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Badam Chikki (Almond Brittle)

Similar to peanut chikki(brittle), I often make this 3 ingredient almond chikki with silvered almonds, jaggery and green cardamom powder. It is super easy to make and a healthy(ish) snack. Can be easily made vegan if you substitute that teaspoon of ghee. Crunchy to dig into and a pleasant smoky sweetness from jaggery makes it so addictive for times when the cravings strike.

The only tricky thing in making chikki at home is the jaggery syrup. It is important to cook it to the right stage and temperature before adding almonds. If you under cook it, the almonds won’t stick together and chikki will fall apart. If over cooked , the syrup will have a burnt after taste and will become too hard to set. I use age old indian technique of checking the “hard ball” formation of syrup like our grandmothers used to. I start checking by pouring the jaggery in a bowl of water and try to make a ball, once a hard ball is set, the time is perfect to add almonds. This technique needs a bit of practice but once you get comfortable, its a great trick up your sleeve.

Ingredients

  • 200gms silvered almonds
  • 140 gms powdered jaggery
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp fresh ground green cardamom powder

Method

Weigh the ingredients accurately using a kitchen scale. Line a small sheet or plate with parchment paper and and grease with 1/2 tsp melted ghee. In a pan, dry roast the almonds on low heat for 5-8 mins until you see that a few of them start to turn light brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, add jaggery powder, water and ghee. Mix well. Start cooking on low heat stirring continously. Slowly in about 3-5 minutes the jaggery will start bubbling(similar to how milk boils). Keep on stirring and cooking. After about 9 minutes, start checking the syrup. To do this, pour a few drops of jaggery syrup in a bowl of cold water and try to bring the jaggery together to form a tiny ball. At about 11 mins, I could form the ball. However, time also depends on the quality, type of jaggery and the moisture content so it might be little longer or shorter.

Add the cardamom powder, mix and immediately add the toasted almonds to the syrup. Cook for 1-2 minutes and mix together nicely such that all the almonds are covered in syrup. Work fast and transfer to the greased sheet and press down using a spatula or spoon to set a thickish layer.

Leave to cool for around 5 minutes and the using a very sharp knife, mark squares on the chikki(this helps in neat pieces later). Cool the chikki completely for 2-3 hours or you can leave it overnight.

Break into pieces and store in an air tight container.

Enjoy!

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Mom’s Ginger Garlic Chicken

She simply calls it ginger garlic chicken but this recipe is way more special than that. It does use a lot of ginger and garlic, but then most chicken dishes do ūüôā This is one of mom’s incredibly delicious chicken recipe and she has been asking me to make it for him for a long time.We usually get boneless chicken so it took me a while to get to it. The first chance I got to visit our halal middle eastern store last week, I got bone in chicken. This recipe, it needs chicken with bones because the main flavor comes from there. The method of cooking and the short list of ingredients here will not allow for much flavor if you use boneless chicken. There are no powdered spices and the chicken cooks in its own juices with herbs and green chillies while you bhuno(saute) it, bhuno it for good half hour without halting. Its very easy to make. The little masala that there is, it is full of ghee caramalized onions, garlic ginger and table spoons of thick full fat yogurt. Finished with fresh herbs like cilantro and mint leaves and a good dose of kasuri methi, the chicken is delicious if served as soon as it is cooked.

The only thing to be kept in mind is a wide heavy bottom kadhai or cast iron pot, its a must for that beautiful caramelization , smokiness and even cooking on open stove. An easy weeknight dish which will take you under 30 mins to make and it will still bring the feeling of “something special” to the table. On days we had unannocuned guests over, mom quickly whipped up this dish.You can even serve these chicken pieces as starters or with some doughy naan or rotis and some pyaz for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 1.5lb skinless, bone in chicken(cut into medium pieces)
  • 3 tbsp full fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 4-5 thai bird green chillies, slit (or to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper – to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp kauri methi
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint & cilantro
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream(optional)

Method

In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in yogurt, ginger & garlic and salt. Massage the chicken well, cover and let marinate refrigerated for atleast 2 hours, overnight is better.

Take out the chicken out of the fridge an hour before ready to cook. Heat up ghee in a wide, heavy bottomed kadai/pot. Temper the hot ghee with cumin, bay and cardamom. After 15 seconds, start adding the onions and separate the onions as you go. Add the green chillies as well. Once the onions are browned, lower the heat and add the marinated chicken. Keep on mixing continuously for 5-7 minutes to avoid curdling of yogurt.

Once the chicken starts to cook, add the black pepper and salt.Keep the flame on medium low. Don’t cover else the chicken will become watery. Keep on mixing around, tossing and turning regularly for next 25-30 minutes till the chicken is browned and cooked through. You will see the chicken starts to separate from the bone.

Add the fresh herbs and the kauri methi. Saute for 4-5 mins with the herbs. Finish with cream and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Indrani/Angoori Rasmalai

A delightful dessert usually sold chilled in little matkis (clay pots) at halwai shops in north india. It is different from rasmalai though there are few similarities. Rasmalai is chenna patties served with thickened (but still runny) milk, in this sweet, the milk is almost rabri like consistency. Quite a bit of layers of flavors and textures going on in here- spongy petite (grape sized) roundels of chenna in a lacy rabri base. You can make a traditional rabri, I add little custard powder to milk for smoothness and flavor. There‚Äôs desiccated coconut in the custard along with plump golden raisins, sliced nuts and cherries. Takes time to put together but on festivals I like pull out all plugs and spend time in the kitchen .

To color chenna balls naturally pink, I add roohafza (rose syrup) to the sugar syrup while boiling. The chenna balls can be made ahead and your can make custard next day and assemble it all together. We are in the middle of a heatwave and I wanted to make a chilled dessert for Rakhi. Their excitement about mithai will never be similar to mine, however the girls were elated to see ‚Äúpink balls‚ÄĚ Rakhi wishes to those celebrating ūüôā

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For Chenna Balls (Makes 16-20 grape size balls)

  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tbsp roohafza (rose syrup)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 -2 tbsp rosewater

For the Rabri

  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla custard powder mixed in 2 tbsp cold milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 5 tbsp desiccated coconut, lightly roasted
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Miscellaneous

  • Marachino Cherries – as much as you want
  • Sliced nuts- as much as you want
  • Edible gold or silver film(varq)
  • Crushed rose petals

Method

For the chenna balls

Set milk to a boil in a heavy pot and keep on stirring it.Once the milk is boiling, switch off the flame and immediately add vinegar to it. Stir gently 2-3 times. You will see that the milk starts curdling. Let the curds form, don’t stir a lot. Once you see that all the milk has curdled and a greenish whey has separated, strain the curdled milk through a muslin/cheese cloth. Pour some cold water to remove the traces of vinegar and to cool it down. Tie the cheesecloth and hang it for about 20-25 minutes to remove some liquid from the chenna.

Transfer the chenna to a wide dish and using the base of your palm, knead the chenna for around 5 minutes to a smooth grain free dough. Pinch small grape size portions and make smooth round balls. Set aside, covered.

In a wide pot, transfer the sugar and water for the syrup, add the cardamom pods and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the rose syrup, let boil again and slowly add the chenna balls in there. Dont lower the heat, let cook for 10-12 mins. Meanwhile transfer a little (about 1/2 cup) sugar syrup to a bowl of ice. Immediately add cooked chenna balls to ice bath and let cool off for 5-8 mins. Mix rose water with the remaining syrup in the pot and cool down the syrup. Transfer the cooled chenna balls and syrup to a container together and let soak for 6-8 hours. Discard the syrup in ice bath.

For the Rabri custard

In a heavy pot, add the full fat milk, bring it to boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 mins. Add sugar and mix well. Then slowly add the custard powder mixed with cold milk while continuously mixing the milk in the pot with the other hand. Also add the heavy cream(if using)

Cook for 5-7 minutes, we don’t want the milk to get very thick. Switch off the stove. Mix in the coconut along with the vanilla and raisins. Chill the custard completely for 3-5 hours in the fridge.

To assemble

Transfer the custard to a wide dish. Squeeeze the syrup from the chenna balls and add it to custard. Add drained cherries and nuts. Add rose crushed rose petals and some edible gold film to decorate. Serve chilled.

You can form individual servings as well following the same steps.

Enjoy

-Tanvi

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Chausela With Lauki Raita

Chausela – A rustic flatbread.It is quite similar to gujarati thepla. Not as thin as theplas though and what makes them special is these flatbreads are cooked in mustard oil. There is raw mustard oil in the dough giving them a smoky flavor. On hot summer days, these are amazing for lunch with a cold raita made with tender lauki or shredded cucumber, a garlicky chili chutney and achaar. These cannot be stored like theplas, make a fresh dough, cooked and serve right off the skillet.

My grandmother’s family had western ultra pradesh influence and this flatbread is a perfect example of regional recipe gems embedded in the heart of indian states. The dough is not gluten-free, a little atta (whole wheat flour) is added for binding. Chopped onions, ginger garlic along with spinach(or any greens can be added) and cilantro go in next along with few spices and yogurt.

These are utterly soft and delicious to eat and if you ask me quite wholesome too. You can change up the vegetables – add methi in place of spinach or add grated squash. Either way, these are a welcome switch from usual rotis.

Ingredients (Makes 6-7, 5 inch flatbreads)

  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1/3 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 2-3 green chilies (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil + more for cooking
  • water as needed for kneading

Method

In a wide dish or in your food processor add all the ingredients except water and mix to combine. Add water slowly 1-2 tbsp at a time to make a stiff dough. Knead it a few times to bring it into a ball, cover and let rest for 10 mins. After resting, the dough will be soft, since the vegetables release water due to salt. That’s why its important to not make a soft dough to start with.

Pinch 6-8 equal portions. Preheat a griddle/tawa on the stove. Roll on a floured surface into thickish discs. Cook using mustard oil generously-about 1 tbsp oil each side. Flip and cook on other side.

Serve with lauki raita (recipe below)

Lauki Raita

Peel and grate one small lauki. Remove big seeds if any. Yield about 3/4 cup. Add 2-4 tbsp of water and ddd it to a pressure cooker or instant pot and cook for 1 whistle. Cool down completely. Squeeze the liquid out and reserve.

Whisk 1.5 cup thick plain yogurt with 1 tsp roasted cumin, cut up green chillies to taste, 1 tsp kala namak(black salt) and 1/4 tsp sugar. Add table salt to taste. Use the reserved water to thin out the raita as needed. The leftover liquid can be used to make roti dough.

In a small pan, temper 1/2 tbsp cooking oil with some 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add 1/2 tsp red chili powder(or to taste). Pour over the raita and mix. Add some chopped cilantro. Chill for 30 mins and serve.

Enjoy!

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Chilli Lemon Cashews

Chilli Lemon Cashwes

Disclaimer : This post is sponsored by wegotnuts.com

Cashews are a favorite nut in our household. From mithai to creamy curries like korma or as a snack, we love them. My kids usually go for the plain salted roasted ones, but him and I and are fond of, you guessed it, the spiced ones. I make a few kinds and in this recipe I experimented a bit and used fresh lemon juice and that tang combined with the creamy and natural sweetness of the cashews was just wonderful.

Spicy, creamy and crunchy – these are so great with a cup of chai. As the cashews slow roast in their own fats in the oven, the natural sugars in them caramelize a bit and the spice coating tends to toast and together just makes the cashews so addictive.

These are a great option for gatherings or cocktail nibbles.You can make them days ahead and store them. The ingredients are few and they just require a little checking while slow roasting. You can use any kind of chill powder, I use the hot variety. If you have Tajin at home, you can add that in or sweet paprika works amazing as well-it gives them gorgeous color and smokiness. Yum.

Spicy Cashews With Chai

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder(use mild or hot or extra hot depending on tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup(it won‚Äôt make them sweet, it balances the tang) 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 to 3.5 cups wegotnuts raw whole cashews

Method

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients except the cashews. Let sit for 30 mins for the flavors to mingle. Preheat oven to 250F. Pour the spice mix over cashews and combine well with a spatula so that all the cashews are coated nicely. Spread the cashews in a single layer on a large cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Roast for 60-90 minutes(I baked for about 80 mins) stirring every 30 minutes for even roasting. Keep a close eye after 60 mins, they go fast from there. Cool down completely and store in air tight container. Enjoy! 

Stay spicy!

-Tanvi

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Kala Jaam/Jamun

Kala Jaam/Jamun

Kala Jamun- A bolder smokier version of Gulab Jamun.I won’t lie if I tell you that I like these more. I love the thick, pleasantly bitter crust soaked in cardamom scented syrup.

Ever since I came to States, I have been making jamuns using milk powder, and while those are amazing the ones with milky mawa are authentic- those are utterly soft and truly melt in the mouth. I add some fresh chenna while making these, the texture and the taste is wonderful. Reminds me of little halwai shops in the nooks of delhi where trays of these sit on decorated counters. One of the very few mithai which my kids really adore.

Printable Recipe

Recipe

Makes 20-22 pieces

Ingredients 

For the Jamuns

  • 250 gms mawa/khoya
  • 100 gms chenna or soft fresh paneer
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour(maida)¬†
  • Scant pinch of baking powder¬†
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder¬†
  • 2-4tbsp of whole milk(as needed)¬†
  • Ghee or oil for frying

For the sugar syrup

  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water¬†
  • 3-4 drops of fresh lemon juice¬†
  • 1-2 tbsp rose water¬†
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder¬†

Method

In a large wide dish, fine grate the mawa and crumble the chenna, if using paneer, make sure it‚Äôs soft and grate it very well, there should not be any lump or big pieces of mawa or chenna.Add all purpose flour, baking powder and cardamom. Start adding milk a tbsp at a time and gently mix. I needed about 3 tbsp. Don‚Äôt squish or squeeze,depending on the fat content of your mawa, adjust the milk quantity to make a soft dough. Dough will be slightly sticky, use some ghee if needed to bring it together. No kneading of dough needed. Let rest for 15 mins, covered with a damp cloth. 

While the dough is resting, make the sugar syrup, mix sugar and water and let come to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Add the rosewater and cardamom and lemon juice. Keep warm. 

Heat up enough oil(or ghee) in a pot(or kadhai)on low- medium. Pinch small portions of the dough and roll them between your palms to make a smooth round ball. You would get about 12-15 jamuns. Keep them covered. 

To check the temperature of oil, drop a small portion of dough into the oil, it should come floating up slowly. If it comes up fast, the oil is too hot, if it settles to the bottom, the oil is cold. Fry the jamuns 4-5 at a time. They will plump up bit. Fry them for about 3-4 mins on all sides till they are dark brown in color. 

Drain on a paper towel. And immediately add to warm sugar syrup. Repeat with all the jamun batches. Cover them and let soak for atleast 30 minutes in syrup. These need a longer soaking time than gulab jamuns. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Desserts Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Streetfood Snacks Vegetarian

Easy Cashew & Raisins Icecream (Kaju Kishmish)

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Kishmish Icecram (Easy Eggless Cashew Ice cream)Hi Friends! How have you been?

Things have been so quite here but not so much in my kitchen. Most days, we are eating fresh and home cooked, the kitchen is so busy ¬†but other priorities in life have made me slightly busy that there is less time to set up shoots and hence the lack of posts. But I guess, sometimes in life, you need to cut the routine to see how doing nothing or something different feels. This summer I am involving myself in things which I have not done in last few years, more on that later. It is good to be away for a while. Hope you missed me ūüôā However, I will keep this space buzzing whenever I can.Meanwhile, you can catch me on Instagram & Facebook.

Sinfully Spicy -Ingredients, Kaju Kishmish Icecram (Easy Eggless Cashew Ice cream)

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Kishmish Icecram (Easy Eggless Cashew Ice cream)

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Kishmish Icecram (Easy Eggless Cashew Ice cream)I grew up eating it in small grey cardboard cups which had a flip lid. You flip away the lid and a couple of chubby brown raisins stared at you on top of blushing pink with soft bits of cashews scattered in. I always used my nails to pick the raisins out first and then the paddle shaped wooden spoon to scoop the rest. One cup disappeared after another in no time, sitting under the shade of   kumquat tree in blazing indian summer heat, sweaty foreheads, dripping cream on our dresses and white foamy mustaches, oh to be a child again!

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Kishmish Icecram (Easy Eggless Cashew Ice cream)I came up with this recipe fueled by this tradition in my kitchen to come up with an ice cream recipe each summer.It came out amazing, like most homemade ice creams do. I used a subtle flavor of green cardamom but vanilla will work great also. The husband loved it.I loved it and so did our little girl who is fond of all things cashew. I hope you will love it too!

Update 10/03/2015 Recently Sinfully Spicy was included in Top 50 Blogs of India. Link here

Sinfully Spicy - Kaaju Kishmish Icecram (Easy Eggless Cashew Ice cream)

Recipe

Soak 1 cup raw cashews for 5-6 hrs. Drain. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the soaked cashews and let boil for 5-8 mins. Drain and let cool down completely. Transfer to a blender and using 1/3 to 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or full fat milk) grind the cashews to a coarse paste. 

Mix 2 cups of heavy cream with a 14oz can of condensed milk. You can add sugar(about 1/4 cup) if you want to adjust sweetness. Mix the cashews paste along with 1 tsp fresh ground cardamom. Combine well, transfer to the dish in which you want to freeze and freeze for 5-6 hours. When the mixture starts freezing and has a pudding consistency,add in handful of dry toasted cut up cashews(optional) along with 1/2 cup of golden raisins. Freeze overnight. Scoop and serve.

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Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Curry Side Dishes Stir-fry vegan Vegetarian

Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Okra & Potatoes)

IMG_8376-2The first thing to be spotted in markets at the turn of April or May as soon as the short fairytale called winter is over is okra pods.¬†It¬†probably tops the list of summer vegetables in India. I would compare the hue and cry about it to sight of fresh tomatoes here. I would accompany my grandmother to our daily¬†vegetable vendor, leaned over his cart and gazed at the pile of okra that occupied half of the space and observed how my grandmother chose the dark green, soft, slender ones while arguing about how costly he sold his produce. Almost each week, sometimes more than once, okra formed a part of our meals. My mother tells me that it was my grandfather’s favorite vegetable so our family recipe repertoire is packed with a lot of¬†ways to cook it.¬†As the summer progressed, by the months of July and august and with the knock of monsoons and okra slowly losing their crisp texture, only then the focus shifted to other vegetables.

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)However, it was not until I met the husband that I cooked okra with potatoes. Kid you not, I had not even heard about it in all my years of living in northern parts. It’s hard to say if his suggestion to do so was driven by his childhood food memories or his obnoxious need to combine potatoes with each and every food group possible, but the deal didn’t get too bad here and these two vegetables worked beautifully the first time I cooked them. We continued discussing for many years, each chance¬†I got to get okra home as to how the recipe can get better and better until I mastered it.

Sinfully Spicy : Okra

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)These emerald looking, slender beauties pair with earthly flavor of starchy potatoes so well. On the lines of stuffed okra, I always add fennel seeds to my okra recipes and you will need to do that to know how deliciously this grassy vegetable braces the liquorice of that spice.Try it. The deal with dealing with all the nuances which people associate with okra is not to go too stingy on oil quantity  as well as not to let the vegetable steam too much while cooking. I cover it for no more than few initial minutes after its added to pan and then continue cooking uncovered till its done, this preserves the beautiful color as well as eliminates the chances of mushy okra.

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)

Serve these as a side with daal (lentils ) and rice or with skillet fried flatbreads and chutney. It is good on side as well as on its own.

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)

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Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Indian Streetfood Rice Dishes Vegetarian

Zarda – Sweet Saffron Rice

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron RiceA little while away, I got this immense craving to gorge on these sweet saffron rice. It was sparked by the sticky rice pudding that we relished a night before that¬†day. Usually, if you follow me on Instagram or here on the blog, you would have noticed that there is more savory than sweet in my feed. I had this huge sweet tooth in my teens, but somehow it faded away as I grew older. There are certain things I enjoy, a delicious chunk of homemade¬†gulab jamun and a moist slice of butter cake, but usually sugar doesn’t get me too too excited.¬†Only when there is a good enough reason to make them, I retort towards making desserts at home. Buying a single serve slice from our favorite bakery almost always seems¬†to be a superior¬†option than baking and frosting a whole 9 inch round which will then lurk¬†at me in the refrigerator for whole week. Its a bit too logical for some of you who swear by regular¬†dessert making¬†but that’s how I think.

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron RiceAnyhow, that same night, chatting over a Thai food takeout, we delved into discussing new year traditions growing up. My husband recollected coconut sweet balls & rice pudding, both made with palm jaggery, a typical¬†in¬†east indian homes and I could only think of my grandmother’s zarda, only about¬†it. That night, I must have dreamed ¬†about it. The little puffy, steamy bubbles that surface on the top layer when a pot of ¬†basmati is slowly boiled, or of the sniff of saffron which after filling each nook and corner of our big kitchen reached out to those sitting in the verandah through two large, dark brown windows with green painted grille. Next morning this sweet saffron rice was the only thing I could think of. Out of nowhere, in the middle of summer, but I just had to recreate those memories.

Each year, every year at the dawn of the first day of the year, I woke up to a quiet house with busy kitchen. BadI mummy (my grandma) standing right infront of the stove, rice boiling on one side and aroma wafting through a pot of simmering whole milk to which cloves, cardamom and nutmeg had been added. These blonde looking rice, she remarked were an incoming of prosperity into the house. In those days, we lived in a joint family and with few guests added on the new year eve along with distribution to all house help, the quantity of zarda to be cooked would be thrice the amount than usual. Speckled with ground cardamom and streaks of strong-smelling kashmiri zaffran(saffron) all through it, a bowl of it was so delicious garnished with a handful of nuts or raisins. Much like today, in those days saffron was exuberantly priced, so it came to life in cooking a few dishes on special occasions only. New Years day was one.

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron RiceMy mom got me these little packs of saffron from India a couple of weeks back, a delicate virgin variety of this spice, it is sharp and strong. A few strands is what it took to turn rice into a golden looking treat. This recipe can be easily made vegan by using full fat coconut or cashew milk and substituting any neutral oil in place of ghee. Try using a long grain basmati rice and be watchful during cooking period for separated, fluffy grains. I have included a few notes in the recipe which will help making this sweet rice delicacy an easy task.

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron Rice

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 1 green cardamom, break open
  • 3-4 cups water to par boil the rice
  • 1 tablespoon¬†ghee¬†(substitute with coconut oil for vegan)
  • 1 cup whole milk (use unsweetened cashew/full fat coconut milk for vegan)
  • 3 tablespoon¬†ghee¬†(substitute with coconut oil for vegan)
  • 2-3 green cardamom,¬†break open
  • 2¬†cloves
  • 1 heaping teaspoon good quality saffron
  • 1 generous pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (can go upto 1 cup)
  • 3¬†tablespoon roasted, unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews) + more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon golden raisins +¬†more for garnish

Notes

  1. Use good quality spices in this recipe.
  2. Different varieties of saffron have different sharpness and strength. Adjust the quantity depending on the brand you are using.
  3. To make the zarda more rich, instead of using roasted nuts, you can fry them in a small pan in 1/2 tablespoon of ghee and add on top.

Method

Wash the rice under running stream of water 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for 45 minutes in enough water (add a green cardamom to it) required for parboiling. You can soak rice in the same pot that you will use for cooking.

Once the rice has soaked. Parboil the rice until 80% cooked (takes about 10 minutes).The cooking time will depend on quality of rice.  To check the rice, take a grain and press it between the index finger and thumb. The rice grain will we brittle (break easily) and you will feel & see hard whitish bits in the center of the grain. Once the rice has parboiled, immediately drain it and gently mix a tablespoon of melted ghee in the warm rice.

 While the rice is boiling, add milk, 3 tablespoon ghee, cardamom and clove to a small pot and set it to simmer on a medium low flame. Let milk simmer for 5-7 minutes on low heat and then put the stove off. Once the milk has cooled off a bit and is warm(not hot) to touch add sugar, saffron and nutmeg to it. Let sit.

In the same pot in which you parboiled the rice, add the warm spiced milk sugar mixture. Very gently add the drained rice to the milk. Add the nuts and raisins. Cover and let cook on medium low heat for 10-12 minutes until all the milk is absorbed and the rice is completely done. Put the stove off.

After 15-20 minutes of sitting, gently fluff the rice with the help a fork.Garnish with more nuts and raisins if you want.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Appetizers/Snacks Baking Brunch Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Curry Non vegetarian Seafood

Green Masala Trout

Sinfully Spicy : Green Masala TroutFish or any seafood is my preferred choice of protein any time of the year but particularly more during summer months. I will not bore you with stories of how lean and healthy and good for you it is, rather lets talk about the green masala that I slathered my fresh trout with.I must have laid my hands on this fresh catch after a decade or so.The last time I remember tasting trout was while on a family vacation to northern Himalayas where grilled trout was a local speciality and a lot of restaurants could be spotted showcasing it.

Sinfully Spicy : Green Masala Trout

Sinfully Spicy : Green MasalaThere are a lot of ways in which this green masala is prepared in different parts of india, depending on the region, but the basic herbs remain more or less the same. Most recipes, on the lines of green chutney, use a bunch of grassy cilantro, few mint leaves and (Thai or any hot)green chillies which are ground to a fine paste and then that green paste is your canvas. Add more flavorings to it. Think fresh desiccated coconut, think grainy brown mustard, think nuts, think capers, think soy sauce or maybe cheese.

Sinfully Spicy : Green Masala Trout

Often,mom would make this.If you are a regular reader here, you would know that we grew up eating a lot of fish, which is slightly uncommon for north indian families, but we loved our seafood. She desiccated fresh coconut and mixed it with that herby, garlicky paste and then slathered it over rohu(indian green carp) steaks, coated in semolina  and pan-fried. The oily, milky shreds of coconut complemented the fatty fleshy protein even though coconut was not a very popular ingredient in her kitchen but somehow it worked in this recipe.The flavors are simple and fragrant.

In my recipe, I changed up things a bit and tried to make it glutenfree and used oven to cooking. The fish comes out moist and clean on the palate with simple, herby flavors.

Ingredients (Serves 1-2)

  • 1 trout, cleaned and descaled (weight about 1.5 lb)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, to drizzle
  • 3/4¬†cup packed fresh cilantro (from 18-20¬†sprigs)
  • 2-3¬†fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 ” shoot of fresh ginger
  • 1-2 Thai green chillies (or any hot chili, adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5-6 black peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • 2 tablespoon finely desiccated fresh coconut
  • 1-2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Few lemon slices to insert while baking (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil (optional, only if needed during blending)
  • Oil for frying
  • salt to taste

Note – Make sure that the herbs etc and olive oil are of good quality in this recipe.The taste and freshness goes a long way in this recipe since they are the main flavors.

Method

Pat the trout dry. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle liberally on both sides as well as the slit inside with salt.Set aside for 10 minutes.

In a blender, place all the ingredients listed and pulse to make a fine paste. Do not use water to thin the paste. If needed, use olive or any neutral oil. Brush this paste on both sides of the fish, stuff inside the fish. Layer sliced lemon if using. Let sit for 25-30 minutes, refrigerated.

When ready to cook. Heat up the oven to 400 F. Heat up 2-3 tablespoon oil to smoking high in a cast iron (or any oven safe pan). Put the marinated fish in the pan and let sear for 2-3 minutes. Flip and let sear on the other side. Once the fish has seared, put the pan in the preheated oven and let cook for 8-10 minutes (this time will be more or less depending on the type of fish and the cut & weight, adjust accordingly)

If you do not have an oven, after searing on both sides, put the heat to low, cover the pan and let finish cooking on its juices for 8-10 minutes, flipping once in between for even cooking.

Once the fish has cooked, squirt some fresh lime juice to taste.Serve with some steamed vegetables of steamed rice.