India is celebrating 68 glorious years of its Constitution coming into force. While some things like sitting huddled in front of the TV with your family to watch the parade are an intrinsic part of the day’s celebrations, there are other innovative ways to bring the patriotic fervor into your home. Whip up these easy tricolor recipes in the colors of the Indian flag and celebrate this Republic Day the foodie way.
Tri Color Cake
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) with rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non-stick vegetable spray, three 9 inch x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans. Then line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper and then spray the paper. In a bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
With a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy for about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy for about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions), beginning and ending with the flour.
Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared pans. Add the orange/saffron liquid color to one pan and whisk to blend the color all over homogeneously. The liquid color tends to stick to one place; you have to give little effort to mix it thoroughly. Add dark green liquid color to another pan and mix similarly. Leave the third pan as it is. Smooth the tops of the batters with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
Bake all the cakes together in a big oven for 27 to 35 minutes; the time to bake will be more or less same. Keep checking after every 10 minutes.
Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans, for about 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto a plate. Remove the parchment or wax paper and re-invert cakes so that tops are right side up. Cool completely before frosting.
Meanwhile prepare the frosting by whipping the double cream until soft peaks form and the volume has increased four times. Keep it in the fridge to chill so that it is easy to spread over the cake.
Once the cakes are completely cooled, prepare for frosting. The top of each cake should be perfectly plain. If the top has become dome shapes (which is quite normal), cut it off and make a perfect plain for the cake to hold the frosting.
If you have a turn-table, place the green cake first on the turn-table. Apply a thick layer of whipped cream all over. Now place the un-colored i.e. white cake over the green. Re-apply the layer of cream. Finally place the saffron cake. Now apply the cream over the top and also on the sides and using a spatula cover the cake all over. Smooth the edges and you are done. Sprinkle some colored sugar balls or chocolate vermicelli or some other decorative sprinklers of your choice.
Tri Color Rasgulla
First add the milk in a clean vessel and bring it to boil. Do stir in between to avoid burnt bottom. Mix 2 tbsp water to the lemon extract and keep it aside.
Once the milk starts to boil, turn off the flame. Start adding the lemon extract to the milk, little by little at regular intervals and keep stirring. The milk will start curdling. Let the curdled milk rest for 5 minutes. Take a clean muslin/cotton cloth and place it in a strainer. Pour the curdled milk into the cloth. The water (Whey) will be drained away and the milk solids will remain in the cloth.
Run the milk solids under cold water, to remove the sourness of the lemon. Then gather the sides of the cloth and squeeze the milk solids to remove excess water. Set this packet over the strainer or just hang this cloth for 30 minutes, so that the excess water gets drained off. The resulting product from this step is paneer / Indian cottage cheese that is used in various Indian cuisines.
Optionally, when making paneer, use a heavy weight on top of the packet, to firm it up and make it hold its shape. We do not need to use the weight here while making rasgulla.
Now, remove the paneer from the cloth and start kneading it with your palms for 10 minutes. Knead until you end up with a smooth soft ball. Divide into 3 equal portions. Add green and orange food color to 2 of the portions. Knead them until the color mixes evenly. Leave the third as it is.
Make small sized balls from the dough by rolling them between your palms. It is important to make a smooth and perfect round shape or else they might break when soaking. Keep them aside.
Now prepare the sugar syrup by adding water and sugar into a bottom heavy pan, stir them until the sugar dissolves. Add the cardamom powder and rose essence to the sugar syrup and once it starts boiling, introduce the prepared balls into the boiling syrup. Turn the flame to medium and allow the rasgullas to cook for about 15- 20 minutes. Cover the pan and check that it is cooked properly at regular intervals. The rasgullas will double in size. Turn off the flame and let them cool down to room temperature. Then, refrigerate and serve chilled.
Tricolor Paneer Tikka
Divide the paneer pieces equally into three different bowls. Add mustard paste to one, green chutney to the second and mango pickle to the third bowl and mix well.
In a separate bowl, make a marinade of cashewnut paste, fresh cream, cheese, white pepper powder, green cardamom powder and salt. Mix well. Divide the marinade into three portions and add one portion to each of the three different bowls.
Set aside for thirty minutes. Arrange the marinated paneer pieces on skewers in a pattern of green, white and orange. Set aside for ten minutes. Heat a non-stick pan and grill the skewers till golden brown. Serve hot sprinkled with chaat masala.