Thukpa

Thukpa


Lets take a trip to North East Street Food. Nothing Fancy …Nothing Exotic … At the same time the most pleasant meal that a person can have at a very low price. Thukpa … A perfect one pot meal. Sikkim as we know is well influenced by the Nepali food and Thukpa is one of the staple diets. Available at every nook and corner of the Sikkim and Arunachal Streets this is one of the most delicious meal I have ever had. The recipe for the Sikkimese Thukpa and Arunachal Thukpa differs(Arunachali Thukpa has more of a Tibetan influence whereas Sikkimese Thukpa is influenced by the Nepali style). I prefer Sikkimese more to the other. My best friend Rekha Singh is a Nepali and who better than her to give me the authentic Nepali recipe for the same. Thanks darling… Without your help I wouldn’t have been successful at this. Love Ya! Well won’t say any further…Just go ahead and give this wonderful dish a try… Quick, Filling and Tasty One Pot Meal…

Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook time:20 minutes
Serves : 4, Level : Easy

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup Boneless Chicken (Cut into small pieces)

4 Tsp Oil

¼ Tsp Fenugreek Seeds

¼ Tsp Turmeric Powder

3-4 Garlic Cloves (Chopped Lengthwise)

1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste

½ Tsp Red Chilli Powder

½ Tsp Cumin Powder

¼ Tsp Soya Sauce

¼ Cup Coriander Leaves

1 Green Chilli

¼ Cup Spring Onion

¼ Cup Cabbage (Chopped)

1 Medium Size Onion (Sliced)

1/8 Cup Carrot (Chopped Lengthwise)

2 Green Beans (Chopped Lengthwise)

1 Tomato (Chopped)

1/8 Cup Broccoli

2 Cups Boiled Noodles

Salt to Taste

Thukpa


METHOD

1. Cut all the vegetables and green chilli lengthwise except broccoli and tomato. Cut the tomato into cubes and separate the broccoli florets.Keep aside.

2. Now in a wok heat oil. When hot add fenugreek seeds.

3. Now add the garlic cloves and stir for a minute.

4. Now add the chicken pieces and fry till a bit tender (Say for 3-4 Mins). Add chopped onions and fry till soft.

5. Now add turmeric powder and soya sauce and stir.

6. Add all the vegetables except cabbage and half of spring onions, chopped green chillies, ginger garlic paste and mix well.

7. Cook covered till the vegetables turn tender and soft. Now add the spices , chopped cabbage and stir till the spices are cooked.

8. Now add water (I added around 5 cups) , salt to taste and chopped coriander leaves.

9. Let it boil. Then simmer and add the boiled noodles and cook for sometime. Turn off the gas.

10. Serve hot garnished with the rest of the spring onions.

Chef’s tip: Don’t fry the cabbage too much or the cabbage will turn very soft and lose its crunchiness.

Thukpa

Semifreddo

Semifreddo


Semifreddo… Love and this dessert… A match made in heaven… A beautiful combination of rum, cherries, white chocolate and hazelnut in a smooth creamy mixture of egg white and yolks. It was a perfect treat for the Valentines Day! My hubby just loved it and the kids were diving for the cherries. The little one is so fond of cherries that she was after my life to take them to the table for garnishing and helped us in the shoot. She was looking so appealing that my hubby darling could not resist clicking her. A photo shoot for the dessert got postponed and the little one became the model. It was so easy to make her pose and shoot as if she is naturally born with it .The other one kept on diving at the cherries…Lol…

The process of making this semifreddo was quite easy…It seems difficult to many because of the number of steps involved. I personally found it easy… I pitted and chopped the canned cherries and dried them with a paper towel till the time I prepared the other stuffs. Those white chocolate chips… AAH!!! They made my heart melt… So I finally thought to add in some melted chocolate into the semifreddo mixture… And and Valentines Day around the corner… What better than adding some booze to the same. At first I was skeptical about the addition wondering about the consistency of the dessert. But finally held on to my breath and poured in some generous amount of Dark Rum… Ummm!!! The perfect aroma that arose was more than enough to drive my love crazy. Initially my thoughts went on how would the egg smell in a dessert without getting cooked… But believe me forget your fears and dive into this…You won’t even get a hint of the eggs… In fact you will fall in love with the taste…

Valentines or No Valentines… This dessert will always be on my top lists… And I will make it whenever I can!!! Happy Valentines Day!!!

Prep Time:25 minutes
Cook time:0 minutes
Serves : 6, Level : Medium

INGREDIENTS

250 gms Pitted Cherries

4 Egg Yolks

2 Tsp Vanilla Essence (Sieved)

1/3 Cup Caster Sugar

1 & 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

3 Egg Whites

1 Cup White Chocolate Chips

1 & 1/2 Tbsp Dark Rum

1/4 Cup Hazelnuts(Chopped)

1/8 Cup Melted White Chocolate(For Garnishing)

Pitted Cherries(For Garnishing)

Mihika


METHOD

1. Roughly chop the cherries and pat them dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

2. In a bowl beat in the heavy whipped cream with an electric mixer till soft peaks form. Refrigerate.

3. In another big bowl beat egg yolks, vanilla essence and sugar for 2-3 mins or until thick or creamy.

4. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.

5. Gently fold in the whipped cream, chopped cherries, melted chocolate, rum, white chocolate chips and hazelnuts into the egg yolk mixture.

6. Fold egg whites in three batches into the above cream mixture.

7. Grease a loaf pan. Line the base and sides with parchment paper.

8. Spoon the cream mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with a cling film and freeze overnight or until firm.

9. Turn onto a plate. Garnish with cherries or as desired.

My Tip: Ensure the cling film sticks onto the surface of the semifreddo mixture and there are no gaps. If there is a gap then it will lead to formation of ice crystals.

Semifreddo

Pavlova

Pavlova


Pavlova… A dessert that has been on my mind from the day I saw it. I fell in love with the elegance and beauty of this dessert. Valentine’s round the corner, I thought of giving this mesmerizing dessert a try… And yeah I am successful!!! Yippee!!!

Pavlova is a Meringue based dessert named after the beautiful Russian Ballet Dancer Anna Pavlova. This dessert is believed to have originated during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.

Beating of eggs till stiff peaks, baking it to perfection and then topping it up elegantly was a big challenge for me. But after doing it I realised its one of the easiest one to prepare. A crisp dessert on the outside with gooey center inside, it is one of the most beautiful looking desserts I have ever seen. Loads of whipping cream and use of fresh fruits makes this awesome dessert more appealing to me. My treat to my kids and my hubby this Valentines.

Thanks to the beautiful Chef Nigella Lawson for this wonderful recipe… And thank you Sai Priya ([email protected]) for the amazing recipe book that you gifted me last year… I have finally put it to some good use. Love you loads!!!

Wish you all a Very Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Love you all!!!


Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook time:90 minutes
Serves : 6, Level : Medium

INGREDIENTS

(For the Chocolate Meringue Base)

6 Egg Whites

300 gms (1 & 1/3 Cup) Caster Sugar

3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder(Sieved)

50 gms Dark Chocolate Chips

1 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar

(For the Topping)

500 ml Whipping Cream (I used Non Dairy Version)

400 gms Canned Cherries(You can use whichever fruit you like or a combination)

2-3 Tbsp Coarsely Grated Dark Chocolate(For Garnishing)


METHOD

1. In a bowl take whipping cream and beat till stiff peaks.

2. Set aside in the refigerator.

3. Now in another bowl take 6 egg whites and beat till soft peaks are formed.

4. Beat in the sugar, one spoon at a time and continue beating until the meringue is stiff and shiny.

5. Sprinkle the cocoa, vinegar and chocolate chips and gently fold in until the cocoa is mixed in.

6. Grease a baking sheet of 12″ diameter and line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven at 180°C.

7. Now pour the meringue in the centre and make a fat circle of so that it leaves 2″ gap from the circumference. Smoothen the sides and top.

8. Place in the oven and bake at 160°C for 1 & 1/2 hours or until the surface is crisp and does not wobble. The centre should be a bit gooey.

9. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly and let the meringue cool to room temperature.

10. Now gently place the meringue on the serving plate. Mount the whipped cream (in the refrigerator) on the meringue.

11. Top with lots of cherries or fruits as desired.Share with your partner and everyone. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pavlova

Persimmon Cake

Persimmon Cake

Persimmons… I used to play a game on FB long back where I first heard this name ‘Persimmon’… What a game it was… I think if I remember it right it was ‘Farmvilla’ or ‘Farmville’… Bad memory you see… Well… Till October 2015 I had the concept that this fruit was only available in the U.S. or U.K. … A trip to Tawang, India changed this… Oh yes… Tawang… Let me tell you about it… Many of you must not be aware of this place… I ought to tell you about this hidden paradise in the lovely hills of India… Yes India and its located in the extreme North East Corner – Arunachal Pradesh. Mesmerizing beauty, lovely hills, chilling winds and so gorgeous that I am falling short of words. You must be wondering I am exaggerating… Take a look at few of the snaps from the trip here…

Tawang Trip


Road trip from Guwahati, Assam to the serene beauty Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. During the puja vacations (which falls around September End – October of every year) my hubby came up with a plan to visit Bomdila (a place situated in Arunachal Pradesh on the way to Tawang). Just like always the trip was absolutely unplanned (We always take trips unplanned… Lol).

For those who are unaware we need a pass to visit Arunachal Pradesh from the Government Authorities and arranging for a pass in the holiday season is the toughest thing. Our luck favored and we managed to grab the pass which seemed quite difficult initially. We packed our bags and rejoiced.

Next day we started off with only a day’s booking at Tezpur (which lies on the way) and then a two days booking at Bomdila. We rested the night at Aditya’s Greenwood Point resort, Tezpur, Assam and loved their food and hospitality. Next day we started off early morning for Bomdila. The winding roads and the serene beauty all throughout made me fall in love with the divinity of the place. By evening we had arrived at the lodge booked in Bomdila with two suitcases and two 3 year olds (my brave kids who took the entire trip very sportingly).

Our next day plan was to visit Sela Pass and then return back to Bomdilla in the evening. But hungry for beauty we finally decided to go to Tawang via Sela Pass (the entry point to Tawang) which was almost the same distance that we had traveled till now. Again …unplanned… we went ahead for Tawang without a hotel or lodge booking (all the bookings were full). Luck again favored and some guys arranged a place for us to stay at Tawang.


We stayed at Tawang for two days and had the most wonderful experience.We tasted the famous butter tea and came to know the secret recipe. We hopped on the streets of Tawang tasting the local delicacy and shopped like crazy. On our way back we made a small stopover (for an hour or so) at the Dirang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh. Famous for it’s Kiwi Farms, Dirang produces the yummiest Kiwis in the country. I purchased a hell lot of kiwis at throw away prices. As I was crossing the road in this small town I noticed some extraordinary fruit being sold across the road. Went up there and was amazed to see persimmons. I took quite an amount and we traveled all the way back from Tawang to Guwahati with lots of goodies (Yak Butter is one of them). After reaching home I peeled and chopped one persimmon only to find that it’s still not ripe. Rested it for 10 days and it was ready to relish.

In the meantime I came across this recipe of Persimmon Cake from the blog ‘Pastry Affair’ and what next I decided to give it a go. This cake turned out awesome. I replaced Apple juice in the recipe with rum and added some chopped hazelnuts to give it a nice crunch. Everyone loved it and I was happy to make a different dish to share with you all. No kidding… As soon as you get your hands on these beauties give this cake a try and am sure you will be pleased with the outcome. And for the trip do visit North East India… An unexplored part of the country so beautiful and serene that missing it would be like missing Indian beauty at its best.


Persimmon Cake



Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook time:50 Minutes
Serves : 6, Level : Medium

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Persimmon Puree (Puree of Overripe Persimmons)

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

2 Large Eggs (beaten)

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup Dark Rum

1/4 Cup Hazelnuts (Chopped)

2 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp Tsp Ground Cloves

1/4 Tsp Ground Dry Ginger

1/2 Tsp Salt

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

Chef’s Tip: (i) Use overripe persimmons to make puree. It should have the texture of overripe tomatoes, soft and almost about to burst. It is absolutely okay if the persimmons have dark spots on the skin.


METHOD

1. In a large mixing bowl mix persimmon puree, sugar and vegetable oil until well blended.

2. Stir in the beaten eggs, rum and vanilla extract.

3. Gradually add the spices, chopped hazelnuts, salt and baking powder and mix well. Now fold in the flour until just incorporated. Do not over mix the flour as it will lead to a dense cake.

4. Preheat the oven at 180°C. Meanwhile grease a baking tin (I took 9″ round baking tin) and dust it with a little flour.

5. Pour the batter in the greased baking tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-50 mins or until a knife inserted runs clear.

6. Let the cake cool on a wire rack at room temperature.

7. Garnish with chocolate ganache, chopped hazelnuts and diced persimmons.

8. An exotic dessert is ready to be served.

Persimmon Cake

Labanga Latika (Lavang Latika)

Labanga Latika (Lavang Latika)


Bong… Festivity… Durga Puja… This is just the thing which I can never get enough of. As the Pujas arrive so does the excitement and hunger for food…ummmm… I am beginning to salivate. As a kid I remember my only intention to go out in the pujas was to explore the food and choose the ones that can tingle my taste buds… Lol.
Labanga Latika is one such sweet which makes me go crazy… A Marwari by birth I have always had gunjiyas at home… Labanga Latika is quite similar to it. This sweet has such a subtle flavor that it stands above the gunjiyas for me… Trust me I am very choosy when it comes to sweets. A subtle tinge of the coconut makes this sweet unique in its own sense. In Assam this sweet is called ‘Labanga’ and in Orissa it is called ‘Labanga Latika’ (There is so much of similarity in the cultures and dishes of Bengal, Assam and Orissa).

Cooking and presenting this awesome sweet is an art. It needs an enthusiastic and spirited soul to prepare this dish (You see Pujas and enthusiasm go hand in hand). This sweet is also a hallmark of the very sweet ‘Bengali Culture and Tradition’. This dish gets its name from ‘Labanga’ or ‘Laung’ or ‘cloves’. It’s a parcel that is made up with a sweet filling of khoya and grated coconut sealed with a clove, deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup (For further details check out the recipe). It is usually served at all Bengali homes to the guests who come to meet after the pujas are over. So let’s welcome the pujas and let the cooking spree at home begin with all the stupendous dishes from the very sweet state ‘West Bengal’. Happy Durga Puja to all of you!

Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook time:30 minutes
Makes : 16, Level : Medium

INGREDIENTS

For the Latika:

1 & 1/2 Cups Maida (All purpose flour)

3 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Warm Water

16 Cloves

Refined Oil


For the stuffing:

1 Cup Khoya (Mawa)

1/4 Cup Grated Coconut

1 Tsp Cardamom Powder

1/4 – 1/2 Cup Powered Sugar


For the sugar syrup:

3/4 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Water

1 Tsp Cardamom Powder

1 Tsp Rose Water

4-5 Cloves


METHOD

Preparing the Latika dough :

1. Take maida in a bowl. Add ghee to it and rub it with your palms to form bread crumbs like texture.

2. Now add warm water to it and make a stiff dough (like mathri or samosa dough).

3. Let the dough rest for half an hour.


For the stuffing :

1. Take khoya in a wok. Add powdered sugar, cardamom powder and grated coconut and stir over low heat till it is completely mixed and looks like a smooth dough. Remember to stir constantly, else the Khoya might stick to the base of your wok.

2. Remove from heat and take it out in a bowl.


For the sugar syrup :

1. Mix sugar with water in a vessel and put it on high flame till it reaches one thread consistency.

2. Now add the cardamom powder, rose water and cloves to the sugar syrup.

3. Turn off the gas.


Making the Labanga Latikas :

1. Divide the dough into 16 equal sized balls.

2. Roll out each ball into small thin chapattis (the size of a puri).

3. Now fill the stuffing in the center and fold it from both sides overlapping each other.

4. Now flip it backwards and take the two open ends and fold it again overlapping each other (make sure the stuffing does not come out). Seal it with the clove as illustrated in the pic.

5. Now take a wok with refined oil for deep frying. Heat it and when the fumes start to come out turn off the gas. Let it cool down for sometime.

6. Put the prepared latikas in the oil and turn on the gas on medium heat. Deep fry till golden brown in colour. Drain the latikas on a tissue paper (to remove excess oil).

7. Now dip the fried latikas in sugar syrup for a minute or so and take them out.

8. Serve, Relish and Enjoy!

Labanga Latika

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