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Friday, 20 February 2015

Kumar's Kitchen-Hot Sips

                             Tomato Saaru                   Daal w/ Lime        


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Our Simple Thursday Kitchen : Soft & Yummy Steamed Sandesh :-)




This sweet dish has made its way into our favorites list but slowly.JJust as a trip to the local market meant our Father would buy a box full of hot,sweet-crisp Jalebis...a trip to our favorite confectionery meant we would end up selecting more sweets than intended...and this steamed delicacy would accompany us home anyway.J
As children we used to love eating Jalebis,Gulab Jamuns and other syrupy treats so much....this lightly sweet,fat-free confection was given a blunt no.But over the years...this steamed(bhapa) Sandesh has slowly started tasting as great as its syrupy counterparts.J
This dish makes you enjoy sweets with no added fat or sugar.You can use a sugar substitute instead of jaggery after reading and following it's package directions thoroughly.
The one we ate from the confectionery used sugar...we always use jaggery instead.The flavors of jaggery and cardamom together make the kitchen fragrant with ambrosial wafts as this simple,easy but absolutely delicious sweet steams....Enjoy!J

Makes : About 15 cubes of Sandesh

Ingredients Required :

1 large cup ricotta cheese(chenna,click here  for the recipe,we made ricotta cheese from 1lt. of milk for this dish),all extra liquid removed

2+1/2 tablespoons jaggery grated(gud;you may use powdered sugar instead)

3 plump green cardamoms(choti elaichi) pods extracted and crushed into a powder

2 tablespoons chopped nuts for garnish (we used almonds and pistachios)

Additionally we will need parchment paper,scissors,steamer or steam basket/plate(perforated) and a lid with a vent.

Process : Place ricotta cheese,cardamom powder and jaggery in a blender and process till it forms a thick,sticky paste.You may use not more than 2 teaspoons of water while blending only if it seems too dry to be pasted.Care must be taken not to make the paste runny in consistency.

                                           ready for blending
                                           made into a sticky,thick paste

Place two to three layers of equal sized parchment paper on a cutting board.Gently pour prepared ricotta paste into its center.Use a spatula to smooth-en the top(see that the paste sits about a centimeter thick on the paper).

                                           gently poured paste onto paper

Use scissors to trim large,left out edges of paper so that it fits inside the steamer plate taking care not to cut it too short.

                                           trimmed large edges of paper

Now gently lift the paper(with ricotta paste poured in) using both hands and carefully place it inside the steam basket/plate.

                                           steam basket
                                           gently placed prepared paste inside

Heat enough water in a sauce pan(one on which the steam basket/plate sits comfortably).When it starts boiling...turn heat to medium and place the steam basket on top.Cover it with a lid(having a vent to release escaping steam).

                                           placed over boiling water
                                           covered with a suitable lid

Let steam and cook for about 20 minutes.Then turn off heat and remove lid.Using a pair of kitchen tongs...carefully transfer steam basket onto a heat proof plate.When hot the steamed ricotta paste feels soft.So,let it cool inside the basket to room temperature.

                                           steamed and ready
                                           cooled down to room temperature

After the sandesh cools down completely to room should have firmed up slightly.Then gently lift the paper with both your hands and place it on a cutting board.Place a large plate on top of steamed paste and carefully flip to remove it onto plate.Remove paper from top and discard.

                                           steamed sandesh on a plate

                                           cut into cubes

Cut sandesh into cubes of desired size.Serve garnished with chopped almonds and pistachios.



A From The Blogger’s Keyboard

ü The key to make soft,juicy sandesh is to drain out all extra liquid from ricotta cheese without squeezing it too hard.If it becomes too dry and grainy…the cooled sandesh will taste way more firm….and if excess liquid isn’t drained out…the sandesh doesn’t quite firm up.

ü Blend ricotta cheese,jaggery and cardamom powder till they form a thick,sticky,soft and somewhat fluffy paste.If it doesn’t paste well then and only then use 1-2 teaspoons water and  not otherwise.

ü The prepared paste must not be runny in consistency.

ü Follow the steaming instructions carefully for proper results.

ü While trimming long edges of parchment paper…take cake not to cut it all …else it becomes difficult to lift and place it into the steam basket.

ü Right after the sandesh is cooked…it seems very soft.Let it cool down to room temperature before you attempt to slice it.When cold…it becomes firm enough to be sliced.

ü A plate is placed on top of sandesh before flipping it…this is done for support  else it may form cracks while turning it down.

 Happy Cooking & Have A Sweet Day!!! J

Try This Out
       Gulab Jamun                  Chuda Dahi w/ Mango                Cookies & Cream

Homemade Sambar Powder


Sambar is a tangy-hot South Indian lentil stew infused with irresistible flavors.We can never have enough of homemade Sambar served with steamed rice for a comforting lunch any day.J
During weekends our Mother used to make this spicy stew to accompany an array of delectable South Indian breakfasts.The remaining stew was an instant hit with rice and stir fried veggies.After relishing loads of Sambar for years we made our first batch of this spice mix...the quint essential ingredient to make any number of Sambars taste delicious.Ever since we have stuck to this will never make Sambar any other way.J
We will be posting the recipe for making Sambar another day.

Makes : 2 cup fulls of Sambar Masala Powder

Ingredients Required : We used a 200 ml cup for measuring ingredients

                                           spices used
                                           ingredients used

1 cup sun-dried curry leaves (kadi patta)

18 long,medium-hot,dried red chilies(sukha lal mirch) stalks removed and broken into pieces

3/4 cup roasted coriander seeds powder (pisa bhuna dhania)

2 tablespoons roasted cumin powder (pisa bhuna jeera,click here for the recipe)

1/2 cup toor/arhar dal (split,skinless pigeon peas)

1/4 cup dhuli urad(skinless black gram)

4 numbers of 1-inch stick cinnamon (dalchini) broken into bits

2 plump,whole black cardamoms(badi elaichi) crushed

6 cloves(laung)

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns(sabut kali mirch)

1/2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds(sabut methi beej)

1 teaspoon asfoetida powder(pisi hing)

1 teaspoon turmeric powder(pisi haldi)

1 teaspoon ghee(clarified butter)

Process : Heat a skillet/shallow fry pan over medium.Add in torn red chilies,cinnamon bits,crushed cardamoms,whole black peppercorns,curry leaves and fenugreek seeds.Give a good stir and turn heat to medium-low.

                                           slowly roasting spices

After a minute add ghee.

                                           added ghee

Stir spices for coating them evenly with melted ghee and cook for another 2 minutes or till spices fragrant and crisp but not burnt.

                                           coated spices with ghee
                                           stirred and cooked till fragrant and crisp

Transfer contents of pan into a heat proof plate immediately,sprinkle asoeftida powder on them and let cool down thoroughly to room temperature.

                                           sprinkle asoeftida and let spices cool

Meanwhile return pan to heat.Add toor dal and urad (pigeon peas and black gram).Stir and fry them over medium heat for about 2 minutes or till they turn a few shades darker.Take care they don't burn.

                                           added toor dal and urad into pan
                                           stirred and fried over medium heat
                                           till they turn a few shades darker

Transfer toor-urad mixture into a separate heat proof plate thereafter and let cool down to room temperature.
By this time...the spices must have cooled down.Work in small batches and grind pre-roasted spices into a powder.You will be needing a spice grinder for this.

                                           a small batch of cool,roasted spices
                                           powdered well

Grind till you have powdered all the roasted spices.Transfer the spice powder into a bowl and set aside.

                                           roasted spices powdered in small batches and grind the cooled,roasted toor-urad mix into a powder.

                                           roasted toor-urad mix cooling 
                                           ready to be ground when cool
                                           powdered toor-urad mix

Now we have(clockwise from left) roasted spice powder,roasted toor-urad powder,roasted cumin powder,roasted coriander powder and turmeric powder(center).

                                           ready for a mix

Place all these powders in a bowl and use a spoon to mix them well.

                                           mixed well

For making a fine,well mixed masala powder....grind this prepared mixture again.Work in batches and use a spice grinder till you get a fine,flavorful powder.Store in a clean,dry and air-tight container for months.

                                           prepared sambar masala powder

You can easily halve this recipe for a smaller batch of homemade goodness.


A From The Blogger’s Keyboard

ü Use homemade roasted cumin and roasted coriander powder for best results.For making roasted coriander powder…follow the recipe posted for roasted cumin powder by substituting cumin and red chilies for coriander seeds.

ü Use a skillet/pan large enough to roast all spices together.

ü Stirring occasionally and roasting spices and toor-urad mix is important for proper distribution of heat and even cooking.

ü Always roast spices over medium-low heat.That way…spices get slowly roasted,fragrant and crisp without getting overcooked/burnt.

ü Let roasted spices and toor-urad mix cool down completely before we try grinding them.

ü Transferring roasted ingredients to a plate prevents over-cooking and fastens the cooling process.

ü Work in batches and grind ingredients using a spice-grinder till powdered well.

ü Mix all the spice powders till well blended.Grind once again for a finer texture and refined flavor.

 Happy Cooking & Have A Beautiful Day!!! J

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Kumar's Kitchen-Our Simple Thursday Kitchen

                                                    Steamed Sandesh