Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Divine Diwali Dessert

With Diwali just round the corner, I am sure all of you are feeling the festiveness and getting all geared up for greetings and parties.  But what's Diwali and parties without delicious food? So, today I want to share with all of you the recipe for a yummy chocolatey sweet that can be made in about 10 minutes!  Every year I pack cute little containers with sweets and savory snacks and gift them to my neighbors and friends during this time.  I love putting up lights around the house and decorating the porches and patios with designs (rangoli).  This recipe is a contender for this year, for it's ease and taste.  It's also rather contemporary and has been a real hit so far.

Finally, here is the recipe for:

Charming Chocolate Burfi

1 pack Instant Dry Milk powder
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 tbsp- Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
2 tbsp Hershey's chocolate syrup

Mix milk powder, sugar and heavy cream.
Halve this mixture into two bowls, add chocolate syrup and cocoa powder to one and mix very well. 
Microwave both mixtures for 2 minutes, then fold in.  Repeat this process until mixture attains the consistency of soft cheese, firm enough to cut into bars.
Now, spread the non-cocoa mixture onto a baking pan, then layer it with the cocoa mixture, so you have a two-color sweet that you can cut into bars. Give it time to set , about an hour or so to cool off, before cutting into pieces.

Since this is milk-based, it should be stored in the refrigerator, but believe me, it goes fast when you have it out, so you may not need to store it at all!

Variations: You may add almond or walnut flour to this for a nutty flavor, and/or garnish with chopped nuts, or use food color in the white part of the dessert for a different look.  For a more festive look, decorate with a thin silver foil on top.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Keen on Kidney Beans

During my lunch hour today, I decided to look for fresh ideas on healthy lunches for school.  I have run out of meal contraptions based on wheat, salad/fruit and dairy.  So, I thought to myself, this leaves us with rice and beans.  Speaking of beans, I can feel my mouth watering just thinking of this delish curry with dark red kidney beans as the main ingredient.  To make this easier to prepare, I use two shortcuts.  One, I use canned beans (however, I would recommend soaking dry beans overnight and cooking them in the pressure cooker to get them to be exactly like the canned version, minus the preservatives).  The second shortcut is that I use store bought masala called Rajma masala (this is available in Indian grocery stores), for flavor.  Now, all we need to do is make the base of the curry using onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.  It is so worth it!

Kidney Beans Curry (Rajma)

A can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Medium red onion - finely chopped
Medium red tomato (fresh preferred over canned) - diced
2 tsp ginger/garlic paste
1 tbsp oil
Rajma masala
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnishing
1/2 cup of water/vegetable stock

Heat oil in saucepan.  Add onions and saute until pinkish brown, then add the ginger/garlic paste, saute until done but not burnt.  Next, add the tomatoes and salt.  Saute for a couple of minutes before adding rajma masala.  Add beans and water, and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes till beans become tender.  Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice or naan.  Inhale the aroma and dig in!