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Sunday, August 26, 2012


Hey everyone..

The weekend arrives with a bright sunny Saturday morning. An old Bollywood classics station plays on my online radio. Rajesh asks Sharmila when his Sapnon ki Rani will arrive while I imagine her dimpled smile.. I get ready, light a diya, water my little container garden, smell the basil and mint.. pick some basil leaves for a caprese breakfast sandwich and start pounding elaichi to make chai.

Sandesh with strawberry and orange garnish
 All fed and satisfied, I wonder if today I will make something special? While the family is "busy" tinkering around with "important" tasks on their laptops (nobody's buying that..) I browse a few blogs (my idea of important tasks).. and zero in on this Sandesh.

Look.. how pretty it's turned out!! I mostly followed the recipe from Manjula's Kitchen. Here's how I made my Sandesh: 

Step 1: Make Paneer:

Milk - 8 cups, I used 2% milk
Lemon juice - 1/4 cup diluted with 1 cup warm water

Boil milk, when well boiled, add the diluted lemon juice till whey and paneer separate. Turn off heat. Drain paneer onto cheesecloth or good quality paper towel. Rinse paneer well with water, drain. Wrap with cheese cloth and place under a heavy weight for about 20-30 minutes.

Step 2: Make Sandesh

Paneer from above step 1
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Fresh cardamom powder - about 4 or 5 pods
Small amount of pretty fruit for garnish, say 1 strawberry
Saffron - 8 strands + 2 tsp warm milk, also for garnish 

1) Knead the paneer well.
2) Mix sugar and cardamom powder and knead some more. Mixture may get slightly moist as you add more of the sugar. Mine did this time, previous times it didn't. It's ok either way, just a note.
3) Heat mixture in non-stick pan on very low heat. Heat till the mixture looks cooked and before it gets crumbly. (Ah-haan.. but how does one identify a before-crumbly stage? Just stop quickly when it looks crumbly, ya, no worries).
4) If the mixture is not crumbly, knead a tiny bit. If the mixture got slightly crumbly then knead some more till the mixture is smooth-smooth, soft and easily comes together when rolled into a ball.
5) Now roll the mixture into little flattened balls with indentation in the middle.
6) For garnish, heat the 2 tsp milk, add 8 saffron strands and mix till it's all yellow. Decorate the center indentations of  the sandesh pieces with this yellow liquid (gives color and fragrance). Can also use teeny-tiny chopped strawberry slices or an orange slice and fill in the center indentations.

The Sandesh turned out light, soft, moist and ever so subtle!!

Happy birthday to two little darlings my friends just had! We wish them everything good in life! :)

Cheerio and thanks for stopping by, everyone!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baked Nimki, Happy Janmashtami!

Hey everyone.. long time no see.. sorry about that.. Hope all's well with everybody. Happy Janmashtami!! I didn't actually make nimki for Janmashtami.. but it was Janmashtami recently and I made nimki recently, so..

Tried baking the Nimki to minimize oil. Turned out pretty decent. Started out with BongMom's recipe which I've made before (fried) and had turned out perfect. I just modified small things to accommodate baking and the fact that I didn't have any whole wheat flour at the time.

All purpose flour - 1 and 2/3 cup (In future I will try to combo with whole wheat flour and rice flour)
Fine Semolina (Pani puri sooji) - 1/3 cup or slightly more
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Kalonji - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 6 tbsp
Water - 1/2 cup, appx., use judgement, I think I used a bit less.

1) Mix well - flours, salt, sugar, kalonji, baking powder.
2) Add oil, mix by hand till oil seems to be evenly distributed in the mixture, looks kind of crumbly.
3) Add water, knead well, cover with clingwrap and let rest for 30 mins or so.
4) Make small balls of the dough and roll into thin rotis. Prick with fork if you want the nimki to not puff up. Cut into diamond shapes. (Note: I have rolled on my normal wooden roti-base before. But when I cut the nimki it left cutting marks on my nice, (mostly unused), wooden base. So this time I just covered my chopping board with non-stick foil and rolled on it.)
5) Pull the nimki off and arrange on a non-stick cookie sheet, covered with non-stick foil. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye, don't let them turn too brown. Can flip the nimkis in between if you feel it's necessary.

Turned out glorious. I made the nimkis thin because I thought that would help make them crisp. It did help! They are perfectly crisp! But thin rolling made for a lot of rolling, lot of rotis, lot of nimkis and baking on multiple cookie-sheets. :) Oh well, more to eat!