Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and those of Central and Southwest Asia. Sticky sweet, flaky and nutty, a small slice of baklava goes a long way, especially with a tiny cup of strong coffee. Serve after a mezze feast. This could be the apt recipe for my 100th post and because of its resemblance with Indian sweets will be very suitable to celebrate the festival of colors i.e "Holi"


Serve:                      8-10

Preparation time:      1 hr (including baking time)


Ready-made filo pastry:                    14 sheets (unwrap and keep under a damp tea-towel)
Unsalted butter:                                225 grams
Almond and walnuts:                        225 grams , roughly grounded
Granulated sugar:                              2 tablespoon
Cardamom powder:                          1 tsp
Pistachio:                                          2 table spoon (chopped to garnish)

For the syrup
Granulated sugar:                              350 grams
Water:                                              300 ml
Lemon juice:                                     1 teaspoon

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degree C.
2) Grease a 17cm x 28cm baking tray with butter.
3) Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat or in a microwave.
4) Lay 4 sheets of filo pastry, one at a time, into the tray, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next.
5) In a clean bowl, mix together the nuts, sugar and cardamom and spread the 1/3 mixture over the pastry in the tray.
6) Layer up the another 2 sheets on top of the nut mixture, brushing each sheet with butter, as before.
7) Repeat the step 5 and 6 twice and after that layer the remaining 4 sheet over it brushing each sheet with butter.
8) Using a sharp knife, cut a criss-cross pattern into the layers of the pastry.
9) Place baklava in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 150C and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is slightly puffed and golden on top. Do not allow the top to burn. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
10) For the syrup, heat the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has melted and a syrup is formed. Cook for another 5 minutes after the sugar is dissolved.
11) Pour the syrup on to the baklava and leave to cool. Garnish it with pistachio and serve.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Hara Tawa Kebab (Griddle- roasted spinach and gram kebab)

Yes, its another recipe from "Awadhi Cuisine" a Hara Tawa kebab. It a Griddle roasted spinach and gram kebab.It is a soft and healthy kebab good for kids as well. Other vegetarian kebabs in Awadhi cuisine include Dalcha Kebab, Kathal ke Kebab, Arbi ke Kebab, Rajma Galoti Kebab (kidney bean kebab cooked with aromatic herbs), Zamikand ke Kebab (Lucknowi yam kebabs), etc.

Adapted from "Oudhyana" from Taj Residency Lucknow

Serve:             4
Preparation time:             1 hour
Soaking time:                  30 minutes


For the Bengal gram paste
Split Bengal gram:                              600 grams
Turmeric powder:                              1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder:                              1 teaspoon
Ginger paste:                                      1 tablespoon
Garlic paste:                                       1 tablespoon
Salt to taste

For the kebabs
Oil:                                                     40 ml
Cumin Seed:                                       1 tablespoon
Spinach:                                             150 grams (blanched & pureed)
Dried fenugreek leafs:                         1 teaspoon
Garam masala:                                   2 teaspoon
White pepper:                                    1/2 teaspoon
Corn flour:                                         50 grams
Salt to taste.


1) Soak split bengal gram in water for 15-20 minutes.
2) Put in a cooking pot adding 1 liter water, and cook for 30 minutes or till soft.
3) Combine with turmeric powder, chilli powder, garlic and ginger paste. Sprinkle some water in a pan and cook on medium heat till dry.
4) Cool and grind it to a fine paste. Paste should be really fine.
5) Heat 2 teaspoon oil and crackle cumin seeds. Add spinach puree and cook till oil separates.
6) Add Bengal gram paste and simmer on low heat. Add dried fenugreek leaf powder (kasoori methi) and garam masala powder. Season it.
7) Divide the mixture into kebabs of 75 grams each and coat it with corn flour.
8) Heat 2 teaspoons oil and swallow fry the kebabs till golden brown.
9) Serve hot with cold yogurt dip.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Smoked Mushroom Galouti Kebab

Galouti Kebab is one of the more delicate kebabs from South Asia, made of minced goat / bison / buffalo meat. Legend has it that the galawati kebab was created for an aging Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow who lost his teeth, but not his passion for meat dishes.
‘Galawati’ means “melt in your mouth” and was perfect for the toothless Nawab who continued savouring this until his last days.
Traditionally, green papaya is used to make it tender. After being mixed with a few select herbs and spices (great chefs rarely reveal what they are exactly), the very finely ground meat is shaped into patties and fried in pure ghee until they are browned.
The original recipe that brought many a smile on the Nawab’s face, albeit toothless, and many a sigh of satisfaction, is supposed to have more than 100 aromatic spices.
The Galouti Kebab is part of the "Awadhi Cuisine". Along with the Lucknowi biryani and Kakori Kebab, this is one of the outstanding highlights of the great food tradition from the Awadh region in Uttar Pradesh, India.
(Source- Wikipedia)
This recipe is the vegetarian version of age old galouti kebab using mushroom. An amazing charcoal smoked taste is infused to get that rustic flavor in the kebab. A melt in mouth kebab for all foodies..

Serve:             4
Preparation time:         1 hour

Clarified butter (ghee):             50 grams
Ginger:                                      25 grams (chopped)
Green chillies:                          1 1/2 teaspoon (chopped)
Turmeric powder:                     1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder:                    1 teaspoon
Cottage cheese:                      75 grams
Mushroom:                               200 grams (blanched)
Potato:                                     50 grams (boiled)
Onion:                                      50 grams (browned)
Coriander leaves:                   2 teaspoon (chopped)
Salt to taste
Garam masala:                      1/2 teaspoon
Oil:                                          1 tablespoon
Onion rings and mint leaves to garnish

1) Heat ghee in a pan, add ginger, chillies, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cottage cheese, blanched mushroom and boiled potato. Mix well.
2) Add browned onion, coriander leaves, salt and garam masala powder. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
3) Cool and mince the mixture.
4) Place the mixture in a bowl and in the center, in a smaller bowl; put a piece of live charcoal, pour ghee on the charcoal and smoke for 5 minutes, tightly covered.
5) Heat some vegetable oil in a shallow pan. Shape the mixture into flatten roundels and cook till brown,
6) Serve hot. Garnish with onion rings and mint leaves.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Arbi ki Kakori Kebab (Colocasia Kebab)

"Kakori kebab" is a South Asian kebab attributed to the city of Kakori in Uttar Pradesh, India. There is much folklore about this famous kebab that takes its name from a small hamlet called Kakori on the outskirts of Lucknow.
One such story says that the kakori kebab was created by the Nawab of Kakori, Syed Mohammad Haider Kazmi, who, stung by the remark of a British officer about the coarse texture of the kebabs served at dinner, ordered his rakabdars (gourmet cooks) to evolve a more refined seekh kebab. After ten days of research, they came up with a kebab so soft and so juicy it won the praise of the very British officer who had scorned the Nawab. The winning formula his rakabdars came upon included mince obtained from no other part but the raan ki machhli (tendon of the leg of mutton), khoya, white pepper and a mix of powdered spices.
(Source: Wikipedia)
Taking this recipe further the same method is applied to a vegetarian version of Kakori kebab. The City's famous Kebab, beguiling the carnivore... " Arbi ki Kakori"

Serve:      4
Preparation time:            30  minutes
Adapted from Taj Hotel Vegetarian Fare Collection

Colocasia (Arbi):                               250 grams
Turmeric Powder:                              A pinch
Salt:                                                    1/2 teaspoon
Rose petals:                                       4-5
Cashew nuts:                                     40 grams
Poppy Seeds:                                   1/4 teaspoon
Onion:                                                1 tablespoon (chopped and browned)
Clove:                                                1
Black peppercorn:                           1/4 teaspoon
Black cardamom:                             1
Green cardamom and mace powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Ghee for basting

1) Boil colocasia with turmeric powder and salt till tender. Peel, mash and reserve.
2) Grind to paste the rose petals, cashew nuts, poppy seeds and browned onion.
3) Dry grind the clove, peppercorn, black cardamom, cardamom-mace powder.
4) Combine the cashew - poppy paste and the spices and add to colocasia. Process to a fine mixture. Check the seasoning.
5) Using your finger, press the mixture onto the Kakori skewers. Make your hand wet before doing this step for easy shaping of kebabs.
6) Baste with ghee and roast on a charcoal grill till done. I have used a grill pan instead for cooking but charcoal grill give it the best flavor.
7) Serve hot with rumali roti.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pretzel Nest Cookies

I wanted to make a quick and easy recipe to end up this kid's series on my blog. Saw this nest like cookies on web and thought of making it. Pretzel nest cookies are real quick and easy recipe. It will certainly fascinate your kids because of its vibrant color and chocolate flavor. A pretzel is a type of baked food made from dough in soft and hard varieties and savory or sweet flavors in a unique knot-like shape, originating in Europe. The pretzel shape is a distinctive symmetrical looped form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwine brought together and then twisted back onto itself in a certain way ("a pretzel loop"). Pretzels in stick form may also be called pretzels in the English-speaking context. We are using a sweet pretzel stick for this recipe. This can be a good do-it-yourself food for Easter week vacation for kids.

Serve:     3-4 (makes 10 cookies)

Preparation time:      20 minutes


Pretzel sticks:                       20 sticks (broken into less than 1 inches irregular size)
Milk chocolate:                    100 grams
Butter:                                  1 teaspoon
Mini Cadbury eggs:               20


1) Break the pretzel stick into less than one inches irregular size. Keep it aside.
2) Break the milk chocolate bar in small pieces. Microwave it for 30 seconds, mix with a spoon.
3) Add butter and microwave again for 30 seconds. Chocolate will melt completely. Microwave for few more seconds if required.
4) Mix all the pretzel stick in to the melted chocolate. Let it coat well.
5) Put some cooking oil in your hand and start making nest shaped cookies using your hand. Put it on a butter paper. Work fast as chocolate will start getting hard. Put it again in microwave for few seconds if chocolate is getting hard to use.

6) Put it in freeze for 10 minutes to harden.
7) Decorate with colorful mini cadbury eggs. See the lovely smile on your kids face and enjoy these tasty cookies with them.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kids Platter (Insalata, Tortellini & Cheese Pistachio Fingers with Pesto Dip)

A colorful platter full of all the healthy vegetables and dairy is certainly mom's and kid's first choice for a quick meal. In this platter we are mainly talking about four quick bite recipes:
1) Insalata Caprese skewers
2) Tortellini skewers
3) Cheese Pistachio finger with salad flower
4) Pesto Olive dip
All these recipes are real quick and enhance the color pattern of your lunch/ dinner table. This can also be served as a starter in a full course meal.

Serve:      2

Preparation time:    30 minutes

Insalata Caprese Skewers

Ripe Cherry tomato
Fresh Buffalo mozzarella
Fresh basil
Olive oil/ balsamic vinegar

1) Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon of olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Toss it with salt and pepper.
2) Put it in a skewer with a sequence of cherry tomato, basil leaf, mozzarella, basil and again a cherry tomato. Serve cold.

Tortellini skewers

Fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
Pesto sauce (Recipe below)

1) Boil the cheese tortellini with some salt and toss it very lightly (about 1 tbsp for 1 cup pasta) with pesto sauce.
2) Put it in a skewer and serve at room temperature.

Cheese Pistachio fingers with salad flower

Processed shredded cheese:              4 tablespoon
Roasted Pistachio:                             6-8 (finely chopped)
Basil leaf:                                           4-5 (finely chopped)
Freshly crushed peppercorn

1) Using a back of spoon or your palm press the cheese to make a smooth paste.
2) Add chopped pistachio, basil and peppercorn. Mix well and make small rectangular blocks. Keep aside
3) For salad flowers- Slice cucumber and carrot (0.5 cm thick)
4) Cut in half to make a half circle of both cucumber and carrot slices.
5) In cucumber curve out a big "V" in between to take out all the seeds using a sharp edge knife.
6) In carrot curve out two small "V" in between to make it like a flower.
7) Using a toothpick prick the cucumber and then carrot to make a flower.
8) Use the flower to prick on the cheese pistachio finger. Serve at room temperature.

Pesto Olive dip

Basil leaves:               15-20
Parmesan cheese:       4 tablespoon
Garlic cloves:             2 large
Olive oil:                    1 tablespoon
Green olive:               3-4
Pine nuts:                   1 tablespoon (dry roasted)
Salt to taste
Black pepper

1) Put all the ingredients into the blender and make a fine paste.
2) Can be prepared in advance and kept in freeze for a week.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Cheese Sandwich Quiche

Kids always love cheese and things made with cheese. This recipe is a combination of sandwich and quiche. Inside is a soft mozzarella sandwiched between potato slices and covered with the egg and baked to perfection. A healthy rich and filling cup cake shaped quiche can be made in advanced and served to kids after school snacks or evening filler after a long play date. It's a quick and easy recipe to make. Involving kids to make it will make them more enthusiastic to enjoy this tasty quiche.

Serve :           3 ( 6 Quiche)

Preparation time:        35 minutes


Eggs:                     3 large
Spinach:                1/2 cup (chopped)
Mushroom:           3 large + few small for topping
Potato:                  1 large (boiled)
Mozzarella:            6 thin slices
Cherry tomato:      6 (cut in half for topping)
Processed cheese: 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Black pepper
Butter:                   1 teaspoon

1) Preheat the oven at 190 degree Celsius
2) Slice the boiled potato in 12 equal sized thin slices about 0.5 cm thick.
3) Sandwich the mozzarella slices in between. Keep aside.
4) Heat some butter in a pan and saute finely chopped mushroom until golden and soft. Add spinach leaf and cook until all the water evaporates (about 5 minutes at medium high flame). Set aside
5) In a bowl whisk the eggs, salt, pepper, processed cheese and prepared mushroom-spinach mixture.
6) To assemble, grease the non-stick muffin tin with some oil. Place the potato sandwich in between all the muffin cups. Pour the egg mixture over it.
7) Garnish it with mushroom caps or cut cherry tomatoes.
8) Bake it for 20-25 minutes or till the tester come out clean.
9) Cool it for 5 minutes and take the muffins out using a butter knife slowly. It comes out really easily.

10) Enjoy this healthy tasty and gluten free snacks with your kid.