Food, Recipes…..garnished with memories

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Stewed Pears in Orange Juice With Dry Fruit Chikki

Is it evident that I have a sweet tooth?

Let me give you a sneak-peak into my bag. You will find, a bar of chocolate, a box of raisins, a lip-balm, few cadbury eclairs, lots of chocolate wrappers and a phone. So basically it’s not sweet tooth, it’s a  sweet jaw!

It feels great when you wake up early morning, only to realize that you have a day off! Cooking is my way of relaxing. I had to make something using whatever ingredients I had. My mom always tells me, a good cook always makes the best use of whatever ingredients available and mothers are always right!

I had some crunchy pears in my fridge. Pears it is!

Juicy and crunchy Pears

Its a very comforting feeling when you know that you have all the ingredients ready and there is no need to run to the store.

I am armed! 🙂

A new addition to my kitchen! Scrapper cum fridge-magnet! Cool stuff! 😀

Baby Scooper. Can I just go awww?!

This dessert is a tool. It combats:

a. Impulsive craving for sweets.

b. Irregular grumpies

c. Panic attacks. (In my case, I have too much to do in the coming week and a wedding to attend. I should have started on with my diet today! damn! )

Orange Juice

After I am done with this, I will surely lose start exercising regularly and lose some weight. Promise. (but my fingers are crossed behind my back.)

Crisp, Buttery- Dry fruit chikki/praline

All set to be stewed

There are some simple rules of enjoying this dessert

1. You are not allowed to eat the crunchy chikki/praline all at once.  Not unless you live by yourself… then you totally can!

2. You must eat this dessert with ice-cream. Vanilla and Butterscotch preferred.

3. You should appreciate the light mauve color, the pear takes after it is stewed. It’s really beautiful.

Oooh la laaaaa!


2 Pears- Scooped in the middle

1 cup Orange Juice

1 tsp Cinnamon powder

1 tsp Nutmeg

2-3 tsp Sugar

For the Chikki

1 tsp butter

1 cup Dry Fruits of your choice ground coarsely

3-4 tsp sugar


Scoop out the seeds of the pears, with a scooper/spoon. In a pan, take the orange juice, sugar, water, cinnamon and nutmeg and bring it to a boil. Tip in the scooped out pears and cook for about 10 minutes. Now take the pears out and microwave them for about 6 mins. Put them back again in the orange-spice syrup and allow it to simmer.

In a separate pan, take the butter and sugar. Add water, just enough to wet the sugar. Bring it to a boil and add in the dry fruits. Give it a mix and spread it out on a greased plate and allow it to cool.

Take a bowl, scoop out some ice-cream, take the pears and place the dry fruit mix in the scooped out part of pears. The pears should be hot/warm.

Enjoy this wonderful hot and cold dessert!

More to come 🙂 …….


Strawberry Upside-down Chocolate Cake

I have been dreaming about food these days. Not that it’s something new, but back then it was more about eating, now its only about cooking. I could have posted this recipe on the Valentine’s day but that would be such a cliché! Chocolate. Strawberries. How predictable for a Valentine’s day?

Ain't they prettyyyyy!?

Sunday mornings are the best! I feel I am at my “creative-best” on Sunday mornings. I had to bake today. Umm something with strawberries, may be?! I started thinking of all the combinations possible with strawberry. Strawberry and Cinnamon. Strawberry and Coffee. Strawberry and Cardamom. Finally after some thinking and a small chat with a friend… it was Strawberry and Chocolate! Duh-huh! My failed attempt to kill the cliché!


I started writing the post while the cake was still baking. Now that it is baked and unmolded (one of the dreaded moments!), I am not really happy with the way it looks :(.   Initially I was apprehensive about posting it, but when I tasted it, it was just the way I thought it would taste. Absolutely delicious. I pictured it to look differently though! I thought it would be a layer of beautiful strawberry pink on top of a rich dark brown chocolate cake.

Strawberries and Brown Sugar

Are you able to imagine?!

I am a little upset, but the taste made it up for me! May be I should have added a dash of lemon juice on the strawberries to stop them from de-colorizing. Lesson learnt.

Do not judge the book by its cover. How true.

Best eaten when warm

Did you know that the word upside-down is hyphenated when used as an adjective? Upside-down describes the cake here. I am working big time in the adjective land.

And that’s why I teach English!

Class dismissed.


1 cup strawberries (cut into rounds)

1 1/3 cup flour

1 cup castor sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup fresh cream

A pinch of salt

2-3 large spoons of brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the cream, butter and castor sugar in a bowl till you get a creamy homogeneous mixture. Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and salt, 3-4 times.  Mix the batter properly in one direction. To get the right consistency add milk and start folding the batter.

Grease the baking dish with butter. Cut the strawberries into rounds and align them in the baking dish. Sprinkle some brown sugar.

Spread the cake batter on the strawberries  and put the baking dish in the pre-heated oven, at 180 degrees for 35 minutes.

Serve warm, with whipped cream/ice cream.

More to come…. 🙂

Chickpea Salad-With Asian Dressing

After I made the Soya Patties, my mother has secretly taken a picture of the kitchen which she thinks is “messy”. She has threatened me that, she will post it if I don’t clean up the “mess” after the cooking is done. I wonder if all the mothers have this issue!

Moving on. While I was coming back from work today, I saw some really fresh spring onions. That got me thinking. I was hungry. I wanted something as soon as I reached home. I had the *Conditions Apply clause as well (to clean the “mess”). I surely had some serious thinking to do.

After reaching home, I found some boiled chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber and capsicum. Normally with these ingredients, I make a quick chaat, adding some chaat masala, pepper, salt and finally a dash of lemon. Filling and satisfying. Now that I have a blog, I do feel the need to jazz up the food a bit.

I am not a salad person at all. I would prefer anything deep fried, buttery, sweet- any day!

Can I just pat on my back and say how delicious this salad is? Quick. Easy. Unexpectedly yummy.

Also, the whole process brings in lot of memories. Chopping vegetables was how my tete-a-tete with food began and it still continues my favorite part about cooking (one of the reasons why I don’t fancy a food processor)


Where it all began! 🙂

This salad is super versatile! Think of the directions and ingredients below as suggestions:

Use rocket lettuce to add the extra crunch.

Add a dash of lime juice along with some zest for the extra tang.

Sprinkle some bhujia sev on top! ( My dad did this, and it tasted great! )

You can just try anything! If it sounds delicious in your  brain, it surely will be delicious in the salad. 🙂



1/2 cup of sesame seeds (soaked for 30 mins)

1/4 cup of roasted peanuts

2-3 cloves of garlic

2-3 green chillies

Salt- To taste

1/2 cup hung curd

2 teaspoons Soya Sauce

2 teaspoon Orange juice

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

1 teaspoon sesame oil


1 cup boiled chickpeas

1 small tomato (finely chopped)

6 sprigs of Spring onions

1 cucumber ( finely chopped)

Quarter capsicum (finely chopped)

Make a paste of soaked sesame, peanuts and green chilies. I personally love the flavor of chili when roasted on a flame for sometime. You can very well used the fresh green chilies. Prepare the dressing for the salad by mixing all the ingredients with the sesame-peanut paste.

In a large bowl mix the chickpeas, tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber and capsicum. Pour the dressing and toss the salad.

Final touch- Few drops of sesame oil.


Yes! I have a mickey mouse spoon! (Only legs seen here 😦 )


Who said salads are boring?!

More to come….. 🙂

P.S. The kitchen has been cleaned. In fact I think it’s cleaner than before. 😉

Potato and Soya Patties with Cream Cheese and Brown Onion Filling

  I have this habit of going into sudden diets (which last for 2-3 days, sometimes even a week!). This happens periodically  when a marriage or any sort of get-together is approaching. My mom always gets to hear “Ma! From Monday on wards, I shall be on strict diet. Only fruits and water”. Two weeks back the same thing happened and I got soya chunks (I HAD decided to go for a protein diet) from the grocery store. Two Mondays have passed, and my diet… well the less said, the better! Sunday snack is a big occasion in my house. Usually my cousins come over (sometimes with their “demands”) and I am always  more than happy to cook.  So, to cover up my guilt of not going on a “protein diet”, I decided to make something using the soya chunks.

While writing this post I am reminded of the ad which was on air sometime back where a boy says to his friend while sharing his lunch-box “Teri mummy ka veg, meri  mummy ke non-veg se better hai”. One of the moments when I felt proud being a vegetarian. I am unable to find the link to that ad.  Here is another funny one which I managed to find:

Coming back to the patties. This can serve as a perfect snack or as a cutlet for the burger or a franky, make a nice ragada and you have the ragada patties with a twist! Today while picking up the ingredients from the refrigerator, I came across, hung curds,  which was meant for the salad dressing that I was planning to make, but I was way too inspired (read guilt)  by the soya chunks. Brown onions and cheese is a winning combination and hence I decided to use this mixture as the stuffing.

The Pre-preparation

I generally like to cook, keeping all the ingredients ready before I start. Its basically an excuse for my laziness to avoid going to the fridge again and again.  😀

Soaked Soya Chunks

Fried Gram Or Hurikadle- For the binding


You can play around with the stuffing here. Processed cheese/ Cottage cheese  with mint can be a good substitute for the filling.

For the Patties:

 1 bowl soaked soya chunks

 3 medium sized potatoes (boiled)

1 small bowl of fried gram (powdered)

2 tsp red chili powder

 1 tsp cumin/jeera powder

1 tsp coriander/dhania powder

Salt  as per your taste

Olive oil -for frying

For the Stuffing/Filling

 1 small bowl hung curds

 2 tsp fresh cream  (optional)

1 large sized Onion cut into thin slices

2 Green Chilies

 Few sprigs of fresh oregano

1 tsp Oil


Soak the soya chunks for 20 minutes in hot water. Remove the excess water and grind the chunks coarsely. Mix in the boiled and mashed potatoes, salt, red chili powder, cumin , coriander powder  and powdered fried gram powder. You can also use bread crumbs or roasted gram flour as the binding.

For the cream cheese filling, in a hot pan, add 2 tsp of olive oil and tip in the onions. Add just a bit of sugar to caramelize the onions and make sure that the flame is low. Once all the onions turn brown take the pan off the gas and let the mixture cool.

In a different bowl, take hung curds, add a bit of cream , green chilies, fresh oregano and salt. Add the brown onion mixture once it is cooled down to the room temperature.

Make medium- sized round patties  of the soya and potato mixture. The brown onion mixture should be sandwiched between two patties.

Shallow fry the patties, till both the sides turn golden.

Serve it with mint chutney.

Yummy Patties!

Semolina Coffee Cups with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce

And we start! My first post and I am thrilled to bits! As per the Indian tradition, a sweet dish is always a great start. So I decided to go with something traditional… with an edge. I am an avid masterchef series fan and I remember in that previous season of Masterchef Australia, when George Calombaris’ mother came in as one of the judges and was asked how different her food was when compared to George’s, she replied “Well! I don’t bastardize the food like George!.” I think by “bastardize” she meant, the new-age fusion food. This is my first attempt in fusion food and the recipe I have chosen is the very simple “Sheera” or “Kesari Bhaat”.

Let me tell you how the idea for this post came about. During my childhood days,when I was growing up in my grandmother’s house, a craving for sweet meant 1) Holige or Obbattu or Pooran Poli  2) Sheera or Kesari Bhaat and         3) Sihi Sajjige. My favorite one was Sihi Sajjige. It was made out of semolina, jaggery , milk , cardamom powder and the quintessential ghee/clarified butter.  One of the reasons why this dish was my favorite because it was brown in color which reminded me of chocolate. The edge in my version of Sheera is….. chocolate!!!

Sheera is a very versatile Indian sweet dish. One can add mango or strawberry pulp and it completely enhances the taste. Semolina Coffee Cups with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce! There’s coffee, there’s chocolate and there is caramel!! How can one possibly go wrong!? You can serve this with ice cream to add an extra edge. It can also be eaten as a breakfast ( a good break from the regular oats, cornflakes etc).

So make this, seat yourself comfortably with a bowl,and just sit back and relax after all the tiring efforts.


For the coffee cups


1.  2 cups of milk

2. 1/2 cup semolina/rava

3. 1 tsp of ghee/clarified butter

4. 1/2 cup sugar

5. 1/2 cup of strong filter coffee decoction or 2 1/2 tsp of instant coffee powder

For the sauce


1. 3 tsp of brown sugar

2. 3 tsp of cocoa powder

3. 1/2 cup of milk


Take a pan and roast the semolina with a tsp of ghee for about 5-6 minutes. Take it off the flame and let it cool.

Roast the semolina with a bit of ghee

Add two cups of milk and continue to stir till it starts to boil. Add sugar and the roasted semolina. Make sure that the flame is low, else you will end up with the semolina lumps.  Add coffee decoction and continue stirring till the mixture thickens.

Add the coffee decoction to the boling milk

Continue to stir till the mixture thickens

Once the coffee-semolina mixture thickens (the consistency should be such that it can be easily molded into any desired shape), with the help of a mold, give it a nice cup like shape.

For the sauce, take brown sugar,   of cocoa powder and half cup of milk and bring it to boil. Allow it to simmer gently on a low flame.  Once it reaches a sauce like consistency, take it off the flame.

Coffee cups!

Brown Sugar and Cocoa powder

The chocolate caramel sauce


Just dig in


On a serving plate, place the semolina cups and pour the hot chocolate caramel sauce over it. Sit back, and after a bite be prepared to be transported to heaven.


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