Shital's-Kitchen: February 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

Thandai Kulfi

My husband loves kulfi, I think he prefers Kulfi over Icecream. Although there is not much difference between the two, Kulfi is thickened milk with nuts or fruits that is frozen so it is denser than icecream but really soft and smooth.

Kulfi is pure thickened milk that is frozen. I know there are short cut recipes by adding cornstarch or bread as thickening agents, but then it cannot be used as offering to God or eaten during Hindu fasts. I know sometimes boiling milk to make kulfi can be tedious but believe me it is the right way to do and the flavor as the milk boils, thickens, and caramelizes tastes amazing. Check my recipe of regular Kesar and Malai Kulfi here. 

Since I did not have lot of time to let the regular milk boil and thicken, I tried using Half & Half and heavy whipping cream. Both these are found easily in the store and by using good quality organic Straus Milk products I achieve deliciously tasting kulfi for my family! While it is time for Holi, (festival of colors), friends meet over and part and enjoy chilled Thandai. It was time to combine the flavors of Thandai with the texture of Kulfi to make Thandai Kulfi.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6 people)
2 cups Half & Half
1 cup whipping cream
                              OR

For garnishing
Slivered almonds and pistachios
  • In a heavy bottom pan boil half & half. Simmer for 10 minutes till it reduces  and thickens. It will not take a long time.
  • Add heavy whipping cream and simmer the mixture for 5-7 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
  • Add Thandai syrup to the thickened mixture. whisk well using a whisk or hand blender. If using Thandai powder, add sugar and thandai powder to thickened mixture and blend in the hand blender.  Strain the mixture.
  • Pour in cups, garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios. Cover and freeze it for 6-8 hours. 
  • Serve chilled
 
Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
       My Thandai Masala                               My Thandai Syrup

In a heavy bottom pan boil Half & Half. Simmer for 10 minutes till it reduces and thickens. 
Add heavy whipping cream and simmer the mixture for 5-7 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.


Add Thandai syrup to the thickened mixture. whisk well using a whisk or hand blender. If using Thandai powder, add sugar and thandai powder to thickened mixture and blend in the hand blender.  Strain the mixture.
Pour in cups, garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios. Cover with plastic wrap or foil, and freeze it for 6-8 hours.





Enjoy Thandai Kulfi!!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kesari Thandai Syrup

Milk based beverages are getting very popular these day with masala milk, milkshakes, and this spiced milk, Thandai. This is our family favorite!! Not just during Holi, festival of colors, but any auspicious occasion at home, mom would quickly blend Thandai for guests with homemade Thandai masala (check my recipe here).

Today being Mahashivrari, day to worship lord Shiva, most people in Hindu religion worship Shiva and fast on this day. People visit temple and shower water or milk over Idol of Shiva called Shivling. It is supposed to calm Him. Grains are not permitted during hindu fasts so people normally have milk based beverages and fruits. Thandai, which is made of various herbs, spices, and nuts is said to be perfect during fasts.

Thandai syrups have gotten popular too. I see bottles of Thandai syrup sold at the Indian store. Although I haven't tasted them, looks like it might be delicious as there is so much demand for it. But if you look at the list of ingredients, OMG with the artificial color and preservatives used, I would rather make my own. I am soon taking orders for freshly made Thandai Masala.

So what is the difference between Thandai Masala and Thandai Syrup?
  1. Thandai masala is unsweetened spice and nut mixture, whereas Thandai syrup is sweetened spiced syrup with powdered nuts.
  2. You can add sugar or sweetener of your choice to Thandai Masala, whereas Thandai syrup is made with regular sugar so you need not add any other sweetener to it.
  3. Thandai made by using Masala has to be strained, whereas Thandai made by syrup can be directly used as syrup has been strained.
So make this syrup or thandai masala and store in the refrigerator to use whenever needed.

Ingredients (This concentrate makes 30-40 glasses of Thandai drink)

2 cups sugar
1+1/2 cups water
1 tbsp. black pepper powder
4 tbsp. raw fennel seeds
1 tbsp whole small green cardamom
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
2 tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. raw cashew nuts
2 tbsp. raw almonds
2 tbsp. raw pistachios
3 tbsp. Gulkand
1 tsp. of saffron (optional)
  • In a heavy bottom pan heat sugar and water mixture with pepper powder and bring it to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
  • Grind fennel seeds and cardamom. Add the ground mixture to sugar syrup. Mix well and let it sit for 6-8 hours. This will ensure that the flavors soak in well.
  • Strain the syrup. Use a spoon the press the spices well to extract all the syrup and flavor.
  • Grind poppy seeds, and pumpkin seeds. cashews, almonds, and pistachios into fine powder.
  • Mix this powder to the syrup.
  • Mix gulkand and saffron strands to the syrup.
  • Mix well or grind it in a smoothie maker and store in a bottle
  • Mix the bottle well before using the syrup.
Tip: Use a wide mouth bottle or mason jar to store the syrup so that you can use a spoon to stir it well. It is difficult to shake mix the syrup in a narrow bottle.
To make thandai:
  • Mix the concentrate well. Powdered nuts will float over the syrup so storing the syrup in a wide mouth bottle or jar is ideal.
  • Mix around 1 to 1+1/2 tbsp. of syrup in a cup of chilled milk. Grind in a smoothie maker or hand blender. Leave it aside for 5-7 minutes before serving. This will ensure that the flavors marinate well. Garnish with slivered almonds
  • Keep chilled in the refrigerator.
The color of kesar/saffron intensifies and Thandai turns yellowish orange when left aside for sometime before serving.

Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:

In a heavy bottom pan heat sugar and water mixture with pepper powder and bring it to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
Grind fennel seeds and cardamom seeds Add the ground mixture to sugar syrup. Mix well and let it sit for 6-8 hours. This will ensure that the flavors soak in well.

Strain the syrup. Use a spoon the press the spices well to extract all the syrup and flavor.

Grind poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, and pistachios into fine powder.
Mix this powder to the syrup.
Mix gulkand and saffron strands to the syrup.




Mix well or grind it in a smoothie maker to make a smooth syrup and store in a refrigerator.
Use a wide mouth bottle to store the syrup.


Mix the bottle well before using the syrup.



Mix around 1 to 1+1/2 tbsp. of syrup in a cup of chilled milk. Grind in a smoothie maker or hand blender. Leave it aside for 5-7 minutes before serving. This will ensure that the flavors marinate well. Garnish with slivered almonds






Enjoy Kesari Thandai!!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Patti Samosa

No one needs an introduction on Samosas. I am sure everyone loves them! Whatever kind they are, these fried triangles with spicy stuffing are just delicious. Although I like potato and pea samosas the best, cabbage and onion filling has lately been my favorite too.

Samosa folding is not difficult, it may need more time and patience to be neatly folded, but the end result is always great. So while we had sudden guests over, keeping samosa pastries in the fridge did help. I was able to make a super easy and quick snack to serve with chai. The crunch and spice mixture in the filling makes it different from the regular samosas. In fact, these samosas are mainly called Patti samosas as these mini samosas are made with samosa patti or ready made strips.

Ingredients (15 mini patti samosas)
15 ready made samosa pastries or patti
1+1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chaat masala
1 tsp. red chilli powder
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. chopped green cilantro
Oil for frying

Bowl of water to seal the edges of the patti.

Method
  • Mix onion and cabbage with salt and let it sit for 5-7 minutes.
  • Squeeze out water so that samosa does not turn soggy.
  • Add all other spices to the veggies and mix well.
  • Lay each samosa patti at a time on a clean and flat surface.
  • Add spoon-full of stuffing on the corner and start folding it just like the video below.
  • Seal the edges well with water.
  • Deep fry in hot oil.
  • Serve with chutney or as is.
  • Enjoy!!

Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
Mix onion and cabbage with salt and let it sit for 5-7 minutes.
Squeeze out water so that samosa does not turn soggy.
Add all other spices to the veggies and mix well.


Lay each samosa patti at a time on a clean and flat surface.
Add spoon-full of stuffing on the corner and start folding it just like the video below.

Check this video of folding patti samosa:
video

Seal the edges well with water.
Deep fry in hot oil.
Serve with chutney or as is.




http://shitals-kitchen.blogspot.com/2013/04/baked-samosa.html









Enjoy Samosas on a cold rainy and snowy day!!


http://shitals-kitchen.blogspot.com/2014/02/samosa.html

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pull-Apart Masala Bread

Pull apart bread is everywhere on Facebook videos. Pull apart cheesy garlic bread is something that I had seen and found very interesting. This recipe is definitely inspired from those videos. You all know I enjoy baking, and baking crusty bread is super fun and easy. Incorporating my love for Mumbai street food in the recipe, I tried my hands on Pull-Apart Masala Pav. 

Masala Pav, makes me nostalgic... an oversized cast iron griddle to cook veggies and super soft pav bread lathered with butter is stuffed with veggies and spices. Masala Pav is a perfect food that is delicious and filling specially for Mumbai commuters and young college students.

My husband has been following and watching cricket matches on TV, and I thought this is an amazing game recipe (appetizer or dinner) where we just sit back and enjoy Virat Kohli's new captainship in the cricket match. :) You can make this while you watch your favorite game or a movie.

1+1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 pack yeast
3 cups all purpose flour/maida
Extra flour for kneading the dough
1 tsp. Salt

  • Start with 1 1/4 cup warm water (100F) in a large bowl. Add 1 packet Yeast, (2 1/4 tsp.) and 2 tbsp. sugar. Mix and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
  • 1 tsp. salt and 3 cups all-purpose flour.
  • Mix together to make a sticky dough.
  • Lightly dust your clean counter. Empty the dough and knead it for 8-10 minutes. This is the most important stage to develop gluten, and make the dough elastic. It is okay to use around 1/4 cup flour while kneading (if needed).
  • Keep the dough in a greased large bowl. Cover and let it rest for an hour.
  • Knead the dough again for 7-8 minutes.
  • Make a dough ball and leave it aside. You could use a baking tray or a pizza stone to bake the bread. If using baking tray, grease and dust the tray and place the log of dough in it. Dust it well on the top. Cover with a dry napkin or cloth and let it rise for 45 minutes. If baking on a pizza stone, preheat the pizza stone too.I used cast iron skillet to bake crusty bread. So I left the dough ball in it to proof.
  • Place a big metal pan in the oven under the baking pan. 
  • Preheat oven to 450F
  • Place the cast iron skillet in the oven.
  • Pour 4 cups of hot water into the metal pan that was placed under the baking shelf. be careful as the metal pan is hot and might create bubbling and steam. 
  • Immediately close the oven door.
  • Bake the bread for 40 to  50 minutes or till you get a beautiful even color and crust. Baking time may vary depending on the amount of dough and shape of the bread.
  • Remove bread on a wire rack and let it cool.
To make Masala stuffing: Check my Masala Pav Recipe
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup green peas
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. pav bhaji masala
2 tbsp. lime/lemon juice
Grated cheese of your choice

To garnish:
2-3 tbsp. chopped onions
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Heat butter in a pan.
  • Saute onions till soft. Add bell pepper and green peas and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and minced garlic.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add salt and pav bhaji masala. Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add lime juice. Let the veggie mixture cool.

To assemble pull -apart bread:
  • Make horizontal and vertical cuts into the bread leaving the base intact.
  • Stuff the cuts (in between the squares) with veggie mixture and grated cheese.
  • Add grated cheese on the top of the bread loaf too.
  • Bake in 350F preheated over for 15 minutes.
  • As it comes out of the oven, garnish with chopped onions and cilantro.
  • Serve and enjoy this pull-apart bread!

Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
Make the bread dough and leave it in a greased pan for an hour to proof.

A well risen bread dough.

Baked bread dough. Beautiful color and crusty texture.
Let the bread cool well.

Heat butter in a pan.
Saute onions till soft. Add bell pepper and green peas and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes and minced garlic.
Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add salt and pav bhaji masala. Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add lime juice. Let the veggie masala cool.






Make horizontal and vertical cuts into the bread leaving the base intact.


Stuff the cuts (in between the squares) with veggie masala and grated cheese.

Add grated cheese on the top of the bread loaf too.

Bake in 350F preheated over for 15 minutes.

As it comes out of the oven, garnish with chopped onions and cilantro.

Serve and enjoy this pull-apart bread!





Enjoy the Game!!!