Tag Archives: Nuts/Dried Fruits

Gajar Halwa: Indian Sweet Carrot “Pudding”

This post has been a long time coming.  I’ve started writing it (what seems like) a million times, but no matter how hard I’ve tried to finish…it just wasn’t happening.

The phone would ring.  A time sensitive email would show up in my inbox.  Piyush would want the laptop to practice Chess–he’s a competitive player, don’t ‘cha know? Dinner would need to be made.  Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

Yes, that is a room full of chess players.  Very serious stuff, I tell you.

Yes, that is a room full of chess players. Very serious stuff, I tell you.

I also wanted to apologize to any one and every one of my dear readers who have left me a comment or sent me an email or personal note–and I haven’t responded.  I’m extremely grateful for all the kind words and comments I’ve received lately.  I’m also so, so very sorry for my slow responses.  We’re leaving for India soon and I’ve had so many things to tie up before we leave, I promise It’s on my agenda. :-D

Anyway, tonight (it’s around 12:30am and I recently got home from work) I’m finally going to share with you one of my favorite Indian sweets!

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I first tasted this magnificent treat on a dinner-date with Piyush, and it was love at first bite. Continue reading

Pohe: A Maharashtrian Rice Snack (Vegan!)

Allow me to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes, Pohe!

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Pohe

Since Pohe is traditionally made and served in the west of India–specifically around Maharashtra– it’s not something most Bengali families would grow up eating.  Luckily for me (and you all!), Maa (my mother-in-law) learned to cook Pohe while Baba (father-in-law) worked in Mumbai…and boy, I’m glad she did!

This dish is often referred to as Kanda Pohe and is made from beaten rice flakes.  It usually includes onions, mustard seeds and large chunks of boiled potatoes. Ground turmeric gives it the bright, yellow color.  Continue reading

Rose and Pistachio Cookie Bars

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Rose and Pistachio Cookie Bars

I’ve had the idea for these cookie bars for quite awhile.  In fact, it’s a recipe that’s been sitting in the recesses of my mind, begging to be created.

The idea came to me one night while I was reading.  For some reason all my best recipe ideas have popped up when I’m relaxing and enjoying someone else’s writing.  I’m not quite sure what triggered the thought, but at that moment I decided I needed to combine the flavors of rose and pistachio in a cookie.

It had to be done.  Continue reading

The Easiest Chocolate Cake Ever (and it’s Vegan)

I have a “thing” for chocolate. I love everything about it.  It’s smell, it’s taste and–most especially (at the risk of sounding like some sort of chocolate obsessed crazy lady who is in clear need of psychological assistance)–it’s ability to “pick me up” when I’m feeling down.

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Dressed up with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Rasberries and Pistachios

The only thing I might love more than chocolate is cake; and if it’s a chocolate cake, then I can promise you that I’m a happy lady!

This cake is magic, and will definitely lift anyone’s mood.  The recipe is fool proof, and the cake comes together quickly and without much effort.  It is also a vegan!  That’s right, there are no eggs or butter–and yet the cake is still deliciously decadent!  Who would have thought?! Continue reading

Indian Snack Bars (Indian-Inspired Rice Krispie Treats)

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Indian-Inspired Rice Krispie Bars

Traditional American rice krispie bars have always been one of my favorite snacks.  Especially if they’re of the peanut butter variety!  Some of my earliest memories center around the simple–yet delicious–rice krispie bar.  It’s true.  I remember stirring the pot of melting marshmallows on my grandmother’s stove-top while my aunt, Patty, supervised–well over 20 years ago! (Man, I’m getting old…)

My husband, being the picky guy he is, doesn’t love the simple rice krispie bar the way I do.  In fact, he flat-out dislikes them.  Crazy, I know.  Determined to make him love the sweet and crunchy snack-bar, I decided to make a version with flavors I knew he’d love.

Continue reading

Mushroom Korma

Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma (Khumb, Matar and Methi Korma)

I love mushrooms and would have no trouble eating them everyday.  They’re a great substitute for meat, a wonderful “filler” for all sorts of vegetarian recipes, but mushrooms are especially good if they’re drenched in a smooth, fragrant, spiced  masala.

That brings me to my newest “creation”:  Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma. In Hindi it would be called something like Khumb, Matar and Methi Korma —but don’t completely trust me on that.

My Hindi is not good, and practically non-existant.  I speak Hindi like a two year old.  In fact, I know the important words (mostly swear words learned from Hindi movies) and I’m fluent in exactly 4 sentences:

The girl is eating.

The boy is eating.

The girl is drinking.

The boy is drinking.

I shouldn’t even be talking about my Hindi skills though, because my husband will probably read this and then he’s going to lecture me about learning Hindi and then he’ll bring up how he bought me Rosetta Stone for my birthday a few years ago and it’s been used approximately 4 times since.

Yes, nothing good can come from that…so lets get back to the curry!

Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma

Traditionally this dish is more of a Malai curry rather than a Korma, meaning it is made with nuts, milk and a type of milk-cream instead of with nuts and yogurt or coconut milk.

Because I’m very sensitive to dairy (I even break out in hives from it!), I definitely do not indulge on traditional malai curries very often, so I’ve kind of taken a traditional recipe and made it my own.

I started by making a wonderful smelling masala by grinding together:

  • a 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 3 green cardamoms (only the seeds)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. cashew nuts

Homemade Masala Mix

Once my masala was made I threw a couple onions into my food processor.  I pulsed until the onion was a smooth paste.  It was really watery, but no need to worry!  Water evaporates.

Then I tossed a little ghee in a pan and tossed the mushrooms in, added some ginger and some garlic, a little salt and some pepper.  Once the mushrooms were cooked, I removed them from the pan and set them aside.

Cooked Mushrooms

I then added a little oil to the pan that I had cooked the mushrooms in.  I tossed in the onion paste and turned the heat to low.  I cooked until most of the water had evaporated from the onions, but I didn’t let them brown or caramelize.

At that point, I added the masala paste I had previously made.  I let it cook for about a minute, just to get rid of some of that raw smell.

I added some dried fenugreek (methi) leaves and cooked until everything became a homogeneous mixture and was no longer watery.

I added a little garam masala, amchoor (mango powder), chili powder and salt and cooked that for about 2 minutes to ensure the chili powder would no longer be raw.

I tossed in the peas and mushrooms and added a little almond milk, a couple tablespoons of fat free half & half,  and a little water.  I let the mixture cook until it was the consistency I wanted, and then I garnished it with some fresh coriander leaves and cashew nuts.

This curry was absolutely wonderful, and the smell was incredible!  The gravy was thick and rich, and it truly did seem fit for a king!

Mushroom, Pea and Fenugreek Korma

serves 4-6 as a side dish

Because this recipe has it’s roots in Mughali cuisine, it is a very heavy and rich curry…something the Mughal emperors would have enjoyed.

NOTE:This dish can be made vegan by replacing the ghee with oil and leaving out the half & half.  Alternatively, if you prefer to use regular milk rather than almond milk…that will work as well. 

Ingredients:

Curry

  • 10 oz mushrooms: any variety
  • 1 cup peas (frozen is fine)
  • 4 tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 2 tsp. garlic- minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger- minced
  • 1 tbsp. butter or ghee (may substitute oil)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 large onion- ground to a paste in the food processor
  • 1 c. milk, half & half, almond milk or soymilk (I used almond milk for this recipe)
  • red chili powder- to taste
  • salt- to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • a small pinch of amchoor (dried mango) powder- optional, but it adds a nice “sourness” to the curry
  • a small pinch of ground nutmeg
  • fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) for garnish

Masala Paste

  • 3 green cardamoms (only the seeds)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. cashew nuts

Grind together all ingredients for masala powder until they are completely powdered.  A coffee grinder works wonderful for this.

Directions for Curry:

  • Clean the mushrooms and trim the stems.  If they’re big, cut them into bite-size pieces.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. butter in a pan over medium-high heat.  Turn heat to high and add the mushrooms.  Cook until all the water releases from the mushrooms and evaporates.  They should take on a little golden color.
  • Add the garlic and ginger, a little salt–to taste, and some black pepper–to taste.  Cook one more minute and remove from heat.
  • Remove mushrooms from pan and keep aside.
  • Using the same pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add onion paste and cook until onions no longer smell raw, but don’t let them turn brown or carmelize.
  • Add the fresh ground masala powder and cook for about 30 seconds.  Toss in the fenugreek leaves and 1/4 c. of milk.  Cook on low heat for about 4 minutes or until the milk evaporates.
  • Add salt, chili powder, garam masala, pinch of ground nutmeg and amchoor.  Cook for a minute or so.
  • Add peas and mushrooms into the onion mixture.
  • Add 3/4 c. milk (soymilk, almond milk or half & half) so your curry is thickened.  If the curry seems too thick, add water until you’re happy with the consistency.
  • Boil the curry for a few minutes.  Garnish with fresh chopped coriander.  Serve with rice or rotis.

On a completely different topic…

This past weekend was the Food Experiments Pie Contest, sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery.  I made 300 mini Korma pies that were topped with whipped coconut cream (man, that was a lot of work!), and Piyush and I headed to Minneapolis.

Although we did not win the contest, we had a really fabulous time!  We met a lot of really cool people…people I wish we lived closer to (I’m talk’n about you, Journey and Rachel!)

I’ve never entered any contest even remotely close to this before, but now that I–somehow–survived baking 300 little pies myself, I’m totally ready for the next one!!!

Bring. It. On. :)

Oh!  By the way, if anyone is looking for my Vegetarian Korma recipe, it can be found HERE.  Enjoy!

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Fig, Prosciutto, and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Pistachios, Chevre, and Honey

This weekend was a whirlwind of events; and I’m glad it’s over.

My gorgeous niece, Madelyn, was very sick and was admitted into the hospital.

She was full of bruises and her blood counts were not normal.  It was incredibly scary, but hopefully everything is figured out now (fingers crossed!).  Her counts are still not normal, but they are improving; and that is a good sign.

Because I spent my days worrying and my evenings working, I didn’t have time to post this incredible pizza I made last week.

Fig, Prosciutto and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Pistachios, Chevre and Honey

It was a pure pizza masterpiece.  

Fresh figs are one of my favorite things.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to find really good ones here in Minnesota.  Because figs are so delicate, they don’t ship well.  They started showing up at Trader Joes a few weeks ago–and you better believe I did a little happy dance!

But sadly, they weren’t good.

I was lucky enough to find a few cartons of them at my local co-op, and they were just right (the price was also significantly higher–unfortunately).

Fresh Figs: Black Mission. This little guy isn’t quite ripe, but it sure is pretty!

I sliced about 1/2 lb of figs along with some prosciutto (a very salty and thin sliced ham) and set them aside to top my pizza.  I also crumbled a couple ounces of chevre (goat cheese.  I used Trader Joes Honey Chevre) and chopped up some pistachios.

Prosciutto, Figs and a log of Chevre

If you love baking or cooking with pistachios, here’s a little tip I’ve learned:

To make it easier to shell and remove that paper-like skin over the pistachio, keep your pistachios in the freezer.  It seriously makes using pistachios a lot easier and takes a lot less time.  

I used my go-to whole wheat pizza crust recipe.  It never fails me.  You can get the recipe by clicking on the printer icon below.

While the dough was resting, I caramelized some onions with some fresh thyme (leaves off a few sprigs).

I used some onions that I had left over from another recipe, so It was probably 1/2 of a large onion.  I would definitely use 1 large whole onion, or maybe even 2 next time.  The pizza was amazing, but more caramelized onions would have made it even better.

Caramelized onions with fig preserves

Once the onions were caramelized, I tossed in about 2 tbsp. of fig preserves and let it all melt together.

I thought that by adding the fig preserves to the onions instead of just spreading them out on the pizza I would get better flavor, and it might help keep the pizza from becoming too sweet.

I was right.

After my crust had been precooked for about 5 minutes (I always precook my crusts), I spread the caramelized onion mixture on top of it.

You can see it needs more onions

Then, I topped the onion mixture with the prosciutto, sliced figs and chevre.

Unbaked Pizza

I baked the pizza on a stone for about 10 minutes in a preheated 450 degree F oven.

One the pizza was done baking, i tossed on a bunch of chopped pistachios (they were previously salted and roasted) and drizzled a bunch of pistachio honey over the entire thing.

The saltiness of both the prosciutto and the pistachios really helped even out the sweetness of the figs and the onions.

The chevre added an invaluable tang.

Piyush and I enjoyed our pizza while we watched the American women win Olympic GOLD in gymnastics!  So exciting!

All Sliced Up!

Now, here’s to hoping this week is less stressful…

…and if you liked this pizza, you may also like my Caramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza!!!

  Check it out here!