Review – Chocolate Tour at Jus’Trufs Chocolaterie

Living in the ‘burbs has its merits, no doubt – swanky eateries within an arm’s reach, and even trips to specialty stores clocked in a few kilometers to buy a block of imported cheese, or exotic produce. But when it’s a call between fine chocolate and long distance commute, we’d pick the former. Which is just what we did by traversing half the city, stopping just short of the international airport, and heading on over to Jus’Trufs, Bangalore’s one of a kind chocolate boutique, for their chocolate tour.

justrufs1

A warm welcome awaited us the moment we stirred into the chocolaterie, literally and figuratively – a strong, heady dose of cocoa in a chocolate shot – to set the mood for what was to come.

justrufs2Upstairs was a well organized set up of slides and a suave speaker, who took us through the history of not just the chocolaterie, but of chocolate itself. Informative and illuminating facts about the conducive environmental conditions for growing cocoa, right down to how the bitter, dark beans are transformed into edible chocolate, were discussed at length.

justrufs3Then came the exciting part of the session – getting hands-on experience with making chocolate truffles. Different forms of chocolate – white, milk, dark – were not only tinkered with, but tasted. We even got to grind the nibs and sample them in all their biting, tingling, raw glory. There were pre-made batches of chocolate ganache for the truffle starter exercise, which got off to a rather good beginning with marbled balls, dark chocolate solos and white chocolate solos being the popular choices.

Tadka cooking-002Next, the chocolate callets were melted, and the tempering process was demonstrated by the head chocolatier, followed by every participant taking a shot at it, some willingly and some not so willingly, given the amount of elbow grease it involved. The tempering done, the chocolate balls being left to set in the fridge were dunked in the melted chocolate, with a host of fun sprinkles at our disposal to add finishing touches to the creations.

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While the truffles went back into the refrigerator, we sat around and nibbled on some tasty sandwiches and talked about the journey of the Jus’Trufs’ team, among other things. Finally, the truffles were boxed and readied to take home, and those interested walked right down to the shop to pick up their choice of handmade chocolates and holiday treats. After a quick peek into the factory where the chocolates are handmade and boxed for customised orders, we were homeward bound, nibbling on our very own, handcrafted truffles.

This chocolate tour is a unique and fun experience, and although a mite steep at 2000/- per head, we recommend it if you’re a die-hard chocolate lover. Even better if you have a child or children to take along, or are looking to celebrate a special day doing something interesting. To schedule your personalised chocolate tour, contact Jus’Trufs on: events@justrufs.com

Location: Jus’Trufs Cafe, Jakkur Road, Jakkur, Bangalore 560064.

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Restaurant Review: Christmas Brunch at Novotel

NovotelChr Brunch

It may not be a white Christmas like so many we’ve celebrated together, but the feasting is something we can’t be expected to give up. A four-course Christmas lunch was just what we needed to get us into the spirit of the season, and the promise of Chef Kailash Gundupalli preparing traditional Christmas specialties drew us and a few other blogger friends to the Novotel Hotel in Bangalore on a sunny Tuesday afternoon.

NovotelChr Brunch1

The mulled wine was a lovely way to start the meal, reminding us of the familiar Refreshing Reisling recipe in our new cookbook, Around the World with the Tadka Girls. We also tried some of the pretty mocktails and cocktails on offer; do note, however, that these are not included in the Christmas lunch package.

NovotelChr Brunch2

The chef’s opening dish was a soft and deliciously cheesy concoction topped with a crisp beetroot chip and set on a smear of balsamic. The roasted pumpkin soup drizzled with drops of truffle oil was a delight too, though we felt that the serving was really big for a soup course and wondered that it would ruin our appetite for the rest of the meal.

NovotelChr Brunch3

The appetizers were colourful and flavourful. A bright and fresh salad for the vegetarians, their only quibble being that the French beans used were not tender. The scallop and confit of pork belly combo absolutely hit the spot, with a few lightly dressed greens to provide a foil for the rich deliciousness of the pork. A palate cleanser followed, in the form of a pineapple sorbet and here we enjoyed the hints of cracked pepper here with the sweet-tart pineapple.

NovotelChr Brunch4

The star of the main course was the mille feuille of cottage cheese and vegetables. The turkey dish included dark and light meat with a scoop of whipped potatoes, gravy and some ribbon vegetables, again a really large portion and lacking the flavour that we had enjoyed in the earlier courses. The impressive looking grilled beef tenderloin too got a nod from our fellow diners who said that it paired well with the curry sauce.

NovotelChr Brunch5

What can we say about the dessert platter! Christmas cake with a crackling sugar glaze, plum pudding with a light brandy sauce, stollen fried in butter, mince pie with raspberry sauce and a light vanilla gelato to round things off. Though all the goodies were in the traditional style we could not help but wish for a lighter option after the heavy meal.

NovotelChr Brunch6

A choice of tea or coffee and cookies is included in the package and we lingered over our cappuccinos before we could muster up to the thought of the long drive home. We really enjoyed the meal and felt that it had a nice blend of modern and traditional elements.

This special Christmas 4 Course menu will be served at Lunch and Dinner on 25th Dec, 2013 at the Square, Novotel, Bellandur, Bangalore and is priced at Rs 999 + taxes. A glass of mulled wine is included.

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Quick-fix Chocolate-cheese Tartlets

Mini chocolate-cheese tarts

’tis the season to be jolly, no doubt. But when the hands drop down at the very sight of, say, the whisk, in the aftermath of having baked too many holiday treats; and the kids beg for a little something in all earnestness, we churn out a pile of these easy-peasy tartlets. No painstaking processes like stacking sheets of phyllo a mile high, or making elaborate fillings involved. These lively beauties round up rather quickly, looking festive and delectable with crowns of berries and powdery wreaths of sugar.

Mini chocolate-cheese tarts

Mini Chocolate-cheese tartlets

(Makes 24)

For the tart shells - 

  • 6 sheets ready Samosa Patti (we used the Switz brand) or phyllo pastry
  • 50gm unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon fine-grain castor sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Brush a 24-cavity mini muffin pan with melted butter and set aside.
  3. Work with one sheet of the samosa patti at a time and keep the rest covered with a wet paper towel.
  4. Cut one sheet of the samosa patti into 4 equal parts. Brush both sides with melted butter. Make a small cut on one side and then nestle it into a muffin cup, overlapping the edges and pushing down the middle slightly to make a flat-bottomed tartlet shell. In case the pastry tears, just patch it up by adding a little piece from another sheet. If you are using phyllo, add another layer of pastry to the cup.
  5. Sprinkle a large pinch of the castor sugar on each cup.
  6. Bake the cups for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the shells to cool in the pan.

Mini chocolate-cheese tarts

For the chocolate filling -

  • 100gms dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 100ml cream
  1. Heat the cream in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate. Wait for a couple of minutes and then stir until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

For the cheese filling - 

  • 50 gms cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 75 gms icing/confectioners sugar, sifted or to taste
  • ½ Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth and then cover and refrigerate to thicken. Taste and add more sugar if desired.

To assemble the tarts - Put a dollop of the chocolate filling and then a teaspoon of the cheese filling into each tart. Top with a berry – a raspberry, a quartered strawberry, blueberry or a chunk of any fruit of your choice.

Put a tablespoon of icing sugar in a sieve and dust the tartlets generously just before serving.

Mini chocolate-cheese tarts

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Restaurant Review – Shebestan

Sebasthan

What hits you, and hits you hard when you enter the newly opened restaurant, Shebestan at Sterling Mac’s hotel is the exotic decor, which is right out of an Arabian Nights extravaganza. The restaurant serves authentic Arabic specialties and you feel like you are wandering around a dimly lit Sheikh’s palace. The wall of colourful glass lamps behind the bar (since the open display of liquor is frowned upon in the Middle-east) is just stunning. Row upon row of ornate picture frames houses everything from hand-painted tiles to antique guns. Genies in kitschy costumes, over-the-top figurines, shiny pitchers, they’ve got it all and more!

Sebasthan

We were a group of food bloggers, invited to the restaurant for an experiential dinner. Once we had been shown around the restaurant and refreshed with warm towelettes, we were offered potent Arabic coffee in small glasses. The coffee tasted strong and cinnamon-y and we were instructed to just sip at it, and then take a bite of a date. This combination is most definitely an acquired taste and we were happy to just try a sip and then munch on the other delicacies arriving at the table.

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The appetizers were all vegetarian, beginning with a huge, on-the-house platter of over-sized crudites served with a tahini dip. This was followed by a basket of steaming hot Arabic bread, yeasty and delicious. To go with the bread were two excellent dips – Hummus and Mouttabel, an eggplant based concoction. The salad was super-fresh and tangy, the chunks of haloumi providing a nice contrast to the crunchy vegetables. Crispy falafel and delicate pastries filled with spinach and cheese rounded off the lavish starter spread. We would have been happy to make a meal of these but it looked like the chef had other plans for us.

Sebasthan

The next course was a meat-lover’s delight. We had grilled chicken, lamb chops, beef chunks and sheesh kababs. The meat was excellent and cooked to perfection. Each of the kebabs were placed on a hunk of bread spread with a tomatoey condiment and accompanied by onion salad, roasted tomatoes, a pickled chili and fries! Altogether it was a feast for the eyes and the taste-buds.

Sebasthan

Two kinds of Arabic rice were served, one with chunks of beef and the other with pieces of richly glazed chicken. We loved both and the rice was just so rich, flavourful, and enriched with tiny bites of vegetables and crunchy pine nuts. Perfectly delectable with a little cup of raita.

Sebasthan

There were no real winners in the desserts that were served. If pressed we’d pick the semolina cake and bread pudding stuffed with nuts. The rice pudding topped with ice cream was very ordinary and so was the coconut pudding. We had high expectations from the baklava but could not like this one – it had a lot of crystallised sugar and an overwhelming flavour of shortening.

So..what’s the verdict? Great food – the appetizers and mains were outstanding. Dessert – not so impressive. Among the cocktails that we tried there wasn’t anything that we’d go back for. The shocker, however was seeing the princely, five-star pricing. To avoid burning a hole in your pocket, you could, perhaps, have your drinks at home, then head to Shebestan for their specialties, and go elsewhere for dessert if you’re up for it.

Sterling’s Mac Hotel,
134, HAL Airport Road, Near Manipal Hospital,
Off Domlur Flyover, Bengaluru – 560017
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Healthful and Heavenly – Wholegrain pancakes

Pancakes with Str syrup

Nothing spells brunch like a pile of pretty pancakes, topped with runny syrup and a cloud of cream swirls, and a dusting of more sugar, perhaps. But if you’re a health nut, the very mention of these doses of artery-cloggers could send you into a coughing fit. Which is why, we took the heaviness out of the image and replaced it with with the wholesomeness of grains and the freshness of plump, raging red strawberries. We could devour a whole stack of these pancakes and wash them down with jugs of tea without wincing. And we’ve had our little girls chomp on them without missing a beat too, which is a great compliment in our books.

Oatmeal Pancakes

Wholegrain Pancakes

(Makes about 15)

  • ½ Cup oats
  • 1 Cup atta/ whole wheat flour
  • ¼ Cup maida/ all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2¼ Tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • ½ Tsp salt
  • ¼ Cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups thin curds or buttermilk
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • Ghee/oil for cooking the pancakes
  1. Place the oats in the bowl of a food processor and grind well. Add all the remaining dry ingredients and pulse until combined.
  2. Keep the processor running and add the melted butter or oil in a steady stream. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile whisk together the eggs, curds and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl containing the dry ones and whisk until smooth.
  5. Set the batter aside for about 20-30 minutes
  6. To make the pancakes preheat a nonstick tava or griddle and lightly brush it with a little ghee/oil. Keep the heat medium.
  7. Pour about ¼ cup of the batter onto the hot tava and let it spread to about 5-6″. Allow the pancake to cook until the edges start drying and bubbles rise to the top without breaking. Now flip and cook the other side briefly. Remove and repeat with the remaining batter
  8. Serve the pancakes hot, topped with a pat of butter and ladle the syrupy strawberries all over(recipe follows).

Oatmeal pancakes with syrupy strawberries

Syrupy Strawberries

  • 2 Cups hulled and sliced strawberries
  • 3-4 Tbsp sugar

Gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and set aside for 30 minutes to an hour to macerate at room temperature. The strawberries will release their juices, making a lovely syrup to pour over your pancakes.

Oatmeal pancakes with syrupy strawberries

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Honey I Made a Hash of It!

Grated Cauliflower with Peas

It was long ago, at a stall in the Saturday Night Market in Westfield Shopping Center in Auckland that the first coloured cauliflower varieties were spotted. Vivid and distinct in both appearance and appeal, the purple, green and orange cauliflower heads were piled up in a neat row alongside organic mescul mixes, blood-orange carrots and silver beet bunches, practically begging to be picked up. With suggestions from the vendor’s friendly wife – who was even kind enough to hand down a recipe for silverbeet muffins – the family picked up the silverbeet, purple cauliflower, some red carrots, as we waddled our way across to other inviting stalls, where the aromas of homegrown mandarins and gingerroot blended vivaciously with those of piquant Pavich berries and flattering Oratia feijoas. A variety of things were dished out later in big sister’s sunny little kitchen with the finds – a mixed vegetable pickle with the purple cauliflower and red carrots, silverbeet sambhar to dunk everyone’s favourite mini-idlis in, and a refreshing feijoa-mandarin cooler that seemed to slake us even on a typical rainy day in the Land of the Long Cloud.

Eight years later, the initial sightings of the irresistable coloured cauliflower heads came in from a corner of a Mexican market bin in a quaint US town in Indiana. With a sizeable stock of Khana Khazana’s Gobhi Shalgam pickle already in the pantry, and the oven-baked Gobhi Musallam recipe that had become a little too familiar, was there something we could do differently with the chubby old chou-fleur? After rehashing all the ideas that presented themselves, including a finespun French au gratin and spiced Spanish tapas, a spicy, gingery sabzi was born, and it’s been a hot favourite with our friends and families ever since.

Grated Cauliflower with Peas

 Grated Cauliflower with Peas

  • 1 Small-medium cauliflower
  • 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 1 Onion, chopped – about 1.5 cups
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

The spice array -

      • ½ Teaspoon chilli powder or cayenne
      • ½ Teaspoon turmeric
      • 1 Teaspoon coriander powder
      • ½ Teaspoon cumin powder
      • 2 Teaspoons kasuri methi(Dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ Teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ Teaspoon amchur (dry mango powder), or a teaspoon of lemon juice
  1. Grate the cauliflower using the shredding disc of a food processor or on the larger side of a box grater and set aside. It is important here to have long shreds rather than a powdery mince.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a deep non-stick saucepan or kadhai. Add the cumin seeds and wait until they start to sizzle and darken before adding the asafoetida and onions. Let the onions cook for a while on low heat, stirring occasionally. Once they turn golden, put in the ginger, and after a minute, all the spices and salt. Stir the mixture for a few seconds, and then add the tomatoes. Once the masala has dried up, stir often to avoid burning, and roast for a couple of minutes.
  3. Next, add the cauliflower with the peas, stir well to mix everything and cover the pan briefly to let the vegetables cook. Then take the lid off and let the dish roast on high heat until done, stirring often to avoid anything sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Mix in the garam masala and turn off the heat before adding the amchur or lemon. 

Grated Cauliflower with Peas

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Book Release: Around The World With The Tadka Girls

We are D-E-L-I-G-H-T-E-D to announce our latest book from Westland-Tranquebar PressAround The World With The Tadka Girls.

Around the World with the Tadka Girls

We invite you to take a peek into our world, to savor slices of our real-life stories, ranging from visits to a school potluck, to a drive down a wine trail in a Midwestern American town. Come, share these intimate moments, as well as the fruits of our labors, with us.

Go to your nearest bookstore, or online (Flipkart, AmazonSapna, rediffeBay), grab a copy, and send us a note, a pic (of you, the book, or both), and just do your thing, while we pour us some bubbly after all the toiling we’ve been upto!

If you’d like to review the book, please get in touch with us on: tadkapasta@gmail.com. Thank you for your support and encouragement these past two years and we hope you’ll keep coming by for a slice of Tadka Pasta fare!

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Event: Bloggers Table at Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwantpur with Tetley Tea

Tetley Green Tea event at Vivanta by Taj

This was an invite with a difference..the hosts were Tetley Tea and Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwantpur, coming together to promote green tea, not just as a beverage but as an ingredient in soups, drinks, baking and even on the grill! Now, we must admit that we’re not ardent fans of green tea, but this sounded intriguing enough to have us pedaling all the way across town to the Taj Vivanta, Yeshwantpur. Suitably fortified by cups of green tea lightly flavoured with citrus and spices and some surprisingly delicious green tea cookies we settled down to watch Chef Uddipan fire up his stovetop and grills.

Tetley Green Tea event at Vivanta by Taj

The first dish to be featured was a Thai-style vegetable soup. As the chef added aromatics, thick coconut milk, yellow curry and green tea concentrate to the soup we wondered if we would be able to taste the delicate flavour of the tea in this rich soup. Apparently not, but chef explained that even though the flavour may not shine through in every dish, the health quotient would definitely be upped with the addition of the tea.

For the uninitiated, research suggests that regular consumption of green tea brings about benefits like weight loss and lowering of bad cholesterol, and also protects against diabetes. All good reasons to down those cuppas every single day!

Tetley Green Tea event at Vivanta by Taj

Another dish that the chef demonstrated was grilled chicken wings with green tea. The wings were marinated in a zesty mixture of ginger, garlic, honey and soy sauce. The chef then added some minced fresh herbs for flavour before throwing them on the blazing grills. Once the wings were almost done he broke open a few tea bags and sprinkled the crushed tea on them. They were then returned to the grill for the final cooking. The wings had definitely picked up the green tea flavour and we quite enjoyed them.

Tetley Green Tea event at Vivanta by Taj

The drinks were a muddled apple with green tea and a green tea-melon fizz, both of which looked and tasted pretty good. We really liked the chef’s idea of having a jug of green tea decoction at hand to add a splash of its goodness to a drink or soup, and that was our major take-away from the afternoon.

Tetley Green Tea event at Vivanta by Taj

The lunch that followed the cooking demos included a delectable and classic Tea Poached Norwegian Salmon, some fabulous dim sum and sushi, and a lovely Mediterranean spread. Among the desserts, there was a light and refreshing green tea mousse cake topped with a thin jelly layer and a little chocolate sphere, which was the pick of the sweets for us.

Our goodie bags included packs of Tetley green tea bags in several interesting flavours, a little package of the green tea cookies and recipe cards for some of dishes with green tea. We’re surely going to try our hand at those cookies! Here are some of the recipes, courtesy Tetley Tea and Taj Vivanta -

Green Tea Cookies

Green Tea Cookies

Green Tea Cookies

Ginger Tea and Coconut Soup

Ginger Tea and Coconut Soup

Ginger Tea and Coconut Soup

Tea-smoked Chicken Wings

Tea-smoked Chicken Wings

Tea-smoked Chicken Wings

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Restaurant Review – Cafe of Joy

It wouldn’t be far from the truth if we said we were filled with, well, joy when we heard about the Cafe of Joy. Having to battle time constraints and tight schedules in order to actually go there, owing to being in the thick of the festive season, did disappoint a little, but it was worth the wait.

Right from the moment we set foot in the cafe, to the time that we left, bearing goodies for our little ones, we were charmed by the pristine and inviting spread of white, the warm touches of lavender all around, and the divine aromas of baked flours and cheeses and sugars filling our lungs.

Cafe of Joy is a neat little place with a choice weekly menu that will have everyone who cares about that fuzzy, homely feeling when they eat a meal that’s not just easy on the eyes, but tastes delicious too from start to finish, drooling. With a variety of quiches and breads to choose from for the main course, we started off nibbling and pecking at a few of them, but couldn’t resist filling ourselves with the wholesomeness of the fresh baked breads, especially the 3-seeded German bread.

We also tried and loved the Flammkuchen with peppers and onions as well as bacon. The chicken meatloaf was quite alright but by then we were ready to dig into something sweet and picked apple streusel and the chocolate cheesecake, both good choices. We washed everything down with perfectly delightful cups of coffee and left with smiles that reached our eyes.

Below is a series of snapshots from our visit, and pictures, as they say, do speak a thousand words. But we recorded some real ones in a quick session of Ten Questions with Joy Basu who is a lovely and vivacious host.

Cafe of Joy

Ten Questions With Joy Basu

1. When and how was Cafe of Joy born?
I have been thinking of running a food business for the last decade, given that I am a huge foodie and have been on many holidays with the itinerary centered around finding the best food, wine or ambience! Since 2006 I have been a serial Entrepreneur – so while in living in Europe last year I decided to make my passion my purpose and bring the experience I had in many quaint cafes and bakeries back to Bangalore.

Cafe of Joy

2. What drives your passion to be up and about every morning and be immersed in flours and sugars?

To me starting the day in my café is about creating a place where people visiting feel at home – and I look forward to ending the day with memories of our guests spending time with us, promising to come back often and letting their friends and family know about us. I believe that the best interactions occur over a cup of good coffee, a delicious snack or a meal and a memorable experience – and I want to be known as someone who enables this.

Cafe of Joy

3. Where do you source your ingredients from? Do you use any imported stuff?

I am fortunate to have identified many qualified suppliers here in India – though for some of our unique offerings some ingredients are still sourced from the networks I established while living in Europe.

Cafe of Joy4. What gives you more joy, being at the forefront of managing the business or behind the scenes where you watch the dough rise and fall?

Both as one without the other doesn’t quite work – my goal is about scaling a sustainable business that creates Cafes of Joy in many neighborhoods for people to experience a good coffee, a delicious snack or a meal so I do not let anything be served from our kitchen without tasting and satisfying myself that it would be what I would serve to people in my home.

Cafe of Joy

5. Pick your favorite from the bakes that you sell.

The Sacher Torte The thin crust German/French Flammkuchen The Ciabatta The Monkey Bread Buttermilk Orange zest cake with cream cheese frosting …I have to keep my husband and son away from these otherwise we would run short for our customers!

Cafe of Joy

6. What’s the best compliment you’ve received so far from a customer?

I am blessed with the good wishes shared by people who have visited us. One of them, a chef from South Africa said – “This is one of the nicest meals I have had so far in Bangalore.  I have a vision for you – that every table will be full and there will be a line of people waiting outside…” I am working towards making that vision come true!

7. What’s the biggest challenge you face?

Ensuring that my team is well trained and feels as passionately about the Café as I do is where I spend most of my time.

Cafe of Joy

8. In one sentence, if you could sum up Cafe of Joy for our readers, in a way that would draw them in, what would it be?

I invite people to come to Café of Joy – as this is a place which should feel like an extension of their homes where they are valued and cared for, where they can share a coffee with friends and family or spend some time with themselves and enjoy a snack or meal that brings a taste of Europe in every slice!

Cafe of Joy

9. For a menu that changes every week, what would you say is the best part that lures your regulars in?

I believe the freshness of the food, uniqueness of our menu and consistent quality of our food – multiplies the experience as we aim to personalize the service – by making it a point to try and remember what each customer likes!

Cafe of Joy

10. And finally, what’s the best part about living your dream, and the worst.

The best part is that my purpose and passion are now the same. The worst is when my son tells me I am not as aware of the happenings in his school as I used to be when I was not running this – though I feel he is quite OK with that!

Café of Joy

(Closed Sundays)
No.8, Siddhapura,
(Next to Bhagini Iris restaurant)
Whitefield Main Road,
Bangalore.
Ph: +91 9886329015
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Diwali Dhamaka! Mawa Mania

Mawa Muffins

Diwali meant new clothes, a bag of firecrackers peeking from the shelf in a closet, the sound of the sacred bell and chants during the morning and evening Pujas, and the explosion of cardamom, sugar, mawa, saffron, coconut, flour, and ghee kissed flavors in the long lineup of sweets in the kitchen.

But raising children who have roots in America often makes us come up with ways in which to marry cultures and flavors in our food, especially if there’s a celebration in the offing. Which is why, when we came upon an idea that called for preheating the oven and reaching out for bakeware this Diwali, we couldn’t resist. We lapped it up and employed it in a recipe that we knew would work best for our girls, in little pick-me-up portions. These soft and crumbly muffins come packed with the richness of mawa*, and when crowned with pretty slivers of almonds and blobs of comely, crinkly raisins, they make for elegant center pieces as well as gifts in your Diwali hamper to hand out to neighbors and friends.

Mawa Muffins

Kaju-kishmish Mawa Muffins

(Makes 12)

  • 1 1/3 Cups (160gm) all purpose flour
  • 1½ Tsp baking powder
  • ½ Tsp baking soda
  • ¼ Tsp  powdered cardamom seeds
  • 1/8 Tsp powdered cloves
  • 100gm khoya/mawa*
  • 200gm (½ can) condensed milk 
  • 40gm unsalted/cooking butter, melted 
  • ½ cup (120ml) milk
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, optional**
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted almonds or cashews
  • ¼ cup raisins, washed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp almond flakes and a few raisins for the top
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Line 12 cups of a muffin tray with paper liners. Set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and cloves. Set aside
  4. Microwave the mawa for about 30 seconds and then mash it thoroughly.
  5. In a medium bowl beat together the mawa, condensed milk, melted butter, milk and sugar (if using).
  6. Tip in the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Stir in the nuts and raisins.
  7. Transfer the batter to the muffin cups, filling each about half-way. Top with the almond flakes.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into their centres comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Top with the raisins if desired.

* Mawa is the milk solids which result from cooking down whole milk and evaporating all the liquid in it. This can be found at most Indian grocery stores.

** These muffins are soft and very rich, and we have kept the sweetness on the lighter side to balance. Add the sugar if you like your muffins fairly sweet.

Mawa Muffins

Inspired from - http://saffrontrail.blogspot.in/2007/11/diwali-delicacy-eggless-mava-cake.html

Mawa Muffins

Posted in Bakes And Cakes, Festive Fare, Homestyle Indian, Snack Attack, Sweet Treats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments