Baked Gulab Jamun

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On all my friends’ request- I am posting the Baked Gulab Jamun recipe this time..After few attempts and failures I finally figured out the secret to yummy baked gulab jamuns – Although it is not as dark brown as the fried ones – I am sure it is great at taste – proof given by a  6 year old kid – “Aunty, this tastes like Gulab Jama” (he says Jamas and not Jamuns :):) ) – because he was expecting to see dark brown colored jamuns so he did not say it is Jamuns but instead said it is like Jamuns!!!!! Bottomline – several efforts to a finally fulfilling Baked Gulab Jamun recipe.

I think I should also mention this – one of my friend noted that if it was added to the Boiled sweet milk – it would turn out to be good Ras Malai recipe also without the hassle of preparing paneer and without worrying of it being turned out hard/cracked…. Haven’t tried yet but will give it a shot soon!!!!

The Jamun preparation ingredients are adapted from Manjula Aunty’s website — http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2006/12/23/gulab-jamun/        with few modifications to bake them.

Ingredients for Jamuns

1.   1 cup nonfat milk powder

2.  1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp Flour-  (All Purpose flour (plain flour, maida), Singoda flour, Unbleached White Wheat Flour)

3.  Pinch of Baking Soda

4.  3 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter

5.    1/4 cup room temperature whole milk

For Syrup – (more watery syrup will give better results with Baked Gulab Jamun as compared to fried so proportion is changed here for sugar and water)

1.   1 1/2 cup sugar

2.    1 3/4 cup water

Method:

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the softened butter and mix well but smoothly – better if done with hands rather than food processor. Then add milk and fold in with the ingredients. Let the batter rest for 15-20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degree farenheit

3. Arrange Parchment paper on baking tray (cookie tray is best to use for Jamuns). So no Greasing is required.

4. Mix water and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil on stove. let it boil for 3-4 minutes and then turn the flame to low and let it simmer. Add few drops of lemon juice to this syrup to avoid crystallizing of sugar.

5.  The batter should have turned into soft dough. Then make tiny balls – this recipe makes about 20-22 Gulab Jamuns. These tiny balls will fluff up while baking and also more when added to Sugar syrup. So the size being tiny is okay. Arrange them directly on the baking tray

6. Place the tray in the preheated oven and turn down the oven temperature to 330 degree farenheit. This is important to avoid burning the Jamuns. Cook on one side for 6-8 minutes depending on your oven OR until slightly brown from the bottom. Mine were done on one side in 7 min. Then turn over the Jamuns and cook the other side for another 6-8 minutes OR until slightly brown from the bottom.

7. Let rest the Jamuns in the baking tray for 2-3 minutes before adding them to the hot syrup. Then gently place the Jamuns in syrup one by one. The syrup will be absorbed well by the Jamuns within 30 minutes to 1 hour. Ready to serve – Hot or Cold!!!!!!!

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Jain Tikki – Rava Tikkis

Preparation time: 10 min

Cooking time 5-7 min

Resting time – 20 min

Ingredients:

1 cup Sooji/Rava

2 tablespoon Rice flour

1 cup Boiled Vegetable mix – Methi, Palak, Peas

3 cups water

2 teaspoon salt or adjust to taste

1 teaspoon green chilli paste

1 teaspoon Garam Masala powder

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

5 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Method:

1. Boil the water in a large saucepan – add the pre-cooked vegetable mix, chilli paste and all the spices. Mix well and let cook for a minute.

2. Now slowly add the Sooji/Rava to the boiling water stirring continously to avoid any lumps – then add the rice flour similarly.

3. Mix well and cook for another 1 minute or until all the water is absorbed.  Let the mixture cool down off from the stove – the mixture should be warm enough to work with and not cool down completely otherwise tikkis cannot be formed easily.

4. Make lemon-sized balls of this mixture and press each ball within the palms of your hands to form the shape of the tikki – for creative touch – use different shapes of cookie cutters to form the tikkis.

5. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan – meanwhile dip all the tikkis into the bread crumbs and keep aside. When oil is hot enough add the tikkis into it and cook for about a minute on one side or until golden brown. Turn over and cook another side for about 30-40 seconds.

If frying the tikkis in batches then about 1 tablespoon oil is needed for 5-6 tikkis to cook completely so the oil can also be similarly added in batches.

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Spicy Aloo Pockets

I am kind-of addicted to Manjula Aunty’s monthly contest – it serves as an inspiration to prepare my own dishes atleast once a month with a creative touch. So for this Sep 2010 contest I was online reading the contest details and enjoying myself with a flavorful homemade strawberry tart from a friend. That night I had to prepare baked samosas and baked cutlets for dinner on my husband’s demand. Reading the contest details asking to prepare an appetizer with potatoes suddenly made me think to submit my already prepared sooji-vegetable cutlets which is shallow-fried so low-fat version of vegetables cutlets with potatoes as one of main ingredients for binding these patties (recipe available on my blog).  But then suddenly my creative mind said “NO, You have to do something different”. So I take a break and find myself indulging into one of those wonderful tarts. And there it comes —- the wonderful idea of a spicy aloo stuffing in something crispy-baked liked tarts.

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And here follows the recipe.  Recently I have found that the White potatoes have lesser carbs than the Russet for those who are interested in watching their carb-intake without giving up the versatile potatoes in their diet!!

This recipe makes 20-24 pieces

Ingredients:

For the pocket – Phyllo dough recipe I had saved and modified earlier for baked samosas– I don’t remember the original source.

3/4 cups all purpose flour (OR Unbleached White Flour)

 1/8 teaspoon salt

 1/4 cup water

¼  teaspoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon canola oil

Filling

½ teaspoon canola oil

1 cup packed tiny potato cubes

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

2 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon crushed peanuts (with the skin removed – available in Indian grocery store or use any other nuts instead)

½ teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon cumin powder

¼ teaspoon salt or adjust to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

Dressing

Garlic bread sprinkle

1/8 cup finely chopped raw mango

Spicy Garlic chutney – paste (I used Chilli Garlic sauce from walmart)

Method:

  1. Dough recipe : Combine the flour and salt and then mix 2 tbsp oil, water and vinegar in a cup so that they mix well with each other – this is needed so that the oil does not float on water. Combine the liquid into the flour and make a smooth soft dough  – use some oil to pat the dough if it is too sticky. Cover and let rest for 1 hr.
  2. Filling recipe: Meanwhile cube the potatoes, mix with ¼ teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon water. Cook in Microwave- Potato setting.
  3. Finely chop the onions, raw mango, crush the garlic, peanuts, juice the lemon.
  4. Heat the remaining oil for the filling in a wok, add potatoes and cook on medium-low stirring occasionally until they turn crispy golden brown – then add the onions, peanuts, sesame seeds, garlic, cumin powder, salt and lemon juice and cook for a minute – no need to cook completely as these will be put in the oven later.
  5. 5.       Preparing the pockets: Preheat oven at 375 F.  Make key lime size balls from the dough and dust the rolling surface with flour – and roll thin roti out of the ball – cut into a triangle with rounded top edge – seal the bottom two ends to make a pocket like structure. Fill with the prepared potato mixture.  Grease a baking tray, arrange the pockets and then spray with cooking spray. Bake for 15 -20 minutes – watch at 15 min so that if they are already turned golden brown they can be removed.
  6. 6.       Serving: Remove and arrange on serving dish – garnish with chopped mango, garlic bread sprinkle and garlic chutney. Serve Hot!!! Enjoy the spicy aloo pockets!!

This one goes to www.manjulaskitchen.com contest for Sep 2010.

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Sundal – Chennai Recipe – Chickpea-coconut salad

I love food. Do I have to say it again and again?? :):):):) Some dishes are flavorful even without many spices. Fewest ingredients sometimes give wonderful dishes and more so ever they are so easy to prepare and mostly healthier as well!!!! Sundal, a very mild chickpea recipe from Chennai was served hot at my friend’s place when she invited me for Laxmi Poojan few weeks back. I fell in love with this dish at the first bite (Love at first BITE!! :):):) ). So here follows the recipe – I have altered it very slightly by adding curry leaves and asaefotida for health reasons as chickpeas are not easily digestable by everyone. I have also used this basic recipe with addition to few freshly cut veggies to make my own salad!!!!

Ingredients:
1 cup white chickpeas, soaked overnight with 1/2 teaspoon salt Or 1 can
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
pinch of asaefotida
1 tsp urad dal soaked in water for 10 minutes
1 dried red chilly
3-4 fresh curry leaves
2 1/2 tbsp freshly grated coconut ( frozen or dry works too)
1/2 teaspoon salt or adjust to taste

Method:
1. Drain the soaked or canned chickpeas. Wash off the canned chickpeas well.Boil 1 cup water in a sauce pan and the drained chickpeas. Let cook in constant  boiling water for 5-7 minutes. Remove and drain completely – the chickpeas should be cooked right – not too mushy not too hard. Drain the urad dal as well.
2. in the same sauce pan – add oil. When heated add mustard seeds, when they splutter add the asaefotida and urad dal curry leaves, red chilly broken to 3-4 big pieces.
3. add grated coconut and mix well. cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat making sure that the coconut does not get toasted.
4. Now add the chickpeas and mix well. add salt as required and serve hot. Traditionally this is served as side-dish but I consume it as salad sometimes by adding little lemon juice and mixing with fresh cut avocados, tomatoes and cucumber!!!

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Eggless Banana Apple Muffins

I am trying to make myself eat at least 2 fresh fruits everyday – but sometimes I just skip it – so this time i did so with the apples and bananas -AGAIN :(:(  (because I only like those sour very juicy fruits like grapes, oranges and berries)- lying on my kitchen counter for about 4-5 days they were already softening so I would have not eaten it any way just like that. At the same time – my husband asks for something sweet – LOL – will he get it — yes but not the sugar and ghee laddoos as he expected – I was reminded of my Mom’s eggless banana muffins so I pick up the phone, get the recipe and off to my kitchen. And the rest of the story follows in terms of preparation of these lovely low-sugar muffins..

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This recipe makes 10 muffins

Ingredients:

2 ½ tablespoon corn starch

4 tablespoon water

2 medium sized apples- peeled and chopped OR 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ tablespoon coconut oil

¼ cup brown sugar – packed

¼ cup stevia sugar – for that LOW sugar value of this recipe

1 cup spelt flour

1/3 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour

2 bananas – mashed

¾ teaspoon baking soda

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease 10 muffin holes of the pan.
  2. Pressure cook the apples with 1 ½ tablespoon water for 3 whistles. Remove the cooked apples and blend well to a sauce in blender.
  3. Mix corn starch with 2 ½ tablespoon water until there are no lumps left.  Add applesauce, oil and vanilla extract. Mix well. Mix the sugars and mashed bananas and whisk together.
  4. Mix the flours and baking soda and then add the corn starch mixture until well blended and no lumps remaining.
  5. Fill the muffin holes with the batter to 2/3 depth. Bake for 20 minutes. When done prick a toothpick in the muffin and if it comes out clean the muffins are ready!! If not then bake more at 2 minutes interval. These store well when cooled at room temperature and refrigerated for upto 10 days. ENJOY one each day!!!

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JANMASHTAMI 2nd Sep 2010 CELEBRATION

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Janmashtami 2010 celebration has been a special one for me – this time it was all about educating the kids about Lord Krishna in their way – colors and jumping!!!! I drew 10 Avatar pictures of Lord Vishnu – one of which is Lord Krishna — in forms easily recognizable by kids of age 2 and above – for example – Matsya avatar was a fish picture and Narsimha avatar was a Lion-Man picture (surprisingly a 5 year old kid easily compared it to the little mermaid – the fish-lady character!!) and so on.  I made them recognize each and then provided them with crayon colors to give life to these pictures! And a 5 year old kid also initiated the Aarti for the evening – another smart one in the gang! Then was the “dahi-handi” which was altered a bit – I took a plastic bowl and decorated it – filled with home-made peda wrapped in foil (served as toffees for kids!) and homemade shrikhand in another small bowl – then tied this bowl on to a beads “Toran” – decorative rope – two of us adults held this high from both ends of the rope and asked the kids to jump as high as they can to touch the “handi” — one more awe-event here – a 2 year old kid watched elder kids jumping to catch the handi and he knew he cannot jump that high so after sometime he silently pulled a chair near, climbed it and touched the handi — EASILY — so many smartness in these innocent kids!!!! love them all!! For the adults I got a crossword with questions on Lord Krishna’s life – that was awesome too – one of the question was – 4 lettered nickname for Lord Krishna – I got different answers and all fit in correctly – HARI, VASU, LALA!!! Is that not the GOD’s grace that each little activity on his Birthday was like a special event with something surprising!!!! GOVIND BOLO HARI GOPAL BOLO – RADHA RAMAN HARI GOPAL BOLO!!!!!

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