Pera is one of the popular Indian sweets prepared for happy occasions, for example, when announcing an engagement, birth of a child, or sent with an invitation to a wedding.
Pera is made with different milks cooked together with sugar and butter until it solidifies. It is shaped into a ball and stamped with a design.
As kids we used to watch my mum make it and we used to help her stamp the design on it. You can decorate it with nut in the centre or use different deigns to stamp it. I use a pop bottle lid with the nuts, an empty thread spool and a fondant flower cutter. You may have a decorative wine glass, or a fancy cookie stamp. It can be made into any size you like. (between 1 oz to 3 oz is a good size)
You will find a lot of different recipes for pera, this recipe has been given to me by my friend Nargis, it takes longer to cook but is the best recipe I have found.
- 3/4 lb unsalted butter
- 1 can (370 ml) carnation evaporated milk
- 250 ml creamer (half and half or whipping cream)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp cardamom ground
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- 1 lb carnation milk powder
- 1/4 cup almonds and Pistachio finely chopped
- Melt butter, evaporated milk, creamer and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. About 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium, add the powder milk, ground cardamom, nutmeg and saffron. Mix well.
- Cook stirring the mixture until the color changes to light brown and the mixture is half(almost 30 to 40 minutes).
- Remove it from the stove and let it cool until you can shape it.
- Shape it into a small 1” ball.
- Decorate it with pistachio or almonds, or decorate it with a stamp.
Sambaro is made with cabbage, carrots, green chilies and mango. It is an accompaniment to a lot of dishes, eg ganthias, parathas. hondavo and kitcharo to name a few. It can be as spicy as you want or as mild as you want. It is also sweet and sour.
Sambaro is eaten cold and can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
- 1 green mango
- 2 carrots
- 10 jalapeño
- 1 green cabbage (about 2 lb)
- 4 tbsp oil
- 5 curry leaves
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp haldi (tumeric powder)
- 1/2 tsp citric acid or
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Rinse and cut the mango and carrots into long and thin strips (1 1/2 x 1/4 inch).
- Cut the jalapeño into quarters length wise.
- Finely shred the cabbage.
- In a medium saucepan heat the oil, add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop add the mango, carrots and jalapeno and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the salt, crushed black pepper and cumin, turmeric powder, citric acid and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, mix everything and cook for 10 minutes till the cabbage is soft.
- Add the sugar and mix.
- 400 ml coconut cream
- 1 whole chicken breast,
- 2 tsp fish sauce, or shrimp or anchovy paste
- 1 carrot
- 1 small egg plant
- 1 red pepper
For the Red Curry Paste
- 1 med onion, peeled
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 red chilies, deseed for milder curry, or
- 1 level tbsp red chili powder
- 1 2” piece ginger root
- 1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
- 4 Kaffir lime leaves or rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted
- 1 tsp cumin seeds roasted
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 tbsp chopped cilantro
To make the red curry paste:
- Put all the paste ingredients in a food processor and whizz them until well blended.
- Put the curry paste in a large pan whisk in the coconut cream. Bring to the boil slowly.
- Add the chicken and turn the heat down to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile slice the vegetables to 1/4”.
- Uncover, add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes until the meat is cooked and sauce thickened.
- Stir in the fish sauce or paste and more coriander to taste.
- Serve with steamed rice.
This recipe uses brown sugar and you can decorate the centre with a blanched almond.
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup milk powder
- 1 cup sojee
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp crushed elechi
- 1 tsp crushed viriyari
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup kas kas (poppy seeds)
- 6 cups oil for frying
- 40 blanched almonds (optional)
- 2 tbsp white flour
- 4 tbsp water
Mix it together and make a paste.
- In a bowl add the whole wheat flour, powder milk, sojee, brown sugar elechi, viriyari.
- Cut the butter in small pieces and rub it in the flour mixture.
- Add the milk and make a dough. Divide the dough into 4 and make 4 balls.
- Flatten the ball and sprinkle with kas kas.
- Roll the flattened ball to 1/4” thickness.
- Cut the rolled dough with a 5” cookie cutter.
- Dip the blanched almond in the paste and stick it in the centre of the round.
- Deep fry in medium hot oil for about 5 min turning once.
- Drain on paper towel.
If you are not using almonds for decoration, you can make the theplas smaller.
Theplas can be stored in an airtight container for a week.
Butter chicken also known as murgh makhani is part of Indian and Pakistani cuisine, but popular all over the world.
It is thought that butter chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted “some” chicken dish. A chef named Simon Mahli Chahal first prepared this when he only had half of a Tandoori chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masalas to improvise for a delicious delicacy he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. He forgot to buy enough ingredients so he ended up with this dish.
Of all the spices added to the dish it is dried fenugreek leaves (Urdu/Hindi: Kasoori Methi) that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristic flavour of the dish.
You can use your left over Chicken Tikka to make butter chicken.
Butter chicken is usually served with naan, chapatti, parathas,or steamed rice.
I call Butter Chicken, Biriyani gone wrong because it is very similar to Biriyani without the onions.
- 2 chicken breast, skinned and deboned
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp green masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp dhanajeera powder
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup yoghurt(6% MF)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 spilt green chili
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Remove all the fat from the chicken rinse it in cold water and cut it in 1” cubes.
- Add lemon juice, green masala, salt, garam masala and kasoori methi(fenugreek leaves) cardamom seeds and saffron and let it rest.
- In a blender blend the tomotoes to a very smooth puree. Add paprika and dhanajeera powder.
- In a medium saucepan melt the butter and oil, add a bay leaf, pureed tomato mix, tomato paste and yoghurt, mix well and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook till the liquid evaporates and sauce changes color.
- Add the marinated chicken and cook for about 10 minutes stirring a few times till the chicken is cooked. (chicken is cooked when it changes color and is firm to the touch).
- Serve sprinkled with a spilt green chili and chopped cilantro.
You can use any fruit combination and make a fruit salad. In East. Africa, we used passion fruit and papaya and served it with custard or just poured evaporated milk on it.
- 2 bananas sliced
- 2 apples 1/2 cubed
- 2 cups 1/2” cubed watermelon
- 2 cups 1/2 cubed cantaloupe
- 2 cups honeydew
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups sliced strawberry
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 can jackfruit sliced
- 1 can lychees quartered
- Mix all the fruit together.
- Discard the jackfruit syrup, but add the lychee syrup and cool it.
- Serve with ice cream, custard or whipping cream.
Despite the use of papaya, which one may think of as sweet, this salad is actually savory. When not ripe, papaya has a slightly tangy flavor. The texture is crisp and firm, sometimes to the point of crunchiness.
The dish combines the four main tastes of the local cuisine of Thailand, sour lime, hot chili, salty, savory fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar.
- 2 cups grated green papaya
- 2 cups grated green mango
- 1 grated carrot
- 1 red pepper
- 1/4 English cucumber
- 1 2” piece ginger
- 1 hot red pepper thinly sliced(optional)
- 2 limes
- 1/4 cup chopped mint
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 4 cups chopped lettuce
- 1/2 chopped peanuts
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (or palm sugar)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 limes( juice)
- Coarsely grate all the vegetables and fruit or julienne cut them.
- Add the rind of limes.
- Mix everything except lettuce and peanuts.
- Line a deep dish with lettuce and add the salad.
- Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bottle.
- Before serving, pour the dressing on the salad and sprinkle with peanuts.