Wednesday, 27 July 2016

577. Vegetable Masala Buns

Sometimes you need some spice 

           Its time to post our bake for the 'We Knead to Bake' group. For the month of July our host for the #41st bake was Ankita Dave of Anki's Cakery. She requested us to bake Vegetable Masala Buns. Whatever international cuisine is made in an Indian kitchen has to spiced up. Bread also is spiced up to give it that typical 'chatpata' taste. Ankita suggested we could use pizza sauce. However, I thought of using a typical Indian option. What better 'sauce' to use then a chutney.Besides being a masala or spicy bread, what was unique about these buns is the way they were shaped. Loved the shape.
         We Knead to Bake is a group of enthusiastic bakers who bake a chosen bread every month. Previously, the initiator of the group Aparna would choose the type of bread we should bake. But now members participate by hosting. They choose what sort bread others have to bake. Its through this group that I've had the opportunity to bake a variety of breads right from leopard bread to komaj. 
          Bread baking is a such a satisfying, fun, joyous procedure. I love kneading the dough, love the aroma of bread baking and warm bread tastes heavenly. Kneading the dough arouses your sense of touch, fingers playing with the dough, aroma of the bread baking arouses you sense of smell, bringing a smile on your face, sight of the baked bread makes you drool and finally the taste of bread tantalizes your taste buds. And oh don't forget the crunch and crackle sound of bread being cut, its music to the ears. 
          Coming to vegetable masala buns, I added onions,paneer,tomato, corn and chutney as the filling.I used wheat and plain flour instead of just using plain flour. Ading cumin seeds to the dough adds an earthy taste to the buns. Try this recipe out It's a truly delicious bake. Have the buns on their own or with some soup.









VEGETABLE MASALA BUNS
Makes 8

For the bread dough:
2 cups wholewheat flour (atta)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
2 tsp dry active instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1-1¼ cup warm water
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing and brushing

For the filling:
1 small onion finely chopped (approx ⅓ cup)
1 medium tomato, remove the seeds and chop (approx.½ cup)
100g paneer cut into small cubes (approx ½ cup)
½ cup cooked sweet corn
½ cup fresh mint and coriander chutney
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse black pepper powder

For the chutney:
½ cup chopped fresh coriander (dhania)
½ cup chopped fresh mint
6-8  roasted cashew nuts
1-2 green chillis
½ tsp ginger paste
½ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

Preparation of the dough:

  1. Mix the wholewheat flour, plain flour, salt,sugar, yeast and cumin seeds.
  2. Rub the oil into the flour.
  3. Add warm water and form a dough.
  4. Dust the worktop with some flour and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes till it is smooth and soft.
  5. Grease a bowl with oil.
  6. Form the dough into a ball.
  7. Place it in the greased bowl. Rub a bit of oil over the dough.
  8. Cover and let the dough rise for 1½ -2 hours or till it is double in size.
Preparation of the chutney:
  1. Chop the cashew nuts roughly.
  2. Put all the ingredients for chutney in a food processor.
  3. Process till its a smooth paste.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Mix chopped onion, tomato, corn and paneer in a small bowl.
  2. Add pepper and mix well.
  3. Add salt just before you are going to use it spread over the dough.
Preparation of the bread:
  1. Grease a baking tray lightly with oil.
  2. Knead the risen dough gently twice or thrice.
  3. Using extra flour, roll it into a rectangle 16" X 10". The shorter width should be towards you.
  4. Spread the chutney over it, don't forget the edges.
  5. Sprinkle the filling over it.
  6. Roll from both long ends towards the middle, like a scroll. Try to roll them tightly.
  7. Pinch the edges of the rolled parts gently.
  8. Cut into slices each about 2" thick.
  9. Place two parts with backs to each other on the greased baking tray.
  10. Place the remaining slices as in step 8.
  11. Let the buns rise for 30-40 minutes till double in size.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  13. Brush the top of the buns with oil.
  14. Bake for 20-30 minutes or till the bread is golden brown in colour.
  15. Remove the buns from the oven.
  16. Cool them on a wire rack.
  17. Serve on its own as a snack or with some soup.
Tips:
  • The chutney should be thick and not watery. If it is watery, add some more cashew nut powder.
  • Use peanuts instead of cashew nuts.
  • To make smaller buns divide the dough into two parts.
  • You can use tomato sauce, pizza sauce instead of chutney.
  • Add vegetables of your choice.
  • Remove the seeds from the tomato to prevent it from becoming watery.
You may want to check out the following:
Pizza swirl bread
Iranian Barbari Bread


Sending this recipe for the following event:







Monday, 25 July 2016

576. Mohanthal

Celebration Time

    I joined the #FoodieMonday#Bloghop group in the month of March when they were on their 31st theme.This week we are on our 50th theme...wow. Its time to celebrate. Celebration is usually with something sweet.The group decided on #Traditional Sweets. I decided to make an authentic Gujarati mithai (dessert), mohanthal. I get a bit nervous when I have to prepare traditional Indian sweets. I would have opted for easier traditional sweets like shiro(sooji halwa), lapsi, shrikhand, basundi, but I've already posted those. Had Mohanthal and Magas on my 'to do list'. I decided on Mohanthal as I prefer that to magas.
    Before I go into explaining how to make mohanthal, I must tell you a bit about the #FoodieMonday#Bloghop group. Right now we are 10 members. One stays in US, one in Singapore, five in India, one in Qatar, one in Scotland and I live in Kenya. So how do we decide on the theme every week? Our life saviour is Whatsapp. As soon as everyone has posted on Monday, the status changes to "What Next?" By Tue evening Wed morning the next theme is decided on. Then the chat is what we are making which usually no one knows till the weekend. Besides that we are like a family, sharing our joys and sorrows. I am glad I'm a part of this group for various reasons. I've found new blogger friends. I've learnt so much about regional cooking, get to become a little wiser technology wise, learn about different cultures and help is always available when one is stuck, be it in food preparation, taking decisions, family crisis etc. Basically, different time zones has not prevented us from keeping in touch with each other. The one in US probably catches up with all our chats much later, because of the huge time difference. Hoping that one day we all can actually meet up.
    Coming to Mohanthal, its a typical Gujarati traditional fudgy type of sweet preparation made from chickpea flour, milk solids(khoya),sugar, ghee(clarified butter) a few spices and nuts.Its usually served during special occasions or made during Diwali. It is believed that Mohanthal is Lord Krishna's favourite and therefore many add orange food colour to it. I prefer not to add food colour. Traditionally made Mohanthal is full of ghee, a thin film of ghee solidifies on top of the set mohanthal. Its basically like a barfi but made with chickpea flour. My mother in law, Nunu use to make mohanthal quite often as we use to host many parties at home. I've used her recipe. However, must confess that my mamiji now living in Walsall makes the best mohanthal. Mohanthal can be served set like barfi or even as a hot fudgy, thick semi solid consistency. I love the hot version more.







MOHANTHAL
16-20 pieces

2½ cups chickpea flour(chana flour, besan)
1 -1¼ cups solid ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup grated or crumbled khoya (mawa, milk solid)
1½ - 1¾ cups white sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup warm milk
½ tsp coarse cardamom powder (elachi)
1 tsp cardamom powder (elachi)
½ tsp mace powder (javantri)
½ -¾ tsp nutmeg powder (jaiphal)
a generous pinch of saffron

Topping:
¼ tsp coarse cardamom powder
2 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus) optional
2-3 tbsp almond slivers
2 tbsp pistachio slivers
a few saffron strands

First we need to prepare the dhabo as its called in Gujarati.
  1. To prepare that, warm up ¼ cup ghee till its liquid. Add to the warm milk and mix.
  2. Add this mixture into the chickpea flour.
  3. Rub it between your fingers or palms till the mixture resembles like breadcrumbs.
  4. Leave the chickpea flour mixture to rest for 30 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the syrup:
  1. Add sugar and water into a pan and heat it over medium heat.
  2. Stir it frequently.
  3. Make this into a one string consistency. This takes about 7 minutes. 
  4. Add saffron strands and cardamom powder to the hot syrup.
  5. Leave it on the side till required.
Preparation of the mohanthal:
  1. Grease a 8"X 8" tray with some ghee.
  2. To get even texture, pass the chickpea flour mixture through a sieve with large holes. Rub the larger pieces into the sieve net till all of it has passed through the mesh.
  3. Add the remaining ghee into a wide pan. Put it over medium heat. Let the ghee melt.
  4. Add the sieved chickpea mixture. Lower the heat to low.
  5. Stir it constantly and roast it in the ghee till it becomes golden almond colour. Make sure you roast it over low heat and its brown enough. This takes about 12-15 minutes.By now the mixture will be much lighter weight wise and fluffy.
  6. Add the khoya and mix till the khoya dissolves.At this stage the mixture will appear whitish. Roast it for a further 5-6 minutes.
  7. Add the coarse cardamon powder, nutmeg and mace powder. Mix well.
  8. If the syrup has become cold, warm it up again.
  9. Add the syrup to the roasted chickpea flour mixture.
  10. At this stage the mixture will be very liquidy. However, keep on stirring for 2-3 minutes and it will become thick.
  11. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray.
  12. Level it out using the back of a spoon.
  13. Sprinkle the topping over it i.e. almond, pistachio slivers, poppy seeds, coarse cardamom powder and saffron strands.
  14. Press it into the mohanthal lightly using the back of a spoon.
  15. Let it set for 30 minutes. Cut into squares (the size you desire) but do not remove from the tray.
  16. Now let the mohanthal set completely. Usually I leave it overnight.
  17. Remove mohanthal squares from the tray and serve or store in an airtight container.
Tips:
  • I used only 1 cup of ghee, you can use 1¼ cups if you like.
  • I used 1½ cups of sugar which was fine for us. If you prefer a more sweeter mohanthal use 1¾ cups.
  • Add orange colour if you like. Add it to the syrup.
  • If you want to serve hot mohanthal, just prepare it half and hour before you have to serve. If it begins to set before you serve it, then you can add about ½ cup water and  heat it up again.
  • Refer to this article on how to make the right consistency of sugar syrup.
You may want to check out the following:
googra
Gur na ladwa (churma ladoo)


Sending this recipe for the following event:

Blog Hop





Tuesday, 12 July 2016

575. Date Chai Muffins- #BreadBakers

Date and Chai Muffins#BreadBakers

Natural Sweeteners

  While browsing on Facebook one night, I saw a message from Stacy the initiator of Bread Bakers group, requesting members to host the coming months. Quickly, she found hosts for August to December 2016.The only month left was July! For a long time I wanted to host but what put me off was the too technical sounding google documents and htmls and all those alien technological terms. There are files explaining how to go about it, but a mental block was making the whole task sound just too difficult. Knowing that in July I would be spending time with my son in Montreal, I quickly
"whatsapped" him asking if he will help to create the document. "Of course mum," he replied. So, I decided to 'jump into the deep end knowing that I don't know how to swim'.
    The next step was to go through the previous themes and decide on one. Natural Sweeteners came to mind and I wrote to Stacy that I will be the host for July. Natural Sweeteners just popped into my head at that time. After doing a bit of research, its amazing how many natural sweeteners are available. Honey and maple syrup are the fore runners. Then add sweet fruits, dried without added sugar like dates, raisins, sultanas, prunes, apricots, figs,strawberries,raspberries,goji, cherries etc. Fresh fruits like mangoes, bananas, sweet apples are widely used to add sweetness to bakes. Pumpkins, sweet potato are widely used to add natural sweetness too. You may say that sugar is natural, made from sugar cane juice. I challenged the participants not use use any processed or centrifuged sugars or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. This included no brown, demerara, turbinado, muscovado etc as they all go through some stage of centrifuging and processing. Natural occurring sweeteners that are widely used in Indian cooking are jaggery and palm sugar. With all the hype about coconut being good for health, coconut sugar is quickly becoming a popular natural sweetener. Do scroll down and check out how fellow bakers have used natural sweeteners in their bakes.
    My plan was to use jaggery in my bake but I forgot to carry the jaggery from home. Searched for jaggery in Montreal and was not really happy with the quality so I had to think of an alternate recipe.
    Our stopover from Nairobi was Doha just under 2 hours, before we flew to Montreal. I bought some dates at the airport thinking my son may enjoy snacking on them. 2 weeks and the tin was not opened. I decided to use them to make muffins. This will be my 10th bake for Bread Bakers group and till date except for the buckwheat pancakes I've baked with yeast. Decided to make something without yeast for a change.
    Hope you like my Date and Chai muffins. They tasted like Christmas cake, fruity and spicy. Hubby was really happy that he could enjoy muffins that had no sugar added. He is diabetic, but that did not mean he could gorge on them. Dried fruits without added sugar have low to moderate Glycemic Index and are a rich source of fiber, valuable nutrients and anti oxidants.

P.S. Making the google document and html links was not difficult at all. I've learnt something new and feel great. Thanks to my son Neel for his guidance and to fellow member Renee Dobbs(Magnolia Days) for assisting me.

















Date and Chai Muffins
Makes 12

1 cup(lightly packed) pitted dates
½ cup raisins
½ cup prunes or apricots or any dried fruit
1 cup water
¼ cup (approx 50g) butter
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup wheat flour (atta)
½ cup plain flour(all purpose flour)
1 tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used walnuts)
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chai(tea) masala*

  1.  Put pitted dates, raisins, prunes(or any other dried fruit you use) and water in a saucepan.
  2. Heat it over medium low heat till the mixture becomes a thick paste. Total cooking time was about 5 minutes.
  3. Let the mixture cool down completely. Transfer the mixture to a big bowl.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Line a muffin tray with cake cups or grease it lightly with butter.
  6. Sift the flours, chai masala, salt, baking powder and soda bicarbonate together. Add nuts and mix.
  7. Beat the eggs lightly. Add it to the date mixture.
  8. Add butter, vanilla extract and orange juice to the date mixture and mix well.
  9. Add the flour mixture and mix just enough to get the flour wet. Don't over mix.
  10. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes till the tops are light golden brown. Insert a skewer or toothpick into the middle of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, the muffins are done. 
  12. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
  13. Serve with some spicy tea, coffee or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Tips:
  • * I make my own tea or chai masala (powder). Ready made chai masala is available in most stores or Indian stores.
  • I chopped the apricots and prunes into big pieces after measuring them.
  • Use sultanas, currants, dried blueberries instead of raisins.
  • Make sure your fruits do not have added sugar to make these muffins totally without processed sugar. Most dried cranberries available in the stores have added sugar. 
  • I used dates that did not have any sugar syrup. They should be dry and not wet when you touch them. 
  • You can make them using wholewheat flour only. I added ½cup plain flour as I didn't have enough wheat flour.
You may want to  check out what other bakers have made using natural sweeteners:





BreadBakers


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.







Monday, 11 July 2016

574. Veggie Mini Taco Boats

Mexican is a popular cuisine

  The Mexican cuisine staples are corn, beans, chili peppers, avocados,tomatoes, honey and chocolate. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire,Mexican cuisine has a strong Spanish influence. They introduced meats(beef, chicken, goat and sheep) and dairy products, mainly cheese and various spices and herbs and grains like wheat and rice.Traditionally, the inhabitants of Mexico were nomadic hunters and gatherers. Corn tortillas with bean paste was a common meal. They also ate wild game, fish and local fruits. During the slave trade era the cuisine was influenced also by African and Asian elements. Most rural areas still prepare meals using corn, beans and chili peppers as their main ingredients. Dishes vary from region to region. The most popular food in Mexico is enchiladas.  What we know as Mexican cuisine is also popularly known as TexMex cuisine. Mexican cuisine is as popular as Chinese, Italian, Indian and Japanese cuisines.
  Did you know that the the popular salsa is the Spanish word for sauce? Salsa can be smooth or chunky, cooked or uncooked. Tomatoes, tomatillos, chipotle and avocados are popular ingredients for salsas.
   Traditionally Mexicans did not cook in an oven but over open fires, using skillets and ceramic wares. They also steamed their food by wrapping it in banana or cactus leaves and suspended over boiling water.
   My preparation for the 48th #FoodieMonday#Bloghop theme #Mexican Cuisine is not a typical traditional preparation but a modern preparation, Taco boats. These boats are prepared by the popular Mexican style food brand Old El Paso. My initial plan was to make burritos. I was browsing done the aisle at Metro, a supermarket in Montreal, I first saw all those different flavoured tortillas and got excited. I picked up the cheese and chipotle flavoured ones. As I walked a bit further looking for black beans I saw these packets of cute mini taco boats. So put the tortillas back and grabbed a packet  of the boats. These are things I don't get back home easily. I have to make my own tortillas. So preparing this dish was easy for me. Hubby and my son loved it and its on the menu again soon.
   The advantage of using these boats is that one can serve them as finger food without getting too messy, any filling can be used. To fill salads the boats can be wrapped in foil and baked for a while. On cooling fill with your favourite salad. Use them as dessert cups too.













Veggie Mini Taco Boats
Makes 12 mini boats

12 ready made mini taco boats
1½ cups cooked black or red beans
1½ cups cooked sweet corn
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup diced bell pepper, any colour
¾ cup tomato salsa sauce
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium low heat. When it is hot, add chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute till they are soft. 
  2. Add beans, corn, salt and the sauce.
  3. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes. The mixture should not be runny. Take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add chipotle powder and cilantro and mix well.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  6. Lay out the mini boats on a baking tray. 
  7. Fill the boats with the prepared filling.
  8. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  9. Bake the boats for 15-20 minutes or till the cheese melts and the rim of the boats turn light brown.
  10. Serve the boats immediately topped with sour cream.
Tips:
  • Make a filling of your choice.
  • Serve the mini boats with guacamole if your like.
  • You can use ready made salsa sauce if you like.
You may want to check out the following:
mini taco salad cups

Sending this recipe for the following event:

Blog Hop

Monday, 4 July 2016

573. Makai no Chevdo (Hot corn snack)

Hot and Spicy

      It's very hot in Montreal so when the #FoodieMonday #Bloghop group decided on Monsoon Madness, as our 47th theme, I must admit I was in a dilemma. What do I make that's apt for the Monsoon season without frying pakodas! For me monsoon season in Bangalore meant hot kheer or raab and dal vadas. I love the hot spicy vadas that are sold in the market areas around Bangalore. Monsoon also reminds me of the hot roasted corn(bhutta) in Mumbai near my sister- in -law's apartment and Juhu beach. Roasted corn with lemon and red chilli powder is so delicious.
     A couple of days ago we had bought some fresh corn to boil and have with some butter or lime. The corn was really sweet and tender. That's when the idea struck.... why not make makai no chevdo which is a typically Gujarati snack, very tasty and easy to make.It's a perfect monsoon treat. I remember my kaki would make this for us during the corn or maize season in Nairobi. Its best to get the nice tender corn and not the hard ones for this preparation.
     Summer time in Montreal means that people are making trips far and near to connect with Nature. Hiking, swimming,gardening, boating, trekking, camping, climbing or outdoor sports. Its very difficult to find people not doing some sort of activity. Canada is blessed with wonderful National Parks, with rivers, lakes, mountains and forests. A few days ago we went to Mont Tremblant with our son. Tremblant village at the base of the Mont Tremblant is a quaint little place. People can walk the cobbled pathways without cars, buses and motor bikes obstructing their way. On either side of the streets are eateries and shops. Canadians respect pedestrians unlike in India and Kenya. 
     Coming back to today's recipe, it is very simple to make. Why its called chevdo I have no idea! Hubby calls it makai ni khichdi. I enjoy this preparation as a snack or as a light meal. Make it hot to ward off the cold by adding more chillis. I've added chopped cashew nuts to add extra flavour and bite.









summer in Montreal, artistic florist

Tremblant village
Tremblant village. Cobbled walk paths. 

MAKAI NO CHEVDO(Corn Snack)
For 4 as a snack or for 2 as a light meal

2 cups coarsely ground or grated fresh corn ( I used 3 corns)
1 cup fresh milk
¼ cup chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp ginger paste
1-2 green chillis sliced or paste
1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp sugar (optional)


  1. Wash the corn and with a sharp knife slice off the corn kernels from the cob. Some people prefer to grate it but I don't like the mess so I prefer to cut the kernels off the cob.
  2. Put the corn in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. You should have about 2 cups of this coarse paste.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan or wide pan over medium heat.
  4. When it is hot add mustard and cumin seeds.
  5. Add asafoetida, cashew nuts, chopped chillis and ginger paste. Mix and add the corn.
  6. Add salt, turmeric powder and milk.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Cover the pan and let the corn cook in the milk for 5-7 minutes or till the mixture becomes semi dry. Take the pan off the heat.
  9. Add chopped coriander and lime juice. Mix well and serve immediately.
Tips:
  • Add sugar only if the corn is not sweet.
  • You can use white or yellow tender corn.
  • You can use frozen corn kernels.
  • I love adding a few raisins to the chevdo.
  • If you like a tangy taste, add a bit more lemon or lime juice.
You may want to check out the following:


spinach and baby corn soup


vegetable poha
Sending this recipe to the following event:

Blog Hop

Monday, 27 June 2016

571. Chocolate Medallions

It's great spending time with my son

     It's a week since we arrived in Montreal. The weather is really hot. Good for the people of Montreal, after the long winter. People sun tanning in their balconies, in the parks, children playing under the water fountains, pet owners out with their pets, cold beers, barbecues even in the smallest balconies, alfresco dining, beautiful flowers, greenery, street festivals, people riding on their bikes, walking, hiking, an endless list of ice cream flavours. The whole city is bustling with activities. For me its just too hot (I get too much sun anyway in Mombasa). So I really don't want to get out of the house till after 4pm when the heat is a bit bearable. However, sometimes we have to get out when the sun is beating on our heads. I then walk around with ice cold water. Talking about heat, couldn't believe that the chocolate was melting so fast in my hands when I was preparing the chocolate medallions. 
      Our 46th theme#FoodieMonday#Bloghop is Dry Fruits. Dry fruits or dried fruits are fruits that are dried either in the sun, dryers, dehydrators or ovens whereby the original content of water is removed. Fruits are dried and consumed when not in season by adding them to breads, salads, rice, cakes, stews, curries, desserts etc. Dried fruits add natural sweetness to a dish. During the early civilization fruits were picked and dried to consume during the winter or cold seasons.They also used them as natural sweeteners. Nowadays usage of dried fruits is wide spread, where most people use it everyday. Most nutritionists recommend a handful of dried fruits to ward off hunger pangs. Its better to reach out for some dried fruits than a packet of fried snacks. However, like everything else, too much is not good as they are sweet. I prefer to nibble on a few raisins, a couple of figs, dates or apricots to satisfy my sweet tooth. 
       When the group decided on dry fruits, I was thinking of cakes, muffins, bread. Both father and son didn't want to have any sweet bakes. But then hubby is always looking for chocolate after dinner. So I decided to make chocolate medallions with dried fruits, nuts and seeds. One medallion is enough to beat the craving and is healthy.









CHOCOLATE MEDALLIONS
Makes 12-16 (depending on the diameter)

¾ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup milk chocolate chips
mixed dried fruits
some seeds
some nuts

  1. Take a parchment paper about 12"X 8". Using a round small lid draw circles on the paper. I used a 2" inch lid. Turn the paper and tape the edges with sellotape to a tray or work board. The circles are your guidelines.(or rather arcs!!)
  2. Keep whatever dried fruits, nuts and seeds you are going to use. I used dried banana, mango, cranberries, raisins and pineapple. I added cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
  3. Melt chocolate either over boiling water or in the microwave oven.
  4. To melt chocolate over boiling water,put chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl. Boil water in a saucepan. Place the bowl in the pan, it should not touch the water. So make sure it sits at the rim of the pan.Mix the chocolate with a spoon. The steam from the hot water will melt the chocolate.
  5. To melt it in the microwave oven, put the chocolate chips in a microwavable container. Heat for 1 minute. Remove the container from the microwave oven and mix the chocolate chips. Return the container into the microwave oven and heat further for 30 seconds. Mix well.
  6. Put a tablespoon of the melted chocolate on one of the traced circle. Spread it out a bit. Repeat till the melted chocolate is over.
  7. I put each fruit, nut and a sprinkle of seeds on each medallion so that each piece has an equal amount of fruit, nut and seeds. 
  8. Put the medallions with the tray or board in the fridge till the chocolate sets.
  9. Remove the medallions from the paper and store in a container in the fridge till required. Believe me, cold chocolate medallions taste so much better than the room temperature ones.
Tips:
  • I haven't give the measurements of the dried fruits, nuts and seeds as the amount required depends on the type of fruits, nuts and seeds you use. 
  • You can add any fruits, nuts and seeds of your choice.
  • Use only dark chocolate if you prefer.
  • Use white chocolate instead of dark and milk chocolate.
  • The number of medallions you get will depend on the diameter of the circle. I got 16.
You may want to check out the following recipes:
marble barfi
Sending this recipe for the following event:


Blog Hop

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

577. Vegetable Masala Buns

Sometimes you need some spice 

           Its time to post our bake for the 'We Knead to Bake' group. For the month of July our host for the #41st bake was Ankita Dave of Anki's Cakery. She requested us to bake Vegetable Masala Buns. Whatever international cuisine is made in an Indian kitchen has to spiced up. Bread also is spiced up to give it that typical 'chatpata' taste. Ankita suggested we could use pizza sauce. However, I thought of using a typical Indian option. What better 'sauce' to use then a chutney.Besides being a masala or spicy bread, what was unique about these buns is the way they were shaped. Loved the shape.
         We Knead to Bake is a group of enthusiastic bakers who bake a chosen bread every month. Previously, the initiator of the group Aparna would choose the type of bread we should bake. But now members participate by hosting. They choose what sort bread others have to bake. Its through this group that I've had the opportunity to bake a variety of breads right from leopard bread to komaj. 
          Bread baking is a such a satisfying, fun, joyous procedure. I love kneading the dough, love the aroma of bread baking and warm bread tastes heavenly. Kneading the dough arouses your sense of touch, fingers playing with the dough, aroma of the bread baking arouses you sense of smell, bringing a smile on your face, sight of the baked bread makes you drool and finally the taste of bread tantalizes your taste buds. And oh don't forget the crunch and crackle sound of bread being cut, its music to the ears. 
          Coming to vegetable masala buns, I added onions,paneer,tomato, corn and chutney as the filling.I used wheat and plain flour instead of just using plain flour. Ading cumin seeds to the dough adds an earthy taste to the buns. Try this recipe out It's a truly delicious bake. Have the buns on their own or with some soup.









VEGETABLE MASALA BUNS
Makes 8

For the bread dough:
2 cups wholewheat flour (atta)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
2 tsp dry active instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1-1¼ cup warm water
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing and brushing

For the filling:
1 small onion finely chopped (approx ⅓ cup)
1 medium tomato, remove the seeds and chop (approx.½ cup)
100g paneer cut into small cubes (approx ½ cup)
½ cup cooked sweet corn
½ cup fresh mint and coriander chutney
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse black pepper powder

For the chutney:
½ cup chopped fresh coriander (dhania)
½ cup chopped fresh mint
6-8  roasted cashew nuts
1-2 green chillis
½ tsp ginger paste
½ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

Preparation of the dough:

  1. Mix the wholewheat flour, plain flour, salt,sugar, yeast and cumin seeds.
  2. Rub the oil into the flour.
  3. Add warm water and form a dough.
  4. Dust the worktop with some flour and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes till it is smooth and soft.
  5. Grease a bowl with oil.
  6. Form the dough into a ball.
  7. Place it in the greased bowl. Rub a bit of oil over the dough.
  8. Cover and let the dough rise for 1½ -2 hours or till it is double in size.
Preparation of the chutney:
  1. Chop the cashew nuts roughly.
  2. Put all the ingredients for chutney in a food processor.
  3. Process till its a smooth paste.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Mix chopped onion, tomato, corn and paneer in a small bowl.
  2. Add pepper and mix well.
  3. Add salt just before you are going to use it spread over the dough.
Preparation of the bread:
  1. Grease a baking tray lightly with oil.
  2. Knead the risen dough gently twice or thrice.
  3. Using extra flour, roll it into a rectangle 16" X 10". The shorter width should be towards you.
  4. Spread the chutney over it, don't forget the edges.
  5. Sprinkle the filling over it.
  6. Roll from both long ends towards the middle, like a scroll. Try to roll them tightly.
  7. Pinch the edges of the rolled parts gently.
  8. Cut into slices each about 2" thick.
  9. Place two parts with backs to each other on the greased baking tray.
  10. Place the remaining slices as in step 8.
  11. Let the buns rise for 30-40 minutes till double in size.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  13. Brush the top of the buns with oil.
  14. Bake for 20-30 minutes or till the bread is golden brown in colour.
  15. Remove the buns from the oven.
  16. Cool them on a wire rack.
  17. Serve on its own as a snack or with some soup.
Tips:
  • The chutney should be thick and not watery. If it is watery, add some more cashew nut powder.
  • Use peanuts instead of cashew nuts.
  • To make smaller buns divide the dough into two parts.
  • You can use tomato sauce, pizza sauce instead of chutney.
  • Add vegetables of your choice.
  • Remove the seeds from the tomato to prevent it from becoming watery.
You may want to check out the following:
Pizza swirl bread
Iranian Barbari Bread


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Monday, 25 July 2016

576. Mohanthal

Celebration Time

    I joined the #FoodieMonday#Bloghop group in the month of March when they were on their 31st theme.This week we are on our 50th theme...wow. Its time to celebrate. Celebration is usually with something sweet.The group decided on #Traditional Sweets. I decided to make an authentic Gujarati mithai (dessert), mohanthal. I get a bit nervous when I have to prepare traditional Indian sweets. I would have opted for easier traditional sweets like shiro(sooji halwa), lapsi, shrikhand, basundi, but I've already posted those. Had Mohanthal and Magas on my 'to do list'. I decided on Mohanthal as I prefer that to magas.
    Before I go into explaining how to make mohanthal, I must tell you a bit about the #FoodieMonday#Bloghop group. Right now we are 10 members. One stays in US, one in Singapore, five in India, one in Qatar, one in Scotland and I live in Kenya. So how do we decide on the theme every week? Our life saviour is Whatsapp. As soon as everyone has posted on Monday, the status changes to "What Next?" By Tue evening Wed morning the next theme is decided on. Then the chat is what we are making which usually no one knows till the weekend. Besides that we are like a family, sharing our joys and sorrows. I am glad I'm a part of this group for various reasons. I've found new blogger friends. I've learnt so much about regional cooking, get to become a little wiser technology wise, learn about different cultures and help is always available when one is stuck, be it in food preparation, taking decisions, family crisis etc. Basically, different time zones has not prevented us from keeping in touch with each other. The one in US probably catches up with all our chats much later, because of the huge time difference. Hoping that one day we all can actually meet up.
    Coming to Mohanthal, its a typical Gujarati traditional fudgy type of sweet preparation made from chickpea flour, milk solids(khoya),sugar, ghee(clarified butter) a few spices and nuts.Its usually served during special occasions or made during Diwali. It is believed that Mohanthal is Lord Krishna's favourite and therefore many add orange food colour to it. I prefer not to add food colour. Traditionally made Mohanthal is full of ghee, a thin film of ghee solidifies on top of the set mohanthal. Its basically like a barfi but made with chickpea flour. My mother in law, Nunu use to make mohanthal quite often as we use to host many parties at home. I've used her recipe. However, must confess that my mamiji now living in Walsall makes the best mohanthal. Mohanthal can be served set like barfi or even as a hot fudgy, thick semi solid consistency. I love the hot version more.







MOHANTHAL
16-20 pieces

2½ cups chickpea flour(chana flour, besan)
1 -1¼ cups solid ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup grated or crumbled khoya (mawa, milk solid)
1½ - 1¾ cups white sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup warm milk
½ tsp coarse cardamom powder (elachi)
1 tsp cardamom powder (elachi)
½ tsp mace powder (javantri)
½ -¾ tsp nutmeg powder (jaiphal)
a generous pinch of saffron

Topping:
¼ tsp coarse cardamom powder
2 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus) optional
2-3 tbsp almond slivers
2 tbsp pistachio slivers
a few saffron strands

First we need to prepare the dhabo as its called in Gujarati.
  1. To prepare that, warm up ¼ cup ghee till its liquid. Add to the warm milk and mix.
  2. Add this mixture into the chickpea flour.
  3. Rub it between your fingers or palms till the mixture resembles like breadcrumbs.
  4. Leave the chickpea flour mixture to rest for 30 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the syrup:
  1. Add sugar and water into a pan and heat it over medium heat.
  2. Stir it frequently.
  3. Make this into a one string consistency. This takes about 7 minutes. 
  4. Add saffron strands and cardamom powder to the hot syrup.
  5. Leave it on the side till required.
Preparation of the mohanthal:
  1. Grease a 8"X 8" tray with some ghee.
  2. To get even texture, pass the chickpea flour mixture through a sieve with large holes. Rub the larger pieces into the sieve net till all of it has passed through the mesh.
  3. Add the remaining ghee into a wide pan. Put it over medium heat. Let the ghee melt.
  4. Add the sieved chickpea mixture. Lower the heat to low.
  5. Stir it constantly and roast it in the ghee till it becomes golden almond colour. Make sure you roast it over low heat and its brown enough. This takes about 12-15 minutes.By now the mixture will be much lighter weight wise and fluffy.
  6. Add the khoya and mix till the khoya dissolves.At this stage the mixture will appear whitish. Roast it for a further 5-6 minutes.
  7. Add the coarse cardamon powder, nutmeg and mace powder. Mix well.
  8. If the syrup has become cold, warm it up again.
  9. Add the syrup to the roasted chickpea flour mixture.
  10. At this stage the mixture will be very liquidy. However, keep on stirring for 2-3 minutes and it will become thick.
  11. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray.
  12. Level it out using the back of a spoon.
  13. Sprinkle the topping over it i.e. almond, pistachio slivers, poppy seeds, coarse cardamom powder and saffron strands.
  14. Press it into the mohanthal lightly using the back of a spoon.
  15. Let it set for 30 minutes. Cut into squares (the size you desire) but do not remove from the tray.
  16. Now let the mohanthal set completely. Usually I leave it overnight.
  17. Remove mohanthal squares from the tray and serve or store in an airtight container.
Tips:
  • I used only 1 cup of ghee, you can use 1¼ cups if you like.
  • I used 1½ cups of sugar which was fine for us. If you prefer a more sweeter mohanthal use 1¾ cups.
  • Add orange colour if you like. Add it to the syrup.
  • If you want to serve hot mohanthal, just prepare it half and hour before you have to serve. If it begins to set before you serve it, then you can add about ½ cup water and  heat it up again.
  • Refer to this article on how to make the right consistency of sugar syrup.
You may want to check out the following:
googra
Gur na ladwa (churma ladoo)


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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

575. Date Chai Muffins- #BreadBakers

Date and Chai Muffins#BreadBakers

Natural Sweeteners

  While browsing on Facebook one night, I saw a message from Stacy the initiator of Bread Bakers group, requesting members to host the coming months. Quickly, she found hosts for August to December 2016.The only month left was July! For a long time I wanted to host but what put me off was the too technical sounding google documents and htmls and all those alien technological terms. There are files explaining how to go about it, but a mental block was making the whole task sound just too difficult. Knowing that in July I would be spending time with my son in Montreal, I quickly
"whatsapped" him asking if he will help to create the document. "Of course mum," he replied. So, I decided to 'jump into the deep end knowing that I don't know how to swim'.
    The next step was to go through the previous themes and decide on one. Natural Sweeteners came to mind and I wrote to Stacy that I will be the host for July. Natural Sweeteners just popped into my head at that time. After doing a bit of research, its amazing how many natural sweeteners are available. Honey and maple syrup are the fore runners. Then add sweet fruits, dried without added sugar like dates, raisins, sultanas, prunes, apricots, figs,strawberries,raspberries,goji, cherries etc. Fresh fruits like mangoes, bananas, sweet apples are widely used to add sweetness to bakes. Pumpkins, sweet potato are widely used to add natural sweetness too. You may say that sugar is natural, made from sugar cane juice. I challenged the participants not use use any processed or centrifuged sugars or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. This included no brown, demerara, turbinado, muscovado etc as they all go through some stage of centrifuging and processing. Natural occurring sweeteners that are widely used in Indian cooking are jaggery and palm sugar. With all the hype about coconut being good for health, coconut sugar is quickly becoming a popular natural sweetener. Do scroll down and check out how fellow bakers have used natural sweeteners in their bakes.
    My plan was to use jaggery in my bake but I forgot to carry the jaggery from home. Searched for jaggery in Montreal and was not really happy with the quality so I had to think of an alternate recipe.
    Our stopover from Nairobi was Doha just under 2 hours, before we flew to Montreal. I bought some dates at the airport thinking my son may enjoy snacking on them. 2 weeks and the tin was not opened. I decided to use them to make muffins. This will be my 10th bake for Bread Bakers group and till date except for the buckwheat pancakes I've baked with yeast. Decided to make something without yeast for a change.
    Hope you like my Date and Chai muffins. They tasted like Christmas cake, fruity and spicy. Hubby was really happy that he could enjoy muffins that had no sugar added. He is diabetic, but that did not mean he could gorge on them. Dried fruits without added sugar have low to moderate Glycemic Index and are a rich source of fiber, valuable nutrients and anti oxidants.

P.S. Making the google document and html links was not difficult at all. I've learnt something new and feel great. Thanks to my son Neel for his guidance and to fellow member Renee Dobbs(Magnolia Days) for assisting me.

















Date and Chai Muffins
Makes 12

1 cup(lightly packed) pitted dates
½ cup raisins
½ cup prunes or apricots or any dried fruit
1 cup water
¼ cup (approx 50g) butter
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup wheat flour (atta)
½ cup plain flour(all purpose flour)
1 tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used walnuts)
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chai(tea) masala*

  1.  Put pitted dates, raisins, prunes(or any other dried fruit you use) and water in a saucepan.
  2. Heat it over medium low heat till the mixture becomes a thick paste. Total cooking time was about 5 minutes.
  3. Let the mixture cool down completely. Transfer the mixture to a big bowl.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Line a muffin tray with cake cups or grease it lightly with butter.
  6. Sift the flours, chai masala, salt, baking powder and soda bicarbonate together. Add nuts and mix.
  7. Beat the eggs lightly. Add it to the date mixture.
  8. Add butter, vanilla extract and orange juice to the date mixture and mix well.
  9. Add the flour mixture and mix just enough to get the flour wet. Don't over mix.
  10. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes till the tops are light golden brown. Insert a skewer or toothpick into the middle of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, the muffins are done. 
  12. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
  13. Serve with some spicy tea, coffee or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Tips:
  • * I make my own tea or chai masala (powder). Ready made chai masala is available in most stores or Indian stores.
  • I chopped the apricots and prunes into big pieces after measuring them.
  • Use sultanas, currants, dried blueberries instead of raisins.
  • Make sure your fruits do not have added sugar to make these muffins totally without processed sugar. Most dried cranberries available in the stores have added sugar. 
  • I used dates that did not have any sugar syrup. They should be dry and not wet when you touch them. 
  • You can make them using wholewheat flour only. I added ½cup plain flour as I didn't have enough wheat flour.
You may want to  check out what other bakers have made using natural sweeteners:





BreadBakers


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.







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Monday, 11 July 2016

574. Veggie Mini Taco Boats

Mexican is a popular cuisine

  The Mexican cuisine staples are corn, beans, chili peppers, avocados,tomatoes, honey and chocolate. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire,Mexican cuisine has a strong Spanish influence. They introduced meats(beef, chicken, goat and sheep) and dairy products, mainly cheese and various spices and herbs and grains like wheat and rice.Traditionally, the inhabitants of Mexico were nomadic hunters and gatherers. Corn tortillas with bean paste was a common meal. They also ate wild game, fish and local fruits. During the slave trade era the cuisine was influenced also by African and Asian elements. Most rural areas still prepare meals using corn, beans and chili peppers as their main ingredients. Dishes vary from region to region. The most popular food in Mexico is enchiladas.  What we know as Mexican cuisine is also popularly known as TexMex cuisine. Mexican cuisine is as popular as Chinese, Italian, Indian and Japanese cuisines.
  Did you know that the the popular salsa is the Spanish word for sauce? Salsa can be smooth or chunky, cooked or uncooked. Tomatoes, tomatillos, chipotle and avocados are popular ingredients for salsas.
   Traditionally Mexicans did not cook in an oven but over open fires, using skillets and ceramic wares. They also steamed their food by wrapping it in banana or cactus leaves and suspended over boiling water.
   My preparation for the 48th #FoodieMonday#Bloghop theme #Mexican Cuisine is not a typical traditional preparation but a modern preparation, Taco boats. These boats are prepared by the popular Mexican style food brand Old El Paso. My initial plan was to make burritos. I was browsing done the aisle at Metro, a supermarket in Montreal, I first saw all those different flavoured tortillas and got excited. I picked up the cheese and chipotle flavoured ones. As I walked a bit further looking for black beans I saw these packets of cute mini taco boats. So put the tortillas back and grabbed a packet  of the boats. These are things I don't get back home easily. I have to make my own tortillas. So preparing this dish was easy for me. Hubby and my son loved it and its on the menu again soon.
   The advantage of using these boats is that one can serve them as finger food without getting too messy, any filling can be used. To fill salads the boats can be wrapped in foil and baked for a while. On cooling fill with your favourite salad. Use them as dessert cups too.













Veggie Mini Taco Boats
Makes 12 mini boats

12 ready made mini taco boats
1½ cups cooked black or red beans
1½ cups cooked sweet corn
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup diced bell pepper, any colour
¾ cup tomato salsa sauce
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium low heat. When it is hot, add chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute till they are soft. 
  2. Add beans, corn, salt and the sauce.
  3. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes. The mixture should not be runny. Take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add chipotle powder and cilantro and mix well.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  6. Lay out the mini boats on a baking tray. 
  7. Fill the boats with the prepared filling.
  8. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  9. Bake the boats for 15-20 minutes or till the cheese melts and the rim of the boats turn light brown.
  10. Serve the boats immediately topped with sour cream.
Tips:
  • Make a filling of your choice.
  • Serve the mini boats with guacamole if your like.
  • You can use ready made salsa sauce if you like.
You may want to check out the following:
mini taco salad cups

Sending this recipe for the following event:

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Monday, 4 July 2016

573. Makai no Chevdo (Hot corn snack)

Hot and Spicy

      It's very hot in Montreal so when the #FoodieMonday #Bloghop group decided on Monsoon Madness, as our 47th theme, I must admit I was in a dilemma. What do I make that's apt for the Monsoon season without frying pakodas! For me monsoon season in Bangalore meant hot kheer or raab and dal vadas. I love the hot spicy vadas that are sold in the market areas around Bangalore. Monsoon also reminds me of the hot roasted corn(bhutta) in Mumbai near my sister- in -law's apartment and Juhu beach. Roasted corn with lemon and red chilli powder is so delicious.
     A couple of days ago we had bought some fresh corn to boil and have with some butter or lime. The corn was really sweet and tender. That's when the idea struck.... why not make makai no chevdo which is a typically Gujarati snack, very tasty and easy to make.It's a perfect monsoon treat. I remember my kaki would make this for us during the corn or maize season in Nairobi. Its best to get the nice tender corn and not the hard ones for this preparation.
     Summer time in Montreal means that people are making trips far and near to connect with Nature. Hiking, swimming,gardening, boating, trekking, camping, climbing or outdoor sports. Its very difficult to find people not doing some sort of activity. Canada is blessed with wonderful National Parks, with rivers, lakes, mountains and forests. A few days ago we went to Mont Tremblant with our son. Tremblant village at the base of the Mont Tremblant is a quaint little place. People can walk the cobbled pathways without cars, buses and motor bikes obstructing their way. On either side of the streets are eateries and shops. Canadians respect pedestrians unlike in India and Kenya. 
     Coming back to today's recipe, it is very simple to make. Why its called chevdo I have no idea! Hubby calls it makai ni khichdi. I enjoy this preparation as a snack or as a light meal. Make it hot to ward off the cold by adding more chillis. I've added chopped cashew nuts to add extra flavour and bite.









summer in Montreal, artistic florist

Tremblant village
Tremblant village. Cobbled walk paths. 

MAKAI NO CHEVDO(Corn Snack)
For 4 as a snack or for 2 as a light meal

2 cups coarsely ground or grated fresh corn ( I used 3 corns)
1 cup fresh milk
¼ cup chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp ginger paste
1-2 green chillis sliced or paste
1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp sugar (optional)


  1. Wash the corn and with a sharp knife slice off the corn kernels from the cob. Some people prefer to grate it but I don't like the mess so I prefer to cut the kernels off the cob.
  2. Put the corn in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. You should have about 2 cups of this coarse paste.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan or wide pan over medium heat.
  4. When it is hot add mustard and cumin seeds.
  5. Add asafoetida, cashew nuts, chopped chillis and ginger paste. Mix and add the corn.
  6. Add salt, turmeric powder and milk.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Cover the pan and let the corn cook in the milk for 5-7 minutes or till the mixture becomes semi dry. Take the pan off the heat.
  9. Add chopped coriander and lime juice. Mix well and serve immediately.
Tips:
  • Add sugar only if the corn is not sweet.
  • You can use white or yellow tender corn.
  • You can use frozen corn kernels.
  • I love adding a few raisins to the chevdo.
  • If you like a tangy taste, add a bit more lemon or lime juice.
You may want to check out the following:


spinach and baby corn soup


vegetable poha
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Monday, 27 June 2016

571. Chocolate Medallions

It's great spending time with my son

     It's a week since we arrived in Montreal. The weather is really hot. Good for the people of Montreal, after the long winter. People sun tanning in their balconies, in the parks, children playing under the water fountains, pet owners out with their pets, cold beers, barbecues even in the smallest balconies, alfresco dining, beautiful flowers, greenery, street festivals, people riding on their bikes, walking, hiking, an endless list of ice cream flavours. The whole city is bustling with activities. For me its just too hot (I get too much sun anyway in Mombasa). So I really don't want to get out of the house till after 4pm when the heat is a bit bearable. However, sometimes we have to get out when the sun is beating on our heads. I then walk around with ice cold water. Talking about heat, couldn't believe that the chocolate was melting so fast in my hands when I was preparing the chocolate medallions. 
      Our 46th theme#FoodieMonday#Bloghop is Dry Fruits. Dry fruits or dried fruits are fruits that are dried either in the sun, dryers, dehydrators or ovens whereby the original content of water is removed. Fruits are dried and consumed when not in season by adding them to breads, salads, rice, cakes, stews, curries, desserts etc. Dried fruits add natural sweetness to a dish. During the early civilization fruits were picked and dried to consume during the winter or cold seasons.They also used them as natural sweeteners. Nowadays usage of dried fruits is wide spread, where most people use it everyday. Most nutritionists recommend a handful of dried fruits to ward off hunger pangs. Its better to reach out for some dried fruits than a packet of fried snacks. However, like everything else, too much is not good as they are sweet. I prefer to nibble on a few raisins, a couple of figs, dates or apricots to satisfy my sweet tooth. 
       When the group decided on dry fruits, I was thinking of cakes, muffins, bread. Both father and son didn't want to have any sweet bakes. But then hubby is always looking for chocolate after dinner. So I decided to make chocolate medallions with dried fruits, nuts and seeds. One medallion is enough to beat the craving and is healthy.









CHOCOLATE MEDALLIONS
Makes 12-16 (depending on the diameter)

¾ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup milk chocolate chips
mixed dried fruits
some seeds
some nuts

  1. Take a parchment paper about 12"X 8". Using a round small lid draw circles on the paper. I used a 2" inch lid. Turn the paper and tape the edges with sellotape to a tray or work board. The circles are your guidelines.(or rather arcs!!)
  2. Keep whatever dried fruits, nuts and seeds you are going to use. I used dried banana, mango, cranberries, raisins and pineapple. I added cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
  3. Melt chocolate either over boiling water or in the microwave oven.
  4. To melt chocolate over boiling water,put chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl. Boil water in a saucepan. Place the bowl in the pan, it should not touch the water. So make sure it sits at the rim of the pan.Mix the chocolate with a spoon. The steam from the hot water will melt the chocolate.
  5. To melt it in the microwave oven, put the chocolate chips in a microwavable container. Heat for 1 minute. Remove the container from the microwave oven and mix the chocolate chips. Return the container into the microwave oven and heat further for 30 seconds. Mix well.
  6. Put a tablespoon of the melted chocolate on one of the traced circle. Spread it out a bit. Repeat till the melted chocolate is over.
  7. I put each fruit, nut and a sprinkle of seeds on each medallion so that each piece has an equal amount of fruit, nut and seeds. 
  8. Put the medallions with the tray or board in the fridge till the chocolate sets.
  9. Remove the medallions from the paper and store in a container in the fridge till required. Believe me, cold chocolate medallions taste so much better than the room temperature ones.
Tips:
  • I haven't give the measurements of the dried fruits, nuts and seeds as the amount required depends on the type of fruits, nuts and seeds you use. 
  • You can add any fruits, nuts and seeds of your choice.
  • Use only dark chocolate if you prefer.
  • Use white chocolate instead of dark and milk chocolate.
  • The number of medallions you get will depend on the diameter of the circle. I got 16.
You may want to check out the following recipes:
marble barfi
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