Friday, January 15, 2021

How to make Indian Masala Chai | Ginger Cardamom Tea

Indian Masala Chai is a sweetened tea beverage made by boiling the tea, milk and some Indian spices together.  If you have followed me on IG and had a chance to see my daily stories, you might already know my love for a good cup of chai. Nowadays, I think that the Indian chai doesn't need any introduction, right? The most famous coffee house, Starbucks has already started to sell the Indian masala chai in their cafe. But the commonly used term "chai tea" to mention "Indian chai" is a bit confusing for me when I heard it for the first time. Actually the Hindi language word for tea is 'chai', so the word "chai tea" sounds repeating to me. Anyone with me or am i the only one who thinks that the term "chai tea" is weird ?

Ok, let's leave the name conundrum! First let me answer the common myths about Indian Chai. Typically in our homes, we don't add a lot of spices in our tea on a daily basis. The most common flavor is either ginger or cardamom or both. Besides, we don't prepare masala chai powder in bulk for household purposes. So the masala chai that are available in North American restaurants or cafes is not how we prepare at home. Indian household chai recipe is a simple straightforward milk tea with one or two spices. That's it ! 

Let's see some FAQs about Indian Chai before moving to the recipe

What's the proportion of milk and water in the chai?

There are  no hard and fast rules here. You can add more or less milk as per your liking. I prefer my chai with 1:1 ratio of milk and water.

What % of milk is good for chai ?

Ideally full fat milk tastes great. But for daily intake, i prefer to make the chai with 2% milk. But you can use whatever you like!

What's the best tea powder for Indian Chai?

In India, I prefer to use red roses. Here in Canada, I like red label brands or any tea powder from Indian brands.

Why is my chai pale in color instead of dark color?

The color of the chai solely depends on the tea powder. If the given quantity of tea powder doesn't give the dark color, you can add a bit more but keep in mind, more tea powder makes the chai bitter.

Is it ok to make chai without sugar?

Yes, absolutely fine. Or you can use any sweetener or sugar alternative also.

How to make Indian Masala Chai

Preparation Time : 2 mins | Cooking Time : 5 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Curry | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Masala chai, Ginger Tea, Ginger Cardamom Tea, Ginger Cardamom Chai,Indian Masala Tea, Chai Tea, Chai Latte Indian Masala Chai is a sweetened tea beverage made by boiling the tea, milk and some Indian spices together.
Milk - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Tea powder - 4 tsp
Sugar - 3 tsp
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green Cardamom - 2 

First, in a sauce pan, add the water & tea powder. Next peel the ginger and crush both ginger and cardamom roughly(bring out the flavor well) and then add into the sauce pan. 
Bring into boil, then add the milk. Next add the sugar and again bring into boil and let it simmer for 2 mins. Then strain the tea and it's ready to serve.Flavorful Indian Masala Chai is ready. Serve it with your favorite biscuits or crackers. 
  • Add more or less of sugar as per your liking 
  • Instead of white sugar, you can use the brown sugar also.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Broccoli Cheddar Soup | Easy Soup Recipe

Broccoli Cheddar Soup, a delicious, creamy & cheesy soup, perfect for cold winter nights. My love for soups started only after I started to travel outside India. Before that, I liked to taste only a few spoons of soups mainly because I didn't grow up having soup as a meal and also the soup that I had tasted in many Indian restaurants were simply the diluted version of curries. Later, slowly i became a soup fan, all credits to panera bread restaurant which is my go to place for lunch/dinner whenever we're traveling.  This broccoli cheddar soup is my humble attempt to recreate the panera bread style soup with minimal ingredients. I won't say that this soup tastes exactly like a restaurant but it's simply delicious without any cream or fancy ingredients !  

Moreover, now , the weather here in Canada demands more soup for winter nights.  Like i said in my hot chocolate post, soups are also a perfect winter food. Having a bowl of hot soup gives such a cozy and warm feel. I can't image having soup as meal on hot days and that makes me wonder how easily weather influences our food habits and moods. Ok, enough with my rambling, let's move on to the recipe. Usually i make soups for nights and one day when i had shared this soup on my IG story, many requested to share the recipe. So last week, i prepared this for our lunch that way i can take some decent pictures and share the recipe here. Now , let's check out on how to make this creamy delicious broccoli cheddar soup.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Preparation Time : 1 hr | Cooking Time : 20 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Soup | Recipe Cuisine: International
Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Broccoli Soup, Easu Broccoli Soup, Panera bread style broccoli soup Broccoli Cheddar Soup, a delicious, creamy & cheesy soup, perfect for cold winter nights.
Broccoli Crown - 1 (medium size)
Celery stalk - 3 
Onion - 1/4 
Carrot - 1 
Garlic - 3 gloves 
Butter - 1 tbsp 
Olive oil - 1 tsp
All purpose flour - 1 & 1/2 tbsp
Vegetable stock - 2 cups
Milk - 2 cups
Cheddar Cheese - 3 tbsp
Chili flakes - 1/2 tsp
Italian Seasoning - 1 tsp 
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

Cut the broccoli crown, celery stalk and onion into small pieces. Cut the carrot into thin slices and minced the garlic finely. Heat the oil & butter in a sauce pan, add garlic.Saute till the garlic is fragrant and then add the onion,carrot & celery and give a good mix. Next add the broccoli and saute them all in butter-oil mixture. Then add the flour & mix it well. Next add the vegetable stock and milk.Then add the salt, chili flakes and italian seasonings. Simmer for a while till the veggies are soft. Once the veggies are cooked, transfer half of them in a blender jar and grind into smooth puree(if you have a immersion blender, use it here) and then transfer back into sauce pan.Finally add the cheddar cheese and pepper powder. Bring into a gentle boil and switch off the flame.
Tasty and flavorful Broccoli Cheddar soup is ready to serve. For more soup recipes, check out my soup collections
  • Add more or less of liquid as per your liking.
  • For more creamy texture, reduce the milk quantity and add a little bit of cream.
  • This soup thickens as it cooled down.
  • Instead of soup, you can use water also.
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Friday, January 1, 2021

Khoya Burfi | Mawa Burfi | Easy Indian Sweets

Khoya Burfi, a classic North Indian sweet which is mainly made for festive occasions.It's delicious, perfect to make at the last minutes with just a couple of ingredients. I tried these khoya burfi a couple of times before and every SINGLE time it turned out so delicious and rich. If you're looking for some easy milk based sweet to make for any special occasions, I would recommend to give a try on these burfis. 
Though i have made these burfis in large quantities, today i'm sharing the recipe for very small quantity just enough for 2 to 3 people serving.  But you can easily double or triple the recipe as you like. 
Before moving on to the recipe, let's check out some basic FAQs

Is the store bought khoya good for this recipe?
Yes, absolutely ! I tried both store bought and homemade for this burfi. Both turned out perfectly fine.

Why are my burfis chewy?
The burfis might turn chewy because of over cooking. So switch off the flame once it all comes together.

Happy New year to all. Wish you all a happy and healthy new year ahead !

Khoya Burfi | Mawa Burfi

Preparation Time : 2 mins | Cooking Time : 10 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Sweet | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Milk sweet, Burfi, Mawa Burfi, Khoya burfi, Indian sweet Khoya Burfi, a classic North Indian sweet which is mainly made for festive occasions.It's delicious, perfect to make at the last minutes with just a couple of ingredients.
Khoya -1/2 cup
Powdered Sugar - 3 tbsp
Rose essence - few drops
Pistachios & silvered almonds - 1 tbsp 
Ghee - 1/2 tsp

Heat the pan with ghee, crumble the khoya and add into it. Saute it in ghee for 2 mins.Then add the powdered sugar & rose essence.Add the half of the nuts and mix it a good. Remove from the heat when it's all come together and pour into the tray and level the top.Add the remaining nuts on the top and let it cool completely. Slice and serve.Yummy Khoya Burfi is ready. For more sweet recipes, you can check out my collections 
  • Keep the flame in low for entire cooking. Otherwise the khoya will be burnt easily.
  • For quick settings, keep the burfi in refrigerator for 20-30 mins.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Thoothukudi Macaroons | Cashew Macaroons

Thoothukudi Macaroon, a unique variety of macaroon from the southern city of Tamilnadu, Thoothukudi. These macaroons are made from cashew powder in contrast to the traditional macaroon which is made from almond powder. It's widely believed that these macaroons were brought into the port city by the Portuguese sailors which was later upgraded into its current form. You can say it's an Indiansied version of European macaroons.

When I was a school goer, Appa worked in thoothukudi for a year or two and occasionally he bought these macaroons from the famous bakeries(can't remember the bakery name now) in the town and I can still remember the taste of those macaroons. It was so delicate, rich, and melted instantly when put in your mouth and in the end it left some cashew bits in your mouth. It's one of my favorite Indian bakes.

Therefore, ever since i have started baking, i attempted to bake this at home and failed miserably in the past. All it needs is three ingredients such as egg whites, sugar and cashew, hence i was like how hard it would be. But the truth is it's one of the difficult bakes that i have tried so far. With persistent efforts for years, now I can bake some decent thoothukudi macaroons. Though the shape of these macaroons are not even close to the bakery macaroons, the taste and the texture were spot on and it's exhilarating for sure !
Before moving on to the recipe, I know that many have so questions in your mind about these macaroons, so let me answer them first. 
What 's thoothukudi macaroons ?
It's an Indian version of European macaroons originated from the southern city of Thoothukudi, Tamilnadu.

Are there any substitutes for egg whites?
Traditionally it's made with egg whites only, but I have seen egg free versions using aquafaba and I'm not sure about its taste.

How to pipe such a conical shape?
  1. Make sure to beat the egg white till it reaches a stiff peak. Don't mix the egg whites vigorously after that otherwise it loses its consistency.
  2. Coming to the piping part !!  Honestly, it's a little difficult for beginners & need some practise. You should give constant pressure while piping and move your piping bag upward slowly, once you are ok with the height of the macaroons, remove it gently to have that pointy top. While baking it spread a little and the height will be reduced. 
Do these have an eggy smell?
No, since we're using only egg whites.

How long can I store these macaroons?
It stays well for 7-10 at room temperature. But I'm sure that it won't last such a long time and would be gone in a couple of days.

Now let's check out on how to make these delicious & addictive thoothukudi macaroons !

Thoothukudi Macaroons

Preparation Time : 15 mins | Cooking Time : 1 hr 20 minsServes : 20 
Recipe Category: Macaroons | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Thoothukudi Macaroon,Tuticorin Macaroon, Cashew Macaroons,Macaroons, Indian Macaroons Thoothukudi Macaroon is an Indian version of European macaroons originated from the southern city of Thoothukudi, Tamilnadu..
Egg White - 2 
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cashew - 1/2 cup
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp(optional)

First measure the cashews and add into the blender and ground into coarse powder and keep it aside.Next separate the egg yolks and egg whites.Keep the baking tray lined with parchment paper and pipping bag are ready. Preheat the oven at 210 F/100 C. Measure and take the sugar & then roll up your sleeve & start whisking the egg whites for making meringue.  If you're having electric whisk, use it here that will make the process so easy. Here i'm using only hand whisk and it takes me around 12-15 mins to reach the consistency.Add a couple of tsp of sugar at a time and whisk the egg whites. Keep on whisking until it reaches the stiff peak consistency after around 15 mins. Now the meringue is ready. Add the cashew powder and the vanilla extract if you're using. Mix it well and then transfer into the pipping bag.Start pipping the meringue in a cone shape as shown below or you can pipe small circles like french macaroons too. What's in shape, right? it tastes good either way.Place it in the preheated oven @ 210 F/100 C and bake it for 1 hr 20 mins to 1 hr 30 mins. Once it's completely baked, it's easy to peel off from the parchment sheet and the bottom has mild color change.( In the second pic, you can see a cookie stick to the parchment paper when i checked in between for doneness :-))  Delicious melt in your mouth  and addictive Thoothukudi Macaroons are ready. 
For more baking recipes, check my collections here 
  • These macaroons doesn't change color.
  • Let them cool completely and store it in air tight container.
  • Depends on the size ,the baking time varies from 1 hr 20 mins to 1 hr 30 mins.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hot Cocoa | Easy Single Cup Hot Cocoa

Hot Cocoa, a delicious and cozy drink made from milk & cocoa powder. Couple of years back only, I tasted my first hot cocoa from the coffee shop on a snowy day and instantly loved it and it gave such a cozy feeling when I had sipped it. I'm the person who doesn't like chocolate and never ever craved chocolate in my life so far. But somehow I started liking this drink and have been making it at home more often on winter days. You know what , certain foods are delectable only in some circumstances like this hot cocoa and i can't even think of having this on hot summer days. Do you ever feel like that ? 

Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate are the same ?
Both words are used interchangeably in many places. Compared to hot cocoa, hot chocolate has richer flavor and thick consistency because of chocolate in it. I personally like hot cocoa more for milder flavor.

What milk tastes best for hot cocoa?
Full fat milk is great for making hot cocoa. But you can use low fat, non-fat or dairy free milk also. Even you can use 1/2 milk and 1/2 water for a milder version.

Which sweetener is best for hot cocoa?
I have preferred to use  sugar and maple syrup for my hot cocoa. But come on, it's your drink, add whatever you like.

Tips for yummy & lip smacking hot cocoa?
  1. Use good quality cocoa powder.
  2. Add a pinch of salt bring out the flavors well.
  3. Add couple of tbsp of cream.

Hot Cocoa

Preparation Time : 5 mins | Cooking Time : 5 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Curry | Recipe Cuisine: American
Hot cocoa, Easy Cocoa, Single Cup Hot Cocoa Hot Cocoa, a delicious and cozy drink made from milk & cocoa powder..
Cocoa Powder - 1 tbsp
Maple Syrup - 1 & 1/2 tbsp
Milk - 1 cup
Salt -  a pinch
Vanilla Extract - 1/4 tsp

In a saucepan, add the cocoa powder, maple syrup and 2 tbsp of milk. 
Whisk it together until there are no lumps. Next add the salt. And the remaining  cup of milk, mix it together and put it on heat.Bring into boil on medium flame. Switch off the flame and add the vanilla extract, give a quick stir and serve. Tasty homemade Hot Cocoa is ready. If you want, sprinkle some cocoa powder on top.
  • You can top it with marshmallows and serve.
  • I have used full fat milk here.
  • Little salt brings out the flavor well.
  • Adjust the sweet as per your liking.
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