Friday, October 31, 2014

Pineapple upside down

Here is an easy recipe for a delicious, super moist, homemade pineapple upside-down cake. This delectably sweet classic treat consists of caramelized slices of pineapple and a buttery white cake batter. I like using fresh slices of pineapple but you can use canned slices as well. Any sugar will work here but brown sugar adds an interesting taste especially when caramelized.
As a variation add some pecans or walnut pieces alongside the pineapple rings, right over the caramelized sugar. The added crunch and nuttiness adds a whole new flavor dimension.
The combination of the rich buttery cake and caramelized pineapples creates a rich, luscious fabulous dessert. Serve it with coffee, tea or as a perfect ending to a tropical meal.

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
For Topping

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 canned or freshly sliced pineapple rings
For Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
3/4 cup milk/buttermilk (or 1/4 cup plain yogurt + 1/2 cup whole milk )
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Juice and grated rind from 1 lime
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. To prepare the cake mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Whisk together melted butter and sugar until soft. Whisk in egg, milk, lime juice and rind, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. The batter will be thick.
  3. To prepare the topping place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking (without stirring) for a few more minutes or until bubbles appear around the outside edges and the sugar starts to caramelize. Remove from heat, and pour into 9 inch round cake pan. Evenly arrange the pineapple slices on top of the sugar mixture. Can also garnish with cherries or pecans.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. 
  5. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate. Slice and serve warm, room temperature, or even cold. Try serving with vanilla ice cream - it's a delicious combination. Cover cake and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Kheer is one of the most popular sweet treats of India. It is prepared during all Hindu festivals and celebrations. It is most often made with rice, but other variations exist such as vermicilli or seviyan kheer, makhana kheer, sabutdana kheer, carrot kheer, apple kheer, and so on. Kheer as its called in North India is also known as payesh in Bengal and payasam in southern India.

It owes its richness and creaminess to the milk which cooks down to almost half making the rice creamy and silky. With the flavor undertones of green cardamom, saffron and pistachios kheer makes for a really special treat. This one is for my brother on the occasion of bhaidooj, love you bro.

2 litre full fat milk
1/2 cup raw white rice, washed and drained
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
8-10 strands of saffron, lightly crushed
6-7 green cardamoms, crushed to a fine powder
Slivered almonds and pistachios for garnish
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan take 2 liters milk, and 1/2 cup white rice. Stir frequently as the raw rice can start sticking to the bottom. Bring to a rolling boil. 
  2. Simmer, add saffron and cook stirring often to avoid burning till water content of the milk evaporates and it thickens to a desired consistency. This will take about 40 - 45 minutes. 
  3. Add 1/2 -3/4 cups sugar(as per your taste) and stir well for another five minutes . 
  4. Remove from heat and add crushed green cardamom powder, chopped almonds and pistachios. Serve hot or chilled. I prefer it chilled.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Besan burfi

Besan ki burfi

Besan ki burfi - the immensely popular sweet treat of India, is made with roasted chickpea flour, sugar and clarified butter. This fudge like sweet bite has a melt in your mouth texture and has exotic flavors of cardamom, pistachio and almond. Perfect for any festival and occasion. I prefer to use the coarsely ground besan for this, but you can use the fine ground besan as well. The main trick here is to patiently roast the flour in ghee at medium heat till it turns golden and fragrant. Requires constant stirring otherwise besan will cook unevenly.
This is my mithai for Diwali this year. Happy Diwali everyone.

2 cups Gram flour (besan) coarsely ground
1 cup ghee melted
1 cup powdered sugar (or very fine sugar)
5-6 Green cardamoms powdered
10-12 almonds sliced
Chopped pistachios for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat ghee in a non-stick pan. Add gram flour to the pan and sauté on medium heat, stirring constantly, till fragrant and browned. This took me about 30-35 minutes on medium heat. 
  2. Switch off the heat. Add sugar and stir well till it blends with the gram flour mixture. Add green cardamom powder and mix well. 
  3. Grease an aluminium tray. Transfer the mixture into the greased tray and spread evenly. Level the surface. Sprinkle almonds and set aside to cool. It will take a while but the mixture will set eventually (2-3 hours). 
  4. Carefully cut into squares or diamonds and serve. 
  5. Store in an airtight container for a week.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kumaoni Malpua -Singhal

Malpua or singhal (सिंघल) - Specially for Diwali

In Kumaon (Hills of Uttar Pradesh, now called Uttarakhand) culture, malpua is a festivity dish. It is made on every festive and auspicious occasion such as Diwali, Holi, Weddings, Birthdays, Child's naming ceremony, etc. When I was a kid my brother and I really enjoyed these yum sweet treats and now my girls do the same. Apart from the delicious taste it keeps alive the festive tradition in our family and I hope to pass it on to my girls some day. Making singhals is a bit tricky and I have spoilt a large quantity of batter when I first tried making these some 12 years ago. You need to hold a lot of batter in your palm and drop it in a continuous spiral shape in the oil. But don't worry the tiny malpuas are just as tasty and are easy to make until you are able to make the spirals. They can also be made using a ziplock bag. Fill a large ziplock with batter and snip a large hole in a corner. Now carefully drop the batter in a spiral pattern into the hot oil.

Ingredients: (about 40 malpuas)
2 1/4 cup suji (semolina)
1/3 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
oil for deep frying
  1. Take suji in a large bowl and add ghee. Mix well with finger tips. 
  2. Add yogurt and milk and mix to get a batter of droppable consistency.(see image below) 
  3. Now add sugar and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave aside for an hour at room temperature. 
  4. Heat oil in a deep pan at medium high heat for 7-10 minutes. 
  5. After an hour the batter will change in consistency and become drier. Add about 1/4 cup of water to bring it back to the right consistency. 
  6. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil and deep fry till golden brown. You might need to bring the heat down a bit every so often and then take it back up to prevent them from charring. 
  7. Store in an air tight container at room temperature Will keep for 4-5 days.
Batter Consistency

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mango Phirni

Mango Phirni

Phirni or 'Phirun' is an Indian rice pudding made by cooking ground rice and milk till its creamy. This refreshing yet decadent sweet dish is usually flavored with saffron and green cardamom, but this mango variation is heavenly. Use fresh mangoes when in season. I have used canned mango puree. Make sure to add extra sugar when using fresh mangoes.

Mango Phirni

Ingredients(serves 6)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup mango puree
2 1/2 T rice soaked and coarsely ground
1/4 cup sugar or as per taste
3-5 green cardamoms powdered
Pistachios and almond flakes for garnish
  1. Heat milk in a heavy bottomed pan. When it is hot, not boiling, add the ground rice mixture and stir. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Simmer and continue cooking while stirring till the milk thickens up. This happens fairly quickly since the rice is not whole and gets cooked pretty fast. 
  3. When it reaches the desired consistency add sugar and mix well. Then add the mango pulp. Mix and cook for another minute. 
  4. Remove from heat, add the cardamom and let it cool. 
  5. Garnish with almonds and pistachios.