Kaale Angoor Ki Chutney| Sweet And Spicy Black Grape Relish

A while ago, I got my hands on a beautiful bunch of seedless black grapes, probably the last of this variety I will get this year. I wanted to do something different from the usual with them, so I used them to make a sweet-and-spicy chutney. The chutney, or relish if you want to call it so, turned out beautiful and was much loved. It made for a lovely accompaniment to parathas and dosas.

027
Kaale angoor ki chutney or sweet and spicy black grape relish

What is best about this chutney is that it needs very little oil. If you use naturally sweet and slightly sour grapes, you can skip adding sugar as well, making the chutney even healthier. It can be stored, refrigerated, for up to 10 days.

Here is how I made the chutney.

Ingredients:

  1. A big bunch of seedless black grapes
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. Red chilli powder, to taste
  4. 1 tablespoon oil (for the tadka)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds (for the tadka)
  7. Sugar, to taste (optional – skip this if the grapes are naturally sweet)
  8. Tamarind paste, to taste (optional – use this only if the grapes are very sweet and not tangy at all)
  9. A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped or grated (optional)
  10. A pinch of asafoetida

Method:

  1. Remove all the stems from the grapes and wash them thoroughly. Pat them dry using a cotton towel, ensuring that no moisture remains.
  2. Puree the grapes in a mixer. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter, and then add the asafoetida. Let it stay in for a few seconds.
  4. If you are using ginger, add it in at this stage. Cook for a minute or two.
  5. Now, add in the grape puree and the tamarind paste (if using), along with salt and red chilli powder to taste and turmeric powder.
  6. Cook on low-medium flame till the chutney thickens to a semi-liquid consistency. Stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add the sugar (if using) at this stage. Cook for 2-3 minutes more on low-medium flame, stirring intermittently. Switch off the gas when the chutney is thick, but not overly so. It will thicken further upon cooling.
  8. Let the chutney cool down completely before transferring it to a dry, air-tight, clean bottle. Store refrigerated.

Notes:

  1. Make sure you use the seedless variety of grapes to make this chutney.
  2. You could use green grapes instead of black ones, too.
  3. If you want to get bits of grapes in your mouth as you eat, cut the grapes into halves and cook them, instead of pureeing them. I pureed them, because I wanted a fine paste.
  4. You could add chopped or torn curry leaves to this chutney too, if you want to. I omitted them.
  5. A dash of mustard (rai) powder and/or fenugreek (methi) powder would, I am sure, take the taste of this chutney to a whole new level. I omitted them, though.
  6. You could use healthier alternatives in place of sugar, too – like palm sugar or jaggery powder.

You like? I hope you will try this out, and that you will love it, too!

3-Ingredient Amrakhand| No-Cook Mango Shrikhand 

I first heard the name ‘Amrakhand‘ while we were visiting Pune, en route to Shirdi. The name sounded royal, like something made for a king in the kitchens of his palace. And why not? Amrakhand is, indeed, a regal treat, made with the choicest of mangoes, a fruit often touted as ‘the king of fruits’. Deck it up with slivers of almonds and a dash of saffron, and this beauty can brighten up anyone’s day.

Amrakhand! Now, if that is not a bowl of sunshine, what is?

Considering how beautiful amrakhand tastes, this Maharashtrian delicacy is extremely simple to make. All it needs are a few everyday ingredients. It is, basically, a version of shrikhand – mango shrikhand.

Here‘s my recipe for the amrakhand.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 1 cup fresh, thick hung curd
  2. 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar, or to taste
  3. 1 medium-sized, ripe mango
  4. A couple of strands of saffron (optional)
  5. 5-6 roasted, unsalted almonds, chopped (optional)

Method:

1. Peel the mango and chop all the flesh into cubes. Puree this in a mixer.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the hung curd, mango puree and powdered sugar. If you are using saffron and almonds, mix them in too.

3. Let the mango shrikhand chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, covered, by which time it will set.

4. Serve chilled or after letting it thaw for about 15 minutes.

Notes:

1. Use curd made from full-fat milk for best results.

2. To make the hung curd, line a colander with cotton cloth and place it over a wide vessel. Pour the curd into the cloth-lined colander and let it sit for 2-3 hours. All the water from the curd would have flowed into the vessel at the bottom by this time, and you will find thick, creamy curd in the colander. Use this residual thick curd for this recipe.

3. Use fresh curd that isn’t too sour.

4. To make this mango shrikhand, use a variety of mango that isn’t too stringy. I used a Banganapally mango. Also, use a mango that is ripe and sweet, not too sour, but firm and not squishy.

5. Do not let the hung curd sit out for too long before you proceed to make the amrakhand. In that case, there are chances of the hung curd turning sour. You could make the hung curd in advance and refrigerate it, till you are ready to make the amrakhand, but trust me when I say it tastes best when freshly made hung curd is used.

6. You could add any variety of chopped nuts to the dish. I prefer adding roasted, unsalted almonds.

7. Do not blend the amrakhand after adding the sugar powder and pureed mango, otherwise the dish might get watery.

You like? I hope you will try this out at home too! 

Mango Mein Kulfi |Stuffed Mango Kulfi Recipe

Ever heard of stuffed mango kulfi i.e. delicious kulfi served stuffed inside a mango? I hadn’t, till I recently came across a few recipes for the same on Chef At Large, a Facebook page that I follow ardently. Apparently, this is a delicacy served at the famous Kuremal Kulfi in Old Delhi.

Now, I haven’t ever had the good fortune of visiting Kuremal Kulfi or sampling their fare. I did want to try making the stuffed mango kulfi at home, to see how we would like it. I got around to it soon, without procrastinating till the end of the mango season, and we absolutely loved the way the kulfi turned out.

Stuffed mango kulfi
Stuffed mango kulfi!

 

The original stuffed mango kulfi recipes make use of milk that is slow-cooked and reduced to almost half, the addition of cornflour and mango puree. I took a shortcut and made the kulfi my way – with fresh cream and condensed milk. It still turned out gorgeous, if I may say so myself.

Here’s my version of the stuffed mango kulfi recipe.

Ingredients (makes about 8 pieces):

For the outer covering:

  1. 1 medium-sized ripe mango (I used a Banganapally)

For the kulfi filling:

  1. 200 grams of sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  2. A pinch of salt
  3. 1 teaspoon rose essence
  4. 200 ml fresh cream (I used Amul)
  5. About 10 chopped roasted, unsalted almonds

Method:

Pictorial representation of the method
Pictorial representation of the method

 

First, prepare the outer covering using the ripe mango.

  1. For this, cut off the top and tail end of the mango (unpeeled), and stand it on a flat surface. Slowly, carefully, mark the part where the seed is, using a sharp knife. Little by little, loosen the seed using the knife, and pull it out with your hands. You could use a pair of tongs for the same, too. Make sure you don’t remove too much of the mango’s flesh along with the seed. Also, make sure you don’t create a hole in the bottom of the mango, in trying to remove the seed. (Pro Tip: This might sound very tough, but it really isn’t. Practice a couple of times, and you’ll be able to do this perfectly.)
  2. Stand the mango inside a small bowl, and place the crown on it. You may discard the tail end of the mango.
  3. Now, set the bowl with the mango in the freezer. Let the mango chill while you prepare the kulfi stuffing.

To make the kulfi stuffing,

  1. Pour the fresh cream into a large mixing bowl. Whip gently, till it gets a little light. Do not overdo this step.
  2. Now, add the salt, condensed milk, rose essence, and chopped almonds to the mixing bowl. Whisk lightly, till everything is well combined together. Done! The stuffing is ready!

For the assembling,

  1. Get the bowl with the chilled mango out of the freezer, and remove the crown.
  2. Fill the kulfi stuffing into the mango almost till the top.
  3. Put the crown back on.
  4. Place the bowl with the mango back in the freezer, and let the kulfi set for at least 3 hours.
  5. After 3 hours or when the kulfi has gotten almost solid, gently peel the mango using a peeler.
  6. Put the mango back in the freezer, with the top, and let it set for at least a couple of hours more.
  7. When you are ready to serve the dish, remove the bowl from the freezer and cut the mango into pieces. Discard the crown. Serve the stuffed mango kulfi pieces immediately.

Notes:

  1. Use a mango that is ripe, but firm. An overly squishy mango would be difficult to handle.
  2. You can fill up the mango with kulfi in any flavour of your choice. I chose malai kulfi for the same.
  3. The filling left over after making the stuffed kulfi can be frozen, with or without kulfi moulds, to consume separately.
  4. You can use any fruit of your choice – an apple, for instance, or a kiwi – to make this kind of stuffed kulfi.
  5. You could peel the mango just before you serve the kulfi, but then the stuffing would melt a little because of the heat from your hands. To avoid this, it is best to remove the peel after about 3 hours of setting.

You like? I hope you will try out this stuffed mango kulfi recipe too! Do let me know what you think about it!

Bun Sandwiches, 4 Ways

I love bakery buns, especially those from Iyengar’s Bakery. Not the buns with tutti-frooti or dry fruits and nuts in them, you know, but the plain and simple sweet ones.

I fancy myself a bun sandwich as a treat, now and then. I think these round and fluffy and cute buns are just the right size for me to experiment with different types of fillings. I like the mildly sweet flavour of these buns, too. Yes, yes, I know there’s always bread to make sandwiches with, but buns are great too!

Bun sandwiches are, I think, a nice way of jazzing up buns. They are perfect for breakfast or for a quick snack any time of the day, when you don’t mind eating a tad unhealthy and are feeling too lazy to really cook. And, like I was saying earlier, the number of things you can do with these buns is mind-boggling!

Here are four very simple ways to make bun sandwiches, each one more delectable than the other. Try them out, will you?

 Style 1 – Madurai Butter Bun

Butter bun is a simple, but lovely sweet treat commonly found in street-side push carts in Madurai. We tried this out on our recent trip to Madurai, and fell in love with it.

051.JPG
Madurai-special butter bun

 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 sweet bun
  2. Unsalted butter, as required (I used Amul)
  3. Sugar, as required

Method:

  1. Cut the sweet bun into half, horizontally from the centre.
  2. Heat a thick dosa pan till water droplets dance on it.
  3. Spread a little unsalted butter on the top and bottom of the bun.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, and toast the bun on both sides. Toast it as little or as much as you want, ensuring that it doesn’t get burnt.
  5. Once done, spread a generous amount of unsalted butter in the centre of the bun, and sprinkle some sugar over it. Close the bun,
  6. Sprinkle some more sugar on top of the bun.
  7. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Traditionally, butter bun is made by spreading butter in the centre of the bun, after which it is toasted on a dosa tava. I, however, feel that the butter melts a bit too much if the bun is made this way. I prefer, instead, to first toast the bun and then spread butter inside it.

Style 2 – Jam & Cheese Bun Sandwich

The saltiness and beautiful texture of molten cheese merges with sweet-sour jam in this bun sandwich, to create a flavour bomb. This is the husband’s personal favourite.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 sweet bun
  2. Unsalted butter (I used Amul)
  3. Strawberry jam, as required (I used a home-made version)
  4. 1 slice of Go Cheese, Kacchi Keri flavour

Method:

  1. Cut the bun into two halves, horizontally from the centre.
  2. Spread strawberry jam on the inside of both halves of the bun. Use as much or as little jam as you want.
  3. Place the cheese slice on the bottom half of the bun, over the jam.
  4. Place the other half of the bun on top.
  5. Spread a little unsalted butter on both sides of the bun sandwich, and toast on a hot dosa tava.

Notes:

  1. You could use any kind of jam to make this sandwich. A sweet-sour jam like strawberry would go best, though.
  2. I felt the Kacchi Keri cheese went beautifully with the sweet and sour flavours of the jam. However, if you don’t have this particular flavour, you could use a plain cheese slice or grated processed cheese instead.

Style 3 – Spicy Chutney-Cheese Bun Sandwich

Of all the bun sandwiches I have made till date, this one remains my favourite. I absolutely love the spicy-salty-tangy flavours of this sandwich.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 sweet bun
  2. Salted butter, as required (I used Amul)
  3. Spicy green chutney, as required (Here’s how to make the chutney)
  4. 1 slice of Go Cheese, Kacchi Keri flavour

Method:

  1. Cut the bun into half, horizontally from the centre.
  2. Spread spicy green chutney on one half of the bun.
  3. Spread salted butter on the other half of the bun.
  4. Place the cheese slice on the bottom half of the bun, and close it with the other half.
  5. Toast the bun sandwich on a hot dosa tava, using a little more salted butter. Serve hot.

Notes:

The Kacchi Keri flavour of the cheese goes beautifully with the other ingredients in this sandwich. If you don’t have it, though, you could use a plain cheese slice or grated processed cheese instead.

Style 4 – Jalapeno Jam & Cheese Bun Sandwich

This is another beautiful variation of a bun sandwich – one that combines sweet and spicy flavours.

Jalapeno Jam & Cheese Bun Sandwich

Ingredients:

 

  1. 1 sweet bun
  2. Spicy-sweet jalapeno jam, as required (I used a home-made version)
  3. Plain cheese spread, as required (I used Amul)

Method:

  1. Cut the bun into two, horizontally from the centre.
  2. Spread some jalapeno jam on the inside of one half of the bun.
  3. Spread some cheese spread on the inside of the other half of the bun.
  4. Close the bun sandwich. Eat!

Notes:

  1. Any jam with hints of spiciness and sweetness in it would go well here.
  2. Toast it lightly if you want – we had this as is, without toasting.

You like? I hope you will try these bun sandwiches out too, and that you will love them just as much as we did!

Best Raw Mango Recipes| Green Mango Recipe Collection

It is no secret that I adore mangoes – raw ones as well as ripe. If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you will know that I love trying out a variety of recipes using mangoes. Each summer, I embark on a hunt for recipes that use mangoes, modern as well as traditional, and try them out in my kitchen. I absolutely love this process, the huge amount of learning I get this way.

Today, I am here with a collection of the best raw mango recipes from my blog. All of these recipes have been tried and tested to yield beautiful results. Some of these raw mango recipes are from my family cookbooks, things that I grew up eating, while some others are from the Internet or from friends and family. I hope you will try out at least a few dishes from this green mango recipe collection, if you haven’t already.

PicMonkey Collagerawmngo
Some of the raw mango recipes featured in this collection!
  1. Maangaai Paruppu

This is such a simple dish to make, but one that tastes absolutely delicious! It barely takes a few minutes to put together, and makes for a different side dish for rotis and rice alike. Try this out with either moong daal or toor daal!

2. Raw Mango Jam

Raw mango jam was one of the first-ever jams I made, thrilling me to bits when it turned out so perfect and gorgeous. That beautiful, beautiful colour! Spread it on rotis or bread, and your breakfast is sorted.

3. Raw Mango Sambar

Krishna Kafe in Koramangala is one place where I absolutely love lunching, and their raw mango sambar is a big-time favourite. That is precisely what inspired me to make this creation. With coconut and other spices ground and mixed in, this sambar is just perfect with piping hot rice and ghee!

4. Aambe Daal

This is a traditional Maharashtrian dish that my grandma used to make, with chana daal and raw mangoes. It makes for a delish snack any time of the day! It is one of my favourite-st things, ever.

5. No-Coconut Raw Mango Gotsu

The word ‘gotsu‘ inevitably brings to mind a thick gravy, full of coconut, traditionally served in South Indian weddings and other similar occasions. This particular gotsu, though, is different – it is made without coconut and is lighter on the palate, yet extremely flavourful. Try it out with rotis, rice or dosas!

6. Kaachi Keri Ane Dungli Nu Kachumber

This Gujarati raw mango and onion relish will surely have you craving for more! It is an explosion of flavours – sweet and sour and spicy – and is believed to have the power to ward off the ill effects of the extreme heat during the hot summer months. Try it out to believe just how yummy it is!

7. Kerala-Style Raw Mango Pickle

This is a simple recipe for an instant mango pickle that I learnt from my mother-in-law. It can jazz up a dish of plain old curd rice like no one’s business, and it is as easy as 1-2-3!

8. Raw Mango Chaat

This creation of mine was inspired by a raw mango chaat that I had at a street-side vendor’s, and absolutely loved. The husband and I loved my version, too, sweet and spicy and sour and crunchy and soft, all at the same time.

9. Quick-Fix Raw Mango Chitranna

This is an easy-peasy way to make use of leftover rice. The addition of raw mango and dosai milagai podi aka gunpowder takes the taste of this dish to a whole new level.

10. Thai Raw Mango And Onion Salad

Raw mango and onion salad is a must-order dish for the husband and me, whenever we visit a Thai restaurant. But then, this is such a super-simple dish to make at home too!

11. Thai Green Mango And Moong Sprouts Salad

This is another Thai-style salad that is utterly delectable. What’s more, it is quite easy to make at home, and highly nutritious too. This is the kind of salad I could make a lunch or dinner out of, any day!

12. Raw Mango Pachadi With Neem Flowers

This is a Tamil New Year specialty – a dish with salty, sour, bitter and sweet tastes in it to signify that life is a mix of many different things, too. We use dried neem flowers to make this dish, as against the fresh ones that are traditionally used. Well, dried neem flowers or fresh, this relish surely is a big-time favourite at home!

13. Raw Mango Salsa

This raw mango salsa will definitely spice up any party or gathering! Pair it with chips, toast, khakra, lavash or nachos, and watch it work its magic. A lovely appetiser, this is.

14. Raw Mango Salsa Chaat

Is it salsa? Is it chaat? It is both, and an absolutely delicious confection at that! You must try this out when you are craving something spicy and sweet and tangy, and are bored of the regular chaats. If you have all the ingredients handy, it can be whipped up in a jiffy too!

15. Chivda Bhel

This chaat, made with Maharashtrian-style chivda, is elevated to huge heights by the addition of raw mango. It is light and refreshing, and different from the usual, not to forget finger-licking delicious. Try, try!

16. Thengaai Maangaai Pattani Sundal

A common sight on the beaches of Tamil Nadu, this sundal is an absolute delight to have. It is a personal favourite, thanks to the punch of flavour it packs in, not to forget just how supremely easy it is to make.

Don’t forget to tell me if you try out any of these raw mango recipes! I hope you love these dishes just as much as we did. Have fun creating!

Spiced Chocolate Cake| Easy Eggless Cake With Spiced Milk Powder And Wheat Flour

After that spiced chocolate ice cream, how about some spiced chocolate cake? 🙂

Yes, a spiced chocolate cake was my latest kitchen experiment, one that turned out extremely well.

I used a recipe from the Internet to make this cake, tweaking it here and there to suit our requirements. For instance, I made use of wheat flour (vis-a-vis maida in the original recipe) and spiced milk powder (as opposed to plain milk powder that the original recipe suggests), to create this cake.

The eggless spiced chocolate cake with milk powder!

The cake turned out wonderfully well, mildly spiced and sweet, fluffy, and delish. I think the spiced milk powder added a punch to the cake, a little depth and complexity to it, in a subtle way. It took the texture and flavour of the cake up quite a few notches too.

Everyone at home absolutely adored this cake, and all of it was gobbled up in a couple of days’ time. I am positive I am going to be making this cake several times over. After all, it’s so very easy to put together! And, yes, it doesn’t need any eggs!

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the procedure of making this beauty, shall we?

Recipe (adapted from the original here)

Ingredients (makes one medium-sized cake) :

  1. 1 cup unsalted butter (I used Amul)
  2. 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  3. 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  4. 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1 cup full-fat milk (I used Nandini Full Cream)
  7. 1 cup spiced milk powder (I used Nestlé Everyday Masala Fusion)
  8. 2 cups wheat flour
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  10. Water, as required to bring the batter to a dropping consistency

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until it gets light and fluffy.
  2. Put in the milk and vanilla essence. Whisk well. Keep aside.
  3. Now, mix together the wheat flour, cocoa powder, milk powder, baking powder and baking soda. Ensure that all of these dry ingredients are thoroughly combined together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones in the mixing bowl, bit by bit, mixing well as you go. Make sure there are no lumps.
  5. Add as much water as required to bring the batter to dropping consistency. Mix well.
  6. Grease a baking tin with unsalted butter. Simultaneously, preheat the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. Pour the batter into the greased baking tin, and put into oven, once preheating is done. Bake at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool down completely and then invert it onto a serving plate. Decorate it with powdered sugar, dried fruits and nuts if you want to. Cut the cake and store in a clean, dry, air-tight box.

Notes:

1. Adjust the quantity of sugar you add, as per your taste preferences.

2. If you want the cake to be extremely light, fluffy and airy, use maida instead of wheat flour. My cake was light and fluffy even with the addition of wheat flour, let me tell you!

3. If you don’t want to spice up your cake, use regular milk powder instead of masala.

4. Use regular milk powder instead of masala, skip the cocoa powder entirely, and reduce the quantity of powdered sugar a bit, and you will get a plain milk powder cake that tastes just as yummylicious!

5. This cake stays for only about 2 days at room temperature, considering that are quite a lot of wet ingredients added in. Refrigeration might prolong the shelf life of the cake by a little bit.

You like? I hope you will try out this spiced chocolate cake too, and that you will love it just as much as we did!

Home-Made Malai Kulfi|Easy Dessert Recipe

Love kulfi? I do! I love getting my hands on some sinfully rich, delicious kulfi any time, particularly in the hot months of summer.

I recently tried out some home-made malai kulfi, and the family loved it to bits. It is such a simple treat to whip up at home, and yet, so gorgeous. Try it out!

Here‘s the procedure for home-made malai kulfi.

Ingredients (makes about 4 servings):

  1. 200 ml fresh cream (I used Amul)
  2. 200 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  3. A pinch of salt
  4. 1 teaspoon rose essence
  5. About 10 roasted, unsalted almonds

Method:

1. Whip the fresh cream till lighter and creamy. Don’t overdo it.

2. Add the salt, chopped almonds, rose essence, and sweetened condensed milk.

3. Whip lightly, making sure everything is mixed together well.

4. Pour mixture into a dry airtight box.

5. Freeze, covered, with freezer set at highest temperature. It should take 4-5 hours.

6. Get the box out of the freezer only when you are ready to serve the kulfi. Cut into pieces and serve immediately.

Notes:

1. You could use whipping cream instead of fresh cream, too. This will yield a richer, creamier kulfi.

2. Adding some roasted, unsalted pistachios (chopped) would take the taste of the home-made malai kulfi to a whole new level. I didn’t add them, since I didn’t have any.

I hope you will try this recipe out, too, and that you will love it as well. 

Chilli & Mango Grilled Cheese Sandwich

We are a family of big-time sandwich lovers, if you don’t know that already. I love experimenting with different types of fillings in our sandwiches, and we are known for our sandwich breakfasts, lunches and dinners – basically, we can have sandwiches any time of the day!

I would never have thought of adding mango slices to a sandwich, though. That came about solely because I recently came across Nandita Iyer’s Mango Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwiches here, and got super tempted to try them out. Inspired, I made my own version of mango sandwich for dinner a couple of days ago – a chilli and mango grilled cheese sandwich – and it was a huge hit at home. I am positive this is not going to be the last time I have made the sandwich!

006.JPG
Chilli & mango grilled cheese sandwich

If you love mangoes, like me, you must absolutely try this sandwich out. I added pickled jalapenos, which everyone knows make for a great combination with cheese. The mango in the sandwich takes the taste several notches higher.

Here is how I made this Chilli & mango grilled cheese sandwich.

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches):

  1. 4 slices of bread (I used whole wheat bread)
  2. 2 cubes of cheese (I used Amul)
  3. Half of a medium-sized ripe mango
  4. About 8 pieces of pickled jalapenos (store-bought)
  5. Salted butter, as needed (I used Amul)

Method:

  1. Cut the cheese cubes into thin slices. Keep aside. Skip this step if you are using cheese slices.
  2. Cut the mango into thin slices too. Keep aside.
  3. Butter all 4 slices of bread. Keep aside.
  4. Layer some of the cheese pieces on two slices of buttered bread. Arrange the mango slices on top of this. Arrange the jalapeno pieces and the remaining pieces of cheese on top of the mango. Close the sandwiches using the remaining two slices of buttered bread.
  5. Grill the sandwiches in a sandwich maker till slightly crisp.
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Increase or decrease the quantity of cheese you use in the sandwiches, as per your taste preferences.
  2. You could even use ready-made cheese slices to make these sandwiches, instead of cubes.
  3. Use mango slices in your sandwiches, if you think you’d like them that way.
  4. Increase or decrease the quantity of sliced jalapenos that you use in the sandwiches, as per your personal preferences.
  5. I think processed cheese works best for these sandwiches, but you could use any type that you prefer.
  6. The original recipe calls for any hot sauce (like Tabasco or green chilli sauce). I used pickled jalapenos instead, and loved the way the sandwiches turned out.
  7. If you want to make a healthier version of these sandwiches, you could skip buttering the bread slices, use whole wheat bread, and add lesser cheese.
  8. Use a ripe mango that isn’t too squishy, but nice and firm. A mango that is a nice mix of sweet and sour would be great for these chilli & mango grilled cheese sandwiches.
  9. Use this recipe sans the mango slices, and you get some gorgeous jalapeño-cheese sandwiches. 

Yumminess, right? I hope you will make these sandwiches at home, too. If you do, don’t forget to tell me how you liked them!

Mexican Chilli Chocolate Ice Cream| No-Egg, No-Churn, No-Ice Cream Maker Recipe

I read Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate a few years back. I didn’t like the book much, but scenes from it have stayed in my mind, particularly some food-related ones. I still recall parts of the book where the heroine cooked up magical dishes that had the desired effect upon the eaters, combining ingredients that would have seemed bizarre otherwise.

My desire to combine chilli with chocolate began with this book, I think, though I’m not sure. Since this book happened, I have wanted to make something that would combine these two ingredients – chocolate and chilli, sweet and hot – but never took an initiative towards this end. Just recently, though, this foodie dream of mine came to fruition, and my imagination took the shape of a Mexican chilli chocolate ice cream. It turned out beautifully, I must say.

008
My Mexican chilli chocolate ice cream

This might look like ordinary chocolate ice cream, but it is so not. It is an ice cream that is perfect for times when you want to stun, to surprise, to create an impression. It will, initially, seduce you with its rich, chocolate-ey flavour, then shock you with the hint of chilli in it! And, yet, this Mexican chilli chocolate ice cream is so very simple to prepare – it is just a matter of minutes.

Here is how I made the ice cream.

Ingredients (makes about 4 servings):

  1. 200 ml fresh cream (I used Amul)
  2. A pinch of salt
  3. 200 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  4. About 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, or to taste (I used Hershey’s)
  5. 2 teaspoons of red chilli powder, or to taste (I used Everest)
  6. About 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar, or to taste

Method:

  1. Take the fresh cream in a large mixing bowl. Whisk till smooth, without overdoing it.
  2. Add the salt, cocoa powder, condensed milk, chilli powder and condensed milk. Whisk gently, until everything is well combined together.
  3. Pour this mixture into a clean, dry, air-tight box.
  4. Keep the box, covered, in the freezer and set it at the highest temperature. Freeze till the ice cream sets, which should take about 4 hours.
  5. Get the ice cream out of the freezer only when you are ready to serve it, because it melts quite fast. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. If you do not like the idea of chilli in your ice cream, you could omit the chilli powder and follow the rest of the proceedure. In that case, you would get a pure chocolate ice cream, a lovely rich and smooth one at that.
  2. Since I do not own an ice cream maker and am not too fond of churning my ice cream multiple times, I use condensed milk to add creaminess and to help it set beautifully.
  3. Adjust the quantity of chilli powder, depending upon how much spiciness you would prefer in your ice cream. Similarly, adjust the quantities of cocoa powder and powdered sugar as per your taste preferences.
  4. You could use whipping cream instead of fresh cream, to make the ice cream richer and creamier. That said, this Mexican chilli chocolate ice cream is sinfully creamy and lovely as is.
  5. I didn’t want to boil green chillies and add the extract to the ice cream, to flavour it. Neither did I want to add ground green chillies to the ice cream. I have, thus, used red chilli powder to spice it up.

You like? I hope you will try out this Mexican chilli chocolate ice cream, too, and that you will love it just as much as we did!

Easy Hung Curd Cheesecake| No-Bake, No-Gelatin Recipe

Last weekend, I did something that I’d been wanting to do for a very, very long time – I made a cheesecake! Now, I haven’t ever made cheesecake before (I have made bhapa doi the OPOS way, but never a proper cheesecake), so I was all excited when I set out. I was super confused about how to proceed too, so I turned to the Internet for help.

I am not a big fan of the satiny-smooth, all-sweet texture of cheesecakes that you commonly get in bakeries. I wanted something simpler, more homely, more rustic in looks and taste, something that wouldn’t call for ingredients like gelatin or agar-agar. I finally zeroed in on this recipe by AnnaParabrahma – a cheesecake recipe that uses no agar-agar or gelatin, but hung curd and condensed milk instead.

I mostly followed the original recipe, and the hung curd cheesecake turned out absolutely lovely, far better than I had expected it to be. It tasted so very lovely, sinfully decadent, that it got over within minutes of the making. It wasn’t perfect, but hey, it was my first and was super special!

PicMonkey Collage

Now, let’s get on to the recipe part, shall we?

Here’s how I made the hung curd cheesecake.

Ingredients (yields 1 medium-sized cheesecake):

For the base:

  1. 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, or as required (I used Amul)
  2. About 10 whole wheat biscuits (store-bought – you could use digestive biscuits instead, too)

For the cheesecake filling:

  1. 200 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1 cup thick hung curd (not sour)
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the topping:

1/2 cup strawberry syrup (I used Hershey’s)

Method:

Make the base first and then go on to prepare the cheesecake filling, while your base gets freezing in the refrigerator.

For the base:

  1. Break the biscuits using your hands, and drop the pieces into a mixer. Pulse for a couple of seconds, or till the biscuits turn into a powder.
  2. Transfer the biscuit powder to a large mixing bowl. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, and mix using your hands. Check consistency after you add each tablespoon of butter and mix it in – stop adding butter when you feel the biscuit powder has reached the texture of wet sand. Keep aside.
  3. Line a medium-sized baking tin with aluminium foil or parchment paper, leaving a bit of the foil or paper hanging out (this will help you lift the cheesecake out).
  4. Gently spoon in the biscuit-butter mixture at the bottom of the lined baking tin. Make sure that the mixture is spread evenly, and that there are no gaps. Don’t pack in the mixture too tightly – just spoon it in gently.
  5. Cover the baking tin and set it in the freezer while you proceed to make the cheesecake filling.

For the cheesecake filling:

  1. Take the hung curd in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla essence, lemon juice and condensed milk to the bowl.
  3. Whisk everything together until thoroughly combined.

Assembling the cheesecake:

  1. Once your filling is ready, get the cheesecake base out of the freezer. Uncover.
  2. Pour the filling over the base, evenly.
  3. Smooth the top, using a spoon, till even.
  4. Cover again, and put in freezer. Set freezer at highest temperature. Let the cheesecake freeze overnight.
  5. The next morning, or whenever you are ready to serve the cheesecake, get it out of the freezer. Uncover. Remove onto a serving plate, carefully, using the aluminium foil or parchment paper that you lined the tin with.
  6. Remove all traces of the foil or parchment paper from the cheesecake.
  7. Pour the strawberry syrup evenly over the top of the cheesecake.
  8. Cut the cheesecake and serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Use the butter at room temperature only.
  2. I have used whole wheat biscuits to make the base here, instead of the commonly used digestive cookies. Take your pick!
  3. Resist the temptation to add a whole lot of butter to the base. That will only make the biscuit dough (for the cheesecake base) quite firm and, after you freeze it, really hard. Stop adding butter when the biscuit powder reaches the consistency of wet sand, like I said earlier. Don’t bind it into a firm dough. Remember that the base will set further on freezing and get harder.
  4. Like I said earlier, gently spoon in the biscuit-butter mixture at the bottom of the baking tin. Don’t pack it in too tightly – that will make the base very hard.
  5. A springform tin works best to make this cheesecake, so that all you have to do after the cheesecake is set is open the latch and unmould it. However, if you do not own a springform tin, an ordinary baking tin suffices too – just line it with foil or parchment paper so that it is easier to lift the set cheesecake out the next day.
  6. Use thick curd that is fresh and not too sour, to make this cheesecake.
  7. You can use any flavour of syrup, of your choice, to top the cheesecake.
  8. If you are using strawberry syrup to top the cheesecake, you could use strawberry essence for the filling too, instead of vanilla.
  9. Get the cheesecake out of the freezer only when you are ready to serve it.
  10. Apparently, mixing lemon juice with the condensed milk and hung curd helps the cheesecake set better. This is of utmost importance, considering you are not using agar-agar or gelatin to set the cheesecake.
  11. This recipe will give you a rather rustic, slightly sour-tasting but delish cheesecake, which will not have the smooth sheen or texture of a bakery-bought one.

Do try out this easy hung curd cheesecake recipe, will you? And don’t forget to tell me how it turned out!