Monday, November 19, 2018

Indianized Baklava

Baklava is one of our favorite desserts. Despite the calorific threat, the wafting aromas of rosewater and ghee, and the satisfying crunch of the crisp phyllo dough tempt us every time to eat sparingly albeit with a lot of relish. Making baklava at home has been on my to-do list (and on my husband's to-do list for me) for a long time, and this was the year when it was done!

I used palm sugar instead of regular sugar, sprinkled spices like cardamom and allspice, and used store bought phyllo sheets which simplified the process tremendously. The palm sugar reduces your guilt, and gives a rich deep flavor and color (especially to the syrup). This is not a dessert that you can mess up!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Date Bites

Here's a very simple and versatile snack option that is healthy, delicious, a complete breeze to make.

Ingredients: (makes about 15-17 balls)
  1. 25-30 pitted dates
  2. 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1/4 cup of almonds or nuts of your choice
  4. a splash of vanilla extract
Throw everything together in a mixie or food processor and pulse until the dates and nuts break down and start coming together. Add a little more vanilla extract, if needed to give more moisture and to help speed the mixing process. Scoop into small bite-sized pieces and roll into a ball. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. 

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!