Green Cilantro Chutney/Pesto

A staple found at most Indian homes is the green  or tikha chutney made from fresh cilantro leaves, green chilies, lime juice, jeera/cumin and salt and oil. Some people like to add fresh mint leaves and make a mint chutney also. This chutney has various uses, use it for chats, bhelpuri or  simply spread it on a slice of bread and make a sandwich or use it as a dip for cutlets, kebabs or fries. I like to dip salty potato chips into this chutney and eat it as is..tastes awesome; the salt of the chips and the tang of the chutney sings ballet in my mouth, and awakens my tastebuds like nothing can..

Another way to use the chutney is going the fusion foods way...I like to use it as a pesto on a pita and make a home made pizza in few minutes..(that's another post I promise of a Chutney Pizza) will taste good on some cooked pasta also...but today am going to share my mom's way of making this chutney and storing it for some not so great nights, add a spoon full to some pulav rice and make some tava pulav, or add some to the batate wade batter, the options are endless on the creative ways to use this chutney.

You will need;
2-3 cups of fresh washed cilantro leaves
2-3 green chilies
2 tspn jeera/cumin seeds
Salt to taste
1 Tbspn Lime Juice
2 Tbspn oil
water as needed for grinding into a thick paste

In a grinder/food processor take all of the above cilantro, chili, cumin, lime juice and salt and take little water enough to grind it into a thick paste, grind it and when storing add the oil and mix well. The oil along with the lime juice prevents the cilantro from turning black and increases the shelf life. Store in a refrigerator, it would stay good for about 7-10 days.

Hope you all make this zesty and yummy chutney and also share with me how you make it at home.

Linking this to Julies EP Series

Love Ash.


Kasuri Methi Poori--Namkeen Poori

The Tikhat/Namkeen poori was a staple in my home, anytime we had unexpected guests, we had to travel in trains for long distances, school picnics or the 4pm snacktime with chai, my mom made these hot piping pooris. She made few changes every now and then, sometimes adding more of ajwain seeds/Carom Seeds or adding little dry methi/fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi or at times adding some cilantro to the dough, all times they were gone before they could be served on a plate or she could even turn around.

Like me, even my kids love these poori's, and demand that I make them at least once a week and give them in their lunch box. I have cut down on deep frying and using a lot of oil, so we have a pact that I will make them once a Month. Everything in moderation, you see.

You will need;
1 cup whole wheat flour--(will make about 15 small poori's as shown in pictures)
1 tbspn fine sooji or semolina
1 tspn ajwain or carom seeds
1 tspn red chili powder
1 tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn cumin and coriander powder
1tsp salt or as per taste
1/2 tspn sugar-optional
1tbspn kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves
water to knead the dough--this dough is slightly hard and not like chapati so use less water to knead the dough

Oil for deep frying

In a bowl, take the flour and semolina and add the dry powders, salt and sugar, add the kasuri methi leaves and knead into a hard dough . Keep aside for 10 mins.

In a wok, take oil for frying, take only as much as the pooris will immerse, I would say about 2-3 cups of oil, and heat it till it smokes once and then reduce the heat to medium.

Make small round balls of the dough and roll each one out (try rolling like thin cookies). I use a round cookie cutter to make the poori's.. they look cute if they are all of the same size. Fry each one of them in the hot oil, one at a time. DO not rush and be extremely careful when frying. The ideal way to fry poori's is to slide the poori from one side of the wok. DO Not throw the poori's in the hot oil, the oil will splutter and splash and burn your hands.

Once you slide in the poori in the hot oil, let it puff up from one side, once it puffs up, turn it and let the other side puff up.. once both sides are puffed , drain them on some paper towels to remove excess oil and enjoyy them hot or cold, either ways they are delish

They stay good at room temperature for about a couple of days, never tried for more than that. I make them in small batches as per my need for the day.

Hope you do make these today and enjoy simple pleasures of home food.

I am sending these poori's to Archan's Event Fast Food not Fat Food. I know that the poori's are fried, but they are really not fat food if you enjoy them once in a while.

Love Ash.

Ek Cutting Chai

I am an Tea Addict. Yes you heard me right...I crave for my cup of tea every morning and evening and sometimes in between. I like the Desi Chai/Indian tea with milk and sugar and ginger and masala..I somehow don't fancy the herbal teas and the English tea's that are taking the world by storm.

I like to have my chai when it rains, when it thunders, when it snows and when its sunny..meaning anytime of the day or night I can have my chai. Mr. Ash cannot have Tea in the evenings, says it keeps the sleep away..Sounds weird I tell you.. If you are like me, I can have my chai and sleep like a baby with no worries of tomorrow or the world. If I were to die and god granted me one wish, I would wish for ek cutting chai...

Cutting chai is a typical Mumbai Language, it means a small cup of chai, where a guy makes tea in shed or a stall and usuallly has few toasts/khari biscuits and probably some brunes to serve can find him outside offices/colleges or anywhere he has place to put up his stall. All doubts of hygiene, the source of milk and water and such things are better kept at home, if you want to enjoy the cutting chai to the fullest.

To understand the concept fully watch this youtube video. Ek cutting chai is for friends sharing warm bonds of friendship, lovers sharing togetherness, hungry folks satisfying the hunger pangs or just about for everyone. 

For my cup of chai at home;

1/2 cup water
1/2 milk
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tspns sugar
1tspn Tea Powder
(If you don't have access to loose tea powder use 1 tea bag-remove the thread and the staple use just the bag with tea powder or use the round tea bags)
1tspn Chai Masala--Optional
Small Tea Sieve to filter the chai

In a small pot take the mik and water together, add the sugar and the grated ginger, tea bag and heat it till it starts boiling. The water/milk mixture will soon change colour to a nice shade of brown/biege. The chai is ready to be filtered in a cup and enjoyed with hot namkeen poori's/chivda or simply as is.

Please do drop by to share a cup of cutting chai with me. Milenge, baithenge baatein karenge.(meaning, we will meet, sit, chat and catch up on our lives over a cup of chai)

Love Ash.

Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting

I made this cake for my son's daycare teachers as an end of the year "Thank You:" The new school year has started and Halloween is just around the corner. September 5th is celebrated as Teachers Day in India. When I was in High School, my school had started a new tradition of students acting as teachers for one day. The students were Grade X students who were supposed to teach lower classes from Grades 1 to 8. I guess, the logic behind this experiment was that students understand that being a teacher is one of the toughest and most satisfying job one can have, so keeping that in mind I made this cake for my most precious teachers at Rainbow Academy, Iselin, NJ.  No cake is enough to say in words what you guys mean to me and my family. Thank you for being the best.

The cake is a simple Vanilla Buttermilk Cake and I used the Wilton ready to use Buttercream icing and I had some Coloured sugar on hand. I hope you enjoy making the cake and have fun in gifting that to your teachers and loved ones.

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

 And for the great news.. This cake was featured on Amy's Decorating challenge. Thanks Amy!!!!!

Love Ash.


Strawberry Jam

This is the easiest Jam you will ever make, if you ever happen to buy 2 lbs of fresh strawberries just coz they looked good in the store and were on sale, I am not saying that happened to me, just assume if that will be nice to know how to make this jam. Once you make this jam, you can find 100 ways to use it, like on toast on a warm croissant with butter or as a filling in cakes, it tastes divine and will surely win you some cool brownie points...
I followed my moms recipe of making Amba Muramba/ Mango Preserve and replaced the Mango with chopped Strawberries ..Do not make very small pieces, they will mash up as they get cooked .

For the Strawberry Jam you will need;

4 Cups Chopped Strawberries
2 cups sugar
1 Tsp Lemon Juice--OPTIONAL

In a wide bowl, take the diced strawberries in a pot and add sugar to it. Keep aside for an hour or so.. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberry and sugar mixture, and one tspn lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often. When Cooked and the jam starts sticking to the sides of the pan, remove from heat and cool.
Transfer to hot sterile jars and seal. Process in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don't bother with processing, and just refrigerate after its cold enough.

**We like chunky jams, but if you don't like it to be chunky, run it through a food mill while still hot and then store it in a bottle

Make jam and let there be peace in the world.. at least it makes peace in Ashland!!!

Love Ash
PS. I am sending this jam to the Healing with Berries Event.


Indian Cooking made easy

Traditional Maharashtrian Thali-Image Courtesy-Hotel Shreyas-Pune.

Rajashthani Thali-Picture Courtsy--World Wide Web

In continuation to my previous post about the Spice Rack, I will go through some simple terms and what they mean in Indian Cooking.   
It is really helpful to basically understand the methods of cooking and your spices and follow the recipe to the T, to make a successful dish and get confident. Cooking is really an experiment in kitchen.some fail some succeed...

( Source for this wealth. Took help from the information on the link)

Bhuna -
Bhuna is a method of cooking Indian spices, particularly cooking in hot oil. This process is used to release and preserve the flavors of the spices while removing the raw feel of them. Its name literally means cooking in oil and used for cooking Indian food, especially curry.

Curry -
This is an Indian food that is made of various spices mixed and cooked together. Curry, which came from the Indian work kari, means vegetables soaked in spices and is therefore a good recipe to resemble the Indian spices. The traditional Indian curry is made up of fenugreek, turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, as well as cloves, coriander and other spices.

Tadka -
This is also a process of cooking spices which is similar to Bhuna. However, the difference is that Tadka is used for whole spices only.
** Notes form Ash
Ideally Tadka is heating little oil/ghee in a pan, adding mustard seeds, letting those crackle, then adding cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chili, and lastly adding turmeric and hing/Aesofodita. The reason you add turmeric and hing last is that it burns easily and turmeric will turn black and spoil the colour and the flavour it is needed to impart to the dish

Masala -
Masala is a term in India which means mixture of spices cooked in oil. Its most popular version is the Garam Masala which is used in preparing many Indian food recipes like curry. This mixture of spices is usually used as garnish for food.

Tandoori -
Tandoori is like a large oven made up of clay and heated with charcoal. It is used to cook various foods in spices including meat and chicken.

These are some of the things you need to know about Indian herbs and spices. Indian spices are not really hard to deal with and some are similar to what we use in our everyday life. It is just a matter of mixing and cooking them in a right way.

Hopefully, now you are not as intimidated with Indian cooking as you were before as now you know more than what you started out with, let the experiments begin..

Love Ash.

Spice Rack

Picture courtesy-World Wide Web

Welcome back, dear friends..Today I am going the spicy way..

Why this sudden 360 degree change in the pattern, you ask....well you see, I was posting way too many sugar treats recently, that one of my dear american friend asked me If I ever cook anything else or my family survives on the jams and cakes I bake...Am saying American because , she then asked me
 about the basic spices needed to cook an authentic Indian meal...I always thought that cooking Indian was the easiest way f cooking, maybe I was ignorant to the fact that being an Indian and that I was growing up in a very close knit family where everyone was  a chef, as they always moved for work or travel, they had to don the chef hat sooner than later maybe so for survival reasons alone...but then they were cooking great meals..

Then another friend said that Indian cooking scares her, she gave me a reasoning that going thorough the list of things needed for the curries; kind of tires her..she better have her indian food cravings satisfied at an indian food joint rather than slogging over the list and then collecting the spices needed... both instances happened in less than 2 days, that I felt like maybe they were hinting for a new post about some basics of Indian cooking and spices...

The home cooked Indian food is not the things one will usually find on the Menu in any Indian restaurant, Those are special meals prepared when one has company for lunch/dinner..after all, you will not find any american cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in June, July or any other occasion except Thanksgiving.. use the same logic...besides if we eat those tandoori dishes, heavy cream based curries day in and day out, you can imagine the state of our health and kind of diseases associated with them...Traditional Indian cooking is very easy, simple and very very healthy, using less oil, even lesser spices...

We do use few spices more than others like, Mustard seeds, Turmeric, Red Chili Powder or fresh Green Chili, cumin and coriander, hing and ginger and Cardamom on a daily basis...I will list some prominently used spices and their uses. At this point, I would like to let you all know that I am no expert and this list is compiled by yours truly  and her best friend Google( she was a lot of help). Without any further ranting,

Curry leaves --Kari patta,

They are used as a seasoning in Indian Cooking. The Curry leaves lose their delicate fragrance when dried, you should try to obtain them fresh, don't waste your time with the dried stuff!

Mustard- Rai

Mustard is known to be very helpful for digestion, and can help to speed up your metabolism. Mustard produces such a tiny seed yet it yields many health benefits. Mustard is one of the most popular spices in the entire world and is used in every country as a favorite spice. Part of the cabbage family, mustard can be used in its whole seed form, as a ground powder or combined with wine, vinegar or some other liquid to create a loose paste. There are three varieties of mustard: black, brown and white. The mustard plant grows to be quite tall and has a bright yellow flower.

Red Chilly-- Powder/fresh/dried : Cayenne Pepper-- Lal Mirch,

Now a basic Indian spice, used mainly for its pungent and fiery taste, one may use fresh green or red chilies instead.

Green Chilly-- Hari Mirch

Now a basic Indian spice, used mainly for its pungent and fiery taste, one may use fresh green or red chilies instead.

Cardamom Pods-- Eliachi

Used to flavor curries, masala chai and certain vegetables and Indian desserts and is one of the spices in Garam masala. Used for its strong but very pleasing flavor.

** Notes from
cardamom pods can be classified in 2 types: green or black. Green are mild and can be used to flavor curries, rice as well as sweets. Black used to flavor spices, curries and rice : has mostly savory application as it has a strong flavor.

Cinnamon --Dalchini,

Used for its sweet and pleasing flavor. It is the bark of the cinnamon tree and one of the spices in Garam masala. It is normally used to flavor curries, masala chai and certain vegetables and Indian desserts.

Clove -- Laung, Lavang, Lavanga

Used for its pleasing flavor. and is one of the spices in Garam masala. It easily loses its flavor and is used to flavor curries, masala chai and certain vegetables.

Black Pepper : Kala Mirchi

Black pepper are used in Indian cuisine at all stages of the cooking process and as a table condiment.

Turmeric-- Haldi

Its yellowish powder is derived from dried roots. This particular spice is known not only in India, but also in other Asian countries because of its aroma and color. It is also known to have anti oxidants and aids in treating leukemia. Turmeric is used for its flavour and attractive golden colour. A robust herbaceous perennial grows to a height of 1 metre with a short stem and tufted leaves. Turmeric is usually propagated from fingers or small sections of rhizome. The rhizomes grow best in a hot, moist climate. Turmeric smells peppery and fresh with a hint of oranges and ginger. It tastes pungent, bitter and musky. Turmeric is also an important flavouring for many Thai dishes, especially in curry powder. Turmeric is used commercially in sauces and in processed food. It is often added to mustard blends. Turmeric is taken as a tonic and as a remedy for liver problems. The juice of the raw rhizomes added to ointments is applied to treat skin diseases. Turmeric is a traditional textile dye. In paste form it is applied as a beauty mask.

Cumin-- Jeera

This spice is famous and important in many Ayurvedic cooking. It is found to have digestive attributes and is used to flavor food such as curry and vegetables. Cumin gives a distinctive warm flavour to an enormous range of savoury dishes. The seeds are oval and 5-6 mm long with longitudinal ridges and a few little bristles. They are usually light brown. But may be greenish or grayish. Cumin is one of the main constituents of curry powders. It is an annual and a hot-climate plant, grows to a height of 30-45 cm and produces a stem with many branches bearing long. Finely divided, deep green leaves and small flowers, white or rose colour, borne in umbels. The smell of cumin is quite pronounced, strong and heavy with acrid or warm depths. Cumin seeds taste slightly bitter, sharp and warm, and their pungent flavour persists for some time. Cumin is generally dry roasted before use to bring out its flavour. It is also found in pickles, ground cumin is frequently added to minced meat dishes and to vegetables. Cumin seeds are used as a remedy for diarrhea flatulence and indigestion.


Pudina belongs to the genus Mentha which consists of about 40 species of aromatic perennial herbs distributed mostly in the northern hemisphere. In Thailand, Mentha, cordifolia are reported to grow naturally. They have erect, square, branching stems, aromatic foliage, and flowers in leaf-axils. Their teas are popular a cool and refreshing taste. They flavour confectionery, drinks, cigarettes, toothpastes, and medicines. Mints are stimulant, aid digestion and reduce flatulence. It is included in ointments for cold remedies, and is given for headaches and other aches and pains.

Common Basil, Sweet Basil-- Tulsi

Sweet Basil is an erect glavrous herb, 30-90 cm high, has square stems with strong, fresh, clove-scented, toothed leaves and small, white, scented flowers, it is easily grown at home or in gardens in ordinary soil. The warm, spicy taste of this popular herb’s leaf combines will with garlic, tomatoes, aubergines, and many Thai dishes. The fresh leaves is important seasoning in Thai beef curry, fish soups, meat pies, etc. The essential oil flavours condiments, liquours, perfumes and soap. The plant is considered stomachic, aphrodisiac, expectorant, carminative and stimulant. An infusion aids digestion and is anti-bacterial, inhaling the essential oil refreshes the mind and stimulates a sense of smell dulled by viral infection. In massage oils, it is a nerve tonic and eases over-worked muscles. Basil should be avoided on sensitive skin and during pregnancy. It is delicious in sauces and with chicken.

Ginger-- Adrak, Sonth, Alla

A basic but not essential Indian spice, used for its warming properties and wonderful aroma and taste.

Tamarind-- Imli, Amla, Puli

The Juice of dry Tamarind are adequate to add a touch of sourness in the curry. It is extensively used in south Indian cuisine and is normally used as a replacement for tomatoes.

Fenugreek -- Methi Seeds, Kasuri Methi Leaves

This is a basic but not essential Indian spice which is actually a lentil and is used for its strong, bitter taste. After turmeric it has the most medically useful item in the Indian kitchen. If it is burnt it gets very bitter and should be thrown away

I found the above wealth at Thokalath

I will try and post the basic methods of cooking in the next post under the same label. Till then, experiment with your spices and make your food a little naughty.

Love Ash.


Shoutout for Doughnut or DoNut

What do you call a Doghnut or Do-Nut??? I prefer a Donut as I feel I am eating a treat rather than Dough Nut just sounds very DOUGHY to me..uncooked blob of dough...I am weird..I let's move on...

I had made the Vanilla Buttermilk Cake more than once at my home, but people in Ashland crave if u repeat things too many times around here, they kind of start disliking I added few sprinkles and baked the batter in the donut pan I had purchased from ACMoore, baking donuts at home has handed me  the MOM OF THE YEAR in Ashland...I have baked all sorts of cake batters in that pan..only problem is I got only ONE pan, so I cannot make more than 6 Donut...but anything n moderation will work for cut your cake and eat it too!!!!

I had some chocolate chips that needed some attention, so I made a simple chocolate sauce and covered the Donuts in the sauce and used up all the sprinkles I had...

Now make some and forget the race for the MOM OF THE YEAR award as once you start making this at home, the AWARD will race home to you.

Love Ash.


When Life throws Peaches and Plums in good measure

When Life Throws Peaches and Plums at you, What do you do?????

Make Jam, Silly.. and thats exactly what I did..My Kids Love Love Jam with toast on bread or with Phulka... but irony of irony is that they DO NOT TOUCH Store brought Jams, much so like cakes...I learnt to make them at home...Recently we had a small religious function at my sweet home and whoever came to seek blessings got with them..peaches and was like a major plan and scheme, I thought at first, but then realized that the stores in Jersey had an abundant produce supply of the sweetest peaches and juiciest plums...BUT what was I to do.. No way could A family of four finish around 20 peaches and 25 plums in 3-4 days...Having My MOM with me did no help as she firmly believes that; Once the fruit is offered to god, it has to be consumed and cannot go waste ( Not that we waste a lot of food in my house); the country I was born in is not a RICH country, more than 50% population starves daily and food is considered to be GOD, it is a habit scribed in our minds from a very tender age that we have to pray and thank the Bappa/God for making this meal a this jam was made and relished by my US born kids, who still at times do not understand what starvation is and why people are not able to afford a simple bagel and cheese sandwich...I simply pray to god at such times to give them the wisdom and never ever let a day go by in their lives when they have to face starvation.

I followed my moms recipe of making Amba Muramba/ Mango Preserve and replaced the Mango with peaches and plums cut into dices..

for Peaches and Plum Jam- You will need;

4 Cups (mixed) Peaches and Plums diced (with  skin included.. remove the pits though)
2 cups sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon Powder-Optional
1Tsp Lemon Juice

In a wide bowl, take the diced peaches and plums together in a pot and add sugar to it. Keep aside for an hour or so.. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the peaches and plums and sugar mixture, and one tspn lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often. IT is optional to add little cinnamon powdered or use sticks while it is being cooked, gives a nice aroma and taste( The whole house smells like it's the season of falling leaves and crisp air). When Cooked and the jam starts sticking to the sides of the pan, remove from heat and cool.

Transfer to hot sterile jars and seal. Process in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don't bother with processing, and just refrigerate after its cold enough.

** Note that the plums will be almost invisible but the peaches will hold itself.. We like chunky jams, but if you don't like it to be chunky, run it through a food mill while still hot and then store it in a bottle
Make jam and let there be peace in the world.. at least it makes peace in Ashland!!!

Love Ash


Vegetable Omlette

Am on a roll for fast and speedy meals.. whenever Mr.Ash travels for work, my mood meter in the kitchen swings between low to lowest..He always complains that I cook all nice things when he travels and he gets to eat the regular kids like any type of paratha or dosa with cheese or sour cream.....I often make spinach dosa like here, or oats dosa like here, just mix around and change few things and make these pancakes..they taste divine and healthy meal can be on the dinner table in a matter of minutes

You will need;

1 cup Wheat flour -
1 cup Rice Flour
1 cup Besan
1 chopped Big onion
1 cup mixture of shredded carrots, tomato, corn, (I added small diced Pumpkin also)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1 green chili - chopped fine
1 tbsp chopped curry leaves
few coriander leaves
Salt and Sugar to taste
2 tbsp refined oil


Add all the other ingredients with wheat flour and water as needed and mix well. Mixture should be like a pancake mix, not runny but flowing. Heat Dosa Tava/Pan on low flame and grease it with oil . Spread dosa batter like a pancake..and let cook on one side, then turn over after a min and cook the other side well. cook covered if needed..

Enjoii when its still hot.. from pan to plate should be JUST fine....

Love Ash.

Popeye Pancake

By Now you must have guessed that I don't like to spend  a lot of time in my kitchen when there are multiple things happening around me, my kiddos making a Lego car wash, Mr. Ash taking pictures of their creations, we all get involved in the imaginary world of pretend play washing and caring for our cars..till HUNGER Strikes and Ms.Ash realizes that she had forgotten all about dinner...

This Popeye Pancake is a dosa/pancake is made from spinach and corn..Spinach Dosa is just so plain and BORING..and who needs boring food after a fun game of pretend Lego carwash..Rite!!!
And also partly because if you do not make things interesting, food looses its charm..This is one lesson I learnt from the juice vendor outside my Law School..he made all sorts of juices..For eg;
mara-mari=orange and mosambi juice
anarkali= orange,mosambi and so...

Hence this name, it's all about marketing nowadays. if you want your kids to eat home food without whining, change the name. I plan on making many more interesting food stuff in future.. like maybe a Lego sandwich(Cakewich) and a Wonder Pet Snack( Celery sticks). I tell you kids will eat anything if they see their favourite characters eating it on TV.
You will need;

1 cup Wheat flour -
1 cup pureed Spinach--Blanche spinach leaves in boiling water and grind into paste
1 chopped Big onion
1 cup mixture of corn and peas,
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1 green chili - chopped fine
1 tbsp chopped curry leaves
Salt and Sugar to taste
2 tbsp refined oil


Add all the other ingredients with wheat flour and water as needed and mix well. Mixture should be like a pancake mix, not runny but flowing. Heat Dosa Tava/Pan on low flame and grease it with oil . Spread dosa batter like a pancake..and let cook on one side, then turn over after a min and cook the other side well. cook covered if needed..

Enjoii when its still hot.. from pan to plate should be JUST fine....

Love Ash.


Batman Cake

In continuing with the superhero theme, I made this cake for my Nephew birthday party. I had the superman and the spider man on one cake, then we all felt bad that poor Batman could not be a part of the whole superhero we decided to make a three tiered cake with spiderman as the lowest tier then the batman and then the per our plans I prepared the boxed mix for one 10 inch cake and one 6 inch cake. it was past midnight and we realized that we were all out of eggs...what  a girl to do in such situation???

My sweetest SIL offered to run down the convenience store and garb a dozen eggs, but I would not agree to it....I am very traditional at heart.. imaginary robbers, thugs and ghosts scare my mind even at the thought of anyone walking down those black roads past midnight.. and you think I would let my dear one alone on that path....NO way!!!!

We still were facing the no eggs at home scene...Necessity is the mother of invention...Then it stuck me why not simply cut the eggs part and bake it anyways...then MY SIL remembered having Mango Puree stashed in her pantry.. I had already used mango puree instead of water in My Burger Cake; so I knew in my heart that this would definitely work.. we were back on track and this turned out to be the most popular cake of all three cakes that I baked that day!!!

Sometimes it's necessary to make do with what you have rather than simply give up with what you don't!!! This logic if applied to our life, would solve many hidden potential tiffs and worries...Cheers to a stress free life!!!

Love Ash.

Kaju Katli

I love Love Kaju Katli. I do not know anyone who does not love kaju Katli. they are small diamonds of pure happiness and bliss....When I landed in US some years back, I found out a sweet Shop" Sukhadia" and boy was I happy.. MY sweet-tooth danced and god had mercy on me, when I had my first box of Kaju katli, here in US, just landed after marriage....Mr. Ash got these for me every now and then..more now and less of than and it did help in making me less home sick initially...(and the fat stuck to my waist like a magnet)...But that still does not stop me from stealing a piece or two from the box....

Its  a permanent fixture on my list of stuff to get from India in every trip...BUT with the costs and inflation going up, I have started feeling slightly embarrassed to ask for these from my folks, so I take help from my best friend "Google", which took me to this recipe. I do not know where I got this from as I did search intensively for a fast and easy peasy rec..and this is literally a 20 minute dish.. I even had to make the cashew powder and it did make a decent size batch.. I made this today as its Ganesh Chaturthi; ideally we make modaks; which happen to be Ganpati Bappa's Favourite sweet, but a work day morning is not an appropriate time for me to make the modaks.. so pushed the plan to the weekend. I made these today morning and then offered it as Prasad after my pooja. I prayed that God be kind on mankind and forgive our sins and not punish mother earth for our deeds. The earthquake in Japan and then Hurricane Irene have washed our souls and have left a huge impact of disaster and losses evrywhere.

Coming back to Kaju Katli and sweetness in life, Now run and make these today itself. Afterall Ganpati Bappa would also want some variety apart from his usual Modak!!!

Kaju katli’

Here's what you need

8"/10" frying pan
1 plate greased with ghee
1 flat plate or any flat surface greased.
1 wooden spatula
A sharp knife / pizza cutter
1 cup whole cashews

Grind it to fine powder. Do not add water or milk. Cashews if refrigerated(at least for a day) grinds well to form powder.

1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
few strands of saffron(optional)(I didn't use this)

The Cooking Process

In the frying pan bring the water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium add the cardamom, saffron, sugar. Mix well with a wooden spatula.

When sugar dissolves add the cashew powder and mix well to avoid lumps. Keep stirring the mixture till it starts leaving the sides of the pan and begins to thicken. At this stage switch off the flame, remove the content in a greased plate and let it cool for 4-5 mins.

When this mixture turn warm enough to be handled, with grease your hand and knead it well till it forms a smooth shinny ball. Roll this ball with a rolling pin on a flat surface. Shape the edges of this rolled circle to form a square so that you don't have any shapeless pieces .

With a pizza cutter/knife form the diamonds. Let them lay there for 5 mins. Separate these diamonds a store them in an airtight container-I prefer a nice big size one and avoid stacking them one above another. Anyways, they are all gone in couple of hours.

You may use silver leaf to decorate being cutting them in diamond shapes.

Use of cardamom and saffron is purely optional. You could also add few drops of rose water or rose essence.

Note from Ash;
Few lessons I learnt was will not flop even if u cook a little longer...just add one tsp ghee and roll out and make the katli's...the right time to stop cooking was when the mixture staretd collecting on the wooden spoon and making the cashew powder real fine helps a lot..

I am sending this entry to Any One Can Cook : New Weekly Event cooking with less ingredients.

Gapati Bappa Morya!!!!
Love Ash.