Tag Archives: milk

Dried Fruit & Nut Halwa

My love affair with dried fruits and nuts started when I tasted the dried fruit and nut milk-shake at a restaurant (which I vaguely remember was called Mac) on MG Road in Bangalore. This shake was fit enough to be a meal both in taste and satiation. I remember drooling over this shake and although I have had this shake several times after that at many different places (including chez moi) none measured up to the lofty standard set by the original one. Anyway, I digressed and this post, although is about dried fruits and nuts, is definitely not about shakes but about halwas – the ubiquitous dessert found in almost all cultures and cuisines. Of course, in India, we make halwa with everything ranging from moong dhal to wheat to carrot/potato to pumpkin – looks like we are capable of turning everything to a halwa. “When in doubt, turn it to a halwa” should be a national tagline!

The base template for all halwas is the same – basically, throw in the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed vessel, cook it over low-medium flame for about 30-45 minutes and slowly, in front of your eyes, what was a sticky-icky blob turn will turn into a still lumpy ball that importantly, moves easily when guided with the spoon leaving the sides of the vessel.

The template will have to be tweaked a little bit based on the kind of halwa at hand. For this one,

20 dried figs
20 dried dates
1 cup milk
handful of roasted and chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashew)
1-2 tsp of butter

Start with about 20 pieces of figs and dates soaked over-night in a cup of warm milk. Blend it into a find paste with the milk that was used for soaking.

Add this to a thick-bottomed vessel (I used the cast-iron pot from here) and cook it in a low to medium flame with a tsp of butter.

While the mixture is cooking, coat a clean plate with a tsp of butter and keep it aside.

After about 30-40 minutes of slow cooking, during which time it needs very little attention except for the occasional stir to make sure the mixture cooks evenly, add the chopped nuts and cook for a couple of more minutes making sure the nuts are mixed and incorporated well.

Turn the stove off and transfer the mixture to the butter-coated plate.

Let sit for a few minutes and then cut it in diamond-shaped pieces.

The dried fruit halwa was inspired by Soma’s version here, after I drooled many days over those pictures.


Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Desi


Tags: , , , , ,

Methi Malai Matar Paneer

Uff! I know, just reading that is tiring; au contraire, the dish is really easy and quick to prepare and yumilicious to taste. There are some dishes that you grow up with and some are introduced to you through eating out @ restaurants, friend’s houses etc. But this was a recipe, I was introduced through the blog world and I had never tried or tasted this, till I made it. This is a dish that is super easy to prepare, but will taste as though it is a lot complicated with the methi and malai add distinctly different dimensions to it. A perfect party dish!

1 onion
7-8 green chillies
1/2″ ginger
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 Tbsp cashews
1/2″ cinnamon

Grind the above ingredients into a smooth paste.

Saute about a cup of cubed paneer in a tsp of oil, till they are golden on all sides. Keep this aside.

Saute the ground paste in a tsp oil, till the paste is rid of raw onion smell. (If you are really sensitive to raw onion smell, boil the onions in water for about 5 mins before you grind it). Now add

1 cup fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves (1/2 cup if you are using kasoori or dried methi leaves)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Cook this well for about 10 mins. Add 1/2 cup cream (or whole fat milk) to this boiling mixture and let it simmer for about 10 mins. That is it.

As I said, this is really easy to prepare and tastes well with rotis or parathas.


Posted by on September 28, 2010 in Cooking, Desi, General


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A muffin for every occasion

Muffins are perfect any time of day. They can be eaten as breakfast, little tea time snack or decked up with frosting & fruit for dessert. Especially, when it has chocolate, what’s not to like about it. This is actually a cake recipe, that was quite the rage when Priya first blogged about it. I have baked this as a cup-cake for a friend’s birthday with orange marmalade frosting as well as a plain chocolate cake. Then, I came across the Food Network challenge-winning chocolate cup-cakes. The two recipes were very similar, if not the same. Inspired by Chloe’s recipe, I tweaked Priya’s chocolate cake recipe , to make these gorgeous chocolate muffins. Thank you, Priya & Chloe!  Mags, this is for you! Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 26, 2010 in Cake & Bake, Cooking


Tags: , , , , , ,

Can anyone resist ice-cream?

“When and how did you start cooking so much?” asked a dear friend, who has known me for a very long time. We were room / house mates in the new city, when we both started our first jobs. We had a full-fledged kitchen in the house, but the kitchen was rarely used – either to boil milk (by us) or when either of our moms were in town. Otherwise, eat out we did, day after day, without making a teeny weeny attempt to prepare our own meals. I can still rattle out the restaurants where we used to be regulars, trying out different dishes each day. Oh yes, we were definitely foodies, not the cooking but the eating kind 🙂

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Cooking, General


Tags: , , , ,

The smoothie that ate my banana

I eat my breakfast either on my way to work or at work, and this breakfast lasts me a good 3 hours before I gobble down my lunch.  For a while, my breakfast used to be a tall glass of milk (Horlicks to be precise) along with a big bad banana.  Like many other things in my life, I hate routine in my breakfast as well and soon enough, I got tired of the lack of variety.  That is when I chanced upon this smoothie (though, I prefer to call it milk shake) and absolutely love it – well, for now, atleast.  This is a Date-nut-apple milk shake and so far, it has been bye-bye banana.
Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 24, 2010 in Cooking


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spiced butter biscuits

Growing up, the fall-back evening snack in my house would be a biscuit.  Biscuits to me are what cookies are to kids that grow up in America.  They were sold in all shapes and sizes, with different flavoring and the queen of them all was the “cream biscuit”, in which flavored icing was sandwiched between two thin biscuits.  These baked goodies were not loaded with sugar or fat and were a reasonably healthy after-food snack for kids or  tea time snack for adults, or when you just felt like nibbling on something.   There were several popular brands (Milk Bikis, Marie come to my mind) and also, equally famous was the neighborhood bakery store-bought no-brand name, what we used to call, “butter biscuits”.  These are very similar to these shortbread cookies by Meeta. After reading Meeta’s post, I really wanted to re-create those biscuits that were part of my childhood and the cookie bake-off that happened during the holiday season was the perfect excuse.  I did some more research and found this recipe at Arusuvai (in Thamizh), meaning six tastes,  which turns out to be pretty similar to Meeta’s recipe.  The recipe from Western Europe and from the heartland of South India are uncannily close – may be it was the British influence.  Whatever be it, these uncanny culinary or other such similarities never cease to amaze me. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 15, 2009 in Cooking, Desi


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thank thee with cake

I love anything sweet, no two ways about it; if it has milk, even better. My theory is anything (read any dessert / sweet) made with milk and sugar cannot taste bad. I love my pedhas, rasmalai, paal khova, shrikhand and the list is pretty much endless. The first time I heard about the Tres leches (Three milk in Spanish) cake, I knew it was my kind of cake. I never quite realized it was fairly easy to make at home, till I saw the recipe @ Mansi’s Fun and Food. So when presented with an opportunity to bake a cake (aka birthday of a near and dear one), no points for guessing the cake I made 🙂

The difficulty for me while making this cake was getting the sponge cake right, as I was baking without eggs. I still have some way to go before getting it right, but overall I was satisfied with the end result.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on May 27, 2008 in Cooking


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cuppa chai anyone?

As food-bloggers, in our quest to cook exotic food, we tend to give a miss to some of the everyday food, that are simple to cook and very satisfying. These everyday foods are staple in most households, dished out day-in and day-out, and as one starts to find their footing around the kitchen, these are the dishes that they first foray into. These dishes make or break a person’s interest in cooking and hence, although rarely given their due, play a very pivotal role. In this series, Freshmen Cooking, I hope to bring attention to these dishes. Also, I am hoping this will help kindle interest to cook in all those non-foodies out there 🙂

The idea for this post was triggered by an email conversation that I had with a friend – she wanted to know how do I prepare chai (the milky Indian version of tea), do I use any special tea leaves or spices? Her complaint was that her attempt at preparing chai was not as fruitful, and she wanted to know a fool-proof way of making chai with exact measurements. I immediately replied to her mail with instructions and used to eye-balling, I found this a little challenging. This set me thinking – how many times when I first ventured into the kitchen, have I pestered my mom to give me exact measurements – how much tamarind do I need for sambar or how much salt should I add to rasam? We all go through that stage, when as beginners we need exact measurements and instructions and slowly graduate to eye-balling 🙂 That is when I realized that for every foodie out there, there are probably 1000 (if not more) others that are novices, who have no idea about cooking and they would need recipes that are easy and simple to prepare, not laborious ones that will scare them away for life. The motivation for this series is to chronicle easy, simple, everyday food that will make cooking a pleasure and get people interested enough to venture into the exotic territory 🙂 Let’s begin cooking!

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 4, 2008 in Cooking, Desi


Tags: , , , ,

Sugar and spice make for something nice

Chikki has been giving me endless reminders about how I have not really contributed to our blog yet. So here goes. Today is Varalakshmi pujai and yes I refuse to say puja instead of pujai.
Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 24, 2007 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking


Tags: , , , , , , ,