Novel culinary experiments on Valentine’s Day

by Vrinda Birla

Every Valentine’s Day, most women prepare their labor of love in their kitchens. Then with hubby, boyfriend, lover or the male they would like to be closely with, spend the rest of the day in getting as romantic as the day, the atmosphere and the rest who might be around, allow them. The teenagers, the newly initiated, first timers prefer restaurants and outdoor time for the whole day, and left to themselves. But for those who know the meaning of closeness, the sharing and spending quality time together for the day, here is a novel way.

Why not it be slightly different this time? Just to show that you care, you adore and have a deep love for your female counterpart let the males do the cooking this time, like the meal or eats to have in between.  The beginners could try their luck too. If both are not initiated into the basics of cooking, you can enjoy making it together. Even the ones who do have their skills in place, the female always prides herself and insists on getting it right, so help is available there too.

Ultimately what matters is enjoying the togetherness and sharing memorable moments of a lifetime during Valentine’s Day especially.

The menu suggested is – quick and easy to make, fairly filling and with guaranteed outcomes of enjoyment with eating.

Naan with Veg. Kolhapuri, Chikko Kulfi as dessert and topped up with eggless almond cake that can be had throughout the time together. Those having ‘heavier’ ideas are welcome to their own ingenuity, for the day would be lost in eating and maybe the discomfort of having ‘unnecessary human company’ to share with and spoil the mood.

The method of getting it done.

  • Take the butter and sugar powder in a big bowl. Churn nicely.
  • When it gets puffy, add the condensed milk. Whisk again nicely.
  • Take another bowl. Strain maida, baking soda and the baking powder in it.
  • Add the ground almonds and the cardamom powder. (Vanilla essence could be a good substitute for the cardamom powder)
  • Add the ground almonds powder and the cardamom powder to it. ( A good substitute for cardamom powder is vanilla essence)
  • Add 1- 2 tbsp milk to the instant coffee powder. see that it dissolves completely without any lumps remaining. mix it into the prepared batter of butter and powdered sugar.
  • Pre-heat the  oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  • Now prepare the cake pan. Take a heart shaped silicon pan (for that matter other shapes also will do). Grease it with some butter. The health conscious can use olive oil.
  • Now mix both the dry ingredients and the wet batter in a single bowl while adding the milk slowly to it. Prepare fine mix with consistency.
  • Now pour this batter in the cake pan, tap it seeing that it is evenly spread and uniformly thick. Garnish with whole almonds before placing it into the oven.
  • Place the cake pan on a net stand in the oven. get the cake to brown on the surface. If by sticking a sharp knife into the cake and pulling out the knife comes clean, then it is done. If not put the oven on 160 degrees C and continue the baking till it browns uniformly.
  • Let it cool slightly. Take it into another container and eat as the heart desires. Refrigerate to allow you to enjoy it throughout the day. Maybe even lasting beyond two or three days.

You will need :

  • Almond powder –  1 cup (120 grams)
  • Maida – 1 cup (120 grams)
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Powdered sugar – ½  cup (75 grams)
  • Butter – ½  cup (100 grams)
  • Condensed milk – ½  cup (200 grams)
  • Almonds – 15-20
  • Green cardamom – 6-7
  • Baking powder – 1 tbsp
  • Baking soda – 1/4 tbsp
  • Instant coffee powder – 1 tbsp

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nycejeup4nM?wmode=transparent&w=640&h=360]

You will need:

  • Maida (refined flour) – 2 cup (250 gm)
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Curd – 1/4 cup (3-4 tbsp)

The method of getting it done:

  • Take the maida in a big bowl. form a pit in the center.
  • Add the curd, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix well.
  • then add ½ cup lukewarm water and prepare soft dough by greasing hands with some oil. should take 5 minutes or so.
  • divide this dough and prepare 6 even balls. prepare each ball separately by first dusting with flour and keeping aside then moving on to next. This prevents the dough from drying. If need be cover the balls with a soft cloth.
  • Pre-heat the tawa. When it is sufficiently heated, take one ball dust with flour, roll out round or oval shape keeping it slightly thick.
  • Spread water on the surface by sprinkling a few drops of water. Smear evenly by hand lightly.
  • Now put the wet side face down on the tawa. When the surface darkens a little, flip the tawa by the handle to have the other face down.
  • Keep flipping this till brown spots keep appearing on both surfaces. Then with ladle remove naan from tawa and spread ghee on both sides lightly and place aside on plate. Mind you it will be hot when handling.
  • Prepare the lot likewise.
  • If you have wheat flour you can mix refined flour and wheat flour mix in equal quantities instead of the maida flour. Taste will of course be different.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5KSPWCWzy8?wmode=transparent&w=640&h=360]

Veg. Kolhapuri is a specialty of Maharashtra that is spicy and fairly hot. It is ideal with chappati, paratha or Naan.

The method of getting it done.

  • Get the vegetables washed thoroughly. chop each into fine pieces.
  • wash the tomatoes, green chillies (remove stalk), ginger (peel skin) and grind all together into fine paste.
  • Pre-heat oil in a wok (pan with rounded bottom generally used for frying).
  • When sufficiently hot, add the potatoes and fry till they are brown. Keep in a bowl when done.
  • Take another wok. Dry roast sesame seeds, cumin seeds on low flame. Add the grated coconut in it.  Saute until the color changes slightly. Turn off the flame after the sautéing. and take in a bowl. Grind them when they get cool.
  • Pre-heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok.  When it gets hot, add aesofoetida, turmeric powder, coriander powder. Sauté them for some time.
  • Then add the tomato ginger paste, red chilly powder, dry red chilly, and suate till the oil starts separating from the mix.
  • Now add sesame, cumin seeds, coconut powder mix, sauté a little more, and then add cream to it.
  • Stir constantly for 2 or 3 minutes. When oil starts separating from masala, add the green peas and cook 2-3 minutes, till the peas get tender.
  • Add ½ to ¾ cup water, salt, garam masala. Mix well.
  • When the gravy starts simmering, add the fried vegetables and mix. Cover it, cook for 3 minutes.
  • If the subzi seems ready garnish with green coriander.
  • Some prefer to add onions and garlic also. You can heat oil, sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic to light pink and then add them to follow the same procedure as above.
  • Enjoy with the Naan.

You will need:

  • Carrot – 1
  • Potato – 1
  • Capsicum – 1
  • Cauliflower – 1 cup
  • Tomato – 3 (150 gm)
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Green peas – ¼  cup
  • Cream – ½  cup
  • Dry coconut – ¼  cup (grated)
  • Oil – for frying vegetables and making sabzi
  • Green coriander – 2-3 tbsp
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Cumin seeds – ½  tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼  tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – ¼  tsp
  • Dry red chilly – 2
  • Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp (as per taste)
  • Red chilly powder – ½  tsp

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLTSD5jVNU4?wmode=transparent&w=640&h=360]

You will need:

  • Chikoo – 4 medium sized (300 gm)
  • Full cream milk – 1 litre 
  • Sugar – less than ½  cup (100 gm)
  • Cashews – 10-12
  • Green cardamom – 4
  • Vanilla essence – ½  tsp

The method of getting it done.

  • Take the milk in a utensil with a heavy base, preferably copper bottom.
  • Boil the milk. When it starts boiling, reduce the flame. continue on reduced flame, stirring all the while till it reaches 1/3 the original quantity. It should take half an hour to 45 mins. on an estimate. Add sugar to it. Allow it to cool.
  • Cut the Cashew nuts into fine pieces. peel the cardamom (elaichi) and grind coarsely.
  • Peel the chikoos on a plate, remove the seeds. cut 2 of them into small pieces and make a paste of them.
  • Add vanilla essence, the chikoo paste, ground cardamom and cashews together in a bowl. Mix well.
  • Pour this mixture into an airtight container and place in deep freezer of your refrigerator.
  • In 6 to 7 hours the ice cream is ready. Serve how you will and enjoy it together.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEKCuSRlQ8o?wmode=transparent&w=640&h=360]

All the above – Courtesy – www.nishamadhulika.com

Valentine’s day is about togetherness, not the preparing well and the eating to heart’s content. Enjoy and relish the making of the moments that get you together. You will not forget in this lifetime at least!

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