How to freeze fresh peas

How to preserve fresh green Peas

How to preserve fresh green peas??? Around 10 years back during the winter season this question used to pop up in my mind. The winter season brings the best quality fresh peas crop. I used to shell out peas, fill them in zip lock bags and keep the bags in the freezer – that’s it! But later while using these peas, I missed the fresh flavour, and peas always felt hard if using them in dry vegetables. I always had to boil them before using and this was annoying. Then what is the right method of preserving fresh peas???

One day I was chatting with one of my aunts over the phone and while discussing regular stuff we came over the topic of how peas are preserved in different ways. I immediately told my dissatisfaction with the result of frozen peas. Then she told me her method and since then I follow that and try to stuff my freezer section with peas as much as possible!

How to preserve/freeze fresh green peas

If your family loves peas in different dishes, then you should definitely try this method to preserve peas for those months of the year when you don’t get them fresh in the market. Include your children and husband for shelling out peas while they are watching TV. If you do this each Sunday also you can get enough quantity in the whole winter season!

How to preserve fresh green peas

You need fresh peas, a colander/sieve, a big pot for boiling water, another pot of iced water and zip lock bags in small, medium and big sizes.

Process:

Shell out peas and wash them in a strainer.

Boil water in a big size pot. Let the water boil till the boiling bubbles appear in the water. Switch off the heat. Immediately add peas in hot water and cover the pot. Let the peas remain there for exactly 3 minutes.

After three minutes, strain peas in a sieve and immediately transfer them into an iced water pot. Let them stay there till peas become cold. Later, drain out the water in a strainer and spread peas on a clean kitchen towel till the excess water dries out.

How to preserve fresh green peas

Fill peas in ziplock bags. Don’t overstuff peas in the bags and stick stickers with the date of the preserve. Keep them in the freezer until further use.

How to preserve /freeze fresh green peas

You can try Aalu ki tikiya(potato patties stuffed with spicy peas)Ā recipe from the blog. It is very popular street snack of India and if peas are in the freezer then our work is very easy to prepare them!

 
Mawa/Khoya from milk powder

Milk powder based Mawa (Khoya)

Milk powder based Mawa (Khoya) is very popular for preparing sweets at home. As milk powder based mawa (Khoya) gets ready within 15 minutes, it is also known as instant mawa. Though my first choice is always to prepare through the traditional method by boiling the milk (Khoya/Mawa), it is a time-consuming process. So this recipe of milk powder-based mawa is very helpful if you are planning to prepare Gaajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa) or any mawa based sweets this winter season. Try this easy recipe of only three ingredients-based instant mawa/khoya and I am sure you will avoid buying khoya from the market. Moreover, New year celebrations are about to start – so plan some homemade sweet dish based on mawa or khoya!

Mawa/Khoya from milk powder

Ingredients:

Milk powder 2 cups

Milk 1 cup

Desi ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter 4 tbsp

Process:

Take two cups of milk powder in a bowl.

Milk powder for mawa

Measure one cup of milk and pour half milk into the bowl of milk powder. Mix it nicely to avoid lumps. It will take the form of a paste.

Add milk in milk powder

Now pour the rest of the milk and mix again.

In a heavy-bottomed pan take four tbsp desi ghee and melt it on medium heat.

Once ghee melts, reduce the heat to sim, pour the milk powder and milk mixture in the pan and keep stirring it – otherwise, it will stick to the bottom of the pan immediately.

Add milk powder and milk mix in melted desi ghee

Keep the heat on sim and continue stirring. Slowly, the liquid will start thickening.

Mawa/khoya has started becoming thick

Keep stirring till it becomes thick and starts leaving the sides of the pan. Switch off the heat and shift mawa/khoya in another bowl to use it in any of your sweet preparation or mawa based gravy dishes.

Khoya from milk powder

If you want to use it the next day then let mawa cool down completely and keep it in the fridge in a covered box. If you have leftover mawa and no plan of using it in a few days, you can freeze it for around 2 months in an airtight box after wrapping it in 3 to 4 layers of cling film.

 

Homemade Mangodi

Why should we prepare Homemade Mangodi if we can outright purchase them from the market? First, let me tell you what Mangodi is. It is a sun-dried marble-sized granule prepared from soaked and grinded daals (lentils). Generally yellow moong daal or white urad daal is used to prepare homemade mangodi. They are part of a gravy based traditional dish popular largely in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Here, mangodis are sometimes paired with potatoes too. (Mangodi ki subzi)

Mangodi ki sabji with homemade mangodi

During the summer season in the desert areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat, the availability of vegetables was scarce – Mangodis used to be the replacement for vegetables. As preparing mangodi was completely manual, it used to be done in groups. Two or three kg daal used to be soaked overnight in one house and the next day, after grinding it, all neighborhood women used to gather and help in preparing them while chattering, gossiping and sometimes singing folk songs. Each day the same routine would be followed, albeit, in a different house. Years back I had witnessed the same at my parent’s house. I was always amazed at this whole activity during those winter, sunny, days. Yes, mangodis are prepared during the winter season as sun heat is required for drying. So, tolerating sun heat for 1-2 hours is possible only in cold weather. Those neighboring aunts continuously preparing hand-drawn mangodis on our terrace used to be so efficient that every single mangodi used to be of the same size! Till today I am not able to create this wonder. So, I follow a shortcut method by using a piping bag, and my job is done quickly.

homemade mangodi

Interestingly, preparing mangodi is also a part of many traditions followed during the marriage ceremony. Can’t say what is the significance, but It was done by my aunts during my and my cousin’s marriages. Once mangodis dry completely, they are distributed among the neighbours. Probably a symbol of an old tradition trying to message the marrying girl that she should continue the same at her house also and keep harmonious relations with neighbours.

homemade mangodi

Homemade Mangodi

Nowadays, very few prepare homemade mangodis as they are easily available in shops. But definitely, you can’t beat the authenticity of homemade ones! I did with just one cup of yellow moong daal as I lack the patience and strength of preparing a big batch altogether. Some other day I will do some more…

Homemade Mangodi

Usually, mangodis are prepared on a clean plastic sheet greased with oil, so that it is easy to remove them after they dry up. Again, I went on an easy route and used butter paper. You can use anything of your choice.

An interesting fact is that adding salt is prohibited in grinded daal used for mangodi. My mother used to say that salt turns mangodi hard. I never tried to check this by preparing two batches – with and without salt – and always went ahead with the unsalted versionšŸ˜‰.

Usually, daal is soaked overnight, but if you forget to do so then soak it in the morning in warm water for 3 to 4 hours and keep daal covered till you grind it.

Homemade Mangodi

Ingredients:

Yellow moong daal 1 cup

Green coriander leaves 1/8 cup

Asafoetida 1/4 tsp

Water to soak daal

Dry red chiliesĀ  3-4

Process:

Take yellow moong daal in a bowl, wash it nicely 3-4 times and soak in sufficient water overnight.

By morning daal would be puffed up nicely. As daal is soaked and wet, it wouldn’t be difficult to grind it without water. If required, use 2-3 tbsp of water. We need a thick paste of daal –Ā  otherwise, mangodis will not set firmly. After grinding, add the rest of the ingredients and mix everything nicely.

daal is ready to prepare mangodis

Spread a clean plastic sheet smeared lightly with oil or butter paper in sunlight. Keep some weight (books or kitchen boxes) around the edges of the butter paper or plastic sheet. Fill daal in a piping bag and cut a small hole. Keep piping marble-sized mangodis till daal gets over.

preparing homemade mangodis with piping bag

The upper layer of mangodis will be firm and dry within 3-4 hours if the sunshine is very bright. You can cover them with a thin sheet of cloth and let them dry for the whole day. Don’t try to remove them from the plastic sheet/butter paper immediately after you think they have dried. Let them dry for the second day also and by evening they will be dry enough to be removed from the sheet. Keep them in sun heat for 2-3 days more till mangodis are dry, light and airy. Fill them in an airtight container and use them whenever you desire a change in the menu from regular vegetable dishes.

Homemade Mangodi

Mangodi ki sabji with homemade mangodi

 

 

Homemade Tomato Sauce/Ketchup

Homemade tomato sauce/ketchup is very easy to prepare in our kitchen with a little bit of patience. During the winter season, good quality tomatoes are easily available in abundance. So other than preparing tomato soup this winter season, try some homemade tomato sauce/ketchup also. And trust me, it is really tasty!!

You might be wondering why I am insisting to prepare tomato sauce when it is so easily available in almost all big and small shops. Well, the very first reason is that I grew up watching my mother prepare tomato sauce during each winter season for the whole year. Actually, my siblings and I grew up watching lots of things being prepared by mom rather than buying from the market. Tomato sauce or ketchup, whatever you name it, is one of them!

Homemade Tomato Sauce/Ketchup

The second reason is that I always find market bought sauce too sweet, so I never really like it. The biggest advantage of preparing tomato sauce at home is that we can control the quantity of sugar, salt and can have very less preservative or probably preservative-free sauce. And of course, if we will be using the best quality of fresh tomatoes for sauce, we will be a little lenient with our kiddo if he or she is just licking sauce from the plate rather than finishing their sandwich along with itšŸ˜‰.

Usually, while preparing tomato sauce, white salt is added, but I love the taste of black and rock salt. So here I have added all three salts together and all three salts enhanced the taste of sauce! But you can as well use only white salt.

For garam masala and ginger I have used powdered ones, but whole garam masala and fresh ginger can also be used. If you are using whole garam masala and fresh ginger, tie them in a piece of white muslin cloth. In Hindi we call it ‘potli’. Add this potli in the pressure cooker while boiling tomatoes. The whole flavor of spices will seep out through this potli in tomatoes. After boiling tomatoes, squeeze out all the juice from potli and discard it.

I have not added water while boiling tomatoes. Later, while boiling the pulp that extra water takes a little bit longer to evaporate. To avoid that, after adding chopped tomatoes in the cooker, don’t cover the lid. Keep stirring tomatoes on medium flame and in 5-7 minutes juices of tomatoes will come out. Now close the lid and let the tomatoes boil.

Not adding water is very helpful in increasing the shelf life of sauce.

For preserving the sauce, I have added only vinegar – so the sauce has to be kept in the fridge. But for long time preservation, we need to add sodium benzoate. But my personal suggestion is that rather than adding an extra preservative, we can always prepare a fresh batch of sauce. The lesser the amount of preservative in our food, the better it is! Tomato Sauce/ketchup

Depending on the sourness of tomatoes you have to decide how much sugar is enough in sauce. While preparing sauce, once sugar dissolves completely, take some quantity of sauce in a bowl to taste. Now you can check the taste of salt, sugar, spices and add some more if required.

Homemade Tomato Sauce/Ketchup

Sometimes kids are very fussy and so obsessed with market bought products that they simply refuse to eat homemade stuff. If you think that your kids will refuse to eat homemade sauce, you can trick them easily. Don’t throw away empty bottles of market bought sauce. Sterilize these bottles nicely and dry them thoroughly. Fill homemade sauce in these bottles and job done!Ā  Very soon you will be preparing the next batch of sauce smilingly in your kitchen.

Homemade Tomato Sauce/Ketchup

I have a few more sauce recipes in the blog, can take a look at them also…Salted Caramel Sauce,Ā Strawberry sauce ,Pizza sauce

Ingredients:

Tomato 2 kg
Sugar 1+1/2 cups
White salt 1/2 tsp
Black salt 1/2tsp
Rock salt 3/4 tsp
Ginger powder 1/2 tsp
Garam masala 1 tbsp
Vinegar 2 tbsp

Process:

Wash tomatoes nicely and cut them into four pieces.

Wash tomatoes to prepare sauce

cut tomatoes in 4 pieces

Boil these tomatoes in an open pressure cooker without adding water. Keep stirring continuously until juices have completely seeped out of tomatoes. Now as there is enough liquid in the pressure cooker, add garam masala and dry ginger powder or the potli of whole garam masala and fresh ginger. Close the lid along with weight and let tomatoes cook until they get nicely boiled.

Boil tomatoes without lid

Close the lid and boil tomatoes

Once steam from the cooker cools down, open it and let the boiled tomatoes cool down. If potli of spices are added, squeeze out the juice and discard the potli.

Let boiled tomatoes cool down

Now grind these boiled tomatoes and sieve the puree to get rid of tomato peels and seeds.

sieve tomato puree

Pour this puree in a thick, broad vessel and switch on the stove on high heat. Add all three salts and keep stirring the puree till it starts boiling. Now reduce the heat to medium and let the puree boil till it starts becoming thick. Don’t forget to stir in between – otherwise puree might stick to the bottom of vessel and that burnt smell will waste all our efforts done till now. While stirring, keep scraping the sides of pan.

Boil tomato puree and add salt

Be careful – as puree starts becoming thick, it starts spluttering a lot. When puree begins toĀ  thicken, add sugar. Stir till sugar dissolves completely and you will notice that the colour of the sauce has changed and the consistency of the sauce is again thin.

Add sugar in tomato puree

Now the colour of homemade sauce starts changing

Let it boil till it thickens more and reaches the consistency of thick tomato sauce. Switch off heat and let the sauce cool down completely. Add two tbsp vinegar and mix it very well in the sauce.Ā  With the help of a funnel or piping bag fill tomato sauce in sterilized and completely dry bottles.

Homemade Tomato Sauce/Ketchup is ready

Fill homemade tomato sauce/ketchup in sterilized bottles

Homemade tomato sauce or ketchup is ready to be served with sandwiches, fritters, pakode, fries, parathe wedges etc, etc…. anything you can think of !!

Homemade Tomato Sauce/Ketchup

 
Kasuri Methi (dry Fenugreek leaves)

Homemade Kasuri Methi(dry fenugreek leaves)

Have you ever thought if we can prepare Homemade Kasuri Methi(dry fenugreek leaves)? Probably we never think about it as it is very conveniently available in the shops. Whenever we have to use Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) in our dishes, we always open a market bought packet. But preparing homemade kasuri methiĀ  is not all a difficult or time consuming task.

I believe we all keep kasuri methi in our kitchen as it gives wonderful flavour to our dishes. As fresh green fenugreek leaves are not available all year round so kasuri methi works as a wonderful substitute to fresh leaves. Remember my post onĀ Homemade Dry Mint Powder/ Podina ka powder . We have to follow exactly the same process and homemade kasuri methi will be ready! The only difference you might find in homemade and market bought would be that homemade has stronger flavour than market bought. So, use it carefully in your dishes. The only work is cleaning methi leaves. That you can do even while watching TV or just chatting with your neighbour!!

It has been continually overcast in Bangalore for the last month or so. So I faced difficulty in drying up Methi leaves. I could have used my OTG, but that also is notĀ  working and I couldn’t call a technician as we had a covid case in our apartment. So for a few days visitors entry is prohibited. Therefore I kept all semi dried leaves in a steel plate and kept that plate on hot milk vessel. I did that for two days and methi leaves were crisp dry.

But if you have nice sunny days, fresh leaves will dry nicely indoors itself. Never keep leaves to dry out in direct sunlight. Sunlight kills the aroma and the colour of leaves fade. If you are in a hurry, then can use microwave or OTG to dry up leaves faster.

Process:

Pluck out fresh leaves of methi from the stems and wash them with running water. Let them stay in the sieve till the water dries out completely.

Later, spread these leaves on a newspaper or dry cloth to dry out.

Fresh Methi leaves

Donā€™t keep these leaves under the direct heat of Sun as that will diminish the flavor. You can keep them under the fan. In the heat of summer, leaves will dry out inside the house too. Leaves will shrink in a day or two.

Drying methi leaves

Now keep them in a broad bowl and let them dry till they become crispy dry. Because of overcast conditions leaves did not become crispy dry. Keep them on top of a hot vessel 3-4 times a day, or use microwave or oven to dry them in case sunlight is not bright enough.

Rub dry leaves with your palms or use them just like that.

Dry Fenugreek leaves

Homemade Kasuri Methi or dry fenugreek leaves are ready to use!!

Kasuri Methi (dry fenugreek leaves)

As no moisture is left in the leaves, these can be easily stored in an air tight container without fridge.

Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) is ready to use!

 
Cream cheese made at home

Homemade Cream Cheese

Why do we need to prepare Homemade Cream Cheese? Well, In India good quality cream cheese is very costly, and if you want to prepare cheese cakes, frosting for carrot cake or filling for tarts, you need cream cheese. Can we get the same consistency as market bought? No, homemade cream cheese doesn’t have the same consistency but it comes very close. For the recipe of cream cheese I have followed the post from Gayathri Kumar’s blogĀ  https://gayathriscookspot.com/

Preparing cream cheese is not a difficult task. It just takes one day for the final result, and it is not strenuous work. All you need is full fat hung curd and paneer (cottage cheese). You can prepare these both in your kitchen; so first step is over. Second step is to drain out water content from paneer and hung curd. Third step is to mix both of them and again drain out extra water. Final step is to grind them together and cream cheese is ready. To make it more creamy, add some cream in it. I had prepared this homemade cream cheese first time when I wanted frosting for carrot cake!! How smooth and creamy it is!

Homemade Cream CheeseDuring these hard times we don’t know when we will be able to go back to the grocery store and purchase items without any fear. But till then we can keep our spirits high and try certain things which we never thought could be homemade. Good food gives us happiness and positive thinking. So try to prepare this simple recipe of cream cheese and give yourself a treat of wonderful dishes…!

Ingredients :

Full fat milk, vinegar/lemon juice, curd

Process :

Boil milk in a pan and let it cool down after boiling till it is slightly warmer than lukewarm. Add half tbsp curd in it, cover the pan and keep it at a warm place to set. Curd will be ready within 3-4 hours. Pour this curd in a sieve along with muslin cloth spread on it and hang it for 2-3 hours so that water drains out. Later, take out the curd in a bowl and hung curd is ready. Keep this in the fridge until we prepare paneer.

Refrigerate hung curd
Store hung curd in refrigerator

In another pan, boil milk once again and switch off the heat the moment milk is boiled. Immediately pour vinegar or lemon juice (1 tbsp vinegar for 1 litre milk OR 1 tbsp lemon juice with one tbsp water for 1 litre milk) in hot milk. Milk will curdle – pour it in a sieve with muslin cloth on it. Wash this curdled milk (or chenna in Hindi) nicely in running water so that no taste of vinegar/water remains. Squeeze out water and hang this muslin cloth for 1 to 2 hours so that the remaining water drains out. Paneer will be ready in two hours.

Now measure equal quantity of hung curd and paneer.Mix both of them nicely and again keep it in the fridge overnight wrapped up in a muslin cloth in with a bowl and a strainer.

Take out the bowl in the morning and grind this cream cheese into mixer till it is no more grainy.

Smooth cream cheese is ready!!

Homemade Cream Cheese

To make it more creamy, add little bit of cream and prepare your favorite cheesecake recipes.

Khoya Cheesecake (fusion dessert)

Coconut Cheesecake

 

Homemade Cream Cheese