Banana Halwa (Kele Halvo)

banana halwa

Wish you all a very happy Diwali.

We are having a quiet Diwali here. I kept thinking what to make for this festival. V was traveling first few days of the week and that meant I was alone with a very active 3 and half year old. Then there was Halloween which the child was very excited about, thanks to his school.  No one has a sweet tooth at my home, when I made few sweets for Ganesh festival and Krishnashtami this year, they sat in fridge for a long time!. So I hesitate to make anything. I munched on my corn flakes chivda when I wanted to eat something festive.

Then yesterday a friend sent a bunch of bananas which were slightly overripe. She mentioned about banana halwa. Usually, when I have overripe bananas, I make a cake or buns. I couldn’t have used up so many bananas making cake or buns. So I decided to try out banana halwa. I asked aayi for the recipe and she gave me this. The halwa came out really good, better than I expected. I used little less sugar than aayi mentioned because I did not want the halwas to be overly sweet. I would have loved a lighter color, but oh well, in my books taste matters more than the look. I took the mixture out and tried cutting them when they were cooled. But it was a little bit wet, so kept it back to heat again, I think that also contributed to dark color! The kind of bananas also matters, I have seen halwas from very light color to black.

3 cups mashed overripe bananas (I used 6 big bananas)
2 cups sugar
1 tbl spn ghee + some more for greasing the pan
1 tbl spn cashews (optional)
Sliced almonds for decoration (optional)
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

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Peel and mash the bananas with a potato masher (or grind them in a mixer).
Take the mashed bananas and sugar in a thick bottomed pan and heat it on medium high. Add the ghee. Make sure to stir it once in a while. The mixture sticks to bottom if enough care is not taken.
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When it gets dry, it starts sticking to bottom and you have to keep mixing it.
It took me little over 1 and 1/2 hours since I kept the heat either on medium or medium low. I had to stay near the stove for the last 20mins or so.
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Let it cook down till the mixture looks dry and ghee starts separating on the side.  Add cashews, cardamom and take off the heat. Mix everything well.
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Grease a tray/plate with generous amount of ghee. Pour the mixture over it and smooth the top with a spoon/rolling pin greased with ghee.
When it cools down, cut it into desired shapes. Remove the pieces slowly and press down the sides to give a shape. Decorate with sliced almonds.

Makes about 15-18 pieces

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Banana Modak (Kele Modak / Kele Mulik)

banana modak
Wish you all a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi.

Like every year, this year too we celebrated Ganesha festival at home. Since the festival is on Monday, V got enough time to get everything ready for it. He worked tirelessly by running to different stores a million times to get groceries and other things needed for pooja. He wanted to make a wooden mantapa this time and decorate it. It took him quite some time to make. All the decorations were very simple but I loved how beautiful it looked, it was perfect for the small idol we got. I made these banana modaks and some other sweets for offering.
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I stressed over the festival for last few days. I was very sick for last few days and I was not sure if I could make all the dishes. V offered to get sweets from store so I could take rest. I thought of making just modaks. When I mentioned this to aayi, she reminded me of these banana modaks. These were the kind offered to god at my hometown in India. I have so many memories of eating these while growing up. I would go to see ganesha idols in our hometown and would love eating these. I have not tasted them in a very long time mainly because I have always prepared the stuffed modaks for the festival which were a tradition at my in-laws place. I decided to make these kele (banana) modak or mulik as some Konkanis call it. These are very tasty and would considerably reduce the time infront of stove. These modaks usually do not have the traditional modak shapes. I tried to make some in the shape by applying a little water to palm of my hands and fingers.

Here is my humble offering this year –
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– Idli, mooga mole randayi, hinga-udak which is prepared for every Ganesh festival. Instead of traditional hittu I make idlis because we don’t get the jackfruit leaves here to make the little baskets
– Rice, dali thoy with ghee
– Banana modaks
Sheera with saffron
Doodh paank. I prepared this in coconut milk – whole milk and used saffron. It got a great taste from fresh coconut milk.
– A simple panchakajjaya with coconut, sugar, ghee, cardamom and sesame seeds
– I still fell short of one prasadam(offering), so I included sugar-ghee.
– Panchamrut – A mix of milk, yogurt, jaggery/sugar, honey, ghee.

Both V and Ishaan loved to gorge on the food after the pooja (although little one did not touch any of the sweets, ohh well, that is a a battle for another day!!).

Also check out cashew fruit modaks which are similar to these.

1 cup rava/sooji
1/2 cup banana (one big banana mashed)
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup sugar/jaggery
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder
2 tbl spns milk

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Grind together banana, coconut and jaggery using milk. The paste need not be very smooth. Just make sure everything is well mixed.
Add the paste to rava. Add cardamom powder and mix everything with a spoon. Leave it aside for 20-30 mins to let the rava soak all the juices.
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Heat ghee (for the offering, it is usually prepared in ghee which gives a great taste/aroma). Make small balls from the mixture and deep fry. The size of these is much smaller than other stuffed modaks.
To give modak shape, apply some water to palm of your left hand and your fingers to avoid sticking. They don’t retain the shape very well, but sti

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Puffed Rice Laddoo (Phulayil Phova Laddu / Chirmure Laddu)

puffed rice laddu
Phulayil – puffed, phovu – poha(flattened rice) is very similar to puffed rice (churmuri/chirmuro) readily available in markets here. If this is not available, it can be easily replaced by chirmure. I prepare this specially for Janmashtami. My kids loved this while growing up. It is very simple to make and the crunchy laddus make a very tasty treat.

2 and 1/2 cups puffed rice (phulayil phovu / chirmuro)
1 cup jaggery
2 tbl spns roasted peanuts (optional)
2 tbl spns chana daliya/hurigadale (optional)
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

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Heat jaggery with 2 tbl spn water (if using the normal jaggery). It can also be made with molasses (the black colored liquid jaggery, do not add water if you are using molasses). I always make it with molasses.
Keep the heat on medium, because jaggery gets burnt very easily.
Take little water in a plate and add a drop of the jaggery on it. The jaggery should sit like a drop without getting diluted. That shows it has reached the required consistency.
Take off the heat, now add the puffed rice and peanuts, daliya. Mix well. Add the cardamom powder. Mix again.
Apply some ghee to your palms. Take around 1 tblspn of mixture and make a big laddu.

Preperation time :30mins
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Sweet Flatbread with Peanuts (Shenga Holige / Shenga Poli)

shenga poli

Wish you all a very happy Yugadi (Ugadi).
I normally do not make anything special for this festival. But I read so many wishes on blogs/Facebook etc, I felt like making something special. As I have mentioned many times, none of us in the family have any sweet tooth. V atleast eats sweets, but Ishaan and I stay away from it. When I started thinking about it, I wanted to make these polis. I have heard about them many times and I have distant memories of tasting them at a friend’s place in Belgaum. Well, I tried them and they came out really great. I shared some with a friend who loved them too. V, who does not like anything with peanuts (except for peanut chutney pitto which is a favorite), enjoyed them a lot.

Ingredients for Stuffing:

1 and 1/2 cups peanuts
1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar Or use jaggery
1 heaped tea spn ghee
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Ingredients for Cover:
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
A little salt

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Make a dough with wheat flour, all purpose flour, about 2 tea spns oil, salt and water.  (I added about 1 and 1/4 cup water approx). Knead very well for a while, close it and keep it aside for about 1 hr.
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Roast the peanuts, let them cool to room temperature and then powder them. Try to make a fine powder as much as possible. Mix the powder, ghee, brown sugar(or jaggery) on a medium-low heat. Let the sugar melt down and mix with peanut powder. Add milk, mix well and switch off heat. At this point the mixture will be quite wet. Let it come to room temperature and it comes to a consistency where it can be easily handled.
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Make small balls of the dough and stuffing – the stuffing ball can be made almost double the size of dough because the dough stretches when rolled. (With above quantity, I made 11 balls each of stuffing and dough).
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Apply some oil to the dough and spread it on your palm. Keep the stuffing on it and cover with dough. Roll into a small chapati size. You can use wheat flour for dusting if needed (many people use oil to help in rolling, I used flour).
Roast them on hot tava. Apply some ghee (optional) while roasting.
Serve with a dollop of ghee. (When cooled, they harden a bit, heat them up a bit in microwave and they go back to being very soft).

Makes about 11
Preparation time : 45mins

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Almond Burfi

almond burfi

Wish you all a very happy Janmashtami. This is one of the festivals that we celebrate here every year. This year I wanted to make something new for the prasad. So I prepared these burfis. Click here to read about the traditional janmashtami celebrations at my home.

Although I love cooking, I am not very enthusiastic about making sweets. Even when I make them, I hardly eat any. Now that Ishaan is also not a fan, I have lost complete interest. So when I get some questions about sweets, I have hard time answering them. When I started making this, I was worried if I would get sugar syrup right. But there turned out great.

2 cups almonds
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tbl spn ghee (optional, gives a great aroma)
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Dry roast the almonds and powder them. (I like to use the almonds with their skin. You can also blanch them, peel and then powder).
Apply some ghee to a plate (I used a rectangular cake pan).
In the pan, take sugar, water and let it cook till the syrup is of one string consistency.
Now add the almond powder, ghee. Mix and cook for few minutes till the mix thickens a bit.
Take off the heat and cardamom powder. Mix well.
Spread the mix on the plate. Let it cool for few minutes. Then cut into desired shape.

Preparation time : 40mins


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Finger Millet Sweetdish (Nanchne Duddalli / Ragi Manni) Without coconut

nanchne duddalli with milk

Finger millet duddali is usually prepared with coconut especially in coastal areas where coconut is grown and used in cooking. Since many people do not like to use so much  coconut or want to make this very quickly, here is a easy method.
The result was also good. In both of these recipes, one can use molasses (liquid jaggery) in place of solid jaggery to make the duddali more tasty.

1 cup finger millet (Raagi)
1 cup jaggery
2 cups milk
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Soak Finger millet in water for about 2-3 hours. Remove it from water and grind it in a mixer along with 2-3 cups water. Filter the mixture using a clean and thin cloth. Allow the solution to settle for 2-3 hours. Discard the water standing above. (or just use raagi powder directly and soak it in water).
Cook the paste in a thick bottom pan after mixing it with milk and jaggery. Go on stirring it till it is cooked. Mix cardamom powder and pour it in a flat plate coated with ghee. Allow it to cool. Cut it with a knife coated with ghee to the shape and size of your choice. Serve.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 20mins

PS: Just like the coconut version, you can add cooked chana dal and cashew pieces if needed.


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Cashew Fruit Fritters (Kaju Modak / Mulik)

kaju modak

Generally these Muliks(as they are called by some Konkanis) or Modaks(as they are called at our place) are prepared with bananas. Some people prepare them using jackfruit also.The other day my neighbor gave me a few modaks made of cashew fruits. I did not know about them till then. They were tasty. I prepared them as I get cashew fruits easily near our Gramdevi Temple where we have cultivated hundreds of cashew trees.

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Cashew fruits have a very strong smell which is not liked by many. I am not a great fan of these fruits. But these modaks turned out great.

1 cup cashew fruit pieces
3/4 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup sooji/rava
1/4 cup jaggery
2-3 tea son cashewnut pieces(optional)
1/2 tea spn Cardamom powder
Oil or ghee for deep frying

Grind cashew fruit pieces and grated coconut in a mixer.Add jaggery to this mixture and continue grinding. Take this smooth paste in a bowl. Mix sooji, cashewnut pieces, cardamom powder and salt with this paste. Make small balls and deep fry in oil or ghee on low flame till they turn brown.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 20mins


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Finger Millet Sweetdish (Nanchne Duddalli / Ragi Manni / Ragi Halubayi) With Coconut

nanchne duddali with coconut

In our region, finger millet is used by many people along with other cereals. It is called Raagi in Kannada and Nanchano in Konkani. It is healthy and nutritious besides being cold to the body. It is used in preparing nanchanya bolu(a kind of drink) and nanchanya udaak especially in summer. Nanchanya duddali is a common preparation among Konkanis. It is generally prepared with coconut. We make it without coconut also. I will post that version soon.

Dals and cashew pieces are added to give a nice bite to the otherwise very soft duddalli. Serve as it is or topped with a dollop of ghee on top.

1 cup finger millet (ragi/nanchne)
1 cup grated coconut
1 cup Jaggery
1 tbl spn toordal (optional)
1 tbl spn chanadal (optional)
1/2 tbl spn cashewnut pieces
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Soak millet in water for about 2-3 hours. Grind it in mixer with about 2 cups of water and filter it using a clean and thin cloth separating the skin. Keep the filtered mixture for about 2-3 hours and discard the water that stands above the millet paste.
Cook toordal, chanadal and cashewnut pieces. Coarsely grind coconut with 1/2 cup water. Add coconut paste, jaggery, dals and cashew pieces to paste and mix well. Add a little more water to keep it in liquid state. Cook it in a thick bottom pan and go on stirring.
When cooked, the mixture gives transparent look. Take off the heat, add cardamom powder to this and mix well.
Pour it onto a flat plate coated with ghee. When it cools, cut it with a knife coated with ghee to the size and shape of your choice.

Serves : 3-4


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Finger Millet Sweetdish (Nanchne Duddalli / Ragi Manni / Ragi Halubayi) With Coconut Read More »

Pappaya Sweet(Papaya Khadi)

pappaya khadi

In coastal Karnataka, we find Papaya trees in almost all the courtyards of the houses. We like ripe papaya fruit. It is full of A vitamin. As raw, it is used as a vegetable in many dishes.

We use the half ripe ones for preparing these khadis. My grandmother used to prepare these khadis very often and we liked them very much. I used to make them a lot when my children were small.

2 cups grated papaya
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

In a thick bottomed pan, cook grated papaya with 2 – 3 tablespoon water. When papaya is cooked, measure it with a cup. Use quantity of sugar (If the cooked papaya is 1 cup, use 1 cup sugar) and continue cooking on a low flame. Keep stirring to avoid sticking to the bottom. Cook till the mixture becomes dry and the ends get whitish color.
Take off the heat. Add cardamom powder.
Grease a plate with ghee and spread the mixture with the help of a rolling pin (apply ghee to the rolling pin to avoid sticking) Allow the mixture to cool. Cut into desired shape and store in an airtight container.


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Beetroot Halwa

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Deepavali/Diwali.

beetroot halwa

Ever since we returned from India, I have been thinking about making something for Diwali. But somehow it never went from just a thought to action. One month of not stepping into kitchen, has it’s effect on me still. I asked V to hang the Diwali lights in our patio. I was planning to call that our celebration. But then,I wanted to have something special for this festival.

Beetroot halwa was on my mind for a while now. I distinctly remembered the taste from childhood. I almost always have beetroot in my refrigerator as it is one of Ishaan’s favorite vegetables. I decided to make some halwa yesterday.

As you can see, it is quite easy to make, perfect for a person who has active toddler pulling on her legs all the time!. The only time consuming part is grating the beetroot. Beetroot is quite hard to cut when it is very fresh. But after a few days in fridge, it becomes a little soft. That’s when I used it. It was quite easy to peel and grate. For any other dishes, I cook the beetroot with skin and then peel and cut it. But here, beetroot has to be grated fresh.

Adjust the sugar based on sweetness of beetroot. I would suggest starting with 3/4th the quantity I mentioned below. Then increase it if required. The ones I used were quite sweet (compared to ones I tasted in India recently).

You can add some cashews fried in ghee. I loved the pure halwa, so I did not add any dried fruits. It came out just like I had imagined, just the way I remember it from my aayi’s kitchen. The halwa decreases considerably after cooking, so keep that in mind while making it. Some people add milk to it and make it on the same lines as carrot halwa.

2 cups peeled and grated beetroot
1 cup sugar
2 tea spns ghee (you can reduce it to 1 tea spn)
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Heat ghee in a thick bottomed kadai. Add the beetroot. Keep mixing it once in a while. Keep the heat on medium to avoid burning.
When it looks cooked and reduced in quantity, add sugar. Mix. Let it cook down. When the mixture starts looking dry, take off heat. Add cardamom powder, mix.
Serve warm or chilled. (Add cashews fried in ghee on top if required).

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 30mins


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