Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Aval Payasam - Phova Kheeri | Easy Payasam Recipes

Wishing all who celebrate a very Happy Krishna Janmashtami.
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri
Lots of things come to mind when I think of Ashtami during childhood.It was always a double celebration since we lived a wall apart a Krishna temple and it was almost like a second home for us.So whatever preparations we did at home,which began with cleaning up the Pooja room and creating a small corner for the Krishna idol,replete with flowers and fruits for the pooja at night,were done at the temple too.
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri
At the temple,the most fun activity for the kids was the drawing of baby Krishna's feet.There were fights as to whose 'feet' were more cute and perfect and whose 'feet' were actually going inside the 'sanctum sanctorum'.Since none of us could actually point the 'feet' at one direction,since there were so many kids!,the priest would tell us that Krishna ran all over and everywhere inside the temple so all of us would feel happy and content!
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri
Back here,it is a very quiet celebration,so I decided to pep it up a bit with this simple,but delicious payasam made with Krishna's favorite Aval/Beaten rice.

Since Onam is fast approaching,it is a perfect recipe for Onam Sadya as well.Though I am not a payasam person and prefer a glass of Paalada once in a while,I love simple payasams like these which gets done in minutes with ingredients readily available in your kitchen.
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri
Aval Payasam - Phova Kheeri


Ghee - 1 tbsp
Broken Cashewnuts - 2 tbsp
Thin Aval/Beaten Rice - 1/2 cup
Boiled milk - 2 1/2 cups
Milkmaid* - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Crushed cardamom - 1/2 tsp


Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri 
In a deep pan add ghee and roast the cashewnuts till golden brown.Remove and keep aside.
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri 
In the same pan,roast the aval/beaten rice till it slightly changes in colour and becomes crisp.
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri 
Now mix in the boiled and warm milk and stir well.Let it come to a boil.
At this stage add the nuts along with the milk and let it cook or else you could add it during the last stage.Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes.
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri 
Mix in the milkmaid and sugar,stir well.Let the payasam thicken further,simmer for 5 more minutes.
Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri 
Mix in the crushed cardamom and switch off the flame.Close with a lid and let the flavors infuse.
Serve warm or cold,tastes delicious both ways.

Aval Payasam/Phova Kheeri
  • I used milkmaid as I had some leftover.If you are using milkmaid,you need not add sugar.I added some as I like my payasam really sweet.Do a taste test and add according to your taste buds.
  • If you do not have milkmaid,increase the sugar to 1/2 to 1/3 cup.
  • I like the flavor of cardamom in my sweets,however you could add saffron soaked in milk as well,or skip both.The aval has enough flavor on its own.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Orange Marmalade-Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf ~ We Knead to Bake

Many a times I've been asked by fellow bloggers and bakers why I haven't yet joined Daring Bakers,probably due to the amount of baking I do,it is a mystery to them.But I have a reason.I do not consider myself a master baker and some recipes still intimidate me.I am scared if I find a recipe too difficult I might not even try to attempt it.It is unlike me to commit to something and not do it,so the best bet is not to join :)
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf
But I am not doing the WKtB bread of the month,which is sort of making me twist my fingers in agony.There are a few reasons why I am not baking Pretzels this month.The primary one being,ignorance.I have not tasted a Pretzel yet,so I have no clue if I will like it.Second one is the description,Hard Pretzels,I yearn to achieve a super soft consistency in my breads and this one would turn out hard?Nope,not my thing at all!

I couldn't just let the posting date go without attempting something.So I chose a previous WKtB bread,and till date my favorite,did a sweet twist and posting it today.When we did the savory pull-apart and Aparna suggested a sweet version with the same recipe,I was delighted.Making a Cinnamon-sugar pull-apart loaf was something I wanted to do since a long time.
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf
The making of the pull-apart bread though,was a comedy of errors from the beginning.As I was measuring out the flour,I realized I had only about 2 cups of flour,so I decided I'd add atta/whole wheat flour.One thing I usually do when baking with atta is to add wheat gluten and as I reached out to get the box of gluten,it toppled down on the flour making the kitchen a floury mess.As I finished up cleaning and kneaded the dough(in the food processor),I was surprised seeing the dough very batter-like.I wondered what went wrong then reality dawned that I forgot to add the final 1 cup of flour or atta,in my case.
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf
Added the atta and kneaded the dough with hand.Left it to prove and set about getting things ready for the filling.I remembered a similar filling on PW's blog,so kept out Orange Marmalade,Butter and Cranberries.As I shaped the dough and finished smearing marmalade,adding cranberries and sugar,I saw the butter.Then smeared it over and cut the dough into strips,then I saw the cinnamon.Oh God..I was relieved when I put the dough to prove and then pre-heated the oven.
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf
It wasn't about to end so soon.The power went off just when I switched the oven on and didn't return for another half an hour.Finally after baking and seeing the beautiful results,I heaved a sigh of relief:)

The marmalade I used was slightly bitter so I was worried if the taste would be too strong.But the brown sugar and cinnamon and small bites of cranberries in between,all sort of balanced out the taste.As a last minute addition,I poured over a simple sugar glaze on top of the bread as soon as it came out of the oven,which I believe took it to another level.
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf Orange Marmalade-Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf
Recipe idea - TPW;Original recipe here


For the dough

Warm milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp
Active dry yeast - 2 tsp(I used Mauripan Yeast)
All purpose flour - 2 3/4 cups to 3 cups*
Salt - 1 tsp
Butter - 25 gms,soft at room temperature
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Milk - 3/4 cup + a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread

For the filling

Melted butter - 15 gms
Orange Marmalade - 5-6 tsp

Brown sugar - 1/3 cup
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp

Dried cranberries - 1/4 cup

For the glaze

Powdered sugar - 1/2 cup
Melted butter - 1 tsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - a pinch
Milk - 3 tbsp


Herb & Cheese Pull-apart Loaf-step1 
In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.
Herb & Cheese Pull-apart Loaf-step2 
Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter and sugar in the food processor bowl (or a large bowl) and pulse a couple of times to mix. 

Herb & Cheese Pull-apart Loaf-step3 
Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking, but only just as much as is necessary.
Herb & Cheese Pull-apart Loaf-step4 
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume.

Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger rectangle that is about 12’ by 15”. Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf 
Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter,marmalade,brown sugar and cinnamon.Sprinkle the cranberries all over.
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf 
Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf 
Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips.
You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).
Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin.Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin.
Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf 
Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf.
Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown. This recipe bakes one 9” by 5” loaf.I used two smaller sized loaf tins.

Orange Marmalade Cranberry Pull-apart Loaf 
Make the glaze by mixing together all the ingredients mentioned.Pour over the bread as soon as the bread is outside the oven.Let it sit for a while till the glaze sets.

  • *I used 2 cups of APF and 3/4 cup of atta/whole wheat flour and 1 tsp of vital gluten.
  • I like slightly bitter marmalade hence used that but the brown sugar and the final glaze kind of masked the bitter flavour.
  • The initial process shots of making the dough are from the original post here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style | Easy Paneer Recipes

I am back with another Paneer recipe.Yes,trying to post dishes which are most in demand here-side dishes for chapathi and easy paneer recipes.I never get tired of looking out for new recipes for Paneer,it being one of my most favorite food of all times.People say vegetarians have no choice but to like paneer but I have absolutely no clue why one shouldn't!
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style
Paneer aka Cottage cheese is full of proteins,calcium and vitamin.The "fatty" tag associated with paneer is mostly due to the calorie rich gravies in which these are dunked in mostly.In fact,homemade paneer made using skimmed milk if taken in moderation can actually help you lose weight!Make Paneer Tikka/Paneer Tikka masala or Kadai Paneer and you can have it as a meal by itself,without compromising on taste or health.

Now coming back to this dish,if you are wondering why this one is called Paneer Makhani while it looks very similar to Paneer Butter Masala,I have a reason.Though the base of the gravy is somewhat similar,there are a few subtle differences.PBM gravy is made different by adding several spices into it while the Makhani sauce/gravy is mellow with a faint taste of nuts(due to the addition of cashew paste).
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style
Enough of trivia now,let's get on with the recipe.It is indeed a very simple recipe which pairs perfectly with rotis or naans and simple pulaos.

Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style
Recipe source - Dassana


Paneer/Cottage cheese - 200 gms,cubed
Tomato - 3 or 4 medium,pureed
Cashewnuts - 2 tbsp,soaked in 2-3 tbsp of milk and made into a paste
Butter - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Bay leaf - 1 or 2
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi - 1 tsp
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Salt and sugar to taste
Green chilly sliced and Coriander leaves for garnish


Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style 
In a thick bottomed kadai add butter and oil.Add the tej patta/bay leaf and stir for a few seconds till the oil becomes aromatic.Add the ginger garlic paste and stir till the raw smell disappears,since I used store-bought paste,it took me only less than a minute.
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style 
Mix in the tomato puree and stir well.Simmer the flame and let the puree dry up a little and stir occasionally till oil starts floating on top.
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style 
Mix in the red chilly powder and cashew paste.Now add the water.I rinsed the mixer in which I ground the tomato and the cashew paste and used that water-more flavour without any additional work :)
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style 
Add salt and sugar to taste.Stir until the curry starts to thicken.Mix in the cubed paneer,I shallow fried the paneer in 1/4 tsp of oil,you could try that or add paneer as is.
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style 
Cook for 3-5 minutes and then add kasoori methi,green chilly and garam masala.Switch off the flame,cover with a lid and let the flavours infuse.
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style
Serve hot with naan/kulcha or ghee rice.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Punjabi Chole Masala {for Bhatura,Puri & Roti}

I have mentioned before how I am addicted to watching cookery videos.I never get bored watching the same videos again and again and was almost thinking to myself that I was a lone person when it came to things like these.I was pleasantly surprised to discover our friends' son,who is only 5 years old,watching 'Show me the curry' and 'Howdini' videos!
Punjabi Chole Masala
When our friends come over and he gets bored,he asks for the laptop to watch his favorite train videos.One day he wanted to watch ice-cream videos and somehow we ended up at SMTC's Mango Ice-cream video.He demanded that we make it for him and then hopped on to this Chole video.Then he was pushed aside and me and my friend sat watching it and were delighted to see the recipe,a simple one with few ingredients and looking like just how a 'real' Chole is supposed to be.

She tried it the very next day and was over the top with the results,it turned out just like how it was in the video and she has made it a couple of times ever since,every time telling me to try it myself.I don't know why I waited this long to try.It indeed is a keeper recipe.
Punjabi Chole Masala
I don't know how an authentic chole tastes,but this one is just like how it is served in restaurants with piping hot Bhatura.Dark brown chickpeas in a slightly tangy and thickish gravy goes perfectly well with roti or phulka as well.As H&A mentioned,it is a wonderful base for making some Aloo Tikki Chaat as well,hmmm.

Chole Masala


White chickpeas - 2 cups
Water - around 8-10 cups
Cardamom - 2 whole
Cinnamon stick - 1' piece
Bay leaf - 1
Tea bags - 2
Salt to taste

For the gravy

Oil - 2 tbsp
Hing/Asafetida - 1/8 tsp
Crushed tomatoes - 3-4 medium sized tomatoes pulsed in a mixie
Chole masala - 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala - 1/2 tsp
Dry Mango/amchoor powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For the garnish

Coriander leaves
Onion rings and Green chilly chopped


Soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or at least 6 hours.I discard the water used for soaking and use fresh water after rinsing the pulses.However,SMTC recipe says to cook the pulses in the water in which it was soaked.Use whichever method is convenient.
Punjabi Chole Masala 
In a pressure cooker,add the soaked channa,enough water to cook it along with the bayleaf,cardamom,cinnamon and tea bags.Add salt to taste.
Cook at high pressure for 3-4 whistles and then simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Punjabi Chole Masala 
Open the cooker and drain the channa keeping the water aside,which would be used later in the gravy.Discard the tea bags.
Punjabi Chole Masala 
In a thick bottomed kadai add oil and hing.Immediately add the crushed tomatoes and stir.Cover with a lid and cook the tomatoes for about 5-7 minutes or until oil starts appearing on the sides and the puree gets thick.
Punjabi Chole Masala 
Mix in the dry spice powders - chole masala,red chilly powder,chaat masala,amchoor powder and stir well.
Punjabi Chole Masala 
Now add the drained chole and mix well.Keep adding the reserved water little by little.Cover and cook.Repeat the process till all of the water is used up.Do not skimp on this step and be patient as the water is absorbed in low heat.This is what gives a rich,concentrated flavour to the dish.
Punjabi Chole Masala 
Switch off the flame when the gravy is a bit thickish.The channa will keep absorbing it as it cools down.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and sliced green chilly and onions.
Off this goes to Siri who is hosting My legume love affair this month,an event conceptualized by Susan and taken forward by Lisa.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nutella Pull-apart Rolls | Easy Bread Recipes

Nutella Pull-apart Rolls
I love Ferrero Rocher chocolates,given that love,you'd think I am crazy about Nutella too,right.But no,I am not a grab-that-bowl-of-nutella person.I love chocolate spreads but not as much to eat on their own.Strange no?Funnily,I don't like to spread nutella on my bread as well.I prefer jam and butter instead.However the way I stock up on Nutella bottles,one would think otherwise.

Maybe it has got to do with changing taste buds or maybe it is the strong chocolate flavor.But Nutella for me is only for mixing into cake batters and frostings.So when I saw this recipe for Nutella Pull-apart bread,I was literally 'pulled' to it.This recipe appeared as part of Homemade Bread recipes in GoodFood magazine a while back and it was developed by Saee of MyJhola.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls
Two reasons for me to bake these-one being pull-apart bread success for every trial of mine.Be it the Garlic rolls or the Mint ones or the Pesto rolls,even the Cinnamon rolls,all have give me immense satisfaction in baking as well as polishing them off.Two being the recipe creator-Saee has been baking breads for a while now and posting wonderful videos of them and I felt the recipe can never go wrong.

Fresh out of the oven,these tasted heavenly.Soft pillowy bread sandwiched in Nutella,these make for a delicious tea time treat.Next day,I microwaved the rolls for 10 seconds before serving and they tasted as fresh.Planning to try another batch with Orange Marmalade.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls
So what is your favorite filling?

Nutella Pull-apart Rolls


Maida/All purpose flour - 200 gms
Instant Yeast - 2 tsp,I used Mauripan
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Lukewarm milk - 1/2 cup
Butter - 2 tsp + extra for brushing
Nutella - 3 tbsp


I made the dough in my food processor 
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls 
Into the bowl of your food processor,add maida,yeast,sugar and salt.Pulse for 5 seconds.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls 
Add milk through the feed tube and process till the dough almost comes together.Mix in the butter and process till the dough forms a ball and leaves the sides of the processor bowl.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls 
Grease a bowl with some oil and place the dough in it and cover to let it rise,for about 45 minutes or until the dough doubles.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls 
Punch the dough and knead again.Roll out into a floured surface to about a rough square of 12',about 1/4' thick.
Spread the Nutella and then roll the dough into a spiral log.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls 
Cut the dough into 2' pieces and place cut side up in a round 9' pan with some space in between for the rolls to rise.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls 
Leave to double again,this time for about 35-40 minutes.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 200C.The top should be light golden brown.Remove and brush with melted butter immediately.
Nutella Pull-apart Rolls
Cool completely before serving.

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