Friday, 18 August 2017

Chikki and Praline

Across the state of Maharashtra, Chikki is synonymous to celebration and merriment. Made of nuts and caramelised sugar, this tasty treat can last in the pantry for quite some time. Chikki starts off as caramelised sugar or jaggery, to which nuts are added. Then, the mixture is scored and allowed to cool in special pans, which are shallow, between 1/2" - 3/4" high. A good Chikki is brittle, while some versions of the recipe call for an addition of ghee to make the end product softer, like the rajgira wadi we made. Chikki is usually made with nuts like cashews, peanuts, almonds, bengal gram dal or a mix of it all. Some like the nuts left whole, while others like them broken into smaller chunks so there are sub-varieties for each of these flavours. I've also seen newer flavours like cashew and rose-petals on the shelves but haven't tried them yet.

French Praline is a similar sweet, traditionally made of caramelised sugar and slivered almonds, which are mixed together. While it tastes delicious as-is, it is also used as an addition to cakes, ice-creams, desserts and the like. American versions of the recipe involve adding cream and/or butter to make a softer, chewier product. While praline is a popular addition to desserts, chikki continues to be enjoyed by itself.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Samosa and Spanakopita

Samosas are a popular snack across the country. They're eaten by themselves as a snack or served with chole and chutneys as a chat. Samosas have a triangular shell made of crisp and flaky outer pastry, with a flavourful and aromatic filling. Traditionally, the filling has a base of potato with an occasional addition of peas but these days, there are numerous popular versions like chicken, meat or even vegetable fillings. Popular stores have their own samosa recipes that differ in shape, size and taste. These samosas are usually known by the name of the store that makes them.

Spanakopita is a Greek recipe. Spanakopita is made by layering buttered filo pastry and filling it with a spinach-cheese filling. Although traditionally a pie, one often sees newer versions of this recipe that place the stuffing into triangle shaped filo pastry, making it similar to the almighty samosa!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Rajgira Wadi and Amaranto con chocolate

Rajgira Wadi is a favourite during fasts in India. It's sweet and crumbles in your mouth. It's also gluten free and you can make the recipe vegan by swapping the ghee for something vegan! Do not eliminate the ghee from the recipe altogether, since that'll make the wadis hard and difficult to eat.
It's very quick and easy to make. All you've to do is make a hardball consistency syrup with the jaggery and ghee and then pop in the puffed Rajgira, nuts, coconut and cardamom powder. Mix it all up, pop it into a pan and once it sets, dig in!
Checkout my Rajgira Wadi recipe here.

Amaranto con chocolate is a similar Mexican recipe. It uses honey instead of jaggery syrup, and cocoa powder for flavouring. There's no nuts in this recipe.Checkout Sylvia's recipe here.

Rajgira Wadi

Rajgira Wadi is made using puffed Rajgira grain, also known as Amaranth. It's quick and easy to make. This recipe can either be formed into ladoos or wadis. A good Rajgira ladoo/wadi should be firm but not hard to bite into. My favourite way to eat these (apart from per se), is to dunk them in some milk. That way, you get a sweetened milk with puffed rajgira, just like cornflakes, but without the corn! Here's how to make them:

Recipe for Rajgira Wadi


Jaggery, broken into small rocks1 cup
Water2 tsp
Ghee1/2 tsp
Puffed rajgra1 cup
Dry coconut, grated and roasted1/4 cup
Roasted peanuts, ground as coarse or fine as you like3/4 cup
Cardamom Powder1/2 tsp

How to make Rajgira Wadi:

1. Mix the water. ghee and jaggery in a pan and heat it. continue until you reach a hardball stage and turn off the heat. 
2. Add the coconut, peanuts, puffed rajgira and cardamom powder and mix well.
3. Stir the mixture for 3-5 minutes and then turn it onto a greased wadi/ baking tin. Pat it to level it evenly. Score the slab into wadis (usually square shaped) and let cool.
4. Once done, break the slab into wadis allong the score lines and you're done!

These can be stored into an airtight container and stay well for ~1 month on the counter.

Rajgira / Amaranth

Rajgira, also known as Amaranth is a perinial plant. In India we eat Rajgira leaves (like spinach), cooked into a bhaji as well as the seeds. The seeds are popped/puffed and made into quite a few recipes like Rajgira ladoo or wadi. Rajgira flour is used to make bhakri, (an Indian flatbread) or puri especially when fasting. Amaranth is rich in proteins and is a naturally gluten free food. It is considered a complete protein as it contains all essential amino acids. It is a good source of calcium magnesium and iron.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Khava Barfi and Jamoncillo de Leche

Khava Barfi is a family favourite. It melts in your mouth and has the perfect amount of sweetness. The only problem is that you can't eat a lot of it because it's SO rich!
Pretty simple to make, all you've to do is pop the Khava in the pan and roast it. Then, make a sugar syrup and add the khava into it. Beat the mixture a little and then add nuts and saffron as you like. To set it, put it all in a tray and voilà!
Checkout my Khava Barfi recipe here.

Jamoncillo de Leche is a similar Mexican-American recipe. To make these, add milk, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and cinnamon stick into a pan and reduce it . Once done, add nuts and beat the mixture a little. Then set it in a tray.
To make Luci's recipe, click here.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Khava Barfi

Khava barfi is everybody's favourite. Soft, rich and delicious, it melts in your mouth. Here's our recipe for probably the best barfi in town!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Coconut Wadi and Cocada

I think Naral Wadi/ Coconut Wadi ( नारळ वडी ) is the best use one can make of coconuts. Although Kol Pohe ( कोळ पोहे ) come close, Naral Wadi wins hands down. It's sweet but not too sweet. I like it best the day it's made, right before it sets completely. That way, it's set on the outside but slightly soft/chewy on the inside! It doesn't stay like that for long though but it tastes delicious even after it's set and firm. To make these, simply pop all the ingredients in a pan and cook 'em. Then, transfer the mixture into a tin, let cool and eat! It's very simple to make and perfect for beginners. That is of course, assuming you're careful around the hot stuff when putting it an the tin.

Checkout my recipe for Naral Wadi here.

Cocada is a similar recipe from Latin America. While both recipes are made from fresh coconuts, the cocadas are baked in the oven to achieve a golden, soft and chewy dessert. Usually garnished with almonds, these sweet treats are sometimes even quenelle shaped.
To make cocadas, click here.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Shankarpale and Sopaipilla

Shankarpale are one of my favourite sweet snack. They're made by frying diamond-shaped pieces of pastry until crispy, golden brown and later tossing them in sugar syrup. Once the syrup air dries, it forms a sweet film on the pastry, a bit like frosted cornflakes, but only better! I like to have my sweet shankarpale with a cup of hot Masala Chai and a good book. The only trouble is that these take longer to fry than gobble up!
Check out my Sweet Shankarpale recipe here.
Another version of Sweet Shankarpale is Goad Puri.

Sopaipilla is a similar Spanish recipe. Roughly translated, sopaipilla means oil-soaked bread. It's made my adding shortening to leavened dough, and then frying triangular or rectangular shapes. The fried dough, like sweet shankarpale forms a hollow pocket in the centre. Once fried, it is immediately dusted with icing sugar. Check out Tori's recipe here.