Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Dairy and Dairy Product



As far as I can take my memories back in time, I always see my mother making this dessert whenever an occasion demanded a crowd pleaser. I never enjoyed eating this dessert though, considering that I was quite a picky eater, but I was always in awe when she would turn out the custard from its mould and set it over on to the serving plate. One second before it would be like a cheesecake, prim and proper, and the very next moment it would be swimming in that lovely caramel syrup scented with vanilla. And in the nondescript town that I was raised in, such decadent desserts were unheard of. Our guest would invariably be very impressed and some were intrigued to see a top layer of caramel and wondering how the hell did it appear there 😛

This dessert now happens to be one of my favourite ones, after tiramisu of course. And even now it elicits the same response from people as it did when Mum used to make it. This dessert is meant to impress. The delicate custard scented with vanilla and orange zest feels like silk on the palate. Ah! So good! I think I need to stop writing this post and help myself to a slice of it right away. You grab the recipe.

¼ C plus 1 tbsp Sugar

3 – 4 tbsp Sugar (for caramelising)

1 C Cream (I used Amul)

1 C Milk

4 Eggs

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

Zest of 1 Orange

6 or 7 inch sized Baking Tin (baking pan)

Take the baking tin and spread 3 – 4 tbsp sugar (depending on whether you are using 6 inch or 7 inch tin) around it and place it on low heat. Using tongs or cloth swirl the sugar around (you do not need to cover the sides of the pan with caramel), once it begins to melt.

Keep a constant eye on the sugar as it will begin to caramelise now. Keep swirling it around a little, till it just begins to attain a deep colour. (Since the sugar will keep caramelizing in its own heat even when you remove it from heat, therefore you need to be very vigilant about the colour of the sugar when it is caramelising on heat)

Ensure that the base of the tin is completely covered in caramel. Keep the tin aside, on a level surface, to cool.

Switch on the oven to preheat it at 180 degrees C.

In a sauce pan, gently heat together the cream and milk along with sugar while stirring with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Once the sugar has dissolved and the milk begins to get hot, switch off the heat.

Stir in the orange zest & vanilla extract and set the pan aside for approximately 20 minutes.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl.

Start to whisk the eggs again and gently begin pouring the milk in a thin stream (if the milk happens to be still hot).

Do not stop whisking the eggs all the while that you are adding the milk.

Transfer the contents back into the sauce pan and place it again over medium low heat.

Cook this egg-milk mixture (or custard) stirring all the while. Once the mixture starts to coat the back of the wooden spoon or spatula, switch off the heat.

Sieve the custard and pour it into the baking tin in which we had caramelised the sugar. Cover the tin with the aluminium foil.

Place the tin over a baking sheet (baking tray) and place it in the oven. Carefully pour boiling water in the tray till it comes to nearly half the height of the baking tin.

Bake the custard till it is set, yet a wee bit wobbly in the centre when you gently jiggle the pan.

Remove the tin from the baking sheet and cool it.

Once cool, place the tin in the refrigerator and chill for a few hours (preferably over night).

To serve, run a knife around the edges of the custard and carefully turn it over onto the serving plate. Ensure that your serving plate has some edges coz the caramel will release plenty of syrup.

Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Note: You can bake the custard in individual portions too by baking them in ramekins.

Serves: 8 – 10

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



LEHSUNI PANEER / लहसुनी पनीर (Garlicky Cottage Cheese Curry) – GF



Paneer is to vegetarians what eggs are to non vegetarians – a quick, easy, simple ingredient that can be turned into so many variety of dishes. In north India, if you are expecting a vegetarian at your house for a meal, paneer will invariably find its way to the menu (even more so, if it happens to be a Punjabi household). Paneer is a vegetarian delicacy of sorts. And its versatility makes it an easy ingredient to work with. You can turn it into tikka or bhurjee or kofta curry and even a cheesecake – it will never fail you. Use it with some spices and herbs to make filling for your jaffles or stuffed flatbread and there you have an excellent breakfast dish to be polished off with pickle and chai! You can find a post I had done during my initial blogging years on how to make paneer at home. The process is simple and you can use it for so many recipes or have it on its own with some sprinkle of chaat masala.

This recipe may seem to be using a lot of garlic but when it pairs with other ingredients, it mellow downs (you’ve got to trust me on that). The key here is not to compromise on the usage of tomatoes. I usually chop the tomatoes and blitz them in a grinder. For this recipe, I could obtain about one third cup tomato puree (without adding water) from one medium sized tomato. Also, do not hold yourself back from using milk. It helps bring a balance to the sourness of tomatoes, tones down the garlic and mellows the heat of chillies. This curry gets ready in under 15 minutes, what more can you ask for 😀

2 – 3 tbsp Oil

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

2 small Onions (thickly sliced)


4 fat cloves Garlic (grated) {approximately 1 tbsp}

1 medium Tomato

1/3 C Milk

300 grams Paneer, (cubed)

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

½ – ¾ tsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tsp Coriander Powder

½ tsp Garam Masala

Salt to taste

2 whole Green Chilies

Fresh Coriander to garnish

This curry takes no time to cook. So be ready with all ingredients.


Wash, chop and blitz the tomato in a grinder. You should have at least 1/3 cup or more of tomato puree. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to crackle, add onions and fry them on medium heat till they turn translucent and just begin to turn golden.

Now add grated garlic and fry till the garlic changes color to golden and becomes aromatic. Add the tomatoes and along with the spices and salt.

Keep stirring the contents on medium heat till the masala begins to leave oil on the sides. Now add milk and lower the heat.

Split chilies in 3 or 4 pieces and throw them in the curry. Add the paneer and stir it in. Add more milk if required at this stage. (I do not like my curry loose and rather prefer the masala coating the paneer pieces well. Suit youself)

Cook for a minute and the curry is ready. (you do not need to cook the paneer much else it will turn rubbery)

Stir in some freshly coriander to the curry and garnish the rest before serving. Remove the contents in a serving bowl and serve with roti, paratha or naan. YUM!

Note: I have added split whole green chilies coz I just wanted some grassy flavors of the chili added to the curry. Feel free to add them chopped in case you wish to add some more heat to the curry.

Note: Also, you can tinker with the amount of ingredients you wish to use.

Serves 4 (as side dish)


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INSTANT KALAKAND / झटपट कलाकन्द (Instant Cottage Cheese Fudge)



Since mithai shops (sweet shops) or halwai ki dukan is something that is present at almost every nukkad or locality, I wonder how many Indians make the traditional sweets at home. One thing that many expats miss for sure in Indian food is the mithai or the traditional Indian sweets. When we were posted in Nigeria, I had no choice but to learn how to make Rasgulla, Kalakand and Gulab Jamun (I made gulab jamuns using powder milk since it is easier and fool proof method) to satiate out desi cravings. However, we are lucky that there is a huge expat Indian community in Dubai, and plenty of options for buying ready made mithai, yet we miss the taste of the mithai of our favourite local mithai shop in Mumbai.

Having said that, when it comes to making Indian sweets/ desserts, I am always looking for an easy way out. Don’t get me wrong. I love being in the kitchen and find cooking very relaxing and almost cathartic but long tedious Indian traditional mithai demands too much of your time and effort especially when it is festivity time. And if there is a choice of making the scrumptious Indian desserts the easy and quick way, I lap up those recipes and try them out to check their claim and effectiveness. So, on my recent holiday to US, we stayed for a few days with a cousin and she introducted me to this very, very simpe recipe of making kalakand. She keeps a busy schedule since she is working full time and said that recipes such as this one allow her to indulge in her favourite mithai without compromising on time or effort. The only caution that she gave me, while sharing this recipe, was to keep in mind the difference between the US and Indian (also Dubai) electricity voltage and frequency. While US uses 120 volt, Indian uses 230 volts. So that means that this recipe which took 6 – 7 minutes in US will take approximately 2½ to 3 minutes in India or Dubai.  Check out your plug voltage here and proceed with the time accordingly. Thank you Sumy and Upasana for this wonderful recipe! For this very authentic tasting and textured kalakand, you will need the following ingredients,


For Kalakand

2 C Milk Powder (I used unsweetened)

¼ C Butter

1 C (420 gm) freshly made Cottage Cheese (or Ricotta)

½ C Caster Sugar (Boora Cheeni)

To garnish

Almond flakes

Chopped Pistachio

Grease a tray with a little ghee and set aside.

Put everything in a microwave safe bowl (I prefer to use glass one) and microwave it for a minute.

Remove the bowl from microwave and stir together the contents well. And again microwave it for a minute.

You will notice everything having come together as a moist milky mass. If you find it has thickened add a few tablespoons of full fat milk (I used 6 measuring table spoons) and stir it in well while the contents are still hot.

Decant the contents on to the tray and using a spatula even it out across the tray. Sprinkle the almond flakes and pistachio all over the kalakand. Cover the kalakand with a cling film.

Refrigerate for an hour. Remove the kalakand from fridge, discard the cling film, and cut it in size and shape of your choice and enjoy!


Note: I have used unsweetened milk powder and not baby milk formula. If you are using sweetened milk powder, please adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.

Note: Kalakand requires home made cottage cheese since it is fresh and softer in texture than store brought one.

Note: Cottage cheese can be swapped with ricotta cheese. Drain ricotta before using it.

Note: Ensure that the cling film is touching the kalakand. This will ensure that the top of the kalakand does not dry out when you refrigerate it.

Note: Kalakand is supposed to have grainy texture. Therefore ensure that it is really moist when you keep it for refrigeration. If it is dry before you keep it for cooling, the end result will be a very dry almost, burfi like kalakand.

Serves – 12 (pieces)

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