Homemade Mocha Latte

Homemade Mocha Latte

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Monsoon is here!!! Cravings for steaming hot and strong coffee are full on these days thanks to the crazy rains. This is one of my favorite recipe to make for myself after a tiring day and its a perfect accompaniment while catching up on reading that long pending book.

Coffee and chocolate is a match made in heaven. Each one complements the other to increase and enhance the flavors. Mocha recipe is made by adding chocolate to an espresso shot. Adding marshmallows or whipped cream enhances its chocolaty taste. It basically means either adding chocolate to your coffee, or adding a shot of espresso coffee to your hot chocolate.

This is a treat for coffee and chocolate lovers, it combines the two under a layer of creamy foamed milk. Adding chocolate/ sweet cocoa powder makes this a luscious, liquid dessert. Some people even add chocolate syrup to this. I have made both with cocoa powder and plain milk chocolate and the results are equally fantastic.

Important tip is to use really good quality chocolate/cocoa powder and there are so many variations of making a good mocha by adding some extra flavors to this drink like cinnamon, cardamon or even some grated ginger.

You can whip up this simple at-home mocha in minutes with just a few easy pantry ingredients and adding a rich topping of whipped cream just enhances the taste!! Lets get started.

Ingredients:-

Water- 1 cup
Hot milk 2 cups
Cocoa Powder/Chocolate- 2 tsp (I use Hershey’s)
Coffee powder- 1 tsp (I use Nescafe)
Milk powder- 1tsp
Sugar- 2 tsp
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp
Whipped cream for topping

Method:-

In a sauce pan add water, coffee powder, cocoa powder/chocolate, milk powder, vanilla essence, sugar and bring them to boil.

Add this in the serving cup/mug and pour hot milk.

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Top up with whipped cream and garnish with a pinch of cocoa powder, if desired.

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Kalakand- Cheat version

Kalakand

Cheat version

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As the Crescent moon of Ramzan shines, I wish everyone Eid Mubarak!!

Growing up in Hyderabad I was lucky to have many Muslim friends who are fortunately foodies like me. Muslim cuisine is known for its use of rich spices, fragrant herbs and authentic recipes. Indian muslim cuisine is a food lover’s dreams….the sweets are out of this world. Of course Sheer Kurma is the king of deserts on Ramzan, kalakand is another desert that is prepared in most of the muslim houses as its quick and easy to make.

By the way visting hyderad during ramzaan period must be mandatory for foodies like me. Check out the below pic, how beautiful does chaminaar look.

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Ok, back to Kalakand.

This is my most favorite desert ever, its a simple, a few ingredient sweet that’s sure to wow your family and friends. Its the one sweet I also get when my favorite people come home. Before I go on to this miracle of a recipe, let me talk a bit about Kalakand.

Kalakand is a refreshingly delicious and tastes the best when it’s fresh. Fortunately it’s not too difficult to make so you can enjoy it at any time. It has a soft crumbly milk cake consistency made from reduced thickened milk. Traditionally this is made with khoya (mawa) thickened reduced milk solids. It takes a while to reduce the milk to get the resultant khoya mix so to speed things up a lot of times people use fresh paneer.

If there is paneer at home, to make Kalakand would be a breeze. Once its grated the remaining ingredients just need to be mixed through and heated with condensed milk together, then cut them into squares and boxed up, this makes a gorgeous party desert and will win hearts of all the guests!!

Ingredients:-

Fresh Cottage Cheese / Paneer (crumbled) 250 gms
Cardamom Powder (Elaichi Powder)- 1 tsp
Condensed milk – 1 Tin- 400gms
Dry Fruits (for garnishing)
Rose water/Kewra water- 1 tsp (Optional)

Method:-

In a nonstick pan heat condensed milk for few minutes.

Crumble paneer with hands and add to the condensed milk, I like to have small chunks of paneer to chew while eating kalakand. If you want smoother consistency use finely grated paneer. Its always ideal to use home made paneer for that rich flavour. If using store brought paneer, get fresh batch only.

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Once the paneer starts to cook add cardamon powder and kewar water if using. Also a lot of places use milk powder to get that perfect white colour. I dint have it handy so if you got it add a tsp of the powder.

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Keep stirring continuously and let this simmer on low flame for a minimum of 10 minutes until it thickens and starts to leave the pan.

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Once the texture is crumbly mostly and there’s no extra moisture in the mix, remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the greased plate or aluminum foiled plate. Add dry fruits on top and flatten with the top of the spatula and let it cool completely. Store it in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours and then cut into squares and serve.

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Orange Ginger Sparkler

Orange Ginger Sparkler

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I love making drinks with fresh fruits! The idea of simmering fresh fruit juice with sugar/ honey to form a simple syrup that can be mixed with fizzy water is so much fun!! On a sunny afternoon while craving for a thirst quenching drink to go along our weekend lunch I made these drinks and it has become a hit with hubby dearest.

So this is just a simple recipe and doesn’t take a lot of time to take. All you need is fresh orange juice, ginger, soda and some basil leaves. I have made orange juice at home removing all the pulp as I wanted a clear juice.  Even with the pulp strained out, there’s a smoothness to the orange juice that makes this drink quite pleasant to sip.

What really takes the drink to the next level is the infusion of basil/Tulsi leaves and ginger. After the initial sweetness of the soda, traces of these herbs and spices linger on the tongue and throat I think it would make a lovely, non-alcoholic option for a cocktail party.

Tulsi leaves have a lot of medicinal properties and apart from the pungent smell it has also got a very sharp taste that balanced the tartness in the orange juice in this drink very well.

Technically, these could be called just plain Orange sodas…but Orange Ginger Sparkler sounds so much better right.  The soda effect is super easy to achieve, and the swig of basil leaves is the perfect compliment.  So basically what I am saying is this is an amaaaaaaaaaaaazing drink and you all have to try. Ok.

Here are the Ingredients-

Orange juice
Few Tulsi Leaves (Basil)
3 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Sugar- 3 tbsp
Salt- pinch
Club soda- 1/2 bottle
Ice cubes- to serve
Orange wedges- to garnish

Method:-

Combine water, sugar, tulsi leaves and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars.

Remove from heat and strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Let syrup cool completely.

To serve, fill glass halfway with crushed ice and add 3 tablespoons of syrup, orange juice and fill with soda water, and stir. Add more syrup for a sweeter or stronger flavor and adjust the juice and soda accordingly. Garnish with some ginger, basil and an orange wedge.

Voila! Fancy looking mocktail ready at home with in few minutes.

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Mango Falooda

Mango Falooda

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Falooda is one the best layered dessert in a glass that has been our favorite drink to have after spicy meals.

This multi-textured summer drink has its origins in Iran and then has made its entry into many countries and is quiet a hit with street vendors.

The basic falooda recipe is a milk based dessert with some rose syrup, falooda sev, basil seeds and ice cream going into it.

Falooda has evolved into various flavors like saffron, pista, mango, strawberry, chocolate, rabri etc. Seasonal fruit falooda is also very popular where the basic falooda recipe is layered with fresh cut fruits.

This heavenly dessert has contrasting flavors and textures with chewy falooda seeds, soft noodles and jelly, melt in the mouth ice cream and crunchy nuts.

Some benefits of these magical basil seeds include relieve for heartburn, indigestion and has the same effect of antibiotics eliminating bacteria.

Also it has a very cooling effect and helps to refresh and cool our body and mind in this scorching heat. As you can see , it is extremely pretty to look at and tastes delicious.

So, its ok to over indulge in a falooda once in a while especially on a hot sultry day. And today I made this Mango Falooda for my mom and dad, and they enjoyed thoroughly. Mom especially is a big fan of mango, she loved the chunks of mango pieces that I added into the falooda.

Ingredients:-

Milk -1 1/2 cup
Falooda Sev/ Vermicelli- 1/2 cup cooked
Basil seeds/ Sabja seeds- 1 tbsp
Chopped mangoes – 1 cup
Mango Puree – 1 cup
Sugar as needed
Dry fruits- 2 tbsp chopped
Vanilla/ Mango Ice cream – 2 generous scoops
Preparations:-

Boil milk on medium heat and add 3 tbsp sugar, let them cool then refrigerate.

Soak sabja seeds in 1/2 cup of water for 20 minutes. Strain water if any and keep it aside.

Chop mangoes into small cubes. Also make mango puree without adding sugar.

Add vermicelli/falooda sev in boiling water and let it sook for 5 mins. Drain them and risnse with cold water to avoid cooking further.

{The best part about this recipe is that you can make all your preparations and store in refrigerator before hand and serve it when your guests arrive}

Layering of Falooda:-

Chill the serving glass for 5 minutes in the refrigerator.

Layer the bottom of the glass with sweetened mango puree. On top of it spread a layer of sabja seeds. Then spread a layer of falooda sev followed by some mango pieces and chopped dry fruits. Repeat the same steps one more time and add sweetened milk.
Add a generous scoop of desired ice cream and top it with nuts and mango pieces.
Voila! Homemade mango falooda is ready to slurp 🙂
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♡ Nutella ♡ Milkshake ♡

♡ Nutella ♡ Milkshake ♡

 

 

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Milkshakes are one of my favorite desserts because they as so quick and easy to make. For the last few weeks, I have been going through a milkshake phase thanks to the summer! I always end up buying those small tetra packs of different milkshakes and store in the freezer.

So I have decided that let me make my own milkshakes because they are pretty easy to make and also I can explore different flavors. Today I am sharing a basic nutella milkshake. You can add a lot of different things as you know nutella tastes good with anything. So I have tried this with peanut butter, oreo cookies, strawberries and they tasted so much better than any store brought milkshakes.

Ingredients:

Chilled Milk – 1 cup
Nutella – 2 tbsp
Vanilla Ice cream- 1 scoop
For garnish- Crushed dry fruits of your choice

 

Method:-

Blend all the ingredients in a blender till frothy.

Pour into serving glass and enjoy.

Top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup if desired.

To garnish the glass-

Coat the rim of the empty glass with nutella using back of the spoon.

On a plate crush some dry fruits of your choice and dip the glass all over and get a swanky  glass to serve guests. Also if you wish store them in chiller for few minutes and then serve.

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Water Melon Mojito-(Mocktail)

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Water Melon Mojito-(Mocktail)

So already down here in Hyderabad, the days are sweltering! Its getting so HOT. All I want to do during afternoon is drink something cold and refreshing. Today afternoon, I whipped up these fun Watermelon Mojito to drink while we were cooking lunch and had a great time.

I had a watermelon mojito not that long ago, at a restaurant and the only thing I didn’t like about it was the little chunks of pulp that I kept sucking up through the straw. The flavor was fun, but I wanted a clearer drink, so since then every time I made the juice I strained it and removed all the pulp.

These could definitely be made without alcohol for a fun summer drink, but if you wish you can add Rum as I have heard from my friends it goes very well with lemon and mint. (I don’t drink, so not sure if there is anything else that tastes great with this combination)

Something different to try when you are bored with plain jane lemon juice. You make them more sweet or more tart by playing with the proportions of lemon and sugar as you wish.

Technically you need a muddler (See pic below) to make mock-tails like these at home, but back of a big wooden spoon would do the needful.

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Ingredients:

Mint leaves 5 to 10
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Lemon 1
Water melon juice
Salt- Pinch
Cumin Powder- Pinch
Frozen water melon cubes
Sprite/ginger ale/7 up

Method:-

Chop mint leaves, cut lemon into small wedges, remove the seeds and keep aside. Freeze few watermelon balls/cubes to use instead of ice cubes. Makes it more flavorful.

In a tall glass, add lemon wedges, frozen water melon cubes, mint leaves, cupin powder and some sugar.

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Using back of a wooden spoon crush them all to release their juice and to blend in the flavors.

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Add water melon juice, sprite and mix well. I served them with a spear of lime wedge, mint leaf, and a watermelon ball.  I also dropped a couple more watermelon balls directly into the drinks.

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Perugu Vada -South Indian style Dahi vada

Perugu Vada

South Indian style Dahi vada

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Perugu vada is one of the famous South Indian Snacks, explicitly served on special occasions or festivals or as an evening snack.In spite of being a deep-fried snack, it will be a perfect soothing snack on those hot days since it is dunked in yoghurt. I love the combination of this cool dahi vada, which compliments any heavy/spicy meal.

It tastes best when served chilled and is ideal to serve at parties as it can  be made in advance and chilled in the refrigerator. Especially on a hot summer day, when you want something to cool you off dig into these beauties and feel refreshed.

North Indian dahi wada/dahi bhalla is little more flavourful and has more spices involved. This south indian style dahi vada is more simple and is quick to make. Also when you have left over vadas, you can make these delicious vadas soaked in tampered buttermilk and surprise your loved ones.

Ingredients:-

Urad Dal- 2 cups
Green chilli- 2
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
Salt– to taste
Rice flour- 2 tsp
Water– as required
Oil– to deep fry
Few curry leaves
Curd- 2 cups
Milk 1/2 cup
Boiling water- 1 cup

To Temper:-

Oil- 3 tesp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds- 1 tsp
Curry leaves – few
Red Chillies- 2
Hing – a generous pinch

Method:-

Soak  urad dal for minimum 3 to 4 hours. Now drain and grind in a blender with chili, ginger, pepper, rice flour and some curry leaves to a very smooth batter.
Add little water as needed to make a fine paste. Take a small portion in your hands, flatten and make a small hole in the center and drop in HOT oil. (You can always use a plastic sheet to make this to get perfect shape) Fry them till golden brown and drain in a paper towel.

In a flat surface vessel, pour some hot boiling water and soak the vadas for minimum 15 minutes flipping them in between. This has to be done patiently to ensure the vadas melt in your mouth and are soft inside.

In a kadai, add all the ingredients under temper and let them splutter. Mix milk and curd with some salt and keep it ready.

Now in the same bowl you soaked vadas, remove excess water and add the thick buttermilk. Once all the vadas are covered with curd pour the hot temper on top and serve immediately or chill them in refrigerator and serve cold.

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