Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Easy Food



It was probably six years back that I first tried my hands at baking cookies. I fell in love with these peanut butter cookies by Chef Curtis Stone on one of his cooking show. The cookies looked like they were a breeze to make. And they did turn out to be rightly so! Before that, I had never ever tried baking cookies because I was time and again given this impression, by some, that cookies were not-so-easy to bake and one needed to be a real pro in the baking department to venture the territory of baking cookies. But this simple recipe turned out to be myth buster as far as I was concerned. They turned out pretty well. Loved the salty tones of peanut butter with the chocolaty goodness. However, these cookies are apparently meant to be dessert cookies since he had served them with ice cream. So they were thick and the texture was soft, cakey and chewy; not something that was nearly close to what I would have liked it to be. So, I took the liberty of making some tweaks here and there to suit our taste. The little tinkering helped the cookies have just the right amount of crispness around the edges and soft and chewy centre…in one word, they were – perfect! They should actually come with a warning, which should read like – ‘you simply can not stop at one’!!! Therefore, it goes without saying that these cookies get polished off at the fastest pace ever in our house. I do wish to try them next time with whole meal.

Lets get on with the recipe then.

1½ C All Purpose Flour (Maida)

½ tsp Baking Soda

½ tsp Salt

½ C unsalted Butter, at room temperature

1 C natural Chunky Peanut Butter (about 9 ounces / 280 grams)

½ C Light Brown Sugar

1/2 C Caster Sugar

1 Egg

1 Egg yolk

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

5 ounces / 155 grams Semisweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped (ensure that you use the best quality chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, whisk together unsalted butter, peanut butter, light brown sugar, caster sugar. Beat in the egg and egg yolk along with vanilla extract until well blended.

Stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture in 2 additions.

Stir in the chopped chocolate

Scoop about one ice cream scoop (approx. 1 and a half table spoon) of dough for each cookie onto the aking sheets, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart. (use two large sheets if possible)

(I flattened each cookie dough to about one centimeter thickness before I kept it for baking.)

Bake for about 14 minutes, or until the cookies puff and just begin to brown around the edges.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.

Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and eat warm or cool completely.

Enjoy with your cuppa or serve with a glass of milk.

Yield – 16 cookies

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HARA CHANA BURFI / हरे चने की बर्फी (Green Garbanzo Beans Fudge)

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There have been phases where I have oscillated between being a non vegetarian and then switching back to being a vegetarian. I wasn’t always a non vegetarian. In my mother’s house, we rarely had chicken or mutton and fish was a rarity, except for fish fritters in winters. The emphasis was always on eating one’s veggies. The things however changed once I moved to my marital house where I encountered hard core carnivores. Everyday at least one meal would have fish, mutton or chicken. And if anyone in the house was not in a mood for vegetables on the menu, they would simply have an omelette with bread. So much of non veg food, was quite something for me to handle. There would come a point when I wouldn’t even want to hear the word chicken or fish. When we moved into our own house, I ensured that we incorporated more veggies in our meals. And last year, when I switched over to being a vegetarian, again, I tried to incorporate as many veggies and lentils & legumes that I possibly could, into my meals. I try cooking them in different ways so that they provide me with a healthy variety of meals.

Although green garbanzo beans are a seasonal produce, you can find them being sold in dried form just as regular black or white chick peas at your grocery store. Soak them the same way as well and you have them just as fresh green garbanzo beans would be. I enjoy them as a salad, in rice pilaf and as a curry or as this fudge here. The fudge takes very little time to get cooked and makes for a healthy and tasty dessert.

1 C Dry Green Chickpeas (Chholiya)

¼ C plus 1 tbsp Ghee

250 grams Khoya (Mawa)

¾ C Sugar (adjust to taste)

1½ tsp Cardamom Powder

2 – 3 tbsp finely sliced Pistachio

2 – 3 tbsp slivered Almonds

Pick, wash and soak the green chick peas in water for 5 – 6 hours. (I soaked them over night)

Drain the soaked chickpeas and grind them to a coarse paste (it is purely a matter of taste whether you like coarsely grained chick peas or want to turn them into a fine paste)

In a heavy bottom cooking pan or wok (kadahi), heat the ghee and add the chick pea paste.

Roast it for a minute on high flame stirring continuously and then reduce the heat and roast it till the colour begins to change and the raw smell is gone. (A total of 7 minutes approx.)

Add milk along with cardamom powder, two tablespoons pistachio and two tablespoons almonds and keep cooking on low heat for another two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and keep aside and cover it.

In another heavy bottom pan or kadahi, roast the mawa on low heat without adding any ghee.

Roast till the colour changes to golden.

Switch off from the heat and allow to cool. Add mawa and sugar to the roasted chick peas and mix it all well till everything is well incorporated.

Decant the contents in a plate or tray (mine was 9½ inches by 7 inch) and using a spatula spread it around and even it out. Level the surface and garnish with the remaining pistachios and almonds.

Cover with a cling wrap (with the cling wrap touching the contents as this will prevent any moisture to develop inside). Keep the tray in the refrigerator for the fudge to firm up so that you can slice it with ease.

Once it is firm, cut the fudge in slices of the size you desire and serve. Enjoy!

Note: In case you intend to use fresh green chick peas (when they are in season), here is an idea of the approximate weight – the soaked and drained weight of the garbanzo beans was approximately 370 grams (+ / -).

Yield: 15 slices

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PHOOL MAKHANA KHEER / फूल मखाना खीर (Fox nut Pudding)

Bite size pieces of white bread soaked in a bowl of sweetened warm milk used to be one of my favourite breakfasts as a kid. And when I first tasted this kheer, its texture reminded me of that bread soaked in milk; an almost rabdi like feel to it. The taste was of course different and cardamoms had made it fragrant and every spoonful was an absolute delight. Phool makhane or fox nuts are also know by other names such as gorgon nuts, lotus seeds, makhane, phool patasha, phool makhane. They are a great way to snack guilt free since they have zero fat! They are high in calcium and fibre, rich in anti oxidants, aid in digestion, strengthen the kidneys, help lower blood sugar and regulate blood pressure.

I tasted and learnt about makhane pretty much after my marriage. My mother in law used to roast them, add a little salt and black pepper and served them for snacks. You can add spices of your choice. These nuts can be enjoyed in both savoury and sweet form. The nut is pretty versatile and often used in curries, added to veggies and pilaf, and it is even used to thicken soup. This kheer is often consumed during Navratra days (Durga puja) by Hindus who observe fast for nine days and abstain from eating grains and even regular salt. So hailed is its status that an offering of this kheer is made to the Goddess Durga during the festival. Punjabis use these seeds as an offering of thanks to fire (for providing them warmth during the harsh winters) during the festival of Lohri. Grab the recipe for the kheer and enjoy it guilt free. I have used 6% milk (full fat) but you can swap it with 2% milk (toned milk) or even coconut milk to make it vegan friendly.

50 grams Makhane

1 litre plus 250 mls Milk

2½ measuring tbsp Sugar (feel free to swap it with jaggery)

1 tsp Cardamom Powder

2 – 3 tbsp Nuts of your choice

Boil milk in a thick bottom pot. (Boil on low heat to avoid it catching at the bottom and getting burnt)

While the milk is boiling, roast makhane on low heat till they slightly change color and become crunchy (i usually roast them covered, on low heat for about 10 mins and stir them every three to four minutes).

Cool the makhane and coarsely ground them using a mortar and pestle.

Once the milk has come to a boil, add the roasted and crushed makhane. Cook them on gentle heat, stirring it every now and then.

Cook till the milk becomes creamy and begins to thicken. (do not thicken too much as it will thicken further on cooling)

Switch off the heat and add sugar and cardamom.

Keep stirring to prevent formation of creamy layer on the top.

Add nuts and serve warm or at room temperature.

Note – The texture of the kheer is best enjoyed when warm or at room temperature.

Note – Check for sugar and add more if required since we use less sugar in our dessert.

Serves – 4 – 6

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