Gulab Jamun ~ ICC October 2009

A warm hello to all my blogger friends & readers. I am posting a blog entry after quite some time. I was a little busy with certain priorities and blogging took a back seat.Hope I will be regular here after.

The recipe for today is sinfully delicious gulab jamuns which is a famous dessert in India. Unlike other sweets, this is popular through out India. For those of you, who are unfamiliar with the sweet, Gulab jamuns are milk dumplings fried in oil and soaked in rose flavoured sugar syrup.

The sweet can be made in a jiffy if you are making it with MTR gulab jamun mix. Trust me, it is so simple and one can make it perfect in the very first attempt.

For october's challenge, it is going to be 'Gulab Jamuns'. Do you wonder what is the challenge?
Here comes the catch. You got to make it from the scratch, meaning no ready made mix. You got to make the khoa, all by yourself which forms the base for the sweet.

This needs lot of patience since the process can take any where between 1.5 to 3 hrs depending on the amount of khoa. It was also a bit tricky since I didn't have a heavy vessel. I was on a look out for a heavy vessel and finally decided to use my pressure cooker's bottom. The cooker is a small one with 3 litres capacity. So I had to do it with all the more patience, by adding milk little by little. I first sterilized my cooker with hot water to avoid my curdling of milk.

What is a challenge, without such testing tasks?

Once you are done with the khoa, it is really easy. I made the khoa with a little less than solid consistency since I intended to make the jamuns, the next day. By the time I got down making it, the khoa was in a perfect shape.

With no further ado, let's get into business. Srivalli had posted 3 different recipes. I have given below whatever I tried.

To make Khoa: (from Indo)

In a wide mouthed heavy bottom pan add the milk and heat it in a medium flame (add a couple of stainless steel spoons into the milk to avoid burning)

Reduce the milk for 3-4 hours till the milk solidifies and becomes thick.

(6 cups of milk (1 & 1/2 litre) might come to 250grams of unsweetened Khova.)

(The following recipe is from Alka)

The recipe is divided in two parts, one is making the Jamuns and frying them. The other is making sugar syrup.

For sugar syrup:


Sugar - 500 gms (This can be reduced as per taste)
Water - 1 & 1/2 cup (bit more or less)
Cardamom - 2-3
One spoon of milk (optional)
Few threads of saffron (optional)
2-3 drops of rosewater (optional but highly recommended)


Mix about 500 gms of white sugar in one and half cup water and keep it for boiling.

Add a spoonful of milk to remove the impurities (impurities if any, will form a scum on surface)

Add 2-3 green cardamoms also in syrup for strong flavor, and a tad of saffron strings (optional)

Boil until you get just a tad sticky syrup. Gulab Jamun syrup is not very dense nor too dilute as in Rasgulla

Strain the syrup, add rosewater when syrup is slightly cooled.
Always remember two things while using rose water, do not add it while syrup is bubbling hot or on fire, and be particular about the quantity mentioned in every recipe, since even few drops of excess rosewater could lend a bitter taste to the final product.

For Gulab Jamun:


Unsweetened Maawa* - 250 gms
All purpose flour - 1 & 1/2 - 2 tsp
Cornflour - 1 tsp
Green cardamom - 1-2 crushed
Oil for shallow frying

* (khoya-the condensed milk thickened till it turns into moist dough, preferably made from cow’s milk, also known as Hariyali mawa)


Mix all the ingredients in a wide mixing bowl until soft textured dough is obtained (keep mixing until it is really soft)

Make very small sized balls (bit larger than pebbles) as they swell up after frying and soaking in syrup

Make sure that the surface of dough balls is really smooth without any cracks. In case the cracks refuse to go away, slightly wet your palms with water and roll the flour till absolutely smooth.

Now take little oil for frying in preferably flat bottomed pan, and heat the oil. But gulab jamuns are to be fried on LOW FLAME or else the surface will be browned while the core will remain uncooked. Some prefer to place an unsalted pistachio in the center of every gulab jamun while making balls, that way the core of gulab jamun is not left uncooked .

Fry one or 2 gulab jamuns at a time and always remember to STIR THE OIL with slotted spoon AND NOT TO TOUCH GULABJAMUNS, which means keep swirling the oil without tossing or turning gulab jamun.

Fry till light brown in colour, remove on tissue paper and repeat the procedure with rest of dough.

Now soak these in COOL syrup for few hours. They will surely swell up

These can be stored in the same syrup till consumed

If there are cracks in the balls before frying it will burst open while frying, in that case adding a bit of cornflour will surely help

You can enjoy it hot or cold ,either way it is delicious

Verdict: I survived the challenge and the result was sinfully delicious, melt in the mouth jamuns.
Time for me to gobble one more jamun. :)

To my blogger friends: Sorry for not staying in touch. Will hop into your blog, shortly.

Awards from Sanghi

Sanghi of Food Delights has passed on the following awards. Thanks Sanghi for the lovely awards.

Rules of the award:

* You must thank the person who has given you the award.
* Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
* Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
* Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
* Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
* Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
* Leave a comment in the nominated blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

7 things about me:(I have already done the tag here)
1. I am so much addicted to filter coffee that I open my eyes properly only after a dose of it, every morning.
2. I love the taste of raw onions, tomato and cilantro mixed together which makes masala pappad & masala kadalai (boiled peanuts chaat & not the fried ones) my favourite food. I generally love chaats for the same reason. Gangotri in Chennai & a chaat shop at Spencers are my fav spots.
3. I am a staunch vegetarian and don't eat even eggs. However I eat cakes since I developed a taste for it even before I knew it had eggs. But dislike it in all other forms. I love all vegetables including bitter guord and greens. I can survive on just boiled veggies. But, I do make a proper meal everyday.
4. I love to read books ( a lot of magazines & fiction), listen to good songs particularly maestro Ilayaraja's songs, mind games and solving puzzles. I love to read culinary books & blogs and one good thing is once I read a recipe, I quickly put it into my mind and don't have to see it again.(well, most times).
5. My favourite place is my hometown - Chennai. I love everything about the city and miss it. My favourite road is Sardar Patel road that runs from Raj Bhavan to Adyar. That is where my college is located.
6. Few of my favourite smells -fresh jasmine, freshly brewed filter coffee or ground coffee powder, muddy smell of rains, tempering of upma, cilantro...
7. I love to travel and see a lot of places. My long term goal is to visit as many countries as possible.

Passing these lovely awards to Subha, Jeyashri, Vidhas.

Kala Channa Masala

Another Punjabi treat! I had a lot of kala channa (black chickpeas) in my pantry and wanted to use it, quickly. So, decided to make kala channa masala in the same line as chole masala that's made with kabuli channa. It did taste yummy and a bit different from the normal gravy. This would taste great with idiyappam too.
Let's quickly get into the recipe.

kala channa (black chickpeas) - 1.5 cups (soaked overnight and cooked)
Potatoes - 2 medium, diced
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Onion - 1 big, finely chopped
Slit green chillies - 2
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1.5 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder - 1.5 tsp
Dhania Powder - 2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Chole Masala - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Chopped cilantro to garnish
Ghee - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt to taste


1. Heat the oil, season with jeera. Add the chopped onions,green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Fry till dark brown.
2. Add the diced potatoes. Sprinkle a little water and cover till half cooked. Add chopped tomatoes.
3. When the tomatoes turn soft, add turmeric, chilli powder, dhania powder, cumin powder and salt. Add the cooked channa and a cup of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add chole masala, garam masala, cover and cook till oil separates.

Garnish with chopped cilantro, add the ghee and serve hot with puris/rotis/pulav varieties.

Sending this to My legume Love Affair 16 th helping @ cook sister originating from Susan's blog.

Happy Deepavali!

A very Happy Deepavali to all of you. Have a sparkling year!

Moong Dhall Burfi

Deepavali time again! I am sure everyone of us would become nostalgic and travel back to the wonderful deepavali(s) as a child. New dress that reflects the fashion(I still remember how much I was thrilled to get my rangeela midi), crackers, special tv shows and the best part - sweets and savories. I am reminded of those fun days and pretty sure that festivals as a child is more joyful. At the risk of sounding a pessimist, I am sure we are never gonna get back those wonderful days. The optimist in me says we will see them again when our kids enjoy as much as we did.
I am sure all of you are ready to celebrate deepavali with an array of delicacies.

Moong dhall burfi is a real easy breezy sweet to make. I was planning to make payathan urundai (moong dhall ladoo) but finally an idea struck and decided to make it as a burfi. This tastes great in any form.

I had lined up moong dhall burfi, badam halwa, thenguzhal and omapodi. Eager to hear from you about your diwali sweets.

Happy Deepavali!

Moong dhall flour - 1 cup (Roast moong dhall and powder it. Roasting is must)
Powdered Sugar - 1 cup
Molten ghee - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - a pinch
broken Cashews fried in ghee

1)Mix the sugar, dhaal flour, cashews and cardamom in a bowl.
2)Melt the ghee in a pan, switch off the gas. With the pan still on stove, add the flour mixture and mix well.
3)You can even choose to make ladoos with the mixture.But the mixture should be hot. Make them into balls of desired size and allow it to set for sometime.
For the burfi, transfer the mixture into a greased plate,level by pressing with a ladle,store in the fridge for 15 min and cut into desired shapes.

Pani Puri / Gol Gappa

Pani puri! I am sure the very mention of it would make you drool, just as I do. It is an evening snack falling under the chaat category, which originated from Uttar pradesh. But, it has now touched every part of India and most Indians would have relished the snack.

The crisp puris are filled with a potato or sprouts filling, dipped in a pot of spicy/sweet pani(water) and gulped, all at once. That instant, you get transported to heaven.

My association with pani puris started when I was six. My brother and me used to have a plate of pani puris frequently, near Secunderabad station, on our way back home from school. There used to be lot of pani puri walahs selling in carts on the roadside. The taste till lingers on my taste buds and I have not tasted better ones, till date. After moving to Chennai, I didn't have much chance to try this, till my school final. Pani puris were not very common in Chennai, those times. Pani puris sold in street side shops are the best; but now a days, we can't risk to have it there due to hygiene reasons.

In the recent years, I used to frequent the chaat stall outside nilgiris super market, Velachery, while returning from work. The one outside krishna collection in Pondy Bazaar also serves excellent chaats. However, Gangotri is my favourite hangout.

I do not like to have it in restaurants where they are served together as a plate. In a typical chaat stall, each customer would be given a plate or bowl, the chaat walah would fill the puri with paani from a clay pot and serve it to the customers in a round-robin fashion. We need to be really quick in gobbling the puris to keep the pace. I am amazed on how the server keeps the count of puris. He also remembers the client requirements/ customization and serves according to that. There are 2 kinds of paani; one sweet and another spicy.

I have given the recipe for the spicy paani as it is my choice of taste. I am not sure how the authentic paani is made but I like it this way.

I have used the ready made puris purchased from the Indian groceries and didn't wanna make it as the puris were really fresh. I will post the recipe for puris, once I try it.

For the pani:
Cilantro - half a bunch
Mint leaves - a handful
Tamarind Paste - 1.5 tsp
Green Chillies - 2 medium
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Black salt - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp
Jal Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala - a pinch
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp
A dash of lime juice
2 to 3 cups water

Grind cilantro, mint, tamarind paste and green chillies into a smooth paste. Add rest of the ingredients, water and refrigerate for 3 hrs. Alternately, add ice water. Adjust salt.

For the filling:
Boiled and mashed potatoes 2 medium
Soaked and cooked black channa (You can use kabuli channa, as well. I like it with kala channa)
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Chopped green chillies - 1 medium
Garam masala - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

(You can also fill the puri with whole moong dhall sprouts.)

Mix everything well. I microwaved for 30 seconds to get rid of the raw smell of chilli powder and garam masala. You can also break 2 puris and mix, as they do in the street shops.

Break the top of the puri using your thumb, fill with the potato mixture, dip it in the paani and enjoy!

Awards time again!

Brinda has passed 4 awards to me, out of which one is designed by herself. Great job Brinda!
Thanks for your nice words.
I am really overwhelmed with joy on receiving so much love from my fellow bloggers.

Sangi has also passed on the above award to me. Thanks Sangi. The award comes with the following tag. Sangi says, it should be answered with single word. But, Brinda's tag didn't have a rule like that. For a talkative person like me, answering in a single word is near impossible. Moreover, tags are after all to know more about our fellow bloggers. Being a sweet person that Sangi is, I know she won't mind me breaking the rule. What say, Sangi?
Now, for the tag.

1. Where is your cell phone: no mobile. cordless on the couch

2. Your hair: Black

3. Your mother: Retd. bank emp

4. Your father: no more

5. Your favorite food: Indian

6. Your dream last night: a funny one. I went to 'Seattle saravana bhavan' in Chennai where they had only fish on the menu :D Hope saravana bhavan does not sue me

7. Your favorite drink: Filter coffee

8. Your dream/goal: Own and run a shopping complex which sells A-Z goods for women & kids. Well, soon extend that to men as well.

9. What room are you in: Living room

10. Your hobby: Trying out new recipes, blogging about it, reading books, travelling, listening to music, shopping in a complex, mentioned in point 8.

11. Your fear: reptiles, eating veg food in a hotel which also serves non-veg(specially in India. I'm sure they mix up both)

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Chennai realizing my dream/goal

13. Where were you last night: Home

14. Something you aren’t: Causing damage to public properties like littering on roads and jumping lines. Any such unethical activities which an average Indian does. I am not trying to boast. I try my best to follow this.

15. Muffins: Orange

16. Wish list item: A lot of money to buy the other things in my wish list ;)

17. Where did you grow up: Chennai

18. Last thing you did: Watched a TV show

19. What are you wearing: T shirt & pants

20. Your TV: Off

21. Your pets: I hate pets

22. Your friends: As I said in my earlier tag, I don't wanna mention names. I love all of them equally

23. Your life: Something great is in store for me

24. Your mood: Great after a sound afternoon nap and heavy dinner

25. Missing someone: Family and Chennai

26. Vehicle: Camry

27. Something you’re not wearing: bangles,watch

28. Your favorite store: Westside

29. Your favorite color (s): All colors

30. When was the last time you laughed: After my yesterday's funny dream

31. Last time you cried: embarrassing question.

32. Your best friend: my mother. She knows everything about me and my life. I owe her a lot.

33. One place that I go over and over: spencer plaza,pondy bazaar

34. One person who emails me regularly: facebook :D I

35. Favorite place to eat: To mention, top 2 :Saravana Bhavan,Gangotri (I can go endless. I have one best eat-out for every dish. I am a foodie!)

This award is the best of the lot since it is designed by our very own, creative, Brinda. Good job, Bittu!

Passing these awards to Lata,Rohini,Sangi,Chitra,Priya,Divya
Pass these awards to 6 blogger friends. I would like to give an option. You can choose to post the awards, which you have not received till date.
Thanks friends, for being with me.

Hey did you guys notice the change in my blog design? I slogged for a couple of days to come up with this design.
As Lata rightly pointed out, I feel this design is more spread out and readability is better.
Pour in your thoughts!

Update: As Rohini pointed out, my blog header picture does not get loaded in IE. It comes up well in firefox and chrome. I stopped using IE, for a long time now. The picture size is 70 KB and I don't know why the heck it doesn't appear on IE. Any inputs?

Kwik Fix Series # 9 - Okra hot & sour gravy

Don't get perplexed by the post title. The recipe is 100% South-Indian and I have just renamed vendaikka(okra) puli(sour/tamarind) kozhambu (soup/gravy), thus for the benefit of non-Tamils.

This is a real hot and tangy kozhambu to go with hot-hot rice and a papad/quick curry. Ideal for the people in Northern hemisphere, now, with the advent of winter. This is a such a quick recipe and bachelor friendly meaning, it uses common ingredients from your kitchen and does not require any special kitchen appliance including mixer/blender.

The typical iyer vetha kozhambu is also prepared in the similar way except that, there are no tomatoes/onions in a typical vetha kozhambu and we add some sun-dried fries like sun-berries.
You can also make it with just drumstick/onion/egg plant/bitter gourd. Sometimes, a teaspoon of toor dhall is added while seasoning to compensate for the lack of lentils ( like in sambar).

Kara kozhambu is also similar to this and a little coconut milk is added as a last step and boiled for a min.

Puli kozhambu/vetha kozhambu/kara kozhambu, all refers to this simple gravy sans lentils.

I have added onions, tomatoes and okra in my kozhambu.
You can add brinjals in the place of okra, shallots in place of normal onions or replace everything by just drumsticks. Really lip smacking for cold weathers.


Onions - cut length wise, a handful
Tomato - 1, blanched, skin removed and mashed. Or, you can simply chop them, fine.
Okra- cut into 1.5 '' pieces
Tamarind pulp extracted from lemon size tamarind or 2 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in 1 cup water.
Red chilli powder or sambar powder - 1 tsp ( I used kashmiri chilli powder for a bright color)
Red chillies 2 broken into pieces
Curry leaves - a few
Salt to taste

For seasoning:
Fenugreek/vendayam/methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Sesame oil 1 tablespoon (Tastes best with sesame oil)
Hing a pinch

1) Take a thick bottomed vessel, heat the oil, season the ingredients. When the mustard pops, add onions and red chillies. Fry till light brown.
2) Add okra and fry for 2 min. Add the tomato pulp or chopped tomatoes.
3) Cook for a min and add the tamarind extract. Add salt, chilli powder and curry leaves.
4) Boil till the oil separates and serve hot with rice.

1. If you think it is watery, mix a little rice flour in a tsp of water and add to the kozhambu.
2. If you wish to add coconut milk, add as a final step and boil for less than a minute.
3. This gravy has a way too much oil, chillies and tamarind which is not a very healthy option.
So, don't eat this often due to the simplicity of the recipe. As a healthier variation, you can cut down the tamarind paste a bit and add a little lime juice at the end.

Raining awards again!

Sandhya has given me a warm bear hug.

Kitchen Queen has awarded my blog as

Thanks girls, for making my day.

Cauliflower Paneer Pepper Curry

I made this simple curry to go with my veg fried rice.
I was making fried rice for quick Sunday brunch and decide to eat it with ketchup. Then I got reminded of the fresh cauliflower, I picked up the previous day. So decided to use it for a simple hot fry. This recipe is nothing special; just a normal one. But the idea to combine paneer and cauliflower worked out well and gave a new dimension to the curry. Started making this, when I was half way through my fried rice and both got ready together.

Cauliflower - cleaned(Immerse in salted cold water for 10 min) and broken into pieces - 1 cup
Paneer cubes - a few
Chopped Onions - a handful
Pepper powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

1) Heat oil, add the onions. Fry a bit and add cauliflower.
2) Cover and cook for 5 min.
3) Add salt and paneer cubes. Fry well.
4) Mix cumin and pepper.

Serve hot with fried rice

Veg Fried Rice ~ Version 2

Veg fried rice, made the Chinese way, is my all time favorite. I have already posted the recipe for Chinese Fried Rice here. This recipe is a slight variation. Not sure if eating same kind of food bores people but definitely stereotyped cooking disinterests me. I love to tweak recipes; many a times, rebuild my own recipes during each attempt. I would never make a dish, the same way. Well, mostly. For some recipes, I have done a code freeze and don't intend to change it.I have made Chinese Fried rice in several ways and this is one such method. This is the first ever dish, I cooked on my own. That happened during my college days. I have always helped my mother in kitchen but never attempted to make a complete dish, all by myself. So definitely this is a memorable recipe.

Cooked rice - 1.5 cups (1.5 times the amount of vegetables you use) I used the normal raw rice this time. You can also use basmathi or long grained rice.
Onions - 1 medium chopped thin, lengthwise
Carrots, beans finely chopped and microwaved for a min by sprinkling a little water - 1 cup (This is to retain the color. If you do not have a microwave, you can skip this and fry a bit extra later)
Spring onions to garnish (Save the onions)
Green chilles - shredded 2 medium
Celery sticks - half a stick chopped
Sugar 1 tsp
White pepper powder 1 tsp
Soy sauce - 1 tsp
Garlic - chopped fine - 2 pods
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

1. Heat the oil, add the sugar. Wait for 30 seconds and add the garlic. Fry and add onions, green chillies. Then add the onions from the bottom portion of spring onions, celery sticks.
2. Add carrots, beans. Fry over high flame for a min or two. Add salt, soy sauce.
3. Switch off and mix the cooked rice. Adjust the salt, mix white pepper. Reheat, fry over high flame for a min.
4. Garnish with spring onions and serve with gobi manchurian.

This time I served the rice with a simple cauliflower & paneer curry. Will post the recipe soon.

A Giant Bear Hug

Thanks a lot Rohini for the award. Very sweet of you. We just started interacting and you gave me a bear hug. It is wonderful getting in touch with you. The way you write, sure reaches the heart of the readers. Keep blogging!

I would like to pass on this award to Sandhya, Brinda, Divya, Lata, Sushma, kitchen queen, Jeyashri, Priya, Shama, Vidhas, Subha,Sangi

I tried to include as many names as possible but I am sure I left behind a few blogger friends. I sincerely apologize and would like to pass this award to all my blogger friends & readers.

I would like to give a hug back to Rohini. Generally, the blog awards are only passed on, but this is a real sweet one and let this be an exception.

Kwik Fix Series # 8 - Grilled Paneer & Carrot Sandwich

The weather is getting colder here and I had no mood to cook anything elaborate for lunch, today. As you all know, that is when a recipe for my kwik fix series originates. Normally, I am a person who is least interested in eating bread. I always try to add an Indian touch to it. Just yesterday, checked the round-up of snacks with bread at Priya's blog, here. Inspired, here I come up with my own version of sandwich. One good thing about this is, you can serve this any time of the day. Will taste good even for lunch boxes. You can also use your left over curries from lunch/dinner. Another great thing is, the filling is concealed and hence people can enjoy the sandwich without the feeling of what went into it. That ofkors excludes us, the cook who knows what all went into it. ;) But anyway, we are foodies and we don't say no to anything. :D

As I said earlier, you can use your leftover curries as a filling for your sandwiches. If you have leftover filling after making this sandwich, you can use it up as a stuffing for your parathas.


Bread - 4 slices
Grated Paneer & Grated carrot - equal parts - about 1 cup
Chopped Onion - a handful
Chopped green chillies - 2
Green Chutney - 4 tsp (I used my leftover mint- coriander chutney)
Jeera - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder & chilli powder - 1/2 tsp each
Chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Butter - 1 tsp plus a little to spread on the slices

1) Heat 1 tsp butter, season with jeera. Fry the onions and green chillies till tender. Add the grated paneer and carrots. Saute well. Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Fry for a min, switch off and add cilantro.

2) Cut the corners of the bread. Apply a little butter on one slice. Apply green chutney and place a little paneer filling. Spread it evenly. Do the same for another slice. Place one slice on top of another such that the paneer filling is sandwiched in between the slices. Repeat the same for another set. Apply a very little butter on top and bottom of the sandwich.

3) Grill the sandwiches in a toaster or cook both the sides on a tawa. Grilling on a toaster gives a better effect since the edges are effectively sealed.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup and potato wafers.

1) If you want to reduce the calories, replace paneer with grated cabbage or cauliflower.
2) Substitute paneer with boiled and mashed potatoes.
3) You can used ground spinach for green chutney. Grind a handful of spinach with a green chilli and spread it over the bread. Spinach requires very little/no cooking time.
4) Can use any leftover curry from lunch. If you don't have time to make a green chutney, spread a little maggi masala ketchup.

You can come up with umpteen variations depending on the time of the day and the end-users (kids or adults) (:D)

Sending this to kid's delight event at Srivalli's blog.