Sooji ka Halwa

Sooji Ka Halwa

Sooji ka Halwa is one of those sweet dishes in India which is prepared in all the states with different names and with slight variations. Sooji ka Halwa is mostly made during festivals, but sometimes during winter or rainy season it goes very well to accompany any pakodas, Pyaaz ke pakode(crispy onion bhajji)

Sooji ka Halwa has main four ingredients. Rava/sooji, water/milk, desi ghee (clarified butter) and sugar. The whole taste depends on how wholeheartedly you add desi ghee here. Of course, the balance of other ingredients matters a lot as well, but desi ghee makes it very rich in taste.

Nowadays, people are more calories conscious, and kids also don’t have a lot of interest and taste for traditional sweet dishes. So Sooji ka Halwa is also restricted to fewer/limited occasions only.

Recently, I had prepared this traditional sweet dish at the occasion of Navmi prasaad during the nine days of Navratri festival along with Kale Chane for Navratri prasad. Kala Chana and Sooji ka Halwa, are both part of Ashtmi or Navmi pooja prasad.

The preparation for Sooji ka Halwa is not time consuming if we keep dry sooji/ rava roasted one day before. Next day, add ghee, roast for 3-4 minutes and proceed to the further steps.

The perfect balance between the quantity of sooji, water and sugar gives a perfect result. Take any cup or bowl from the kitchen and use the same bowl to measure all three ingredients. The ratio is quite simple. If you are taking 1/2 cup of rava/sooji, sugar will be twice that, which is one cup. Water will be 4 times more than rava/sooji, which will be 2 cups.

If you are preparing Halwa for any auspicious occasion, this ratio is perfect. By the time you will finish pooja after cooking, halwa will set properly. But if you are preparing to consume immediately after, reduce quantity to 1: 3.5 of sooji and water. Sugar can be reduced according to personal taste.

Ingredients:

Sooji /rava/ samolina  400 grams

Desi ghee  200 grams

Water 1600 grams (1.6 litres)

  • Sugar 800 grams

Cardamom powder, coarsely grinded nuts and dry fruits and grated coconut powder.

Process:

In a wok on medium heat add pure ghee and melt it.

Add sooji in melted ghee and start roasting it with the help of a spatula.

Slowly sooji will start becoming dark in colour. Keep roasting it till it reaches a nice brown colour.

Slowly start adding water in roasted sooji. Soon, sooji will absorb all the liquid and will turn into a thick consistency. Don’t stop stirring.

Once halwa is thick, add sugar and mix it properly.

Add sugar in Sooji ka Halwa

As sugar will start melting, the consistency of halwa will be thin again and halwa will turn into beautiful brown colour.

Reduce the heat on sim and let halwa cook slowly till it becomes thick again. Don’t forget to stir in between. When halwa becomes thick, switch off the heat and add a  little bit of desi ghee on top to give a nice fragrance.

Sooji Ka Halwa

Sprinkle, cardamom powder, grated coconut powder and coarsely chopped dry nuts. Sooji ka Halwa is ready to be served.

Sooji ka Halwa

 

 
Kale Chane for Navratri prasad

Kale Chane for Navratri prasad

Kale Chane ka prasad for Navratri is prepared in India on the 8th or 9th day of the pooja – also called ashtmi and navmi. On the last day, nine young girls (symbolic of  nine goddesses) are invited from the neighborhood in the morning to have prasad which includes poori ,sabzi, suji ka halwa and kale chane. During my childhood my friends and I used to get invitations from so many neighbors that after the first two houses, the rest of the aunties used to pack our prasad. Along with the prasad a small gift was given which was always the main attraction and we used to make sure not to leave any house unattended 😂😂.

Now, I also do Navratri pooja and invite small girls from the neighborhood for prasad. It is so much fun to feed them and to keep listening to their non-stop chit-chat about their new bangles, who is eating more pooris or which gifts they got from the other aunties. Hot poori and kale chane is always their favorite. Small kids can’t tolerate very spicy food, so I always use a mild level of spice in kala chana and sabzi for this particular day.

Kala chana/black gram/black chickpeas can be prepared for evening snacks as well. If you can tolerate, increase spices like ginger, green chilies, red chilies and chat masala. Serve them with finely cut onions or onions rings along with a dash of lemon juice. Mouth-watering evening snack is ready!

If you don’t want to go through all these spices, then just boil them with salt and keep them in a small quantity near your work station and keep munching them. If you don’t suffer from acidity, then can munch the overnight soaked ones without boiling them.

There is one more post for Kala chana in the blog. If you are interested, you can check that out as well…

Black Chana with Coriander Gravy (no onion-garlic)

If you cook your food without onion garlic, then this recipe of kale chane for navratri prasad is perfect for you!

Ingredients:

Kala chana 1/2 kg ( 500 grams)
Turmeric powder 2 tsp
Small mustard seeds ( rai) 1 tsp
Cumin seeds (jeera) 1+1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (hing) 1/4 tsp
Oil 5 tbsp
Coriander powder 3 tbsp
Red chili powder 2 tsp
Dry mango powder (amchur) 1 tbsp
Garam masala 2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Water as per requirement

Process:

Wash chana nicely and soak them in the water overnight (water should come up 5-6 inches over the chana in the vessel.)kale chane

In the morning you will see that chana has bloomed nicely. Reduce 1/4 water, add salt and turmeric powder. Boil chana in the pressure cooker till it turns soft. It is difficult to tell the exact time of boiling as different types of pressure cookers take different time.

While chana is boiling, let’s prepare spices. In a bowl take coriander powder, red chili powder, dry mango powder (amchur) and garam masala. Add 3-4 tbsp water, mix it well and keep aside.

When chana is boiled, let the pressure cool down completely, open the cooker and shift the boiled chana in a different vessel.

Heat oil in a wok and crackle rai, hing and jeera. Add those soaked spices from the bowl along with water.

With a spatula stir this masala and let it cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add boiled chana, mix it well with spices and let it cook till the water evaporates.  Don’t forget to stir in between to avoid burning chana from the bottom of the vessel.

Kale chane ka prasad for Navratri is ready. Shift it in a serving bowl.

Kala Chana for Navratri prasad is ready

Kala Chana For Navratri Prasad

 
Rajbhog

Rajbhog

To celebrate the festival of Basant Panchmi this year, I decided to prepare Rajbhog. The below pictures of Rajbhog are when the first time I had successfully prepared this sweet dish. I was so thrilled with the outcome that I had clicked and sent these pictures  to my mother!

Rajbhog

Rajbhog

Basant Panchami festival in India signifies the arrival of spring season. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped and everyone wears yellow coloured clothes. One dish is cooked which has yellow colour – either savory or sweet. In North India this time mustard crops are in full bloom and fields are full of yellow mustard flowers.

To carry on this yellow coloured sweet dish preparation, Rajbhog was perfect .It is prepared with chenna/ paneer (curdled milk). It is very close to Rasgulla (Rasgulla) , and the only difference between these two is that Rajbhog is slightly stuffed with dry nuts and saffron is added for colour and fragrance.

Rajbhog

Ingredients:

1 litre       full fat milk
I lemon juice (can be replaced with 1 tbsp vinegar)
2 cups       sugar (granulated)
4 1/2 cup    water
1 tbsp  finely chopped mixed dry nuts and cardamom powder
a few strands of saffron
Seeds of 2-3 whole cardamom
Keep ready one tray of ice cubes

Method:

In one tbsp of hot milk, add some strands of saffron in a small bowl and keep it aside. Cut dry nuts finely and keep them along with cardamom powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, keep whole cardamom seeds.

preparation for Rajbhog

Take one big bowl and on top of it keep strainer covered with muslin cloth to sieve curdled milk. The whey water can be used to knead dough or use it for curries.

Squeeze out lemon juice, sieve it, add equal amount of water to the lemon juice and keep it separately.

Boil milk, switch off the heat and pour lemon juice or vinegar. Milk will curdle as it is very hot.

boil milk

curdle milk

When whole milk is curdled nicely, pour immediately in the strainer which is covered with muslin cloth and add ice cubes.

add ice cubes

Let the chenna remain in muslin cloth and wash it nicely in the running water so that no taste of lemon or vinegar remains. Squeeze out all water from chenna.

Now hang this chenna in muslin cloth for 15 min, so that the rest of the the water drains out. If you feel that chenna still has moisture after hanging also, squeeze it with your hands along with muslin cloth.

Now chenna is completely dry. Sieve saffron milk (keep saffron strands safe) and add this into chenna to add moisture and beautiful yellow colour. Mix it properly so that whole chenna gets absorbed in yellow colour.

Rub it nicely with your palms so that all the grains of chenna become soft and it can be collected  like a dough.

Prepare equal sized small balls from this whole chenna dough. There should not be any cracks in the balls. If you are getting cracks, rub the chenna ball between your palms and again make the ball.

Press the chenna ball with your finger and add little amount of finely cut mixture of dry nuts mixed with cardamom powder and again roll the ball neatly to seal the stuffing.

Now in a big size vessel or pressure cooker add water, sugar, saffron strands and cardamom seeds. Switch on the heat on high flame.

Keep stirring water till whole sugar is dissolved. The moment water starts boiling, add all chenna balls into this syrup and cover the vessel and keep some weight on the cover (if using cooker, let it boil till first whistle and then sim the flame for next 5-7 min.) Gas flame should be high for the first five minutes – then reduce it to sim for the next 5-7 minutes.

Switch off heat and let the steam cool down completely and then open the lid of the cooker. You will see that small balls of chenna have doubled in size.

Shift them to another bowl along with sugar syrup. Let them cool down completely. Once cooled, keep them in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.

Serve chilled and garnish with dry nuts.

Spongy bright yellow coloured Rajbhog is ready to relish!!

Rajbhog

Rajbhog

 
Gune (jaggery based)

Gune (jaggery based)

Gune (pronounced – Gu, as in Guru, plus Nay: gu + nay) is a traditional sweet snack which is prepared during the festival of Gangaur in a few states of North India and is the primary sweet which is offered to Goddess Parvati during Gangaur pooja (prayer). These can be prepared with white flour and white sugar, but I have always liked wheat flour and jaggery based Gune since my childhood. And as the whole family used to like this snack so much, my mother always prepared a lot for our munching.

Gune(jaggery based)

Basically, Gune is similar to Shakkarpara (first version)  Shakkarpara (second version.)  We just change the shape and the same snack is called Gune.

Oh, I missed blogging so much and I feel so good to be back here. While typing this post I can feel as if I am already talking to all my dear blogger friends!  Little bit here and there, ups and downs, but overall things are normal at my front. The main reason for not being active here was that I got busy with my home baking entrepreneurship. It is on a small scale but the most satisfying part is that customers are happy with my cookies, cupcakes and cakes. Many of them are coming back, again and again! What else one can ask for!

This year summer is really hot in Bangalore. Many a times I wanted to try a few variety of chips and papad for the blog. But honestly speaking, there was no strength left after finishing orders, experimenting on new healthy recipes, cooking three meals and other household chores. Now virus is back with a bang, and we have cases in our apartment so we have to restrict outsiders for a few days. Again there is fear in the air so no orders for some time. I got some time to relax (somehow you have to keep positive frame of mind) and decided to revive my blog.

Try these jaggery based Gune at home and don’t worry about the shape if you feel that it is a time consuming work.  You can prepare them as thin stripes or cut them like round thinners with a cookie cutter. I am sure you will love munching this crispy wheat flour and jaggery based snack…

Gune ( jaggery based)

Ingredients:

Wheat flour 2 cups

Jaggery 160 grams

Warm water 1/4 +1 tbsp

Oil 1/4 cup

Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp

extra oil for frying

Process

There are two ways to use jaggery in this recipe. You can soak jaggery in warm water, let jaggery get dissolved completely and use this sweet water to knead the dough…

Or, grate jaggery in a big pan and follow the rest of the procedure…

Add oil, cardamom powder and start kneading the dough by slowly adding warm water. Remember, we have to knead tight dough like we prepare for poori – not soft chapati dough. With soft dough, gune will not be crisp.

Because of jaggery, dough would be sticky. So sprinkle some dry wheat flour on your palm and this will be helpful in scrubbing the sticky tits-bits of dough. Now sprinkle some half a tsp oil in the pan and collect everything along with the dough and it will be smooth.

Dough for jaggery based Gune is ready

Divide this dough in two parts.

Again, there are two ways to roll this dough…

You can use a parchment or butter paper to roll the dough evenly from all the sides and then cut the stripes horizontally and vertically. Take one strip around your finger and seal it by pressing at the end of the edges.

The other way to do is that you sprinkle dry wheat flour on dry kitchen counter and roll the dough. If dough is sticking while rolling, again use dry flour. (Don’t roll the dough too thick. Because of jaggery, Gune get fried very quickly.Thick Gune will turn soft after frying. Thin ones will remain crisp for many days or till you finish them!) Cut the rolled disk horizontally with the help of a knife. Take one long strip and from one edge roll it around your finger, break it and seal the edges by pressing both the ends together. Use the same strip in the same manner until it gets over.

Roll the stripe around your finger to give shape of Gune

Jaggery based gune are ready to be fried

Heat oil in a wok and when oil is hot, reduce the heat to sim and fry Gune on sim heat. Be very gentle while frying. Jaggery makes them very delicate – so be careful while turning so that they don’t break. After frying all let them cool down completely. Later, fill them in an air tight container and enjoy  jaggery and wheat flour based Gune.

After cooling down completely, Gune become crisp.

Gune (jaggery based)

 
Ilaichi aur kesar roll

Ilaichi aur Kesar Roll

Ilaichi aur kesar roll (cardamom and saffron roll) is prepared with khoya/mawa. If you remember, I had recently posted the process of preparing instant khoya (Milk powder-based Mawa (Khoya)). I used the same mawa to prepare these irresistible, pretty ilaichi aur kesar roll. 

Ilaichi aur kesar roll

The best part about this sweet dish is that it is a no-cook sweet dish. Isn’t that wonderful!!

ilaichi aur kesar roll

The other good part about this recipe is that you can change the flavours according to your own choice. If you like pista more than kesar (saffron) or your preference is rose flavour instead of cardamom, then go for it! This recipe is very flexible – go according to your taste buds.

Ilaichi aur kesar roll

One more reason to like this recipe is that if you are more of a burfi loving person instead of rolls, then just cut khoya in square shapes instead of rolling it. Double flavoured burfi is ready. Anything for you!!

And the last reason for loving this recipe is very simple – the end result is so beautiful and tastes extremely delicious!! Am I exaggerating a lot? Probably, but all of my family and friends loved these Ilaichi and kesar rolls.  So, I insist you try this sweet dish at home as khoya preparation is also very easy and you can prepare mawa one or two days in advance ( Milk powder based Mawa (Khoya))

Ilaichi aur kesar roll

There are a few more posts in the blog related to Indian sweets, you can take a look at them also: Indian Traditional Sweets

Ingredients:

400 gm khoya
80 gms powder sugar (divide it equally in two parts)
Saffron, a few strands
Milk 1 tsp
Saffron food colour
Cardamom powder 1 tsp

A few points to remember :

  1. Khoya should be really stiff. The rolls will not set properly if they have moisture.
  2. Mash khoya nicely till it is smooth before adding powdered sugar. After adding sugar, khoya will be slightly sticky and it will be difficult to mash khoya to smoothen it out.
  3. When we add powdered sugar in khoya, it becomes slightly soft. Then, when we add saffron milk on top of it, it turns even softer. So, reduce a little bit of sugar quantity in kesar khoya part. Don’t worry, it will not affect the final taste.
  4. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have food colour, as it doesn’t affect the taste. Saffron is enough to give a wonderful flavor.
  5. You have to keep the roll in the fridge to make it firm. If we will be heating khoya and sugar to make it firm, then keeping it in the fridge will not be necessary. But as this is a no-cook recipe, keeping the rolls in the fridge itself will do the job. Firm khoya will be easy to roll initially and later on to get neatly sliced ilaichi aur kesar rolls.

Ilaichi aur kesar roll

Process:

Soak kesar in hot milk and keep it aside.

Crumble khoya on the clean kitchen counter or in a broad vessel. Rub khoya nicely with your palms till it is smooth and divide it into two equal parts.

Take one part of khoya and again crumble it and add 40 gms sieved powdered sugar(can reduce sugar quantity a little) . By now, kesar milk would be ready and cooled down. Sieve milk also and add in khoya. Don’t throw away kesar strands – keep them in the fridge. We will use them later to garnish rolls.

If you want more saffron colour, add a pinch of kesar food colour. Mix everything nicely and keep this kesar khoya portion separate.

In the same way, prepare another portion of khoya by adding ilaichi powder (cardamom powder) and sieved powdered sugar.

Take butter paper or parchment paper and prepare two separate rolls of khoya. It will be easy to shape khoya in rolls with butter paper/parchment paper . Wrap up both the rolls separately in parchment paper and keep them in the fridge for two hours.

After two hours take out both the rolls from the fridge and spread these rolls on butter paper/parchment paper in a rectangle shape with the help of a rolling pin. If you will fold the parchment paper in a rectangular shape (like a book fold) and then spread khoya with a rolling pin, it will be very easy to get the same sized rectangle shape for both the rolls.

Now open the top portion of parchment paper of both ilaichi and kesar khoya and very carefully flip kesar khoya portion over the ilaichi portion.

Roll it with a rolling pin so that both stick well together.

Remove the parchment paper from the top and with the help of the bottom parchment paper, start rolling it in the shape of a log/roll.

Make a tight log/roll, wrap it in parchment paper/butter paper, and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 hours so that it becomes firm.

When the roll/log is firm, take it out from the fridge, unwrap it, and with a sharp knife slice it into small rolls.

Ilaichi aur kesar roll

Aren’t they beautiful!! While slicing them, the wonderful flavor of kesar and ilaichi will make you gulp one immediately. No one is looking 😉, and don’t worry if you find your family standing right behind you. You deserve that first roll after all the preparation process you did all by yourself!!!

If you can save some pieces, garnish ilaichi aur kesar roll with kesar strands.

Ilaichi aur kesar roll

 
Gajar matar gobhi ki sabzi

Gaajar matar gobhi ki sabzi

Gaajar matar gobhi ki sabzi (carrots, peas and cauliflower) is a wonderful combo of three winter vegetables. All vegetable vendors bring fresh red carrots, peas and cauliflower in abundance during winter. Though these three vegetables can be cooked separately, ( Aaloo  Gobhi ki sabzi  ) as a combo, gaajar, matar aur gobhi creates a delicious vegetable dish. The sweet taste of carrots and peas is balanced by adding ginger, green chilies and garam masala. Kids also love this vegetable as they find their favourite peas here.

Gajar matar gobhi ki sabzi

Sometimes the taste of gaajar matar gobhi ki sabzi is ruined if peas are not of good quality. They remain hard until carrots and cauliflower are completely cooked. To avoid this issue, I prefer buying very soft peas. But in case you have hard peas, then before cooking them, boil them in a pressure cooker for just one pressure. Now peas will be completely cooked along with carrots and cauliflower. Be careful, don’t boil peas for more than one whistle, otherwise, they will become mushy by the time all the vegetables are cooked.

Gajar matar gobhi ki sabzi

You can check out more recipes in the blog for different vegetables:

Vegetables (Curries)

Ingredients:

Carrot 250 gms
Cauliflower 250 gms
Peas 100 gms
Grated ginger 1/4 tsp
Green chillies chopped 3-4
Oil 5 /6 tbsp
Salt as per your taste
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder 1 tsp
Tomatoes 2 / lemon juice 1+1/2 tsp /amchur powder 1 tsp
Green coriander leaves for garnishing
Water 3-4 tbsp if required

Process:

Peel, wash and chop carrots. Cut cauliflower in small florets and shell out peas and wash them.

In a wok heat oil and crackle rai, hing, jeera (small mustard seeds, asafoetida and cumin seeds).

Add carrots, cauliflower and peas followed by chopped green chilies and grated ginger.

Add coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and mix it well with veggies.

(If all the water is drained out from the vegetables after washing and sieving them, add 3-4 tbsp of water after mixing spices. If still some water remains while adding veggies in the wok, then there is no need to add water unless spices start sticking to the bottom of the wok).

Cover the wok and let vegetables cook on sim heat. In between, stir them two or three times until they become soft.

gajar matar gobhi is ready

Now add garam masala and chopped tomatoes/lemon juice/amchoor powder. Mix it properly and let the veggies cook for two-three more minutes. Gaajar matar gobhi ki sabzi taiyaar hai. 

Transfer it to a serving bowl and sprinkle finely chopped green coriander leaves. Enjoy this winter special vegetables treat with roti, paratha, poori or rice.

Gajar matar gobhi ki sabzi