No bake dessert- Bounty balls

Bounty balls are mini sweetlings for everyone. Nobody can resist these mini temptations. And the best part? You can have them even if you are gluten or lactose intolerant! Also, these aren’t high on calories making them a really healthy choice for dessert. You can even make them with nuts to pack some extra energy!

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Difficulty level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • Desiccated coconut/freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
  • Edible coconut oil: 2 tbsp (You can also use ghee if you aren’t lactose intolerant)
  • Honey: 1 tbsp (You can also use sugar if you aren’t worried about the calories)
  • Chocolate chips: 2/3 cup

Method:

  • Mix together the coconut, honey and oil. Mix them well and make small round balls with them. If the balls break, add some more coconut oil to the mixture.
  • Place the coconut balls in the freezer for around 15 mins so that the oil/ghee can bind everything together in the low temperature.
  • Meanwhile, microwave the chocolate chips so that they melt and let them cool down a bit.
  • Now take a fork, place the coconut ball over it, dip it in the chocolate and roll it over so that it gets completely covered with chocolate. Do this with each of the coconut balls until all of them are completely covered in chocolate.
  • Pop the chocolate balls back in the freezer for 20 mins.

Your bounty balls are ready to be eaten. You can either consume them the same day or keep them refrigerated for upto 2 weeks for consumption.

Have fun cooking!

Love,
MK

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Spongy, tasteful Dhokla recipe

I have recently got a hang of making dhoklas for breakfast. They are pretty easy to make, light on the stomach and realllly yummy. I love the how the two flavours of sweet and sour mix up so well with the light and fluffy texture of the dhokla. I have two recipes for Dhokla. One is the microwave version and the other is the cooktop version. I am going to share both of them here:

Difficulty level: Easy

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • Gram Flour(Besan): 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder (Haldi): Just a pinch to add a vibrant yellow color to your dhokla (Optional)
  • Ginger paste: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt (to taste): I used 1/2 tsp
  • Eno fruit salt (Lemon flavour)- 1/2 tsp

For tempering:

  • Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Green chilies(slit lengthwise): 2
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice: 1 tsp

Cooktop Method

  • Sieve the gram flour and add some water to it. Whip the mixture together. Keep adding the water in small quantities and continue to whip the mixture as you do so.
  • Add the turmeric,Β  ginger paste and salt to the mixture, mix everything once and cover and set aside for 15 mins.
  • Till our sponge mixture gets ready, let’s set up our double boiler. If you have a steamer, you can skip this step. Take a large saucepan that can fit in the pan in which you will cook your dhokla. Take 2 cups of water in the bigger pan and set up a stand in it(you can use an inverted bowl if you don’t have a stand).
  • Now take the sponge mixture, add Eno salt to it. As soon as you add Eno, the mixture will bubble up. Transfer this to a greased pan/thali.
  • Place the pan with the mixture over the stand/inverted bowl, cover up with a lid and set it to boil for 12-15 mins. If you have a steamer, place the pan/thali in the steamer and let it steam for 12-15 mins.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, your sponge is ready.

Microwave Method

  • Sieve the gram flour and add some water to it. Whip the mixture together. Keep adding the water in small quantities and continue to whip the mixture as you do so.
  • Add the turmeric,Β  ginger paste and salt to the mixture, mix everything once and cover and set aside for 15 mins.
  • Now take the sponge mixture, add Eno salt to it. As soon as you add Eno, the mixture will bubble up. Transfer this to a greased pan/thali.
  • Pop your mixture into a microwave set to high for 5 mins.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, your sponge is ready.

Tempering

After you’ve cooked the sponge(using either methods), you need to add the tempering. While the sponge provides the texture, the tempering is what’s really packed with flavors.

  • In a tempering pan, add the oil and let it heat.
  • Add the mustard seeds and when they start to crackle, add the slit green chilies.
  • Add 2-3 tbsp of water. Add the sugar and take the tempering off the heat.
  • Add the lemon juice to the tempering.

When ready to serve, cut the sponge into square pieces, pour the tempering over the squares and garnish with chopped coriander and grated coconut.

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Have fun cooking!

Love,
MK

All smiles appetizers…

Some might already be aware of this very popular page called Terribly Tiny Tales on Facebook. The page posts very short (2-3 lines) stories that have a really deep meaning. Their posts are like appetizers. Served small but you could really have a fill of these and you are guaranteed to have a happy stomach. I usually save up some of their posts (read: My desktop has an entire folder filled with the pictures from this page), so I thought why not spread the joy of these terribly tiny tales. You can find all their posts here. Some of my personal favorites are:

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Hope that added a smile to your day!

Love,
MK

Contentment or Confinement?

Yesterday I had a really amusing conversation with a friend. Something that deserves a blog post to it. A very casual conversation suddenly took this course:

Him: Hey MK, are you passionate about anything?
Me: What?
Him: Have u ever tried looking for that something you’re really passionate about?
Me: Ummm… yes and no…
Him: Why? and Why?
Me: I am a very weird person. Everything creative looks interesting to me. Cooking, Baking, Sketching, Writing, Designing, Traveling… But none of it really reached the level of ‘passion’.
Him: Sucks.. Doesn’t it?
Me: Not really… I am content with these small interesting things that keep me occupied.
Him: But don’t you want that one thing that would occupy all your time? That one thing that you would want to pursue with single minded devotion even? That drives out everything else and gives you absolute pleasure when you’re pursuing it?
That’s the only thing that you dream about. All day and night. Working on it gives you peace. All you want to do is that one thing. Rest everything is secondary. That craziness… that passion..Don’t you want that?
Me: I have enough craziness in my life. πŸ˜› I’d love to just lead a normal life and whenever I find time these things keep me occupied. I am happy this way.
Him: No I get that. But that ONE thing will make you HAPPIEST. Don’t you want to find what that thing is? One ring to rule them all, and in the darkness, bind them πŸ˜‰

Some more conversation followed that begets a more detailed explanation. This question that he asked me is something that bothers every 20s something person these days. Each one of us has been through this syndrome. I’d call this a quarter-life crisis(although with the reduced life expectancy of our lot, it really should be called a mid-life crisis). Anyway, the question manifests in this form- “Am I content with my life? Is this what I had been dreaming of all my life? Was all the hard work that I did till date, aimed to achieve what I have right now?” For most people, the answer to the above is no. And then you wonder what that ONE THING is that ignites you. That one thing that you’re passionate about. That you could aim all your energies to and that one thing which will make you HAPPIEST.

And then there are people like me. I don’t have a passion but I am content with my life. Don’t I want to be HAPPIEST? Don’t I want to look for that ONE THING? In my defense, I did try. I have tried each of the thing that interests me but nothing could grip me to the level of passion. I just couldn’t hold on that long. I would bake for some weekends, get tired for it and wouldn’t enter the kitchen for months at stretch. I used to write religiously during college days and just gave up on it. I am an enthusiastic but occasional traveller. I did each of these and still do and these are the things that help me remain content in my life. Would I want to trade all of these for any ONE of these? No I wouldn’t. This reminded me of a conversation with another friend who is so ‘passionate’ about football that he’d postpone his wedding if his team was playing a match that day. I had wondered that day if my contentment with life would be confused with confinement. Was I confining myself to a mediocre life? Was I letting my ambitions down by not actively looking for something I was passionate about? Was I wasting my life not directing all my energies towards that ONE thing?

The quest for passion has turned into a form of rat race. Not being passionate is looked down upon. Being content is considered as a confinement of dreams. However, being content in life isn’t something to be ashamed of. Lacking passion isn’t the same as being unambitious. And it definitely isn’t something to be unhappy about. People spend their lives fretting over the fact that they aren’t passionate about anything. That one thing that’s supposed to make them happiest, is actually resulting in an unhappy present. They sweat hard, first wondering, then looking at all the wrong places for that one thing. They’ll pick something up, spend nights and days over it, sweat over it, curse it when something goes wrong and finally achieve it, only to realize that they either got bored of it soon or that the happiness they felt after the victory doesn’t measure much when compared against what they had before all the rat race. When I think of such a scenario, I feel blessed to have these multiple small things in life that make my life happier. Right now, I am the happiest that I have ever been. It hasn’t come from any ONE thing. Its the little interesting things I keep busy myself with.

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Now the question, does contentment mean confinement of ambitions? Definitely not! I would hate if I was not to have any ambition in life. Ambitions are what make me feel alive. However, my ambitions do not pertain to my passion. I have short term and long term goals that keep me motivated throughout. People who have found their passions are lucky, people whose ambitions are linked to their passions are even luckier but those who keep the flame of life lighted up even without the fuel of passion are no less heroes. Its great to have the one thing that drives everything out, that makes you stretch to reach the epitome of success. It’s great to have your ambitions attached to your passion but it makes no sense to sacrifice the happiness of today in the quest of that one thing. Eventually you’ll realize that success doesn’t measure in the trophies you collected or the accolades you won. It measures in the memories you collected, the lessons you learnt and the happiness you created.

Love,
MK

What’s closest to a woman’s heart?

You know what’s closest to a woman heart? The necklace that adorns her neck. That used to be pretty accurate in the old times with necklaces all decked up with precious and semi precious stones. They’d keep these jewels close to their heart to help them in their difficult times. Now you wonder why I am reminiscing about those times?

Well, even though the neck-pieces that we wear today, differ starkly from their past counterparts, they still hold a very special place in our hearts(at least for me). They might not have precious stones, but they do give you that million dollar look when accessorized just right! I’ll give you a sneak peak of my own treasures and where I found those. Also, some tips on how to accessorize them.

‘Take-me out’ red pendant

For accessories, red is my go-to color. I feel it complements a lot of colors and brings a pop to any boring outfit. I own this this really cute pendant with red rhinestones that I can take out whenever I have to go to a formal gathering. It works great when worn with a formal attire (Western or Indian) and adds glamour to your formal dresses without overdoing it much.

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Bought at: Handed down by my mother. I haven’t found anything similar on the internet but some simple stone pendants available online will serve their purpose just right.
How to wear: You can wear this over any formal attire. This goes well with formal dresses as well as any ethnic wear.

A classic pearl necklace

You know how they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Well, not for me. I find pearls to be more classy and elegant. My grandmother got this for me on one of her trips to the Dubai Shopping Festival. Although this is a faux pearl piece, it looks so so classy that you can wear it for special occasions too! I have worn this with a peach dress to a wedding and it gave such a radiant look. Bonus point? It comes with earrings to complete the look πŸ™‚

Bought at: Dubai Shopping Festival. I saw some similar pieces at Snapdeal /Amazon but you are better off finding them offline in jewellery stores.
How to wear: Wear this to a not-so-close wedding or wear this with a dress or a gown to any party.

The chunky red necklace!

Chunky necklaces can add the much needed quirk to any outfit. I bought this chunky red necklace, that I absolutely adore, while on a trip to Udaipur. However, you can find such jewellery at any shop/outlet that sells ethnic jewellery. I have seen the likes of it at Delhi-Haat and the CP circle.

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Bought at: Shilpgram, Udaipur
How to wear: You can wear this with your blacks, grays, browns, whites. For any boring outfit that doesn’t have lot of color, just don this piece, deck up with red heels/ballerinas and it’ll give you a very chic look. I absolutely loved it when I teamed it with a casual black white blazer, a black tank top and red wedges.

 

 

A multi-colored beaded necklace

A multi-colored beaded necklace comes really handy when you want to accessorize but just can’t find the right piece to match your outfit. This piece has saved me on a lot of occasions when I was out in just my casuals but had to dash away to a more fashionable outing. Beads never go out of fashion and it gives a nice indo-western touch to your outfit.

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Bought at: Shilpgram, Udaipur (again!)
How to wear: Absolutely anything! This definitely brings out the quirk quotient in any of your outfits. You can team it up with your palazzos and tank tops, harem pants, t-shirts etc….

 

 

 

A layered metal chain with charms

I love accessories with charms, be it bracelets or chains.Β  I have owned quite few in my life but they are so volatile for a manhandler like me :(. The piece I currently own is a black metallic chain with butterflies and leaves as charms. I have also owned a golden chain in but I think black metal is pretty cool since it works with ALL the colors. This piece would particularly look good over monochrome dresses, long tops or under a leather jacket. The layers of chain gives you a completely accessorized look.

Bought at: Sarojini Nagar.
How to wear:Β Wear it over a loose fitted shirt, monochrome dresses or over long tops with solid colors.

Black & White beaded layers

When you want a really funky and decked up look for a party, this neck-piece is the way to go! It is so charming with multiple beaded layers of black and white beads and a silver chain with a huge butterfly set in it. You’d have guessed my love for butterflies uptil now πŸ˜› This would work well with your LBD or any other dress. Just make sure not to add a lot of layers of clothing while wearing this so that your overall look isn’t very decked up.

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Shopped at: My cousin got this for me from Canada but you can find it at most fashion outlets here as well.
How to wear: Wear it over any dress but make sure not to add a lot of layers of clothing.

Multi-colored Alloy necklace

This necklace is particularly special because it is one of the shorter length pieces that I own. This can be worn over shirts, hiding the chain beneath the collars to give a very chic look. Since it is multi-colored, it works well with all shirts but looks uber cool with a classic white shirt.

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Shopped at: Jabong.com
How to wear: Looks uber cool with a classic white shirt.

 

 

 

 

Happy accessorizing!

Love,
MK

Tamarind chutney (Mom’s version)

Hello World!

Okay, I’ll be honest here. This isn’t really my brainchild. Nor did I try to add my ‘special twist’ to this one. I feel my mother makes the best tamarind chutney. It’s just the right balance of sweet and tangy and spicy. I love this chutney for its versatile nature. You can add this to any chaat(see my Bhelpuri recipe here) or drizzle it over dahi bhallas. And if you are a lazy ass picky eater just like me, who hates the dalia/khichdi/veggies, you could add this to any of these tasteless dishes and make them worth eating.

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I dare not sway from the measurements and ingredients that my mother uses. So here’s the step by step, right to the measurement recipe for the same.

Ingredients:

  • Tamarind/Imli (soaked in water for at least 4 hours orΒ  for 2 hours in hot water if making in a jiffy)- 100 gm
  • Sugar – 125 gm
  • Salt, Black pepper, red chilli powder –Β  My mother uses 1/2 tsp each but you can tune it to your taste
  • Sonth (Dry ginger powder) – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin (roasted) – 1/2 tsp

Method:

This could get a little messy. So make sure you are wearing an apron over your dress.

  • Mash the tamarinds in water using your bare hands so that you can reap all the pulp out. Strain the mixture into a heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Add sugar and let it cook until the sugar mixes completely.
  • Add the salt, pepper, chilli powder, sonth and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. It should be of the same consistency as your tomato ketchup.
  • Sprinkle the roasted cumin over the the mixture and let it rest until it cools.
  • You can now transfer this to an airtight container and store it for 2-3 months in the refrigerator.

Love,
MK

Crunchy, tangy Bhel puri

Hello World!

So, during our vacations, my brother and I have these hunger pangs around 5 pm- 6pm everyday. Sound familiar? Well, obviously! The other day, we had a similar situation with a minor twist that our mother was a little annoyed with us(for reasons known only to mothers!) :-/

Now, I feel they should probably frame the saying as ‘Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned’. πŸ˜› We couldn’t ask her to cook something for us, nor could the staple for every Indian household that has raised 90s kids(MAGGI, what else?) work. Unless of course, you are feeling a little daredevil to take on the ‘Maggi is the worst of evils’ outrage. With the ingredients I had at hand, I decided to make my own version of Bhel puri.

It’s really simple, has all the different flavors and textures and really quick to make. If that isn’t enough to get you off your lazy bums and make this, probably this picture will make you drool.

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Time required: 20 mins (including all the chopping and cooking)

Ingredients:

  • Puffed rice – 3 cups
  • Onion (finely chopped)- 1 large
  • Tomatoes (finely diced) – 1 large
  • Black grams (boiled) OR peanuts(roasted)- Half cup (optional)
  • Sev/Namkeen(any variety but I prefer the one that’s just salted) – Half cup
  • Squeezed lemon juice- 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind chutney(Mom’s version) – 2 tbsp
  • Tops Green Chilli sauce – 1 tsp
  • Everest Chaat Masala – 2 tsp
  • Salt, Red chilli powder – whatever amount your taste buds like
  • You can also add chopped green chillis if you like setting your mouth on fire

Method:

  1. Dry roast the puffed rice. For dummies- just toss all your puffed rice into a frying pan, do not add any oil, turn the cooktop on, and stir occasionally to not let the rice burn. This makes the puffed rice really crispy.
  2. Mix the black grams/peanuts and sev/namkeen with the puffed rice.
  3. Mix together the chopped onions, diced tomatoes, chopped green chillis. Add the chutney, green chilli sauce, chaat masala, salt, red chilli powder to this mixture.
  4. When ready to serve, put together the puffed rice mixture with vegetables mixture in a deep bowl, cover with a plate and do some swift biceps curls to mix everything up properly. πŸ˜›
  5. Finally squeeze some lemon juice on the top and serve or eat up!

P.S. Make sure that you do the last two steps just before consumption otherwise the bhel-puri will turn soggy.

Love,
MK