The perfect platter

Kitchen calling
Last Updated : 08 November 2015, 18:37 IST
Last Updated : 08 November 2015, 18:37 IST

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Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything,”— this phrase by Julia Child aptly sums up my passion for cooking. A software engineer by profession, I have been settled in Bengaluru for the last eight years. I am pretty much occupied with my 9 to 6 job and post that, with my two-year-old toddler. But when I am free, one will either find me in my kitchen dishing out delicious food or browsing through recipes. 

The thought of food evokes a lot of memories for me and I believe that the art of cooking has come naturally to me. Since childhood, I used to see my mother cooking different items each day. I forayed into the kitchen when I was 12 years old. I used to spend time assisting my mother, which in turn, helped me learn little tricks along the way. The entire perspective around cooking took a new turn when I shifted to Bengaluru after marriage. A whole new world of gastronomy was in front of me, inspiring me to explore and express my latent talent in the kitchen. 

My culinary journey began with baking— getting my first cake right was like conquering Mount Everest and that spurred me to take on newer challenges. I would bake for my family and sometimes for friends and neighbours on request. I also tried my hands on desserts. With the diverse cuisines available in the City, I got exposed to different food cultures as well. That resulted in my simple everyday cooking becoming more experimental! Having been brought up on both South Indian and Oriya cuisines, I started trying out popular recipes from other regional cuisines too.

This fantastic culinary journey is still continuing, of course with my partner-in-crime, my husband. He is my toughest critic when it comes to food and my avid supporter.

I take inspiration from cookery shows, read cook books and browse the internet to learn more about food.

I gave expression to this passion through my food blog ‘theflavoursofkitchen’ almost a year back. Food blogging has become an integral part of my life and I feel restless if I don’t ‘feed’ my blog regularly. It has given me greater insights on food. The blog has delicacies spread across Indian, pan Asian, Continental and Mexican cuisines that I have enjoyed making over time. I also got introduced to the captivating world of food photography in an attempt to make my preparations look tempting, while social media helped me connect and get a peek into the work and lives of many other bloggers and food experts whom I admire.

I love trying out something new in the kitchen for every other occasion. During Diwali, an array of rich, delicious food awaits one and indulgence takes precedence over all
However, the platter remains incomplete without a scrumptious dessert, more so when it comes to an Indian meal. To satisfy the taste buds with something unique, I have devised a ‘gulkand dryfruits laddoo’ recipe— a traditional sweet with an added twist that is bound to strike a chord with all those with a sweet tooth. The gulkand and dry fruits stuffing in these laddoos make them exotic and festive.



 2 cups fresh cottage cheese (chhenna)
 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
 2 tbsps thick cream (can also use fresh malai)
 1 tbsp cornflour
 1-2 tsps sugar (optional, if you want the ladoos a little sweeter)

For the stuffing

 1/3 cup assorted dry fruits chopped finely (you can use cashews, pistachios, almonds, walnuts) 
 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
 1 tsp melon seeds roughly chopped
 2 tbsps good quality
 Silver leaf and saffron soaked in milk for


 In a pan toast all the dry fruits and poppy seeds on low heat till it becomes aromatic. Take off the heat. Once it is cool, mix gulkand and keep aside.

 Add chhenna, condensed milk, cream, cornflour and sugar (optional) in a blender and blend to a smooth paste.

 Shift the mixture to a thick bottom pan. On low medium heat stir the mixture till it forms a thick paste. (Don’t over cook else it will become dry and will be difficult to shape. Also once the mixture cools down, it becomes more thick.)

 Switch off the gas and let the heat come down. When it is still a little warm and you can handle the heat with bare hands, scoop out 1 heaped tbsp of chenna mixture. Shape into a smooth ball.

 Then using your thumb, make a little space in the middle and fill it with a heaped half tsp of dry fruit and gulkand mixture.

 Cover and make a smooth ball by rolling gently in between both the palms.
 Garnish with edible silver leaf and saffron milk.

Note: If you would like to avoid the stuffing, then please go ahead and add a bit of cardamom powder to the chhenna mix.
(makes roughly 15 laddoos)

Published 08 November 2015, 15:51 IST

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