Gajar Ka Halwa | Gajrela | Indian Carrot Pudding | Easy & Quick Method

Gajar ka Halwa also known as Gajrela is an Indian Carrot Pudding that’s prepared with ghee, carrots, milk, sugar, cardamom, and nuts. This is a Punjabi dessert that is widely popular in North India, especially during the winter months and Diwali season. This nutritious Gajrela can be enjoyed both or cold, I personally love my Gajrela hot (without nuts).

Carrot Pudding

Just with a few ingredients you can make this perfect sweet dish – Gajar Ka Halwa. Traditionally, it is made with fresh red carrot, ghee, mava and lots of dry fruits. There are many different ways of preparing Gajar ka Halwa, some make it with evaporated milk while others use condensed milk. In this recipe, I used homemade khoya, made with milk powder and it’s taste delicious.

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Ingredients :
Grated Carrot – 2 cups
Ghee – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Khoya or mawa – 1/2 cup
Chopped Dry fruits – 1/2 cup (Almonds, Cashews, Raisins, Pistachios)
Green Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
A Pinch of Himalayan salt

Method :

  1. Wash, peel carrot and make coarse by using food processor. It yields up to 2 cups of coarse carrots.
  2. Heat ghee in a deep pan and add coarse carrots. Saute on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, sugar with salt and cardamom powder. Simmer until it thickens. It takes about 10 minutes.
  4. Now add khoya and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat.
  5. Garnish with dry fruits and serve hot.
Winter Dessert

Christmas Beverage | Cinnamon Spiced Apple Tea

The Cinnamon Spiced Apple Tea recipe is rich in all the classic flavors. The sweet apples with the cinnamon and cloves spices give you precisely what Christmas eve should taste like in a cup. To make this Apple cinnamon tea, I haven’t used any tea leaves while making tea, to avoid caffeine and reap the maximum benefits. With only four ingredients and in just 10 minutes this tea is ready. This tea comes way better than store-bought.

Christmas Beverage

Homemade Cinnamon Spiced Apple Tea is a refreshing, soothing, and relaxing drink. Make this delicious tea in 10 minutes. Tea is a staple around and has been enjoyed for over a millennium. It is a versatile drink and can be made in many flavors. Apple tea is one of the greatest drinks to have originated in Turkey. This recipe will help you make the best refreshing apple tea at home, nothing more than a pantry staple and of course fresh apples.

Cinnamon Spiced Apple Tea

Like Indians, people of Turkey love drinking tea at all times of the day. However, unlike in India, where tea is often boiled, the Turks have an infusion way of making the tea and use one teapot on top of the other. It is a modern take on the old samovar. The lower kettle is used for boiling the water and the upper one is used for making concentrated tea. The water is not boiled for too long and once the tea leaves are put in it, the heat is reduced to a minimum for the tea to steep well. The tea concentration from the upper pot is diluted with water from the lower one till the desired strength is reached.

Apple Tea

Turkish apple tea is made with dried apples following a similar steeping method. It is now also available as instant tea in that part of the world and other places where it is exported. But instead of using instant tea, you can make your apple tea, using your fresh seasonal apples, adding other ingredients to make it even more delicious and refreshing.

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Ingredients :

Finely chopped apple – 1 (with skin)

One small cinnamon stick

Cloves – 3

Water – 2 cups

Honey or jaggery powder for sweetness – 1 tbsp (optional)

Method :

  1. Combine water, chopped apple, cinnamon stick and cloves in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Turn off heat, sieve and stir in honey or jaggery or sweetener of choice to taste.
  3. Serve in mugs with a few thinly sliced apples in each and a cinnamon stick to stir.
Winter Beverage

Christmas Baking | Custard Cranberry Jam Cake | Cake with Cranberry Jam | Wok Baking

This Custard Cranberry Jam Cake is festive and luscious. Perfectly spiced, moist, and with a hint of sweetness, this spiced cranberry jam cake will quickly be a party favorite. Even better, it’s super easy to transport so that you can steal the show with this cake. You won’t have any leftovers :)It is spiced, moist, and perfect with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast or afternoon snack. 

Custard Cranberry Jam Cake

The Cranberry is the star of this cake. This cake is packed with whole grains, fresh cranberry flavor, and spiced with cinnamon powder. In this cake recipe, I used fresh homemade spiced cranberry jam. Also, this cake is made with whole wheat flour. It’s best to start substituting whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour slowly to get used to the taste and texture. Whole wheat flour is high in fiber and cakes made with whole wheat flour are more filling and healthy.

Homemade Cranberry Jam

Cranberries are small berries, round or oval. The color varies from red to dark red. Cranberry flesh is white and tastes bittersweet. When it comes to the holiday season, cranberries are king. Serve these cranberry recipes like tender bread, easy pie recipes, and savory stuffings.

Cake with Cranberry Jam

Custard powder is mainly used to make dessert recipes like fruit custard. The most common recipe is fruit custard which is made with milk to form a thick sauce to top with fruits. I also make custard rice kheer with custard powder and it tastes delicious. I usually use custard powder in my cake recipes to give a nice yellow color. Some cake recipes with custard powder – Malai custard cakePumpkin cake and I always use custard powder in my most favorite cake – Orange cake.

Wok Baking

Custard powder not only adds a good aroma in baking it also makes them more delicious, and it gives beautiful golden yellow color after baking. This delicious cake has a perfect golden color with a perfect texture that melts into your mouth and it’s eggless, butterless too.

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Ingredients :

Flour – 1 & 1/2 cups ( All purpose flour or maida (1 cup ) & whole wheat flour(1/2)) + 1 tbsp

Greek yogurt – 1 cup

Dried red cranberries – 1 cup

Sugar – 3/4 cup

Fresh cranberry jam – 1/2 cup

Vanilla custard powder – 1/4 cup

Refined Oil – 1/4 cup

Baking powder – 1 tsp

Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp

A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method :

  1. Dry mixture: Shift all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda. Mix salt and keep it aside.
  2. Wet mixture: In a grinder add sugar, curd, oil and custard powder. Grind until smooth.
  3. Mix dry mixture into wet mixture with grated carrot.
  4. Put 3 big scoop prepared batter into a greased pan. Then add 3 tbsp of cranberry jam and using a fork, make swirling pattern through the batters to get the beautiful marble design. Repeat this process with remaining batter.
  5. Tab the pan on a countertop to release any large air bubbles.
  6. Sprinkles some dried red cranberry and press gently with spoon.
  7. Put the pan into the preheated wok and bake it for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  8. When cake is done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan.
  9. Allow cake to cool completely and then cut. Serve with tea.
No Oven Baking
HOW TO BAKE THE CAKE IN KADAI (WOK)

In a heavy bottom, kadai add a cup of salt or sand. Place a steel stand in a wok. Cover and preheat the kadai on high heat for about 8 minutes. (Adding salt at the bottom ensures that the kadai doesn’t burn. Heavy bottom kadai acts as oven and ensures even cooking from all sides). I never used salt in my baking because I use a heavy bottom kadai (Prestige Brand) and I am baking for the past 2 years in the same kadai. It works perfectly fine. But, it depends on the brand, quality of the kadai.

After 8 minutes, lower the heat and put the baking tin in a kadai (wok). Cover a lid and bake bread for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes check the cake with a knife, if the mixture does not stick, it means the bread is done. If batter still sticks to the knife then again bread for another 10 minutes.

A thoughtful Christmas Gift | Cranberry Jam

This Christmas Jam is a delicious, sweet-tart blend of cranberries, oranges, lemon juice and seasonal spice that are sure to please your palate. Perfect for canning up and giving away as a thoughtful Christmas gift this season. I love the flavors associated with the Christmas season. From sweet, delicious homemade cake and chocolates to the sweet-tart flavor of cranberries and spices. There’s nothing quite like it.

Cranberry Jam

This jam is super easy. This recipe for spiced Christmas jam is perfect jar of homemade goodness to make and take along with you this holiday season to pass along to not only your neighbors, but the favorite people in your life.

A thoughtful Christmas Gift

Cranberries are not only delicious, they are also very healthy and considered superfood. Cranberries are full of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K. Cranberries outrank almost every fruit and vegetable  when it comes to antioxidants. So for breakfast, substitute store-bought strawberry jam for this vitamin packed cranberry jam.

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Ingredients:
Fresh cranberries – 250 gms ( 1 cup)
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Fresh orange juice – 1/2 cup
Juice of half lemon
Cinnamon powder – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan, mix, and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes (covered).
  2. After 8 minutes mash mixture with a potato masher.
  3. Once jam starts to thickens switch off the flame. Allow jam to cool down completely.
  4. Then store in sterilized glass jar. Enjoy jam with warm toast.
Christmas Gift

Tips :

  • Pour a few drops of prepared jam on a plate if it spreads then it’s not ready if it stays firm without moving then the jam is ready.
  • Allow to cool and store in sterilized glass jar.
  • Keep jam in the refrigerator after every use. Use a clean and dry spoon. It last long for 4 months.

Christmas Baking | Whole Wheat Plum Sugarless Cake | Super Healthy Christmas Treat | No Oven Baking

It’s that day of the year again when the evenings and nights will be filled with celebrations of Christmas. The real essence of Christmas cannot be fulfilled without a delicious loaf of plum cake. Plum Cake is a type of fruit cake that is prepared and served extensively during the Christmas season. Most plum cakes during Christmas also have wine or rum as one of their ingredients.

Christmas Baking

This cake is the perfect Christmas-baked goodie to give out as an edible gift to friends and family. Make this delicious sugar-free plum fruit cake and I am sure you will be making it again next year. This cake is loaded with candied dried fruits & nuts. The dried fruits & nuts are soaked in orange juice for 20 minutes. Orange juice will make this cake refreshing. This cake will make us slip into the festive spirit.

Whole Wheat Plum Sugarless Cake

Baking with whole wheat flour – I have been baking for the last eleven years & still, it gives me joy and the opportunity to try out something new and fresh. Baking is about mixing the right ingredients in the right amount and baking at the right temperature for the correct duration. And with experience, you understand how certain ingredients mix well with others and you can be creative with your baking.

Super Healthy Christmas Treat

Baking mainly includes ingredients like maida, eggs, and sugar which can hamper your toned waistline. Here is a solution. You can substitute for maida, whole milk, margarine, butter, sugar, whole eggs. Maida or all-purpose flour can be replaced with whole wheat flour. Since whole wheat flour is light, adds more nutrition, not to mention nutty and tasty flavor, to baked goods and other flour-based recipes.

No Oven Baking

Jaggery instead of sugar – Every year with the advent of winter, we see jaggery taking over the market. And why not? Jaggery has this magical property to keep your body warm from within. We all know that “Gur” is a nutritious and healthy alternative to sugar. Gur or jaggery gives it a unique flavor and is known to be super-healthy for your body. By adding jaggery this dessert becomes more nutritious and healthier. This natural sweetener is known to provide relief from the pollution and the side effects of toxic air. It cleanses the system from within and with its anti-allergic properties, gur or jaggery can provide relief from all types of respiratory diseases.

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Ingredients :

Whole Wheat Flour – 1 & 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp

Soaked dried fruit – 1 cup

Chopped nuts – 1/2 cup ( Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios )

Room temperature milk – 1 cup

Grated jaggery – 3/4 cup

Refined Oil – 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp

Chopped cherries -1/3 cup

Baking powder – 1 tsp

Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp

Cinnamon powder – 1/2 tsp

Method :

  1. In a bowl mix 1 tbsp of flour chopped nuts. Mix them well. Then in a same bowl add dry ingredients.
  2. Dry Ingredients – In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder and baking soda. Now mix them with coated nuts (step 1).
  3. Wet Ingredients – Mix grated jaggery, oil and milk in a grinder until smooth.
  4. Now mix dry and wet ingredients with soaked dried fruits & chopped cherries. Cake batter is ready to bake.
  5. Pour batter into the pan and tab the cake pan on a countertop to release any large air bubbles.
  6. Sprinkle some soaked dried fruits, nuts and few chopped cherries over prepared cake batter and with help of spatula press gently.
  7. Put the pan into the preheated wok and bake it for 1 hour 10 minutes.
  8. When cake is done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan.
  9. Allow cake to cool completely before slicing.
Merry Christmas

Tips :

  1. Always room temperature milk when cooking jaggery. This is a foolproof way to prevent curdling of milk. If the milk is hot the chances of milk curdling are higher.
  2. If cake batter looks dry, add 2- 4 tbsp of milk.
  3. Baking time may vary.
  4. You can add spices like nutmeg powder and fennel seeds powder as well.
  5. If baking in Oven: Bake in the preheated oven at 180 deg Celsius or around 360 Fahrenheit for about 1 hour 10 minutes. The baking time may vary. So keep checking the cake after 40 to 45 minutes.

Pressure Cooker Method:
Grease the baking tin with oil and dust it by sprinkling whole wheat flour over greased surface evenly. Pour the mixture into the greased baking tin.

Important Notes:

  • Use the baking tin of 6 inches in diameter, so that it can easily get into the pressure cooker.
  • Use a 5-liter pressure cooker. It should be big enough to hold the baking pan.
  • Baking Tin should be made of Aluminium.
  • If baking tin comes into direct contact with the base of the pressure cooker, it can burn ( overbake ) the cake. So use pressure cooker container which has big holes in it or any aluminum small stand.
  • No gasket and whistle are needed. Remove them before baking.
  • Don’t add water to the pressure cooker.
  • Avoid baking without spreading salt at the bottom. Salt absorbs some heat from the extreme hot base and prevents overheating. I never used salt in my baking because I use a heavy bottom aluminum cooker and I am baking for the past 10 years in the same cooker. It works perfectly fine. But, it depends on the brand, quality of the pressure cooker. I use prestige 5 liters heavy bottom pressure cooker for baking.

How to Bake In A Pressure Cooker?

  1. Heat the pressure cooker on high heat for 8 minutes. Use sea salt or sand as a layer inside a cooker. Put a steel stand on a layer of salt or sand.
  2. Now put the cake tin containing the cake batter ( Do not put water inside the pressure cooker).
  3. Close the pressure cooker lid and do not put the whistle on the lid. Remove the gasket (rubber ring) from the lid.
  4. Lower the flame after 8 minutes. Let it bake for 50 -60 minutes on low flame. After 60 minutes check cake with a knife, if the mixture does not stick, it means the cake is done.
  5. If batter still sticks to knife then again bake for another 10 minutes. Do not open the lid immediately.
  6. Eggless Pressure Cooker Cake is ready.

Tuesday Tip | Quick way soak dried fruits for Christmas Fruit Cake ?

Christmas is just few weeks away and are you planning to make some fruit cake for Christmas? Then first preparation work is soaking the different dry fruits required for making the fruit cake. Soaking fruits for Christmas Cake is the first step to make the traditional rich Christmas Fruitcake. It is so easy and adds an amazing flavor, richness, and moisture to the fruitcake. 

Tuesday Tip

The core ingredients of this Christmas fruit cake are different dried fruits with nuts & raisins. Flour & other ingredients are only used to bind these fruits together. Select the best quality available, with a mix of fruit of different colours, textures and tastes. The process may look laborious but worth to taste this moist spice infused soaked rich fruit and nut Christmas Cake. The first step to making this yummiest Cake among all is soaking the fruits. Traditionally dry fruits are soaked in Rum. I usually soak in fresh fruit juice. You can use Orange Juice or Blueberry Juice.

Quick tip

Combination of dry fruits for soaking is individuals choice. Some prefer soaking nuts with Dry fruits but I prefer to add before baking to have the crunchy feeling.

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Ingredients :
Fresh orange juice – 3/4 cup
Water – 1/4 cup
Juice of half lemon
Dark raisins – 1/8 cup
Chopped prunes – 1/8 cup (3)
Chopped dates – 1/8 cup (3)
Dried red cranberries – 1/8 cup
Chopped dried apricots – 1/8 cup (3)
Golden raisins – 1/8 cup
Chopped figs – 1/8 cup (3)
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Easy Tuesday Tip

Method :

  1. In a saucepan, take orange juice, lemon juice and water with salt.
  2. Add all chopped dried fruits mentioned above and mix.
  3. Boil for 2 minutes on high heat and then switch off the heat.
  4. Transfer them into a bowl.
  5. Cover and let it sit for 20 minutes. Till the dry fruits absorb all the juices.
  6. After 20 minutes they are ready to use for baking.
Christmas Baking

Christmas Baking | Dutch Apple Almond Cinnamon Cake with Jaggery | Sugar Free Baking | Baking with Whole Wheat Flour

Have you started any holiday baking yet? Thanksgiving is over and my house is decorated for Christmas, but I haven’t made any Christmas recipes yet. This is my first baking for Christmas – Apple Almond Cinnamon Cake with Jaggery. This delicious cake is made with whole wheat, apple, and jaggery. The Cinnamon adds a nice warm flavor to the cake making it even tastier. This recipe makes for a perfect healthy treat because there is no processed sugar added. So enjoy this recipe without worrying about the calories.

Christmas Baking

The process of baking desserts is a treat to watch, especially the careful additions of the ingredients and the precision that the techniques required to make the treats perfect. No matter how tempting they may seem, you obviously cannot binge on these desserts as and when you like because of the large number of calories added to them. But what if you had a chance to cut down on those calories?

Dutch Apple Almond Cinnamon Cake with Jaggery

Although you cannot reduce the use of sugar in baking, you can certainly replace it with jaggery which makes a healthier substitute having numerous antioxidants and nutrients. Considering jaggery is a sweeter option, you may have to re-calculate the amount put into the baking. It makes baked goods moist, flavourful, darker, and sweet.

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Ingredients :
Apple – 1 ( Grated)
Whole Wheat Flour – 1 cup + 1 tsp
Greek yogurt – 3/4 cup
Grated Jaggery – 3/4 cup
Powdered roasted almond – 1/4 cup
Refined Oil – 1/8 cup
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder – 1/4 tsp
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

For Topping :
Apple – 1 (Thinly sliced)
Jaggery powder – 1/4 cup
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder – 1/4 tsp
Sliced almonds – 1/4 cup

Sugar Free Baking

Method :

Apple Jaggery Mixture

  1. Heat a pan and add grated (with skin) apple. Then add grated jaggery, cinnamon powder, salt and then lower the flame.
  2. Cook the mixture on a low flame and keep on stirring in between.
  3. Stir continuously and cook until almost moisture is evaporated until mixture turns thick. It takes 5-6 minutes.
  4. Switch off the flame and take out jaggery apple mixture in a plate. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

ToppingCoating Apple sliced

  1. Core an apple and cut into thin slices.
  2. In a bowl, combine cup of jaggery powder, oil and cinnamon powder. Mix well to make a paste.
  3. Add apple slices and coat them. Keep it aside.

Cake Batter

  1. Dry Ingredients – In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Then add powdered roasted almond. Mix and keep it aside.
  3. Wet Ingredients – Mix oil and yogurt in a grinder until smooth.
  4. Mix both dry and wet mixtures with prepared apple jaggery mixture. Mix them well and make a smooth batter.
  5. Put prepared cake batter into a greased pan. Tap the cake pan on a countertop to release any large air bubbles.
  6. Arrange apple slices (coated with jaggery, cinnamon, oil mixture) and sprinkle some sliced almonds.
  7. Put the cake pan into the preheated wok and bake it for 1 hour.

Tips:

  1. If cake batter looks dry, add 2- 4 tbsp of curd.
  2. Baking time may vary.
  3. If Baking in Oven: Bake in the preheated oven at 180 deg Celsius or around 360 Fahrenheit for about 60 minutes. The baking time may vary. So keep checking the cake after 40 to 45 minutes.
Baking with Whole Wheat Flour

Pressure Cooker Method:
Grease the baking tin with oil and dust it by sprinkling whole wheat flour over greased surface evenly. Pour the mixture into the greased baking tin.

Important Notes:

  • Use the baking tin of 6 inches in diameter, so that it can easily get into the pressure cooker.
  • Use a 5-liter pressure cooker. It should be big enough to hold the baking pan.
  • Baking Tin should be made of Aluminium.
  • If baking tin comes into direct contact with the base of the pressure cooker, it can burn ( overbake ) the cake. So use pressure cooker container which has big holes in it or any aluminum small stand.
  • No gasket and whistle are needed. Remove them before baking.
  • Don’t add water to the pressure cooker.
  • Avoid baking without spreading salt at the bottom. Salt absorbs some heat from the extreme hot base and prevents overheating. I never used salt in my baking because I use a heavy bottom aluminum cooker and I am baking for the past 9 years in the same cooker. It works perfectly fine. But, it depends on the brand, quality of the pressure cooker. I use prestige 5 liters heavy bottom pressure cooker for baking.

How to Bake In A Pressure Cooker?

  1. Heat the pressure cooker on high heat for 8 minutes. Use sea salt or sand as a layer inside a cooker. Put a steel stand on a layer of salt or sand.
  2. Now put the cake tin containing the cake batter ( Do not put water inside the pressure cooker).
  3. Close the pressure cooker lid and do not put the whistle on the lid. Remove the gasket (rubber ring) from the lid.
  4. Lower the flame after 8 minutes. Let it bake for 50 -60 minutes on low flame. After 60 minutes check cake with a knife, if the mixture does not stick, it means the cake is done.
  5. If batter still sticks to knife then again bake for another 10 minutes. Do not open the lid immediately.
  6. Eggless Pressure Cooker Cake is ready.
Pressure Cooker Baking