Eggless Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

I am not a big fan of pies, especially pumpkin. But for the last couple of weeks, there were pies all over the place....blogs, TV, magazines and I was tempted to make one, but definitely not the traditional one. So I settled on making these tarts for thanksgiving. There had to be chocolate of course! The recipe is adapted from the Chocolate Walnut Bars I posted earlier...just omitted the eggs and added some pumpkin puree.
I had some difficulty rolling the dough. It wouldn't roll out smooth, I'm guessing its the walnut pieces and then there was not enough flour on the table, so most of the dough had stuck. I could cut out two circles, the rest I just took pieces and put them on the tart pan and patched them together. Though it didn't look perfect, it worked out fine and the tart was firm and didn't crack after baking. The filling is a breeze to prepare. I got six mini tarts or you can make one 9" tart. I have to say I wouldn't know it had pumpkin unless someone told me. More like a chocolate tart and that worked very well for me :)

Eggless Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

55 gms walnuts
1 cup flour (I used 50-50 wheat and all purpose flour)
1/3 cup sugar 
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 tbs cold butter, cut into small pieces
pinch of  salt
few tbs of cold water 

2 tbs butter, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbs cornflour mixed with 5 tbs water

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C. 
Grind the walnuts with some sugar to a coarse powder.

Combine the powdered walnuts, remaining sugar and flour in a bowl.
Add the cold butter and rub it in using your finger tips or pulse in a food processor till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add water few drops at a time and mix with your fingers until it comes together like a dough. Do not knead the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 30 mins.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4" thickness and line your tart moulds.
Bake for about 15 - 20 mins or till set and golden. Keep aside to cool.

Sieve the cocoa to remove lumps. Mix all the ingredients together till smooth. Divide between the cooled crusts and bake for about 30 mins or till set. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for a few hours. Remove from tart pans carefully and serve.

Sending this to The Holiday Recipe Exchange hosted by My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats sponsored by Breville.

Turkey Burgers with Zucchini Tomato Yogurt Relish

Happy Thanksgiving! After seeing all the roasted turkeys on TV, I really really wanted to roast one myself, but I chickened out at the last moment, just like the last couple of years. I even had a recipe finalized this time, but I kept thinking of what I'd do with the entire bird. How many sandwiches or casseroles can two people eat! But I really wanted to have turkey, so I settled on making these yummy burgers. We had them with Baked Sweet Potato Fries and I also made some Eggless Chocolate Pumpkin Tarts for dessert. It was a simple meal, but very satisfying.

Indian Spiced Turkey Burgers with Zucchini Tomato Yogurt Relish

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbs finely chopped ginger
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
4-5 green chilies, finely chopped
1 lb ground turkey
handful of cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste

3/4 cup greek/ or other yogurt
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
lemon juice to taste
salt to taste

lettuce or other greens
Cilantro Chutney
Burger buns

Heat 1tsp oil in a pan. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and saute till the onions are soft, there is no need to brown. Take off the heat and cool.
Take the turkey, onion mixture, cilantro, chopped carrot, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt in a bowl and mix well with a fork or you can use your hands.
Shape the mixture into 6 patty's and brush each one with a little oil. Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat and brush with oil. Cook the patty's till done, about 5-6 mins per side.

Yogurt Relish:
Mix together all the ingredients and refrigerate for about an hour.

Toast the burger buns if you like. Spread some cilantro chutney on each half. Make the burgers with some greens, one patty and some yogurt relish. Serve hot with some sweet potato fries.

Bread Koftas in a Pumpkin Gravy for Taste and Create

I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the fourth time yesterday and I'm certain I'll be watching it many more times. I had a wand in one of my dreams last night, if only I could remember what it was all about: :). I'm a big Potter fan and am so sad the series is over. I really wish there would be more, the next generation has started going to school, surely they'll have their own adventures. I shall keep hoping....
It's Sunday morning, there is so much to do, but my mind is still at Hogwarts and I'm feeling too lazy to start anything yet. I was just reading about some blogging events and remembered that my post for Taste and Create is still pending. At least I better post this before it's too late.
Taste and Create is a monthly event where your paired up with another blogger and cook from each others blogs. I'm participating after a long time and for this month I've been paired with Anusha Praveen of Tomato Blues. I have never made koftas before, so I decided to try her recipe. I added some paneer in the koftas and shallow fried them instead of steaming them in the microvawe. Was Delicious!!

Bread Koftas in a Pumpkin Gravy

For the gravy:
1 big onion
1 big tomato
1 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp haldi
1 tsp cumn powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/3 tsp garam masala
2 tbs yogurt
150 gms pumpkin, cubed
1/2 cup green peas

For the koftas:
3 slices brown bread
1 tbs yogurt
1/4 cup paneer, crumbled
1 green chili, finely chopped
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbs coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tbs sauteed onion, reserved form the curry
salt to taste

For the curry:
Take the pumpkin in a microwave safe dish, add a few tbs of water and microwave on high for about 4-5 mins till cooked. Puree and keep aside.
Heat 1 tbs oil and saute the onions till golden. Reserve 2tbs for the koftas. To the remaining onions, add all the spice powders and fry for a minute. Add the tomato and cook till mushy and the oil separates. Add the pumpkin and the yogurt, mix well. Adjust the consistency of the curry and check the seasonings. Add he green peas, cover and cook on low heat for about 5 mins. In this time make the koftas as given below. Add the koftas, mix gently and simmer for another minute. serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

For the koftas:
Mix the yogurt with some water to soak the bread. Dip the bread in the mixture and squeeze well. [Next time I'll just skip this step and use bread crumbs and add a little yogurt to bind the koftas]. Mix all the ingredients for the koftas and shape into small balls. Shallow fry till golden brown.

Sending this to Taste and Create and to Pari's Only Event, guest hosted by Kamalika.

Cherupayar and Kachil Puzhukku (Mung and Yam Curry)

For as long as I remember, Cherupayar puzhukku and kanji has been the standard dinner on Saturdays at my mothers place. I think it was my mom's idea to take a break and avoid cooking anything elaborate at least for one  meal. It must have been so hectic to come back from work late in the evening and then cook a meal, check on our studies and take care of all the other chores. Of course my brother and I would protest every single time, we hated Kanji and wanted something "special".
I still try my best to avoid Kanji but I love this puzhukku and all its variations. I add any one or a combination of raw bananas, kachil (purple yam), chena (elephant foot yam) or chembu (taro) along with payar. Manoj eats it with rice or chappatis, but I like to have a bowlful of just the puzhukku with a big dollop of plain yogurt. Yumm!

Cherupayar and Kachil Puzhukku
1 cup whole mung beans
250 gms kachil,chena, chembu or raw bananas or a combination of these
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh coconut, grated
4 dry red chilies or to taste
1 1/2 tsps cumin seeds
1/4 tsp peppercorns
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig curry leaves

Cook the mung and the kachil separately along with some salt and turmeric powder. You can cook them together in the pressure cooker but the kachil may take longer than the mung, so its best to cook them separately.
Grind the coconut, chilies, cumin seeds, peppercorns and garlic along with some water. The paste should be a little coarse. Add the paste and curry leaves to the cooked mung and kachil. Mix together. The mixture should not be very dry, so add water accordingly and check the seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

This goes to Priya's CWS - Mung Beans and The Kerala Kitchen, guest hosted by Fajeeda.


Sesame Orange Chicken

I love cooking, but I love the occasional  take out too. Especially Chinese take out and we are crazy about the food at Panda Express. But the occasional was happening too often and reading the calories on each item really started to worry me, especially their orange chicken which is was my favorite. So we decided to stop going there for a while. Every time we passed an outlet, I would stare at it longingly and my cravings were just becoming unbearable.
So I started my hunt for an easy lower fat recipe. I read several, that called for ingredients I didn't have in my pantry and I wasn't going to buy any more sauces! So I just put together whatever I had, drawing ideas from what I'd read and came up with this. Were my craving satisfied?? YESS!! Different from what they serve at Panda, but really really good. Plus the satisfaction of it being home made and non-fried...I was one Happy Gal!!

Sesame Orange Chicken

1 lb chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
2 tbs all purpose flour
2 tbs cornflour
1 small egg
1 tsp pepper powder
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
3 tbs orange marmalade
1 tbs sugar, more or less depending on the sweetness of the marmalade
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp red chili flakes, adjust according to taste
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs chopped ginger garlic
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

Take chicken, flours, pepper powder, ginger garlic paste, egg and salt in a bowl and mix everything together.
Heat 1 tbs oil in a wok on medium high heat. Add the chicken mixture and stir fry till the chicken is browned and cooked completely. Take care not to overcook the chicken. Keep aside.
In a small bowl mix together orange marmalade, sugar, soy sauce, red chili flakes and vinegar with a whisk.
Heat the same wok on medium heat with 1 tsp oil and fry the ginger garlic for a few seconds and then add the marmalade mixture. Simmer for a couple of minutes and add the chicken. Mix till all the chicken is well coated with the sauce. Check the seasoning and then stir fry for another minute and then mix in the sesame seeds. Serve hot.

Eggless Mava Cupcakes

The weather has been really pleasant until now and though summer is already long gone, I was really not ready to accept it. I'm afraid of winter!! Seriously, I used to even have a tough time dealing with Mumbai winter, and everyone knows it doesn't really get cold there. So you can imagine what I will go through the next few months. I'm just glad I'm not at some place where it snows :)
Last week, Manoj called me in the afternoon, to tell me that two of his colleagues would be coming home with him that evening. I had some savory snacks but it was the day after Diwali, and I wanted to serve them something sweet. I had a little bit of mava left over after making the potlis the day before and wanted to use it up.

Googled for recipes using mava and saw Aparna's Mava Cake. It was perfect for what I had in mind, no complicated ingredients!! So I put Anushka on her high chair, gave her some fruit to eat and got around baking. Thankfully she was ready for a nap when they were done, so I could take pictures :).

I tweaked the recipe a little. I had only half the required mava, so I halved the recipe, cut out the egg and made them into mini cupcakes. They were delicious, soft and the cardamom flavor was just incredible. Smelled and tasted kind of like the Elaichi Amul Srikhand we get in India and I used to love that as a kid. I got 14 mini cupcakes and they were all gone by the end of the day!

Eggless Mava Cupcakes 

Yield : 12-14 regular cupcakes
1/2 cup mava (I had made the mava the day before, so it was very firm. I just heated it in the microwave for a few seconds till it was soft.)
60gms butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup yogurt
cashew nut halves to sprinkle on top


Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and cardamom powder.
Cream the butter, mava and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the yogurt and beat until well incorporated. 
Mix in the flour, alternating with milk, in two additions. Spoon into the prepared pan and place the cashew nut halves on top. 
Bake for about 18-20 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Take care not to overbake or the cupcakes will be dry.  Cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

Sending this to
Vardhini's Bake Fest
Helen's Cake of the Week