Thandaai Mousse!

Holi is officially here and I can’t wait to dig into the dahi wadas, the malpuas, gujiyaas, rose sherbets and of course the Thandaai!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Did you notice that I didn’t mention colours, water, pichkaris anywhere when I speak about Holi. That’s because I don’t do no colours & water and all of that which people like Holi for!! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I have never played Holi except for the one instance when my Bro-in-Law forcefully applied some colour on my face & I rushed to wash it off…LOL! This was ages ago… But it did happen & that was it.. Never again I let it happen again. I perfectly enjoy watching everyone else play around and have fun but I keep my distance….๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

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Well, I am sure everyone knows that Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun in India. And every state has its own traditions. It’s also known as the ‘spring festival‘ as the gloom of the winters is completely taken over by bright & hearty colours of the summer days! ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚ on the eve of Holi, Hindus across India light the holy fire & offer rice & lentils & jaggery to the fire God ‘agni‘.

So, how could I be far behind in making some traditional delicacies for this festival of colours & joy… And my hubby too enjoys the yummy food made on this day…although he too is like me and avoids colours & all the other craziness associated with this day (read ‘bhaang‘ the intoxicating drink) ๐Ÿ˜‰

And Thandaai is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Holi! I mean my family hails from Varanasi/ Benaras (U.P.) where it’s the most popular drink for Mahashivratri & Holi. So it would be shame if I can’t make these right! ๐Ÿ˜

But I didn’t want to do a regular traditional Thandaai this time around, though it’s too yummy to not have some and I will eventually make some of it too. So earlier this morning I asked Mr. PP if he’d like some mousse with the flavours of Thandaai ??

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And he readily agreed to try something new.. I was excited and got on with the task (not that there is much to do coz it’s really easy to make the Thandaai mix). And the mousse is simple too as I have made an eggless one. Here comes the recipe.. ๐Ÿ˜‡

Yield: 2-3 servings (used medium sized glasses)

Equipments: electric whipper, a blender, piping bag, large mixing bowl, a spatula

Ingredients:

12-15 nos. almonds

10-12 nos. pistachios

6-9 nos. cashew nuts

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

10-12 nos. peppercorns

1 tsp watermelon seeds (magaz)

10-12 strands of saffron soaked in 2 tbsp of warm milk.

200 ml full fat chilled whipping cream

1/2 tsp cardamom pwd

50 gms icing sugar( add more as per your taste)

2-3 drops rose water

Method:

Keep the mixing bowl and the whipping blades in the ย refrigerator for 1 hour before you start whipping the cream. Next soak the almonds, pistachios, poppy seeds, watermelon seeds, fennel, peppercorns, cashews in some water for 30-45 mins. Then peel the almonds and discard the water in which these ingredients were soaking. Now add these ingredients into the blender jar along with the saffron-milk infusion & cardamom pwd to make a smooth paste. Keep this aside for later use.

Now use the chilled mixing bowl and whipping blades to whip the cream until it reaches soft peaks (4-5 mins approximately on high). Slowly incorporate the icing sugar into the whipped cream and continue whipping on high until it reaches stiff peak (10 mins approx). Fold in the ground mixture gently. Cover the mixing bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for 1-1.5 hours.

When you have to serves these babies, fill the piping bag with the mousse and pipe it into the serving bowls / glasses. Garnish as per your choice. You may add a few dried rose petals too! ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

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Hope you will try this recipe and enjoy it with your friends and family!

Love,

Shreya๐Ÿ˜Š

Masala adapted from here.

Minty Pomegranate Mock Mojito

So…it’s getting hotter here in Mumbai for the last couple of days..and my lemony, minty, zingy pomegranate mock Mojitos are perfect to beat the heat! ๐Ÿธ ๐Ÿน They are super easy to make and total party pleasers!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I first made these last year coz I absolutely love Virgin Mojitos served at most cafes / lounges… Reason being am I teetotaller! And so is Mr. Polkapuffs โค๏ธ (match made in heaven, right) I wanted to make them at home in the summers and thought why not add some fresh fruit juice and make pretty and healthy. So squeezed some fresh pomegranate juice and got going…

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We don’t consume alcohol by choice and it works for us! Some people have hinted that’s it’s boring, well if drinking yummy, pretty, healthy stuff is boring…them God help me! I want to be boring all my life! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜œ LOL!

Anyways, so made these again yesterday evening for the two of us..it looked nice so got clicking and planned to share it here today. It’s really simple …just mixing a few ingredients and you’re good to go.

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So here goes the recipe … โ˜บ๏ธ

Yield: 2 servings (short glasses)

Equipments: a mortar pestle, a juicer (if using freshly squeezed pomegranate juice) a blender (to crush the ice)

Ingredients:

2 lemons wedged into 4 pcs each

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

5 tbsp sugar syrup (same as the one used in Indian sweets)

200ml Sprite

1 cup crushed ice cubes

1/2 cup pomegranate juice (fresh or canned)

Method:

Muddle the mint leaves and lemon wedges in the mortar pestle (save some leaves n lemon slices for garnish). Crush the ice cubes in the blender but make sure it still has some ice chips / rough chunks in it.

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Choose the glasses you want to use for serving these babies… Add some crushed ice, top it up with half the muddled mixture (serves 2 hence using half the quantity). Add 2.5 tbsp of sugar syrup in each glass, add 1/4 cup of the pomegranate juice and top it up with approx 100ml Sprite! Add the garnish and some more ice chips.. Served chilled! ย ๐Ÿน๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ˜‹

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Hope you will enjoy these as much as me and my hubby did! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Love,

Shreya๐Ÿ’“

Strawberry Panna cotta !

….Panna cotta.. The name itself sounds so exotic , seductive and not to forget romantic ๐Ÿ˜ I love the silken texture and the smoothness! And I am rather good at making them. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’ƒ

But I wasn’t always “good” at making them ..LOL. Yeah , my first attempt was a blunder! Forget the “silken texture”, it looked more like split milk! I couldn’t save it. Quietly and quickly I threw everything away before Mr. PP could catch me! ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜ฌ (sneaky me) this was almost a year ago. But I did try again last August and the results were better but definitely not there yet… Hmm, I would have to work on it! And work I did! Tried again the following week and nailed it! It was sweet, silky and dreamy ๐Ÿ˜‡ Obviously I was happy! It was a basic Panna cotta with cream, milk sugar ..a bit of vanilla extract and China grass.. And I served it with some chopped kiwis. Ya you read it right, China grass or Agar Agar. I don’t do the version where u mix eggs , cream and honey & bake in a very low oven. Nah! I never tried that. It spelt disaster to me! LOL..

I didn’t exactly arrive on the recipe on my own, did some research all over the Internet..tips from Veg Indian Recipes and was able put together my recipe finally!

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But when I planned to woo Him with something special this last Valentine’s Day… I thought of strawberries.. Chocolates … Cream. But I didn’t want to do Chocolates .. Had done something on those lines to ring in the New Yr. just a few weeks back.

Now Strawberries I wanted to use.. Although He isn’t to fond of them. I thought if I could only come up with something with a bit of strawberry and another element to go along. And that’s when I thought of Strawberry Panna cotta๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

I had the look in mind (in a jar) and even the recipe was ready. All I had to do was put it together…and those who have made this beauty on their own know that its relatively easy to put together this exotic yet easy dessert.

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I have these beautiful jam jars that I saved from Moshe’s (yes, I love their jams & preserves) so the first thing I did was sterilise these beauties and air dry them. That’s actually the difficult part coz what follows is a cakewalk! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here goes the recipe… ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ“

Yield : 6 servings

Equipments: 2 heavy bottomed sauce pans, a small whisk, a simple blender.

Ingredients for the Panna cotta:

200 ml Double cream / full fat cream ( I used Amul fresh cream)

1 cup full fat milk

1/4 cup fresh strawberry purรฉe ( else use strawberry crush available in supermarkets )

1/2 cup superfine sugar ( use more as per your taste )

4 tsp chopped agar agar strands / 1.25 tsp of agar agar pwd

2/3 cups warm water to soak the agar agar strands / pwd

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the strawberry jelly layer :

1 cup fresh strawberry purรฉe / store bought crush

2 tbsp superfine sugar (add more or less as per your taste)

4 tsp chopped agar agar / 1.25 tsp agar agar pwd

2/3 cup warm water to dissolve the agar agar

Method for the Panna cotta:

Soak the chopped agar agar or the powder in the warm water for 10-12 mins until completely dissolved.

Husk and clean the strawberries & purรฉe them and divide into two parts of 1/4 cup and 1 cup separately. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan stir together the cream, milk and sugar for the Panna cotta. Let this mixture simmer gently on the stove until the mixture comes to very gentle boil, keep stirring the mixture with the wired whisk. The sugar has to melt completely. Once it has come to the boil, turn off the heat and add the strawberry purรฉe & the the dissolved agar agar mixture to the cream & mix well with the whisk.

Pour this cream n strawberry mix into the serving bowls / jars up to 3/4th of its capacity & place them in the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hr.

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Method for the strawberry jelly layer:

Dissolve the chopped or powdered agar agar in warm water for 10-12mins. It’s be dissolved. In another saucepan add the strawberry purรฉe and sugar. Stir them together on gentle heat until the sugar has melted completely.

Now add the dissolved agar agar mixture to the strawberry coulis and stir well.

Remove the set Panna cotta bowls / jars from the refrigerator & pour a slightly thick layer of the strawberry jelly mix. Set the bowls / jars back in the refrigerator for another 1-2 hrs for the jelly to set.

You can garnish them as you please and serve cool.

Hope you will enjoy these as much as I did โ˜บ๏ธโค๏ธ

Love,

Shreya โ˜บ๏ธ

Nutella Filled Mocha Cupcakes !

Nutella Stuffed Mocha Cupcakes

Little did I know that I would fall in love with cooking after I fell for Mr.Polka Puffs! It all happened a little too fast (no complaints there๐Ÿ˜€)

 

Nutella Stuffed Mocha Cupcakes

But my experience with cooking was very limited when we first got married. I didn’t even know how to make a nice, round, soft Roti/ Fulkas (Indian flatbread)…let alone a proper meal (I know, I was too pampered by mom and my elder sisters) Well , that’s a shame coz every Indian girl is supposed to know that, right? But I didn’t. I had a hard time managing cooking but I was hellbent that wouldn’t hire a cook to help me out, I wanted to do it on my own.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months!! I had pulled it off!๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ ๐Ÿ’ƒ I managed to make full Indian meal in less than 3months into our marriage…(desserts included ๐Ÿ‘†) Mr. PP was super happy ! And me??What more could I have asked for?!

Slowly I started to venture into unexplored territories.. Asked my mom for recipes over the phone and bought them to life. I was one happy wife!

But always wanted to bake a cake for Him… So I did. It was a basic cake and He did like it a lot… Said it was perfect for an amateur baker. I smiled , but somewhere inside me I didn’t like the sound of the word ‘amateur ‘.

I decided to perfect it, and boy I did !! ๐Ÿฐ

Nutella Stuffed Mocha Cupcakes

So life brings it to full circle and here I am, the ‘amateur ‘ cook /baker… With my first ever post on PolkaPuffs! It had to be a cake… But I didn’t want to do whole cake with frosting or layers just yet, so thought of sharing my Nutella Filled Mocha Cupcakes! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹ This is the recipe which I have been using as the base for almost all my cakes /cup cakes. It’s easy n eggless. With just an addition or two of a couple of ingredients, I end up with a whole new recipe each time!

I thought with Nutella being such a rage (and a personal favourite) why not incorporate the flavours with the slightly bitter flavours of mocha and see if He likes it… Trust me when I say this, you’ll do yourself a favour when you make this! It’s yum with that rich cocoa & coffee & Nutella just melting in your mouth as you bite into it! Okay, so enough said….. Lol. Anyways, here goes the recipe…

Nutella Stuffed Mocha Cupcakes

 

 

Let’s start step by step…

Pre heat the oven @ 180’c.

Line the muffin tray with cupcake / muffin liners.

In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt (if using unsalted butter, I had used Amul butter so skipped it altogether).

In another mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the dry sifted ingredients to the butter and sugar mix, add lemon juice, vanilla extract, mix the coffee powder with the warm water and add that too to the batter. Mix everything well but do not over mix the ingredients as that results in a heavy cake.

Immediately pour 2 tbsp of the batter into the lined muffin tray in each section, add about 1 tbsp of Nutella over it carefully placing it right in the center and then again pour 1 tbsp or so of the batter to cover the Nutella.

Do the same for all the sections. And bake for 12-15 mins @ 160-170’c

Once ready, remove the muffin tray and let it rest for 20-25 mins on the cooling rack before peeling off the liners / frosting / icing them.

Decorate as you please. Keeps well in an airtight jar for 2-3 days.

Nutella Filled Mocha Cupcakes !

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8-10 cupcakes

Yummy, gooey, moist egg free Nutella filled cupcakes are easy to make and easier to eat!!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup APF (Maida)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter (you can use Amul Butter, then skip the salt)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice / vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ย cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven @ 180'c.
  2. Line the muffin tray with cupcake / muffin liners.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt (if using unsalted butter, I had used Amul butter so skipped it altogether).
  4. In another mixing bowl cream together the butter n sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the dry sifted ingredients to the butter and sugar mix, add lemon juice, vanilla extract, mix the coffee powder with the warm water and add that too to the batter.
  6. Mix everything well but do not over mix the ingredients as that results in a heavy cake.
  7. Immediately pour 2tbsp of the batter into the lined muffin tray in each section, add about 1 tbsp of Nutella over it carefully placing it right in the centre and then again pour 1 tbsp or so of the batter to cover the Nutella.
  8. Do the same for all the sections. And bake for 12-15mins @ 160-170'c
  9. Once ready, remove the muffin tray and let it rest for 20-25mins on the cooling rack before peeling off the liners / frosting / icing them.
  10. Decorate as you please. Keeps well in an airtight jar for 2-3 days.
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Hope you will try these and enjoy them as I did โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜€

Love,

Shreya โ˜บ๏ธ

Nutella Stuffed Mocha Cupcakes

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