Happy Holi- A riot of colors & flavours

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Holi– A colorful festival and a festival of colors indeed. A festival that marks the end of winter and ushers in Spring.

Happy Holi everyone!

Well it’s been ages since I played Holi. Perhaps the last time was when I was a teen.However we’ve  just been invited  to celebrate and play holi at a friend’s this year. Naturally I’m quite excited and hence was inspired to make something special as well.

Any celebration is not complete without a delectable “something sweet” I decided to go with a family favorite-“Gajar ka Halwa” or a Carrot pudding.

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The recipe calls for grated carrots, milk and homemade mawa ( recipe included) to be cooked together. The carrots used for a halwa should be preferably the red variety most often found in the winter months. You could however use the orange ones if the red are un available.

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This halwa could be served hot or cold. It is even more decadent when served with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.

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Go ahead and indulge a little.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 medium carrots ( peeled and grated)
  • 3 tablespoons pure ghee
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8-10 Almonds ( blanched and slivered)
  • Handful of cashew nuts (chopped roughly)
  • Few raisins
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 cup mawa (crumbled)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom pan.
  2. Add the grated carrots and sauté them for about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Next add in the milk and cook this mixture till the carrots softens and the mixture is dry,
  4. Now add in the cardamom powder and the saffron.
  5. lastly stir in the crumbled mawa and the sugar.
  6. Cook the mixture further for about 5 minutes.
  7. Mix in the raisins and cashew nuts.
  8. Garnish with slivered almonds.
  9. Can be served hot or cold.

Mawa: Dried whole milk

Easy way to make up some mawa:

  • 200 grams milk powder ( full fat)
  • 40 ml Milk
  • Muslin cloth
  1. Knead the milk powder with a little bit of milk at a time.
  2. Keep doing this till a soft dough has been formed.
  3. Tie the ball into a muslin cloth
  4. Add water into a pressure cooker. Place a trivet in it.
  5. Keep the muslin cloth in a small bowl over the trivet.
  6. Shut the cooker without using the weight and steam the dough for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. The mawa is now ready.

Green Papaya and Mango Salad

Som Tam or more popularly know as the Thai green papaya salad is the perfect accompaniment with any Thai meal.Now while one is spoiled for choice with amazing Thai joints here in Dubai,I absolutely love putting together a simple thai meal at home.

Last weekend we were having a pot luck dinner.I decided to make a Thai green curry with sticky Jasmine rice and this wonderful Green papaya salad.I for one am a big fan of this salad.

Tips on selecting the papaya:

  • Do select a green and un ripe papaya for this salad.You do want the flesh to be firm and white as possible.
  • Grating the papaya is the easy way out.however I like to use a slightly different technique as I like a nice bite to this salad.
  • Use a peeler and remove the outer green skin.Slice  a thin layer off the inner white flesh.Have a couple of such layers ready.Now place all these layers on top of each other.Cut them in fine slivers-more at an angle.

I just love the sweet and spicy flavours in this salad.The sweet mainly from palm sugar.I’ve just used regular sugar.The spice is by grinding the thai red chillies and garlic.Traditionally a mortar and pestle would be used to do this.I’ve just whizzed it in a small food processor.

Peanuts add a lovely crunch…mmmmmm

I’ve gone ahead and added a grated green mango to this papaya salad…Just makes it more tangier.Some other variations could be grated cucumber or even bean sprouts.

We had some left over salad the next day and my husband decided to throw in some peeled segments of orange.Gave a whole new dimension to this salad I must say.

I do hope you like this salad.Do give it a try.My pot luck dinner went off well with fish cakes and spring rolls as appertizers.For the main course I had friends bring in the Pad thai noodles and some brocoli with tofu. And of course  Thai green curry with jasmine rice along with this delicious Green Papaya and mango salad.

We had this wonderful Raspberry almond gateaux for dessert which another dear friend brought along…Have to add it here..

Cheers to Food,Family,Friends and laughter always.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small green papaya(grated or chopped finely)
  • 1 small green mango(grated)
  • 1 small tomato(quartered)
  • 2 thai red chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 21/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • salt to taste
  • handful of crushed peanuts
  • chopped basil for garnishing

Chopped segments of mandarin oranges go really well as I discovered the following day.

METHOD:

  1. Peel the outer skin of the raw papaya and either grate it or use the technique mentioned above.
  2. Grate the green mango and mix it with the papaya.
  3. Use either a mortar and pestle or a small food processor to grind the garlic and the red chillies together.
  4. Now add the fish sauce and the lime juice to the above mix.
  5. Add this dressing to the raw salad just before serving.
  6. Garnish with crushed peanuts,chopped tomatoes and basil.

Q is for Quinoa

I’ve heard about it.My friends talk about it.I’ve read umpteen reviews,blogs and recipes on the benefits of it…bought it,stored it,gave it away and forgot all about it until last week,I saw it  while shopping for my groceries.So this time I decided I must cook it.The results were a fresh,satisfying and a delicious salad.

Now you are probably wondering what all this fuss is about.Well its time for my kitchen to say hello to this wonderful grain called Quinoa(to be pronounced “Keen-wa”).I have to correct myself here it’s rightly classified as a seed and not really a grain.Quinon is gluten-free and power packed with goodies.High in fibre,loaded with vitamins and popular with vegetarians.You could use Quinoa in salads,casseroles and soups.

I’ve put together this simple and delicious salad here.It light and healthy.I’ve used fresh chopped tomatoes,chopped avocados,black olives and cucumbers.Feel free and add your favourite vegetables as well.

As I’ve said before turning to healthy choices is always an option.I’ve contemplating way too long on cooking Quinoa.We had this on the side with some steamed fish the other night.And I was quite pleased that I had discovered such a wonderful new salad.A nice nutty bite to it and very satisfying.I even enjoyed having the left over salad for lunch the next day.So yes would could make up a batch and keep it handy to have.

Tips on cooking Quinoa:

  • Rinse the quinoa under running water.(About 1 cup is good for 4-5 servings)
  • Use 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa.
  • Bring to a boil. Then cover and let it simmer till all the water is absorbed.
  • The Quinoa is cooked when the water is fully absorbed and the grain becomes translucent.
  • Remove and let this cool by spreading it on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • I’ve added chopped tomatoes,cucumbers,red onions,black olives and some avocado.

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon(squeezed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • You may even mix a bit of balsamic vinegar if you wish.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley.

Cheers to healthy cooking dear friends and I hope you enjoy making this Quinoa Salad.