Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pumpkin Halwa

Last year when we were in India, we visited one of hubby’s Uncle’s place near Oooty,Tamilnadu. We had a wonderful time with the uncle and aunt! His aunt is an amazing cook. The entire week that we spent there, she made so many delicious dishes. I had made note of most of them, and finally now stumbled up her recipe for Carrot Halwa.
I passed this recipe to a few of my friends already, and it has been a hit so far. So I decided that it was high time that I gave the recipe a try. I made a variation of the recipe by trying it out with pumpkin, and also because I bought a huge one the other day and didn’t know what to do with it ;)

Deseeded pumpkin, ready to be cut and grated. 
Grated pumpkin being sauteed in ghee.
The halwa was so rich and melt in your mouth delicious. So give this easy dessert a try for your next for your dinner party.

Pumpkin Halwa
Serves: 3

2 tablespoon - ghee
300 g (net weight after grating) - grated pumpkin
150 ml - milk
150 g - sugar
1/4 teaspoon - cardamom powder
1 pinch - nutmeg powder
2 tablespoon – ground almonds (optional)
1 tablespoon - cashew nuts, split
1 tablespoon - raisins
1 tablespoon - ghee ( to fry cashew nuts & raisins )

  • Heat ghee in a wide pan.
  • Add grated pumpkin and stir for 8 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Add milk, cover with a lid and cook on low heat till the pumpkin absorbs the milk and pumpkin mixture dries up (approximately 15 minutes).
  • Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, ground almonds and sugar. Mix well.
  • Cook again on a low heat for another 10 minutes till the sugar well blended with pumpkin mixture and thickens / dries up.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon ghee, and shallow fry cashew nuts and raisins separately on a low heat till golden color.
  • Garnish with fried cashew nuts and raisins.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Apple Cupcakes

These cupcakes were a result of an impromptu baking session with friends. This Monday was a school holiday, and hence one of our friends  visited us during the week with her hubby and her two cute daughters. She and her girls were very interested in baking, so I thought I could make a batch of apple cupcakes for them. I also invited one of my neighbour and her daughter to join us for dinner. It was so much fun preparing dinner and baking and chatting away with everyone.

The kids were so eager to help me with the baking. The oldest was the one doing all the mixing and filling the batter in cups, while the younger ones were too busy waiting for the cupcakes to finish baking. We added colored sprinkles in shapes of cows and dinosaurs, on some of the cupcakes as per request :) I decided not to make any frosting for the cakes, so as to avoid unnecessary sugar for the kids.

The cupcakes were very moist and rich, not too sweet. The 1 cup of grated apple that I added was not very distinct after baking. Maybe next time I could try with 1 ½ cups. I also added some orange essence to give a refreshing taste to the cakes. If your prefer you can replace the 1 teaspoon orange essence + 2 tablespoon milk with 2 tablespoon fresh orange juice. This recipe is adapted from Baked Perfection.

Apple Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups - all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons - baking powder
1/2 teaspoon - salt
2 - eggs
1/2 cup - sugar
1/2 cup - brown sugar
2 tablespoons - milk
1 teaspoons - vanilla extract
1 teaspoon - orange essence
1/2 cup - vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups - grated apple

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan.
  • In a large bowl swift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until creamy.
  • Beat in the milk, vanilla, orange essence and vegetable oil.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture, mix until just combined.
  • Stir in the grated apples.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.