Sunday, October 31, 2021

Vegan Pumpkin Halwa

This is a perfect fall dessert made with a few ingreadients. This vegan halwa is a perfect one to entertain this fall or for Thanksgiving. Did I say that this can be made ahead making Holiday meal planning a breeze.

The shredded pumpkin is cooked in coconut milk, and the sugar is added. This is then cooked with a little oil till it comes around as halwa. Nuts are added as garnishes. The halwa is unbelieveably tasty and addictive. This is a perfect dessert for vegan guests. 

As said earlier, this is great make ahead dessert. This stays amazing for 4-5 days withour refrigeration and more than a week, when refrigerated. Reheat in microwave for a couple of minutes and is all ready to be served. Isn't it a winner?

If you are wondering what to do with pumpkin, just go ahead and try this recipe. It is guaranteed that you will make this addictive dessert very often. This vegan halwa is made with pumpkin, cocnut milk, coconut oil, sugar, cardamom, almonds and cranberries. I have had Muscoth Halwa which is made using cocnut milk and is my favorite one. This halwa too reminds similar taste tones as it uses coconut milk to cook the pumpkins. I will not recommend changing to any other milk, as this coconut milk helps in giving this unique flavor to this dessert. Pumpkins and coconut are a perfect pair and this halwa can vouch for that. This does require some stirring but easily can be finished in 30 minutes making it a great option. 

Holidays are around the corner and to plan a perfect party or gettogethers, menu planning is very important. Make ahead meals are a great way to make arrangements for perfect enetrtaining. Christie is hosting a "Make Ahead Holiday Meals' in our #ourfamilytable and I am linking this recipe to the same. We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Here are a few halwas that are great make ahead desserts/sweets:

Wintermelon Halwa/ Kasi Halwa/ Dumroot - This is a classic halwa made with Ash Gourd which is even served in weddings.

Yellow Pumpkin Halwa - Another delicious one made using yellow colored flesh pumpkins like Amir Pumpkin

Carrot Halwa - A popular and traditional halwa.

Whole Wheat Halwa - This is a traditional halwa madeby extracting milk from whole wheat and cooking it down, a little tedious but ultimate and worth all the effort.

Apart from the amazing desserts that can be made with pumpkins, they are an amazing ingredient in any course of the meal. They make great appetizers and this Spicy Pumpkin Soup is a delicious and creamy one without any cream. They are great in many breakfast/snack items like Tangzhong Pumpkin Cinnamon BunsPumpkin, Paneer, and Cranberry RollsPumpkin, Pecan, and Cinnamon Chip Muffins. Curries are amazing and rich in flavor when pumpkins are added. Pumpkin Pie Spiced Vegan Pumpkin Curry and Pumpkin Curry/Kootu are sure enough a part of any comfort meal.


Pumpkin - 3 cups, grated
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Coconut milk - 1 cup
Coconut oil - 3 to 4 tbsp
Cardamom - 1, crushed
Almond slices - 2 tbsp
Dried cranberries - 1 tbsp


Cook the shredded pumkin and coconut milk in a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pan for about 4-5 minutes, till the pumpkins are tender.

Add the sugar and cardamom and cook for another 4-5 minutes. It will become a little watery after adding sugar.

Once the liquid has reduced by more than fifty percent, add the almond flour and mix without any lumps. Continue cooking.

Add about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and cook. This can be added in two or three steps. In about 18-20 minutes, the mixture would have come to mass that will not stick to the pan. This is the perfect stage for halwa. Switch off the flame. This continue to thicken further while cooling.

Heat a tablespoon oil in a pan. Add the almond flakes and cranberries and fry for 1-2 minutes until the almond slices are golden and the cranberries become plump. 

Add to the halwa. Mix and combine well.

Serve or store in fridge until further use.

Make Ahead Holiday Meals

Friday, October 29, 2021

Rava/Sooji Ladoo / Semolina Balls

This is a traditional sweet that can be made in under 30 minutes. This recipe uses pantry staples and is easy to put together. This is an amazing and quick sweet to make and share during Diwali. This is perfect for any festival celebrations.

This traditional sweet is my favorite from childhood. My mom makes in the same way and she would make for it me everytime I aks her. Rava ladoo and Maa ladoo are my childhood favorites and would wait for Diwali or Karthigai festival for extra dose of these. 

This is not a very hard recipe. Some recipe use milk to make the ladoos but the shelf life decreases. I like the traditional way in which only ghee is used. This can be made by running the roasted rava for a few blitzes in the mixer  This is amazing and many people would try this way. When making in this way, a little pressure will be required to hold the ladoo together while forming, and later it is great in holding the shape. This melt in the mouth grainy texture is my favorite. Coconut is also added sometimes, but it would have a little different flavor than plain rava ladoo. When milk or coconuts are added, keep refrigerated for longer shelf-life. The traditional ghee based one stays good for a week to 10 days. For this measurements, 2 to 2.5 tablespoons of ghee is enough. It is better to use two tablespoons for frying cashews and the remaining as needed while shaping. Scrape yoyr hands after each ladoo while shaping. Smear ghee in hands if needed.

Cashew nuts and raisins are traditionally used, any nuts of choice can be used. Pistachio is also a great option. Make sure it is chopped into smaller pieces or else making into ladoo shape would be hard (especially if the ladoo size is small). For giant ladoos, nuts can be used in bigger sizes. 

If you have a picky eater who doesn't want to bite and eat the nuts, just blitz the mixture after adding the nuts a couple of times, and this also makes the ladoo shaping easy. This way it is easier for me to make my kid enjoy this sweet. It works and that's why recommending it. The cashews and raisins when ground will add a little moisture and fineness that helps in shaping. The color may be a little darker, but will be very tasty.

This has the nuts and raisins ground.

Next week is Diwali and am sharing this wonderful recipe right in time to help you enjoy this with your family and friends. I am linking this to Healthy Wellthy Cuisine as we have Diwali as our these this fortnight. The Festival of Lights has so many memories attached and it is a fun festival. We make lots of sweets and snack, we call them 'Bakshanam'. The process starts a week before making so many varieties back home when we were kids. Time and life has changed, but would love to carry the spirit onward for the future generations too! This Diwali Sweets and Snacks Platter will bring in the celebrations in air and would be easy to entertain friends and families on this occassion.

Some Diwali Recipes from the blog:

We start the diwali day with lehyam which aids in digestion.

Makes 8 to 10 ladoos

Rava - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 2 to 3 tbsp
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Cardamom - 1
Cashews - 1 tbsp, broken
Raisins - 1 tbsp


Heat a pan on medium flame and toast the rava till nce aroma comes and starts turn a little golden. This may take about 4-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Grind the sugar and cardamom to a fine texture.

Add the toasted rava and run a few more times in the mixer to get a litte finer texture.

Transfer the mixture to a plate. Heat two tablespoons of ghee and fry the cashews and raisins. Add to the rava-sugar mixture and mix well. 

Scoop about two tablespoons of the mixture, press, and shape to a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Store in an air tight container.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Paneer Burji Naan Grilled Cheese

This is a super delicious and filling grilled cheese filled with four different cheese types and made with garlic naan. This is the most flavorful grilled cheese that you'd have tasted.  Along with the garlic flavored naan, paneer burji adds a magical flavor to the grilled cheese giving a perfect Indian touch to this classic sandwich. 

This cheesy ooey gooey grilled cheese naan uses cream cheese-cheddar spread, which is a versatile one that I always try to have in hand. This mixture makes amazing cheese filled jalapeno poppers, like in this Mummy Jalapeno Poppers. Next, paneer burji aka scrambled paneer is the most simple and easy paneer based quick curry which every kid would love. A few tablespoons of this adds tons of flavor as this is usually made with spices and garam masala. Along with this shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese are also added. This is the most cheesiest and yummiest one your kid will vouch for.

This can be made very quickly if you have a few of the things ready. I have made this garlic naan but any naan type should work. The garlic from garlic naan adds flavor. If using plain naan add a little minced garlic on top for a top notch flavor. All you need is naan, panner burji, creamcheese spread (recipe here), butter, shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Just spread and cook it in panini press. This can be made in tawa too, but flip carefully. I have frozen naan now and then from Indian stores to aid quick meals, fresh home baked ones can also be used. 

This is a filling one and easily one half portion can serve one person. This can be served as such and no dips are required. But it tastes amazing with a little green chutney or spicy ketchup. If you like it very spicy, add a little minced jalapenos ot Thai chilli along with cheese mixture to give the spicy heat. The spiciness comes from the chili powder in paneer burji. So the filling can be adjusted as per requirements.

This can be a great lunch or dinner. This may be heavy for breakfast, but can be served in small portions. Like this cheesy one, Chaat Spiced Paneer Log is another paneer based cheese log with lip smacking chaat masala and this is amazing with any cracker, making it very perfect for your holiday cheese platter. Kurkure Crunch Quesedilla is another cheese filled and kurkure filled comforting quesedilla. It is guaranteed that you'll make more of these flavor filled ones as every member of your family will ask for it. I am linking this to Blogging Marathon, Sundays on Silverado, and Wonderful Wednesday.

serves 4

Paneer burji - 1 cup
Cheddar cheese - 1/2 cup
Mozzarella cheese - 1/2 cup
Garlic naan - 4
Cream cheese-cheddar spread - 1/2 cup (recipe here)
Butter - 1 tbsp


Spread two tablespoons of cream cheese- cheddar spread on to two naans (leave the garlic coated side for outer finish). Add 3-4 tablespoons of paneer burji and spread uniformly to one naan. Reserve the other one to flip and make a sandwich or naanwich. Sprinkle two tablespoons of each cheddar and mozzarella cheese.

Heat the panini press at 375F. Cut half teaspoon of butter and sprinkle it in on the panini maker. Place the cheese filled naan in butter. Flip the other naan with cream cheese side facing down. Cut and add another half teaspoon of butter on top. Close and grill the naan grilled cheese.

Cook for 2-3 minutes or untill desired color and crispiness.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Kurkure Crunch Quesedilla

This is a simple and amazing crunchy quesedilla that could be made very quickly. This tasty, ooey gooey cheesy quesedilla with Kurkure inside gives both amazing flavor and taste that it might be hard to stop with one.

When you are in a hurry or very tired, that's when kids are going to ask for tastier meals for sure. Well, life happens. When a request for a crunch wrap came, and he had to leave very quickly (also I was out of the necessary ingredients for it), what choice do I have left! Thought to ask him to buy outside, but the open Kurkure packet left in the counter gave me the idea. In a few minutes I made the Kurkure quesedilla which became a super hit immediately. 

I make this often, now a days. I always prefer healthy nutrient profile. If you are frquent visitor to my blog, you'll know my obsession with fruits and veggies, and hence added a little veggie...I mean some bell pepper. Not every time you could win, let the kid win a couple of times! Atleast I could bargain with the addition of bell peppers. It is ok to indulge without veggies now and then, but feel free to add veggies of your choice.

I am not a big fan of kurkure, but had to accept that it was good not because I made it, the flavors were good. When kids voted for it, I tasted and liked it too. Sour cream based dip on the side can be great but I didn't want to serve it as it is more in calories. Guacamole is a healthy alternative and we love it with anything. The tomato ketchup can be increased or decreased as per preference. Any cheese can be used. I usually have grated cheddar in my freezer. Any sliced ones like pepper jack or habanero jack would work too. I love habanero jack for the spicy kick it gives. Feel free to add any cheese you like or a mixture of it to make a cheesy quesedilla.

Sometimes, I have premade uncooked roti chapathi in fridge which comes in handy when needed. The same recipe can be used with regular chapathi or store bought cooked tortillas. It works well with those too. This is similar to crunch wrap and if you are lover of those check out this Black Beans and Cheetos Crunch Wrap for an amazing one! I have used Masala Kurkura but any flavor kurkure can be added. If you are cooking in pan, I would recommend folding and cooking so that the fillings do not fall off. If you are making in a quesedilla maker, double the filling and cover with another tortilla and cook. 


Tortilla - 3
Bell pepper - 3 tbsp, diced
Cilantro - 1 tbsp, chopped
Cheddar cheese - 3/4 cup, shredded
Kurkure - 1 cup
Ketchup - 2-3 tsp


Heat the tortilla on low medium heat. Flip the side.

Spread a teaspoon of ketchup. Sprinkle 2 tbsp cheese on one half of the tortilla. break kurkure into smaller pieces and add on top of cheese, followed by bell pepper and cilantro. Sprinkle two more tablespoons of cheddar cheese.

Fold in half and cook flipping the sides till the cheese is melted and the tortilla is cooked.

Serve with optional guacamole or sourcream.

Pumpkin, Pecan, and Cinnamon Chip Muffins

This post may have affiliate links and I earn a small commission from quaified purchase at no cost to you.

This is a perfect muffin full of fall flavors and an apt one for fall breakfast or snack. The pumpkins, pecans, and cinnamon chips work out a magic and is sure enough to make your start of the day an amazing one. It is guaranteed that these muffins would be gone very quickly. These are great with a cup of coffee or milk, or on-the-go breakfast or as a snack.

When I saw these chips in the stores, I bagged a couple of them to try in various recipes. Since these are made with cinnamon powder and skim milk powder, these could be used in many seasonal or fall recipes.

Pecans and pumpkins are an amazing combo. the crunchy bite here and there is an amazing one. I have used Milican Pecans and these are the best pecans. I love the flavor of these than any other brand. Click here to buy Milican Pecans.

The aroma when it bakes is absolutely mesmerizing. The amazing color of pumpkins make this very much inviting. Along with spices, this is a perfect one for fall breakfast or a snack. 

This amount of cinnamon chips is important as it adds to the cinnamon flavor and also touch of sweetness here and there. Three-fourth cups works for us but a cup of it also tastes great. Less than this quantity may not have enough flavor. Also, replacing this chip with regular flavor will reduce the cinnamon flavor. The sweet and spicy cinnamon bites here and there makes this muffin unique and replacing this chip may not be a great idea.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all of our lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday can be found on our home page.

Muffin Monday

I am also linking this to Sundays on Silverado, Happiness is Homemade, and Inspire Me Monday.


Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: 15 min
Cooling time: 10 min

Makes 12 regular muffins

All-purpose flour - 1.5 cups
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Soy milk - 1 cup
Pumpkin puree - 1 cup
Oil - 1/3 cup
Brown sugar - 2/3 cup
Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Ground nutmeg - 1/8 tsp
Ground cloves - 1/8 tsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Cinnamon chocolate chips - 3/4 to 1 cup
Chopped piecans - 1/2 cup
Flax seed powder - 1 tbsp


Add 1/4 cup milk to flaxseed powder and set aside to gel. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, mix and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the flaxed egg, remaining soy milk, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, fresh grated ginger, oil, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Add the flout and mix quickly to make a smooth batter without any lumps.

Fold in the pecans and cinnamon chips.

Scoop the mixture onto pre-lined muffin pans to 3/4 level.

Bake for 15-16 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cool for 10 minutes atleast. Serve warm.

Here are the links we shared today for October 2021 Muffin Monday. Thanks, Stacy!