Raksha Bandhan is observed to celebrate the beautiful bond between brothers and sisters and what better way to celebrate than with some good food. We asked food bloggers and contributors on what they would like to cook for their brothers on this special day, and here’s what they shared with us – two desserts and a main.
Ashima Goyal Siraj, Food blogger and contributor
“I grew up in a joint family and we were six kids living together — five sisters and one brother. In a joint family, there is no concept of cousins and real siblings. We all had three mothers and three fathers and we were all very close. Our brother, being the only one, often found himself on the wrong side of a fight. While we (the sisters) did tease him, bully him, made him do a lot of work for all of us, we also spoilt him pretty bad. And Rakhi was the time when he kind of became the king of the house.
All of fasted until we had tied him a rakhi and he would take his own sweet time to get ready just so that we would wait. But he also made sure he had a special gift for each one of us. His weakness is chocolate and while the rakhi thali had lots of regular sweets, I always got him a big dairy milk on the side. And then we grew up and each of us left home, first for college and then for marriage. Every time we get together, all we talk about is our childhood days. And on Rakhi, the phone calls run into hours. He is 30 himself and yet he is still our “little brother” who continues to get lots of sweets every rakhi. Since I am a food blogger, he has specifically told me that I can never send him something from the market. This year I’m making him some Chocolate walnut brownies, to celebrate our bond and his love for chocolates.”
Chocolate Walnut Brownies
Prep Time: 10 mins | Baking Time: 20 mins | Makes: 24 pieces
200g — Dark chocolate (or milk chocolate if you like that)
200g — Butter
3 — Eggs at room temperature
1 tsp — Vanilla extract
3/4 cup — Fine sugar
3/4 cup — Maida
1/2 cup — Walnut, chopped
*Line a baking pan with parchment paper. I used a 13X9X2.5” baking pan.
*Preheat oven to 180ºC.
*In a deep pot, melt butter and chocolate on low flame. Keep stirring in between so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. Once melted, remove from heat and keep aside. You can also melt and combine them in a microwave.
*In another bowl beat together sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add the chocolate and butter mix to the bowl. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. I simply use the handheld beater right in the bowl to combine everything smoothly.
*Add flour, mix first with a fork or spatula and then beat for another 30 seconds. Follow with folding in the chopped walnuts.
*Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
*Bake for about 20 mins and remove on a cooling rack. Brownies become dry very quickly. Since they continue to cook as they cool down, you don’t have to wait for a tester to come out clean before removing the brownies.
*Once cooled, cut into squares, pack and send!
Anushruti RK, Food blogger, Mumbai
“My younger brother has always been the apple of my eye. On the special day of Raksha Bandhan, I would love to acknowledge his special presence in my life and to mark the occasion I would like to cook rice dishes for him since he loves rice.
Fairly simple to make, Tomato and Coconut Rice is a dish that is packed with beautiful flavours of tomatoes and coconut and the spices subtly enhance the dish, making it exquisite. I would pair this rice with some exotic vegetable curries, a raita and a baked yogurt tart with fresh cherry sauce to round off the meal.”
Tomato and Coconut Rice Recipe
300g — Basmati Rice
1 ½ cups — Coconut milk
1 ½ cups — Tomato Puree (made from about five medium sized tomatoes)
6 — Cloves
1 — Cinnamon
1 — Bay leaf
2 to 3 — Green chillies, slit length ways
2 tsp — Vegetable oil
2 tsp — Salt or to taste
*Wash and rinse the rice in a colander in a running stream of water for about a minute or until the water runs clear and soak the rice for 15 minutes to ½ hr, with enough water to cover the rice.
*Remove the eye of the tomato and make cross slits on the other end of the tomatoes. This makes it easier to peel the skin.
*In a medium sized saucepan, bring water to a boil and the tomatoes. Cook until their skin starts to peel.
*Cool the tomatoes, remove the skin and grind to a puree in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree to remove the seeds.
*Prepare fresh coconut milk or use prepared ones off the shelves.
*In a medium sized pot with heavy fitting lid, heat the oil over a medium flame.
*Add the cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and green chillies, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the spices release their flavours into the oil.
*Lower the flame, strain the rice and add into the spiced oil.
*Stir briefly for about a couple of minutes, taking care not to break the rice grains.
*Pour in the boiled tomato puree and coconut milk, add the salt, cover the lid and cook on the lowest flame for 15 to 20 minutes.
*When the rice grains are cooked, remove the lid, allow the steam to escape for about 2 to 3 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve hot.
*Alternatively, make the rice in a rice cooker.
*After adding the liquids into the sautéed rice, transfer all the contents into the rice cooker and cook till done.
This rice tastes great with plain yogurt/curd or cucumber raita.
Chitrangada Kundu, Food blogger, Kolkata
“Popular sandesh from Bengal can be made ready in five minutes. We all need something quick in our busy lives, so I will prepare this sandesh on the special occasion of Rakhi for my brother, simply because it is the easiest dessert and being slightly less sweet, it is liked by all.”
1 lt — Milk (full fat)
3-4 tsp — Lime juice or vinegar
Sugar as per taste
1/2 tsp — Green cardamom (powder)
Few strands — Saffron (soaked in milk)
Pistachio (finely chopped) to garnish
*In a heavy bottom pan boil milk, add lime juice or vinegar to curdle it.
*Place a cheese cloth on a strainer and strain the curdled milk, drain excess water from the whey. When the water from the curdled milk is drained off the cottage cheese is ready to use.
*Take the cottage cheese in a plate, add green cardamom powder, saffron (soaked in warm milk), sugar. Add sugar as per your taste. For 1 cup of cottage cheese start with 6 tablespoons of sugar, taste and add more if needed. Knead it well till smooth.
*Take a microwave safe bowl, grease it with little ghee or butter. Put the cottage cheese in the bowl. Press with your finger to make sure the cottage cheese is evenly distributed.
*Cook it in a microwave oven, in micro mode in high power for 5 min or till the cottage cheese starts to bubble up. Let it stand for few minutes, take it out of the oven and cool down.
*Cut into square or any shape of your choice. Garnish with chopped pistachio, almonds or any other nuts and dried rose petals. Serve cold or at room temperature.