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Monday, January 16, 2017

Khoya diye Malpoa

Khoya diye Malpoa - Cocoawind

Khoya diye Malpoa

I am, what you might call, a 'selectively' traditional person - I (try to) follow all the traditions that involve food. And each year (for the last few years) I start the new year on the sweet note - when I make Patishapta and Malpoa for Makar Sankranti (Poush Parbon). This year was no different. I made Gur er Patishapta, this new version of Malpoa that I really liked and Mug Pakon Pithe - something that I had never tried or eaten before!

Khoya diye Malpoa - Cocoawind

Ingredients for about 20 malpoa

  • 1 Cup Khoya, grated if buying frozen (recipe here)
  • 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
  • A fat pinch of salt
  • About 3 to 3 1/2 cups of warm water for making the batter. 
  • Chopped almonds, pistachios and crushed dried rose petals for garnishing (totally optional)
  • Enough oil for frying (I use a mix of oil and ghee)
  • Sugar Syrup (see below)

How to make Khoya diye Malpoa

In a large bowl, mix the khoya and all purpose flour together along with fennel seeds, fat pinch of salt and ground cardamom powder. Add the warm water little by little to make a smooth batter. Whisk for few minutes to get rid of all the lumps. The batter will be slightly thick and not too runny.

Heat enough oil (for shallow frying) in a pan and add ladleful (about 1/3 Cup) of batter into it. The batter will spread out a little and take a roundish shape. Fry for a minute and when the sides start firming up, spoon some hot oil over the uncooked part. Now flip the malpoa and fry till the other side is golden brown. Take it out the pan and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

Once the malpoas cool down, transfer to the warm sugar syrup and let it soak in the sweetness. Take the sugar syrup soaked malpoas out and serve warm. You can garnish it with some crushed nuts dried rose petals or even with rabri.

Store leftovers in an airtight container and in the fridge. Warm up in the microwave before serving again.

Enjoy!


http://www.cocoawindblog.com/2014/11/homemade-khoyakhoa.html

:
For the sugar syrup: 
  • Sugar - 1 Cup
  • Water - 3/4 Cup
  • Cardamom Powder - 1/4 tsp (I add one split cardamom as well)
  • Lemon Juice - 1/2 tbsp (it will prevent the syrup from crystallizing)

Heat the water, sugar and cardamom powder (plus one split cardamom) on medium heat in a small saucepan till the sugar dissolves and it comes to a boil. Lower the heat and let the concoction simmer till the syrup reduces and thickens to a one-string consistency. Keep it warm. 





Mug Pakon Pithe - Sayantani's (of A Homemaker's Diary) recipe

Mug Pakon Pithe - Cocoawind

This year I wanted to try something new for Makar Sankranti (Poush Parbon). While I had been toying with the idea of trying some recipe which is from the southern part of India, Sayantani of A Homemaker's Diary shared her recipe of Mug Pakon on Facebook - I knew right away that that's what I was going to make.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan Sayantani of A Homemaker's Diary and have always been in awe of all her work! I am so glad that she became a friend (and not just a co-blogger when Kolkata Food Bloggers was formed 4 years back! She has always been a very generous mentor and her feedback on my food photos has helped me grow as a food photographer.

I was still recovering from a bad bout of food allergies and sore muscles (results of going to the gym after days..err make that years) and could not be on my feet for too long but I did manage to make these along with my Gur er Patishapta and Khoya'r Malpoa.


Mug Pakon Pithe - Cocoawind

I followed her recipe to the tee! So hop on over to A Homemaker's Diary to find out how to make Mug Pakon - Nakshi Pithey and be amazed by the work of art by the very talented Sayantani! And do not miss her beautiful write-up!

Mug Pakon Pithe - Cocoawind

The shapes and designs of my Mug Pakon Pithe are far from traditional, but I thoroughly enjoyed making these.

Oh, btw, the wooden plate (charger plate), the dokra planter and the brass jewelry box are all gifts from her that her husband very graciously carried all the way from Kolkata to here while on a business trip!

Mug Pakon Pithe - Cocoawind

Click here for the recipe - Mug Pakon Pithey - An ode to the land of Nakshi Kantha and Naksha Bori



Friday, January 06, 2017

How to blanch Almonds - easy way to peel the skin off

How to blanch almonds

I prefer making almond meal or almond flour at home. It is more cost-effective and saves me a trip to the grocery store every time I need it especially since I always have a stash of almonds in my fridge. I usually buy almonds in bulk from the Wholefoods Market's bulk aisle, store it in air-tight container and stick it in the fridge and use for up to 3 months.

Since almond meal and almond flour can be used interchangeably, more often than not I use almond meal and will only make almond flour if it is absolutely necessary. I love seeing the brown specks of almond skin in my cookies or bakes. But my Cardamom Snowball Cookies needed almond flour for that pristine white look, hence the need for blanching the almonds.

The first step in making Almond Flour is to blanch the almonds and the process couldn't be easier.
  • Boil enough water to cover the amount of almonds you wish to blanch
  • Take the almonds in a shallow bowl
  • Pour the boiling water on the almonds
  • Let it sit for about a minute and drain the water
  • Now gently squeeze the now shriveled almonds between your fingers and the skin will peel off
  • Spread out on a paper towel lined cookie sheet for the almonds to dry completely

Notes:
  1. Use raw, unsalted almonds
  2. Do not let the almonds sit in the boiling water for more than a minute - it might soften the almonds
  3. Use a colander to drain the water. Give it a few shakes to ensure that all the water has drained.
  4. You can try rubbing the blanched almonds with a clean dishtowel/wash cloth - the process might be faster.
  5. Dry the almonds completely before grinding.





Thursday, January 05, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa with Salted Caramel Drizzle


Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa with Salted Caramel Drizzle

I have been slacking bad and I really do not have any good excuse for it. This super yummy Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa with Salted Caramel Drizzle recipe has been sitting in the draft section since November and I totally forgot to publish it. I have absolutely no idea why! Or wait, may be I do - it was the Holidays & it did all sorts of things to my head! I was trying to finish up tons of work in a short time period while planning a trip to Chicago to spend a quick 4 days with our friends and planning a big party on New Year's Eve! Yup, too much on my plate - that is what happened!

But now that January of the brand new year is here, I plan to publish all that has been lying in the draft (mostly seasonal recipes and I am horribly late) and work on the promise that I made to myself - I am going to buy a planner and plan my days 2 weeks in advance. Doable, right? Only time will tell.

Ingredients: Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa with Salted Caramel Drizzle(serves 1, can be doubled)

  • 1 Cup of milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp of pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice + 1 tiny pinch for sprinkling on the marshmallows
  • A pinch of salt.
  • Mini Marshmallows for garnishing
  • Salted Caramel (recipe here)

How to make Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Heat the milk on low heat in a saucepan and let it come to a simmer. Make a paste of the pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a measuring cup or any other container of your choice. I use a measuring cup as it is easier to pour into a mug from it.
Once the milk comes to a simmer, pour the warmed up milk into the measuring cup, little at a time while whisking gently to mix. 
Throw in mini marshmallows, sprinkle a tiny pinch of pumpkin pie spice and drizzle some salted caramel on top. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Orange Cookies

Happy New Year y'all! My first post of the brand new year and it couldn't be a tastier treat! I know I am a couple of weeks behind in publishing the recipes, but it is better late than never, right! I tried out quite a few new cookie recipes for the Holiday season but this Cranberry Orange Cookies and the Pistachio Snowball Cookies most definitely make it to the 'my favorite cookies' list!

The last couple of weeks of last year were super busy - I tried to finish up a month's worth of work in less than 20 days, planned a short road trip to Chicago to spend Christmas with our good friends, while planning a big party on New Year's Eve. Now that all that is behind me and I am taking it a little slow this month work-wise, I hope to publish all the posts that has been lying in the draft - a little after the season may be but hey, it will Holiday season again in 10 or so months, right!



Ingredients: Cranberry Orange Cookies (about 20 cookies)

  • 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup (or 2 sticks) of chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Zest of a whole orange
  • 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed orange juice  

How to make Cranberry Orange Cookies




Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.



Pulse the chopped cranberries few times in a food processor. Add the flour, sugar, salt and give it a 2 or 3 more pulses. Now add the chilled butter and pulse till it resembles a crumbly mixture. Next add in the orange zest and juice. Pulse to mix.

Transfer the crumbly mix to a floured surface, knead and roll into a log. Cling wrap the log and chill it for 1 hour. Using a sharp knife cut into 1/4 inch discs.

Arrange the disc of cookies dough on cookie sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes till golden brown around the edges. Transfer the Cranberry Orange Cookies to a wire rack once they are cool enough to be handled. Let the cookies cool down completely before serving. Store in airtight container.



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