May 22, 2009

Low-Calorie Sweet Semolina Balls (Rava Laddu)


These semolina laddus are a regular in the traditional Indian dessert menu. Normally hot ghee (clarified butter) is poured onto the flour and sugar mixture to bring them to a mass and then they are rolled into small balls. Even though those sweet rounds melt in your mouth, I am not sure they would be melting away from the hips anytime soon.

One thing to note is, when adding the warm milk (according to my method given below), make sure you do not add too much of it. I cannot stress the "less is more" theory on this one. As soon as you are able to form balls with the mixture (when it is still kind of dry) stop adding the milk, and work quickly. You may add more milk if the mixture starts to dry up at the end.
And when I say add milk, go by one tablespoon at a time. A very crucial step. Or one will end up with hard laddus at the end. They should break when slight pressure is applied. And that is a sign of a great laddu.

When you dry roast the semolina, and then grind it, do not expect it to turn into a powder completely. It will still remain slightly coarse. If you do achieve to make it into a fine powder, good for you! Please do share your tips as to how you do it.

I made them the first time a few years back, even before starting this blog. After making this version without the fat, I have never looked back.
There are many versions available on the Internet to make them, but here is my version of it.


Low-Calorie Sweet Semolina Balls (Rava Laddu)


Fine semolina - 1 cup
Powdered sugar - 1/2 cup (I used less, you may adjust according to taste)
Cardamom - 1/2 tsp
Broken cashew nuts - 3 tbsp
Raisins - 2 tbsp (optional)
Warm milk - Enough to form a ball
Melted butter/Ghee - 1 tbsp


Dry roast semolina well. Turn off heat just before it starts to turn slightly brown.
Let cool.

In a dry blender, grind semolina till powdery. It may not turn completely into a powder form, but close enough is good.

Add the powdered sugar, cardamom and blend the dry ingredients well.

Take the mixture in a bowl, add ghee, cashews and raisins.

Adding warm milk one tablespoon at a time, mix everything together. Just when it starts to form a ball, stop adding more milk. Quickly form into balls using the palms of your hands.
Adding too much milk will result in hard laddus. The lesser the better.

Place laddus in a layer on a plate and let cool.

Enjoy them without the guilt.


May 16, 2009

Lite Coconut Milk - Mint Pulao


There are only good memories associated with this recipe. One of my mom's best dishes, which in order to perfect took innumerable attempts for me. She uses wonderful thick first-press coconut milk from home grown coconuts and it gives it this rich texture and taste.
The only changes I made from her recipe, is using lite canned coconut milk (fewer calories!) and adding my favorite herb on this planet... Mint.

So, when I say attempts, it involved using a varied combination of fresh coconut milk, canned coconut milk, light canned coconut milk, brown rice, and then white rice.
This recipe is traditionally prepared using white rice in my family, but since I have switched to brown rice, I did initially try with it. It was absolutely tasteless! Not a good idea!
See, the part of enjoying this is the subtle taste of the coconut milk hitting you when you bite into the rice. My brown rice failed to absorb anything at all! And tasted like I cooked it with water instead of luscious coconut milk.
There are certain dishes that are not meant to be changed, and I guess this is one such recipe. If you are making this, use only White rice, there I said it!
Using basmati rice will enhance the experience, if not just use Jasmine or any long grain rice.

The rice grains after being cooked, should be light, fluffy and not mushy. Here's how I did it.

First 1

Lite Coconut Milk - Mint Pulao


White Basmati Rice - 3 cups
Mint - A bunch
Lite Coconut milk - 3 cups
Water - 2 cups
Dry Bay leaves - 2
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon stick - 1
Dry Star anise - 1
Whole Cardamom - 2
Whole pepper - 3
Green chillies - 1 small chopped
Ginger - 1 inch chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves chopped
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - To taste
Roasted cashews - 2 tbsp


Clean and soak rice with some water for 15 minutes.

Finely chop mint, or use a blender like I did and grind the leaves with a few drops of water till they are mushy.

In a pan, add oil, when hot add all the spices, fry for a minute then add green chillies, garlic, and ginger. Saute well.

When all the above ingredients are well roasted, drain water completely from the rice (use a strainer), and mix it will the spice mixture.
Roast the rice till it turns opaque and the oil coats the grains of the rice completely. Add the ground mint and salt.
Mix well.

Transfer to a rice cooker, add the coconut milk and water. Mix thoroughly. You may need more or less water depending on the type of rice/cooker you are using.
My rice cooker senses the amount of liquid and cooks accordingly. If you are using a regular cooker/ a different type of rice cooker, then check the water content.

When done, add a tsp of oil and fluff the rice with a fork. Check for salt. Garnish with roasted cashews and mint. Serve with onion raita.


Sending this dish to:

Nags's Monthly Mingle #33 - Ravishing Rice Recipes
Ashwini's JFI:Mint

May 12, 2009

Roasted Carob Cookies with Walnut Meal and Oat Flour

Recipe Source: Some part of my head that still has some iota of creativity!
This is my own recipe. And I go "whoo hoo."


Do you believe in celebrating Mother's Day? Or do you think it is just another commercial gimmick for boosting sales of cards, flowers, chocolates and the likes?
Acknowledging a mother on one day of the year seems a little absurd, but then why not? I am glad someone thought about it! It is a sad thing that we need to set just one day apart for a selfless soul, but if that gets the deed done... I am all for it.
After all, that is one soul that never stops loving you, no matter what.
Nothing or nobody replaces a mother. Ever.

This is my second cookie on my blog. I am not the organized kind that could sit down write a recipe, and then follow it to the T. I baked these cookies with what I had and what I liked, and it turned out just perfect. Since it is my own recipe, it is kind of very near and dear to my heart.

Carob powder is used as a chocolate substitute, and is derived from the pods of the Carob tree. It is naturally fat free, and is also extremely bitter. So watch out. Adjust the quantity of the powder if you are particular about the sweetness. Coco powder should work fine too.
The one I used here is the roasted kind, and would be available at the speciality section at your grocery store.

Walnut meal is nothing but ground walnuts. I keep my whole walnuts stored away in the freezer. For this I used a blender to process them. While grinding, it turns from powder to a wet mass very quickly. Mine did, and I used it slightly wet. This should not pose a problem.

Oat flour that I used was pre-ground from the store and was very fine. I have noticed that if you need to reach that same texture with regular/quick cooking oats, then you need to grind it for a longer time and also sift it.


Roasted Carob Cookies with Walnut Meal and Oat flour


Oat flour - 1 cup
Milk powder/Mava/Khoya powder - 1/2 cup
Roasted Carob powder - 3 tsp
Baking soda -1/4 tsp
Pure vanilla - 1 tbsp
Butter - 4 tbsp
Sugar - 4 tbsp
Walnut meal - 1/2 cup


Preheat oven to 350F.

Using a hand mixer whip up butter, sugar and walnut meal.

Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix oat flour, baking soda, milk powder, and roasted carob powder.

To the wet ingredients slowly add the dry ingredients and mix well either using the hand mixer or a rubber spatula.

You should be able to form a ball with the dough.

Pinch off smaller rounds and roll them into small lime-sized balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Place them 2 inches apart. They will spread out.

pre bake

Bake them for about 20-25 min or more. They will spread and crack on top. When they are crispy around the edges, remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
Temperature of your oven may vary, so please keep an eye on them after the 20 min mark.


Yields: 16-18 cookies depending on size.

first 1

Sending it off to
Jai and Bee's Click May 2009 - Cookies
Srivalli's Mithai Mela

May 6, 2009

Whole Wheat Dimply Prune Cake - Where have you been?


There, I made it!
Well now, I have to make a small speech.
I know, I have been MIA for awhile, hmm... what shall we call that now? Writer's block, I-experiment-too-much-that-I-ran-out-of-ideas (oh come on, that is not going to happen, you know that!), or just sheer laziness.
Like William Shakespeare named it, I am going to leave that up to you "As you like it." :)
Having said that, I am thankful to all the emails and comments/messages I got during my short, er... shall we call it a long break. I am perfectly fine, and all my ten digits are intact and I never could be happier for them.
Sometimes, it feels good to be missed! I totally enjoyed all the attention ;)
Can I get more?

During my time away, I did manage to check on some of your blogs, even though I could not comment, I now want to let you know I was there.
Generous souls have showered my blog with awards, which I would like to acknowledge here. I appreciate every little gesture. Merci. I will get around to visiting other blogs and your posts soon.

I have some amazing recipes, some of which, or a lot of it are my own creations as usual. If you have followed my blog, you would know me and my love for experimenting with food, and making healthy, wholesome eatables.
If you are new here, then "My Archives" would be a great place to start.

I am going to celebrate my being back in the blogging arena with a cake today. If you are as thrilled as me, you could send me cakes too, real ones I mean ;)
And my address is...

What cake are we talking about today? A cute one, a healthy one and a sure-to-impress deal. You will need nice ripe prunes (mine were not), and after cooling the cake, the juices from the prunes do soak into the cake, making it soft and moist.
There are a lot of recipes on the internet for this cake, but I adapted my recipe from Smitten Kitchen, just because I fell in love with the way it looked. How can I not! It is a beauty.

First 1

Whole wheat Dimply Prune Cake

Whole wheat pastry flour - 1 1/2 cups
Cardamom powder - 2 pinches
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - A pinch
Unsalted butter - 4 tbsp
Light brown sugar - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 2 large
Sunflower oil - 2-3 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tbsp
Cold milk - 1-2 tbsp (optional)
Red prunes/plums - To top, as shown in picture. Use as many as you like.


Sift flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.

Halve the prunes and take the seeds out.


Butter/spray a 8" square cake pan, dust scantily with flour if you are buttering it.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar till light and creamy with the help of a hand mixer. Use room temperature butter for best results. Add the oil next.

Add eggs one by one and keep whipping. When the mixture reaches a very pale yellow color (about 5 min), stop and add vanilla. Mix well.

Add the sifted dry ingredients slowly and combine well (you should still be using the hand mixer). Be careful not to over mix, when you see the last bit of flour mixed with the wet ingredients, stop. Over mixing the batter will result in a tough cake.
If at any point, if you feel the mixture is too thick, you may add a tablespoon or two of cold milk to loosen the batter.

Pour the batter into the cake pan. Top the batter with halved prunes/plums with cut side facing up.


Bake at 350F for about 30-35 min. Check for done'ness with a toothpick insert test.

Out of the oven

Remove from oven, cool on rack, right side up for about 20 min.

Cut into squares like I did, or do whatever you want with it. Its your cake now!


Sending this cake off to Meeta'a Monthly Mingle #32 – Spring Cakes