Kerala Plum Cake

Merry Christmas

I was in a full baking mode this Christmas...*smiles*...I managed to bake 2 cakes....And I still don't know why I baked two!!!

Even though it was Advent, I couldn't resist myself from licking the batter of this cake because it was sooo tasty and when it was being baked in the oven, my home was filled with the smell of the spices and the dry fruits.....This is why I love baking...*smiles*....your two senses (taste and smell) are been stimulated before, during and after baking!!! *winks*....


Here is the recipe of my second cake:

Ingredients
Recipe Source: Swapna's Cuisine

1. Butter - 100 gms
    Ghee - 125 gms
2. Powdered Sugar - 300 gms
    Egg yolks - 4
    Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
    Ground Orange peel - 1/4 tsp
    Sugar - 4 tbsps (to carmalize)
3. Mixed dry fruits - 600gms
    Cashewnuts - 100 gms
    Brandy/Rum - 1/2 cup
4. Flour/Maida - 250gms
    Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
    Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
    Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp
    Clove powder - 1/4 tsp
    Nutmeg powder - 1/4 tsp
5. Milk - 1/4 cup
6. Egg whites - 4
    Lime juice - 3 tbsps
    Sugar - 4 tbsps

Method

To Prepare the Fruits
  • Chop all dry fruits and cashewnuts finely and saok them in Brandy/Rum in a clean dry bottle for minimum one week. Stir the fruits atleast once a day. {Store them a year in advance for more taste.}
  • On the day of baking the cake, transfer these fruits to a heatproof container with lid and steam them in a steamer or pressure cooker for 10 mins. Remove the lid and allow the fruits to cool completely.
To Caramelize Sugar
  • Heat 4 tbsps sugar in a pan sturring continuously. When it becomes dark brown, add 1 cup of hot water and stir until it becomes thick. Cool it. {Be careful}
Preparing the flour mix
  • Sieve together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, clove powder and nutmeg powder. Toss the steamed and cooled fruits in the flour-mix well in a large bowl, so that the fruits are completely coated. Keep aside.
For the cake batter
  • Cream butter, ghee and sugar. Add egg yolks one by one and beat in.
  • Add vanilla essence, ground orange peel, caramel syrup and beat well.
  • Add flour-fruit mix slowly alternating with milk to the cream mixture, beginning and ending with the flour-fruit mixture. Stir well with spatula to blend uniformly.
  • Beat egg whites till stiff. Add 4 tbsp sugar and lime juice and beat again. Fold in the egg whites into the cake mixture.
Baking
  • Preheat oven to 170 C/340 F.
  • Line the bottom and sides of the cake pans with lightly greased parchment or butter paper.
  • Pour cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours or till a skewer inserted in the centre come out clean. {In a microwave oven, bake the cake at 600W for 25mins to 30 mins.}
  • Cool in pan on wire racks for 10 mins.
  • Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
Storing the cake
  • Prick holes on the top of the cake with a skewer. Sprinkle 1-2 tsp of Brandy/Rum over the cake. Let it sink in for few minutes. {Use a syringe to inject the Brandy/Rum. I used homemade grape wine, instead of brandy/rum}.
  • Wrap well with parchment paper and then in aluminium foil for storage.
  • Every week, drizzle or brush 1-2 tsp of the Rum/Brandy over the cake, to keep it moist but not soggy.

Once again wishing all of you, from my home to your home a Merry Christmas!!!!


**PS: Guys!!!I managed to get just one snap of this cake (the rest all were blurred)....I thought of posting more pictures when the cake is cut, but unfortunately I am leaving to Kerala tonight since my papa is not keeping well and is in hospital.....So, will post better pictures if I can later on (or maybe next yr for X'mas) and requesting your prayers as well!!!



 

Christmas Plum Cake

Merry Christmas


Finally! It's Christmas time again and the golden memories of X'mas of my childhood and teenage days in Dubai come back again!! *sigh*....Those days decorating the X'mas tree was my main hobby. And then of course finishing mummy's special non-veg dishes was another one! *smiles*....Plum cakes/Fruits cakes were out of question, as mom never bakes (like her daughter)!!!!And we never used to get good fruit cakes back then in Dubai (don't now about the situation now)....But of course, we used to buy the normal icing cakes from the bakery for Christmas....Those were truly the good old days...*sigh*....

And then later on when I came down to India for my Masters, my X'mas were celebrated in my granny's home with uncles, aunties and cousins.....That was the time I really celebrated Christmas in all it's real spirit....I remember, when doing my Masters in Bangalore, I used to book the train or bus tickets to Kerala one month in advance to be at home for X'mas since it was the time when all my cousins used to gather at my granny's home...At home, we used to decorate a real X'mas tree with lights, put stars around the house, burn crackers, go for late-night Mass (not me, of course!!!always wanted to, but every time I surrender to my sleep), have delicious food (made by my aunties) and of course the famous fruit cake of Best Bakers...Ahh....those were the days....golden ones!Miss them to the core.....*sigh*.....Oh, how I wish I had a time machine to travel back to those days!!! *sigh*.......

And to the present scenario (back from those nostalgic memories)....Its only after my son turned two, we actually started celebrating X'mas...He is all excited when it comes to some kind of celebrations, be it Diwali, Onam or even a birthday!! He loves decorating...Each year we set up the tree when he sleeps, so as to surprise him (he loves surprises tooo!)...*smiles*...My younger one also enjoys all these.....
This year, we had three trees decorated - an artificial one and then two natural ones in our garden. We had a crib and lots of stars too!!!But what's Christmas without a glass of wine and fruit cake - and that too both home-made!!! The later, of course by me and the former by my Pappa....*smiles*.....

Enough of the tales, now back to the cake.....This cake recipe I got from Kitchen Mishmash's blog back in 2009, when I was not a serious baker. And so, when I baked the cake back then, I missed out most of the ingredients!! *winks*.....But this time, I had soaked the fruits a year in advance in Brandy. I used only few dry fruits like cherries, cashewnuts and raisins! So, here it is......




 
Ingredients:
Recipe Source: Kitchen Mishmash

For the Batter
Maida/All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups (sifted)
Butter - 3/4 cup (at room temp)
Granulated sugar - 11/2 cups
Egg yolks - 3 large (at room temp)
Egg whites - 3 large (at room temp)
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Wine - 2 tbsps
Vanilla extract/essence - 1 tsp

For soaking the fruits
Tutti Frutti - 1 cup
Raisins - 1/3 cup
Nuts (almonds & cashewnuts) - 1/3 cup
Dates (chopped) - 1/3 cup
Glaced cherries (chopped) - 1/3 cup
Rum/Brandy - 1 1/2 - 2 cups (enough to soak the fruits)

For the Caramel
Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 tbsp + 1/2 cup

For Spice Powders
Caraway seeds/cake jeera/shahjeera (powdered) - 1 tsp
Nutmeg (powdered) - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon (powdered) - 1/4 tsp
Cloves (powdered) - 1/4 tsp
Cardamom (powdered) - 1/4 tsp

Method:
  • Chop all the fruits into small pieces and soak them in Rum/Brandy or in a combination of rum and sweet wine, at least one day in advance. {Soaking can be done days or weeks or months or even upto a year in advance. It will make the fruits more plump and hydrated. The fruits should be soaked thoroughly in alcohol. Also shake the jar once in a while.}
  • Prepare caramel by heating and melting sugar along with 1 tbsp of water, until they turn dark brown. Keep swirling the pan but donot stir it. When sugar is completely melted and bubbles start coming up and if it has reached the colour you want, turn off the stove and place the pan in the sink and pour 1/2 cup of cold water to the caramel. Allow it to come to room temperature. {Hot caramel can create serious burns, so make sure that you play safe and kids are not around while preparing it. Also, while pouring the cold water to the caramel, stand at a safe distance as it will splash in the beginning which may lead to serious burns. Caramel should be completely cold before adding to the batter, else it will spoil the entire batch. You can prepare the caramel in advance and refrigerate it as well.}
  • Preheat the oven at 350 F (180 C). Prepare one 8-inch cake pan and a 6-inch pan by lining the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the paper and grease the sides and sprinkle lightly with the flour.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together.
  • In another small mixing bowl, add the egg whites and beat on medium speed until foamy and the whites begin to look shiny and smooth and form soft peaks, when you stop the mixer and lift the whip. {It is important that the egg whites are beaten in a clean and dry bowl without any trace of grease/fat/water; otherwise the whites will not expand to its full volume.}
  • Mix egg yolks and vanilla essence and beat well for a minute, in low-medium speed.
  • Mix butter and sugar until they are creamy and combined well. Add the beaten mixture of egg yolks and vanilla to this butter-sugar mixture; followed by wine, spice powders and caramel (1/2 cup) and beat thoroughly till everything is creamy and combined.
  • At this stage, add the flour in small quantities and scrape down the bowl once or twice. At the end, stop the hand mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold the thoroughly beaten egg whites very gently (donot beat) until no white streaks are visible.
  • Finally, drain the soaked fruits and keep a half cup of soaked fruits aside. Add the rest of the fruits to the batter and gently fold them into the batter. Toss the half cup fruits, kept aside earlier, in 1 tbsp flour. {Tossing the fruits in flour is to make sure that they spread evenly in the cake and not crowded at the bottom of the cake}
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking tins and just before smoothening the top, add the fruits tossed in flour and then level the top with a spatula, making sure that the fruits are coated with batter as well.
  • Bake for around 1 hour or till a skewer which is inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean without any crumbs. {Bake in a microwave oven at 600W for around 15 mins or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.}
  • Let the cake cool in the tins for 15 mins and later invert it onto a wire rack and let it cool thoroughly for about 45 mins or until it has reached the room temp.Do not cut the cake at this point. Double wrap the cakes using clear plastic wraps and leave it on the kitchen counter for atleast 4 days. On the 5th day, you can cut the cake and serve it with sweet red wine. This cake can be stored in the fridge for several weeks. {It is very important that the cake should rest for 5 days for all the flavor and sweetness to set in. If you cut any day before that, you will not get a correct texture and taste.}




Hope you guys enjoyed my tale and my cake too!!! So, to all my readers and fans, once again wishing everybody from our home to yours a Merry Christmas!!!!


**PS: Guys!!!I know the pitures haven't turned out good (the cake is upside down)....I thought of posting more pictures when the cake is cut, but unfortunately I am leaving to Kerala tonight since my papa is not keeping well and is in hospital.....So, will post better pictures if I can later on (or maybe next yr for X'mas) and requesting your prayers as well!!!


 




Vanilla & Chocolate Cake


Its been quite some days since I have posted something. Last few weekends were hectic - with kids falling sick, a marriage function in Trichur and so on....But in between I did few bakings, which were not worthy to post *winks*....
Today, I decided to bake a marble cake (to improve the previous one)....It started off quite well but towards the end something went wrong somewhere and I had a feeling that the cake would turn out to be another chocolate cake!!!!So decided to be a bit creative and the result of my creativity is what you see in the pictures *LOL!!*...*winks*


This cake is a failed version of my marble cake. So, the ingredients and the method I followed to make this Vanilla & Chocolate Cake is that of the marble cake, which is from Ria's blog.

Ingredients:
Recipe Adapted from: Ria's Collection

Maida/All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cups
Butter - 2/3 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Eggs - 2
Cocoa powder - 4 tbsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Hot water - just enough to make the cocoa paste
Almonds crushed - to decorate



Method:
  • Dilute cocoa powder in the hot water and make a lump free paste. Keep aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, add the other ingredients together and beat well. Divide it into two equal parts. In one, add the cocoa mixture.
  • Take a baking tin which is greased. Pour the vanilla mixture first and sprinkle few crushed almonds on the top. Next pour the cocoa mixture and sprinkle some crushed almonds.
  • Preheat the oven for 5 mins. Bake it at 180 C for 20 mins or till the skewer inserted comes out clean.
Note: In a microwave oven, bake the cake at 600W for 10 mins.







 

White Cake with Orange Zest


Couple of days back, I was going through my recipe diary and found the recipe of this wonderful cake which I had jotted down long back (precisely, 2 yrs back) and completely forgotten!!!So, on Sunday I decided to try it out and wallah it turned out to be sooo delicious *smiles*........


Moreover, it was the most perfect cake I had ever baked *winks*......The cake was soft and sweet, even at the top with no humps; just the way I wanted it!!!*smiles*

Ingredients:
Recipe Source: Kitchen Mishmash

For baking the cake
Cake flour - 1 3/4 cups
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Large egg whites - 3 (room temp)
Whole milk - 3/4 cup (room temp)
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Orange zest - 1 tbsp (not required if you want a plain basic white cake)

For moistening-orange syrup
Water - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Orange juice - 1 tbsp (I used Tropicana)

For filling and frosting
Heavy double cream - 2 cups
Confectioners sugar - 3 tbsp
Orange juice - 1 tbsp (I used Tropicana)



Method:

To Bake the Cake
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare cake pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and greasing the sides with butter and sprinkling some flour.
  • Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Keep it aside.
  • Whisk together the egg whites and milk in a small bowl and keep it aside.
  • Beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until soft and creamy. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy for about 3 minutes.Scrape down the bowl once or twice and then add the vanilla essence and combine everything well.
  • Add the flour mixture in 4 additions - alternately with the egg white and milk mixture; beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beat until smooth on low-medium speed after each addition.
  • Pour the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes with a few moist crumbs or none. the edges will be barely tinged with brown and will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan.
  • Allow it cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then unmould directly onto racks and peel off the parchment paper and let it cool completely.
* If using a microwave oven, then microwave at 600 W for 10 minutes.

To Make the orange syrup
  • In a small saucepan, stir together water and granulated sugar over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot.
  • Turn off the stove and let it cool completely.
  • Add the orange juice just before assembling the cake.
* The moistening syrup can be made in advance but should not be flavored with orange juice until right before using.

For filling and frosting
  • Chill the heavy cream, the bowl and the blades of the beater for half an hour.
  • Combine the heavy cream, confectioner's sugar and 1 tbsp orange juice in a bowl and beat on medium-high speed, until it forms soft peaks.
* Never overbeat the cream as it changes the texture of the whipped cream.

Assembling the Cake
  • When the cake is completely cool and ready to assemble, split the cake horizontally using a knife or a cake leveler.
  • Brush 3 tbsp orange syrup onto the top of each cake layer and spread about 3/4 cup of whipped cream evenly over the first cake layer.
  • Now place the second cake layer and frost the entire cake - sides and tops, with the remaining whipped cream.
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
* You could decorate the cake according to your imagination. I had some oranges and edible silver beads, so used them for decorating the cake. *winks*




 

 

Wheat Cake

Few days back I told JJ about the wheat cake recipe I had found in one of the blogs. He was like “What? A wheat cake?? Oh come on! it would taste like an ada, so pls don’t try it”…. Fine! But I desperately wanted to try out the wheat cake for two reasons-first,it was rich in nutrients since the refined flour (empty calories) was substituted with wheat flour and we use jaggery instead of the normal sugar (which is of course another source of empty calories!!)…..and secondly, I haven't tasted a wheat cake before,so wanted to know how it would taste like!!*smiles*
Finally, yesterday when I had some “me time”, I decided to bake the cake and believe me it took hardly 30 minutes for preparing and baking the cake…..The cake was just delicious---a soft cake with a rich taste of jaggery (I like the taste of jaggery) *smiles*.....And guess what?? even JJ liked it!!!*winks* (according to him, the jaggery had balanced the wheat flour taste).




Ingredients:
Recipe Source: Spicy Chilly

Wheat flour - 200gms
Jaggery - 1 cup (grated loosely filled)
Milk - 1 cup (plus 1-2 tbsp if the batter is thick)
Oil - 1/2 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla - 1/2 tsp

Method:
  • Sieve flour, baking soda and baking powder twice or thrice to combine in a bowl.
  • Add grated jaggery and combine gently.
  • Add milk, vanilla essence and oil. Use a spatula to combine the mixture gently.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30mins at 180 C or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Note: If using a microwave oven, then microwave on high (900W) for 8 minutes.



 

Milk Fudge/Doodh Peda



We both carve for something sweet after our lunch and dinner, anything sweet, even a small bar of chocolate would do! Normally, we buy them and stock. But now-a-days, we don't like the ones bought from the shops. So, I decided to make a 'home-made' sweet for a change....*smiles*....I searched the blogs I have bookmarked and found a relatively easy-to-make recipe on SpicyTasty.


Milk Fudge/Doodh Peda is so simple yet a tasty sweet!!Normally, these are made from paal kova but here we use condensed milk and milk powder. Believe me this is one of the easiest sweet which you can make at home as it takes less than half an hour to make it.

Ingredients:
Recipe Source: Spicy & Tasty

Milk Powder - 2 cups
Condensed Milk - 1 tin
Butter (unsalted) - 1 stick
Nuts - 1/4 cup (I used almonds and raisins)
Cardamom - 6 (grind only the seeds)
Saffron - a pinch

Method:
  • Microwave the butter stick in a wide bowl for a minute.
  • Now add the milk powder and condensed milk and just fold everything.
  • Microwave on high (900W in my oven) the whole mixture for 3-4 mins and every other minute take it out and mix it gently and evenly.
  • Finally add the ground cardamom powder and saffron into it.
  • After that let it cool until you can handle the mixture in your hand.
  • Take a wide plate and grease it, so that the pedas don't stick on the bottom of the plate.
  • Now make round balls out of the mixture using your hand and flatten them to form pedas.
  • Decorate them with nuts of your choice.


 

Biscuit Pudding

I never knew you could make pudding out of biscuits, until I came across the recipe for a biscuit pudding on Divya's Easycooking blog.....*smiles*. The pudding was so easy to make and it was quite tasty too. I would tag this pudding as a 'kid-friendly recipe', because the kids would love it.


You would find most of the recipes I had tried out is from Divya's Easycooking blog. Thats because as her blog title suggests, her recipes are easy to follow and require less effort!! *smiles*




Ingredients:
Recipe Source: Divya's EasyCooking

Marie biscuits - 1 packet
Milk - 1 packet (500ml)
Sugar - 5 tbsps
Cornflour - 3 tbsps
Cocoa powder - 3 tbsps
Coffee decotion* - 4-5 tbsps diluted with 2-3 tbsps of water
Nuts - to garnish (I used cashewnuts, almond and pista)




Method:
  • Dip the marie biscuits in the coffee decotion (both sides) and layer them in a serving bowl.
  • In a pan, boil milk and add sugar.
  • In a bowl, mix cocoa powder and cornflour. Make a paste using very little milk, taking care not to form any lumps.
  • When the milk boils, add the cocoa - cornflour paste and mix well. It will thicken immediately, so keep stirring.
  • Remove from the flame when it thickens, but still of pouring consistency (similar to custard).
  • While still hot, pour it over the biscuits and cover the biscuits completely with the sauce.
  • Garnish with nuts of your choice (this is optional too).
  • Refrigerate for 4-5hrs and serve chilled.
* You could use instant coffee powder too. Mix 1-2 tsps of instant coffee powder with 3-4 tbsps of warm water.





 

Black Forrest Cake

Finally, I did it. I baked a better Black Forrest cake. In Malayalam there is a saying "If you fail once, then it takes thrice to win" (onnil pezhachaal moonu). The saying has become true in this case. This was my third attempt and was quite determined to bake a better one.


As usual, I got the recipe from Divya's Easycooking. This time I was lucky enough to get the whipping cream at the store. When using the whipping cream for decoration, be generous. I would suggest using atleast 400ml of whipping cream to get a creamy black forrest cake. My whipped cream was not enough to decorate the whole cake, but somehow I managed.....*smiles*


Ingredients
Recipe Source: Divya's Easycooking

For the Cake
Condensed milk-Milkmaid - 400gms (1can)
Butter - 125 gms
Maida/Flour - 225 gms
Cocoa powder - 3-4 tbsps
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Aerated cola - 200ml (I used Coco-Cola)

For the Sugar Syrup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup

For the Cream
Fresh cream - 300 ml (use 400ml)
Powdered sugar - 4-5 tbsps (I used icing sugar)
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

For Filling and Garnish
Cherries - 1 packet
Milk Chocolate - 1 (I used Cadbury's Dairy Milk)
Edible silver beads - few
Chocolate strands - 100gms



Method

Preparing the Cake
  • Grease and line a round baking tin. Preheat oven to 150 C.
  • Microwave butter for 1 min on high to melt it. Let it cool.
  • Add milkmaid to the butter and beat well.
  • Sift together maida, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Add maida mix to the milkmaid-butter mixture alternating with cola till maida and cola are finished.
  • Pour into the greased baking tin and bake for 30-40 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack
Note: If baking in a microwave oven, then microwave on high for 8-10mins.

Preparing the sugar syrup
  • In a thick bottom pan, mix sugar and water and boil till the sugar melts. Keep aside to cool.
Preparing the cream
  • Keep the cream and beater blades in the freezer for about half an hour.
  • Add sugar and essence to the chilled cream.
  • Beat well till the cream is thick and forms soft peaks.
  • Keep refrigerated till use.
Assembling the Cake
  • Cut the cake into 3-4 layers horizontally.
  • Keep one layer of the cake on the serving plate.
  • Sprinkle 3-4 tbsps of sugar syrup on it.
  • Spread 2-3 tbsps of whipped cream on top of the cake.
  • Add chopped cherries on top.
  • Repeat with other layers.
  • Cover the cake completely with whipped cream on all sides and the top.
  • Level the top and sides with a broad spatula dipped in chilled water.
  • Decorate the top with chocolate shavings, cherries and silver beads.
  • I decorated the sides with chocolate strands.
  • Keep chilled in the fridge till use.


The 'scarcity' of the whipped cream can be seen in these photos but nevertheless, I can't resist sharing more photos of my success.




 

Kesari/Rava Kesari

Happy Diwali!!!


Apart from my passion for baking, I love to make Indian sweets. Indian sweets are quite simple to prepare as they require minimum ingredients but you need to follow each step carefully to get the desired result.



I found this recipe for Rava Kesari or simply Kesari on Spicy and Tasty blog. The recipe required very little ingredients and of course it was easy to prepare...*smiles*.....I prepared this 2 days in advance and by Diwali it was over!!!



So here is my sweety Diwali treat for all my readers....Do try and enjoy!! *smiles*

Ingredients:
Recipe Source: Spicy and Tasty Blog

Semolina/Rava - 1/2 cup
Water/Milk - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Broken cashews - 1-2 tbsps
Ghee - 2-3 tbsps
Cardamom pod - 1/4 tsp
Saffron - a pinch
Food coloring - few drops (optional)
Essence like vanilla, pineapple, rose etc - few drops (optional)

Method:
  • In a skillet heat the ghee. Roast the cashews until brown. Remove the cashews and set aside.
  • In the same pan, roast the semolina for 2-3 mins in low flame. It will start being aromatic. The purpose for doing this slow roasting is dual - for avoiding lumps while adding water later and also to get rid of the rawness of the semolina.
  • Alternatively bring the water to a boil.
  • Now slowly add the water to the semolina, making sure to keep stirring the pan so that the semolina does not form into lumps. The semolina should be completely cooked and you can find it out by touching it. It will be soft, will not stick to the sides and will come together as one mass.
  • At this point add the sugar. Make sure to add sugar only after the semolina is well cooked.
  • Sprinkle it over evenly on the surface. Keep stirring while the sugar melts and comes together into a thick pudding like consistency.
  • At this point add the saffron, cashews and food coloring if using (I added few drops of food coloring).
Note: You can use milk instead of water. I used milk for cooking the semolina as it gives a rich taste.





 

Arrow Root Halwa


This halwa recipe was an experiment which me and my mom had done....*smiles* Arrow root or kuva podi (in Malayalam) is good for small kids. My kids don't like the kurukku made out of arrow root. So, my mom decided to make a halwa out of it!!!  (What an idea mummyji!)....*smiles* 

Ingredients:
Arrow root powder - 2 1/2 cups
Jaggery/Sharkara - 1/2 kg
Coconut grated - 1/2 cup
Cardamom - 2-3 nos
Ghee - 2-3tbsps
Water - accordingly

Method:
  • Mix the arrow root powder thoroughly in water so that no lumps are formed.
  • Melt jaggery in a pan.
  • Keep the above mixture on medium flame and stir. Then add the melted jaggery.
  • Keep stirring the mixture till it turns to a gel form.
  • Then add the grated coconut and stir well.
  • Add crushed cardamoms and ghee to the mixture.
  • Keep stirring the mixture till it leaves the sides of the pan.
  • Serve hot or cold. Usually halwas taste good once it cools down.


I would label this recipe as a "tricky recipe" like the carrot halwa, for fussy and picky eaters.......*smiles*


 

Carrot Halwa/Gajar ka Halwa


When it comes to eating carrots, most of the kids are quite hesistant....(The same is the case at my home too *smiles*). So, the only way to make my kids eat carrots is through this sweet dish.

Ingredients:
Recipe Source: http://www.indobase.com/

Carrots - 1 1/2 kg
Condensed Milk - 200 gm
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder - 2 tsp
Grated cashew nuts and almonds - handful

Method:
  • Wash and grate the carrots finely.
  • Transfer the grated carrots to a pressure cooker.
  • Cook for about 2 mins.
  • Remove the lid of the cooker and allow the excess water to evaporate.
  • Keep churning the carrots occassionally.
  • Pour the condensed milk and ghee over the cooked carrots.
  • Simmer till all are well blended.
  • Remove from the flame.
  • Sprinkle with grated cashewnuts, almonds and cardamom powder.
  • Carrot Halwa is ready to serve.
You can even add fried raisins along with the cashewnuts and almonds. Any Indian sweets,when served chilled tastes better.


 

Semiya Payasam/Vermicilli Kheer


Ingredients:

Semiya/Vermicilli - 1 cup
Milk - 1 litre
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Salt - a pinch (optional)
Cashew Nuts - 10 nos
Raisins - a few
Cardamom - 5 nos (crushed)
Ghee - 2tbsp

Method:
  • Fry the cashew nuts and raisins in the ghee and keep it aside.
  • Fry vermicilli in ghee till it turns golden brown. Keep it aside.
  • Boil milk.
  • Add the fried vermicilli to the milk and cook on low flame for 7-10mins.
  • Add sugar, salt and the crushed cardamom and boil.
  • Sprinkle fried cashew nuts and raisins.
  • Serve hot or chilled.
I prefer serving it chilled as it tastes more sweeter.....*smiles*