Monday, January 28, 2013

What's Cooking?: Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)

Hello all! I know my blog is new and I really have not perfected it. So, I keep thinking of new ways to make it better. From now on, I am going to have a 'what's cooking' segment where I will share my food recipes. Also, I want my posts to have more flow and I will share some tips that I have learnt from better cooks than me.
I made Carrot Halwa or Gajar ka Halwa last week when I went to see my sister in New Jersey. Is everyone like me? I tend to cook a lot more when I have people around. It is my way of showing love. Also, it helps when there are people to actually eat your food and shower you with compliments;). Anyway, here are the ingredients that I used:
Carrots- 7-8.
Cashew nuts- 10-12
Ghee- 3 table spoons
Milk-1 cup.
Sugar-1-2 cups.

First, grate the carrots thinly. This is the most tedious part of the whole recipe. My sister did this all on her own. She is such a doll. Heat up the Ghee in a deep dish. Add the cashews and carrots and cook till completely done. Make sure that you do not taste the rawness of the carrots. This might take a while. Then add the sugar and milk and cook till the milk is completely absorbed by the carrots. Serve warm or cold.
I try to add as little sugar as possible as I don't like too sweet desserts. But, you can definitely add more or less sugar based on personal preference. Also, addition of little more ghee will improve the taste but will also increase your waist line;)

Gajar ka halwa!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Harvest festival time!:)

How I miss India and family during the festival time! Today is a harvest festival celebrated through out India. Just by different names. We all like to believe we are so different, yet we are all the same. This festival really knows no bounds. No caste, creed or religion. This is just to celebrate the hard work of our beloved farmers and to finally reap what we sow.
I do miss all the cooking. Some times I wonder, if our future generations will understand how much food means in our culture, how much different food tastes just because it was made by your mom, your grand mom or your aunts. How different food is if not bought ready made. How happy it can make the person making the food and the person having it. I wish our generation makes an effort to learn and imbibe what our parents can teach us. I most definitely am trying.

Since today is Sankranthi (harvest festival in Andhra Pradesh, India), I helped my aunt make some snacks from scratch yesterday. We call them murkulu and appalu in our house. Again, it is called by different names in diiferent households. They tasted so good! Crunchy, a little hot and very very tasty!

Here's the recipe:
For every 2lbs of Rice flour, Add 4 tbsp of red chilli powder and 3 tbsp of salt. Grind one whole bulb of Garlic, 1 cup of cumin, 1 cup of sesame seeds and 1 tbsp of asafoetida. Add 1 cup of boiling water to 2 cups of flour and make in to a dough. Use a muruku press to make them. Very easy to find in Indian stores. Fry the pressed dough till golden brown and serve warm or at room temperature.

Another version: Add a cup of peanuts, chana dal, coriander leaves and curry leaves to the recipe above, make in to small balls similar to puris, press in a puri press and fry till golden brown. Keep in mind, the appalu will turn a shade darker after you remove them from the fryer.

A few pictures I wanted to share:
Dough in the making

Version 1: Murkulu.

Version 2: Katte appalu
I hope you all have a great Pongal!:)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year!

This is my first post in the new year. I know was absent for a few days, but I am sick since the start of the new year. ( Not a good start huh?) But, the last few days in the last year were very adventurous and fun! I went on a road trip with my sisters and their friends. And what we got was good company and amazing views!! The stress of planning the trip on such a short notice was definitely worth it. We drove from Dallas to SanDeigo in 12 days, spent the NYE in San Deigo and time spent was memorable. Let me share a few pictures from the trip.
All of us in Santa Fe, New Mexico

On the way to Grand Canyon.

Me at the South Rim- Grand Canyon.