Monday, January 30, 2017

Roasted Nuts Chocolate Barks

Don’t waste food is my motto. I get so angry when I see people just throwing food in the bin. How can some people don’t know how much grocery they will need for a week? How some people cook extra food every day? To be honest, with experience I guess, everyone must know or be judgmental on how much grocery and food is to be needed.

There are tons of ideas to use leftover food. I have used leftover food in below ways.
Leftover dal to Dal Cheela
Leftover rice to Rice Patties
Leftover paratha to Paratha Chips
Leftover cabbage subji to Cabbage Thepla
Leftover rice to Jeera Rice, Matar Pulav

You wont believe but my mom used to leftover ladoos (mothichoor) as well. She use to fill the ladoos in the chapatti (like aloo paratha) and roll it. Roast it on tava with ghee and serve hot in breakfast. Ah divine. So there’s always a way, I promise.

So we had some guests last month and they brought for us nuts and some chocolates. My mind isn’t at peace after that. I just wanted to make use of that before the expiry date. What better then Chocolate Barks. Ah huh! Roasted Nuts Chocolate Barks.

Last time I made Nutty Chocolate Barks using pumpkin seeds, walnuts and almonds and the focused taste was of dark chocolate. In today’s recipe I have used all three kinds of chocolate- Dark, Milk and white. Nuts, I used almost all kinds- cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans and raisins as well.

Chocolate barks are like adding omega and fiber kick to your plain chocolate. A small piece can satisfy your sweet tooth without being hard on your healthy diet. It a great gift as well- packs in fancy boxes or wrappers and gift to your loved ones.

1 bar of dark chocolate (100 grams) chopped roughly
1 bar of milk chocolate (100 grams) chopped roughly
½ bar of white chocolate (50 grams) chopped roughly
1 cup of roughly chopped nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans and raisins)

Take a tray and lay parchment paper or aluminum foil on it.
Heat a pan and roast the nuts on a low flame. Keep mixing. It should take 1 minute. The nuts will turn brown and aroma will release.
In a microwave safe bowl put dark and milk chocolate. Microwave in the oven for 30 seconds. Stir. There should be no lumps. Microwave again for 10 seconds and stir. Keep doing so till the chocolate is melted and is smooth.
Spread the melted chocolate on the tray. Take a spoon and even out the chocolate. Decide the thickness of your barks and spread the melted chocolate.
Sprinkle the nuts all over the chocolate. Freeze in the freezer for ½ and hour.
Take another microwave safe bowl. Microwave white chocolate for 10-15 seconds. Once melted pour it on the chocolate bars. I tried to do checks pattern on it.
Freeze again for 1 hour.
Break the bar into uneven pieces and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Make sure that the bowl you are using is absolutely dry. Water and chocolate are enemies.
If you do not wish to use microwave, use double boiler method to melt chocolate.
As always, feel free to use any kinds of nuts or seeds in the recipe.
If you like more dark/bitter chocolate taste then use more dark chocolate and vice versa.
White chocolate swirls adds very beautiful color contrast to these barks but it is totally optional.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Channa Palak Dal

Most of the daal/lentils cooked in Indian way is in curry form or lets say liquid state. I have hardly come across any dry or semi dry Indian style dal or lentils; until one day when I visited my friend in Bristol. She cooked Channa Dal with Spinach and served it as a side subji. I was hooked. 

Apparently Channa Palak Dal is very popular is many parts of india, just that I had it for the first time. Channa is also known as chole or chickpeas but this isn't that channa. It is chana dal or split bengal gram as known in English. 

Cooking with spinach is not easy, cleaning the spinach with good amount of water is so important. So, whenver you cook with spinach make sure that rubbish clearance is done well, select only the good leaves. The dish is loaded with iron, minerals, proteins and what not. Palak/spinach gives this dal a green-healthy twist. Other ingredients like garlic, ginger, tomato brings up the taste value too. If you are bored having same staple tuar or moong dal then you have to try this.

1/2 cup channa dal (soaked for atleast 4-5 hours)
2 cups palak/spinach
1 large tomato, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon hing/aseofetida
1 tej patta/bay leaf
2 whole red chilles
1 teaspoon jeera/cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon akka dhaniya/coriander seeds, crushed slightly
1/2 teaspoon haldi/turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dhaniya/ coriander powder
Red chilli powder, to taste
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon kasuri methi

In a kadai heat oil. When oil is hot, add hing, jeera, tej patta, whole red chilies and coriender seeds. Saute for 5 seconds. Turn the flame to low.
Now add chopped garlic and ginger paste. Saute for 1 minute.
Add chopped tomato. Mix in salt, haldi, red chilli powder and coriender powder. Add half cup of water. Mix. Cover and cook for 5 minutes ot till tomatoes are soft.
Add channa dal now. Add 1 glass of water. Cook covered. On a low flame let the daal cook. Keep an eye on water quantity-you do not want dal to be over cooked or turn mashy.
Add in palak. Mix. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. 
You know dal is cooked when you press a grain between your thumb and finger it should mash easily.
Mix in ghee and kasturi methi before you serve.

If you forgot to soak the channa dal, I would suggest to boil it separately in an open for at least 20 minutes.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Beetroot Suji Halwa: Rava Halwa With Beetroot

Happy New Year!!

A goodbye to 2016. A year with more downs and less ups. A year that gave more bad memories then good. A year that wasn’t that fulfilling. A year that made me fight. A year that made me strong. Yes, 2016 wasn’t the best year for us. It gave us less smiles and more frowns but like always it taught us to be a fighter. And with this new fighter in me, I welcome 2017.

So, dear 2017-please be little polite to us. Give us stress and problems, lessons to learn but give us good health to battle with it. Shower on us your love mother nature. Bestow on us little laughs, cuddles and memories. Be a great year 2017.

I promise to spare sometime and read a book. I promise to play with camera atleast once a week. I promise to call my friends and family. I promise to take a nap. I promise to take it easy. I promise to find happiness. I promise to not let die the child in me. I am ready for you 2017.

As always, here is a sweet recipe to begin a new year. Beetroot Suji Halwa. Infact, Beetroot Suji (rava) Halva. To be honest, I don’t know if the recipe already exist on internet/blogging world or not, coz I never googled it. One day I and friend were discussing, she wanted to make sure that her 2 year old daughter eats beetroot-and it was then when this Beetroot Halwa with Sooji was invented.

The steps are similar to plain Suji Ka Halwa. Beetroot brings on lovely pink (red velvet cake kind) colour and its healthy nutrients (ofcourse). So when I made this halwa and served it to two kids-they both loved it. Ah! Those happy mothers!. Such a blessing.

So this halwa is a good looking and nutrients loaded twist to good old Suji ka Halwa. Serve with ice cream to make a class statement in parties. 

1 cup suji/rava/semolina
2 tablespoons ghee
1 medium size beetroot
1 cup hot boiling water
¼ cup sugar
2 green cardmoms/elaychi
Chopped nuts (optional)

Peal the beetroot .Grate the beetroot through a fine grater. I used a fine cheese grater.
In a heavy bottom pan, on a slow heat, dry roast the suji till you see the change in the colour and aroma is noticeable.
Next mix in the ghee and keep mixing till ghee is separated and suji becomes more fragrant. Also throw in the cardamom. Mix for 1 minute.
Add in beetroot. Mix for 30 seconds.
Add sugar and mix again. Mix till sugar crystals are not visible.
Finally add in the water and stir. You will notice that suji has fluffed up. Keep mixing till you see ghee on sides and halva is not sticking to the pan.
Garnish with nuts. Serve hot.

Do not rush, make sure that you do the whole process on slow flame. If you are in hurry, you can dry roast the suji beforehand.
Feel free to add pistachios, almonds or any nuts of your choice.