Varo

Its no secret that I LOVE to bake; but did u know that I can barely make a decent cuppa tea. I usually throw my hands up at the mere mention of regular cooking- NOT because I dont enjoy it but because It almost never turns out the way its supposed to be:(

Which is why I was mighty thrilled to make the desi praline- VARO.

Many of us South Indians have had a version called Chikki. My love for these nutty sweets were stroked after my father in law started bringing home some everyday for my sis-in-law and me , almost everyday after his morning walks. Crunchy, sweet and nutty…this is without doubt a lovely sweet!

Thank you Alka for a great recipe..you can find the original recipe here.and thank you Srivalli for the Indian Cooking Challange that lets me learn new things.

Varo – Sindhi Sweet Treat (Diwali Special)
Ingredients:

Assorted Nuts (I used Almonds, Pistachios and Cashew nuts) – 1 Cup
Poppy Seeds / Khus Khus – 2 tbsp
Cardamoms – 4 -5
Sugar – 1 Cup
Ghee Clarified Butter – 1 tbsp

Method:

Slice all mixed nuts into medium sized pieces. Powder the Cardamom seeds.

Grease a flat plate or the back of a plate.

In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and sugar. On low heat melt the sugar without stirring too much until it turns light and then a deep brown shade. Working fast add in the nuts, poppy seeds and the cardamoms. Mix until the nuts are well coated(just a couple of seconds) and transfer the mixture to the prepared plate. Flatten using a rolling pin.
Let cool and harden.

Cut into pieces using a knife..it might be a bit hard to break but u can use the rolling pin to hammer in the knife..

Rasmalai – ICC

Question : I can eat bucketfuls of this, and yet ask for more…name it!

No….Anything is technically not the right answer..

But Rasmalai is.

I love these milky desserts and thoroughly enjoyed making them for Srivallis ICC.

So here goes a detailed fool proof way to make these Bengali sweets

Ingredients:

Milk – 3 litres (2 litres for making paneer and 1 litre for making Rasa/Milk syrup.)
Vinegar- 3 tbsps
Water-5 cup’s
Sugar- 16 tbsp (8 for Sugar Syrup and 8 for Rasa/Milk Syrup)
Saffron- 8 pieces
Pista-10 finely chopped
Maida flour- 1 tsp
Cardamon-2 (crushed)

Method:


I. Preparation of Whey Water
II. Preparation of Paneer
III. Preparation of Sugar Syrup
IV. Preparation of Milk Syrup/Rasa

Now comes the process in detail..

I. Preparation of Whey Water:

Boil Two Litres of milk and let it cool. Refrigerate the milk for 12 hours. The next day or after 12 hours, remove the thick layer of skin/ paal adai/meegada formed over the milk. Now boil the milk, when the milk boils, add vinegar. wait for a minute or two. the paneer will start floating on top and the whey water will stay on the bottom of the vessel. Now with a muslin or a cotton cloth, filter the paneer and pour 2 cups of water on it, to remove the sourness of vinegar and then tie it well and let it hang on for one hour, till the whey water drops out.

What to do with the Whey Water?

Let the whey water get soured. that is leave it for a time of 1 week to get soured. after that pour it into a bottle and refrigerate it. this soured whey water will be good for one year of time. when you want to make paneer, you can use this whey water instead of vinegar/lemon juice.
(or)
Whey water can be used to prepare chapathi or Roti, which makes them super soft.

II. Preparation of Paneer:
This is an important step.
As we have tied and hanged the paneer in muslin cloth to let out the whey water, wait for atleast an hour and squeeze them very well. well. remove from the cloth and shift to a broad vessel. Now just prepare the paneer, as we knead the dough for chapathi/roti, in the same way knead the paneer, for 5 minutes atleast, till you feel it dont have much moisture content in it. now add a spoon(not more) of maida flour to the paneer and make it as small small ball’s remember the balls will become double in size after putting it and boiling it in sugar syrup. so make a medium size paneer ball’s. with 2 litres of milk you can prepare 12 or 13 paneer ball’s.
You may even use this to make Rasgullas.

III. Preparation of Sugar Syrup:
In a wide-bottomed pressure cooker, add two cups of water and eight table spoons of sugar. let it boil. Now when it boils, add the paneer ball’s one by one on to it. dont afraid of the ball’s getting broken. if you have kneaded the paneer well, it wont get broked. let it get pressure cooked for 10 minutes in slow flame or for 2 whistles.
Now let the steam get out and open the cooker and see the double-sized paneer ball’s. slightly press all the paneer balls to emit the excess sugar syrup.

IV. Preparation of Milk Syrup/Rasa:
Even before you start to prepare the sugar syrup start making milk syrup/rasa side by side. Have one litre of milk in a wide bottomed vessel and let it boil and get reduced into half of the quantity.This might take awhile. Now add eight table spoons of sugar and mix well. add saffron and crushed cardamon to it and mix well. put the paneer ball’s into the rasa/milk syrup. cool it down and refrigerate it.
Serve with chopped pistachios on top.


The recipe was from Lavis blog.

Moong Dal Halwa for ICC

I should have atleast looked online for some pics of this delicious Indian Sweet; to tell you the truth I had NO idea what this was even supposed to look like or even heard of it until Srivalli announced this months ICC recipe.

I followed the recipe using milk instead of Khoya but I guess I should have fried the dal for a lot longer as it looks drier as compared to the pics on Google…also I reduced the ghee a bit…maybe that’s why…

But still I have only this to say…IT WAS JUST MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH-DELICIOUS!!!!!!

Ingredients
Split (Yellow) Moong dhal – 1 cup
Ghee – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as per required sweetness)
Milk – 1/2 cup (Notes from Lataji – instead of water for the sugar, this gives the khoya added taste, Simran’s recipe asked for water)
Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish.

Method to Prepare:

Soak 1 cup moong dal overnight. Next morning, grind to a paste.

Heat a heavy Kadai, take initially only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it.

Add the dhal and stir continuously, not allowing lumps to form. This part is very tricky as the dhal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee.

Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dhal becomes thick.

Add the rest of the ghee intermittently and cook the dhal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.

Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dhal.

Keep the fir low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water/ milk mix.

Cook until the ghee surfaces.

Garnish with cashews and raisins.

Notes :

* Use a thick bottom pan or better nonstick pan
* Don’t leave the halwa unattended. The dal can stick and it can go from just done to burnt in a second so keep stirring as much as possible. You should remember to keep stirring to prevent dhal from sticking irrespective of the ghee added.
* You aren’t looking for the halwa to get too thick when you turn off the heat. It was thicken as it cools.
* Cook until ghee surfaces on the sides and the halwa attains a very nice shine.
* Initially, it may appear that all the ghee is being used up. But as the dhal cooks the ghee separates. So the ghee measure is sufficient.
* In both recipes depending on how you got the moong dal paste, you may require slightly more ghee to get the texture
* Though original recipe didn’t call for roasting the dhal before soaking, Lataji felt roasting it a bit gives more fragrance.

Also a special Thank You to Lathaji and Simran’s Mom for recipe inputs.

Tried and Tested-Rosagulla

Yeah I’m talking about the rasagulla also spelled rasagola, rasgola, rasgolla, rasgula, rasgulla, roshogola, roshogolla, rosogola or rosogolla.

Although of Orissa origin( no i didn’t make that up…google it if you want..i swear , its true!), the rasagulla is now synonymous with Bengali sweets…so much so that for many of us it is the face of Bengali sweets.

The rasagulla is one Indian sweet(apart from its sister variant- the Rasamalai) that I can eat ANYTIME!! All I remember about my last trip to Calcutta(a zillion years ago) are the million rasagullas that I ate. It is impossible to get satiated with these sinisterly delicious cheese ball goodies.

So, when I knew that this month we were exploring Harini’s wonderful blog, I was enticed into taking a shot at it.

This November’s event is being hosted by the Singing Chef and was originally the brainchild of this blog.

The end result was good although I wasn’t able to get the texture that I saw in her blog….but i will give it another shot and perfect this gastronomic delight.

Ingredients:

Toned milk or cow’s milk – 1 Litre
1/4 cup white vinegar diluted with equal quantity of water
Sugar – 1 and 1/4 cups
Water – 3 Cups
Saffron strands (Optional) – 1 tsp.

Method:
1. If using cow’s milk – Heat the milk, cool completely and remove the cream. If not proceed directly to the next step.

2. Heat milk to boiling point. Put off fire. Pour the dilute vinegar little by little into the milk stirring very slightly till it curdles, and the whey separates.

Now strain the paneer so formed through a clean muslin cloth. Wash the paneer under running tap water breaking the lumps with soft fingers till it turns cold.

4. Hold and press the bundle to get rid of excess water and invert the paneer onto a clean bowl.

5. Mash the paneer with your finger tips first and knead it till it gathers into a soft smooth ball. Pinch out marble sized paneer lumps and roll with slight pressure into balls without any wrinkles or seam. This will form angoori golas. You may form bigger balls for bigger rasgullas. They will double after cooking. Mine formed 4 big balls and 31 small ones.

6. Cover with a wet cloth to keep the balls from drying.

7. Pour 3 cups water in a pressure cooker. Dissolve the sugar and allow the syrup to come to a boil. (You may dissolve warmed and powdered saffron strands to the water alongwith the sugar to get slightly pale rasgullas)

8. Drop the rasgullas gently into the syrup while it simmers on slow fire.

9. Cover the cooker with lid and place the whistle on top. Keep on high fire for one whistle and turn off. Let it cool completely.

10. Open and transfer the swollen rasgullas into a bowl.

Easier than I thought…ICC Gulab Jamun

gulab jamum main
At first I thought –no way!! Make khoya at home- it’s way too tedious. I mean a challenge is fine but this was really taking it a bit too far. Even my cook agreed. She said ‘chechi , I will get it for you why do you have to slog so much’ Obviously she doesn’t understand WHY I even bother entering the kitchen and what’s with the photographing food she asks. Do you get paid?
Doing it for ‘myself’ is something she doesn’t get.
I absolutely enjoy blogging and cooking its my space where I get to say whatever I want..its liberating isn’t it?

Anyway, I had decided not to take part in this months ICC but then at the last moment I had sometime to kill and I thought ‘why not’ I’m so glad I did..it was so exciting and not at all as difficult as people around me made it out to be. The Jamuns were moist and just PERFECT!!I used the recipe from indos blog.Here’s the recipe once again

Gulab Jamun
Ingredients
1. 4 litres whole milk
2. 1/2 kg maida (all purpose flour)
3. 1 tbsp curd (yogurt)
4. 1 tsp baking soda
5. 2 cups ghee
6. 2 litres of sugar
7. 1/2 lemon

Method

milk thicken-Gulab

How Long will this take!!!


To Make Khova
1. In a wide mouthed heavy bottom pan add the milk and heat it in a medium flame. (add a couple of stainless steel spoons into the milk to avoid burning)
2. Reduce the milk for 3-4 hours till the milk solidifies and becomes thick.
3. Whip together yogurt and baking soda
4. To the khova add the flour and yougurt mixture and knead till it forms a pliant dough. (make sure not to add too much flour, just enough flour to make the khova pliant)
4. Make 3/4 inch diameter balls and set aside

Prepare sugar syrup
1. In a pan add the sugar and just enough water to cover the sugar. Heat till it comes to a boil.
2.Squeeze the half of the lemon (this is to avoid sugar crystals). Set aside.

Deep frying
1. Heat the ghee and deep fry the balls, adding a few at a time till golden brown.
2. Cool the balls and soak them in the sugar syrup.
3. Let sit for a few hours.

gulab jamun bowl

Delectable Dark Beauties!!!!

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