Easiest Chocolate Pudding

This is the easiest chocolate pudding ever and you make it with Paneer!  Just blend together everything till smooth and chill. This chocolate pudding is so simple and so fast it’s perfect as a last-minute dessert for those hurried, un-planned events which is how it always is for me – hurried, harried and totally un-planned. The original recipe in Mark Bittman’s “How to cook Everything” actually calls for Tofu but I couldn’t find Tofu in that store and I had no time to go check at another store. So I used Paneer instead and it tastes just as great. Just make sure to use absolutely fresh and soft Paneer or Tofu if you want a smooth pudding. If the Paneer/Tofu is a little old or tough, then the pudding can get grainy. My cousin and her little daughters were visiting us the next day and I made this pudding the night before, but you can very easily make it just an hour before you’re going to serve them. This chocolate pudding is that fast, fresh and simple. Whew! Got the tagline into the post somehow, Sapana! Check out Sapana’s Donna Hay inspired event – “Fast, Fresh and Simple” at her blog for lots of fast, fresh and simple recipes. This recipe goes straight to her event. This recipe also goes to Srivalli’s summer special mela. I always start with dessert (am slightly paranoid about desserts) and get it out of the way before I start other things. If dessert comes out fine, everything else will work out fine. That’s just my belief. This chocolate pudding keeps extremely well in the fridge for even a week. I added gelatin to the pudding as I didn’t want any nasty surprises with runny pudding the next day but the original recipe doesn’t call for gelatin and you could actually try without the gelatin, because my pudding was quite thick and I guess would have set just as well without the gelatin. If you are not using gelatin, just make sure to add the sugar syrup little at a time and blend so that you can control the consistency of the pudding. When it’s quite thick and spoonable and creamy, stop adding sugar syrup. Spoon into individual serving dishes and chill. Prep time: 10 minsCooking time: 5-8 minsServes: 12 Ingredients Paneer (cottage cheese) or soft Tofu – 400 gmMelted chocolate (Bittersweet or semisweet) chopped– 200...

Bread Mithai

I made Bread mithai for this weekend’s dessert, this weekend was a little special since my husband returned home from a nearly 2-month long business trip. The kids were squealing in delight and my daughter being the first to spot her dad alight from the taxi, ran all over the house screaming that her dad had arrived. After 2 months of ready-to-eat microwaved meals, cold sandwiches and Nandos (which he enjoyed a lot), my husband wanted a full blown Indian meal – biryani, mutton kola urundai, chicken gravy and the works. I wanted it to be special and I wanted to replicate the bread based sweet that we had eaten in Muslim weddings. It’s like a halwa, but it absolutely melts in your mouth and is delightfully sweet and decadent. The Bread mithai that I made was not exactly the same but somewhere there. It was pretty close and it tasted great. This is a pretty quick dessert to make and it can be served warm or chilled. If you are serving it chilled, remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for half an hour or so for the sweet to soften. Then serve. Prep time: 5 minsCooking time: 15 minsServes: 6-7 Ingredients Sweet Bread – 8 slices edges trimmed and cut into trianglesGhee – ¼ cup + 1 tbspSweetened Condensed milk – 100 gmMilk – 1-1/2 cupSweetened Khoa – 50 gmCashewnuts – a handful Method 1.      Heat ¼ cup ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and when hot drop the bread slices and fry till golden. Deep fry in batches all the 16 pieces (8*2). Remove onto absorbent paper. Let cool. 2.      In the remaining ghee, drop the cashew nuts and fry till golden. Remove onto absorbent paper. Set aside. 3.      Break up the fried bread pieces into bite sized pieces roughly. 4.      In a bowl, mix condensed milk, milk and sweetened khoa and whisk till well combined. Set aside. 5.      In a shallow pan, layer the bread pieces, top with nuts. Pour the milk mixture on top and simmer till all the milk is absorbed and it is almost a halwa consistency – about 5-10 minutes. Stir around a bit. Add 1 tablespoon ghee around the edges of the pan. Continue cooking till the ghee starts shimmering around the edges of the pan – about 1-2 minutes. 6.      Remove from fire. Serve warm or chilled.

Kaju Katli – Mundiri Cake

I never knew Kaju Katli was so simple until I heard this recipe from a family friend. It appears like a lot of beloved sweets are actually quite simple but a very important point to note is that they all involve little nuances, fine details which lend the dish its distinctive taste and texture. I am sending these off to Nivedhanam Sowmya’s AuthenticIndian sweets event. This event page has now become a treasure trove of Indian sweets. I spent quite some time the other evening going through the recipes. Any festival or occasion at home and you want to try a new sweet, just head here. Three important details to note while making Kaju Katli is that: 1.      The cashew nuts need to be dry or they’ll clump up when you try to powder them. To quickly dry them, dry roast the cashews in a kadai/skillet for about 2 minutes until lightly toasted but not browned. 2.      The sugar syrup has to be one string consistency for the dough to come together like it does. 3.      Just before you spread out the cooked dough, knead it to make it smooth (I learnt this only after I’d already made these Kaju Katlis and mine are therefore a little homey with a few cracks here and there and they’re not as pliable as the store bought ones. My Kaju Katlis were a bit stiff but not hard. Next time I will try the kneading step as well. Kaju Katli is a classic very elegant sweet and it’s great that you can make these in under half an hour and it doesn’t involve oil or too much ghee. Oil always makes me guilty, sugar doesn’t. It’s strange. Prep time: 5 mins Cooking time: 10 mins Makes: 30 small diamonds Ingredients Cashewnuts (un-salted) – 150 gmSugar – 1-1/4 cupWater – 1-1/4 cupGhee – 1 tbsp Method 1.      Dry roast cashew nuts in a kadai/skillet on low for 1-2 minutes till lightly toasted but not browned. 2.      Grind the cashew nuts to a very fine powder in a mixie or food processor. Set aside. 3.      In a wide pan, combine sugar and water together and bring to a boil. Let is continue boiling till it reaches one-string consistency. From being runny, it’ll start getting sticky and syrupy after some time. Do this test – Take a small drop of the sugar syrup between your thumb...

Falooda

Falooda is my husband’s favourite dessert order at any restaurant and we’ve tasted quite a lot of versions of Falooda – some really interesting ones. One version had tutti-frutti, another had different colours of vermicelli, and yet another one had javvarisi (sago) which I think was their substitute for Basil seeds (sabja seeds) that are traditionally used in Faloodas. I searched high and low and couldn’t find these basil seeds anywhere. If anyone knows where I can find these in Chennai do let me know. My Falooda is also a Basil seed-less Falooda and is most similar to the Falooda served in Fruit shop. It’s a wonderfully fulfilling dessert to round off a meal where you’ve had a little bit of everything and you’re pleasantly satiated. Falooda is one of those extremely impressive but deceptively simple desserts to pull off provided you have all the components prepared before-hand and chilled. Falooda makes a wonderful occasional treat for kids. My kids insist on eating desserts themselves and they look like greedy little kittens that have fallen face first into ice-cream buckets. My son (not yet 2 years old) gets his ice cream on his nose and up till his eyebrows – I don’t know how. I invariably wouldn’t be able to find my camera at those instances and I always miss taking those Pinteresty pictures. Preparation time: 15 minsCooking time: 10 minsMakes: 6 servings Ingredients Ice Cream – 750 ml any flavour (I used Kwality Walls Pineapple flavour tub)Jelly – 1 packVermicelli – 100 gmCut Fruits – 2 cups (I used 2 mangoes)Rooh Afza rose syrup – 6 tbspMilk – 2 cupsSugar – 7 tbsp Method 1.      Cook vermicelli in milk till soft but not mushy. Add sugar when the vermicelli is cooked. Mix  well. Use just enough milk to immerse the vermicelli. If you have those long vermicelli strands, break them up before you boil them in milk. Make sure the cooked vermicelli is a thick mixture and not too runny. Refrigerate. 2.      Make any flavoured jelly as per pack instructions, which is usually to pour boiling water into a bowl containing the jelly powders. Stir well. Set aside to set for 30-45 minutes and then refrigerate. 3.      Cut fruits into tiny cubes. I used ripe mangoes. You can use any combination of fruits – apples, bananas etc. Refrigerate till serving time. 4.      Before serving, cut up the jelly into...

Sweet Potato Kheer – Somberi Series

To celebrate my 50th post, I am posting an easy Somberi dessert recipe. This is so easy, so quick and tastes delicious. The khoa is the secret ingredient that elevates this simple fruit kheer to another level. The Khoa makes the kheer velvety, rich and luscious. I love adding un-sweetened khoa to my dishes. It is a wonderfully versatile ingredient. You should try it too. I’ve added it to curries and gravies with great success. I’ll share a khoa based gravy recipe sometime soon. Lately, I’ve been really swamped at work and haven’t had time to tell you too many stories along with the recipes. I know many of you were mighty relieved and I even noticed a slight upswing in my pageviews. But I’ll still tell these stories. The very first time I made Sweet potato Kheer, it was for my husband’s pot-luck at office and it created quite a stir as to what exactly it was. You see the kheer had thickened to a halwa consistency by lunch time and my husband had to spin it as a kheer-cum-halwa. All for good, as the guy responsible for cutlery didn’t bring them and I hadn’t provided spoons either. Halwa is a lot easier to eat by hand than Kheer. Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 20 minsServes: 5-6 Ingredients Sweet Potatoes – ½ kiloMilk – ½ litreSugar – 1 cup (adjust)Unsweetened Khoa – 4 tbsp (optional)Slivered Almonds – a handful for garnishing Method 1.      Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them into ½ inch thick rounds. 2.      In a wide pan, bring around half of the milk (1/2 litre) to a boil. Crumble the khoa and add to the pan. Stir well. Drop in the sliced sweet potatoes. The milk should be just enough to immerse the sweet potatoes. Cover and cook on low for around 15 minutes or till the sweet potatoes are cooked through and soft. 3.      Remove from fire. Let cool and run the mixture through a food processor/blender for a smooth consistency. Add a little milk if the mixture is too thick. 4.      Transfer the pureed sweet potato mixture again to the pan and simmer. Add sugar, taste and adjust the quantity. Mix well. Add some milk if it gets too thick. When the sugar has dissolved and it is a nice kheer consistency, remove from fire. Let cool down. Refrigerate till serving time. Serve topped...

Easy Chocolate Brownie with dark chocolate frosting

Chocolate brownie with dark chocolate frosting is something I can imagine ordering anywhere. Chocolate – good, Dark chocolate – even better. There is something so deliciously seductive and irresistible about chocolate, that it’s just plain addictive. Chocolate brownies are so easy to whip up at home that you’ll wonder why you ever scurried to “Cookie Man” (Sometimes the brownies at Cookie Man smell burnt and taste quite hideous) or “Coffee day” for a brownie. These chocolate brownies are dark, fudgy and so full of chocolate, they’re delicious. The final brownie batter is so wonderfully silky and chocolatey that by the time the flour and cocoa were mixed in, my daughter squealed “chocolate, amma chocolate” and dipped her little fingers into the batter to lick it up. She likes helping me bake, my son too. They grab a handful of measured out flour to powder themselves, break eggs, rummage through my tableware drawer for the most fragile pieces, empty icicng sugar packets and start fighting by the time the butter is creamed. They make baking a cake as gruelling and as dramatic as a master-chef challenge. Beat butter, turn around, grab the glass bowl, pull the sieved flour further away, put back the bowl and retrieve the icing sugar, give them cookie cutters instead to play with… Yeppa!   You could serve these brownies just as they are. They’re that yummy. Or you could up the chocolate quotient even more and frost them with this lip-smacking dark chocolate frosting. I generally don’t frost all of my squares at once owing to my family who are generally not very frosting crazy. I frost only a few of the squares and leave the rest as they are. I love it either way. You could even serve these brownies topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some chopped nuts and chocolate sauce for an impressive dessert. I am a dessert crazy person. Even if everybody is totally full or it’s already too late and we need to get back to office or nobody feels like dessert, I feel like dessert, always. I crave something sweet after every meal. Having these brownies in the fridge, calms my nerves. I know I have a sweet ending waiting. I used Hershey’s chocolate brownie and frosting recipe. Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 30 minsServes: 16 squares Ingredients Butter – 1/2 cupAll purpose flour/Maida – 1/2 cupCocoa powder – 1/3...

Eggless Chocolate cake

This eggless chocolate cake is a delicious not-too-sweet cake. It is simple, un-fussy and pretty quick too. The condensed milk gives it a wonderfully sweet “mithai” tone to it. I served this cake as is, sans any frosting and it was a huge hit at home. I adapted this recipe from the Morphy Richard manual. This is a great cake to try for beginners as there is no sugar to cream. The first time I made this chocolate cake I used an entire tin of condensed milk plus some more milk and ended up with mithai really. Guess what – it tasted great, really, it tasted like no other cake (it wasn’t a cake). I loved it. My sister like it a lot too. It tasted exactly like kalakand (Indian milk sweet) and it took nearly 1-1/2 hours in the oven. Knowing me you should have realized it wasn’t intentional. I read the “300 gm” condensed milk as “300 ml”. I am not usually this bad but sometimes I am. The batter was a little too runny, but some cake batters are like that, and I didn’t give it much thought. I put it into the oven and even after half an hour it kept bubbling like a kozhambu. I knew then that something was wrong and even before I looked up the recipe I somehow realized that this was what I would have done. Sometimes when you try extra hard to remember something, you forget that (do you?). The recipe below is for eggless chocolate cake (not the kalakand). I will someday post the innovative oven baked kalakand recipe as well. Preparation time: 15 minsBaking time: 30 minsServes: 7  Ingredients Butter – 1/3 cup softenedAll purpose flour/Maida – 3/4 cupCocoa powder – 2 tbspBaking powder – 1-1/2 tspBaking soda – 1/2 tspWater – 110 mlVanilla essence – 1/2 tspCondensed milk – 300 gm (3/4 of a milkmaid 400 gm tin) Method 1.      Grease and line a 7 inch round baking pan. Preheat oven to 170 degree centigrade. 2.      Sieve flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together twice. Set aside. 3.      Mix vanilla essence and water and set aside. 4.      Beat butter till soft and creamy. Add condensed milk and continue beating for 2-3 minutes till well mixed. 5.      Add flour and water mixture alternately starting and ending with flour and stir to make sure all the flour is...

Carrot cupcake with Cream cheese frosting

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting I like the idea of baking fruits and vegetables into cakes. It makes for wonderfully flavoured, moist cakes with distinctive fruity undertones. These cakes rarely need any more adornment. I used the carrot cake recipe from pinchofyum (halved her recipe to make 15 cupcakes) because it was the simplest carrot cake recipe that I could find that didn’t call for applesauce. These carrot cupcakes are all about carrots and carrots only. They turned out really soft and moist and tasted great. These cupcakes are delicious had out of the oven or chilled. Cream cheese frosting just adds even more oomph to the carrot cupcakes. I used the leftover frosting from the red velvet cupcakes to frost 9 of these carrot cupcakes. My family is not a huge fan of frosting, so I am always on the lookout for frosting-less cakes that taste good on their own and these carrot cupcakes fit the bill perfectly. My finicky family really liked these carrot cupcakes! So full marks to this recipe. Also I feel better to have used up fruits/vegetables that may otherwise just grow old in our fridge. Our fridge is like a museum, dig deep and you’ll find a long forgotten gravy from 2 weeks back, 2 hardened chappathi dough balls, a wilted, dying cucumber and sour curd that has soured 10X times. I excavate these historic pieces from time to time but not often enough as is apparent. I am sending this off to Neela’s Dish it out “Carrot & Cheese” event. Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 30 minsServes: 15 Ingredients Flour – 1 cupSugar – 1 cupCinnamon – 1 tspBaking soda – 1 tspSalt – a pinchGrated carrots – 1-1/2 cupsEggs – 2Vegetable oil – 3/4 cup Method 1.      Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Grease and line the cupcake pans 2.      Sift flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda together. Add sugar to the flour mixture. 3.      Beat eggs in a bowl till light and frothy. Mix oil and grated carrots in another bowl. 4.      Add the eggs to the carrot mixture and beat well for 1-2 minutes. Add flour mixture to the carrot mixture and beat till all the flour is properly incorporated. 5.      Use an ice cream scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake pans making sure to fill only 3/4 of the cup. 6.      Bake for 30 minutes...

Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting No blog is complete without the glamorous red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting. So here is my version or rather my adaptation of Hershey’s red velvet cake recipe to add to the millions of red velvets out there. I tasted red velvet cake for the first time at Cupcake Company in Chennai and I was smitten. The cream cheese frosting is really one of the most elegant frostings out there, so delicately tangy and sweet, I loved it. It was love at first bite. I made a heart-shaped red velvet cake for Valentine’s Day. Now, before you call me names for being kitschy, I need to tell you. We are a very in-expressive, un-romantic pair, my husband and I; we cannot act sweet/romantic. We just can’t, quite like Surya in “Mounam Pesiyadhe”. We don’t celebrate month/week/day anniversaries of when we met, when we said those dreadful 3 words (we didn’t say those at all), when we first went out together, when we kicked each other, when he first lied, when I first hung up on him etc. We don’t “like” each other’s posts on facebook, we don’t post mushy messages and lovey dovey pictures, we don’t call each other “Honey/baby/dear/Other awful names” (Yuck!) and we hate PDA (public display of affection). Squirrel’s love bite at the right top corner I wanted to bake red velvet cake for quite some time and Valentine’s Day was coming up. Nothing like a combo-deal! I had to mix the two. My husband was mighty flattered, except that the one thing he had to do, he screwed up. He only had to remove the cake out of the oven, that’s it. But then he left the cake right there to cool in the baking room upstairs (yeah I have a separate baking room, not because our house is too big, but because our kitchen is too small) and our fuzzy squirrel friends had to have a bite. I took it as a compliment. I adapted Hershey’s red velvet cake recipe and changed the amount of salt and red food colouring. I used the tomato red food colour powder that comes in tiny boxes and is available in most department stores. I used one box entirely which contains roughly one tablespoon of food colour. The cake came out really well and I was really pleased with the results. It...

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