In a tough year, the kitchen has brought many joys. Cooking up a storm or even the one-off celebatory dish warrants fun when social distancing is the new normal. On Republic Day, simple dishes get a tri-colour twist with these recipes by Delhi-based chef Anil Dahiya:
Tri-Colour Burfi Recipe:
250 grams cashew nuts, 150 grams almonds, 750 grams sugar, 300 grams ghee, 1 cup milk, 10 green cardamoms (powdered), 1/4 tsp saffron powder, 1/4 tsp green food colour powder, 1/4 tsp orange or red food colour powder
Method: Soak cashews and almonds separately for half an hour, then drain and peel almonds. Grind the nuts in a mixer to form a thick paste. Add milk and sugar and grind again. Divide the paste into three separate bowls.
In the first bowl, add the red food colour and one-third of the ghee and cardamom powder. Now, transfer the mixture into a pan, put it on a stove top and stir until it starts to leave the sides. Pour the paste into a ghee-coated plate and spread well.
In the second bowl, add half of the remaining ghee and cardamom powder and repeat the same cooking process. This paste will remain white in colour. Once done, pour the white paste over the red paste. Spread evenly without mixing.
In the third bowl, add green food colour and the remaining ghee and cardamom. Follow the same cooking process as the red/orange paste. Now, pour over the second layer. Spread it evenly and garnish with chopped almonds and cashews. Allow it to cool, then cut into square or diamond-shaped pieces.
For spinach halwa:
2 cups spinach (boiled, strained, and pureed), 1 tbsp pure ghee, 1 tsp crushed cardamom, 4 tsp sugar-free sugarlite, 2 cups milk
For cucumber halwa:
2 medium-sized cucumbers peeled and rinsed, 2 tbsp khoya, 3 tsp ghee, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, 4 tbsp sugar-free sugarlite, 1 1/2 cup milk
For carrot halwa:
2 small carrots peeled and rinsed, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, 1 1/4 cup milk, 1 tbsp ghee, 4 tbsp sugar-free sugarlite, handful of dry fruits (finely chopped)
Melt the ghee in a pan and add spinach puree. Saute for few minutes on low heat and mix milk, sugar, and cardamom. Stir till spinach starts leaving the sides of the pan. Mix the remaining ingredients and stir continuously on low flame. When done, transfer to a plate and allow it to cool.
For the cucumber halwa, grate the cucumbers and squeeze out all the water. Melt the ghee in the same pan and add the grated cucumber. Saute for 2-3 minutes and mix the remaining ingredients. Keep stirring while gradually adding milk to it. When the milk is completely absorbed and cucumber is cooked, remove from heat. Let it cool slightly and layer over the spinach halwa.
For the carrot halwa, grate carrots and squeeze out all the water. Heat the ghee in the same frying pan and saute carrots for 8-10 minutes on low flame. Mix milk and sugar. Continue to stir while adding the remaining ingredients. When the carrots are done, remove from heat. Let it cool slightly and then spoon over the cucumber halwa. Garnish with chopped dry fruits of your choice and serve.
Tiranga Rice Dhokla:
4 cups idli batter, 1 cup spinach puree, 1 tsp ginger paste, 2-3 green chillies paste, 1 tbsp gun powder (idli milagai podi), 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, 1 small ginger piece, 2 tsp cooking oil
4 tbsp grated coconut, freshly chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds, a few curry leaves (crushed), 1 tsp oil
Pour the batter into a big bowl, add salt, and divide into three equal parts. For the orange batter, mix one portion of batter, gun powder, and chilli powder. Leave aside one part for the white batter. For the green batter, mix the third portion of batter with the spinach puree, ginger paste, green chilli paste, and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
Keep a good amount of water in a big vessel on high heat. Grease any flat steel plate with ghee. Transfer the green batter onto the greased plate and steam it over the vessel of water. Now, spoon over the white batter and steam. When done, layer with the red-orange batter and steam.
Dhokla will be done in 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Cut into desired shapes and plate it. For tempering, heat oil in a small saucepan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start to splutter, quickly pour over the dhokla. Garnish with grated coconut and chopped coriander.
Tri-Colour Fruit Cream:
4 scoops vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, some nuts to garnish, 1 tbsp mixed fruits (optional), One bowl of fresh fruits (kiwi, orange or papaya), a cherry to garnish
Take a tall glass and place kiwi at the bottom and add in a scoop of softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Put orange or papaya pieces and top up with vanilla icecream or whipped cream. Garnish with nuts and place a cherry on top. Serve immediately.
6 bread slices and some butter
For the green layer:
2 tbsp mint chutney, 1/2 cup grated paneer (cottage cheese), salt to taste
For the orange layer:
10 orange cherry tomatoes, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, salt to taste
Chopped the cherry tomatoes and set it aside. Butter the bread slices and set them aside. For the green layer, mix mint chutney, paneer and salt in a bowl and set aside. For the orange layer, mix tomato, mayonnaise, and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
On a buttered slice of bread, spread the green mixture and top with another slice of bread. Layer with the cherry tomatoes mixture and another slice of bread and serve.
The story has been lighty edited for style.