Soft and light, these delicious bread rolls are made from scratch and make the perfect addition to any dinner menu or party meal.
Believe me when I say, there’s nothing better than taking a batch of freshly baked bread out of the oven. Except of course, eating it. Have you ever tried baking bread at home, from scratch? I know a lot of people feel intimidated by the thought of yeast. I was a member of that club for a very long time. But I can tell you this much, if you keep a few things in mind, you will be well on your way to mastering the art of bread baking. Moreover, there are so many varieties to try.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that I fall back on frequently to make bread rolls. It’s a very basic bread recipe and makes a great starting point, if you haven’t baked bread before.
Things to keep in mind –
- Yeast – Make sure that your yeast is viable. This is easy to do. Place the quantity specified in the recipe in a bowl with warm water and sugar. When rested for about 5 minutes, the yeast gets bubbly and frothy, signalling that it is still viable. If it doesn’t froth up, you may need to replace your yeast.
- Using warm water – Make sure that your water is warm, not hot. You should be able to keep your finger submerged in the warm water comfortably. If you cannot, the water is too hot, and it will kill the yeast.
- Kneading the dough – Kneading the dough takes a little time. You need to do this patiently. This helps build gluten fibres, which in turn will help your bread rise well.
- Resting time – Bread almost always, cannot be rushed, unless you’re making a quick bread. The time needed to rest (prove) your dough depends on the ambient temperature. Resting the dough in a warm spot in the kitchen will help it rise. If it is really cold where you are, consider keeping it by a window that gets a lot of sun or in the oven with just the light on.
Keep these vital points in mind when you’re making bread and you will see great results. Bread making gets better with practice. If your first batch doesn’t turn out spectacular, don’t worry, the next batch will be better, since you now know what to expect. So now that we’ve covered all of that, let’s move on to the recipe.
How to make Bread Rolls (Pao)
Soft and light, these delicious bread rolls are made from scratch and make the perfect addition to any dinner menu or party meal.
1 1/2 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water + 1 cup warm water (approx.) to knead the dough
3 cups plain flour / all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp olive oil
- In a little bowl, place the warm water and add sugar and yeast to it. Stir to mix a little. Let it stand for about 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the flour and salt. Mix through.
- Make a well in the centre and add the yeast and sugar solution. Mix it in with the flour. Add more warm water gradually and knead to a smooth, soft dough. (I had to use just over 1 cup of water) Once the dough comes together, continue kneading for about 5 minutes. You will find the dough gets a little more stretchy than it first was.
- Drizzle oil and knead it into the dough.
- Lightly oil the bottom of the bowl and place the dough in it. I lightly oil the top of the dough too. This keeps it from drying out. Cover and set aside in a warm spot in the for about an hour or till the dough has doubled in size.
- Knock the dough back to get rid of the air bubbles and roll to a ball. Cut into portions and roll out into smooth balls. Place them about an inch apart in a lightly greased baking pan.
- Cover and leave it in a warm spot for the second rise. This takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Brush the top of the bread rolls with some water and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
- As soon as the bread is baked, take it out of the oven, brush some butter over the top and cover the pan for around 5 minutes with a clean tea towel. This traps the steam in and keeps the rolls soft.
- Then take the rolls out of the pan and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.
- This is a vegan friendly recipe. I used a vegan butter, but feel free to use a butter of your choice.
Black Bean and Sweet Corn kernels come together to make amazing flavor-packed tacos, using a taco-seasoning made from scratch.
Today I’m sharing with you a recipe that is so simple and easy to put together, and results in such an extremely flavorful dish, you are going to be blown away.
That was a bold statement to start off with, right? Well, that’s because it’s the truth. Everybody needs a few recipes like this in their arsenal, because let’s face it, life can get hectic and recipes like this make it easy to get dinner on the table in a hurry. I know a lot of folks do ‘Taco Tuesday’. We personally don’t, but that’s just because we enjoy Tacos whenever we feel like it.
Tacos are usually associated with meat fillings, usually chicken, beef, pork and sometimes even fish or shrimp. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a really good taco if you follow a plant-based diet. And today’s recipe is going to show you just that.
We’ll be making a quick black bean and corn taco mix and a chunky guacamole to fill our tacos with. For the black bean mix, I use half a cup of dried black beans. These beans are soaked overnight and then pressure cooked the next day. I have a stovetop pressure cooker that gets the job done in under ten minutes. This works out so much better than buying canned beans because there is less waste, it works out to be more economical and I feel the beans are so much tastier. Try it out, if you have a pressure cooker or an instant pot. If not, you can simply use a can of black beans.
My chunky guacamole is also a very basic and simple recipe. It combines the richness of the avocado with the punchy flavors of a pico de gallo or a salsa. And like me, if you just need to serve 1 or 2 people, save the half of the avocado that has the pit still in it, squeeze some lime juice all over the cut surface, pop it into an avocado saver if you have one, or simply cover it with some cling film and pop it into the fridge for the next meal or the next day. This reduces the browning of the avocado. Do you have any tips for storing half an avocado? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’d love to be able to store it without having to use any single use plastic.
Assembling your tacos is one of the most fun parts of this recipe. You can add whatever your heart desires to your taco. Here’s what I use to make up my tacos –
- Hard corn taco shells
- Black bean and corn mix
- Chunky guacamole
- Pickled jalapenos
- Plant based sour cream
- Finely shredded lettuce
If you love a good taco, you simply have to try it out and I hope you love it as much as we do. This recipe makes enough of the bean mix for 12-15 tacos. If you’re serving 12-15 tacos in one sitting, double the guacamole recipe.
Black Bean and Corn TacosCourse: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Black Bean and Sweet Corn kernels come together to make amazing flavor-packed tacos, using a taco-seasoning made from scratch.
- For the Black Bean and Corn Taco Mix –
1/2 cup dried black beans OR 1 can black beans
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 capsicum, sliced (See note)
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
A pinch of extra hot cayenne pepper powder (optional)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp Chipotle Sauce
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stalks
- For the guacamole –
1/2 large avocado
2 tbsp of chopped onion
1/2 large tomato, diced
1 tbsp coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
Salt, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
- For the Tacos –
Hard corn taco shells
- To make the black bean and corn mix –
- Wash and soak the black beans for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain the water, rinse through and cook till beans are done. (I cooked the beans in a stovetop pressure cooker and they get ready in under 10 minutes.)
- Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions till they’ve slightly softened.
- Next, add the capsicum and let them saute for about a minute.
- Add in the garlic and stir fry well till the garlic is nice and fragrant. Be careful and make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
- When the garlic turns fragrant add the paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper powders and the dried oregano. Stir well.
- Add in the chipotle sauce and stir thoroughly.
- Add the black beans (that have been previously cooked) and the corn (I use frozen corn) to the pan and stir well.
- Let this cook off for a couple of minutes or until the beans and corn has heated through.
- Check for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Once most of the liquid from the pan has been absorbed, take the pan off the heat.
- Top it off with the chopped coriander.
- To make the guacamole –
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
- To make the tacos –
- Heat the taco shells according to the packet instructions.
- Layer the black bean and corn mix, the guacamole, pickled jalapenos, sour cream and shredded lettuce and serve up.
- The 2 servings mentioned at the start of the recipe is for 2 servings of 4 tacos each (Roughly about 8 tacos). This recipe makes enough of the black bean mix for 12-15 tacos. If you are serving 12-15 tacos in one sitting, you may want to double the guacamole recipe.
- The black bean and corn mix works really well in burritos and quesadillas too.
- You can use 1/2 a capsicum of your choice or you can use smaller sweet peppers instead. In all you’ll need about 1/2 a large capsicums worth of peppers. You can adjust this amount to suit your liking.
This Thai Chilli Basil Fried Rice is packed with vegetables. It uses all plant-based ingredients but still has all the flavors found in Thai cuisine.
A good fried rice is a must have in every aspiring home cook’s arsenal. I enjoy fried rice a lot. Sometimes, I think, maybe a little too much. But in my defense, what’s not to love about it? While I love a good Chinese style fried rice, this Thai Chilli Basil Fried Rice has become a new favorite.
Its a simple meal in itself that is super versatile. You can use a lot of different vegetables, whatever you have on hand. It requires just a little advance planning in the form of cooking the rice ahead of time. Combine that with a clever use of some sauces that I always keep on hand and I can sit down to a nice, hot, home cooked meal in a jiffy.
In the past, I’ve always relied on a Chinese style fried rice. But a couple of years ago, when I tried a Spicy Thai Chilly Basil Fried Rice at a local Thai restaurant, I was smitten. All this flavor and spice – this fried rice blew my socks off. I ordered it every time we went out for Thai food. After a few such instances, I knew that I simply had to learn to make this at home and so with some experimentation, I ended up with a recipe that was really close to my favorite version.
Fast forward to December 2019. Just a few weeks before Christmas, my husband and I decided to switch to a more plant-based diet. And I’m happy to report that we’re loving every bit of this new plant based diet. The last couple of months have involved a lot of experimentation and researching substitutes to make my favorite recipes vegan-friendly. And I have finally found the ever elusive ‘mushroom oyster sauce’ that always seems to be sold out at my local Asian grocery store. Obviously, the next step was to try a vegan version of my Thai Chilli Basil Fried Rice.
It took a little tweaking, but OMG, this fried rice is phenomenal. I think I may like it a little more than the original recipe. So if you like Thai food, whether or not you follow a plant based diet, you must try this recipe out. Its a simple recipe, but is so flavorful and packed with veggies, that I promise you won’t even miss the meat.
So let’s talk about the recipe. There are a few steps involved but they are all really easy to follow. The fried rice is ready in minutes and its best to have all the components prepped and ready to go.
Step 1 – Making the rice
I used some Basmati rice as that’s what I had on hand. Wash the rice out a couple of times and soak it in some water for about 30 minutes. Drain the water, rinse with some fresh water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, add the rice and cook it till is done about 80%. The rice should still have a little bite and shouldn’t be too soft. Let it cool completely.
It’s best to cook the rice atleast a few hours before you need to make the fried rice. You can even make the rice the previous day. Let it cool completely and refrigerate till you need to use it.
Step 2 – The spice paste
This couldn’t be simpler. Its a combination of some Thai birdseye chillies and garlic. We like our food spicy and this recipe is no exception. If you like Thai food but want to cut down on the spice, you can use a combination of birdseye chillies and some cayenne peppers or any other milder chilly. Grind this to a coarse paste.
Step 3 – The sauce
This sauce makes this fried rice what it is. I have had to make a few substitutions to make this recipe vegan friendly but I believe this combination of sauces comes really close.
Simply stir together all the ingredients for the sauce – the miso paste, soy sauce, mushroom sauce, white pepper powder and sugar. Set this aside to use once we start cooking.
Step 4 – Prepping the veggies
Clean and cut all the vegetables and keep them ready. I use onions, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms and broccoli.
Pick the Thai basil leaves and keep them in a separate bowl.
Step 5 – Making the fried rice
This is by far the easiest part of the recipe. Now that all our prep work is done, the rest is just a matter of stir frying our ingredients in stages. Make sure you use a large wok or a large enough pan. At this stage, all the cooking is done on a high heat.
Now that you’re familiar with the process, let move on to the recipe.
Vegan Thai Chilli Basil Fried RiceCuisine: ThaiDifficulty: Medium
This Vegan Thai Chilli Basil Fried Rice is packed with vegetables. It uses all plant-based ingredients but still has all the flavors found in Thai cuisine.
2/3 cup basmati rice
3 Thai birdseye chillies
4 large cloves of garlic
A small handful of Thai basil leaves
A small wedge of lime
2-3 tsp. peanut oil
- For the sauce –
1 tsp red Miso paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Mushroom Oyster Sauce
1/2 tsp White pepper powder
1 scant tbsp raw cane sugar
- Vegetables –
5 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup broccoli florets
- Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with some fresh water and drain again. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt. Add the drained rice and boil till the rice is cooked about 80% of the way. Drain and rice and cool completely.
**See Note 1.
- Prep the spice paste. Grind the chillies and garlic to a coarse paste and set aside.
- Make the sauce. Place all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir together till well combined.
- Prep the vegetables. Peel and cut the onion into thick slices and separate the onion layers.
Cut the zucchini and carrot in half lengthwise and cut into thick slices.
Slice the mushrooms. Cut the broccoli into small florets to help it cook faster.
- To make the fried rice –
- Heat a large wok on high heat. Add 1 tsp peanut oil and fry the mushrooms till they develop a little color.
- Add another spoon of oil and add the onion. Stir fry till the edges of the onion slices start caramelizing.
- Add the broccoli and stir fry till it has cooked about half the way.
- Add the carrots and saute.
- Then add the zucchini and saute till the veggies cook through to your liking.
** See note 3.
- When the vegetables are cooked, add the chilli garlic paste and stir through well.
- Stir the sauce and add to the wok. Stir through to distribute well.
- Immediately add the rice and gently stir through to coat the rice with the sauce.
- At this stage, let the rice cook through for about 20-30 seconds or till the sauce has been absorbed by the rice and the rice has heated through well. Gently stir fry the rice while it is heating through.
- Take off the heat and add the Thai basil leaves and stir through.
- Serve hot with some cucumber and a wedge of lime.
- 1. Boil the rice atleast a few hours before you need to make the fried rice. You can boil the rice the previous day. Cool it completely and refrigerate till you need to make the fried rice the next day.
- 2. You can use regular white sugar to replace the raw cane sugar. If using white sugar, reduce the amount of sugar used.
- 3. I prefer my veggies a little on the crunchy side. You can choose to cook the vegetables a little more till they are done to your liking.
Matar Paneer is an easy, tomato based Indian cottage cheese curry that is full of flavor and pairs well with roti, naan, steamed rice or jeera rice too.
This recipe is one of the first curries I ever learned how to make. Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is not a typical ingredient used in most Goan / Mangalorean households, but it’s one that’s widely used throughout north India. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should. It’s one of the tastiest things I have eaten. Right from the first time my mother made this curry for us, I was hooked. I think this is one of the main reasons I actually wanted to know how it was made.
To really enjoy your paneer, you need to source some good quality paneer. In India, most dairy shops have some great, fresh paneer and it’s quite easy to find. Outside India, you will have to try a couple of brands out to find something you really like. I’ve found that the brands in my local supermarkets just don’t cut it. The paneer is rubbery and chewy and is not that flavorful. Now that goes against everything that good paneer is supposed to be. So after a lot of trial, I found some great quality paneer at my local Indian grocery store. This paneer is locally made and ticks all the boxes for me, when it comes to taste and texture.
This curry is a tomato based curry. Ideally, use fresh tomatoes if they are in season. If not, you can always use some passata, canned tomatoes or tomato puree. You can serve this curry up either with some roti or naan and it even goes really well with rice. Plain steamed rice is fine, but I serve it up with a beautiful Jeera Rice that is perfect for curries like this one.
Let’s have a look at the recipe, shall we?
Matar Paneer – Curried Indian cottage cheeseCourse: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Matar Paneer is an easy, tomato based, Indian cottage cheese curry that is full of flavor and pairs well with roti, naan, steamed rice or jeera rice too.
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch ginger
2 tomatoes /
1 tbsp oil + 1-2 tbsp oil to fry the potatoes and paneer
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 medium sized potatoes, cubed
250g Paneer, cubed
1/2 cup green peas
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- Grind the onion, chillies, ginger and garlic to a fine paste. Do not use any water to grind it down. Set this aside.
- Grind the fresh tomatoes to a puree separately and set aside in another bowl. If you’re using passata, you can ignore this step.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and lightly fry the paneer pieces till they get a little golden brown. Don’t cook for too long or it will result in the paneer getting chewy. Using a slotted spoon to drain off excess oil, take the paneer out of the pan and set aside.
- Add a little oil if needed and fry the potato cubes till they are almost done. Set aside to use later.
- Add a little oil as needed to give yourself about 1 tbsp of oil in the pan. Add the ground onion and saute this till the onion changes color. This should take approx. 3-4 minutes and this gives the ginger and garlic a chance to cook off too.
- Now add the tumeric, chilly powder and 1/4 tsp of garam masala powder and stir well to incorporate. Let the spices cook off for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato puree to the pan and let this cook off for a couple of minutes or till your gravy base / masala looks nice and fried. Add a little water as required to achieve the consistency of gravy you’re looking for. I recommend adding the water in a couple of stages to make sure you have the right consistency. Bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, cover the pan, lower the heat to a simmer and cook off for about 5-7 minutes, checking the water level and stirring it through at the halfway mark.
- Add the green peas and the fried potato cubes and let it continue to cook till the vegetables have cooked off.
- At the very end, add the paneer and let it warm through. I usually let it cook for just a minute or two at this point.
- Stir in the garam masala powder.
- Take the curry off the heat and finish off with a sprinkling of the fresh, chopped coriander.
- Serve hot.
A good, rich, dark and sometimes boozy Christmas Fruit Cake is a must-have on every Christmas platter. Studded with dry fruit soaked in rum and spiced with beautiful holiday flavours, this recipe is sure to win you over.
In most Christian homes along the south west coast of India, a good Dark Fruit cake makes an appearance at Christmas and all special occasions like engagement parties, weddings, anniversaries, Communion celebrations and so on. It also holds a very prominent spot on a typical Christmas platter, or what is locally referred to as a Kuswar platter. (Kuswar=Christmas sweets)
Most people I know enjoy a good fruit cake, but very often, find it too tedious to make one at home. They settle for a commercially made cake, which very often has a number of additives including caramel colour to give it a deep, dark colour.
Today, I’m sharing with you, my favourite Fruit Cake recipe. This recipe is a little longer than most other cake recipes. However, I can assure you it is a fairly simple process and the end result is so good, it’s well worth all the extra effort. To help make the process easier, I’ve broken this recipe down into a few parts. Some of them can actually be done days before you’d like to bake this cake. The best part is, this cake tastes best if it’s allowed to rest for a couple of days, so it’s a perfect one to make ahead.
Step 1 – Soaking the fruit
This recipe calls for 500gms of mixed dry fruit. In my assortment, I’ve used raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, candied / glacéd cherries and candied ginger. You can use any dry fruits of your choosing, in the proportion you’d like them. It just needs to add up to about 500 grams all together.
Chop the larger pieces of fruit down to make slicing your finished cake easier. Doing this also makes for a better eating experience, in my opinion. Place all the fruit in an airtight glass jar, top it off with some rum and set it aside in a cool dark place. The fruit needs atleast 24 hours to soak and rehydrate. The longer is steeps in the rum, the better the results. This can be done upto a year in advance.
Step 2 – Making the caramel
The 2nd step is making the caramel. There are many ways to make a caramel. For this recipe, you’re looking for one that gives you a slightly more fluid consistency. I’m using a 2:1 ratio – 2 parts sugar to one part water and I find that this gives me the perfect results for this recipe. You can make this caramel even a few days before you want to bake your cake. Simply let it cool down completely and store in an airtight glass jar. If you’re making this the caramel, the day that you’re baking the fruit cake, make sure the caramel has cooled down completely before you add it to the batter.
Step 3 – Making the cake
Making the batter is a very simple process. It’s just like making any other cake. You need to ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature. In this recipe, I’m using dark brown sugar to help lend a darker colour to the cake. If you can’t find dark brown sugar, regular white sugar will work too. Just make sure you use a fine grain sugar or simply powder your regular white sugar before adding it to the batter.
Sometimes, you find that the fruit in a fruit cake like this one isn’t evenly distributed. Mix the fruit into the flour – baking powder mix to ensure that the fruit doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
Also, in this recipe, I’m using treacle to darken my cake and give it an added boost of flavour. If you can’t find treacle, use some molasses instead. I’m not using any artificial colours. A lot of the commercially available dark fruit cakes use caramel colour. If you’d like to, you can add some to the batter.
I’m going to feed this cake only once with some dark rum, just as it comes out of the oven. This will help the cake soak up all the rum.
While you can cut into the cake as soon as it cools dow, for best results, I recommend atleast letting it stand overnight before you cut into it.
Once all the Hard Yakka’s out of the way, sit back and enjoy your stunning Fruit Cake.
Christmas Fruit CakeCourse: Cakes, Cakes, Cookies & Desserts, RecipesDifficulty: Medium
This rich, dark and boozy Christmas Fruit Cake is studded with dry fruit and is beautifully spiced to make it the perfect cake for the Holidays.
- For soaking the dry fruit –
100g mixed citrus peel
50g candied / glaced cherries
50g candied ginger
240ml dark rum
- For the caramel –
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water, from a recently boiled kettle
- For the cake –
200g butter, at room temperature
200g dark brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste / vanilla extract
2 tbsp Treacle
120ml Caramel (recipe included)
Zest and juice of 1 orange
250g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Dry fruit, previously soaked as per directions below.
50g cashew nuts, chopped
45ml dark rum
- Soaking the fruit –
- Chop all the dry fruit into smaller pieces. I try and keep them evenly sized, like the size of the currants, which are the smallest in the assortment.
- Place all the chopped fruit in an airtight glass jar. Top with rum. Mix well. Cover and steep for a minimum of 24 hours in a cool, dry place. You can leave this fruit to steep for upto a year. Shake the jar or stir the ingredients every once in a while.
- For the caramel –
- Place 1 cup sugar in a large vessel. Let it melt and caramelise on medium heat till all the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan, as needed.
- Once all the sugar has completely dissolved and it caramelised, pour 1/2 cup hot water down the side of the vessel. It is important to do it in this manner to prevent the caramel splashing on you.
- Let it heat through for about another 10 seconds or till both liquids have mixed well. Give it a light stir to ensure they have mixed through.
- Set this aside and leave to cool completely before adding to the cake batter.
- If you’re making the caramel ahead of time, after is had completely cooled, store in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dry place.
- To make the cake –
- Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl to combine well.
- In a larger bowl, place the soaked dry fruit after draining out any excess rum. Do not discard this rum. You can top the jar up with more fruit and rum and leave to steep for the next time you make this cake.
- Add the cashewnuts to the fruit and mix well.
- Add the flour and baking powder mix to the bowl and mix the flour and fruit thoroughly, and stir through to break up any larger clumps of fruit.
- Preheat your oven to 170C and line a 9 inch square cake tin with baking paper and grease it.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the butter and brown sugar and beat till it is light and creamy and all the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
- Add the vanilla, orange zest and juice, caramel, treacle and all the ground spice powders. Mix well till combined.
- Lastly, add the fruit – flour mix and fold it into the cake batter.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or till done.
- Immediately, pour the rum all over the top surface of the cake.
- Let the cake cool down in the cake pan itself.
- When it has completely cooled, it is ready to serve or store. For best results, let it rest overnight before cutting. Store carefully wrapped in a couple of layers of baking paper.
- When you’re ready to serve, cut into slices or bars and enjoy!
- Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
- The fruit should be soaked for a minimum of 24 hours or upto one year in an airtight glass jar. The longer they steep, the better.
- Make sure the caramel has cooled down completely before adding to the batter. The caramel can be made a few days ahead. Simply let it cool down completely and store in an airtight glass jar till ready to use.
- For best results, let the cake rest atleast overnight before cutting into it.
With Christmas fast approaching, today I thought I’d share with you a recipe for Rose Cookies. Rose Cookies, Kokkisan or Achu Murukku – these are a few names these little treats go by in different parts of the South of India. If you’ve not had these before, imagine amazingly crisp, deep-fried, sweet cookies. They are so more-ish. Which is why it’s a good thing this batch yields quite a few cookies.
Let’s move on to the cookies themselves, shall we? While they’re not difficult to make, the batter can be very temperamental and finicky. This is one Kuswar treat I personally find the most trying. The most important part of this recipe is the batter. It takes a little patience and tweaking to get it to just the right consistency. But boy, once you do, churning these cookies out is a breeze.
The batter –
Are you ready to give these a try. Let me walk you though the process. Putting the batter together initially is a very simple process and it just a matter of whisking all of the ingredients together. The one thing you need to watch out for, is the amount of liquid that goes into it. You’re looking for a batter that isn’t too thick or too thin. It’s a Goldilocks kinda situation; you have to get it just right. A huge saving grace is that the batter is forgiving and can be easily fixed.
If its too thick, it wont cling to the cookie iron at all. When this happens, gradually add small amounts of coconut milk (if you’re out of coconut milk, you can use water) and whisk it in. On the other hand, if its too thin, it’ll stick to the iron and won’t release into the oil, even after you try to separate it using a fork or a skewer. To fix this, simply add a little all purpose flour to the batter, a little at a time and whisk it through and try frying it again.
The frying process –
Now that you have you’re batter sorted out, you need to keep a few things in mind while frying these cookies. Once the oil heats up, maintain it by using a medium to medium low heat. If the oil is too hot, the cookies will brown too quickly. The cookie iron needs to be heated well for it to release the cookies into the oil. The first few cookies are like a tester batch. You may have to sacrifice a couple of them while you figure out the right consistency.
Take the cookies out of the oil when they’re a little lighter than you’d like it. They tend to darken as they cool.
With these pointers in mind, you are now equipped to make a beautiful batch of these Rose Cookies.
Rose CookiesCourse: SnacksCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Difficult
Rose Cookies are amazingly crisp, deep-fried, sweet cookies that make an appearance on a lot of Christmas Kuswar platters. They are so addictive, they can be enjoyed any time of the year.
1 egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup of sugar (fine grain or ground to a powder)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rice flour, fine
1 tsp Vanilla extract / Vanilla bean paste
1 – 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
A pinch of salt
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Oil, for deep frying
- To make the batter –
- Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl. Whisk lightly.
- Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
- Add the salt and vanilla and mix.
- Add the all purpose flour and rice flour and mix lightly.
- Add the coconut milk and whisk to form a batter. The batter shouldn’t be too thick or too thin. Use more coconut milk/water or all purpose flour to adjust the consistency as needed.
- Stir in the sesame seeds.
- To fry the cookies –
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan for deep frying.
- Place the cookie iron in the hot oil for about 30 seconds or till it has heated.
- Shake excess oil off the iron and insert in batter about 3/4 of the way. Immediately place the iron in the oil. In a few seconds, lightly shake the iron to release the cookie or use a fork to help take it off the iron. Please watch the video to see the technique in action.
- When the cookie has lightly browned, carefully flip over to fry it on the other side. When golden brown, drain any excess oil and remove the cookies onto a tray lined with absorbent kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Take the cookies out of the oil when it is still on the lighter side. They will continue to turn slightly darker once taken out of the oil.
- Continue frying the rest of the cookies.
- When the cookies have cooled down completely, serve up or store in an airtight container.
- The consistency of the batter is very important. You may need to adjust the consistency of the batter as you fry the first few cookies to hit the right consistency. If it is too thick, add a little water or coconut milk and whisk in. If it is too thin, add a little all purpose flour and whisk through.
- We don’t like our sweets overly sweet. Feel free to add more sugar to suit your preferences. Fry off a couple of cookies and taste them, adjust sweetness, if needed.
- Take the cookies out of the oil when it is still on the lighter side. They will continue to turn slightly darker once taken out of the oil.
If you’re looking for more Kuswar recipes to make this Christmas, here are a few of my favorite recipes you might enjoy too –
2) Date Rolls
3) Baath / Badca
4) Coconut Toffee
5) Milk Cream
6) Coconut Ladoos
7) Guava Cheese / Perad
8) Nankatais (Eggless)
9) Marzipan (Eggless)
10) No-cook Almond Marzipan
11) Marzipan – My favorite recipe
12) Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge
13) Chana Doce
Today’s Gingerbread Fudge is a great recipe to have on hand for Christmas. It is quick and easy, and results in a creamy fudge that is beautifully spiced with all the Christmas flavours. So if a combination of white chocolate and the flavours of a traditional gingerbread is your thing, stick around for the recipe.
With Christmas fast approaching, a lot of folks have started with all kinds of prep work. From deep cleaning and decorating their homes, shopping for the Holiday season and planning their social calendars, most houses see frenzied levels of activity at this time of the year. It’s because of this, one needs to have a few easy and delicious recipes to fall back on.
This gingerbread fudge recipe ticks all those boxes. With prep and cook time of mere minutes, the hardest part of this recipe is leaving the fudge alone, to cool and set. Sounds perfect, right? Well, it is. And you’re left with a nice batch of fudge that just melts in your mouth.
And if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere like I am, we’re headed straight for summer. And it gets really hot here in Sydney. So while everyone in the North is baking up a storm, these kind of recipes work out perfectly for us. This way we get to enjoy those beautiful flavours of Christmas without having to turn the oven on.
This fudge can be made a few days ahead. Store it in the fridge in an airtight container lined with baking / parchment paper. I suggest placing a piece of baking / parchment paper between layers as well, to prevent the pieces of fudge from potentially sticking to each other.
Now, if dark chocolate is more your thing, check out my Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Fudge recipe. It is absolutely divine.
The ingredients –
This list is an easy one to get a hold off. You will need condensed milk, white chocolate, vanilla, molasses, ground spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) and don’t forget the butter.
Let’s get cooking –
Line a 9×9 inch cake pan with some foil, leaving a little overhang to help take the fudge out once it has set. Set this aside to use later.
Place the condensed milk and butter in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium low heat.
Add the molasses and vanilla. Mix through and add the white chocolate. Stir well to help the chocolate pieces melt.
Next, add the spice powders and stir well to incorporate.
Once all the chocolate has melted and the spice powders have been incorporated thoroughly, pour out onto the lined cake pan. Tap the pan gently a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles.
Leave it on the kitchen counter and let it come to room temperature.
Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight to set completely.
Cut into squares and serve.
Gingerbread Fudge – a quick and easy recipeCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This Gingerbread Fudge recipe is quick and easy, and results in a creamy fudge that is beautifully spiced with all the Christmas flavours.
1 tin condensed milk (395g)
350g White chocolate
1 tsp Vanilla extract / Vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp Molasses
1 tsp ground ginger (powder)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (powder)
1/8 tsp ground cloves (powder)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (powder)
- Line a 9×9 inch cake pan with foil, leaving a little overhang to help take the fudge out once it has set. Set this aside to use later.
- Place the condensed milk and butter in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium low heat.
- Add the molasses and vanilla. Mix through and add the white chocolate. Stir well to help the chocolate pieces melt.
- Next, add the spice powders and stir well to incorporate.
- Once all the chocolate has melted and the spice powders have been incorporated thoroughly, pour out onto the lined cake pan. Tap the pan gently a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Leave it on the kitchen counter and let it come to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight to set completely.
- Cut into pieces and serve.
- Line the cake pan and assemble your ingredients before you start cooking the fudge.
- If you don’t have access to molasses, you can use a little melted down Goan coconut jaggery.
- Adjust the spice powder amounts to suit your liking.
- Store it in the fridge in an airtight container lined with baking / parchment paper. I suggest placing a piece of baking / parchment paper between layers as well, to prevent the pieces of fudge from potentially sticking to each other.
When you think of Chickpeas, a lot of people think of savory recipes. Have you tried making sweets with a chickpea base? If you haven’t, you really ought to. This Chana Doce is a Goan sweet served at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. It is made with chana dal and coconut and mildly flavored with cardamom. There are heaps of Indian sweets that use some form of chickpeas as a base, like these Besan Laddoos or even these sweet flatbreads called Puran Poli. These two are just the tip of the ice berg and I hope to try and bring you some more Chickpea deliciousness in the future.
Today, I’m sharing with you a Goan sweet recipe. This Chana Doce is a Goan delicacy and makes an appearance at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. The recipe calls for chana dal, which is hulled and split chickpeas. Everytime we visit Goa, we always bring some back home with us. A good Goan bakery is paradise if you have a sweet tooth. Our typical haul would include this Chana Doce and a Coconut variant, the ever popular Bebinca, Dodol, Baath, Bolinhas and Pinag. I think that about covers it. Our favorite place to buy these treats is a quaint little bakery in Mapusa called Simona’s. They also have outlets in Porvorim and Sinquerim. What’s your go-to place to buy your favourite Goan treats?
It’s hard for us to get back to Goa as often as we did when we were in Mumbai, so I’ve decided to try and make these delicacies at home. And after some experimenting, I’ve finally got a recipe for Chana Doce that I’m happy with. This is a softer version of the sweet and just melts in your mouth. The commercially available one is a little harder and has a slightly longer shelf life, but its slightly more difficult to make. We actually quite like this softer version and hope you do too.
Chana DoceCourse: DessertCuisine: GoanDifficulty: Medium
A melt in your mouth sweet made with chana dal and coconut and mildly flavored with cardamom.
1 cup Chana Dal (hulled and split chickpeas)
1/8 tsp Salt, or to taste
6-8 green cardamom pods
1 coconut, grated (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp of ghee (clarified butter)
- Wash the chana dal by passing it through some water at room temperature 3-4 times. Add enough water to cover the dal by about 2 inches and let it soak for 3 hours. After letting it soak, drain the water, pass it through some fresh water and drain again. Cook the chana dal with 1/8 tsp of salt and sufficient water till soft. Drain the dal and reserve the cooking water. Let the dal cool to room temperature.
- In the meanwhile, crack the cardamom pods open and grind the seeds to a powder.
- Grease a large tray or board, the back of a large spoon or spatula, a rolling pin and a sharp knife with a little more ghee.
- Grind the coconut to a smooth paste using just a little of the reserved cooking liquid from cooking the lentils. Use as little water as you can. Place the ground coconut in a large heavy bottomed pan.
- Grind your chana dal with a little reserved cooking liquid to a smooth paste. Again, use as little liquid as possible. Add this to the pan.
- Add the sugar to the pan and stir well to combine.
- Place the pan on a medium heat and cook till it thickens and starts leaving the sides of the vessel, stirring continuously. As it thickens, drop the heat to a medium low, add the cardamom and 1 tbsp ghee and continue cooking. This process takes around 30-45 minutes.
- Once the mix starts forming into a ball, take it off the heat and immediately transfer to the greased tray. Level it using the back of a spoon and tidy it off with the greased rolling pin. Set it aside to cool.
- Using the greased knife, cut into the traditional diamond shapes or any other shape of your choosing.
- Leave the cut pieces on the kitchen counter to cool down completely and set. Your Chana Doce is now ready to serve or store. Store in an airtight container. This will keep refrigerated for a 6-8 days.
- You can cook the chana dal in the pressure cooker or in a pot on the stovetop. The pressure cooker will cut down cooking time drastically. Mine takes about 10 minutes to cook all the way through. Cooking time will differ among different brands of pressure cookers. Follow your manufacturers instructions to cook the lentils till well done.
- Use as little water as possible to grind the coconut and the chana dal. The more water you add, the longer you’re cooking time will be.
- Always use a heavy pan to cook this Chana Doce. It keeps it from burning easily. If possible, use a wide pan. A wide pan, increases surface area and decreases cooking time.
- Cooking time will vary depending on a number of factors like amount of water used while griding, heat level used during cooking, size and thickness of the pan, width of the pan etc. It took me 32 minutes in total. Like most Goan sweets, its hard to time the cooking process. You need to go by what you see and feel. My step-by-step video will help with this.