Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Celebration Dessert

AVOCADO NUTELLA MOUSSE (egg free & gluten free)

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This is going to be my first proper post for Valentines! I have actually never given much heed to uploading posts especially for Valentines. My previous two posts for Valentines were dedicated to my dad and my late mother. Parents are perhaps the only people in the world who will love you unconditionally and that is why my previous posts were dedicated to them. Those posts were not about any fancy dish but simple recipes that were full of nostalgia. However, this time around it is courtesy Better Homes and Gardens Indian magazine that I got to posting this mousse for Valentines. The magazine had invited entries for celebrating their 10th anniversary and I grabbed the opportunity to send this as an entry vying for the top six best recipe to be featured. So here I am sharing this sinfully delicious mousse that gets ready in minutes (minus the chilling time) and is guilt free…well nearly.

The best thing about this decadent dessert is that it can be prepped a day or two ahead of when you intend to serve it. Rather I suggest that you let it sit over night for the flavours to integrate and infuse well. I spiked it with Grand Marnier and added cacao nibs for some texture and added taste. It is a heavently treat especially for chocolate lovers. Avocado added a beautiful smooth velvety texture and nutella added richness with cocoa powder keeping that richness under check. And I decided to serve this mousse not in jar or plate but in cones making it chic to serve. Without more words, I will take you to the recipe.

250 grams Avocado flesh (the avocado should be firm but ripe)

4 tbsp Nutella

1 tbsp Grand Marnier

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder

2 tbsp Cacao Nibs

2 tbsp Powdered Sugar (Icing Sugar)

In a blender or food processor, blitz together all ingredients except cacao nibs till it attains a smooth consistency.

Decant the contents in a glass bowl and fold in one and a half table spoon of cacao nibs. Retain half a tablespoon to sprinkle while serving.

You can now spoon the mousse individual glasses or bowls in which you intend to serve it. Or you can chill it in a bowl and scoop it and serve it in ice cream cones like I did.

Sprinkle cacao nibs before serving.

Enjoy!!

Note: I suggest you first add only 1 tbsp of sugar and check for sweetness. Only if you feel the need to add more, then go ahead 1 more table spoon.

Note: You can swap Grand Marnier with milk. and add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract.

Note: Ensure that the avocado is not over ripe else the texture will be loose.

Note: Taste and adjust the amount of sweetness or bitterness that you would like to have.

Note: I had used Hershey’s extra dark cocoa powder hence there might be some difference in the color of the mousse if you try it with regular cocoa powder.

Serves: 4 (approximately 4 medium scoops)

Thanks for visiting. See you soon again with another exciting recipe.

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This recipe had originally appeared in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine for their 10th Anniversary Issue in 2017. 

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CHHENAR PAYESH / छेनार पाएश (Cottage Cheese & Milk Pudding)

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The festive season has begun and you are going to see more of desserts and traditional Indian confections/ mithai here. The variety of Indian confection is staggering. The base for most desserts is either mawa i.e. thick reduced milk (also called khoya) or chhena (freshly made paneer). We have our Suji Halwa, Aata Halwa and halwas made from vegetables and even nuts but they fall in another category of desserts. I am here talking about Indian mithai or what you can call Indian confection. While the khoya (reduced milk) is the base for most north Indian mithai (Indian confection)  it is chhena that is most loved by eastern states of Odisha and Bengal. I have grown up loving khoya mitha such as Gulab Jamun but I equally love the mithai made with chhena. Rather I prefer chhena mithai now as it is easy on the tummy than its rich counterpart mawa. Payesh is Bengali for kheer or milk based pudding. It can be Sabudana Payesh or it can be Chaler Payesh (rice pudding) and many more such varieties of payesh. But chhena payesh is the best in my view. I can have it every single day of the year! I tried to replicate the taste of the chhena payesh made by the ‘Sweet Bengal’ confectionery and I believe it is pretty close to it; although I would have loved it more, had it been made with the date palm jaggery but I had run out of stock. It is difficult to find date palm jaggery throughout the year but it is easily available during the cold winter months albeit for a short duration. The best way to enjoy this jaggery all through the year is to buy it in bulk when available and freezing it. I enjoy my cake sweetend with this jaggery. You can try this Wholemeal Jaggery Cake scented with cardamom if you are a fan of wholesome healthy cakes.

1 litre Full cream Milk

1½ litre Cow’s Milk

1½ tbsp Lemon Juice

1 tsp APF (Maida)

600 – 650 mls Water

250 grams Sugar

1 – 1½ tsp Cornflour

A few teaspoons Milk

½ tsp Cardamom Powder

In a heavy bottom pan or wok, boil the full cream milk. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Keep stirring every now and then to prevent it from catching at the bottom and getting burnt.

Keep simmering the milk of low heat stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile boil the toned milk and and remove it from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. The whey will start to separate from the milk. Give it a few more minutes before the whey and paneer separate completely. If not, put it on heat again and stir for a few minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or muslin cloth and drain the whey (or reserve it for making dough, adding to curries or soups etc.).

Wash the paneer under running water to get rid of the sourness of lemon juice.

Hang the cheesecloth with paneer, over a faucet, for an hour to get rid of excess liquid.

Transfer the chhena (paneer) to a plate and mash for four to five minutes or till it becomes smooth. Add a teaspoon of maida and incorporate it in the chhena.

Make smooth, marble sized, balls out of the mashed chhena. (the paneer balls will increase in size so do not get tempted to go beyond this size)

Boil the water in a wide pot and add sugar to it. Once the sugar has dissolved and the water comes to a rolling boil, drop in the chhena balls (Ensure that the pot is not over crowded with the chhena balls. The balls will double in size once they get cooked so leave enough space for them to swell)

Cover the pot and cook the balls on high flame for four minutes. Switch off heat and allow the balls to sit in the liquid for five minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the cornflour to a few teaspoons of milk and ensure that there are no lumps.

Once the simmering milk has reduced to approximately 650 – 700 ml amount, add the cornflour mix to the milk and stir it well. Cook for half a minute and remove the milk from the heat.

Remove the chhena balls from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon and add it to the reduced milk.

Allow the chhena to sit in the milk for 5 minutes (do stir it once in a while, while it is cooling) and then taste the payesh. Add sugar if required. (Since we do not like our desserts too sweet, I added one tablespoon of sugar)

The pudding will thicken as it cools. Do keep stirring it occasionally till it cools completely. Chill in the refrigerator before serving or serve at room temperature.

Serves – 4 – 6

Thanks for visiting. See you soon again with another exciting recipe!

 

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RODU / रोड़ु (Himachali Coconut Mawa Laddu) – GF

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HAPPY JANAMASHTAMI AND A HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

It will be India’s 70th Independence Day on 15th August this year. And sorry to disappoint you in case you were looking forward to me posting some tricolour dish to celebrate it. Bloggers have over the year posted tricolored curry, rice, cake, cookies, rasgullas and what not. So basically nothing much is left to present the Indian tri-colour in the culinary world I think 😛 Okay, I am kidding 😀

India is all about its diversity; diversity in landscape, in food, in religion/ beliefs, culture, language, seasons, traditions and so much more. And I feel so blessed to be born in a family where this diversity is celebrated so beautifully. I was born in a Punjabi family. But in my family, I have close cousins married to Sindhi, Sikh, Muslim, Kashmiri, Parsi, Maharashtrian & Bengali. Oh yes, there is an Aunt who is a Christian and another who is from Himachal, not to forget that I am married to a Bihari. It is so wonderful that we get to celebrate the diversity of our great nation throughout the year on some occasion or the other.

Therefore, I am today sharing these Coconut Mawa Laddus called RODU from the northern hilly state of Himachal. These laddus are a taste of my childhood, one that I grew up eating and loving. These were my absolute favourite then. I hope you try them in your kitchen and enjoy them as much.

500 grams Khopa (whole dehydrated coconut)

250 grams Chhuhara (dried dates/ dry khajoor)

125 grams Almonds

125 grams Cashewnuts

500 grams Mawa (Khoya)

250 grams Sugar

1 tsp Cardamom Powder

1 Black Cardamom (seeds only, ground)

½ tsp Cinnamon Powder

½ tsp Mace powder

¼ tsp pinch Nutmeg powder

1 Scant C Water (i.e. more than 3/4 cup but less than 1 Cup)

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Grate the coconut. Set aside.

Deseed chhuhara and finely chop. If you find it difficult to chop them (since they can be sometimes really dry), bash them in mortar and pestle and then it is easier to handle them and chop them. Set aside.

Chop the nuts. (I lightly dry roasted the nuts before chopping them). Set them aside.

(I find the prep work a tad long and tiring, so I prep the ingredients a day before and store them in an air tight container and continue with the cooking process the next day)

In a heavy bottom wok (kadahi) roast the mawa on low heat till it changes to colour to a deeper shade (little more than golden) and becomes aromatic. (Took me approximately 20 minutes but the time will depend on the quality of mawa being used) Be carefully to not dry it out. Remove from the wok and set aside.

In a deep and big wok/ kadahi or pan/ pot, add water and make sugar syrup with one thread consistency. Once the desired consistency is achieved, remove the kadahi from heat. Stir in the spices and add roasted mawa. Swiftly but carefully mix the mawa in the hot syrup and ensure there are no lumps.

Add all other ingredients and by now the temperature of the syrupy mawa is pretty much easy to handle. (I used my hands to mix in all ingredients together.) Mix everything well and start making laddus the size of a walnut.

Press the mixture in your hands by pressing it between your palm and fingers, make round shape and then roll between your palms of both hands to make a perfect round. Keep the laddus on a plate covered with cling wrap or greased with ghee.

The laddus stay well for over a week in the northern Indian winters but I suggest you store it in fridge to avoid them from getting spoilt.

Feel free to halve the recipe since this quantity yields a huge batch.

Yield – 46 Laddus

Note: The sugar can be swapped with jaggery. (You can use approximately 350 grams Jaggery)

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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