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Desserts & Drinks/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Besan Ladoo in Microwave

Besan Ladoo or Laddu is a popular Indian sweet made of Besan (chickpea flour or gram flour), Sugar and Ghee (clarified butter). It is fairly popular to make this for festivities like Holi and Diwali, and kids love this dessert. Here is my super quick and easy recipe using the gadget we all can’t imagine life without- the microwave.

Besan Ladoo in Microwave, Garam Masala KitchenIt reduces the cooking time for this dessert to a third and makes it almost fail-proof. It’s a convenient way for anyone to make this delicious sweet without having to spend a few hours making it and building their muscles! My kids love making it, it’s that easy! Since the total time needed to make these ladoos is under 30 minutes, it makes it easy enough to pull through after a work day, especially when festivities fall on a week-day. I used coarse besan for this recipe, which is also available as “Ladoo Besan”. If you only have the fine besan handy, take out 1 tbsp from the 1 cup required for this recipe, and substitute it with 1 tbsp semolina (soozi). This will add the crunch to the texture. I have to mention here and that always start this recipe with a good quality Ghee. That really makes or breaks the flavor of this sweet. I make Ghee at home using this easy recipe.

Traditionally, it is made by roasting the besan in ghee on slow heat, till the besan changes color from dark yellow to a light golden brown. Depending on the quantity of besan, this process can take up to 30 minutes and requires continuous stirring. By using the microwave, I have eliminated the long and tedious process with an ‘under 5 minute’ cooking time in the microwave and few more minutes rolling the ladoos.

Besan Ladoo in Microwave, Garam Masala KitchenThe time to roast besan in the microwave is anywhere between 3-5 minutes. The actual time for you will depend on the strength of your microwave. So, I would say, after the 3 minute mark, keep an eye on the Besan. Do increments of 30 seconds or 45 seconds if you feel it’s getting done too soon. Stir it well each time. This is really important to distribute the heat evenly. I use two signs to confirm that besan is roasted enough- first, the color changes to a light golden brown; second, you can start smelling a sweet aroma in the whole house. I remember, when I was little, whenever my Mom would make this, she would keep coming to our room to ask if my sister and I could smell the Besan. You know what, it still works for me:-) I’m sharing this quick and easy recipe hoping you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!

Besan Ladoo in Microwave

Print Recipe
Serves: Makes 20 ladoos Cooking Time: 3-5 minutes (+ 20-30 minutes cooling time)

Ingredients

Instructions

1

Prep: if using nuts, chop your favorite nuts. I use pistachios and almonds. Keep 1 tablespoon aside for garnish.

2

Take a microwave safe bowl and melt ghee, about 30-40 seconds. Add coarse Besan and salt and mix well. If you are using fine ground Besan, remove 1 tablespoon from the quantity and replace it with 1 tablespoon soozi (semolina). Mix everything till the Besan has absorbed all the ghee.

3

Microwave on the default setting for 3-5 minutes, depending on the temperature range of your microwave. During these 3-5 minutes, take the mix out every minute, (or every 30 seconds if you microwave is strong), and stir well. It is done cooking when the mix changes to a light golden color and the fragrance of Besan becomes strong. Add chopped nuts (optional) and let it cool for 20-30 minutes.

4

The mix should be cool to the touch. Add confectioners sugar and cardamom powder and mix till the sugar is incorporated well. Check if the mix can bind well by pressing between your fingers. If it feels too crumbly, add a tablespoon or so of dry milk powder to bind it.

5

To make ladoos, take a small portion of the mix (you can use a cookie spoon for this) and roll it in your hands to shape it like a ball. This is the part where watching the video will be helpful. I have demonstrated two techniques of rolling the ladoos, so choose whichever one is most convenient. Once the ladoo is formed, top it with the reserved chopped nuts and plate it.

Desserts & Drinks/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Baked Gujiya in 30 minutes (Milk Fudge Turnovers)

Gujiya, Garam Masala Kitchen

Gujiya, or Milk Fudge Turnovers, are a popular Indian dessert commonly made in the northern part of India around the festivals of Holi and Diwali. It is a deep fried sweet dumpling that is made by stuffing pastry dough with sweetened milk fudge (khoya), chopped nuts and coconut flakes and is glazed with a thick sugar syrup.

Traditionally, the process of making Gujiya requires making a dough with all-purpose flour, ghee (clarified butter) and water.  You combine all ingredients and make a soft dough, set it to rest while you prepare the filling. The filling is made with Khoya as a base. Khoya, also known as “Mawa”, is basically dried milk solids. It is available in the freezer aisle of your local Indian store, right next to the Paneer. I personally like the brand “Nanak” for khoya.

Baked Gujiya, Garam Masala KitchenThis is my mother-in-law’s amazing Gujiya recipe. The Gujiya mix is made by crumbling khoya in a mildly warm skillet. Chopped nut like almonds and pistachios are added along with desiccated coconut and freshly ground cardamom powder. When this mixture is cool, sugar is added. Now your Gujiya is ready to assemble. A small dough ball is rolled into a circular shaped disc, about 2 inch in diameter. About a tablespoon of khoya mixture goes in the center and then the dough is folded in a crescent shape and edges are sealed. That’s your Gujiya. Gujiya is then deep fried in medium warm oil till it turns golden in color. It is removed and put straight in a sugar syrup and tossed a few times and then set on a platter to crisp up. It is garnished with chopped pistachios. It is simply a bite of heaven!

Baked Gujiya, Garam Masala KitchenDuring the festival season, my husband and I end up “over-indulging”, if that’s a word, but I’m sure many can relate to that. So, I keep tweaking recipes to make them a bit healthier without losing any of the “to-die-for” flavors. The other thing is, that I rarely have the time required to make this elaborate dessert. So, I experimented and after a few hits and misses, this recipe for Baked Gujiya was accomplished.  I decided to do a baked version, which automatically makes it way healthier than the classic. The other major change was using store-bought pie dough. The pie dough may sound unconventional, but gives the same flaky, crisp texture that is key to a good Gujiya. Here is a quicker and healthier, baked version of this favorite, and the best part- it was done in 30 minutes!

Baked Gujiya in 30 minutes (Milk Fudge Turnovers)

Print Recipe
Serves: Makes 20-22 Gujiyas Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total

Ingredients

  • Khoya Stuffing
  • 1 stick of Nanak Khoya (10-12 oz)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (7-8 fresh cardamom pods)
  • 2 tablespoons Slivered Almonds
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Cashews
  • 3 tablespoons Desiccated Coconut (unsweetened)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar

  • Glazing Ingredients:(enough glaze for 20-22 Gujias)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds & cashews (for garnish after glazing)

  • 1 sheet store bought Pie dough (I get the Trader Joe's brand)

Instructions

1

Make Stuffing: Microwave Khoya for 1-2 minutes, in 30 seconds increments to make khoya easy to crumble.

2

Heat non stick skillet/pan on medium heat. Crumble khoya in to the pan. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, press down and break it in smaller pieces. Keep pressing till khoya becomes soft, consistency of a soft dough. (it should be pliable). Turn off the heat.

3

Add chopped nuts, coconut powder and cardamom powder. Mix well and allow to cool off for a few minutes (4-5). Add sugar and mix well. The stuffing is ready.

4

Make Sugar Syrup. Heat a sauce pan on medium heat. Add sugar and water. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat till it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5-6 minutes.

5

Assemble Gujiya.Place thawed pie crust between plastic wrap and roll outwards to thin out the dough. (See video for clarity). Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out pie circles for filling.

6

Fill each pie circle with roughly 2 teaspoons (or heaping 1/2 tablespoon) filling, and seal by pressing the edges together. (Just like you would for a turnover). Bake for 11 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees. Cool for 5 minutes.

7

Dip Gujiyas in the cooled sugar syrup, coating well on all sides. Sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top. Place on a wire-rack for setting.

 

3 qt Mini Duo/ Desserts & Drinks/ Instant Pot Magic

Instant Pot Skinny Cheesecake (Pressure Cooker Cheesecake)

Cheesecake! A rich and creamy tart like cake, made with a crust of graham crackers, with a smooth custard-like cream cheese filling, and topped with fresh fruit or a fruit based sauce. How can you go wrong with that!

It’s a perfect summertime dessert as it is always served cool, just out of the refrigerator. The most awesome thing about this dessert is that it is best made a day in advance, as it needs to chill for 10-12 hours to be perfect.

Over the years, I have made many variations of this cheesecake and this recipe is the chosen one for my family. My family likes a skinnier cheesecake, which means, half the crust and half the filling. More like a Guilt-Free Cheesecake or Skinny Cheesecake– but that’s us. If you want to make a classic cheesecake, simply double up the ingredients. I have adapted this recipe for the Instant Pot– pressure cooker. It has a slight hint of lime and I like to top it with fresh berries, makes it ideal for small dessert plates after a filling meal. For larger gatherings, I pair it with other desserts, cut it in to bite-size squares and pass it around as cheesecake bites! One bite of this Skinny Cheesecake and you’ll know that good things come in small packages too!

When making this recipe in the Instant Pot Duo Mini 3 Qt, I use Silicone Cupcake Liners , fill it till 3/4 of the height, and cook for around 22-25 minutes on Manual High, NPR. That makes for perfect individual size portions, this way , we all get to top it with our favorite toppings. My kids’ favorite these days is Salted Caramel drizzled on top!

Important tip#1: This cheesecake turns out awesome if all ingredients are at room temperature. It may take a bit of a planning, but believe me, it’s worth it.

Important Tip #2: Do not over-mix the batter. If you notice my blend times are down to seconds in the instructions. The purpose of that is to ensure that we don’t over mix the batter. Over-mixing will create more air bubbles in the batter, which will result in an uneven cheesecake filling.

Best Results: Cheesecakes are one those foods that taste better the day after! The ideal chilling time for a cheesecake is 10-12 hours. I prefer to do that over-night, as that reduces the temptation to dig into it every time I open the refrigerator 🙂

Possible Toppings: (or as my kids call is “Genius Pro- Look Hacks” :-))

  1. Fresh Fruit– Top the cheesecake with your favorite berries and dollops of whipped cream.
  2. Salted Caramel– Melt a couple of tablespoons of  your favorite store bought caramel sauce in a microwave safe bowl for 30-45 seconds. Pour over cheesecake and spread evenly, using an off-set spatula or a butter knife. Lightly sprinkle some sea salt on top.
  3. Dark-Chocolate Walnut (or Pecans) – Melt some bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, Drizzle on the cheesecake in a side-to-side motion, creating horizontal stripes. Chop up some walnuts or pecans and sprinkle on top.
  4. Berry-Berry: Wash and rinse a pint of raspberries or blackberries or both. Add them to a sauce pan over medium heat and add a about 2 teaspoons of sugar (or more if they are tart). Stir and gently smash a few berries with your spatula. Stir for 7-10 minutes, till a light sauce forms and all the sugar has dissolved. Cool and serve over the cheesecake! (this is my personal favorite)

Instant Pot Skinny Cheesecake (Pressure Cooker Cheesecake)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • CRUST: (For a classic cheesecake, double up all ingredients)
  • 5 honey Graham Crackers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • CHEESECAKE BATTER: (For a classic cheesecake, double up all ingredients)
  • 8 oz Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • zest of 1 lime (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

1

Finely grind the graham crackers in a food processor, or, take a ziploc bag, add crackers, zip it and crush them into a fine crumble with a rolling pin or the back of a skillet. Mix melted butter and brown sugar in the crust. Pour the mixture into a parchment lined 7-Inch nonstick springform pan and spread it around evenly. Using the back of a measuring cup or a bowl, press down the crust to set in the pan. Put the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.

2

In a food processor, or with a hand mixer, blend/whip cream cheese for 30 seconds on low speed. Add sugar, vanilla essence and lime zest and blend again for 30 seconds. Add sour cream and blend for 30 seconds. Add egg and blend another 15-20 seconds.

3

Take the pan out of the freezer and pour the mixture in. Wiggle the pan gently, it makes the air bubbles rise to the top. Take an icing spatula or a fork, and run it through the batter to pop the air bubbles. Cover the pan first with a paper towel tightly (it shouldn't sink into the cheesecake), and then with a piece of aluminum foil. Doing this prevents the moisture from dropping into the cheesecake. Pour 1 cup water in the Inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the trivet. Place the pan on the trivet. Close the lid. Vent set to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 35 minutes. Wait for Natural Pressure Release (NPR), takes about 17-18 minutes.

4

Open the lid. Remove the pan carefully, remove the foil and cool for 15 minutes. Using an off-set spatula or a knife, go around the cake to release the sides from the pan. This prevents cracks while chilling. Cover it loosely and refrigerator for 8-10 hours. Cheesecake will flatten a little after cooling, that's normal. Open the springform latch and lift the base. Slide the cheesecake on to a platter. Serve it as-is, top it with fresh berries, or a whipped topping of your choice.

Notes

If your cheesecake seems jiggly (jelly-like) in the center after 35 minutes and NPR, put it back in for another 4-5 minutes, NPR.
For an easy slicing and clean edges, cut with a clean sharp knife, wiping with a wet paper towel between each cut.
For cutting calories even further, use Philadelphia 'light' cream cheese instead of regular.

PIN IT:
Petite Cheesecake/ Skinny Cheesecake, pressure cooker cheesecake, garam masala kitchen

3 qt Mini Duo/ Desserts & Drinks/ Instant Pot Magic/ Under 30 minutes

15-Minute Chocolate Lava Cake (Instant Pot / Oven)

Chocolate Lava Cake is what happens when chocolate cake meets chocolate soufflé! Also, know as Molten Lave Cake, this popular dessert gets it’s name from the warm liquidy- velvety chocolate center, inside a moist and decadent cake. I won’t be surprised if this happens to be the world’s No.1 date-night dessert, it is mine!  It’s best served warm with some vanilla ice-cream! My kids’s latest favorite is to have with Salted Caramel Ice Cream!

 

Chocolate Lava CakeSince this is a decadent dessert, I like to make individual portions using these Silicone Cupcake Liners. These liners serve three great purposes in my home: First, the silicone molds don’t get hot to the touch after baking, so handling is super easy, my kids bake with these often. Second, taking the lava cakes out of these molds is a breeze. Simply, invert them on to your serving dish, and they slip out nice and easy. Third, it does portion control for me. I take one, finish it and feel satisfied that I had a full dessert. I don’t feel like going for seconds, like I would be tempted to, if it were a cake:-)

I made this cake in the Instant Pot DUO and it was really moist and delicious. But this cake can be made in the oven as well.

Oven Recipe: Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Follow step 1 and 2. Place the cakes on a cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes, depending on how gooey you want the center to be.

Flavor Variation: If you haven’t tried out Salted Caramel Molten Lava Cakes yet, you’re missing something! Try them, you might fall in love with them!

15-Minute Chocolate Lava Cake (Instant Pot / Oven)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 cupcake size, 2 ramekin portions Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

1

Melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave, about 30 seconds to a minute. Using a whisk, mix well. Sift in confectioners sugar and mix again. Add egg, vanilla and salt and mix well. Sift in flour and whisk till everything is incorporated.

2

Grease silicone cupcake moulds or 4 oz. ramekins and pour the batter, leaving 1/4 inch space from the top.

3

Put 1 cup water and place trivet in the Inner pot of Instant Pot. Place cakes on trivet. Close lid. Set vent to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL (hi-pressure) for 7 minutes. If you like a more gooey center, reduce time to 6 minutes, if you like a more cake-like center, increase time to 9 minutes.

4

QR-quickly release the pressure and remove the cakes. Cool for 2 minutes. Invert the cakes into the serving plate and dust with confectioners sugar (optional). Serve warm as-is, or with a scoop of vanilla or your favorite ice-cream. Enjoy!

Desserts & Drinks/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Almond Spice Cookies

Almond spice cookies- eggless almond spice cookies, Almond Nankhatai, garam masala kitchen

 

Almond cookies always bring back childhood memories for me. My parents used to get Almond Naankhatai from a bakery close to our house. They were so fresh and fragrant that the whole house used to smell like a cookie jar for a few days.  Naankhatai is best described as an egg-less shortbread cookie, which has many variations. The sweet cookies are mostly made with nuts and the savory ones often have cumin seeds or peanuts, but they all melt in your mouth and leave you craving for more!

This is my version Almond Spice Cookies. I’ve made them healthier by substituting half of the All Purpose Flour with Whole Wheat Flour and boosted the almond flavor by replacing some of the flour with Almond Flour (also bumps up the protein). Added cardamom and nutmeg, they bring this cookie to life, and added a little semolina to add a crunch. They make the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee!

Video coming soon!

Almond Spice Cookies

Print Recipe
Serves: 24 Cookies Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

1

Sift the all-purpose and whole wheat flours in a bowl and add all dry ingredients. Mix well. Add softened butter to this mix.

2

Using a hand mixer or a soft spatula mix everything to make a soft dough. If the dough is too hard, add warm milk, a tablespoon at a time, to soften the dough.

3

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Using a cookie scoop, drop the cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet, placing them 1.5-2 inches apart. This gives them room to expand. Bake for 16-18 minutes till they are light golden in color. Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Notes

Baking times may vary from oven to oven. For the first time, put a timer for 16 minutes and check them. They should look slightly soft and chewy.

Breakfast/ Desserts & Drinks/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Sooji Badaam Sheera (Semolina Almond Pudding)

Sooji Sheera or Semolina Pudding is a popular Indian dessert that can be made in minutes. It has many variants all over India like Sooji Halwa, Rava Sheera, Rava Kesari and more. This is one of the few desserts that can be whipped up with pantry ingredients, without any advance preparation. It is traditionally served on many festive occasions and Puja (prayer ceremonies) as Prasad (religious offering, consumed after completion of ceremonies).

It is extremely easy to customize this to your taste. In my variation of this classic, I add a few tablespoons of almond meal (or almond flour) to the recipe. It adds a creamy rich taste of almonds and bumps up the protein in this dish, making it healthier for my kids. My kids love it for breakfast too! I like using a combination of Ghee and unsalted butter for this recipe, but you can stick to one if you prefer it that way. I make this Sheera using a half-and-half mix of milk and water. You could make it with all milk or all water too. I added saffron to the milk/water mix before warming it so that the saffron would release its flavor and color to the Sheera. You can omit the saffron if you prefer.

Soozi Sheera, Garam Masala KitchenSometimes, I make the classic recipe, without any almond meal or saffron, and it tastes heavenly too. I make it and turn off the heat when it’s at a semi-dry consistency. Then, I pour it in silicone baking cups, even it out with the back of a spoon, and let it set for a few hours.  For plating, I simply invert the silicone molds on to a plate and the semolina cakes just slide off. I garnish it with sliced almonds and crushed cardamom. My kids love this presentation!

 

 

Sooji Badaam Sheera (Semolina Almond Pudding)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Semolina / Sooji (coarse or fine)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter (I use 1 tbsp of each)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cashews
  • 1 tablespoon chopped almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (5-6 pods)
  • 2 tablespoon Almond Meal (optional)
  • 3/4 cup warm milk mixed with 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 3/4 cup hot water

Instructions

1

Prep: If using nuts, chop them coarsely. Warm milk, water and saffron, together in the microwave for 2 minutes. Keep aside.

2

Add ghee/butter in a sauce pan and melt on medium heat for 20-30 seconds. Add your choice of chopped nuts and raisins and sauté for 1 minute. Add Sooji (and almond meal) and sauté for 5 minutes on medium flame, this is to cook away the rawness of semolina (sooji).

3

Add the warm milk-water-saffron mix and stir continuously with a whisk or wooden spoon to avoid any lumps from forming.

4

When the mix reaches a semi-liquid consistency, add sugar and stir till sooji cooks off to a thick pudding-like consistency. Turn off the heat and add the cardamom powder and stir. Serve warm or cold.

Notes

You can choose to make this recipe without any nuts if you wish, it still turns out delicious! When you add warm liquid to the pan, it splashes, so use a deep sauce pan and a long whisk to be safe.