Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mawa Cake ... with a recipe for Instant Mawa

** This post contains affiliate links.

So last week I shared with you a lesser known, but extremely yummy recipe for a biscuit found in the Pune-Mumbai region - Shrewsbury Biscuits. If you haven't seen that yet, go check it out, I'll still be here when you get back.

Okay, so you're back. Today, is the turn for another lesser known recipe, this time for a cake called Mawa Cake. Again, as far as I know this cake is found in the Pune-Mumbai region. Kayani Bakery in Pune and Merwan's Cake shop in Mumbai are popular for their Mawa cake, though you will find quite a few other shops selling this cake. They are usually sold in packs of 6 - 6 muffin sized pieces. This simple cake is so very special. It is not much to look at, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. If you've never heard about this cake before, you should put it on your list of recipes to try out. Mawa is nothing but milk solids and this is widely used in a lot of Indian sweets.

A lot of people cringe at the thought of making their own mawa and just buy it from the local Dairy shop in India. This is because, while it is a simple process of reducing milk, working with about a litre of milk could take you about an hour to process. In the past, I have made Mawa the traditional way a couple of times. But for this cake, I decided to try out a cheat's version of Mawa. This method takes literally 2 minutes at the most, and you would never be able to tell that it is an instant version.  I'm so happy that I found this method. I have a whole bunch of recipes for Indian sweets that I've been ignoring, simply because it calls for Mawa. But that has changed, so you can expect to see some more Indian sweets / Mithai recipes, just before the Indian festival season starts.

Back to the cake. If you have your Mawa sorted out, the rest of the recipe is like a simple pound cake one but with a serious flavor profile. The Mawa adds a richness to the cake and it is mildly flavored with cardamom powder, resulting in a very exotic tasting cake. This time around my husband made the cake, which I guess made it even tastier (lol). He chose to bake this in an 8" round cake tin, but you could bake it in a cupcake tray too. I do hope you try it out.




Mawa Cake
Yields: an 8 inch cake

1 portion of homemade mawa (recipe below) or 200g unsweetened mawa
200g all purpose flour
300g sugar
200g butter
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (Seeds of about 10-12 green cardamom pods, powdered)

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Grease and line an 8-Inch Round Cake Pan with parchment paper / baking paper. Alternatively, if you are baking them in cupcake sizes, line a Cupcake tray with paper liners.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the whites to a stiff froth and keep aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks till light and creamy.

Add the mawa, cardamom powder, baking powder and flour and mix till well incorporated. (If the mawa in store bought or is a firm block, grate it before adding into the batter)

Fold in the beaten egg whites gently till just evenly incorporated in the batter.

Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes or till a bamboo skewer inserted near the middle of the cake come out clean.



Cool completely, cut and serve. Don't get fooled by the look of the cake. It tastes a whole lot better than it looks. And don't forget, if my husband (who has probably not baked more than a handful of times so far), can whip this up, so can you.






Enjoy!!!


How to make Instant Mawa?
Recipe from: Yummy Tummy

1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
4 tbsp milk
1 cup full fat milk powder

Warm the ghee and the milk together. You just want this mixture warm, not hot.

In a bowl, stir this milk and ghee mix into the milk powder till mixed well and comes together to form a ball.

If it is too sticky, add another spoon of milk powder and stir again.

Use to make mawa cake.



Notes: If you are baking the cake in a  regular cake tin and not a cupcake tray, in some cases, the milk solids may cause the cake to brown quickly. This is normal, but if you think it is browning too fast and may burn, cover the tin loosely with aluminium foil and continue baking till the cake is done. 


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Shrewsbury Biscuits

Shrewbury biscuits are the best biscuits ever. EVER. They are buttery, sweet and melt in your mouth. Once you've had a taste of these, you won't be able to stop at one. 

It has been ages since I enjoyed one of these biscuits. If you haven't heard of these, I don't really blame you. I haven't seen these at all in Australia. In India, if you are from Pune or the surrounding areas, Kayani's Bakery was where you'd get your fix of these. And if you were really lucky, a random store in Mumbai would stock them.

But today, I come bearing good news, no, Great News. You can now make Shrewsbury biscuits at home with 4 basic pantry staples - butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Yup, that's how simple it is. Now the trick to getting these biscuits right, is to bake them on a low temperature for a slightly longer period. But keep an eye on them. You want to take them out just when they start getting a little color on them maybe even a tiny bit earlier than I did this batch. 

The store bought Shrewsbury biscuits have a distinct look. They are stamped. These may not look like the store bought one, but they taste just like them, if not better. And I'm not just saying that, the store bought ones contain margarine and who knows what kind of stuff is in it. These are made using butter. And it is a well known fact that everything is better with butter. :) These biscuits are smaller than the store bought ones but they look daintier this way. Serve them up with a hot cup of tea when you're expecting company over and get ready to be the most popular biscuit maker around.



Shrewsbury Biscuits
Yields: 24 small biscuits

200g all purpose flour
100g superfine sugar (or powdered granulated sugar)
150g butter, at room temperature (If you're using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the dough)
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 150ºC. 

Line a baking tray with some baking paper and lightly grease it and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar till light and creamy. 

Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

Add the flour and stir through. Gently knead till it just about forms a soft dough.

Divide the dough into 24 portions. 

Roll them out into balls and flatten to a disc and place on the prepared baking tray.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or till they are just starting to develop some color. 

Cool completely and store in an air tight container. 


This recipe has been shared with -
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Goan Fish Cutlets

Fish cutlets are one of my favorite seafood recipes to make and to eat. I love seafood and I also happen to love cutlets. They are so versatile. You can serve them as a snack / appetizer (they go so well with a chilled beer), as a meal with a side of chips and / or a salad or you can use them to make a fantastic burger. I have shared a recipe for fish cutlets previously using fresh fish. You can find that one here. This recipe is fairly similar with the exception of one main difference. This one uses canned tuna.

Now, I love my fish fresh. I believe that fresh is the best way to enjoy fish. But yesterday, I found myself longing to eat some fish cutlets but didn't have any fresh fish. Now that was just not going to do. So I put my thinking hat on and eventually decided to try to make cutlets using canned tuna instead. I had heard that some people make their cutlets with canned fish, but I'd never tried it out for myself. I happened to have a few cans of tuna chunks in the pantry, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

The cans I used were tuna chunks in spring water. You need to make sure you drain the tuna well. I didn't know what to expect and found that I had to use a little extra egg for binding but in the end I was delighted with the results. The cutlets were delicious. It took a fraction of the time to make compared to if you were to use fresh fish because the fish has to be cooked and deboned. So in all, I was extremely pleased with this attempt.

The type of canned tuna will determine how much egg is needed. I would recommend starting out using one egg and if you can shape the cutlets easily without them falling apart, then you are good to go. If not add more egg to the mix.




Goan Fish Cutlets
Yields: 12 cutlets

4 cans of tuna (I used 95g cans of chunk tuna in spring water)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 red birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped (about a fistful)
Salt, to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1-3 eggs
2 slices of bread
Panko bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets (you could use regular bread crumbs too)
Oil for frying

Drain the tuna thoroughly and flake it in a large mixing bowl.

Soak the bread slices in water for about 5 minutes and squeeze thoroughly. Crumble the bread as fine as you can and add it to the bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the panko bread crumbs and the oil to the bowl.

Place a layer of the breadcrumbs on a dry plate.

Using the fish mix, shape into cutlets and carefully coat on both sides with the bread crumbs.

Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat and carefully place the coated cutlets on the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat till golden brown on one side.

Then carefully flip over to cook to a golden brown on the other side too. Add another spoon of oil to the pan as needed.

Repeat till the batter is over and all the cutlets are fried.

Serve hot.


If you enjoy a good cutlet, try out some of these recipes -
Fish Cutlets
Beef Cutlets
Eggplant Patties
Thai Inspired Chicken Patties
Quick and Easy Crab Cakes


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowl

Ever since we were little, my mother made sure we ate a lot of vegetables. When I think of it, my brother and I were never picky or fussy about eating our vegetables. My mother and my Nana (maternal grandmother) who lived with us, taught us the value of food and ingrained in us how we were lucky to have meals that were lovingly prepared, when there were so many all around the world that had to go without any. And that lesson has staying with us till date. For this we are ever so grateful. 

Very often, I find myself with not much in the fridge, especially towards the end of the week, just before grocery shopping. On one such occasion, I had a few veggies, none of them enough to make a dish in itself, so I thought I'd just combine the lot of them. I also had some leftover falafel from a previous trip to Costco so I added them to the mix. What I ended up was this glorious winter veggie bowl. 

Putting together a veggie spread like this is so simple and requires very little hands on time. And the best part is you can swap these veggies for any that you have in the fridge. I added a simple salad and dressing over it and topped it with some roasted peanuts. I can't tell you how satisfying it is to dig into a bowl like this - veggies in all their glory. I could live on food like this. You won't even miss the meat and all these beautiful colors are really good for you too. That's a win win. The recipe below is not quite a recipe, just guidelines if you want to whip up something like this. Please feel free to change as you wish.



 
Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowl
Serves 2 

1 beetroot, boiled, peeled and cut into pieces 
2 carrots, cut into 2" long pieces
Cauliflower florets (dont waste the stalks, cut the stalk into cubes and use with the florets)
4 pcs. falafel (prepare according to package instructions)
Hummus 
Olives, pitted and sliced
Green Salad (recipe follows)
Garlic Yogurt dressing (recipe follows)
A small handful of pistachios
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil, to drizzle over

When prepping the veggies, try and cut them the same size so that they cook evenly. 

I roasted each vegetable in a separate baking dish, but if you prefer, you can use the same dish.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Cut the carrots, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss well to coat and place in a baking dish in a single layer and bake for 15-20 minutes or till cooked to your liking. Flip the carrots halfway through the cook time.

Sprinkle the cauliflower florets with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss well to coat and place in another baking dish in a single layer and bake for 15-20 minutes or till cooked to your liking. Flip the carrots halfway through the cook time.

Heat a pan and roast the pistachios on medium flame till they've lightly browned.


For the salad
1 cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, cubed
1/3 small red / white onion, finely sliced
Salad greens of your choice (lettuce, arugula, rocket, baby spinach)
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Lime juice, to taste

Toss all the ingredients.


For the Garlic Yogurt dressing -  
1 cup Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste
1-2 tsp sugar, or to taste
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (Use freshly chopped garlic. Do not use garlic paste because that is too pungent for a salad)

Stir all the ingredients through and set aside.


To assemble the bowls -

Place the cut beetroot, roasted carrots, cauliflower, falafel, hummus, olives and the salad in a bowl.

Drizzle the dressing over it. Serve a little extra on the side for the falafel.

Top with the roasted pistachios.

Enjoy!
 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Date, Apricot & Chia Bars

How many of you enjoy your dry fruits, nuts and seeds? I'm talking raisins, sultanas, dates, apricots, prunes or almonds, cashewnuts, peanuts and also pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and sunflower seeds. Me, I love them all. They are all known to have health benefits if eaten in small quantities as part of a balanced diet. It is a shame that more people don't include these little gems in the diets. My husband loves nuts, but isn't too keen on the dried fruit or seeds by themselves. So I have to think of ways to include them in our diet. Most often, we usually just nibble on a small handful of an assortment of fruits and nuts / seeds, but I was looking for other ways to enjoy them too.

When I came across a post with these bars, I knew I had found something good. It has dates, apricots, pepitas, chia seeds and a touch of cinnamon, all of which are know to be healthy in their own right. They come together to form these little delicious bars which are so tasty. They are sweet from the dates, a little tangy from the apricots and have the crunch of the chia seeds and pepitas though them. As the original recipe included a small amount of white chocolate chips, I threw them in, but they would be fantastic even with dark chocolate or even without chocolate at all.

The verdict, my husband enjoys them, which is a win for dry fruits in his books. They are small portion sizes, but pack a punch. If you like to reach for a snack bar or a granola bar during the day, I suggest trying these out. They are very satisfying and will keep the hunger pangs away till your next meal. They take all of 10 minutes hands on time. So even if you are time poor, you can still make a batch of these on your day off and enjoy them through the week. Kids will enjoy them too. Go ahead, give them a try. If you do, I'd love to hear what you think of them.



Date, Apricot & Chia Bars
Recipe from: Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Yields: 16 pieces (2 inch squares)

1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup dried apricots
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds / pepitas
2 tbsp white chocolate chips (optional)

Line an 8x8 inch baking dish or tray with baking paper.

Place the dates, apricots, chia seeds and cinnamon in a food processor and blitz till it has coarsely broken down.

Add the pepitas to the processor and blitz again till the pepitas have broken down to finely chopped.

Now add the chocolate chips, if you're using them and blitz again to break them up to little pieces.

Empty this mix onto the lined baking dish and flatten it down as best as you can, using the back of a spoon.

Next, I used another piece of baking paper on the top and used a large glass jar to flatten it out evenly. You can also use the bottom of a pan or a similar sized baking dish to do this after you place the baking paper on top.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Cut into squares. They are now ready to eat.

To store these bars, place a piece of baking paper between the squares to keep them from sticking to each other. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

You now have little snack bars that will take you through the week.

Enjoy!!!


If you like this recipe, here's a few more you might enjoy -
Fruit & Nut Balls
Power Packed Snack Bars
Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal


Monday, May 22, 2017

Mungode - Split moong (mung) bean fritters

I love snacking. Probably more than I love my meals. There, I said it! I think this is because I grew up in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Mumbai is famous for its street food, which are mostly snacking options. Some light snacks and others can be more substantial and work well as meals in themselves. Its their easy availability and their reasonable prices that makes them so popular.

Since I am not in Mumbai anymore, you can only imagine how much I miss these delectable treats. So out of necessity and a healthy amount of curiosity, in the past couple of years, I've found myself looking out for Indian snack recipes to try out at home. Once you start looking it up, you will be amazed at how much variety there is out there. India is a big country with rich, cultural diversity and that is reflected in its food as well. This has worked very well for me, because it gives me an opportunity to try out heaps of different recipes, like this one. Mungode is a one such treat that I recently stumbled upon. Yes, it is another deep fried treat, like a lot of other Indian snacks, but its not like you'd indulge in this everyday. It is a simple recipe to follow with minimal prep work involved, just the kind of recipes I like. These little deep fried Moong dal (split and hulled mung bean) fritters are crunchy on the outside, full of flavor and are best served hot with some ketchup or your favorite Mint chutney.



Mungode
Recipe from: Swati's Kitchen
Serves 3-4 as a snack

1 cup moong dal (Split and hulled mung beans)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1-2 green/red birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Oil, for deep frying

Wash the moong dal and drain the water. Do this about 3-4 times.

Soak the dal in fresh, tepid water for about an hour.

Grind it to a coarse paste and empty into a mixing bowl.

Add the onion, ginger, green chillies, coriander and salt to the bowl with the dal and mix well.

Heat oil for deep frying. 

Drop in little portions of the batter. I used portions a little less than a teaspoonful. (You don't want large fritters or it might not cook through.) Also, keep the fritters uniform sized so that they cook evenly.

Don't overcrowd the pan and fry the fritters in batches.

Let the fritters fry till golden brown on medium heat. Drain using a slotted spoon.

Drain on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil for a couple of minutes.  Repeat with any remaining batter. 

Serve hot with tomato ketchup or mint chutney and a nice hot cup of tea.

Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Date and Walnut Cake .... keeping it real !!!

Have you tried a date and walnut cake before? A lot of people haven't. If you've spent some time in Bombay and been a part of celebrations there, every now and then you will find a Date & Walnut Cake pop up. This cake is a beautiful tea cake. It has a lovely flavor from the dates, a crunch from the walnuts and a rich, dark color that the dates lend to it. It has the most beautiful, luscious crumb. I can't praise this cake enough. You have to try it to believe it. Its a shame I don't make this cake more often.

As for keeping it real, I know a lot of food blogs are perfect. Not just picture perfect, but flawless in so many ways. My little blog is far from that. I like that it is human in that way. Even in my kitchen, there are times where I make some boo boos, I have brain farts and sometimes, I just could've planned better. This is one of those times where my brain was on a trip of its own. Maybe I was just over excited about this cake. While this cake batter is really easy to put together, I forgot to put the walnuts in it. I only realized this after pouring the batter into my parchment lined loaf pan. So what did I do? I just poured the walnuts on top and tried to stir it through the batter. That is why, you'll notice the walnuts are mostly near the top of the cake. If you add them to the batter when you are supposed to, it will be better distributed. Now I could've waited till I baked this cake again to post this recipe. But in the true spirit of keeping it real and not wanting to keep this recipe from you any longer, I decided to post it with its tiny imperfection. I cannot tell you how amazing this cake is and I do hope you try it out.




Date & Walnut Cake

200g walnuts, chopped
100g dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
100g butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp soda bi carb
1 tsp vanilla essence

Place the chopped dates in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle soda bi carb over the dates. 

Place the sugar and butter in the bowl with the dates and pour the boiling water over. 

Stir gently and set aside to cool.

In the meanwhile line a loaf tin with parchment paper and grease the base and sides.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

When the mix has cooled down, beat the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Add the eggs and flour in three batches alternating between the two. (Add 1/3 of the eggs and whisk, add 1/3 of the flour and whisk until just combined and continue like this working in thirds.)

Add the walnuts and stir through the batter. 

Pour into the prepared baking tray and bake immediately.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes or till a skewer pierced through the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let it cool down. Slice and enjoy with a steaming hot cup of tea.


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