In Easy To Make Sweet Treats

Coconut Rava Laddu

How have you all been?
Let me tell you that this month would hold special place not personally but professionally as well. Yes, switching jobs might not be so easy that it sounds, though it comes with attractive packages. But adjusting to the environment and unlearning what you have learnt in your previous company post as a major challenge to you in your current assignment. But I adjusted well to this challenge and made friends. Coming to personal front, I am blogging in full swing. Previously odd sleeping hours and night shifts occupied my list and blog baby came last on the to do list.  So you know the reason behind this cheerful post. So let's celebrate it with a sweet.
Well this sweet is very special because this comes to me from Assam and the details of this Assam background will be shared in my upcoming posts.

Edited to add: This is not a recipe tried by me. I got this recipe from my friend's mom in assam and I took the pics. Though I was told that this laddu has rava, I couldn't find the texture of rava or taste. But will change it soon the moment I try it.
Let's hit the road.

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Coconut Rava Laddu

(Refer to chef says for more info)
Rava/Semolina- 3/4th cup
Sugar- 3/4th cup (increase or decrease based on taste)
Cashwes & Raisins- 1/4th cup  (I din't use)
Coconut- 1 cup grated
Ghee- 3 tbsps
Cardamom Powder- a pinch
Warm milk - 1/4th cup

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Heat ghee and fry cashews until golden brown in color and raisins until plump. Remove & keep them aside. In the same pan, dry roast coconut without changing the color. It should take 1 min roughly. Remove from flame and keep it aside. To the same pan add rava and roast until nice aroma emanates. Add sugar and remaining ingredients except milk. Give a quick stir and keep your flame in low. Keep stirring continuously to avoid burning. After 2 mins. Switch off the flame. Once you are able to handle the mixture, add 2 tbsps of milk and see if you are able to shape this mixture into a ball. If you are unable to roll the mixture into a ball, add another tbsp and shape the mixture. Store it in air tight container.

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Chef Says:
1) Usually the ratio is 1 cup rava and 1 cup sugar or 3/4th cup jaggery. We don't like too sweet laddus so kept the sugar level to decent.
2) Make sure that you do not add entire 1/4th cup milk at once. Add a spoon and check if you can roll it into ball, if not add another spoon and repeat.
3) After a day, refrigerate the laddus.  Bring them to room temperature before you serve from fridge. Atleast 15 mins would be decent. Else you will have hard laddus.
4) If you omit coconut, it is rava laddu.
5) If you add 1 cup of milk to this mixture without removing it from heat, you will end up making nice goeey halwa.

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In Bachelor Special Easy To Make Refreshing chillers

Mango Fro Yo ~ Mango Lassi

What was the taste of your season's first mango?
Tada....Mine was pathetic and too sour. When I picked them from our local vendor, they looked ripe, plump and smelled great. When I had a piece, I realized that they were too sour and din't have much pulp. Well this experience continued for about first 20 days of May and I ended up having tasteless mangoes. So I let mangoes sit in fridge and forgot about it.  Last night when I returned from office, I was totally drained and due to work pressure I skipped my dinner. I opened my fridge and was lucky enough to find some 2-3 mangoes and 3/4 th cup of yogurt. I put my blended into action and the resultant is below- Mango Froyo.

So Let's hit the road.

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Mango Fro Yo ~ Mango Lassi

Mango Pulp or pieces- 2 cups
Curd/Yogurt - 1 cup
Cardamom Powder- 1 pinch
Sugar- 2-3 tbsps (adjust as per sweetness of mangoes)
Water- 1/4th cup

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Add mango pieces, yogurt, sugar, cardamom powder and sugar into a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.  Now add water and blend this mixture until frothy. Adjust sugar if required at this stage.  Serve chilled and garnish with pistachios.

Chef Says:
1)You can replace sugar with honey and play around with sugar/honey based on mangoes sweetness. Because we do not want too sweet juice right!!
2) Reduce yogurt to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup of water to get mango froyo of thinner consistency.
3) You can freeze this mixture in your freezer for about 5-6 hours and serve it as frozen dessert wherein the juice gets frozen.  To get a creamy Frozen Yogurt you would need to blend the final mixture every 1 hour to prevent ice formation.  This needs to be done 5 times and then allow the yogurt to set for 5-6 hours. Scoop the cream and serve.

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In @ Aathidhyam Curries regional cuisines side dishes

Rajma Masala ~ Version 2

I already posted one version of Rajma Masala on my blog....well I can frankly admit  that I din't like it much because of its thin consistency and tanginess. I like my dals or gravy based curries on the little thicker side while Mr.P likes it as watery or as liquidy possible it can be. While my last version is much to his liking...I ended up with this super spicy and gravy based~ tomato less one when he went to Assam. Yup this is not the normal Rajma masala with that tangy tomato puree, it is creamy in texture and flavorful. Trust me sometimes you need to tweak recipes to enjoy different flavors and that's when you emerge being a versatile cook. I can hear those oohss....and aahs.... yes... don't you guys agree with me!! Let's stop it here and enjoy this Rajma Masala. Also let me share the happy news that this pics below are the last ones taken with a 5MP camera(too good to be end). The saga ends and now I have upgraded my phone to a 13MP and you can expect stunning pics. :)

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Rajma Masala~Version 2
(Note:- Refer to Chef says for recommendations and alternatives)
Rajma/Red Pinto Beans - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 1 small chopped
Onions- 3 big roughly chopped
Green Chillies - 3-4 (adjust)
Garlic- 4-5 pods
Ginger - small piece (1 inch)
Milk -1/2 cup (recommended)
Salt- as per taste
Chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/4th tsp
Roasted Curry Powder-1/2 tsp (Optional)
Oil- 2 tbsps
Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch
Cashews- 5 soaked in hot water
Bay leaf- 2 leaves
Cilantro/Coriander- 1 bunch chopped

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Soak rajma beans overnight and pressure cook until 2-3 whistles depending on your pressure cooker type. Make sure they do not get overcooked and turn mushy. Blend onions, cashews, tomato pieces, green chillies, garlic and ginger by adding 1/2 cup of water. Heat oil in a pan and add cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Fry until fragrant and then add this blended spice mixture. Fry for 6-7 mins or until pungent smells subside. Add all the spice mixtures and cook till oil is released from sides. Turn your flame to lowest possible and add milk. Keep stirring this mixture to avoid curdling of milk. Incorporate milk and masala mixture well and allow this mixture to blend well. It takes about 3-4 mins. Now add pinto beans and give this mixture a stir. Add water if required and think that gravy is too thick. Just a 1/2 cup would do. Ensure all the ingredients are combined well and adjust salt if required. Add chopped cilantro and that's it you are done.

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Chef Says:
1) This is not that normal tomato puree gravy so do not expect it to be tangy. Its a mild and flavorful gravy and tastes just awesome. I personally feel this is my best gravy based recipe so far.
2) If you want the gravy to be tangy then add 4 tomatoes and 1 onion.  You can even use instant tomato puree.
3) Instead of milk you can even use curd.
4) Use fresh ginger and garlic instead of paste for that pungent flavorful taste. I used to use ginger garlic paste and couldn't differentiate the taste like I did for this recipe.

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In Andhra recipes Basic Cooking Spicy Podis N Chutneys

Coconut Spice Powder~ Kobbari Karam

Spice powders come in as blessings when you are in no mood to cook or do not have any vegetables. They taste heavenly with steaming hot rice and a dollop of ghee. One such keeper is this recipe. I am not a big fan of coconut and at home my mom keeps usage of coconut in her dishes to minimal. Be it my disliking or its minimal usage, coconut based recipes couldn't make much way into my taste buds. Our neighbor Bindu Aunty shares many traditional recipes in her kitty as she hails from a village. I can't stop appreciating her spice powders, pickles and biryanis. She can make biryani out of anything ...). So one day, she gave my mom this coconut powder and my mom din't bother to let us know because of me and my sis's disliking. My sis picked it up from the kitchen and placed it on our dining table. So on a boring day (boring day is when you do not have anything that interests you on your lunch menu) and when we din't feel like eating, my sis mixed it with a dollop of ghee . She found it heavenly and suggested me to try. I did.... and I am in love with this spice powder and this makes way onto my idly plate, dosa plate and my rice as well.  So try this out if you are not a big coconut lover like me... I am sure you will love it.
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Coconut Spice Powder- Kobbari Karam

Grated dry coconut-1 cup (Kopra)
Roasted gram-1/2 cup (Gulla senagapappu/Bhuna channadal)
Dry Red Chillies - 7-8 (increase or decrease based on the spicyness)
Curry Leaves- 2 stems (12-15 leaves)
Garlic-3-4 pods
Sugar-one pinch
Jeera-1/2 tsp
Salt-as per taste

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Dry roast dry red chillies and curry leaves until they are crisp. Make sure that dry red chillies do not change their color. Allow it to cool. Now grind all the ingredients into a coarse powder. Adjust salt if required. Store in an air tight jar.

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Chef Says-
You can opt out roasted gram. But I would recommend it as it gives nice texture to your spice powder.
You can even dry roast garlic pods for about 30-40 secs and it gives nice flavor to the spice powder. I will surely try this and let you know.
Instead of dry red chillies, red chilly powder can be used. Use 1-2 tsps and increase if you can manage the heat.

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In Bachelor Special Basic Cooking Lunch Menu One pot meals Rice varieties

Tawa Pulao from Mumbai

Did I happen to crib much about summers and cooking in my last post?? I am sure I would have.....and so is the blogging world which is on a mission to tackle this harsh summer with easy recipes and refreshing drinks. Deciding on a lunch menu is very difficult for me because I am not that dal-rice person who can eat plain rice with dal and curry everyday. I love varieties or light meals. But Mr.P is completely opposite.He can lead his entire life with dal and rice.  He has an interesting dal requirement....which he calls as Patla Patla (which is dal of thin consistency not even runny). So everytime I have to make sure that I add extra water and make thinny dal. So on a day, when I was in no mood to cook and when Mr.P wanted something homemade with rice. I had to rely on a book where I scribbled all one pot meals.  This tawa pulao caught my attention against paneer pulao, peas pulao, corn pulao etc n etc. Tawa Pulao is a street delicacy all the way from Mumbai and it is made on the same tawa where Pav Bhaji is made using Pav Bhaji Masala and minimal ingredients. So lets get on the road for this simple yet spicy pulao.

Tawa Pulao
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Cooked or left over rice- 2 cups
Carrots- 1/2 cup
Thawed Peas- 1/2 cup
Capsicum - 1 med sized chopped finely
Tomatoes- 2 small chopped finely
Salt - as per taste
Pav Bhaji Masala - 2-3 tsps (increase if you can bear the heat)
Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder- 1 tsp
Onion- 1 big chopped
Jeera/Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander - 1 bunch chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Ginger Garlic Paste- 1 tsp
Water-1/4th cup
Oil- 1 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Potato- 1 boiled and cubed

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Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add jeera seeds and let them sizzle.  To this, add chopped onions and fry until translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the pungent smell subsides. Add tomatoes and cook till tomatoes turn soft. Add all the spice powders(including salt) along with potato and water. Mix well. Turn your flame to low and cook till oil separates from sides. Add Carrots, capsicum and green peas to this mixture. Mix all the ingredients and cook for 2-3 mins. Add rice to this mixture and ensure all the ingredients are combined well. Add chopped coriander. Off the flame and squeeze lime while serving.
Team this spicy pulao with any mild or simple raitha.

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Chef Says:
1) Left over rice works perfectly for this recipe. Incase if you are using freshly cooked rice, make sure that it is cooled before preparing pulao. This will avoid breakage.
2)There are no hard and fast rules to prepare this pulao except the use of Pav Bhaji Masala. You can absolutely use your choice of vegetables. This way you can even clean your pantry :)
3) Make sure that you are balancing this spicy pulao with simple Mint Raitha or curd or plain raitha. Any spicy curry will be too much to handle and gets overboard.

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