Honey Walnut Pumpkin Bread

I’m back after a break. I have been busy for past few weeks. Reasons… are many. Your friends don’t need it, your enemies are not gonna believe it :). So, let’s keep the reasons aside. Good thing is I kept clicking all that I cooked and its all gonna be on the blog shortly!!

To make up for my absence from blog, I bring a little treat for you. Honey Walnut Pumpkin Bread, a bread which is moist inside and crunchy outside. This recipe was adapted from here. I had this really fresh farm grown pumpkin at home. Generally we make palya or sambhar with pumpkins. This time I wanted to try something new with pumpkin and this bread seemed to be just what I wanted. I have slightly changed the recipe to get this yummy tasting bread!

Ingredients

1/2   a large pumpkin or  1 and 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp dry ginger powder or 1 tbsp of grated ginger
1/3 cup Oil
1/3 cup Honey
1/3 cup Milk
1/4 cup Water (Substitute for Egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cloves powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cup Wheat flour
 

How to go about…

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

Remove the skin and seeds of the pumpkin and chop them. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the pumpkin pieces.
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Cook them closed. It took about 10 mins to cook for me.
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Once the pumpkins are cooked, let them cool. After they are cooled, grind them into smooth paste along with grated ginger(Add ginger only if you are not using the dry ginger powder).
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I got a heaped cup of pumpkin puree. You can ignore the above steps if you are using canned puree.
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In a large bowl, add in the wet ingredients, i.e oil, milk, honey, water, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree. To this add the sugar as well and mix well.
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To this add the spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt. Mix well.
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Add in the flour and stir.Add the walnuts and stir again.
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Grease a bread pan. Pour the batter in the pan.
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Bake the bread in the oven for about 50-60 mins till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool it on wire rack for 15 mins before removing it from the pan.
Slice it. And Enjoy!!

Half the bread vanished in seconds before I could get my hand on the camera. Here’s what remained for the pic!
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Ugadi

Warm wishes for a very Happy Ugadi to you.

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I made a sumptuous lunch on the occasion of Ugadi. Here is all that I made…

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And of course

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I’m going to share the recipe of all these dishes, starting with Bele Holige.

Ingredients
1.5 cup Maida
1.5 cup Chiroti Rawa ( super fine sooji rawa)
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Lots of oil

Rice flour for dusting

For the filling
2 cups Toor dal
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 cups tightly filled powdered jaggery
A pinch of cardamom powder

And a baking sheet

Now begins the process…
The process consists of three steps –
1. Preparing the outer covering, called kanka
2. Preparing the filling, hoorna
3. Getting the kanka and hoorna together

Let’s begin with kanka. In a mixing bowl, take the maida, rawa, turmeric powder and salt.
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Make a dough of chapatti consistency by adding water.
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Once the dough is ready, add water so that the dough is soaked in it. Keep the dough soaked in water for 2-3 hours.
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After 2-3 hours, pour out the water. Knead the dough well. Say for about 5 mins. Then add 1/2 cup of oil and knead it again.
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The dough will absorb all the oil. Again add about 1/4 cup of oil and keep kneading till the oil is completely absorbed. Then soak the dough in oil.
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Keep it covered till used. Now Mr. kanka is ready!

Next, Hoorna. Wash the toor dal and pressure cook it with sufficient water. Dal should not be overcooked. After pressure cooking if you have excess of water left, put the dal through colander and save the water for rasam. My dal cooked just right. No excess water.
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In a mixer jar, add coconut and grind it into powder. Now, add in the jaggery and grind it again. To this add the dal and grind again to get smooooth paste.
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Heat a heavy bottomed pan and the dal paste. Keep stirring until it leaves the sides of the pan and becomes like halwa. Let it cool.
Once cooled, make small balls with the hoorna. Step 2 complete!
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Finale. Take small-sized kanka. Spread it across your left palm using your right hand. Place the hoorna in the middle.
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I could not take a pic of the next step so will try to explain with words. Right now, your left hand it below and your right hand is above it holding the hoorna, just invert it. Your right hand is below holding the hoorna and your left hand above it. Slowly move the kanka with your right thumb so that it forms a covering over the hoorna. Using your left hand try to cover the maximum part of the hoorna by smoothing the kanka. Now invert it back and cover the remaining part of hoorna with the kanka. So now the kanka is completely covering the hoorna and looks like this. And yes, a picture speaks a thousand words!!
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Take the baking sheet. Sprinkle the rice flour on it. Dust the kanka-covered hoorna with the rice flour and place it on the baking sheet. With help of a rolling pin, roll it into a thin chappati.
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Remove the chappati from the baking sheet and place it on the heated tawa. Heat it on the tawa so that each side gets a light brown color. Repeat for the remaining kanka and hoorna.
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Serve the holige with ghee or hot milk. And…. Enjoy!
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Banana halwa

One person I know, who makes the  yummiest banana halwa is my sister-in-law’s mom. Every time she gets it perfect! This halwa happens to be one of my favorites.
This halwa needs special variety of banana which is grown mainly in Kerala called the Nendra banana. There were a few at home which was going from ripe to over ripe. So I thought to try this halwa. After all, all it needs is just 3 ingredients – banana, sugar and ghee. Even if I mess it up, the combination is anyway gonna taste good. So I decided to give it a try. The results, I must say, was certainly not disappointing!! 🙂
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Ingredients
8 ripe nendra banana
1 1/2 cup sugar
2-3 tbsp ghee
And loads of patience

And then…
Peel the banana and mash it. I made a paste of the banana using the blender.
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Take a thick-bottomed, non-stick kadai and place it on the stove. Add the mashed banana. Keep it on low flame.
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After 2-3 mins, add the sugar and keep stirring.
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After the color of banana changes slightly, add the ghee.
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Continue with the stirring. After about 15 mins, it looks like this –
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This dish is one needy fellow, needs your constant attention. So you sure can’t leave the dish alone and you certainly cannot stop stirring. You can take a break of 2 seconds. That’s all.
Slowly, the banana mash will leave the sides. Keep the stirring going.
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The banana mash will form a single lump. Now…. You can stop stirring. Take it off the heat.
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Quickly, grease a plate and spread the halwa on it.
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Let it cool. Cut into pieces and enjoy! If you can’t wait for it to cool, just scrape some remains from the kadai and enjoy! That’s exactly what my daughter and I did. 😉

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A birthday and a cake

Last week, I celebrated my birthday. The celebration were a little different. My 4-year old daughter told me, “Amma, I’m a little girl I can’t go to the shop and order a cake for you so instead you bake one at home and we’ll cut it together”. I melted at those words and baked a sponge cake. She wanted a birthday cake. I didn’t want to let her down. So while she napped, I did a little decoration. My birthday cake looked like this –

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This is what I did
I baked a basic sponge cake in a hexagonal cake tin.
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With help of a sharp knife, I cut the cake vertically into two.
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Using store bought vanilla icing I spread it on one slice. Then, closed it with the other half. Then, I spread the icing all over the cake liberally using the knife.
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Later, decorated it with the very colorful Gems.

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I had grated a bar chocolate and kept in the freezer for an hour. I used this to further decorate the cake.

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And that is how I got my birthday cake!!!
BTW, this is my first attempt at decoration. Hope to improve this skill with time 🙂

Aloo – matar- paneer

Today I present something other than salads 🙂
Aloo – matar – paneer is an authentic Punjabi dish. But my recipe here is not so authentic. It is twisted a little to suit my family’s taste buds. It taste great with chapatti or roti.

Ingredients
2 medium sized potatoes
1 cup peas
100gm paneer, cut into cubes
1 tsp jeera / cumin seeds
1 onion, cubed
1 tomato, cubed
2-inch long ginger
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
6 cashews
1/4 tsp chilli powder, can be varied as per taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
A pinch of hing
2-3 tsp oil

And then….
Pressure cook the potatoes with the skin till soft. Once cooked, remove the skin and cut the potatoes into cubes.
At the same time, cook the peas. You can microwave it or blanch them in hot water for 5 min. Do add a little salt while cooking potatoes and peas.
Grind ginger, tomato and onion into a smooth paste. Don’t add water while grinding it.
Soak cashews and poppy seeds in water for 10-15 min. Then grind it along water to make it a paste.

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Next, show time. Heat the pan. Add oil. Once the oil heats, add jeera. Once the jeera turns lightly brown, add hing. Fry for few seconds.
Add the tomato paste and fry till oil separates. Then add the cashew paste. Mix it well.
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To this add turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Add little water, if the content turns out to be too thick. Once all the content are heated, add potatoes, peas and paneer. Stir well.
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Close the pan and cook for 2-3 mins.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Enjoy it with hot chappatis / rotis 🙂