Sabudana Thalipeeth


I was cleaning my kitchen cabinets yesterday and I found two unopened packs of sabudana. Soaked a couple of cups immediately to make two of my favorite snacks. I used half to make khichadi for breakfast and was planning on making vadas for our evening tea. But the vadas are quiet tricky to make and mine always end up soaking too much oil. So, I settled on making this thalipeeth instead. The ingredients for the two are almost the same, and they even taste the same, just that the thalipeeth is pan roasted while the vadas are deep fried. I like to have mine with some sweetened yogurt, sprinkled with chili powder and chaat masala, Yumm!

Sabudana Thalipeeth


Ingredients:
1 cup sabudana (tapioca pearl), soaked overnight
2 big potatoes, boiled and mashed
1/2 cup roasted and skinned peanuts, coarsely crushed
4-5 green chilies, finely chopped, or to taste
2 tbs fresh grated coconut
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
handful of cilantro, finely chopped
ghee

Method:
Combine all the ingredients except the oil and mix together really well to form a dough. Make slightly larger than a lemon sized balls of the dough. Grease a plastic sheet and pat down the balls of dough with your fingers into discs about 1/4" thick and make a hole in the center.
Heat a pan on medium heat and brush with some ghee. Place one disc on the pan and put a few drops of ghee in the center. Roast for about two to three minutes each side until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve hot with your favorite chutney or some sweetened yogurt.

Pav Bhaji with Homemade Whole Wheat Pav (Mixed Vegetable Curry with Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls)


Pav Bhaji is a spicy mix vegetable curry served with buttered and toasted bread rolls. One of the most popular street foods in Mumbai, there are many restaurants and food stalls all over famous just for their Pav Bhaji. When I was working and during college days I probably visited all of them and I've loved every dish I had. And yet I firmly believe that nothing tastes as good as home made pav bhaji and I still think my mom's is the best. It was one of the meals my brother and I would so look forward to! She always made a huge batch on Saturdays that we would relish through the weekend.
I make pav bhaji about once a month and have started making pav at home too. This recipe is mostly adapted from Vaishali's Holy Cow and it's one I really like and I love the flavor of the bread when using some whole wheat flour instead of all white.

Whole Wheat Pav


Ingredients:
1 1/2 - 2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs oil


Method:
Mix 1/2 cups of water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and keep aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture turns frothy. Sieve the flours together and add the to the yeast mixture. Add the remaining water slowly as needed while kneading the mixture until you have a smooth but slightly sticky dough. Add the oil and knead for another couple of minutes.
Transfer the dough into a big greased bowl and roll to coat all over with oil. Cover with a kitchen cloth and keep aside for about 2 hours in a warm place until the dough has risen to almost double.
Punch the dough and knead lightly. Divide into 9 portions and shape into balls.
Place in a greased pan in rows, close together but not touching.
Cover with the kitchen cloth and place in a warm place for them to rise. They will join at the ends and touch each other forming a slab.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check if done.
Take the pan out of the oven and brush the tops with some melted butter. Return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes so the tops get browned.
Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
To serve with the bhaji, split each pav into half, spread some butter and toast until golden. Serve hot.

Bhaji


Ingredients:
1 big potato, about 350 gms
half cauliflower, about 250 gms
1 small carrot
1/2 cup green peas
3 big tomatoes, blanched and peeled
6 whole dry red chilies, I used half kashmiri chilies, for their color, or to taste
1 big onion, finely chopped
1 small capsicum, finely chopped
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 1/2 - 2tbs pav bhaji masala
salt to taste
2 tbs butter


Method:
Cook potato and all the other vegetables and mash them all together into a coarse mixture.
Grid the tomatoes and chilies into a smooth puree.
Heat 1 tbs oil in a big pan and saute the onions and capsicum and until the onions are golden brown.
Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
Add the turmeric, garam masala and pav bhaji powders and fry for a few seconds.
Stir in the tomato mixture and cook until the water evaporates and the oil separates.
Add the vegetable mixture and salt and mix well. Add some water to adjust the consistency.
Bring to a boil. cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Uncover and check the seasonings. Stir in the butter and remove from heat.
Serve hot with toasted pav and some lemon wedges, chopped onion and cilantro on the side.

Butterscotch Cupcakes with Cashew Praline


A few of us friends meet up once every week for a potluck lunch. It's an afternoon I really look forward to... great homemade food, gossip, silly jokes and endless laughter. I am happiest when I have to bring dessert and I so look forward to trying out something new.
I really wanted to make cupcakes this time and ofcourse all I could think of was a chocolate one with a  rich ganache frosting. But I forced myself to go a different route and I'm so glad I did. The recipe is from The Butch Bakery Cookbook and calls for maple syrup, but I decided to use butterscotch sauce instead and it was fabulous. It was my first time tasting the sauce, its heavenly!! The frosting is a simple whipped cream frosting flavored with the same sauce and I topped each cupcake with a piece of cashew praline.

Butterscotch Cupcakes


yields 18 cupcakes
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbs (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, broken into a small bowl
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup butterscotch sauce (recipe below)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butterscotch sauce, 

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C. Line muffin pans with liners and keep aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until well combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add half the flour mixture and the milk, beating to combine.
Add the rest of the flour and the butterscotch sauce, and continue to mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Fill the muffin cups, about 3/4th full.
Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until done. 
Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes and then remove from the pans and cool on the racks completely before frosting.



For the frosting:
Make sure the cream, bowl and beaters are chilled.
Take the cream and butterscotch sauce in a chilled bowl and beat on low to combine and dissolve the sauce in the cream. Raise the speed to medium high and whip until stiff peaks form. 

Frost the cupcakes as desired and top each with a piece of praline. You can also crust the praline into little bits and sprinkle on top of the cupcakes.

Butterscotch Sauce
Ingredients:
4 tbs (55 gms) salted butter
1 cup (180 gms) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml), plus 6 tbs (90 ml) heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
In a wide saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and 1/4 cup cream, stirring until smooth.
Without stirring, let the mixture cook at a bubbling simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in he remaining cream. Let cool a bit and stir in the vanilla extract.

The sauce should be served warm. It can be stored in the refrigerator for upto 2 weeks. Reheat the sauce over low heat.

Cashew Praline
Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 tbs water
pinch of salt
1/3 cup cashews, toasted and crushed into small pieces

Method:
Grease a baking sheet and keep aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt over medium high heat and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Continue to cook, without stirring until deep amber. 
Remove from heat and stir in the nuts. Spread evenly on the greased baking sheet.
Let cool completely over a rack. Break into small pieces.

Sacher Torte


Any chocolate cake lover would have probably heard of the famous Sacher Torte. There is a great story behind the cake and the original cake is only sold by the Hotel Sacher. I so wish I get a chance to have it sometime! You'll find several recipes online and in books but the original one is a well kept secret.
I made this for my birthday back in August. It was a major one this year, 30!! Called for a special treat and the Sacher Torte seemed perfect! This one is from the book 'chocolate' by Linda Collister and  it surely took me to Chocolate Heaven!! 

Sacher Torte


Ingredients:
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 4 tbs butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
5 extra large eggs, separated, plus one egg white
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Apricot Glaze:
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 oz bittersweet chocolate

a little melted milk chocolate to pipe (optional)
whipped cream to serve


Method:
Grease and line a 9" spring form pan with parchment paper
Preheat oven to 325F.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and set aside to cool.
Beat the butter until creamy, add half the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the five yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Stir in the cooled chocolate.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the chocolate mixture and fold in gently with a large metal spoon.
Take the six egg whites in a large grease free bowl and beat until stiff peaks form, then beat in the remaining sugar, 1 tbs at a time.
Fold into the chocolate mixture in three batches.
Spoon into the prepared pan and bake till done. Check at 25 -30 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack, remove the parchment and cool completely.

To make the glaze. put the apricot preserves, lemon juice and 1 tbs water in a small saucepan. Heat gently and bring gently to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and push through a strainer into a bowl. 

Brush the hot glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Let cool on the wire rack.

To make the frosting, put the cream in a small saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour in the hot cream. Leave for 2 minutes and then stir until the frosting is smooth and glossy.

Set a plate under the wire rack to catch the drips and then pour the frosting over the cake so it completely covers the top and the sides. Use a spatula if necessary to cover any bare patches. Let set in cool place, but not the refrigerator.

If liked pipe the word 'Sacher' or an 'S' with the melted milk chocolate. 

Serve with some whipped cream on the side. For best results, before each cut, dip the knife in hot water and wipe it dry.
Store the cake in an airtight container in a cool place. Best if eaten within a week.