Friday, March 23, 2018

Chai Spice Cake with Honey

Office potlucks are great opportunities for experimentation - different groups of people with varied tastes, cultural backgrounds etc. offer preciously good feedback and insights. Plus, it's an excellent way to quickly disperse calories! :). It's the ideal setup for my baking experiments. 

This is a regular sheet cake made with spices that go into a typical Indian tea (chai). I also added honey to sweeten the cake and layer on top of the baked cake. It is a bigger, bolder version of this cake I tried a few years back. 

Overall, the feedback was positive. I was surprised that people wanted more spices, and one person even suggested adding grated ginger instead of the powdered version. So here's the adjusted recipe.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Paneer Tikka

In the world of Indian appetizers and finger foods, marinated, spicy, roasted paneer (and some veggies for balance) is an instant crowd pleaser. It is straightforward to prepare (just needs a bit of planning), and if you have an outdoor grill, the smokiness will enhance the flavors!

I have tried roasting them in the oven, but prefer to roast them on the stovetop where I have more control over the individual pieces.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easy Chivda / Spicy Chex Mix

Chivda / Spicy Indian chex mix made with an assortment of deep fried treats involving rice flour, besan (chickpea flour), and corn is a very common and popular savory dish that's had with tea, just as a quick munch/snack, or on festive days. The more ingredients that go into the chex mix, the more "festive" it becomes :)

This is a very simply recipe that involves tossing some common store bought ingredients along with a few items from home. I took the easier route by making chaklis and breaking them into small pieces, and then using plain corn and rice cereals from the store to make up the volume of the chex mix. This is not really innovative, but this is the first time I tried it, and was pleased with the output!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Moong Dal Halwa / Ashoka Halwa

Halwa is a gelatinous-looking Indian sweet that's chewy and rich with ghee (clarified butter). It takes a bit of elbow grease to continuously stir a few simple ingredients until they come together into a blob that is really tasty despite its initial appearance in the pan. Halwa usually takes a lot of ghee to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan while cooking. Consequently, it commonly oozes with ghee and contributes to the overall taste. 

In this version, the moong beans takes significantly lesser amount of ghee and labor. This is a quick and tasty sweet that's sure to please! And it’s also a festive dessert on occasions like Diwali. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

No-Bake Chocolate-Orange Cheesecake

No-bake cheesecakes are the easier version of ice-cream cake, in my opinion. I tried this version as a birthday cake for my husband last year. Despite the lackluster "finish", it was appreciated and relished. I tried to skimp on the "fat", and the consistency of the filling suffered as a result. If you're going for a cheesecake, just go with the full fat versions of cheese/cream, or compromise on how the cake appears :).