Middle-east and Dates are like a match-made-in-heaven. 12 years back I was introduced to this wonderful fruit! Dates are incredibly sweet and healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners.
The benefits of these outstanding fruits include relief from constipation, intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia, diarrhea, abdominal cancer, and many other conditions. Dates are good for gaining weight also. Rich in several vitamins, minerals and fiber too. These delicious fruits contain oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium which are all beneficial for health. Some health specialists have said that eating one per day is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet.
Looking at all these incredible health benefits, I try and incorporate dates wherever possible in my cooking.
Dates & walnuts make a wonderful pairing option, the sweetness of the dates and earthiness of the walnuts gives an excellent balance. A soft and spongy cake recipe, Dates, Sultanas and chopped walnuts add to the looks and taste of this perfect cake recipe.
Date And Walnut Cake.
Plain flour (maida) -1 cup
sunflower oil -1/3 th cup
sugar – 1/4 th cup
date pulp – 3/4 th cup
baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp
vanilla essence – 1tsp
cinnamon powder -1 tsp
eggs – 2
salt – 1/4 tsp
crushed walnuts and black raisins/sultanas – 1 cup
milk – 1/2 cup ( or much as you require)
chopped walnut pieces
Black Pitted Dates
Take seedless Dates, cut into pieces, put warm water on this, cover and leave for 1 -2 min, strain Dates and make puree.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Mix flour, cinnamon powder, salt ,baking powder in a large bowl.
Mix eggs,sugar,oil,vanilla essence and date puree in a big bowl, beat the mixture 2-3 min in mixer or hand held mixer.
Add all dry ingredients and beat for another 2-3 mins
Now add flour dusted Walnuts and Raisins in above mixture.
Pour this mixture in oil greased tin dusted with flour.
Bake the Cake until the knife or toothpick comes out clean from middle portion of cake.
Cool for 10 minutes.
Then remove from tin, garnish with stir fried Date pieces.
Achari Chicken or Pickle-styled chicken is a classic Indian curry. It utilizes all the spices normally used in any Indian pickle. This recipe is full of flavour and has a unique spicy and sour taste. It tastes heavenly with freshly made chapattis (Indian flat-bread) or butter naan.
My family’s favourite chicken curry. It involves use of simple masala made from scratch, without any preservatives. A delicious dish for everyone’s palate. Read on! 🙂
Ingredients ( serves 3 )
For Achari Masala
Dry red chillies – 3 or 4
Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds ) – 1/4th tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Onion seeds (kalonji ) – 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
For Achari chicken curry
Chicken – 500gm
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Tomato – 2 (medium sized, finely chopped )
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
Achari Masala – ( made previously )
Ginger-garlic paste – 1tbsp
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp
Chopped coriander/mint leaves
For Achari masala
Dry-roast fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, onion seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds. Cool this mix and keep aside
Mix dry red-chillies and turmeric powder in above mixture and grind all the ingredients coarsely.
For Achari Chicken Curry
Cut the chicken into pieces and add yoghurt, mix well. Marinate the chicken in yoghurt for half an hour.
Sauté ginger-garlic paste for a few seconds. Add the marinated chicken and as well as the yoghurt into the pan. Fry the chicken for a few minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook on low heat for a few minutes.
Add chilly powder, Achari masala and salt. Stir the chicken curry for a few minutes, till the oil separates.
Add 1 cup of warm water. Cover and cook on low heat, till the chicken is cooked just perfectly. Add lemon juice and cook for another few seconds.
Remove the pan from heat and rest the chicken for 10-15 minutes, with the lid on. In order to allow the chicken to soak up all the flavours and juices.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve !
Enjoy this delicious recipe with your friends and family!
Middle-east has always been close to my palette. Having stayed in UAE and Oman for almost 12 years. Me and my family has been closely associated with Arabic cuisine.
Today I’m going to show you how to prepare a very classic Turkish Dessert – Basbousa. It’s called by various names across different regions including Halva de semolina, Love Cake, Harissa, Namourrah and many more. It is usually a sugary cake made of cooked semolina soaked in a simple syrup.
Basbousa is a versatile dessert. It can be amended as per your taste with various flavouring ingredients such as orange, lemon, coconut, chocolate or even nuts. Read on ! 🙂
Basbousa topped with blanched Almonds
For Semolina Cake
Semolina – 1 Cup
Egg – 1
Butter – 1/4th cup ( softened )
Sugar – 1/2 cup ( Finely ground )
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Yoghurt – 1/2 cup
Salt – 1 pinch
Yellow food colouring – 1 drop ( optional )
For Sugar Syrup
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1 cup
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Blanched Almonds – 11/12
For sugar syrup
Boil sugar, water and lemon juice until it thickens for about 5-6 minutes.cool the mixture and keep aside.
For semolina cake
Add butter, sugar, vanilla essence and egg. Beat until its light and fluffy.
Mix semolina, baking powder and salt. This forms our dry ingredients Add this to the butter mixture made previously.
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree
Grease pan with oil/butter, pour the batter. Decorate the cake batter with halved almonds.
Bake the batter in the oven for 20-22 minutes.
Remove the semolina cake from oven make sure that it’s crust is light golden in colour.
Pour warm sugar syrup and leave the cake for 2 hours, so that the sugar syrup is adequately absorbed by the semolina.
You can add a couple of drops of rose water or any juice like orange juice in order to bring out more flavours to Basbousa.
Savour this classic Arabic Dessert with a dollop of whipped cream! Enjoy! 🙂
After two titillating desserts, its time for some savoury dish. Here’s a recipe for one-of-a-kind Kofta combination you might have ever tasted- Guava and Paneer! Go ahead read on, and try this wonderful dish! Enjoy.
Guava And Paneer Kofta Curry.
For Kofta –
Guava – 1 (grated – make sure that you remove as many seeds as possible.)
Paneer – 100gm ( mashed )
Bread crumbs – 1 cup
Green chillies – 2 ( chopped )
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for shallow fry
For Gravy –
Onions – 2
Tomato – 2
Almonds – 5-6
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
For Garnishing –
Fresh Cream – 2 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Take all ingredients of Kofta, mix well into dough-like consistency. Make small patty/balls and shallow fry them in a non-stick pan.
For gravy –
In a pan, add 1 tbsp of oil heat on medium flame. Add chopped onions, sauté for 1 minute. Till the onions a golden brown, then add chopped tomatoes and crushed almonds. Stir fry for few seconds. Rest this mixture for a while, till it gets to room temperature. Blend it, into smooth paste.
In another pan, add 2 tbsp of oil, ginger-garlic paste and tomato-onion-almond paste cook for 1 minute.
Add chilly powder, salt, turmeric powder and garam masala. Fry till the oil separates. Add 1 cup of water and cook for another minute.
Make sure that the gravy is thickened.
Serve the gravy with the cooked Kofta and garnish with fresh cream and chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy!
This Diwali I thought of making something interesting, instead of using the usual ingredients I thought of giving it another dimension! While the Red Apples are sweet and juicy, the green apples tend to have a unique sweet and sour taste. Today I’m using this exquisite fruit into a wholesome Cashewnut Halwa. Enjoy!
Green Apple and Cashewnut Halwa.
Ingredients ( serves 4 ) –
Green Apples – 3 (grated)
Cashewnut powder – 1 cup
Khoya – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Green food colouring – 1 drop (optional)
Fresh and juicy green apples.
Almonds – Roasted and finely chopped.
vanilla ice cream
Add grated green apples and sugar in a non stick pan. Cook the mixture on medium flame for few seconds. Make sure that the apples do not get mashed completely.
Add cashewnut powder and cook on high heat, stirring continuously.
Reduce the flame and add Khoya. Mix well and cook till you get Halwa consistency.
Add one drop of green food colouring and mix well.
Refrigerate for an hour! And serve!
This Halwa tastes wonderful with a dollop of vanilla ice cream as well. 😉
Kiwifruit as most us know is an exotic fruit with a brilliant green colour and unique taste, but most us here don’t know that this fruit is packed with enzymes, manages blood pressure, boosts immunity and protects from DNA damage. so why not incorporate this wonderful fruit in our Indian cuisine.
So here is a delicious recipe of Kiwi Phirni packed with health benefits and incredible taste. 🙂
Ingredients ( serves 6 ) –
Kiwi fruit – 2
Sugar – 4 tbsp
Rice flour – 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Milk – 2 cups
A pinch of salt
Sliced kiwi pieces
Chop kiwi, and blend it into puree along with 1 tbsp of sugar.
Cook this puree preferably in a microwave for 1 minute or in a non-stick pan for 1/2 a minute. Cool this mix to room temperature.
In another saucepan add milk and 3 tbsp of sugar and bring it on heat.
Add rice flour and 1/4th cup of water in a bowl. Stir this mixture into the milk, heating in the saucepan.
Add pinch of salt. Cook this Phirni for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
Remove the saucepan from heat, and cool the Phirni to room temperature.
Now lastly mix the Kiwi-sugar mixture and Rice Phirni properly
Garnish the Kiwi Phirni with sliced pieces of kiwifruit and crushed almonds.
Refrigerate it for one hour (optional) and serve!
Kiwi Phirni is ready in minutes and ready to savour!