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Khazana mithai recipes

Raj bhoj
Ingredients:
For chaana:
4 cups regular milk
1½ tbsp distilled white vinegar
For syrup:
2 cups sugar (add sugar in two stages. This allows the rasgulla to remain soft and puff easier)
3 cups water
1 cup water (this is used to shock the syrup)
¼ teaspoon lime juice (this is used to complete the syrup)
Other ingredients:
2 tbsp Binder/Puff Mix (if this is unavailable, substitute with 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and a pinch of baking soda)
¼ cup pistachios, shaved
½ tbsp rose water (this can also be substituted with vanilla extract, if required)

Method:
Prepare the chaana. Mix the Binder/Puff Mix. Work Binder into chaana with the heel of your hand to make a dough-like consistency. Gather it like dough and cover it with a damp kitchen towel or plastic film wrap. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes for the binding to work.

Add the 3 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar. Heat till sugar is absorbed. Bring it to a boil.

Divide the ball of chaana into ½ to ¾" diameter balls. Put these balls in the boiling syrup. The balls will puff up in about 5 to 10 minutes. The cooking time depends on the size of the ball, amount and age of the binding mix. Remove the balls as soon as they puff up.

Add the remaining one cup of sugar. Heat till all the sugar is absorbed. Do NOT stir. Turn off heat. Add one cup of cold water to shock the syrup. Add lemon Juice. Stir.Add rose water. Let it cool and then re-introduce the chaana balls.

Garnish with shaved pistachios and saffron. Put in refrigerator. Serve cold.

Motichoor ki laddu
Making time: 1 hour
Makes: 25
Ingredients:
2½ cups gram flour (not superfine variety)
500ml milk
½ tsp cardamom powder
3 cups ghee
(A fine-holed shallow strainer spoon)
For Syrup:
2½ cups sugar
3½ cups water
2 tbsp milk
3 cups ghee

Method:
To prepare syrup, put sugar and water in a vessel and boil. When sugar dissolves, add milk. Boil for 5 minutes till scum forms on top. Strain and return to fire. Add colour and boil till sticky but no thread has formed. Add cardamom powder and mix. Keep aside.

To make the boondi, mix flour and milk to a smooth batter. Mix all the ingredients mentioned under stuffing except milk. Heat ghee in a heavy frying pan.

Hold strainer on top with one hand. With the other pour some batter into it.

Tap gently till all batter has fallen into hot ghee. Stir with another strainer and remove when light golden. Keep aside. Repeat with remaining batter.

Once everything is prepared, proceed with the next step. Immerse boondi in syrup. Drain any excess syrup. Spread in a large plate. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of hot water over it. Cover and keep for 5 minutes. Shape in laddoos with moist palms.
Cool and keep open to dry, before storing in containers.

Gajar ka halwa
Ingredients:
1 kg carrots
1 litre milk
1 tsp cardamom seeds
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp almonds
2 tbsp pistachios
450 grams sugar

Method:
Wash and grate the carrots. Soak the raisins in water for 30 minutes. Blanch and shred the nuts. Put the water to boil, when it starts boiling add the grated carrots. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the milk. Cook on a low flame for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Add sugar, mix well and cook till the sugar has dissolved and all the milk has been absorbed. Add ghee and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the slightly crushed cardamoms and the raisins. Mix well. Remove from heat and arrange in a serving dish. Garnish with almonds and pistachios. Serve cold, hot or at room temperature.

Moong daal halwa
Ingredients:
2 cups moong daal (split yellow lentils)
2 cups ghee
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
6 pods green cardamom split
1 cup khoya (see recipe below)
1 cup finely chopped mixed dried fruits of your choice

Method:
Wash thoroughly and soak the moong daal in water plenty of water, overnight. The next morning, grind to a smooth paste in a food processor. Do not add any water while grinding.
Prepare sugar syrup of one-thread consistency. When done, turn off the fire and add the split cardamom pods to the syrup. Cover and keep aside for later. Heat the ghee/clarified butter in a heavy-bottomed (preferably non-stick) pan on a medium flame till warm.

Add the moong daal paste to this ghee and stir to mix. Cook the moong daal, stirring frequently till it begins to turn golden and release its aroma. Another sign of doneness to watch for is, the separation of the ghee from the moong daal.

Add the khoya and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Now add the sugar syrup (remove cardamom pods before adding) and mix to blend. Cook on a medium flame for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the dried fruits and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the fire.

Garnish with chopped nuts and serve.

Special thanks to Abhishek Sinha of Khazana for arranging the photo shoot.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


Kottu

Thought of using a normal title for this piece. But I swear, Kottu is the most appropriate. Anything else will take away from the simplicity, the unexpectedness, the delight that I experienced at this roadside restaurant on Marine Drive in Colombo.

It was my second day in Colombo. Now street food is not very common there. In fact, it is very hard to find any food on the streets. You have got to dive inside one of the many restaurants that are all over, selling hoppers, patties, cakes and pastries. And Kottu.

Sure enough, we ended up in a small restaurant. One would be hard pressed to give it any award for hygiene. The place was brightly lit though. And the plastic topped tables and chairs were occupied by locals. Always a good sign.

We settled down to be confronted with a menu which no doubt extolled the virtues of the impeccably prepared Chinese influenced dishes. But my colleagues obviously knew better. Quick words were exchanged with the waiter, none of which I understood given the fact that they speak Sinhala. They seem to be happy about life. I asked what was coming up. They said that they had ordered fish Kottu, which sounded absolutely exotic and fine by me.

Nothing prepared me for what happened next. The quaint serenity of the seaside was shattered by the clanging of metal against metal. The deafening sound almost drowned me. But my friends kept on talking as if nothing happened! They merely told me the Kottu was being prepared! This I had to see!

I walked to the large flat pan set near the entrance. The cook had already started the process. He tossed in some onions and some shredded fish. Next went in a handful of veggies. Then, to my utmost surprise, something that resembled paratha! All this was topped up with an egg as well. And then, the cook proceeded to pick up two metal spatulas and started dicing everything on the pan with the sharp edges of the spatulas. And this was no random chopping. He drummed up a steady, racy, rhythm. This was the source of the deafening noise. People were so used to it, they did not even stop talking nor raise their voice in this din.

After about a couple of minutes of this chopping and drumming, the entire mass, or mess, whichever way you see it, was poured on to a large platter and topped with chopped green onion. And then it was served to us with a bowl of some gravy.

We dived into it. A kind of chow mein, with a prominent fish taste. Except that in place of noodles, we got finely diced paratha! The process was fascinating. The sight was appetizing. The taste was eclectic. Chewy, yet soft. Fishy, yet with the crunch of veggies. Tangy, yet spicy from the gravy. And the silky strands of eggs. Nothing like I have tasted before. And that my friend was Kottu. You get all kinds of Kottu. Vegetable, egg, fish, chicken. But when in Colombo, why try anything else but fresh sea fish?

My culinary delight had just begun. And I can safely say that I am dearly looking forward to the next great experience here. I am sure I will not be disappointed.



 

 

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