Monday, December 10, 2012

Boondi laddu

This needs no introduction. People who are addicted to sweets just like me would definitely be in love with laddus be it boondi laddu, mothi laddu, rava laddu etc., The very thought of laddu makes my mouth water. From our childhood we couldn't even remember how many times have we tasted this sweet, one at a time or even more. But we never got bored of laddu or probably never will. Since this sounded a very tricky thing to make at home, I've always bought it rather than making it at home. I attempted once some time after my wedding, but all I got was only boondi and not laddu. After couple of years, one of my friends shared home made boondi laddu for their wedding day (or birthday?) and I was so impressed by the texture and taste of it and it was no different from the laddu we get in stores. I was also surprised when she told me it doesn't take much time and it's not very tricky to make it at all. She gave me some cheat codes on how to make perfect laddu without failure.
But I didn't get it perfect for the first time, but I got confident that I could make it at home and now if my husband asks me whether we could make laddus for an occasion I would never give a second thought.

Things You'll need:
Besan (chickpea flour) - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Oil - for deep frying
Cashew nuts - 2 tbsp, chopped
Raisins - 1 tbsp
Cardamom powder or Rose essence - 1 tsp
Ghee - 2 tsp

Yield - 20-25 pieces


Mix water to the besan little by little and make a batter of pouring consistency (it should not be very thin or watery). In a heavy bottomed vessel add sugar and water, stir until sugar is melted and bring it to a boil. Let it boil in a medium flame until one thread consistency is reached. (This should take five or six minutes after the syrup comes to a boil. Check by taking little syrup in a spoon and touching the syrup with your index finger and thumb. The syrup should for a single thread when the index finger  and thumb are stuck together and released.). Add the cardamom powder or rose essence to the syrup and switch off the stove.

Using a ladle with holes ("jalli karandi")  pour the besan into medium hot oil, so that the besan forms into small balls (boondi) in the oil. Once the balls are fried and float above, pick them up, shake the excess oil and place the boondis in the hot syrup.

Repeat with remaining batter. Before adding the last batch of boondis (or even couple of batches before the last) coarsely grind the boondis and add them to the syrup. This will help in binding the boondis together. Mix the boondis well into the syrup.

Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the cashews and raisins. Add them to the boondi-syrup mixture. When the syrup is warm enough to handle, scoop a handful of boondi-syrup mixture and press it into a laddu. Repeat with remaining boondi-syrup mixture. Let it cool for sometime until the laddus are bound together and they are all yours.


I didn't know that a dessert named baklava existed before my friend brought this for us when we met in the park. She was suddenly caught with desire to cook desserts and lucky for us we got something to snack every other day we meet in the park. This is a greek dessert not very easy to make, but uses very less ingredients tastes yummy. I made this for a get together, for the first time and got a lot of appreciation. There's nothing to go wrong in this and with a little bit of painting experience (I am not kidding when I say this) you could do this very quickly.

Things you'll need:
Filo dough (you could find it the freezer section of your supermarket) - 1 pack (contains about 20 sheets)
Sugar - 1 cup +1tbsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts,pecans) - 2 cups (coarsely ground)
ground cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
Pistachios - a handful, coarsely ground
Butter - melted, as required, for brushing the dough

Yield - 24 pieces
Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the filo dough from the wrap and place it flat on the counter covering with a damp kitchen towel. This prevents the dough from getting dry and breaking. Mix cinnamon and 1 tbsp sugar into the nut mixture.

Grease a shallow bake pan, arrange one of the filo sheets and brush it with butter (brush liberally to cover the entire sheet). Repeat with 6 more sheets. Divide the nut mixture into halves. Layer one half on the filo dough layer.

Arrange seven filo sheets one by one, brushing each sheet with butter, above the nut layer. Layer the remaining half of the nut mixture on top of the filo layer. Arrange the remaining filo sheets, one by one, brushing each one with butter.

Sprinkle the pistachios on top, score the sheets into 24 pieces (you don't have to cut through, just score it gently). Place it in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes.

Prepare sugar syrup with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup water. (There is no consistency constraint a not-so thick syrup should do..)

When the baklava is ready, Remove it from the oven and pour the sugar syrup evenly over the baklava and allow it to cool.

Wait!  not yet...Chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight for best results..and there's nothing stopping you from savoring the delicious baklava..


Pullover newborn sweater

Nowadays crochet craze is eating me up more than I eat my food..So I am ending up putting crochet posts rather than recipes in recent times. But I guess this is going to be my last crochet time for a quite sometime. My husband is also helping me improve my crochet skills by giving me new ideas. One such idea was this newborn sweater for his friend's newborn son. I have crocheted button-on sweaters for couple of friends' newborns, but this time my husband suggested to do a pullover sweater. But I found patterns for jackets or cardigans but couldn't find one-piece pullover sweater pattern. I was a bit lazy to do front, back and sleeves separately and attach them. So I did a mix of the cardigan pattern and my own pattern.  I also did a matching beanie cap.

Pattern for the sweater:
Chain 38.
Double crochet in third chain from the hook and all the chains. (36 DC)
Chain 3, turn DC in next 5 stitches, (DC,chain 1,DC) in the next stitch.
DC in the next 4 stitches, (DC,chain 1, DC) in the next stitch.
DC in the next 12 stitches, (DC, chain 1,DC) in the next stitch.
DC in next 4 stitches (DC,chain 1,DC) in the next stitch.
DC in the next 6 stitches.
Rows 3-6:
Chain 3 DC in each stitch across, (DC,chain 1,DC) in each chain 1 space.
Row 7 (Forming armholes):
Chain 3 DC in each stitch, when you reach the chain 1 space, fold the piece such that the 1st and 2nd chain 1 spaces are aligned and DC in the chain spaces together.
For reference you can view this video:

Repeat the same for the next chain 1 spaces. Continue DC in the rest of the stitches.

After finishing the last DC in the 7th row, slip stitch in 3rd chain of the first DC of the same row.
Rows 8-13:
Chain 3, DC in each stitch across, slip stitch with 3rd chain of beginning chain.
(I used red and yellow alternatively. You can either follow a single color or change colors between rows.)
After slip stitching the last row cut your yarn from about 2 inches of length, pull the loop out and tighten the yarn.

Join the yarn at the joint of the arm holes and body part, chain 3, DC in each stitch across and slip stitch in the 3rd chain of the beginning chain.
Continue this pattern for as many rows you want.
(Make sure you have equal number of DC in each row, so that the sleeves look even.)

Refer to:

Edging: (For the neck, arms,and waist)
Join yarn, chain 1 and single crochet in each stitch across, slip stitch at the beginning chain.

Here's the finished sweater...

I made a matching hat with the sweater which is a regular beanie with ear flaps whose pattern you might find in youtube.