Sunday, 10 April 2016

Kesar Mango Kulfi

Summers are here and so is the craving for ice creams. Sadly, my daughter has a sensitive throat and tends to go down with a cough or cold whenever she eats one and so we need to avoid eating it as well. However, you cannot do much when you crave for something so dearly and so this weekend I decided to prepare a small batch of kulfis for my guests for dinner. It was a big hit and everyone including my little one enjoyed it and kept asking for more. It takes a little time to prepare this as I did not add any thickening ingredient to the milk and kept reducing it on a low flame till it reached desired consistency. Result was a delicious and rich milky goodness and flavored with my favourite fruit. Only thing that I will do differently next time is use fresh mango pulp instead of canned! Pure deliciousness!!
1 litre full cream milk (if in India, do not separate the cream/malai once boiled)
1/2-3/4 can condensed milk (I used low fat and little less as my mango pulp was sweetened already)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder 
Few strands of saffron/kesar
1/2-3/4 cup mango pulp (depending on how strong flavor you want)
Chopped pistachios/dry fruits for garnishing (optional)

Take the milk in a heavy bottomed pan and bring it to a boil. Now mix the condensed milk and cardamom powder and saffron and stir well. Keep the flame on medium low and let it simmer while stirring in between. You can do this along with other cooking that you may have  so that the job doesn't feel too tiring. You will be amazed to see how easy it is when you finish cooking and reducing the milk at the same time. Keep mixing in the layer of cream that forms on the top into the milk each time you stir. 
Once the milk is reduced to almost one-third the volume, remove it from heat and let it cool. Keep stirring again in between so that the layer of cream is constantly mixed into the milk. Once cooled completely, mix in the mango pulp. Add the pulp little at a time and stop when you are satisfied with the flavor. Pour the mixture into kulfi/popsicle moulds and freeze covered until set. 
To de mould, hold the kulfi moulds in running water for a few seconds and then release using the stick. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Seyal Paneer

Once during one of my conversations with a lady in my condominium, she mentioned how much she relished the "Seyal Paneer" she had ordered at a local Indian restaurant over the weekend. I wasn't even sure I heard the name right and on my next trip to that restaurant (intentional) I made sure the dish was ordered. It indeed was very delicious but a little too spicy for my palate. I came back home and tried to search for the recipe and interestingly, there were no recipes at all. All I could find out was that it was a Sindhi dish. Thankfully, I have a few Sindhi friends from Facebook and they helped me out with their mother's recipes and with a little tweaking from my end, the "Seyal Paneer" was finally prepared. I am still not sure if that's the actual name of this dish or just a name given by the restaurant. Whatever it may be, I can assure you that this is the easiest paneer you would ever make and one of the most delicious too. I put everything in a pan, lowered the flame to minimum, covered it, and went for my shower. When I came back after 20 minutes, my masala was ready (without any stirring) and the paneer cubes were ready to go in and ready to eat in 5 minutes!! It is this unbelievably easy. Now go make it!
300 gms paneer cubes
3 big onions finely chopped 
2 tbsp chopped garlic (green garlic is used traditionally, use it if you can find it)
1 medium tomato 
2 tbsp tomato puree (or 1/2 medium tomato)
1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder 
1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
1/2 tsp garam masala powder 
2 tsp coriander powder 
1 tsp cumin powder 
1 tsp cumin seeds 
3 tbsp Fresh coriander leaves chopped 
1-2 green chillies (optional)
1-2 tbsp ghee 
Take a pan and heat the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Now lower the flame and add the finely chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, puree (if using), dry spices, coriander, green chillies and salt. Mix them all together. There is no need to make anything soft or fried. Just mix and cover and leave it on the lowest flame for 15-20 minutes. This is how the masala gets it's taste and flavor through undisturbed slow cooking. When you see the oil droplets appear on top and along the sides, give a stir and add the paneer cubes. You can add 1/4-1/2 cup water at this point if you find the masala too dry or you intend to eat it with rice. Once the paneer is added, give a stir, and then cover again and leave again for 5-7 minutes till the paneer is well soaked and the gravy looks good to serve immediately. Serve hot with rice or roti/naan/paratha.