anymore. I served apple pie sans the ice cream because there’s a much-resented ice-cream ban at home (my kids’ colds just don’t seem to go away and until then there’d be no ice-cream). But do try this along with vanilla ice cream and you’ll know what I am talking about.Yuvi has a nice red checked shirt that’s just perfect for strawberry, apple kind of food photos – you must have seen the red and white patterned cloth atop jam jars on pinterest. As luck would have it, Yuvi was wearing it that day and I asked him for his shirt for just a few minutes so that I could photograph the apple pie against the classic red pattern. I tried to be stern with him, pleaded with him, pretended to cry and even offered him a lollypop. The little guy wouldn’t budge. He started his ear-blasting whistling-crying instead. So I ran off and made do with Jagan’s somewhat similar patterned shirt instead. That’s what you see here. Prep time: 30 mins Baking time: 75 mins – 90 mins Makes: 7-10 slices Ingredients – Pie Crust Cold Butter – 175 gm cut into cubes Flour – 2 cups Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup Salt – a...

White Chocolate Kalakand

Another short-cut cheat recipe, this sweet/mithai is ready in under 10 minutes and tastes great. It’s not the traditional kalakand in that it doesn’t involve paneer or reduced milk, but it is a close second and it tastes fabulous. My son loved it. He is a sweet lover. I made this white chocolate kalakand the day we were leaving on our vacation and again the pictures are the most basic. Just 2 ingredients to this kalakand – White chocolate and Mawa/Khoya. I am sending this white chocolate kalakand to Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon for the Chocolate theme and to Srivalli’s Kid’s potluck party. I am on vacation and I am buying WiFi from Taj for 150 bucks for half an hour (You believe that! I’d think classy Taj would provide free Wifi) so that I can upload my masterpieces to the blogosphere.  Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 3 mins Makes: 18 small squares Ingredients Unsweetened Mawa/Khoya – 200 gm grated White Chocolate – 175 gm roughly chopped up Ghee – 2 tsp Slivered Almonds/Pistachios – a handful for garnishing (I didn’t have time for this) Method 1  .       Grease a square pan with ghee and set aside. 2  .       In a pan, add ghee. Add the grated mawa and stir around till it’s slick and shiny – about 1 minute. Remove from heat. 3  .       Stir in the chopped chocolate till it’s melted and well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the greased square pan, level and sprinkle the slivered almonds/pistachios on top. Let cool for 10 minutes by which time it would have nicely solidified. Cut into squares and serve. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#33

Warm Chocolate Cake

I am writing this post sitting at a beautiful antique rosewood desk in our picturesque hotel room at Taj Savoy in freezing cold Ooty while the kids fight each other with their over-sized mock pencil swords. No, I am not a compulsive blogger or anything. I am participating in Srivalli’s blogging Marathon and I better stick to the schedule. Marathoners are one committed, disciplined, perfectionist bunch and I better stick to the plan to stay from getting kicked out. We are on our annual family vacation the whole of this week and I’d planned to have these drafted and scheduled before starting on vacation. But me being me and my kids being what they are, I am now trying to type up some barely coherent stuff sitting in Ooty trying to feel like Ruskin Bond (hey no stone-throwing, no violence, I was just trying to feel that way ok). I made these warm chocolate cakes a couple of weeks back. These warm chocolate cakes have to be served warm and no other way.  I filled the ramekins way too full and the resultant cakes had comically overflown the individual cups. I wanted to make these another time so that I could picture better looking cakes but I never had time to do them another time. So here are the overflown warm chocolate cakes. I used the warm chocolate cake recipe from Tish Boyle’s “The Cake Book”. This is a flourless cake. It’s quite easy to make and sure to be hit with kids and adults alike. I over-baked these cakes just a tad bit maybe 2-3 minutes more, but I’d suggest sticking to the recipe exactly for the best results. I am sending these to Srivalli’s BloggingMarathon for the theme Chocolate dishes and to Srivalli’s Kid’s Potluck party. Prep time: 20 mins Baking time: 20 mins Makes: 8 individual sized cakes Ingredients Eggs – 4 separated Butter – 4 tbsp Semisweet or Dark Chocolate – 250 gm Sugar  – ¼ cup Method 1  .       Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Butter 8 ramekins liberally and dust with sugar. 2  .       Heat butter and chocolate together till the chocolate is melted. Whisk till smooth. Let cool. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl till blended. Add half the sugar and beat until pale and thick. 3  .      Beat egg whites in a clean bowl till...

Dates Halwa

I am not a huge fan of dates and I had a lot of trouble swallowing these dates during my pregnancy days. Dates are super rich in Iron and women are most often low on Iron, so I had to eat dates during my pregnant days. The dates syrup was yuckier. I wish I’d tried this Dates Halwa recipe then. It really tastes fabulous. And because dates are already quite sweet you really wouldn’t need too much sugar either. The magic ingredient though is the channa dal (kadalai paruppu) here that transforms these sticky dates to a luscious Halwa. This is as healthy as a Halwa can get. I adapted this Halwa recipe from a Nita Mehta book on Hyderabadi cuisine. This is also a great way to include dates into your children’s diet. My son for one loves sweets and Halwa is perfect for toddlers and even grown up kids. I am sending this dates Halwa to Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon for the theme – After School Bites. So here are the cashews Prep Time: 10 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 5-6 Ingredients Dates – 1 cup pitted and choppedChanna dal/Kadalai paruppu – 1 cup cookedMilk – 1 cupSugar – ½ cup + 2-3 tbsp (adjust)Ghee – 4 tbsp + 5 tbspCashews – 8 halved Method 1.      Cook channa dal in a pressure cooker till soft. Drain the water and mash the channa dal. 2.      In a kadai/skillet, heat 4 tbsp ghee and fry the cashews till golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. In the same kadai add the mashed channa dal and fry it is dry and crumbly. Remove on to a plate. 3.      Pit the dates and chop them into little pieces. To the same kadai, add 1 cup milk and the chopped dates and simmer covered till the dates are soft and the milk is absorbed. Transfer the cooked dates mixture to a mixie and puree. 4.      To the very same kadai, add about 2 tbsp ghee and combine the dates mixture and the channa dal mixture. Mix well. Add sugar. Mix well and cook on low till the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust sugar. Add the remaining ghee and cook on low till ghee oozes out. Remove from heat and garnish with fried cashews. Serve warm. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#31

Get Foodbetterbegood in your inbox

Like what you are reading? Never miss a post. Enter your email address to receive updates by email

Subscribe!