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Labongo Latika | Lavang Latika


South Vs North Challenge is a monthly challenge started by Divya of You Too Can Cook. Each month a member from the South Team and North Team challenge the opposite teams with traditional recipes from their region. This wonderful event has helped me to acquire knowledge about authentic North Indian recipes. This month Sanoli of Sanoli's Kitchen has challenged the Southern Team with an authentic Bengali sweet ~ Labongo Latika.

Labongo latika or lavang latika is a traditional Bengali sweet made during Durga Pooja and Makar Sankranti. Sweetened khoya along with nuts and raisins is stuffed inside a sweet pastry, which is then deep fried and dipped in a thick sugar syrup. The pastry is sealed with a clove / lavang, hence got the name so.

LABONGO LATIKA / LAVANG LATIKA RECIPE

Yields 10

Deep fried sweet pastry stuffed with khoya and raisins


Ingredients:

For the dough:
1 cup maida / all-purpose flour
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1½ tbsp ghee
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
Pinch of saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp warm water
10 cloves
Oil to deep fry

For the filling:
100 gm / ½ cup khoya
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tbsp raisins
¼ cup water

For the sugar syrup:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ tsp rose essence

Method:

To make dough:

1. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, sugar, saffron water, ghee and salt. Mix well to form a crumbly mixture. 

2. Add warm water little by little and knead to make a soft and smooth dough. Cover and rest for 20-30 minutes.

3. Divide the dough into 10 portions and set aside.

To make the filling:

1. In a pan, crush khoya and add sugar, nutmeg powder and warm water. Heat the pan over medium heat and keep stirring continuously for about 6-7 minutes or till the mixture thickens. 

2. Remove from heat. Add the raisins and mix well. Set aside to cool. Divide into 10 portions. 

To make sugar syrup:

1. Add sugar, water and rose essence in a sauce pan and heat it. Bring to boil and let it boil till it reaches two string consistency.

To make labongo latika: 

1. Take one portion of the dough and flatten it. Sprinkle some flour and roll into a 4” diameter circle. Take a portion of the filling and place at the center of the circle. Fold from two opposite sides.

2. With your wet fingertips, fold from the remaining opposite ends to make a pocket. Wrap the edges with little water and insert a clove to seal the pocket, so that the pocket won’t open easily.

3. Heat oil in a wok and fry labongo latika on medium-low flame till both sides turn into golden brown. Remove them from the oil and dip in thick sugar syrup for 2-3 minutes. Remove from syrup and transfer to a plate.


My Notes:

1. You can also add nuts - almonds, cashews, to the khoya filling.

2. Make sure that both sides of labongo latika are getting drenched in sugar syrup.

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Chickpeas Kurma | Channa Korma


In Indian cooking, chickpeas is often used to make chole or chickpeas potato curry and pulao. But it does get boring to make these same curries every time. One of my favorite side dish to roti that I get never bored is kurma/korma. I often make mixed vegetable kurma or kurma with just one or two vegetables. Chickpeas is one of my favorite legumes, so I thought why not try a kurma with chickpeas. This kurma has turned out our family favorite now.

Chickpeas are a good source of protein and iron. Due to high fiber content and low GI, chickpeas are excellent for weight loss diets. Also regular intake of chickpeas can lower cholesterol. This kurma goes well with chapathi, poori, dosa and mildly spiced pulao. You can also serve this kurma with rice and pappad. always serve this kurma with chapathi and fresh kachumber salad.


CHICKPEAS / CHANNA KURMA RECIPE

Serves 3

White chickpeas cooked in aromatic coconut masala with onion and tomato


Ingredients:

¾ cup white chickpeas
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
3-4 sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped

For the masala:
1/3 cup grated coconut
1 tbsp roasted gram / pottu kadalai
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 tsp fennel seeds / sombu
2-3 cashews
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ inch cinnamon
2 cloves
1 cardamom

Method:

1. Wash and soak chickpeas overnight. Drain the water and add fresh water enough to immerse the chickpeas and pressure cook until soft.

2. Grind the ingredients for the masala to a smooth paste adding little water.

3. In a pan heat oil and add onions. Fry till the onions become soft. Add ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and fry for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and fry till it turns soft and mushy.

4. Add the ground paste, salt and saute the masala for 3-4 minutes. Then add 1½ cup water and bring to boil. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the cooked chickpeas and gently combine. Reduce the heat to low. Close and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Stir in the coriander leaves and remove from heat.


My Notes:

1. You can temper with cinnamon, cloves and cardamon instead of grinding them with the masala.

2. For spiciness, only green chillies are added, so adjust the amount of green chillies according to your spice level.

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Faluche Du Nord ~ French Bread


For this month's Home Baker's Challenge, Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes has suggested some beautiful French Bake recipes. Out of them I chose to make this simple and easy bread Faluche.

Faluche is a traditional pale white bread from the Northern region of France. The ingredients of this bread are flour, yeast salt and oil, which are mostly found in our pantry and hence this bread is easy to prepare at home. The bread is soft, fairly dense and can be either be round or flat. It is often eaten hot at breakfast - liberally spread with jam or butter. The bread can also be used to make sandwiches.


FALUCHE DU NORD RECIPE

Recipe Source ~ En 2 Coups De Cuillere A Pot
Yields 8

White bread from North France, made of white flour, yeast, oil and salt


Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups All purpose flour
½ cup warm Water
½ tsp salt
1 tsp , dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
Extra flour for dusting & rolling
1 tsp oil (for brushing the top)

Method:

1. In a large bowl take flour, salt, yeast, oil and mix together.

2. Slowly add in the warm water and knead everything to a smooth and soft dough.

3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour 30 minutes.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl, sprinkle enough flour in a working surface. Roll the dough as a large disc with enough thickness.

5. With a round shaped cutter, make medium sized round shaped discs. Place it in a flour dusted baking sheet and let it sit for an another hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.

7. Brush the top of the bread with the oil. Now sprinkle some flour on the top and bake for 10-15 minutes.


My Notes:

1. The bread should have a white crust, so do not bake for long time.

2. I had to add little more warm water to make the dough. So if you need extra water, add very little at a time and knead.
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Japanese Vegetable Stir-Fried Noodles | Yasai Yaki Soba


This month International Food Challenge is exploring the Hokkaido region from Japanese cuisine. Hokkaido is called “kingdom of food” and there are a lot of unique dishes from this region. Hokkaido is well known for its rich variety of fresh seafood and dairy products. Shazia of Cutchi Kitchen is hosting this month's IFC and she has chosen 4 wonderful recipes from the Hokkaido region.

Yasai yaki soba is a Japanese stir fried noodles with vegetables. Yasai means 'vegetable', yaki means 'to grill or fry' and soba means 'buckwheat'. This particular dish is made with buckwheat noodles, which is a thin type of noodle made from buckwheat flour. The vegetables and noodles are stir fried and served with a thick and sweet sauce. Even if you can't get soba noodles, do try this with any other type of noodles.


YASAI YAKI SOBA RECIPE

Recipe Source ~ BBC Food Recipes
Serves 3

Japanese stir-fried buckwheat noodles with vegetables


Ingredients:

For the yaki soba dressing:
½ cup / 100 ml teriyaki sauce
4½ tbsp crushed yellow bean sauce
1 lemongrass stalk, finely sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger

For the noodles:
200gm soba noodles / buckwheat noodles
2  eggs
½ green capsicum, sliced
½ red capsicum, sliced
1 medium size onion, thinly sliced
8 spring onions, sliced
10 mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Handful fresh bean sprouts
4 tbsp teriyaki sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp sesame seeds

Method:

1. For the yaki soba dressing, bring the teriyaki sauce, yellow bean sauce, lemongrass and ginger to the boil in a small pan, stirring well.

2.  Reduce the heat until the mixture is just simmering, then continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Set aside until ready to serve.

3. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well then run under cold running water until the noodles are completely cold.

4. In a bowl, beat the eggs. Then add capsicum, onion, spring onions, mushrooms, garlic and bean sprouts and mix until the vegetables are coated in the eggs.

5. Stir in the teriyaki sauce until well combined.

6.  Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the egg and vegetable mixture and the noodles. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the noodles have warmed through and the eggs and vegetables are cooked through.

7. To serve, divide the vegetables and noodles equally. Drizzle over the yaki soba dressing. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds.


My Notes:

1. If you can't get yellow bean sauce use hoisin sauce as a substitute.

2. Substitute with any other thin variety of noodles if you can't find soba noodles.

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Dry Fruits and Nuts Barfi


I know its bit late, but still wishing all my friends and readers a Happy New Year. Hope you all had a great time. I am glad to be back to my blog after an unexpected break of one month. Missed blogging and all the delicious recipes posted by my friends; hoping to catch up with everything soon. I wanted to post a healthy yet delicious sweet on my blog to kick start this year.

Dry fruits and nuts barfi is a sugar free dessert to satisfy the sweet cravings without worrying about the calories! It also makes a filling and healthy snack for kids. I have used dried figs and dates in this barfi, but you can also add other dried fruits like apricots, raisins and cranberries. This easy barfi can be also made for festivals like Diwali. Store these in air tight container and refrigerate, stays good for a week.


DRY FRUITS AND NUTS BARFI

Yield 16 medium square pieces

Sugar free fudge with dried fruits and mixed nuts


Ingredients:

1 ½ cup dried figs
1 cup dates
⅓ cup pistachios, chopped
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ cup cashews, chopped
3 tsp ghee
½ tsp cardamom powder

Method:

1. Dry roast the nuts over medium flame for about 2-3 minutes or until nice aroma comes. Set aside.

2. Soak the figs in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain well and blend it a food processor or blender to a smooth paste. Set aside.

3. Remove the seeds of dates and blend it to a coarse paste or chop them up roughly. Set aside.

4. In a pan heat ghee and add the fig paste. Cook it over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Then add the dates and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

5. Then add the roasted nuts, cardamon powder and combine well. Cook for one minute and remove from heat.

6. Transfer the contents to a greased tray or pan. Grease the bottom of a steel bowl or glass and press the mixture evenly.

7. Allow it to cool a bit and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Cut them into squares or your desired shape.


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