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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

No Bake Oreo Cake Pop




Next week I am planning to try out two new recipes on the eve of Durga Puja. One of them would be a sweet dish and the other one would be most likely a savory. So please eagerly wait for them. For the moment, let me share a fun food dessert. I made this for my son’s 9th birthday party and all the kids loved it. Oreo cookies and cake pops both are kid’s favorite and so I thought they would be delighted if they get both at the same time. I started looking for recipes of cake pops made out of Oreo cookies. When I finished making it, was wondering why I didn’t prepare this treat before. The procedure was so easy and went very smoothly.







The Cake pop is a form of cake that looks more like a lollipop. It’s very nice idea to get a makeover of leftover cake by making these delicious pops. The first step of the recipe is to mix cake crumbs with icing and form small balls. Then put a layer of coating, probably of chocolate or any other decoration that you like. Adding chocolate on top makes it look more beautiful and attractive to the Kids.






The recipe that I am sharing today for Cake pops will take much lesser time from you compared to others. Mainly because it is a no-bake cake pop. Since you don’t need to bake a cake, it cuts the preparation time drastically. That’s why when I found this recipe, I just jumped out of excitement and gave it a try. Hope you and your kids will love this yummy tasty and delicious Cake pops.  






The recipe of No-bake Oreo Cake Pops  makes 20 Cake pops 

Ingredients :

Oreo Cookies : 24 pieces 
Cream Cheese : 3/4 of the package, around 5 oz. 
Lollipop sticks : 20 


Ghirardelli Semi-sweet chocolate chips : 2 and 1/2 cups.
Shortening / Butter : 1 tablespoon 
Ghirardelli Classic White baking chips : 2/3 cup  


Method :

1. Use a food processor or a blender to crumble the cookies. You can put the cookies in a large ziplock bag and use a hard object to crush the cookies as finely as possible. 

2. Take a bowl, add Oreo crumbles and cream cheese. Mix it well and make a dough. 

3. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

4. Roll the dough into 1.5 inch balls. Make about 20 balls. 

5. In a small microwave-safe bowl, add 1/4 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips and a half teaspoon of the shortening. Cook it in the microwave for one minute. Remove and stir until smooth. Dip one end of each lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and poke sticks into the Oreo balls. Keep them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

6. Now take a microwave-safe cup , add remaining semi-sweet chocolate chips and the shortening. Microwave for about 2 minutes. Check the bowl and stir. If chocolate is not melted, again cook it in the microwave. Check every 30 seconds to avoid burning. Stir until smooth. 

7. Dip the balls into melted chocolate. Turning the stick to ensure even coverage. Allow the excess to drip off. Use a block of styrofoam as a holder to stick the cake pops in while they are drying. 

8. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the Ghirardelli white chocolate chips for one minute. Stir until smooth. 

9. Once the cake pops are just set, drizzle with melted white chocolate. Let's stand for 30 minutes or it is set. Transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week. 









Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bengali Kochur Loti style Asparagus with Shrimp





As we all are aware of, many of the modern popular Bengali dishes came from the eastern part of the Bengal or today’s Bangladesh. Several of them use Taro Stolons as a main ingredient, called Kochur Shak or Kochur Loti in BengaliOnce they are cooked simply in a home-style manner, they become really delish. You can consider to make them more frequently and surprise your family. Your hubby will stop referring to the Hilsha dish that his mom used to make with Kochur Shak.




As my family is all from West Bengal side, I rarely had Kochur Shak before coming to US . I can still recall that one of our neighbor aunts introduced us to Kochur loti with Hilsha head when she heard that none of my family members knew how to cook this veggie. 

Later when I came to  USA,  got to know Asparagus, the vegetable which is very close to Taro Stolons. Bengalis in USA generally cook Asparagus the same way the kachur loti is
used to cook in Bengal.  Whenever I go to farmers market, I always feel like buying this beautiful vegetable, especially during summer because it looks so fresh. Initially, I made the grilled version of this vegetable in American way, which didn’t become popular at our home. Then I started wondering how it can be made in Indian way and will go well with rice. So I experimented it with shrimp and mustard paste.  My husband and I both like it, except my son who is not a big veggie lover. 



Like Taro Stolons, you can cook Asparagus in several different ways . The vegetarian way  is simply with coconut and mustard paste.  You can make the non-veg version with fish head or Shrimp, though my favorite is shrimp.  Today I will share the recipe about how to cook Asparagus with shrimp, the style influenced by Bengali Kachur loti. The recipe itself is very fast and easy, requires very few pantry staples.





Recipe of Asparagus with Shrimp

Ingredients:

Asparagus : 1 bundle ( 1 lb ) 
Shrimp : 1 cup small 
Onion : a small one, thinly sliced 
Mustard oil : 6 tablespoon 
Kala jeera / Nigella seeds : half teaspoon 
Green chilis : 4 - 5 or to taste 
Turmeric powder : a pinch 
Red chili powder : 1/2 teaspoon ( optional ) 
Mustard paste : 2 teaspoons 
Grated coconut : two tablespoons ( optional ) 
Salt : to taste 

Method:

1. Cut the asparagus into 2 inches long pieces and discard the hard end part. 

2. Clean and wash the shrimps thoroughly and salt and turmeric and mix it well  and set it aside for 10 minutes. 

3. Heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, fry the shrimp until they are pink. Take it off from the pan and keep it aside. 

4. In the remaining oil add kalo jeere and green chilis. Once it sizzles add sliced onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. 

5. Now add the chopped asparagus to the pan. Stir it and add salt and turmeric. Cover and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes over low heat until they are soft. 

6. Add mustard paste , add more green chilies if you need. Keep stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. 

7. Now add fried prawns and mix it well. Check the seasoning. Add grated coconut ( optional ) and add few drops of mustard oil. Stir and cook for another couple of minutes. Switch off the flame and serve hot with steamed rice. 


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kalakand ( Indian Milk Cake )


The Festive season is around the corner. After Janmashtami last week, it’s now time to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, a grand festival in India before Navaratri or Durga Puja comes. As we all know, our festivals can’t be celebrated without sweets. It’s very common practice to offer sweets to Hindu gods and distribute the same among devotees once the puja is done. So for your need, I have come up with the recipe of very popular Indian sweet today. While I am busy planning my son’s 9th birthday, didn’t have enough time to capture pictures of a new post. So thought of sharing this recipe that I tried a few months back and was lying in my draft for some time.


The name of today’s recipe is Kalakand, a delicious Indian dessert, though originated from north India, it has gained popularity across all parts of India.  It’s a milk based sweet dish and rich, soft and crumbly. This traditional dessert is made with Indian Cottage Cheese (Chenna) and solidified milk (Mawa) ). 
There are various methods of preparing Kalakand and some short-cuts too. Though the traditional one is little time-consuming, worth every bit of the effort. To prepare Kalakand from scratch, the  first thing you need to do is to make some Chenna. Then to get a thicker mixture, you would cook Chenna with low flame and allow the mixture to set for a few minutes. Once it’s formed,  you should cut it into squares and garnish with nuts like Pistachios and almonds. If you have never tried a sweet dish, you should definitely give a try to prepare this relatively easier one in this festive season.









Ingredients :

Whole Milk : 9 cups
Lemon juice : of a big lemon, mix with 2 teaspoons of water.
Green Cardamoms : 3, crushed 
Milk powder : 4 tablespoons 
Sugar : 3 to 4 tablespoons or to taste 
Ghee / Clarified Butter : 1 teaspoon 
Pistachios : chopped 3 to 4 tablespoons. 

Method :

1. Boil 4 cups of  milk in a big pan and stir continuously. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame. Pour the lemon juice. Stir the milk. Once the milk starts curdling, and it changes into chenna (cottage cheese) and greenish water, remove the pan from heat. Leave the chenna / channa in this condition for 5-7 minutes.

2. Put it over a soft cotton cloth / or a cheese cloth (if you have any). Let all the water drain away. Now put this cloth with the chenna under running cold water for 2-3 minutes. This will help to remove the smell of lemon. Hang the chenna along with the cloth on the kitchen faucet for 30 minutes. Please note that the Chenna shouldn’t get too dry.

3. Take a nonstick pan, add the remaining milk and boil it till the milk reduces to half of its quantity. 

4. Now add the chenna to the milk. Stir it till the mixture thickens. Add the milk powder and keep stirring. Add sugar and crushed cardamoms. Stir it again and cook the mixture until it separates from all the sides of the pan and it forms a lump. 

5. Grease a plate with the ghee / clearified butter. Spread the Kalakand evenly on the plate. Garnish with chopped pistachios or almonds. Refrigerate it for about an hour.

6. Cut the Kalakand into squares and serve. 


Friday, August 12, 2016

Radhaballabhi / Radhaballavi ( Bengali Stuffed Poori with Spiced Urad Dal )



Once upon a time, when my mother used to make Luchi (similar to famous Indian dish Puri) I used to wonder how she can make every one of them puff so nicely. Couldn’t imagine that one day I will also be popular as master of this expertise among my friend circle. Most of my friends in San Diego can die for Luchi with mangsher jhol (chicken or mutton gravy) or Aloo Dum and I feel very happy if I can prepare the same for them in my party.
 






In Bengali Cuisine there are many version of this dish, where it’s stuffed differently. Some popular names from the list are Dal Puri, Hinger Kachori, Radha Ballavi.  A very thin line of difference exists among these variants and each one carries its own discernible features. Making stuffed Puri was not a cup of my tea, though I can comfortably make simple Puri. Recently I have mastered this skill too :-)




Today I have got a stuffed Puri recipe, called Radha Ballavi. It’s deep fried like a Luchi or Puri but stuffed with spicy urad daal filling. Often they are bigger than normal Puris in size and served with Dum Aloo or Cholar Dal.  This is a very traditional Bengali dish, commonly available in sweet shops, served as breakfast or snack. When north-Indian Naan or Kulcha didn’t become a status symbol in the Bengali wedding, this dish used to be served along with Pulao in most of the weddings. Generally, Radha Ballavis are not made at home and left to the professionals of the sweet shop or the Chef appointed to cook for a wedding. However, neither we can go to a sweet shop nor can attend a wedding in abroad, so only way to enjoy this tasty delicious item is making it at home.





Steps of making RadhaBallabhi 


Recipe of Radhaballabhi, serves : 2

Ingredients :

For dough

Maida / all purpose Flour : 2 cups
Ghee or white oil : 2 tablespoons 
Salt :  a pinch 
Luke-warm water : for kneading 

For Stuffing

Urad dal : 1/2 cup, washed and soaked for overnight 
Grated Ginger /Ginger paste : 1/2 tablespoon 
Green chillies : 1 
Hing ( asafoetida ) : a generous pinch 
Bhaja Masala : 1 tablespoon ( Take one dry whole red chili , two teaspoons of whole cumin seeds, and a half teaspoon of whole coriander seeds in a small pan, dry roast them till aroma comes up.Turn off the gas. Let it cool down and then dry grind to a fine powder. )
Whole fennel seeds : 1/2 teaspoon 
Salt : to taste 

Oil : for deep frying 

Method :

1. In a wet mixer grinder add the urad dal, ginger, fennel seeds and green chili. Make a paste. 

2. Heat one or two tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan. Add hing , then add the Urad dal paste to it. Add salt and keep stirring the paste and cook it until a thick dough is formed. Once done, add bhaja masala and allow it to cool. Stuffing is ready. 

3. In a big bowl, take maida, salt, and oil and mix them well. Now gradually add water and knead it for at least 7 to 8 minutes and make it a dough. The dough should be soft enough but still firm. Once it is done, keep it covered with a damp kitchen towel. 

4. Make some big lemon sized balls from the dough. 

5. Flatten a ball into a disc of about 2 inches by using your palms.

6. Place one big teaspoon of stuffing in the center of the flatten dough, cover the stuffing by bringing all the sides of the disc together and make a ball again. 

7. Slowly press down with the help of a rolling pin to roll out the ball and get a small circle like puris. Prepare all the puris in the same way. 

8. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Once the oil is hot, keep the flame on medium high, put the Radhaballabhi in the oil one at a  time. Toss it carefully and fry it with the spatula, till it becomes golden on both the sides.


9. To puff it up, you should lightly press down the sides of the Radhaballavi with the spatula and always control the heat of the oil by increasing or decreasing the flame.


10.  Remove the fried RadhaBallabhi with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Serve hot with Dum aloo / Aloor dom or Cholar dal. 



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Cookie Cups



Summer is the perfect time for me to experiment new food in the kitchen. Since I don’t need to prepare my son in the morning for school, there is no hurry to have dinner early and go to bed. There is no fixed routine in our day to day life during this couple of months. On top of that, I spend more quality time with my son, even though he gets bored sometimes without his school friends. But the good times don’t last forever. Only ten more days and it’s coming to an end. Hope will be able to post my recipes regularly even after the school restarts.






Today I’ve got a really fun and simple recipe to share with you. It’s called Edible Cookie Cups , a  kid-friendly recipe which is the perfect one to make together with your kids during the summer vacation.  These little edible cups are made with cookie dough. They are not only very cute looking but totally irresistible. 





Though initially, I thought it must be a very complex process to make these cups, but later it turned out to be much easier. Only things you need are the cookie dough and a muffin tin. These cookie cups are perfect for snack or dessert during the evening after work hours. You can customize them to your personal tastes and fill with the different variety of toppings. If you want to be creative with the filling too, you can serve yogurt, fruit, ice cream or chocolate with it. So far in this hot summer season, it has been a really nice treat to enjoy and I am sure you will also like it.






Recipe of Cookie Cups or bowls ( for about 12 to 15 cups ) 

Ingredients :

All purpose flour : 1  and 1/2 cups 
Salt : a pinch 
Baking soda : 1/2  teaspoon 
Unsalted Butter : 1 stick 

Sugar : 1/2 cup 
Eggs : 1 
Pure Vanilla Extract : 1 tablespoon 

Method :

1. Take a bowl and add flour, salt and baking soda to it. Whisk it together and set it aside. 


2. Now take sugar and butter in another bowl, beat it using the hand mixer or electric mixture until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat it. Add vanilla extract and mix it until well combined.


3. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Divide the dough into two parts. Wrap each part in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for overnight or at least 3 to 4 hours. 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F ( 170 C ). Turn over the muffin tin, and grease it thoroughly. 

5. Roll out dough on the generously-floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut 4 1/2 inch circles from the rolled dough. 

6. Drape one circle over each bowl cavity of the pan. Press it to form a smooth surface. 


7. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are firm and golden brown. Once it is done. Take it out of the oven and cool it on the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan and cool completely. Clean the pan and spray again and repeat with remaining dough. 

8. Fill cookie cups as desired. 

For Cheesecake Filling and Topping 

Ingredients

Cream Cheese ( at room temperature ) : 12 oz
Powdered sugar : 1 and 1/2 cups 
Vanilla : 1 teaspoon 
Assorted Chopped Fresh Fruit  : 

Method :

1. Blend the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar together until smooth. 

2. Pipe or scoop cream cheese filling into cookie cups.

3. Top with fresh fruit. 


you can also serve yogurt and fruit mixture, ice cream or hot chocolate into it.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stuffed Mushrooms


Most of us like Mushrooms as a vegetable and have been cooking different Indian style dishes with Mushroom. But probably never thought that we can make a great appetizer using Mushrooms. Off late while searching for something new that would be good starter for parties, I found an awesome recipe called “stuffed mushroom”. When I first time made during one lazy evening, it became instantly hit in my family. 





Stuffed Mushroom is so delicious that you would continue to pop them in your mouth till you are full. The recipe is very simple, where a mushroom cap is stuffed with the mixture and baked until it becomes golden brown. You can get as creative as you like with the filling.  Very basic one would contain breadcrumbs, cheese but you can experiment with some non-veg stuff too like crab cake mix.





The recipe is actually very simple and short. First wash the mushrooms and remove the stems. Then keep the stems in a food processor and pulse it until they are minced. Now put one tablespoon of olive oil into pan and stir-fry minced stems with garlic. If you like, can add spices too and then stir it again. When it cools down slightly, add mixture of cream cheese. Then fill the mushrooms caps with the mixture and sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake it. Try them next time when you have friends over! 






Recipe of Stuffed Mushrooms : Serves 4 

Ingredients :

Fresh Button Mushrooms : 12 - 16 
Vegetable Oil : 1 tablespoon 
Garlic ( minced ) : 1 tablespoon 
Cream cheese ( at room temperature ) : 1 package ( 8 ounce ) 
Parmesan Cheese : 1/2 cup
Italian Bread Crumbs : 1/2 cup 
Black pepper powder : 1/4 teaspoon 
Cayenne pepper : a big pinch 

Method : 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F . Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. 

2. Wash the mushrooms and pat it dry with a paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop the stems very fine.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add garlic. Once garlic becomes lightly brown, add the finely chopped stems to the pan. Cook the mixture until the stems are tender and most of the liquid has cooked out. Once it is done, remove mixture to a plate to cool.

4. Once the mixture is no longer hot, stir in cream cheese, Italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese,black pepper, cayenne pepper. 

5. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the filling and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. 

6. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated trough and become golden on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot. 


* If you don't get Cream Cheese handy, you can skip it. So that time double the amount of Parmesan Cheese and bread Crumbs. 

* You can add cooked minced Chicken or other meat too to the filling. 

* For vegetarian option, you can add spinach.

 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mishti Doi ( Quick way )



Summer in San Diego is slowly but surely picking up speed and at the same pace, our number of parties is also going up. Nowadays it’s very difficult to get date from any friend, we are busy from Friday to Sunday night. Before every party I am seeing a common trend. We are all set to host a party and ready with the menu of the main courses, but take time to decide which dessert to prepare. Probably most of us fear to make a dessert compared to starter or main courses. 




Today I will share the recipe of a Bengali sweet that will make your life easy before any party. It is the most easiest dessert that you can make at home.  When The word Mishti Doi comes to our mind, all Bengali would immediately start thinking of a small earthen pot filled with rich and creamy sweet yogurt. It's so famous that I have seen people outside Bengal are so fond of this sweet. I can still recall that in the Bangalore K C Dash shop, people from all places used to love Mishti Doi as much as Rosogolla or Rasmalai.  




I have shared the recipe of Misti Doi last year but that was the authentic way of making Mishti Doi . The procedure was also undoubtedly easy but it takes relatively longer time. At that time, some of my readers asked if there is any short-cut. So I thought it would be perfect to share the quickest and easiest one in the middle of summer.  You just need to mix three ingredients and put it in the oven. This process is nothing original but very common to the Bengalis who stay outside of India and doesn’t have much patience. To make this yogurt you don't need any earthen pot but a baking dish. When I made this recipe first time I was surprised and never thought I could make it so fast. And you are wondering about taste ? I can assure that you won’t miss the Mishti Doi from Kolkata anymore. 





Recipe of Mishti Doi ( quick way  ) 

Ingredients :

Plain Yogurt : 1 cup 
Sweetened Condensed Milk : 1/2 cup 
Evaporated Milk : 1 can / 12 oz  evaporated milk is made by heating milk until about 60 percent of its water content has evaporated ) 

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
2. Whisk the yogurt till smooth and set it aside. 
3. Take a mixing bowl, add evaporated milk and condensed milk, mix it well. Warm the mixture at low heat. Let it cool down to lukewarm temperature.  
4. Add the yogurt to the lukewarm mixture. Mix it again till there is no lump. 
5. Pour the mixture into a glass or ceramic baking dish. 
6. Now set the oven temperature to 200 degrees F. 
7. Bake the mixture at 200 degrees for one hour or until it is almost set. Once it is set, turn off the oven. Let the yogurt rest for at least another 2 to 3 hours or overnight in the oven. 
8. Once it is cool down completely, put it into the refrigerate for another couple of hours and serve cold.