Bhapa Pineapple Sandesh

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I love Pineapples! Add it to any dish, and I will polish it off within minutes. So of course, coming from the land of sweets, I had to experiment with this delicious fruit to make a lip smacking mithai. I combined pineapple with cottage cheese and steamed it to make this wonderful sweet dish. This Sandesh (a famous Kolkata sweet with a twist) is the easiest and the yummiest sweet I have made in a while. I served it to guests on our housewarming and it became such a hit that a friend requested I make a batch for her daughter’s birthday! Her guests loved it too! With pineapples being available in abundance these days, you can serve this Sandesh at the next party you host. Trust me, you will have everyone go gaga when they bite into these melt-in-the-mouth delights stuffed with chopped pineapples! Here’s how you can make it:

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup pineapple (canned or fresh) (chopped)
4-5 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon pineapple essence
2-3 drops edible yellow color

RECIPE:

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat milk and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice and allow milk to curdle.

Strain the cheese and wash well with water to remove the lemony flavor.

Tie in a muslin cloth and squeeze out all the excess whey.

On a flat surface, knead the cheese well with the heel of your palm, gathering the cheese from the sides together, till it becomes smooth and greasy.

Add pineapple essence, yellow color and sugar. Knead again to mix the ingredients well.

Make small balls out of the dough. Flatten each ball on your palms and stuff it with half a teaspoon of chopped pineapple. Seal the edges and shape into a ball again. Flatten the ball gently.

Repeat with the remaining balls.

Top the flattened cottage cheese balls with chopped pineapples and press down gently.

Steam in a steamer for 5 minutes. Once steamed, remove from steamer on to a plate and refrigerate.

Serve these Bhapa Pineapple Sandesh chilled.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

NOTE: You can use skimmed milk and sugar substitute if you are a calorie conscious foodie!

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Tropical Smoothie

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Whoa! It’s been a long, long while since I visited this space of mine! Moving from one place to another can be tough, more so when you have an entire household to move! I realised this now. Before my wedding, moving cities used to be a lot simpler affair: when all my belongings were packed in a few bags, I boarded the flight, and voila! Life began in a new place, anew! Anyway, I am glad to share with my readers and blogger friends that though I took a month longer than I had expected, I have settled down well in my new abode.

It is extreme summer now in this part of the world, but I am happy beyond words to be back near family and my childhood friends. Being indoors in the intense heat has given me ample time to experiment and improvise on my cooking skills. But more than that, it is the proximity of my Mom, my guru, who still teaches me how to cook the best of the dishes. This Tropical Smoothie recipe I share with you all now is actually my Mom’s recipe, the drink she made me when we visited her first after our move. Loaded with the freshness of fruits, coconut milk and yoghurt, this Smoothie is the perfect drink to be had on a warm, humid summer day. Here’s how you can make it:

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh yoghurt
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup chopped ripe mangoes
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
4 tablespoons honey
4-5 fresh mint leaves

RECIPE:

Blend all ingredients together till well incorporated.

Serve in glasses and refrigerate.

Garnish with chopped fruit pieces and mint leaves.

Serve chilled.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

Idli (Tamil Nadu Special)

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Over the last few weeks, I have not been able to interact much with you all, dear friends and readers. The reason being, I am shifting to a new city and all the sorting, packing and moving of things is keeping me really occupied. I would be a little irregular for a month or so, following which I will be back with you all again.

As you can guess, I have not been getting time to even sit down and relax for a while. Plus, there are the farewell lunches and dinners that I have been attending. So, I have rarely been cooking. Except may be the odd breakfast or snack for friends coming over. With so much to do, and so little time, I have started indulging in brunches so that I have more time to devote to my personal work. And when we talk of brunch, I must tell you what my absolute favorite is. Idli, made of rice of split, skinned black gram, is a steamed South Indian delicacy that can be eaten any time of the day. Light, fluffy, easily digestible and healthy, Idli is a real treat to the tastebuds. A light fermented sourness lends a unique taste to Idli, which is best eaten with Sambhar and Coconut Chutney. Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups parboiled rice
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup skinned and split black gram (dhuli urad daal)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
Salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon oil (for greasing)

RECIPE:

Clean and soak the parboiled rice for 4 hours. Drain the water.

Clean and drain the split black gram and fenugreek seeds for 4 hours. Drain the water.

Add cooked rice to the soaked parboiled rice and grind into a fine batter. Set aside.

Grind the split black gram and fenugreek seeds into a fine batter. Set aside.

Keep both batters in a warm place and allow to ferment for 5-6 hours.

Mix together rice and split black gram batters and add salt. Mix well and set aside for another 2-3 hours or till you get a slightly sour aroma.

Grease an Idli pan with oil and pour ladles full of batter into it. Cook in a steamer for 5-7 minutes. Remove the cooked Idlis from the pan and serve hot with Sambhar and Coconut Chutney.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂