Mithai Muffins, the easiest cake recipe ever!

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Three years back, I started off as a reluctant baker. And I still am always on the look out for simple recipes. Separating eggs, beating whites till stiff peaks etc is not for me.

So, I was super excited to see this recipe on my friend Rhea’s blog. Such an easy peasy one, almost too good to be true!! And I can play with it any number of ways. And play, I did!

Here is the magical basic recipe on Euphorhea. And here is how I made these delightful Mithai Muffins. Call them Kesar Pista Cupcakes or Gulab Jamun Muffins or whatever you fancy, I kinda like Mithai Muffins. So here goes

100 grams Maida (plain flour/ All purpose flour)
100 grams powdered sugar
100 grams butter, at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use Nilesen Massey, get the best one you can)
A fat pinch of good quality saffron
1/4 cup slightly warm milk
1/4 cup pistachios chopped coarse
1 tsp cardamom powder
(can add other nuts also if desired)
I had about 50 grams of mawa leftover in the fridge and I used that too. ( You may skip if you don’t have it)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Rub the saffron in a mortar and pestle with 1 tbsp of warm milk so it releases the flavour and colour. Add the 1/4 cup of milk and leave it to steep.
Whisk the flour with the baking powder in a bowl.
Whisk the butter, mawa ( if using) and sugar for 3-4 mins. I just used my hand whisk.  Add the eggs and whisk a little more till smooth and slightly fluffed up. Add the cardamom powder, saffron milk and mix well.
Leave the whisk and using a spatula, mix in the flour. Add the pistachios, saving some for topping the muffins. Can add a little more milk if the batter looks too thick. I didn’t need to.
Scoop the batter into lined cupcake pans, sprinkle the tops with pistachios and bake at 180C for 15-18 mins. The tops should brown and a toothpick inserted should come out clean.
This makes 12 medium muffins.
I have a feeling I am going to use this basic recipe a lot! Thanks Rhea ❤


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Quick Lauki Barfi without Mawa/Khoya

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Had this huge lauki/ gheeya/ bottle gourd staring at me each time I opened the fridge. No one wanted lauki.
So whipped up this in about 20 mins.
And 3 ingredients  (give or take a few!)
A large lauki, peeled, seeds removed and grated
1 tbsp ghee
2 Tbsp milkmaid ( or more as per taste)
3 cardamoms, peeled and pounded fine
Nuts of choice, chopped coarse

Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan and cook the grated lauki till it is almost dry. Add 2 tbsp milkmaid and continue to stir and cook till it forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Add nuts and cardamom powder and mix well. Spread in a greased plate/pan. Stick nuts on the top.
Cut into squares and leave to set.
It won’t be firm like mawa/khoya barfi, but a nice soft concoction with a bite. Somewhat reminiscent on gajar ka halwa…Yum!

Mango Vanilla Shots

These little ones are mangoey delights. I have recently started doing this ‘desi’ custard using rice flour to thicken the milk and there are so many ways to play with it!
Mango Vanilla Shots
All you need it a litre of milk ( I use cow milk) and 2 tablespoons of rice flour,
Bring the milk to boil and keep boiling on a low flame for ten odd minutes. Mix rice flour with half a cup of milk to make a smooth slurry paste. Add to the boiling milk and stir non-stop till it thickens and is cooked, say another ten mins.

Add brown sugar/ white sugar/organic sugar as per taste.

I added generous amounts of saffron to it and some fresh Alphonso mango to get this mango custard.
Mango Custard
Yesterday, I added a few dropped of vanilla extract and chopped mangoes to make these cute Mango vanilla shots.

I kept some without sugar and added some palm date jaggery and froze it as kulfi. More yumminess 😀
Nolen Gurer Kulfi

Til ki Barfi- Makar Sakranti Special

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Celebrate Makar Sakranti with these Til ki Barfi, which are real easy to make and so well suited to the occasion. They just need khoya,sesame seeds (til) and sugar. That’s it! Some stirring together and done 😀 Could it get any easier!

You need
600 grams khoya ( I made mine at home. Find the recipe here)
200 grams white til/ sesame seeds
120 grams powdered sugar
A handful of roasted almonds to garnish, chopped coarse

Dry roast the til for 3-4 minutes till it begins to change colour. Do not over-roast or burn else it will become bitter. Cool and grind coarse in the mixer.


In a heavy bottomed pan roast the khoya for 4-5 minutes. Add the til and sugar and mix over medium heat till the sugar is melted and the mixture comes together. This takes another 4-5 minutes.
Spread the mixture in a thaali or square baking dish. Even out the surface with a spatula. Spread the chopped almonds and press them gently into the barfi with  the spatula. Even out the surface again. Let set for two hours and cut into pieces of desired shape and size.
Til ki Barfi stays good for up to two weeks.

Happy Makar Sakranti!

Love
Garima
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Make Khoya/Maawa at home

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Make khoya/maawa at home in fifteen minutes with three simple ingredients.  And it comes out so yum that I always fear half of it will vanish before making it to the Mithai 😛

This recipe yields about 600 grams of maawa
(Recipe adapted from here)
2 cups of milk powder
1 ¼  cup cream ( I used Malai)
3 Tbsp butter ( I used Amul)

In a heavy bottomed non-stick pan melt the butter and add the cream. Stir over low heat till the mixture beings to bubble gently. Add the milk powder in five lots stirring after each addition to avoid clumping. Cook stirring over medium heat till the maawa comes together. The whole process takes fifteen minutes. The maawa is ready to be used in barfi at this stage.
To make gulab jamuns cook the maawa further till it thickens a little more.
Maawa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Easy 3 Ingredient Gulab Jamun, Halwai Style

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Happy 2016 you’ll ❤
And in the New Year, I reiterate what I always say- Mommies are the best! Mine knows of my madness to recreate restaurant style dishes at home and got me this Gulab Jamun recipe straight from a halwai (professional Indian sweet maker). The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity and the fact that it never fails you! No hard stone like balls, no uncooked centres and no crumbly dough, this is simple perfection. Love you Ma for giving me the recipe for this copper-hued, melt in the mouth goodness!

Gulab Jamuns are  sure to attend all Indian weddings and celebratory occassions and real easy to make at home.No gulab/rose in them, but called so because of their possible Persian origin where ‘gul-aab’ means rose water, which may have been used to flavour the sugar syrup.  Jamun, they say, refers to its  dark colour. It is a milk solid (khoya and paneer)  based fried round dumpling, getting  its dark red colour becasuse of the Khoya/mawa/milk fudge used to make it.

To get 20 medium Gulab Jamuns you need

500 grams of Khoya/Mawa ( I make my own khoya. Find my simple recipe here. Store bought khoya can be used instead)
125 grams maida/all purpose flour/plain flour
160 grams paneer/cottage cheese (the halwai’s instructions were to get paneer from 1 ½ kilos of whole milk. I got 162 grams of paneer. I always make paneer at home. Find the procedure here)
500 grams of desi ghee to fry the jamuns (yeah, Gulab Jamuns have to be fried in ghee, there is no other way. Any other way is blasphemy 😛 )

For the sugar syrup
Boil one litre of water with 750 grams of sugar till the sugar melts completely and the liquid reaches a rolling boil.
Add one teaspoon powdered ilaichi/cardamom and some crushed saffron strands if you like

For the Gulab Jamuns
Mix all the three ingredients very well till you have a smooth dough.
Roll out into balls. I use tablespoon measure to get equal sized balls. Fry on a medium flame till they reach a beautiful copper colour.
I use a heavy bottomed milk pan with a handle to fry the jamuns. This helps me stir them without having to touch them in the early part of frying. This way there is no risk of breaking them
Dip into sugar syrup for 30 minutes at least.

Serve hot or grab cold from the fridge, they are always yummy yum!
Make them this winter and impress 😀
Love
Garima

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Sandesh/Sondesh : A quick anytime dessert

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This lovely mithai gets made in ten minutes- really!
The festive season is here with Navratra Sthapna today.
I made Kesar Sandesh and Nolen Gur (Date palm jaggery) Sandesh this morning and it took all of 20 minutes counting the making of paneer and cooling it.
It’s a two ingredient recipe apart from the flavours you’d like to add!

Sondesh with Kesar

You basically need paneer and a sweetener. You may use powdered sugar/boora or nolen gur aka palm date jaggery.

A litre of milk (not skimmed) and 2 tsp lemon juice
3-4 tbsp nolen gur or powdered sugar
Nolen gur needs to flavours but when making with sugar add a tsp of powdered cardamom and 6-7 strands of saffron (kesar) rubbed with a couple of drops of milk.
Bring the milk to a rolling boil and add the lemon juice so that it splits clearly into solids and the green watery whey.
Drain and wash well to get rid of the lemon smell and tartness. Let drain for 20-25 minutes in the strainer.
Take the crumbly paneer in a thali and rub with the heels of your palm to get smooth dough like texture. The paneer should release some ghee onto your palms. At this stage, add the sugar and flavours of choice.

For  Nolen gur Sandesh add 3-4 tbsp of the thick treacly gud and mix well till incorporated into the paneer/chhena. Check if it is sweet enough for you , else add more.

Nolen Gur Sondesh Prep
For Kesar Sandesh, add 3 tbsp of powdered sugar, a tsp cardamom powder and the kesar rubbed with milk drops and mix till incorporated into the paneer. Check for sugar and adjust accordingly.
Kesar Sondesh Prep
Move the paneer mixture to a non-stick pan and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. DO NOT overcook else it gets too dry and crumbly. Take off heat and spread in a wide dish to cool. While it is still warm, give it a quick knead and shape into balls or pedas. If you have sandesh moulds, grease them with ghee, take a tbsp mixture, make a ball and press into mould. Gently remove. Leave open to dry for some time.
Sondesh Prep

Nolen gur and Kesar Sondesh

Gulab ani Khavyachi Saatori; a khoya filled sweet poori from Maharashtra

Khavyachi Saatori (खव्याची साटोरी)

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I saw this gorgeous looking delight on a Traditional Maharashtrian food forum I joined recently and had to make it! Ganeshotsav presented the perfect opportunity too. So I bothered some of my Marathi friends by asking for the nitty gritties and they kindly obliged. Thanks a bunch my dear Madhuli and Shweta.They took all of thirty minutes  to make  and under two minutes to get demolished. Yeah,they were that good 😀 I also looked at this simple recipe at the blog Chakali.

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Khoya/mawa/khava was made at home and roasted to an almost chestnut colour and delicately flavoured with rose petals easily available at good grocery stores), cardamom and some crunch was added with semolina and poppy…Mmmmmm

Instant Khoya/khava
(To get half a cup)
Add half a cup of cream and about 3/4 cup milk powder to a heavy bottomed pan and stir cooking over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of ghee/butter and cook till the mixture leaves the sided of the pan and comes together. You can another tbsp of ghee if the khoya is too sticky.
In case you use sweetened cream (like I did. I used Rich) , keep an eye on the sugar you are adding to the filling mixture later. This khoya can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Instant Khoya
For the outer covering
(This makes 6 saatoris)
½ cup Maida/Plain flour
½ cup semolina/sooji/rawa
2 Tbsp ghee/clarified butter
A pinch of salt
½ cup of warm milk (use as needed to knead the dough)
Mix the maida and sooji and add the salt. Heat the ghee and add to the mixture. Add the milk and knead a firm dough. Rest it for 15 minutes.

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Meanwhile prepare the filling.

For the filling
½ cup of khoya/khava
2 Tbsp ghee
2 Tbsp sooji/semolina/rawa
½ cup of milk
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cardamom powder
Powdered sugar as per taste (I added 2 Tbsp)
Ghee to shallow fry

Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan ( a non stick pan makes the job much easier) and add the semolina. Roast over low heat to a light brown colour and till it gives a nice aroma. Add the milk and cook the semolina till it is mushy and well done. You may add a little more milk if needed. Add the poppy, and crumbled khoya and cook till well roasted. Add the cardamom powder, powdered sugar and rose petals and cook till dry. Set aside to cool.

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To make the Saatori
Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Roll out one portion to a disc of 3 inch diameter. Spread a tbsp of the filling over the disc.

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Moisten the edges and top with another rolled disc and press down edges firmly to join the two discs.

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With gentle hands roll out the joined discs to a about 4-5 inch diameter saatoris. Roll out all the saatoris this way. I got 6. To get a neat finish, cut out the edges with a sharp edged katori or cookie cutter like I did.

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Heat a non stick griddle and roast the saatoris till light brown spots appear on both sides.

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Roast all the saatoris and put aside.
Just before serving, heat the griddle and shallow fry the saatoris in ghee till nice, brown and crisp on both sides.
Serve hot.

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Malai Kulfi

Here I am, back after a long break. It has been crazy busy moving houses and cities. But I am loving it being back to Mumbai meri jaan ❤

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Kulfi- my earliest memory of it is the ‘tann tann’ of the Kulfi walla’s bell as he pushed his cart. We rushed down grasping our coins tight in our little palms, my younger brother and me. We watched wide eyed, as the Kulfi Bhaiya took out the moulds, dipped them in water, dipped the kulfi in some extra thick malai and held it out with a smile. Happily we ran with our kulfi sticks dripping  till the next time, when we would be able to convince Mom that’s it’s not too early after the last treat. I must have been eight or nine back then but good memories tend to stay with you.

Another memory is our weekly visits to the Pink City Ice Cream Centre in Jaipur for our weekly fix of Kewra Kulfi.Yum!

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I tried many recipes, the lengthy procedures and the short cuts till I reached this one  I use it  to make simple malai kulfi or kesar pista kulfi or any fruit flavoured one like mango kulfi. It basically comprises of slow cooking and thickening of full cream cow milk in a heavy bottomed pan, adding a thickening agent, adding some semi powdered nuts, khoya, sugar and flavourings and you are done!

I loved the idea of adding rice flour rather than corn flour that I saw on Dasaana’s blog here. It gives a better flavour to the kulfi. But use corn flour by all means if you do not have rice flour at hand. I personally have to add khoya to make the kulfi authentic, and often use and instant version of it. In a pinch, condensed milk may be used, but then the flavour does change. Also remember to put less sugar if using condensed milk.

Here is how I make it. This is my ode to the Kewra Kulfi we all loved.

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This recipes makes 8-10 medium sized kulfis
1 litre of full cream cow milk
1 Tbsp rice flour/corn flour  mixed in ¼ cup milk
½ cup of coarse ground nuts (cashews and almonds work best. Use pistachios if making Kesar Pista kulfi)
8-10 strands of saffron rubbed with a few drops of water ( Use more if making Kesar Pista Kulfi- say 1 tsp)
¼ cup Khoya/mawa (Make instant khoya by microwaving 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 Tbsp milk powder in one minute bursts till it comes together)
¼ cup  sugar ( can adjust as per taste)
A few drops of kewra essence ( can use rose/almond)
1 tsp cardamom powder

I like to use cow milk as it gives the stringy ‘laccha’ texture to the kulfi. Buffalo milk may be used. The milk used for kulfi has to be whole /full cream milk.

IMG_6392Bring the milk to boil in a heavy bottomed pan and lower the heat and cook till it is reduced to half. Keep stirring every few minutes to make sure the milk doesn’t scald and stick to the bottom of the vessel. If this happens, throw the milk and start again.

IMG_6387Mix the the rice flour/corn flour in ¼ cup of milk and add to the boiling milk and keep stirring.

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Do NOT leave unattended at this stage. It sticks quickly. Cook for 5-6 minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon.

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Add the sugar  and khoya/mawa and stir till the sugar melts and the khoya is incorporated well, say for about  8-10 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the cardamom powder.

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Let cool to room temperature and then add the saffron, kewra essense and crushed nuts.

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TO MAKE MANGO KULFI

Add fruit puree if making flavoured kulfi.  I added a cup of mango puree to make mango Kulfi. Mix well.

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And ONLY pistachios and more kesar to make Kesar Pista Kulfi.

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Mix well and pour into moulds and let set for 5-6 hours.  (That’s the husband doing the pouring task as I click 😀 ) Save half a cup of the malai kulfi mixture to dip the kulfi into, if you like.

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To serve, remove from the freezer, dip the mould into some warm water, dip the kulfi in the malai and serve immediately. You may use more nuts and rose petals to garnish if serving in a dish rather than on a stick.
Enjoy and remember the good old days…..

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Hot crisp Kesariya Jalebi as CafeGarima turns one!

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Here is my Jalebi philosophy   ‘Tedha hai par mera hai’ aka A little imperfect, but mine!
Just like my blog CafeGarima 😀 ❤
And why are we having super crisp jalebis today, coz we turn one. Just like that! In a jiffy, the year’s gone past. A beautiful year of learning and making wonderful friends, for life. I had started the blog last year on Father’s Day.
The recipe is a fool proof one from Vee Delta, a fellow member at Chef at Large. I have made minor modifications to get this Kesariya Jalebi, a crisp, saffon fragrant delight.
Thanks Vee 😀
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To make about 20-25 medium sized Jalebis, you need
1 cup Maida/ All purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Rice flour
1/2 cup Curd
Desi ghee to fry ( may use oil or a mix of ghee and oil)
A generous  pinch of saffron (15-20 strands), rubbed in the mortar and pestle with 2 tsp milk ( to be used in sugar syrup as well as the batter)

For the sugar syrup/ Chashni  boil together 1 cup of sugar with 1 ½ cup of water. Boil for 10-12 minutes. Add 1 tsp cardamom powder and let cool. Add a tsp of milk and saffron mixture
IMG_9541To make Jalebis
In a flat kadai/frying pan, heat the ghee (or oil). It should be medium hot. If the fat is very hot, the jalebis will open up and not keep their shape.
Take flour , baking powder and rice flour in a medium sized bowl and mix well.
Add curd and mix till well incorporated. Add the remaining saffron and milk mixture.  Add about 3-5 tbsp of water only  if needed. We need a thick batter.
Fill the batter in a piping bag/jalebi maker/plastic milk bag with a corner snipped.
Make concentric circles starting and ending at the centre to make jalebis. Make sure the oil is not too hot else the jalebis will open out. Using tongs/chimta, flip the jalebis and fry them till they turn a deep golden brown.
Remove and dunk into the sugar syrup.
Keep soaked for a minute and serve immediately.
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We like to eat hot crisp jalebis dunked into saffron flavoured hot milk. That’s the way my Dad used to love them and the family tradition continues. This one’s for you Pa ❤
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This blog post is part of the monthly “Cooking With Friends” themed blog post challenge. This challenge was started by a bunch of virtual friends united by their love of food, with the aim of tackling a different food related theme each month. If you want to try this month’s theme, please feel free to do so and link your recipe in the comments section. We’d love to check it out.
Meanwhile, check out what the others in the group have come up with this month.

Dolphia of Story Of Cooks
Anjana of At The Corner Of Happy And Harried 
Jayasri of My Veg Fare
Jyothi of Curry Trail
Madhuri of Mad About Kitchen
Subhasmita of The Flavours Of Kitchen
Sujatha of Spices N Treats