Chocolate Cashew Burfee for Navratri

It is my favorite time of the year! The season of festivals, joy of celebrating the victory of good over the evil and of course great food. Here is wishing you all a very happy Dasara. Dasara celebrations underway in Mysore and in the hearts of people from Mysore all around the world. We have a brand new Maharaja as well, though we do miss Srikantadatta Woodeyar and of course our dear Drona.

Bombe Habba is an integral part of Dasara. Here is our edition this year. As a part of the regular pooja for the Bombe -dolls we have to prepare offerings and good many a sweets have already made an appearance in my kitchen.  Here is the recipe for a relatively easy Burfee. After umpteen attempts to make good burfee at home, I finally think I have a recipe that has some potential. This recipe is still work in progress and needs to be fine tuned.I am making efforts to improve the texture of the Burfee and also make it more fail proof. But I was able to prepare three variations using the base recipe.  Posting the first of the three, the Chocolate Cashew Burfee

 We will need,

Sugar 150 grams
Water 100 ml
Ghee 75 grams
Milk powder about 200 grms
Cocoa 25-40 grams
Cashews (roasted and salted) chopped 2 tbsl
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Salt a pinch

  • Stir together cocoa ,milk powder.cashews and salt, set it aside. Grease a Thali or a tray with a touch of ghee and set it aside.
  • Combine water and sugar and bring it to a boil. Cook till it attains one thread consistency i.e when the sugar syrup is pulled between thumb and forefinger, it should stretch into a single thread.  
  • Pour in the ghee and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for a few minutes till it starts to boil again.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and the milk powder mixture. Stir till combined. Keep stirring till the mixture comes together. Once it comes together, turn off the heat and pour the mixture into the greased tray.
  • Spread the mixture around carefully using a spatula patting it down evenly across the thali. Use a roller pin if needed to flatten it out to required thickness. I like mine about 1/4" thick. Cool completely and cut as desired using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife.
Happy Navaratri and happy eating.

Pav Bhaji (without Potatoes)

Hmmm... What is Pav Bhaji doing on Kannadacuisine? I was actually thinking if I should post this recipe at all. Well there is nothing Kannada about Pav-Bhaji, but then there is nothing Kannada about Rasmalai or Dum Aloo either. But Rasmalai and Dum Aloo was cooked by me, a thorough bred Kannadiga. Well, if Rasmalai can make an appearance on Kannadacuisine, Pav Bhaji can very well. So there we go.

Pav Bhaji presented a peculiar problem in my Kannadiga kitchen. For starters, potato is a huge star here and we Kannadigas particularly the older generation have always been suspicious of potatoes. My grand mother never ate them and hardly cooked them because they were 'Vata' inducing and therefore bad for her arthritic knees. But for the occasional  Masale Dose or Aloogadde Bele Huli, potatoes were pretty much banned in her house and mine as well :)
For some reason, the worm in my mind tells me that my gut is not meant to digest potatoes. The fact that Sabarmati Hostel mess in JNU goaded a truck load of potatoes down my throat in the four years I was a resident does not do any good to my already shaky relationship with potatoes. So I had to eliminate potatoes from this recipe.

The second peculiar problem was the Pav itself. Bread back home is associated with fever! Though my more progressive English-minded father preferred to have his bread with eggs and butter, bread largely meant that some one was under the weather. So I had to make it a little more interesting on that ground as well.

The third peculiar problem was to balance the 'bread' factor with loads of vegetables in the Bhaji.
After putting all these problems in the pot and stirring my magic wand, I had ..... bingo Pav Bhaji on my tables. So here it goes.

 We will need,

Cauliflower florets 2 cups
Carrot 1 big chopped
Green Beans a generous handful chopped
(Optional, Zucchini, Peas, Bell Peppers :Vegetables in all about 4 cups chopped)

For the Masala:
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Hing a generous dash +a generous dash

Onion 1 medium minced
Chilly Powder 1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Dhania powder 1.5 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Jeera Powder 1 tsp
Garlic powder a generous pinch
Amchoor Powder 1 tsp
Tomatoes 3 medium chopped
Salt to taste
Sugar a 1 tsp

To Serve :
Fresh butter
Bread of choice (I used Italian onion bread just to make it a little more interesting)
Lemon wedges and chopped onion

  • Wash all the vegetables in running water and drain well. Place them in a pressure cooker along with a dash of Hing and 3/4 cup water. Cook till the vegetables are tender. (One whistle on my Pressure Cooker) Set it aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a Kadai. Throw in the mustard and Hing. Once they stop spluttering, throw in minced onion. Saute till golden brown.
  •  Throw in all the spice powders and saute for a brief 15 seconds. Throw in the tomatoes. Stir well and cover. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook till the masala is fragrant. 
  • Meantime, when the pressure cooker is cool enough to open, remove the cooked vegetables into a wide mouth bowl and mash it with a wooden spoon /Masher.
  • Pour the vegetable cooking stock into the masala and stir in the mashed vegetables into the masala as well. Adjust salt and sugar. Simmer and mash till the dish comes together. Finish with a big dollop of butter though entirely optional.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, chopped onion and bread of choice

Oats Huggi

It has been a long break from the blogsphere. I could not muster the motivation to click pictures after cooking and writing. I was wondering if I had hit the wall and run out of words! That looked like a dangerous possibility. Obviously that was not the normal 'me'. Then after some pushing and prodding myself, I was able to get back to clicking pictures. I still have a list of recipes in my draft and hopefully I will let them see the light of day very soon.

I am not a very big fan of oats. But for occasional quick breakfast I would like to eat some with chopped apples, ground cinnamon, just a tad bit of salt and sugar. That works well with the quick cooking types. A few weeks back I was shopping at Trader's Joe and fell victim to product differentiation. I could not really make up my mind if the ones we typically buy is the Steel Cut variety or the Quick Cooking variety. For some reason some thing inside told me to pick up the Steel Cut ones and made this recipe happen.  Turns out that Steel Cut are the ones that resemble our 'Nucchu' where a whole grain is broken into a few pieces. Obviously they are not the ones that will work in the microwave oven for a quick breakfast. Now I am saddled with a whole box of oats, the variety we don't even use! I put on my thinking cap and zeroed in on Huggi. For one I knew oats being mushy and sort of sticky will work only in mushy rice dishes like Huggi and Bisibelebath. So here is the first attempt with Huggi and Honey loved it. I made this yesterday and he wanted me to make it today as well. Hell no. May be sometime next week.

   We will need,

Steel cut Oats 1/3 cup
Moong Dal washed and split (Hesaru Bele) 2 tbsp
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp crushed
Hing a dash
Turmeric a pinch
Pepper corns 1/2 tsp crushed coarsly
Curry leaves a handful
Green Chillies 2-5 (adjust according to taste)
Coconut grated 2 tbsp
Salt and lemon juice to taste

  • Wash the oats and Moong dal in multiple changes of water. Soak it together for about 2 hours. 
  • Pressure cook with about 1.25 cups of water till the oats is soft and mushy. (Took two whistles in my pressure cooker). Remove from heat and set it aside. Wait for the pressure to reduce to proceed to the next step;
  • Prepare the Oggarane. Heat the ghee, throw in the mustard, jeera, hing and turmeric. Once the spices sizzle throw in the curry leaves, green chillies and coconut. Saute for a few second and remove from heat.
  • Now carefully open the pressure cooker and pour the Ghee and spice mixture into it. Stir well. Adjust salt and lemon juice. Warm thoroughly and serve immediately.