Friday, January 8


Someone asked me 'What would you like for your last meal on the earth'. 'Ice cream' and 'Basundi' was a ready answer. Basundi is a dessert made by reducing milk for hours.
Eating Basundi has always been #1 on 'things to eat list' during the India visit. Somehow I haven't found any good place in bay area which serves basundi. I tried the instant mixes but they are miserable as they contain nothing but milk powder and sugar.

Today I found a can of condensed milk in the pantry when I was looking for something else. It was a Eureka moment. 'N' just knew I was up to something. The joy in his eyes when I served Basundi for dinner was worth the efforts.

1. 14 Oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2. 14 Oz fat free milk.
3. 12 Oz can of fat free evaporated milk.
4. 8 Oz heavy whipping cream.
5. 6-7 Almonds
6. a pinch of saffron.

How to make
1. Soak almonds in warm water for 15-20 minutes. That way it becomes easier to cut them in small pieces.
2. Mix sweetened condensed milk, fat free milk, evaporated milk and heavy whipping cream together in a heavy bottom sauce pan.
3. Put it on heat on low for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently.
4. Add chopped almonds ( or any dry fruit of your choice) and crushed saffron.
5. Heat it till it boils.
6. Set it in the refrigerator and serve it cold. Tastes best when served with Puri.

Thursday, January 7

Tambda Rassa and Sukha Chicken.

On a rainy night of the winter 'Tambda Rassa' gives you a reason to stay home and still be happy. This curry consists of 2 parts - Suka Chicken aka dry chicken ( without gravy) and Rassa aka very thin gravy..almost like flavored broth.

Without any more prelude here's the recipe. I have modified the original recipe to make it a little healthy but all due credit to Amruta and Ashish.

1. Chicken - Breast + thighs.
2. 4-5 cloves.
3. One medium stick of Cinnamon.
4. 12-15 Peppercorn.
5. 1 cup Coriander seeds.
6.1 cup Sesame seeds.
7. 2 dry red chillies
8. 1 green chilly.
9. 2 cups of chopped fresh Coriander leaves.
10. 1 cup of dry coconut.
11. 1 cup of freshly grated coconut.
12. 3 big Onions.
13. 10 Garlic cloves.
14. 2 inch Ginger piece.
15. 2 Teaspoons of oil
16. 1 cup of yogurt.
17. 2 Teaspoons of Turmeric powder.
18. 4-5 Aniseed.
19. 3 Cardamom pods.
20 2-3 teaspoons of poppy seeds.

How to make.
1. Cut chicken in big chunks and clean it. In a pressure cooker cook chicken with turmeric powder and ginger.
2. Do not discard the broth. That would be used for Rassa.
3. Cut the bottom portion of the onion and give it some rough chops. Roast it in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 mins. All ovens are different so just keep an eye on the onion. We want it to be a little brownish on the outside and little mushy.
4. Roast together - Peppercorn, dry coconut, cloves, sesame seeds,coriander seeds, poppy seeds,aniseed,cardamom and keep aside to cool.
5. Roast freshly grated coconut just enough to remove the moisture.
6. When cooled grind together #3,#4 and #5 above with garlic and coriander. Do not add any water.
7. Chop one onion very finely. Heat oil in the pan and add onion with little bit of red chilly powder.
8. Once the onions are translucent, add half the mixture from #6 above and fry for 2 minutes.
9. To the onions, add the drained chicken pieces and fry for another 5-6 minutes. Remember, the chicken is already cooked so this step is just to spice it up. You would find that the breast pieces start falling apart. That's when you want to stop and add a little salt and pepper to taste.
10. Add the remaining mixture from #6 to the broth and start boiling. Adjust salt.
11. Once it start boiling, add the yogurt and boil again. This step is to make it little less spicy. If you are the one who likes to sweat eating hot stuff ; just skip this step :).
12. You have your suka chicken and Rassa ready. Enjoy is with plain roti and/or steam rice! YUM!!!

Spring Onion and Leek Pithale

Pithale is a classic Mahatashtrian dish made out of gram flour. It's a hit at my home any day. Quick, easy and hands down delicious.!!

Here is a little variation to the classic recipe. The original recipe has regular onions and has more gram flour than onions. I tried to make it little healthier by reducing the flour and adding fresh spring onions and leeks.

1. 5 bunches of fresh spring onions.
2. 2 bunches of leek.
3. 1 teaspoon of cumin powder.
4. 1 teaspoon of coriander powder.
5. 1 teaspoon of red chilly powder.
6. Salt to taste.
7. Pinch of sugar.
8. Juice of a lemon.
9. 1 teaspoon of oil
10. 1/2 cup of gram flour.

How to make.
1. Add all the powders, lemon juice, salt and sugar together to the gram flour. Adjust the red chilly powder based on how much spicy you want.
2. Add oil to the pan and add chopped spring onions, chopped leeks.
3. Add salt and keep stirring until the onions and leeks start leaving some water.
4. Add the mixture from #1 slowly and keep stirring.
5. Adjust salt and red chilly powder. Quick and easy and definitely a good meal for a busy weekday night!!