Carrot Coconut Laddu

I recall to share with you the yummiest carrot desert ever i.e. Gajorer Halua or Carrot Halwa. Now, this is time to go the extra mile from where we left and make laddoos out of carrot-coconut blend. Perfectly round, super smooth and generously sweet, Gajar Naryal balls are sheer treat and irresistible too. Indeed winter with carrots is a bliss. Happy Valentines day.

Carrot Coconut Laddu

Carrot Coconut Laddu

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Rash Bora (Urad dal fritters in Sweet Syrup) – Makar Sankranti Recipe

Happy Makar Sankranti to all my readers.

Winter is here in its fullest. It is the time of the year to celebrate the holy occasion of Makar Sankranti and Poush Parbon. The signature dishes during this harvest festival are mainly prepared with rice, date palm jaggery and coconut. However today I am here with a different recipe, named Rash Bora, which is also common in Bengali households during this time. Although the ‘Rash’ or syrup is usually made with date palm jaggery (Khejurer gur/Notun gur), here I have used sugar. ‘Boras’ or vadas are nothing but the urad dal fritters.

If you have not yet decided what to make in this Poush Parbon, you can go for this easy and simple recipe 🙂

Earlier posts about Makar Sankranti Recipes :

Rash Bora (Urad dal fritters in Sweet Syrup)

Rash Bora (Urad dal fritters in Sweet Syrup)

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Muger Methai (Mung Dal Laddu)

As Diwali embarks shortly from now to enlighten our mind and spirit, we should welcome it with all our heart wide open. This is a great occasion to exchange pleasantries, happiness and whatever good in life. Through this blog, I am delighted to share with you a sweet recipe, much loved and adored and called mung laddu or muger methai. It is sweet indeed, soaked generously in ghee. But we should not bother, since it is diwali time and we will enrich our life with the extra sweetness. A very happy diwali to all 🙂

Muger Methai (Mung Dal Laddu)

Muger Methai (Mung Dal Laddu)

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Khirer Singara or Mawa Samosa : Holi Special

Spring can be felt in the air with the trees donning luminous colours, looking orange and yellow and grey. The Sun is soft, while the wind blows slowly and keeps whistling. Then comes the festival of holi when India becomes jubilant with extravagant colours. However the festival already has been started in Bengal, we celebrate Holi a day prior  which is known as ‘Dol Yatra’.

Sweets are synonymous with holi and I found ‘Gujiya’ is made rampantly in north Indian household during holi. Here I thought a little, stirred my creativity and came up with this Mawa samosa, which in fact is pretty close to Gujiya. However, it certainly punches the surprise as samosa is known to be the savoury delicacy. The surprise soon transforms into a pure pleasure and satisfies the sweet teeth to fullest.

Khirer Singara (Mawa Samosa)

Khirer Singara (Mawa Samosa)

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Gurher Rashogolla (Rasgulla in Date Palm Syrup)

The winter is bygone for this year from this part of the world where I belong and it left moments, memories and some recipes as well. In one of my earlier posts, I depicted the glory of winter dessert through Gurher Payes or Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery. Now as the spring sets in, why should not we stir the memory and linger on it through another winter special recipe, called Gurher Roshogolla. The least said of Roshogollas, the better, which incidentally happens to be my first post. But the magic balls with Gurh or date palm syrup is nothing short of an enigma.

Gurher Rasogolla (Rasgulla in Date Palm Jaggery)

Gurher Rasogolla (Rasgulla in Date Palm Jaggery)

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Coconut Laddu with Jaggery (Gurher Narkol Naru)

Coconut Laddu is a very common sweet found abundant over east and southern part of India. Often we prepare it to offer God as ‘prasad’. Since childhood, I saw my mother to prepare mainly Gurher Naru, or coconut laddu with jaggery, during ‘Bijoya Dasami’ and ‘Lakshmi Puja’. Apart from Gurher Naru, Chinir Naru, that is laddu made with sugar, is also quite popular. However, the former being my favourite, finds here the place to be shared with you.

Gurher Naru or Coconut Laddu with Jaggery

Gurher Naru or Coconut Laddu with Jaggery

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Gurher Payes or Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery

Winter spent waste for Bengalis if Khejur Gurh (Date Palm jaggery) is missing from the sweets during this period. These days Kolkata has really a short winter and even a shorter supply of the Khejur Gurh. Still one can find shops full of sweets made with date palm jaggery such as Gurher Rasogolla and various Gurher Shondesh over the winter months. They have a very different and distinct flavour from the usual sugar sweets. Although today my recipe is not about sweets, still it has a common link in the form of Khejur Gurh. Rice pudding or Payes, as called in Bengali, is a very common dessert throughout India and known as Kheer over north and Payesam down south. Ideally it is prepared with milk, rice and sugar where the twist I gave to this recipe is by replacing sugar with date plam jaggery. The smell of Khejur gurh in the pudding will definitely indulge you to fall in instant love with the dish. So here is the recipe of our very much favourite Gurher Payes or Rice pudding with date palm jaggery for you my friends. Enjoy the bliss of winter 🙂

Gurer Payes or Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery

Gurer Payes or Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery

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Rasgulla “2 in 1”

It is great to be back after a long sabbatical with a recipe which you may find quite startling. You all are aware about the legendary status of Rasgulla or “Roshogolla” as they say in Bangla. How to pinch a bit more colour into the legend, literally?  A few months back, I happened to find the 2 in 1 Rasgulla, that is half in white and half in chocolate, at a family function. Flavour of chocolate added a whole new dimension in the traditional Rasgulla taste and I liked it immensely. Not only the taste, I liked the half white half dark design even more. Could not wait long and tried it during the Dusshera or “Bijoya Doshomi” with success. Now I find it to be a fitting recipe to post as a sign of my return to the online world of culinary adventure. Enjoy.

Rasgulla "2 in 1"

Rasgulla “2 in 1”

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Pear Tarte Tatin

Sometimes the name of the dish sounds so soothing to your ears that you are drawn spontaneously to it. And then if you discover that the dish is even more fascinating than the name, it is literally called then ‘icing on the cake’. Tarte Tatin is however not a cake, but a delicious french tart which can be made of seasonal fruits. The french word ‘Tarte Tatin’ means an upside down pastry in which the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked. Here I have used Pears in the Tarte Tatin which can be replaced by any juicy fruit of your choice. However the traditional Tarte Tatin is made of apple, which you can try of course.

Pear Tarte Tatin

Pear Tarte Tatin

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Malpua

Malpua is a pretty common Indian dessert, fascinating in taste and lucrative in looks. I am always intrigued by its colour, off white around the center with the edges appearing brown. It can be quickly described as the Indian version of fried pan cake sans the egg and soaked into sugar syrup. Pretty easy to cook at home, malpua is a sheer delight with the combination of semolina and flour with the seeds of fennel and falvour of ghee making each bite special.

Malpua

Malpua

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Pecan Chocolate Brownies

Perhaps we are all familiar with the name Brownies. They are flat, square shaped dessert blocks, brown in colour, hailing from USA. The texture of brownies is somewhere in between cakes and soft cookies and these fudgy or sometimes cakey brownies can be made with or even without baking. It is often enriched with different nuts, chocolate chips and other ingredients and served with ice cream, whipped cream or powdered sugar sprinkled atop.

Here I present  the baked version of brownies which is made with melted chocolate and pecan nuts. Enjoy the super delicious pecan chocolate brownies with a hot cup of tea.

Pecan Chocolate Brownies

Pecan Chocolate Brownies

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Fruit Tartlets

If you are looking for a sophisticated, impressive yet easy to make dessert then Fruit Tartlets can be one of your choices. As we know tartlets are the miniature form of tarts which consists of two parts, one is crunchy shortbread crust and the other is creamy savoury or sweet filling. Obviously fruit tartlets will be topped with any of our favourite fruits. I always got tempted to find those fruit tartlets topped with all the possible colourful fruits while passing by the bakery shops in Europe and apprehended that those should be very difficult to make. But I was wrong. After trying my hand on them, I can vouch that tartlets are very easy to make and taste absolutely yummy 🙂

Delicious Fruit Tartlets

Delicious Fruit Tartlets

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Gajorer Halua or Carrot Halwa

For me Carrot halwa or Gajorer halua has always been a special attraction in winter. I eagerly waited for the day when my mother would prepare it for me. In those days my job was to grate the carrot which was actually the laborious part of the recipe 😉 I loved it so much that I could end up doing anything to have carrot halwa 😉

However, with the age I got clever and now the story is just the opposite. For this recipe I made my mother grate the whole bunch of carrot while I acted like a boss 🙂 The recipe is a tribute to my mother and to the golden memory of childhood.

Ganjorer halua or Carrot halwa

Ganjorer halua or Carrot halwa

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Celebrating Makar Sankranti (Poush Parbon) with Sedhyo Pithe, Dudh Puli & Patishapta

Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival, celebrated all over India. In West Bengal it is known as Poush Sankranti, got the name after the Bengali month Poush, and celebrated as Poush Parbon. The last day of the month Poush, in English 14th or 15th January, is considered as the beginning of an auspicious phase. The day brings smile to the faces of farmers as they earn some money selling off the crops and at last find leisure time after the hard days harvesting on field.

In Bengali households different traditional sweet and savoury dishes, known as Pithe and Puli, are prepared out of rice powder or flour, coconut and date palm jaggery to celebrate this festival. Date (Khejur in Bengali) palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gurh and Patali is an added attraction during winter in Bengal. No one could afford to miss the Rasgulla and Sandesh made with Kjejurer Gurh in winter.

Among various kinds of Pithe & Puli, I prepared just three named as  Sedhyo Pithe (Steamed Pithe), Dudh Puli and Patishapta. They all are sweet dishes and immensely enjoyable. I am sharing with you three recipes together, which are quite simple and requires few handful ingredients.

Sedhyo Pithe

Sedhyo Pithe

Dudh Puli

Dudh Puli

Patishapta

Patishapta

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Malai Chomchom – Guest Post for Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Bengal is famous for its huge collection of sweets among which those made from Indian cottage cheese or ‘chena’ are the special ones. When my friend Chitra of Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen fame asked me to share a recipe of sweet dish as a guest post, I decided to share something which is a delicacy of Bengal and I chose ‘Malai Chomchom’.

Chomchom is nothing but Rasgulla of different shape, either flat or cylindrical. When it is dipped into a thick concentrated gravy of milk it is called Malai Chomchom.

You are already aware of my indulgence in Chitra’s healthy and everyday recipes. I am a big fan of her innovative ideas and really glad to connect with her in person. It is worth visiting her blog,Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen, where she shares her recipes and ideas. I am really grateful to her for giving me this opportunity.

Malai Chomchom

Malai Chomchom

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Kajur Borfi or Kaju Katli or Cashew Nut Fudge

Kaju Borfi or Kaju Katli is a very common Indian sweet and my all time favourite too. During ‘Diwali’, the festival of lights, people exchange boxes full of Kaju katli and wish each other. My mother also used to get a Kaju katli box from her office during this festive time. I still get amused to recall that I was the one to finish half of the box within few hours. Even till now my obsession for it is not reduced a bit and I hardly need any occasion to prepare. Before making it I never realised that the process is so simple and I can make my favourite Kujur borfi at will. Give it a try and you may forget to buy it from market.

Kajur Borfi/Kaju Katli

Kajur Borfi/Kaju Katli

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Firni

Firni happens to be one of my favourite desserts. It is a specialty of aromatic rice pudding, vastly popular in Northern India and across Pakistan and middle eastern countries. Although it is nothing similar to authentic Bengali desserts, still quite popular in Bengal as well, served as a following dessert to Biryani in Mughlai restaurants. Instead of whole grain of rice as used in the known form of rice puddings like kheer or Payesh, a coarse rice paste is used in this preparation. Firni also is a bit more condensed than the usual rice pudding, almost having a custard like texture. It is also far easier to make if you are to come up with something very quick. Ideally firni is served in small earthen bowls, which look very cute. Otherwise, you can serve in glass bowls like I did.

Firni

Firni

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Balushahi

The fever of making sweet is still there for me. As the Jalebi which I made a day before diwali, vanished in seconds, I thought to prepare another sweet on the very day of diwali. We call it Balushahi back home, which is quite an well known Indian dessert made from a stiff dough of all purpose flour, ghee and a pinch of baking soda. These are small doughnut like disks, fried in ghee or oil and dunked in thick sugar syrup to get a sugar coating over it. Containing a rich sweetness with flaky texture, Balushahis can well make the occasions even more special.

Balushahi

Balushahi

Ingredients for 10 pieces :

  1. Plain flour – ¾ cup
  2. Sodium bicarbonate – 1/8 teaspoon
  3. Ghee/Clarified butter – 3 tbspoon
  4. Plain yogurt (whisked) – 2 tbspoon
  5. Cooking oil/Ghee for deep frying
  6. Sugar – 1 cup
  7. Water – ½ cup
  8. Green cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon (optional)
  9. Sliced pistachio for garnishing (optional)

Procedure :

Shift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.

Add ghee to the flour mixture and rub with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Now add yogurt and make a dough (add few drops of water if needed). Don’t over knead the dough as we don’t need it to be very smooth and soft . Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 45 minutes.

Then make 10 small flat balls out of the dough. Make a small indentation at their centers using your thumb. The balls need not be very smooth either, so don’t overwork with them.

Making Balushahi balls

Making Balushahi balls

 Now heat sufficient amount of oil/ghee in a frying pan over medium flame. Gently slide the dough balls into the oil and deep fry them over low flame. Don’t overcrowd the pan, fry them in batches. Gradually the balushahi will start floating at the top. Turn gently and fry the other side till golden.

Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel to soak the excess oil. Let them cool and reach to the room temperature.

After deep-frying

After deep-frying

To make sugar syrup, take sugar and water in a medium size pan and heat over medium-high flame. As all the sugar dissolves and syrup starts boiling, add cardamom powder and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until attains two-thread consistency.

Remove the syrup from gas and dip cold balushahi in it. Let them soak the sugar syrup for 1.5 – 2 hours.

Gently remove balushahi on a serving plate and top with pistachio slices.

Serve after 1 hour to have a sugar coating at the surface of Balushahi.

Balushahi is ready to be served

Balushahi is ready to be served

Note :

  1. Fry the balushahi over low flame otherwise only the outer part will turn golden and inner part remain uncooked. It may take some time, so have patience.
  2. Don’t make the dough very soft and smooth otherwise you will miss its flaky texture.
  3. If you don’t want the sugar-coating on your Balushahi then add 1 teaspoon of lime juice to the sugar syrup in order to prevent sugar crystallisation.

Diwali Special – Jalebi or Jilipi

“Deepavali” or “Diwali” is the festival of light celebrated all over India. Every household gets lightened with “diya” or candle or electric lights. We enjoy the festival to its fullest by setting various colourful crackers on fire, which is the most attractive part for me. 🙂

For Bengalis Diwali is also significant for “Kali puja”. Just a day before diwali we worship goddess Kali and it is celebrated all over West Bengal. Again Khichuri Bhog is the main prasad for Kali puja.

To celebrate diwali in my own way, I decided to prepare some sweets at home. I have already tried and posted the recipes of Rasgulla, Kalakand, Rasmalai, Gulab Jamun and Shandesh. These are mostly “chena” or Indian cottage cheese based desserts. This time I preferred  to try something different, easy to make and a significant Diwali sweet and I  came up with the idea of  “Jalebi”.

Jalebi is a very popular Indian dessert made from flour batter in pretzel or circular shape, soaked in sugar syrup. It is one of my favourite sweets. I still recall my childhood days when not for a single Sunday we could miss it in our breakfast with bread or after having “Kachori” or stuffed puri. With Diwali just around the corner, I take this opportunity to present the recipe of Jalebi, which I tried after a long time.

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali. 🙂

Jalebi or Jilipi

Jalebi or Jilipi

Ingredients for 12 – 15 pieces :

For Jalebi batter :

  1. Plain flour – ½ cup
  2. Fine semolina/Bengal gram flour – ½ teaspoon
  3. Plain yogurt – 1 tbspoon (optional)
  4. Active dry yeast – 1 teaspoon
  5. Sugar – ½ teaspoon
  6. Pinch of turmeric powder (for colour, optional)
  7. Few saffron strands grind to powder (optional)
  8. Oil – 1 teaspoon
  9. Luke warm water – 7-8 tbspoon
  10. Oil for deep frying
  11. One Ketchup bottle/Ziploc bag

For sugar syrup :

  1. Sugar – 1 cup
  2. Water – ½ cup
  3. Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon (to prevent crystallisation)
  4. Green cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon
  5. Few strands of saffron (optional)
  6. Few drops of rose water (optional)

Procedure :

Take 2 tbspoon lukewarm water in a small bowl, add sugar and dry yeast and stir well. Cover the bowl and keep aside for 10 minutes. When foam appears at the top of mixture, you are confirmed that yeast is properly activated. Otherwise you have to repeat the process.

Before activation of yeast

Before activation of yeast

After activation of yeast

After activation of yeast

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add yogurt, yeast mixture, oil and remaining water to make a lump free batter.

Now cover the bowl and place in a warm place (I put it in oven) for fermentation for 1 hour.

After 1 hour check the consistency of the batter. If it is too thick add little water. The batter should neither be very thick nor light still maintaining a pouring consistency.

Jalebi batter & Ketchup bottle

Jalebi batter & Ketchup bottle

As warm sugar syrup is required to dip the jalebis in, prepare it before frying the latter. To do that take sugar and water in a medium size pan and heat over medium flame. As all the sugar dissolves and syrup starts boiling, lower the heat and add lemon juice, cardamom powder and saffron strands. Let it simmer for 5-6 minutes and then put the gas off. We need a single-thread sugar syrup.

Simultaneously heat sufficient amount of oil in a large, flat frying pan over medium flame. The oil should be moderately hot while frying the jalebi.

Now transfer the batter into the ketchup bottle. To make jalebis, pour the batter into hot oil in a rapid circular motion starting from centre towards the edge. Make the sizes according to your preference.

Frying Jalebi

Frying Jalebi

Fry them till golden brown and then transfer to a paper towel to soak the excess oil.

Now dip the jalebis into the hot sugar syrup. Soak them for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve warm or cold. I prefer my jalebi to be hot. 🙂

Jalebi is ready to be served

Jalebi is ready to be served

 Note :

  1. I have used yeast for quick fermentation. If you don’t have yeast then leave the batter at least for 2 hours for natural fermentation (24 hours for best result). In that case, use little amount of water and ½ cup of yogurt to make the batter. Add ½ teaspoon baking powder in the batter before frying jalebis.
  2. If you don’t have ketchup bottle, then use ziploc bag. First make a tiny hole at one corner of the bag and release the air inside, then pour the batter in and zip it. When you are ready to fry the jalebis make the hole a little bigger and fold the bag like a piping bag and then follow the usual procedure.
  3. If you have excess batter then you can store it in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Shandesh

“Shandesh”, a dry sweet made from ‘chena’ or Indian cottage cheese, is a speciality of West Bengal & Bangladesh. It comes in different shapes and flavours. Various moulds of different structures are often used to give them some beautiful shapes and decoration. As for flavours, nowadays one can find right from Mango Shandesh to Chocolate Shandesh to Rose falvoured ones. The confectioners use synthetic colours and preservatives to give them a lucrative look. However, if you go for the traditional Shandeshes, which I personally prefer, they are usually milky white in colour and possess a chastity in the feature. However, one can show his/her creative quotient by giving Sandesh the look he/she likes.

After a small break I am posting this recipe. As our Durga Puja ended just few days back, I want to wish you all “Subho Bijoya” and happy Dashera. “Bijoya Dashomi” is incomplete without Rashogolla/Rasgulla and Shandesh.

Shandesh

Shandesh

Ingredients for 10 pieces :

  1. Milk – 4 cups (I used 1.5% fat milk, you can use full fat milk)
  2. Lemon juice/Vinegar – 2 tbspoon (This time I used vinegar to avoid the smell of lemon juice completely)
  3. Caster sugar – ¼ cup
  4. Green cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon (optional)
  5. Few strands of safron
  6. Milk – 1 teaspoon
  7. Pistachio slices for garnishing

Procedure :

Make Chena/Indian Cottage Cheese out of milk and vinegar/lemon juice.

"Chena" or Indian cottage cheese

“Chena” or Indian cottage cheese

Take out the chena on a flat work surface (preferably on a wooden surface) and rub with your palm for 4-5 minutes or until smooth.

Now add cardamom powder and half of the sugar to the chena and mix well. Then add rest of the sugar and mix homogeneously with chena by kneading well for a couple of minutes. Getting mixed with sugar, the chena will turn little soft and watery.

Now cook this chena, stirring continuously, in a nonstick pan over low heat for 5 – 6 minutes to get rid of the raw flavour of chena.

Now transfer the cooked chena on a plate and let it cool down a bit. Again knead the chena for a couple of minutes while still warm.

Now divide the chena into 10 equal parts and give them your desired shape (I made flat round balls, you can make square shape also). At this point the chena balls still remaining soft, however turns dry and hard as getting cold .

For garnishing add milk to the saffron strands and the nice yellow colour of saffron will get into the milk. Now dip your finger tip into this yellow colour and place at the centre of the chena balls, press a bit to make a small indentation.

Garnishing - step 1

Garnishing the Sandesh

Top with pistachio slices.

Sandesh is ready to be served

Shandesh is ready to be served

Note :

  1. For best result prepare the chena one night before and hange the cheese cloth containing chena/cheese overnight to remove the excess water completely.
  2. Don’t over cook the chena otherwise it will become crumbly and difficult to bind.
  3. Garnishing is completely up to you. One can have sandesh without any garnishing at all.