Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Masala Kaju

Masala Kaju/Spicy Cashews

Masala Kaju as the name suggests is a preparation of cashews in which cashews are roasted and infused with various spices and flavors. Masala Kaju makes a super snack both to prepare and please the guest. Whether it’s a cocktail party or winter evening with friends, An outing with friends or long distance travel, these Spicy Cashews are very handy to carry and is loved by all.

Masala Cashews are available in various different Flavors; I tried my version of Spicy Cashews with a dominating flavor of Cumin and Asafetida.

Few days back we got a pack of Masala Peanuts from a store, and I was instantly in love with the flavors used to prepare those Peanuts. Though the peanuts were fried , thus load of calories but I was so loving it.. :D :p

I immediately thought of giving that flavor a try with Cashews with much less oil and healthier version. So this Cashew preparation includes only 1 Tbsp of oil/Butter so you can munch them guilt free…J

Sharing the ingredients required followed by the recipe/Process:

Ingredients required
·         250 grams of good quality whole Kaju/Cashews
·         1 tsp of Clarified butter/Ghee
·         Salt as per taste
·         ½ TBSP Chat Msala
·         ½  tbsp roasted Cumin Powder
·         ¼ tsp of hing/ Asafetida
·         1 tsp of Garam Masala
·         ½ tsp of Black Salt
·         ½ tsp of Dry Mango Powder
·         1 tsp whole Cumin Seed

1.)    On a microwave safe plate spread cashew and dry roast on full power for 2.5 minutes, ensure to check every 30 minutes ( please ensure to check the cashews every 30 seconds as every Microwave is different in terms of power and temperatures accordingly).
2.)    You will know that the cashews are done when you will see a light golden brown color on them.
3.)    Now, take them out on a plate or in a bowl and lets them rest for a minute or so.
4.)    In the meanwhile mix all the spices together in a small bowl, except cumin Seeds, Clarified butter and Asafetida.
5.)    In a small pan heat clarified butter till its Smokey and then turn off the flame.
6.)    Add cumin seeds and let it splutter a little.
7.)    Add Asafetida and mix well.
8.)    Pour this cumin and Asafetida infused clarified butter on cashews and mix well. This is not only help to enhance the taste but with the help of butter, rest of the spices will also stick well to cashews.
9.)    Sprinkle the spice mix on to the cashews and mix well till each cashew is coated with the spice.
10.) Your Masala Kaju/Spicy Cashews are ready. You can store them for atleast 5-6 and maximum to 15-20 days in an ai tight container.

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Happy Cooking

Kesari Badam Katli/Saffron Infused Almond Fudge

Kesari Badam Katli/ Saffron infused Almond fudge

Indian Festive season is just around the corner, and any Indian festival without some awesome and royal preparation of sweets is absolutely incomplete. Everyone has their own way and traditions of celebration, with my family; festival basically means taking blessing from almighty and parents and enjoys festival with good food and lots of sweets..:)

This season there are few things, Many rather :P on my to do list for Diwali. Badam Barfi/Katli was one of them. I tried tried tried but failed. Was able to get the correct texture but wasn’t able to bring the mixture to a consistency where the Fudge/Barfi mixture would Set. Then my adorable friend Farruk’s post of Kaju (Cashew) katli/Barfi came to rescue ( here Recipe link for Kaju Katli -  Click Here). I understood where I was wrong and then One fine day gathered the courage of trying the experiment again, and yes this time it came absolutely perfect Happy Happy me.. :)

Wholesome goodness of Almonds, No adulteration of Milk powder, Mawa, or any other binder and filler. Added advantage of this recipe is use of very less fat (Ghee/Unsalted Butter).
Without any further discussion let’s get started on how to make these easy Badam Katli.

·         250 Grams Almonds
·         125 grams Sugar (approx.  ( approx. ¾ cup, you can increase or reduce the sugar quantity as per your sweet preferences)
·         1 cup water for sugar Syrup
·         3-4 cups of boiling hot water to soak almonds
·         1 tbsp Ghee/ Unsalted butter to spread
·         ¼ tsp of good quality Saffron
·         2 tbsp warm milk
·         Butter paper or thick plastic sheet to spread and cut

1.)    In a small bowl take Warm milk and add Saffron to it. Leave this for minimum 1 hour. This will help infuse the saffron’s flavor and color to milk.
2.)    In a big bowl take the boiling hot water and drop almonds in the bowl.
3.)    Cover this bowl and leave for at least 30-40 minutes.
4.)    Once done, the almond peel will be puffed from the almond and now you can easily take them off.
5.)    It will take little time, but the end product is worth all the efforts.. J
6.)    Once all the almonds are peeled, put them in a blender/mixer jar and make fine powder. ( make sure the powder is made
a.       Without using any water/Milk
b.      Is made as fine as possible so that while setting there is no coarse almond pieces which will create problem.
7.)    In a thick and a heavy bottom pan (preferably Non stick pan) add sugar and water. On high flame let the sugar dissolve and then let the mixture cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
8.)    Once done, add the Saffron milk to sugar Syrup and mix well.
9.)    Now, add the Almond powder to the pan and be ready to show some muscle power, as now you need to continuously stir the mixture.
10.) As the mixture cooks it will becomes difficult to stir since the mixture will thicken up very quickly at this stage. The entire cooking will take 7-8 minutes.
11.)  Once the mixture is formed into a big lump like a soft dough, turn off the flame and take the mixture out on a plate/Bowl ( please do not skip this step, as the Pan is still hot , we cannot leave the mixture in the Pan. Else, the mixture will keep on cooking fuehrer and will be difficult to work with)
12.) Let the mixture cool down a little, so much so that you can touch the mixture
13.) In the meanwhile, Grease the Butter paper/plastic paper on which you plan to spread the mixture with Ghee or unsalted butter. Also grease the Knife that you will use to cut the barfi. ( A tip here, you can use pizza cutter to easily cut the evenly shaped Barfis)
14.)  Spread the mixture on the greased surface and using the rolling pin, with very gently hands roll the mix.
15.) Spread the mix up to a thickness of 1/3 inch, and then Spread Silver vark ( optional)
16.) Cut the Barfi/Katli in diamond shapes.

Voila, the Barfi/Katli are ready. These wholesome goodness of Almonds with awesome infused flavor of Saffron is a must try this festive season. So try it as I am sure your family and guests will definitely ask you for a second helping…

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Happy Celebration and keep cooking