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Swetha's Fusion
Where there is Fusion there is Creation!

Weekend Beading

Sunday, June 17, 2018













~ Weekend Beading ~
Posted by Swetha @ 6/17/2018 07:34:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Sapatha Paksha [Satyanarayana Pooja Prasada] with Banana and Pineapple - Sheera or Suji Halwa

Friday, April 13, 2018

Sapatha Paksha is prepared as Naivedyam for Shri Satyanarayana Virtha. This Vishnu pooja is done at home to bring the divine blessings of health, wealth, prosperity, opulence, education; relief from troubles and sickness. And after the Virtha, the priest will distribute the Panchamrutha and  Maha Prasada[Sapatha Paksha] to everybody as a form of blessings. 
As a child, I used to get back into line multiple times to get the Prasada. Of course I used to get caught, but the poojari/priest use to give the Prasada again anyway, they don't mind. In fact, poojari would encourage and call the kid who is passive and is too shy to ask for seconds. The Prasada is prepared in big batch as it has to be shared with people who attend the pooja, sent some home with them for people who could not make it, neighbors and many children like  me who would ask for more.  
Now a days, I have noticed that poojari prepares this at home and brings to house where the Virtha is conducted or request the  lady of the house to prepare it ahead of time. As a child, I remember the priest's assistant would prepare the Sapath Paksha with some of the pancha-amrutha (Five nectars - Cows milk, Curds, Ghee/clarified butter, Sugar/liquid-jaggery and Honey) offered to the God. I would watch him prepare and ask my mom to add all the ingredients while preparing Sheera/Suji Halwa -a simpler everyday version to prepare as a dessert or when we have guests. Important thing to remember while preparing Sapath Paksha is to use the Rava/Suji/Semolina which is made out of Wheat.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup - Semolina / Suji / Rava  
  • 2 - 3 - ripe banana (fully ripe ones are better)
  • 1 cup - Pineapple cubes (finely chopped or mashed, or pureed in a blender) (optional)
  • ¾ cup - sugar (may use liquid jaggery or brown sugar )
  • 3 tbsp - clarified butter/ Ghee 
  • 3 cups - milk (boiled)
  • ¼  cup - curds
  • 2 tbsp - honey
  • ½ tsp - cardamom powder
  • ¼  cup - Cashew nuts pieces (may add almond slices too) 
  • ¼  cup - Raisins /dry-grapes 
  • Few strands of Saffron/Kesar 
Method:
  1. Heat ½ tsp ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add the semolina to it. Roast the semolina on medium-low heat until light and nice aroma starts to come. Keep stirring and don't let it burn.
  2. Transfer the semolina to another dish and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan while on low flame add mashed banana and pineapple. If needed add bit of water or ¼  cup of milk, mix, cover and let fruits cook and soften. Increase the flame to medium.
  4. Add milk , once it starts to bubble, now mix-in the sugar and bring it to boil.
  5. Reduce the flame to low, stir-in the roasted semolina. Keep stirring until no lumps are formed.
  6. Add curds and honey. If it seems dry and not enough liquid to cook semolina, slowly add more warm milk or water. Semolina doubles as it cooks. You may increase the flame to medium low. Keep stirring to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
  7. When it is almost cooked, keep one tbsp of Ghee aside and pour rest of the Ghee to the Semolina mix and keep mixing. If you wish, more ghee may be added. Once cooked, turn off the heat.
  8. In another small deep pan (seasoning pan), heat 1 tbsp ghee (which was kept aside) on low flame. Add  cashew nuts and roast it slightly, add sliced almonds if you are using, finally add golden raisins and stir. Once you notice raisins swelling, turn of the heat and pour ¾ of the content over the Semolina mix/Sapatha Paksha/halwa.
  9. Add cardamom powder and saffron strides to the Sapatha Paksha and mix it all together.
  10. Transfer the Sapatha Paksha to a serving dish and garnish with rest of the roasted nuts and raisins.
  11. Sapatha Paksha is ready for offering to Sri Satyanarayana. Be blessed and enjoy the Prasada. And don't forget to give seconds to the little one and some grown-ups too.
  12.  

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~ Sapatha Paksha [Satyanarayana Pooja Prasada] with Banana and Pineapple - Sheera or Suji Halwa ~
Posted by Swetha @ 4/13/2018 07:20:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Balekai / Raw Banana / Plantain Spicy Roast

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ingredients:
  • 3 - Plantain/ balekai 
  • 1 tsp - turmeric powder / haldi
  • 1 tbsp - black-pepper powder / red-chili pdr (you may either or both depending on your choice of taste)
  • 1½ tbsp - cumin pdr / geera pdr
  • 1 tbsp - coriander pdr / dhania pdr 
  • ½ tsp - mango pdr / amchur (substitute: tamarind pulp or lemon juice)
  • 1½ tbsp - chickpeas or gram flour / besan
  • 1 tbsp - rice flour
  • 2 tbsp - cooking oil
  • ½ tdsp - funnel seeds / saunf 
  • 1 - small piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 in - ginger - thin sliced, crushed or grated (no paste) 
  • 1 - small bulb of garlic or 5 to 7 cloves  - peeled and crushed
  • Salt - to taste
Method:
  1. Put a vessel or a deep pan, add water and let the water come to boil. Add a spoon of salt and 1/4 tsp of turmeric to the water.
  2. Meanwhile, after pealing the skin, cut plantains into cubes or thick circular pieces. 
  3. Add the cut plantains into the water. 
  4. Let water boil for a minute or two or until the banana is slightly tender (not too soft).
  5. Drain the plantain pieces into a colander and keep it aside for few minutes to cool down. 
  6. To the plantain, now add salt, black-pepper pdr / red-chili pdr ( I use both, but more of black-pepper pdr),  turmeric pdr, cumin pdr, coriander pdr,  and amchur. Toss everything to coat the banana pieces with spices. Avoid using a spatula as it may break part and crush the plantain pieces.
  7. Now add gram flour /besan and rice pdr to the mixture and toss again. Keep aside.
  8. In a nonstick pan or a wok, add 2 tbsp oil and put on stove at medium flame.
  9. To the hot oil, add funnel seeds, a piece of cinnamon stick and curry leaves. Stir for 20 seconds.
  10. Now add crushed ginger and garlic to the oil and let it roast.
  11. Add the banana and let it roast. Keep tossing every few minutes until it is crispy on the out side and soft on the inside. Do not cover. If needed add more oil.
  12. Serve hot as a side dish with rice or roti.

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~ Balekai / Raw Banana / Plantain Spicy Roast ~
Posted by Swetha @ 4/12/2018 01:41:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Kolache Dough Pastry

Kolache -Originally a semisweet wedding dessert from Central Europe, The name originates from the Czech, and originally Old Slavonic word kolo meaning "circle", "wheel"(link). This recipe(link2) was shared by one of my colleague who brought homemade Kolache Dough Pastry to our Christmas potluck. I gave it a try with my own twists. It did not turn out as good and soft as my colleagues' but non the less tasted very good.  First, I have posted the recipe my colleague shared. My fusion variation is posted in the bottom.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup - warm milk
  • 3½ cup - All purpose flour
  • 1 - egg
  • 1 pkg - dry yeast
  •  cup - sugar
  •  cup - butter, melted
  • 1 tsp - salt
Filling:
  • 4 cups - Walnuts 
  • 1¼ cups - sugar - more sugar may be add as per taste  
  • grind the walnuts with sugar and keep aside for filling.
Method: 
  1. In a cup, put ⅓  cup warm milk and 1 tsp sugar, stir. Add yeast and stir until dissolved. Let it stand and get bubbly.
  2. Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a depression in the center. Add rest of the warm milk, egg, sugar, melted butter, salt and yeast mixture at once, mix and knead until smooth. If the dough still sticks to the side of the bowl, continue adding flour about 2 tbs at a time until the right consistency is reached. 
  3. If the dough still sticks to the side of the bowl, continue adding flour about 2 tbs at a time until the right consistency is reached.
  4. Lightly grease the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size, about 90 minutes for the dough to rise.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the filling and baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into 7 portions, roll out and cover with filling. Roll up; be sure to seal ends and place on cookie sheet with seam side down.
  7. Put 2 to a cookie sheet, let rise 10-30 more minutes while the own preheats to 350 degrees. Brush the tops lightly with melted butter (and egg white). 
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. 
  9. When golden brown remove from oven and place on paper towels  or cool rack. Once more brush tops with butter while kolaches are still hot.

My Fusion Version:
Dough: I used ready pie dough for the bread. 
Filling: Almonds, dry coconuts, a bit of cashew, brown sugar and regular sugar, and 1/4 tsp cardamom powder.
Confession:  Did not mean to spoil the authentic recipe, it's just my previous unsuccessful bread making experiences kept me away from following the recipe. But it was quick and easy.

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~ Kolache Dough Pastry ~
Posted by Swetha @ 4/12/2018 10:00:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Balehanina Mulka / Sankashti Prasada / Ripe Banana sweet

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Bale hanina mulka / ripe banana sweet fritters are prepared as Sankashti Prasada - offering/naivedya  for Lord Ganesha. Also made as evening snack. Main difference is, if prepared as naivedya, it has to be prepared with whole wheat flour or wheat semolina or broken wheat or combination of them. For snacks, this mulka may be prepared with rice flour or with soaked & ground rice.

As always, most of the naivedya has 5 or 7 main ingredients. Keeping this in mind helps me remember the ingredients. The ingredient measurements listed below is my rough estimate. As depending on the size of the banana and freshness of the coconut, flour has to added to get the right consistence of the dough. So may have to play around a bit so have the flour out if needed. 

From the picture, you may notice that color of the mulka is dark, this is due to banana and wheat flour. But believe me it taste really good and is very soft. Smells divine and festive while preparing. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 - fully ripe banana (peeled)
  • 1 cup - whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup - grated coconut (may be grounded too)
  • ½ cup - jaggery or brown sugar or liquid  jaggery 
  • ½ tsp - cardamom powder
  • 3 tsp - milk or water - as & if needed to get the right consistence.
  • Oil for deep frying
Optional Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp - honey 
  • 1 tsp - cashew nut powder
  • pinch of baking powder or Eno fruit salt
  • pinch of nutmeg pdr, cinnamon pdr, cloves pdr or black-pepper pdr ( I use bit of cloves and pepper powder when prepared as snack, slight hint of spice goes well with evening tea/coffee)
  • pinch of salt
Method:
  1. In a deep bowl, mash the bananas. You may use a masher or use the back of a spatula or just use your hand.
  2. Add coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder to the banana, and mix it all together. Optional ingredients other than the baking powder may be mixed together at this stage.
  3. Start adding the wheat flour little by little and see how much you need. ( If backing powder is used, add it along with the flour)  The consistency should be of thick cake or pakoda batter. If it is too runny, add more wheat flour. If it is too hard, add bit of milk or water and mix.
  4. Pour oil into a frying pan and place our medium-high flame. Once the oil is hot enough, take out small portion of dough and slowly place them in hot oil. If you are not comfortable with hand, use a table spoon to carefully put the dough in the oil.  Don't worry about the shape of the mulkas. Fry them in small batches and keeping the flame in medium-low.  Use a slotted spoon to turn the mulkas so that they cook evenly on all sies. They are ready after 2-3 minutes or as soon as they have a rich, dark golden colour. Take them out from oil. Place them on kitchen paper tissue to drain excess oil.
  5. Mulkas are ready to offer to Lord Ganesha.
  6. They can be eaten warm or cold.



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~ Balehanina Mulka / Sankashti Prasada / Ripe Banana sweet ~
Posted by Swetha @ 4/11/2018 03:47:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Rocky Road Fudge

Sunday, November 26, 2017
Chocolate fudge recipe for Holiday season. Who does not like Rocky Road Fudge, or fudge in general. The well made once are expensive at stores (but worth it). But once I figured out how to make it, I never went to stores for it. Only down side is... you will end up with quite a bit of fudge at home.  Better to prepare for a party and love to share. May be prepared in different variations with walnuts, pistachios or cashews instead of marshmallows (in step-6).

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup - Sweetened evoprated Condensed Milk  
  • ¾ cup - Granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp - unsalted butter 
  • 2 cups - white mini marshmallows
  • 1¼  cups - Chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate)
  • 1 tsp - Vanilla essance
  • a pinch of salt.
Method:
  1. Generously grease an 7in cake pan and keep aside. 
  2. Mix the butter, sugar, evaporated milk and salt in a heavy cooking pan.
  3. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring it to boil.
  4. Let it boil for 3-5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring all the time. (until the mixture reaches 1160C/2400F) 
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the chocolate chips. 
  6. Once the chocolate blends in, beat in the marshmallows and vanilla essence. 
  7. Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Press the mixture in to the corners and spread it evenly with a flat spatula.
  8. If using, sprinkle the nuts over the fudge and press them into the surface so that it won't fall off.
  9. Cool, then score into squares. Chill, then cut them up to serve.
Try this easy method of making fudge and enjoy it with your family and friends.
Happy Holidays!

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~ Rocky Road Fudge ~
Posted by Swetha @ 11/26/2017 08:49:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Maple Pecan Pie

Thursday, November 23, 2017
Pies are made as desserts during holiday season. My favorite are pumpkin pie, apple pie and pecan pie.

Ingredients:
  • 1½ cup - pecan halves toasted 
  • 3 - eggs ( or  ¾ cup applesauce  for egg-less pie)  
  • ⅔ cup - Golden brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ⅔ cup - Pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp - corn syrup
  • 6 tbsp - unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ tsp - salt.
  • 1 unbaked - 9 inch ready piecrust (or prepare one at home. Recipe here)
Method:
  1. Position the rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 3500F
  2. Finely chop 1 cup of pecans.
  3. Whisk the eggs ( or applesauce), brown sugar, and salt until well blended in a medium bowl.
  4. Stir in both syrups and butter. 
  5. Add chopped pecans to the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the unbaked piecrust. Spread the mixture evenly.
  7. Decorate rest of the pecan by arranging them on the top and press them slightly into the mixture.
  8. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set. About 35 minutes, depends on the oven.
  9. Cool completely.
Note: For regular pecan pie, just skip the maple syrup and instead of 3 tbsp, add 1 cup of corn syrup .

Pie may be made a day ahead. Store at cool room temperature. 

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~ Maple Pecan Pie ~
Posted by Swetha @ 11/23/2017 04:00:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Coconut Ladoo with Condensed Milk - Quick and easy recipe

Saturday, October 21, 2017

When short on time during festivals, I reach for Condensed-Milk. Always have a stock of   condensed-milk cans in my pantry. This is one of such festive-sweet recipe, which turns out very delicious and just melts in your mouth. If you have all the ingredients, it takes less than half an hour to make these yummy ladoos. Remember the ratio is 2:1, that is, for 2 cups of Coconut, you need 1 cup of condensed milk.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup - tightly packed fresh grated coconut
  • ½ cup - Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ½ tsp - Ghee 
  • 1/2 tsp - Elachi/cardamom - freshly crushed powder.
  • 2 tbsp - Cashew nut - chopped into pieces 
  • 2 tbsp - grated dry(or fresh) coconut 
Method:
  1. On low heat  add ¼ tsp of ghee to a wide fry-pan. 
  2. And chopped cashew nuts and slightly roast them.
  3. Transfer the roasted cashew to a plate and keep aside.
  4. To the same pan add freshly grated coconut and turn the heat up to medium. Saute it to remove excess moisture. Do not let it brown. This may take about 2 to 3 minutes depending on how tender the coconut is.
  5. Add the condensed milk and mix it well on medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture thickens. 
  6. Lower the heat, add  ghee, cardamom pdr and roasted cashew-nuts.  Mix them all and keep stiring
  7. When you notice that the mixture does not stick to the pan any more, turn-off the heat.
  8.  On a flat plate spread the grated dry coconut for rolling the ladoos.
  9. You need to work while the mixture is still warm. Apply ghee on your palm, so that the mixture won't stick to your palm or burn. Pinch out the coconut mixture and by rolling your palms together form small lemon sized balls.
  10. Roll the ball in the dry coconut and place it on a tray or a container line with parchment paper.
  11. Repeat the steps 9 and 10 with rest of the cooked coconut mixture.
  12. This should yield about 20 ladoos.  (small lemon sized)  
  13. Store the ladoos in refrigerator. Should last for 3 to 4 days. 

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~ Coconut Ladoo with Condensed Milk - Quick and easy recipe ~
Posted by Swetha @ 10/21/2017 03:03:00 PM :: 0 comments

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