Categories
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.

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Snacks vegan Vegetarian

Orange Flavored Cashew- Almond Fudge (Peda)

Sinfully Spicy : Orange flavored Cashew Almond Sweet Balls (peda) #glutenfree #veganIt was one of the most important day of my life as we drove through wide but still crowded roads due to evening traffic, long after sun down to Kashmiri Gate, to the university campus in Old Delhi to figure out if I made it to that year’s list of DCE or Delhi College of Engineering. I remember me and mom sat and waited in the car while dad walked out to check the notice board. Those fifteen minutes,that day, might have been the longest of my life, as I sat and observed the varied expressions of cheer and dismay on the faces of others coming out of the red-painted door and then walking towards the crowded parking lot. As many parents passed our car, clear among the noisy chaos of honks and shouting kin, I could hear the conversations of celebrations, as also the consoling whispers of ‘there are few more results left’. Every time those sounds touched my ears, my heart rejoiced for half a second and next moment, the random thoughts weaved an abyss against hope. I might have blinked my eyes lesser than usual, my throat felt dry and itchy but my glances just waited for dad to emerge out of that red-painted door. I could hear mom’s cell phone ringing constantly, every other relative & rest of the family calling in to check if I ‘got through’. She pretended to be normal, but I could segregate the egdy tones of anxiety when she uttered ‘pata nahi‘ (don’t know).

Sinfully Spicy : Orange flavored Cashew Almond Sweet Balls (peda) #glutenfree #veganThe engineering entrance exam system in India gets more tough each year than the actual exam itself mainly due to the exponential increase in number of takers. Colleges in big metropolitan cities are more sought after and it definitely boils down to minute differences in performance to rank you higher or not. I had been preparing for this exam for almost a year and as expected I was nervous on the result day. Badly.

Sinfully Spicy : Orange flavored Cashew Almond Sweet Balls (peda) #glutenfree #vegan

Sinfully Spicy : Orange flavored Cashew Almond Sweet Balls (peda) #glutenfree #veganIt was 7:43 pm. Dad emerged out of the door with a flat face.My heart skipped a beat and I started sweating like a pig. I could feel my ear lobes turning red and my throat choking. We could not keep inside the car anymore and I forced myself and ran to him. Mom rushed after. I looked at him with deer eyes.He still kept a straight face. I don’t remember but for the first time in last fifteen minutes I would have opened my palms to clutch his sleeve. He looked at us and with the most lovely smile spreading across his face that I might have witnessed ever, he said ‘ho gaya, mithai khilao‘ (You got in, get the sweets!). Tears rolled down my eyes. Music to my ears. The world at my feet. I was through!

Sinfully Spicy : Orange flavored Cashew Almond Sweet Balls (peda) #glutenfree #veganMithai or sweets form an integral part of indian culture.Each occasion of life is celebrated with them.The streets and neighborhood of the country are dotted with sweet shops and if you find ever yourself stuck in a desert, you would be less than a mile away from one. ‘Peda‘ is one of the popular sweets from the ‘Uttar Pradesh’, the part of India my mother hails from and these are essentially fudgy, thick, semi soft, sweet chunks made with mava (milk solids)sugar and ghee. However, these fudgy cashew almond peda, I made are dairy free as well as need very few ingredients for preparation.My daughter loves any mithai made with cashews, so these were mainly made for her though we enjoyed them as well. The slight hints from the orange paired very well with the nuts even though the aroma of sweet green cardamom is more prominent. These could get addictive. These gluten-free, vegan balls can be an excellent after school snack. Make some and enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Glutenfree, Dairy Free & Vegan sweet fudge made with cashew and almond meal.

Ingredients (Makes 25 )

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1.5 cup cashew nut meal (or powdered raw cashews)
  • 1 cup almond meal (or powdered raw almonds)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 6 green cardamom pods, seeds crushed
  • 1 tbsp ghee (optional, required during kneading, use any vegan substitute)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar to roll

Method

In a wide, heavy bottomed pan (I use my 12″ skillet) or a kadhai, mix up the sugar and water. Set the pan on low flame and let the sugar dissolve. Stir (I use my rubber spatula) the solution once or twice while the sugar dissolves so that the sugar does not stick to bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, grease the surface that you will be using to knead with 1/2 tablespoon ghee.

Once the sugar has completely dissolved, add the cashew and almond meal to the pan. Mix everything and brace yourself for some hard work. Keep on stirring and stirring as the mix cooks on low flame. The process will be slow in the beginning and you will feel that it will take forever but do not worry. Keep on stirring, scraping the mixture on low flame, do not let the mixture stick to the sides of the skillet.

After about 20-22 minutes, you will see that the mixture starts thickening and coming together.We will shortly be getting there, once the mixture is thick, do not bother much about scraping the sides as they will be really dry. Around 24 minutes, the mixture will start resembling a soft, sticky dough and will clump up around the spatula. If you try to bring the mixture together in one place on the skillet, it will try to slowly spread (similar to how a glug of cold honey spreads on a surface). Mix in the orange zest and crushed cardamom. Put off the stove.

Immediately transfer to the greased surface and leave to cool a bit until its safe to handle.Once the dough has cooled slightly, rub a teaspoon of ghee on your hands and very gently knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Remember that the dough needs to be warm when you knead so just wait till its safe to touch, do not let it cool down completely, else it will not knead and remain grainy.Do not press very hard as you knead else the nuts  will start oozing their oil. You can grease you hands or the dough with ghee in between if it starts feeling sticky.

While the kneaded dough is still warm, pinch small portions of it and roll into a smooth ball. Roll the balls in powdered sugar.

Once cooled, store the peda in air tight container for up to a week.

Thank you for stopping by!

Notes 

  1. The time of cooking noted in this recipe will vary if you are using any other kind of sugar than granulated, since the water content of different varieties of sugar is different.
  2. You can use any kind of flavorings – saffron or kewra (screw pine water) instead of orange zest & cardamom.

Stay Spicy!

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Baking Breakfast Brunch Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Semolina-Almond Cake

Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With CardamomI remember that many mornings at my badi mummy’s (grand mother’s ) house opened with a warm bowl of sooji halua, a ghee laden dessert made with toasted semolina and milk, speckled with grains of woody black cardamom. In fact,it would not be exaggerating to say that the strong,nutty aroma of toasting sooji filling the air of the house sometimes managed to pull me out of the bed early,especially on the lazy weekend mornings. With half closed eyes, I headed straight to the verandah where we usually ate breakfast . Sometimes, there were cups of chai and warm bowls of halua already waiting to be eaten, many times, the eating had to wait a bit longer, for it took a extra while to roll and deep fry pooris to go along. Yes halua – poori is exactly what I am talking about here, an immensely carbohydrate loaded meal but at the same time so comforting. Those the days when you could eat as much as you wished to.The variety of foods at our mealtimes were many.An amazingly beautiful thing in the house that I grew up in, a tradition that instilled in us the virtue of sharing and caring.In those times, childhood could absorb so much sugar, oil and calories. Much unlike now when a bowl of halua will push me a step closer to long naps during mid day, I remember playing around the aangan (back yard) for hours. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With CardamomSemolina is quite a popular flour of choice when baking cakes in indian homes.There were a couple of sweet as well as savory cakes that my mother baked for us using it.Most of the cakes were steamed inside the pressure cooker(for she did not own an oven then) and they came out pretty awesome.In contrast to the sugar syrup drizzle that I used in my recipe, inspired by arabic desserts, the pressure cooker cakes from my childhood were really moist and soft.They didn’t need any glaze, drizzle or makeup, as mum says. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With Cardamom Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With CardamomThis cake is full of flavors from those days of sooji halua eating mornings.The ingredients are very few and the condensed milk and nutty almond meal makes it a lot, lot better than the actual dessert. It is quite a dense cake and a small portions will instantly make you feel full. I would really recommend not skipping that sugar syrup to cut down the sweet else it may taste dry.I do not soak the cake in entire quantity of the syrup and save some to drizzle just when serving. It keeps the cake moist just when you are about to enjoy it. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With Cardamom You can substitute any nut powder of choice here and make it. Also, I found that this cake travels and packs really well,once it cools down completely and you cut the slices, they can be packaged for lunch boxes, care packages and on the go snacks.Serve with black or green tea. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With Cardamom Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes a 9″ round)

  • 1 no 14oz sweetened condensed milk can
  • 10 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted + more for the cake pan
  • 1/2 cup +1 tablespoon whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 + 1/3 cup coarse semolina (not the instant,quick cooking kind)
  • 1+1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom powder (from 5-6 pods)
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds for top (optional)

For the Sugar Syrup

  • 10 tablespoon crystal sugar (I use raw)
  • 6 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder (from 2-3 pods)

Notes

  1. I use ready made almond meal, if you plan to make your own, do not crush the blanched almonds to a point that they release their oils.Let there be a coarse sandy texture.
  2. This cake does not rise much. So if you want a high rise cake, use a smaller dish to bake it.

Method

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9 “X 2” round cake pan. I use parchment paper lining for easy handling.

In a large bowl, mix whisk together condenser milk, melted butter, milk and baking powder to smooth slurry. Add semolina and almond meal to it along with cardamom powder. Mix together to combine to a smooth batter. Do not over mix.

Transfer the batter to the cake pan. Scatter the raw almonds on top. Bake for 35 minutes or so or until a skewer comes out clean and the edges are nice and golden brown.

Once the cake is baked, take it out and drizzle liberally with the sugar syrup (recipe below) while still warm.

I sometimes, reserve 1/4 cup or so of the syrup to be used for instant moistening when serving the cake (optional)

Let cool completely. Slice and serve.

For the Sugar Syrup 

While the cake is baking, in a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and water. Cook for 10-12 minutes on low medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup has thickened a bit. Put the stove off and add cardamom powder to the syrup.Keep the syrup warm. Drizzle the warm syrup on the cake as soon it comes out of the oven.

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Indian Streetfood Pasta/Noodles Vegetarian

Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Vermicelli Dessert)


Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)This recipe is my take on the popular indian dessert called ‘rabdi falooda‘, which is basically vermicelli (falooda) soaking in sweet thickened milk(rabdi) and consisting of a burst of texture in every bite, for it is studded with chopped nuts & soaked basil seeds and is usually topped with a big scoop of ice-cream. To me this dessert brings with itself the memory of my college days. When we set out in the wee hours of the morning for a tour of the city. Shopping in our minds and skipping breakfast so that we could start as early as possible, hopping on to three or four buses (the Delhi metro was not operational back then) and changing routes as per bus schedules that day, we measured length and breath of the city to reach our favorite area in the south of Delhi. If you reached the place by 11 in the morning, the day presented myriad way to shop, eat and relax.Not only you could choose and bargain with the vendors over your favorite chunks of bohemian jewelry at length but reaching early would also mean that the time spent in queue at the eating joints would be less. What I would have on my mind since morning were the silky smooth milk shakes and dense rabri falooda in the tallest tumbler available there, I always made sure to ask for an extra serving of that leathery cream from the earthern pot to chew on. After a tiring day, I inhaled the chilled rabri falooda like a portion of ambrosia – full of textural bites and smelling of rose and cardamom.

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)Prepare the ingredients before you start layering. Add as much or as little of whatever you want.

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)The weather in my part of the world has already touched 80 F and we could not have asked for a better dessert for Holi (indian color festival) last week. This dessert, or if you want, call it a thick sweet cold beverage is served with a straw as well as a spoon.It is an immensely popular as a street food in Delhi but maybe not so much in the rest of India since it was the husband’s first time sampling it.There are many flavors and combinations that can be done – talk strawberry, talk vanilla or butterscotch but my favorite has always been the rose.So exotic and extremely cooling on a warm day. It is something you are bound to like. I made it last week and served along with nuggets of homemade rose jelly thrown in. It was well received and all I could say is that I wish I could have made a little more.

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)

Sinfully Spicy- Rabdi Falooda With Rose Jelly (Sweet Vermicelli dessert)Before I hop on the recipe, we are already into the last few days of nomination for Saveur Blog Awards. Please help my blog reach the shortlists if you enjoy my work. You can cast your vote here. Thank you.

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 2-3 servings)

  • 1 package falooda sev ( 2 oz, or use vermicelli)
  • Rabdi, as much as you like (recipe below)
  • Whipped Cream, as much as you like (recipe below)
  • Rose Jelly, as much as you like (recipe below)
  • Rose Syrup, as much as you like
  • Chopped pistachios or almonds, as much as you like
  • Chopped fruits, any kind, as much as you like
  • Soaked basil or chia seeds, as much as you like

For the Rabdi

  • 1 no 12 oz evaporated milk can
  • 1.25 cups whole milk
  • 2 no green cardamom pods
  • 2-4 tablespoon sugar (adjust quantity depending on how sweet you desire)
  • 1.5 tablespoon rose-water

For the Rose Jelly

  •  3 tablespoon water, room temperature
  • 1.5 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 4 tablespoon rose syrup (easily available in indian/pakistani/middle eastern stores, I use this )
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

For the Whipped Cream  

  • 1/2 cup cold whipping cream
  • 1.5 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • pinch green cardamom powder (optional)

Notes

  • Use a dollop of Cool Whip or your favorite ice cream on top.
  • You can add chia, sunflower seeds for extra crunch.
  • If you do not get rose syrup, use strawberry syrup at the bottom layer and for making jelly.

Method

Making Rabdi (This can be done 1-2 days in advance)

Pour evaporated milk whole milk and cardamom pods into a heavy, deep bottom pot (preferably non stick) and put on stove on medium low heat. Let the milk cook till it is reduced to half the quantity.You will need to stir every few minutes or so, make sure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. You can scrape the sides as you stir. The milk will thicken and change color to pale. After about 30-40 minutes, you will see that the milk is thickened.Put off the stove.Pick out and discard the cardamom pods.

Let cool down slightly (about 5-8 minutes). Add sugar and mix well. Let sit to cool down completely. Once cold, stir in the rose-water.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or till ready to use.

Making the Rose Jelly (This can be done 1-2 days in advance)

In a small bowl, add 3 tablespoon water and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let bloom.

Meanwhile, in a small jug/tumbler, mix together hot water, rose syrup, sugar and lime juice. Stir so that sugar has dissolved. Add the bloomed gelatin to it.

Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to cool down.

Pour into a small square glass dish and refrigerate for at least 5 hours. Once chilled and set, unmold (by running a sharp knife along the edges and tapping the bottom of inverted dish) and using a sharp knife cut into squares.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Making the Whipped Cream (This can be done 1 day in advance)

In a cold bowl, using a whisk or hand mixer, whip up the cream to soft peaks. Add powdered sugar 1/2 tablespoon at a time and whip to incorporate.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Making Rabdi Falooda

Cook the falooda sev or vermicelli as per package instruction.Let cool completely. Toss the noodles with rose water.Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Start with 1 tablespoon rose syrup at the bottom of a tall glass. Add the chilled faloooda(or vermicelli). Add 2-3 tablespoon of cold rabdi. Top with 1 tablespoon chopped nuts and 1-2 cubes of rose jelly.

Repeat 2-3 times to make a layered dessert. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Serve chilled.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Breakfast Brunch Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Snacks Vegetarian

Gud -Atte Ka Halwa (Whole Wheat Flour & Jaggery Pudding)



Sinfully Spicy: Atta Halwa (Whole Wheat & Jaggery Pudding)The winter season back home always bought with itself a different feeling than the sun -lit mornings I wake up to here in the Valley.I ponder for few minutes and those foggy mornings & biting chilly winter winds come hovering in my mind, that peak of the cold season spread over few days at the end and start of another year which forced enough reasons to wear multiple layers of clothes, those endless cravings of rich, heavy food and the countless cups of hot beverages that comforted me before darting out of the home to get to work. I often recall those evening trips to crappy street food joints to carelessly stuff on piping hot vegetable momos and egg rolls without any guilt or doubt. I remember those cloyingly sweet adrak(ginger) chai & frothy coffee which I snuggled within my palms on cold weekend mornings, lazily fliping through the newspaper on the couch. Suddenly all I can feel is the warmth of those memories in my heart.

Sinfully Spicy: Atta Halwa (Whole Wheat & Jaggery Pudding)What is your fond winter memory? A warm bowl of soup caressing your numb fingers or a strong cup of coffee to relax your clattering teeth? The silence that wraps the streets of neighborhood at five in the evenings or the mellow sun already preparing to call it a day mid-afternoon? The crisp winds which feel the chilliest on the tip of the nose or the beautiful grey that surrounds the snow days?The beholding sight of snow sculptures outside or the beauty of the flickering fireplace inside?

Sinfully Spicy: Atta Halwa (Whole Wheat & Jaggery Pudding)I recall that badi mummy (my grandmother) would often feed us this smooth and rich atte ka halwa during these winter months, sometimes to soothe our sore throats, other times just as a quick after meal dessert . There we sat on a hand-woven couch in the veranda, wrapped in cozy layers of thin shaleen razais (velvet quilts) and oiled hair, clutching stainless steel katoris (bowls) and spooning this comfortingly warm, golden brown pudding into our tummies.She insisted that nothing could benefit the body more than grains & ghee.This halwa is indeed wholesome – whole wheat flour is slow roasted in ghee till its turns glistening golden then sweetened with gud(jaggery), resulting in a rich concoction few spoons of which will instantly make you feel full.

Sinfully Spicy: Atta Halwa (Whole Wheat & Jaggery Pudding)The main ingredient here is atta (durum whole wheat flour) and a fine grind is what gives the halwa a smooth & velvety texture.In case you have some atta leftover from that package of durum wheat flour you bought to make rotis, this is another recipe for you to try. Gud or jaggery, an unrefined sugar made from boiling date, sugar cane or palm juice is an extremely popular sweetener used all over India. It is considered a benefiting to the body in Ayurvedic medicine and is available in blocks, loaves or powdered form.The unique mild taste of jaggery adds a taste comparable to molasses and a light caramel color to the dishes.The color & the sweetness of this halwa depends mainly on the content of molasses in it.

Sinfully Spicy: Atta Halwa (Whole Wheat & Jaggery Pudding)You can ration the quantity of the halwa you eat & serve but I suggest not reducing the amount of ghee when making this recipe else the halwa loses its rustic appeal and gets chewy. It is supposed to be enjoyed in less quantities but essentially with the richness from all that ghee.I like my halwa  mildly sweet and the amount noted in the recipe perfect for that. You can adjust the quantity of jaggery if you like.

Sinfully Spicy: Atta Halwa (Whole Wheat & Jaggery Pudding)

Printable Recipe 

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 3/4 cup ghee (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
  • 1 +3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup jaggery, powdered (I scrape jaggery from the block using a sharp knife. Jaggery is easily available in indian/pakistani stores.Use 3/4 cup raw sugar if you cannot find jaggery)
  • scant 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • Nuts & Raisins to serve (optional)

Method

In a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai, heat the ghee on a medium low heat till it melts. Once the ghee has melted, add the clove and wait till it crackles. Next, add the flour and roast on medium- low heat, stirring constantly until the wheat flour gets golden brown colour and you smell a nutty aroma.Do not rush this step else the flour will remain raw.It should take about 10-12 minutes and you will see  golden brown, glistening syrup like melted ghee & flour in the pan.

Meanwhile, on the second stove, in a sauce pan, heat water on high.Put off the stove. Wait for 1-2 minutes. Add jaggery to the warm water and stir until the it completely dissolves. If you have broken jaggery from the block and the big chunks are taking time to dissolve, heat up the water a little bit (but do not let it boil). Let sit near to stove.

Once the wheat flour has turned dark brown and it has roasted nicely,reduce heat to low and very carefully pour in the jaggery water into the roasted wheat-flour. It will splutter so be careful. Add the cardamom powder as well.

On low heat, stir quickly and continuously (to avoid lumps) and cook for a minute or less until the mixture turns smooth.Once you add the water, the mixture will immediately cup up and increase in volume.Do not cook for long time else the halwa will thicken and turn dry. Pick the cloves and discard.

Mix in the nuts and raisins (if using ) and combine.

Serve the halwa warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

 

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Vegetarian

Kaju Katli – Fudgy Cashew Thins


A Happy and Prosperous Diwali to all of you!

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indianAs I sit down with a cup of chai after having washed a truck load of dishes and mopping the floors spot free, all I can think of is how back home,my mum would barely have a luxury of five minutes to relax,drink tea and breathe today. It is the largest of Hindu festivals –Diwali in India – a celebration that lasts for at least five days.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indianEarly in the morning she would have soaked rice to make rangolis(decorations)on the floor of the puja (prayer room).The flowers would have been plucked from the garden and tucked inside moistened cloth to keep them fresh till evening.The water soaked diyas(earthern lamps)would be sun bathing by now and she would be busy taking out fancy serve ware and cutlery for evening dinner from the boxes stacked below the bed.By noon, aromas of cardamom and ghee from the kitchen would be permeating the air of our house.There would be some kind of tangy chaat,stuffed dahi vadas resting inside the fridge and spicy jal jeera to greet the guests.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indianDiwali or Deepawali,the festival of lights is celebrated by most indians as an autumn festival signifying the victory of good over evil.According to legend,Lord Rama returned home after fourteen years of exile and defeating the demon kind Ravana on this day. People lit their homes with diyas to celebrate his homecoming and from then the day became a reason for celebration each year for the Hindus. Typically, the goddess of wealth & prosperity, Lakshmi is worshipped on this day, gifts are exchanged with friends and family, there are get togethers, much pomp and show, food, fun and fireworks.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indianI would lie if I told you that mum made Kaju katli at home. She didn’t. Never. She didn’t need to because the streets of Delhi are dotted with amazing halwaiwallas (sweet vendors) making and selling this best tasting confection with cashews.Instead she would be making besan ladoos, warm, nutty chickpea flour balls with ghee and sugar.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indianI have always been intimidated by mithai making at home. They are an art. The ingredients are few and most of them look plain but taste so heavenly if you get the texture right. It took me a lot of pushing by the husband to take up making this fudge treat this year. I was most certain that I would end up messing it up. You could perceive my confidence from the fact that I had planned a few things with the cashew sugar paste if everything did not come out the way it should. But, trust me I was in disbelief of how perfect katli came out.My daugheter, who would not eat any other indian mithai ate these little diamonds like candy,one after the other.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indianTo me kaju katli has always been something really exotic. Fudgy,nutty thins of ground cashews sweetened plainly with sugar, its one melt-in-the-mouth confection. It is one of the most popular mithai in northern india. I always thought that it was a difficult thing to make but no, I was wrong. It is so easy, there are so less ingredients and few things to be kept in mind while you do it. Hopefully you get to make these delicious, gluten free & vegan treats for your family this year. Wishing all a Happy & Safe Diwali again!!

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indian

Sinfully Spicy - Process, Kaju Katli , Vegan & Gluten free Cashew Thins #diwali #indian

Ingredients (Makes 20-22 diamonds)

  • 1.5 cups broken raw cashew pieces (Yield 1 cup +3/4 cup cashew powder)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1-2 drops rose essence
  • 1 tbsp ghee (Optional, required during kneading, use any vegan substitute)

Method

Use cashews at room temperature. If you store your nuts in the fridge, take them out a night before and spread on the kitchen towel to air dry. The cashews should be at room temperature and completely dry before you start powdering them. Transfer the cashew pieces to a dry blender jar and in one go powder them as fine as you can. We need a loose, smooth powder. Take care that the cashews do not become pasty or release their oils and clump up or become sticky (this is very important). If you feel that there are few big pieces in the cashew powder, pick them out or sift the powder using a sieve, but do not overwork the blender to grind the cashews.

In a wide, heavy bottomed pan (I use my 10″ skillet) or a kadhai, mix up the sugar and water. Set the pan on low flame and let the sugar dissolve. Stir (I use my rubber spatula) the solution once or twice while the sugar dissolves so that the sugar does not stick to bottom of the pan. While the sugar is dissolving, rub about 1/2 tbsp of ghee on a kitchen board (or the surface where you will knead) and set aside.

Once the sugar has dissolved, add the powdered cashews to the pan. Mix everything and brace yourself for some hard work. Keep on stirring and stirring as the mix cooks on low flame. The process will be slow in the beginning and you will feel that it will take forever but do not worry. Keep on stirring, scraping the mixture on low flame, do not let the mixture stick to the sides of the skillet.

After about 18 minutes, you will see that the mixture starts thickening and coming together.Add the rose essence (or any other flavorings) now if using and incorporate. We will shortly be getting there, once the mixture is thick, do not bother much about scraping the sides as they will be really dry. Around 22 minutes, the mixture will start resembling a soft, sticky dough and will clump up around the spatula. If you try to bring the mixture together in one place on the skillet, it will try to slowly spread (similar to how a glug of cold honey spreads on a surface). It took me exactly 24 minutes to reach that stage. Depending on the flame settings and water content of the sugar, you can approximately look at 22-28 minutes to reach that stage.

Immediately transfer to the greased surface and leave to cool a bit until its safe to handle.Once the cashew dough has cooled slightly, rub a teaspoon of ghee on your hands and very gently knead the dough for 5-7 minutes to form a ball. Remember that the dough needs to be warm when you knead so just wait till its safe to touch, do not let it cool down completely, else it will not knead and remain grainy.Do not press very hard as you knead else the cashews will start oozing their oil but there should be enough pressure so that a small ball is formed. You can grease you hands or the dough with ghee in between if it starts feeling sticky.

One you get a smooth ball, flatten it out slightly. Place a  large and wide sheet of wax or butter paper on the dough and using a rolling-pin, roll it out to a 1/3″ thickness, or you can roll out as thin or thick as you like. Using a sharp knife  (or a ravioli cutter, like I did), cut into diamonds or squares or any shape you like.

Serve or store in an air tight container at room temperature for 5-6 days.

Notes 

  1. The time of cooking noted in this recipe will vary if you are using any other kind of sugar than granulated, since the water content of different varieties of sugar is different.
  2. You can use any kind of flavorings – cardamom, saffron or kewra (screw pine water) instead of rose essence .
  3. This recipe can be use for almond powder too.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Brunch Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Side Dishes Vegetarian

Sabudana Kheer – Tapicoa Pudding (Glutenfree)

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 001

My grandma used to make sabudana kheer on days when she observed fasts, not so much otherwise.I remember skipping meals and tucking down quite a number of bowls of it on those occasions.

Like most puddings, this one does not require much effort in cooking, so it was not the cooking time but the wait till sunset that got me impatient. Despite the fact that I wanted to lick it right away from the pot as soon as it was ready, we waited until prayer time. She would then fill the bowls with the kheer and spoon over generous amount of ghee sautéed raisins and almonds. She did not use saffron in hers, but I like the hue and flavor it lends, so it is must when I make kheer.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 002

This luscious kheer is as comforting as a rice pudding, but much more smooth, almost custard like.The fluffy, opaque tapioca pearls melt down in the bubbling milk, naturally thickening it, become translucent and get pleasantly chewy as the kheer cooks. You can smell the mellow aroma of the starchy pearls and the saffron, the starch from the tapioca also makes the consistency silk-like.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 003

Kheer forms a quintessential part of indian cuisine. It is a perfect accompaniment to spicy food and is usually a must during religious celebrations and festivals as offering to God.Wedding and special occasion menus are incomplete without certain kind of kheer, making it the most popular way of rounding off the meals.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 004

I am such a huge fan of puddings and fail to understand how can somebody (like my husband ) doesn’t want to eat it. There’s something so comforting about a gooey, warm bowl of kheer, redolent with an aroma of saffron with nuts adding a texture.

Go imaginative with the kind of aroma you want to flavor this pudding with, I have tried, vanilla, orange zest and rose-water. It tastes as wonderful with each of them.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 004

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1/3 cup sabudana (tapioca)
  • 2 tsp ghee
  •  1/2 cup nuts of choice ( I used sliced almond &raisins)
  • 2.5-3 cups whole milk
  • 2 green cardamom, cracked
  • 1/2 tsp saffron soaked in  1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar ( or to taste)

Notes:-

  1. Depending on the size and quality, you will need to soak tapioca pearls for 20 minutes (smaller variety) or up to 3-4 hours(larger variety).
  2. You could use a combination of cream & milk or half and half depending on how rich you want the pudding.
  3. The amount of milk in the recipe can be varied as per desired thickness of the pudding.
  4. Cooking time of tapioca pearls will depend on variety and how long it takes them to swell up and is cooked through.Please adjust accordingly.
  5. The pudding thickens up as it sits so you will need to thin it out later with little warm milk if serving next day. You can boil up the milk, add the pudding and reheat.

Method – Wash the tapioca pearls in water, drain the water and set aside for 20 minutes.Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pot, melt the ghee on low. Add the nuts to it and sauté for about 20-25 seconds till you smell the aroma. Take out in a bowl and set aside for garnish.In the same pot, add the cardamom seeds and slowly add the milk. Let milk come to a boil on low heat, you will need to stir in between. Once the milk is boiling,add the soaked tapioca to the pot and mix well.

Cook on low – medium heat for 30-35 minutes with continual stirring till you see that tapioca pearls have started to become translucent and are cooked through.Add the saffron milk at this point mix well. Let cook for another 5-10 minutes on low till the tapioca are cooked through. You can pinch one of the pearls between fingers to check that they are soft. Take off the stove and let cool down for 10 minutes. Add the sugar to the pudding and combine well. You can add the ghee sautéed nuts too.Serve the kheer warm or cold garnished with more nuts (if desired) .

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Desserts Festival Recipes Vegetarian

Sinfully Spicy Turns One!! Celebrating With Gulab Jamun & a Giveaway!

365 days…125 recipes…a few thousand comments..a bag full of memories & a truck load of friends around the globe..I m so elated to welcome all of you to the first milestone of a culinary journey which I embarked upon exactly a year back! Sinfully Spicy is 1-year-old WooHoo! 🙂 Traditional & Modern Indian Cuisine with tales woven my family, fusion twists on classic recipes, all coupled with an effort to make Indian food look good through my lens – this is how I envisioned Sinfully Spicy back then..and I am so happy to see it shaping up ..bit by bit..thanks to love buttons pressed by each one of you who lands here.Thank you so much!

A food blog, which was born to kill boredom of sitting at home, then shortly graduated to a hobby and not until few months back when it became a passion, Sinfully Spicy was my foray into this VAST community of food bloggers with absolutely no air of anything except that I could cook a decent meal..which by the way, I thought was enough to barge 🙂 Today, I can plainly say that its was a slight misconception …food blogging is so much more than just being able to cook ! The journey had its ups & downs.Similar to so many of you..when you suddenly smile corner to corner seeing comment love, or when your heart skips a beat the moment it sees a mail ping , or those butterflies in the stomach when a reader tells you that they are going to try your recipe & a rush of disappointment when your recipe doesn’t work out for somebody, it’s a sine curve and I have lived it so closely in one year. Then the most precious thing- the bunch of talented people you touch..each different in their own way – sweet, loving, kind & helpful.

Slowly ..I learnt terms like “social media”…”food porn”…”trackbacks”…”subject”…”food styling”…”shot composition”..etc etc etc …each more complicated than the other and frightening for a highly unsocial & introvert person like me. Add to that the photographer who came out of the camera auto mode a few months back 🙂 But the immense love of all my readers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers & blog subscribers brings me out of this cocoon each day. Each morning I get up, open up my mailbox or log on to the dashboard of blog…and see love pouring out from every nook and corner of the computer screen..it is so overwhelming to start the day like this..and no matter how much I write here, only my heart knows how these notes of appreciation have become treasured gems of my life.I may or may not blog forever but the only thing for sure is that even when I will open this page some 15 years down the lane and witness this love & support ..few tears of joy will trickle down my cheeks. Thank you so much all of you ..you have been a source of endless inspiration for me each day – to believe in myself & to be able to recognize & explore the culinary passion that I nurtured in my heart all the way.Hugs 🙂

I would specially like to thank all the readers who tried my recipes.As soon as you inform me or link back, I update my existing blog post with your posts or feedbacks. Maybe I ll do a recipe shout out sometime. Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies with Nutella Filling is the most visited recipe on blog closely followed by Bhuna Murgh, Mutton Meatballs Curry & Indian Espresso Coffee.Indian food is considered to be an intricate affair in the western world..Its always my effort to bring recipes to you without stealing their soul..if you get a hang of basic things..Indian food is an experience! Trust me nothing makes me more happy than knowing that Indian food is able to reach your kitchen via my little blog.

Image via Google

Now lets come to the Giveaway. As a little token to appreciate your fathomless love & support, I have decided to give away 1 copy of Anjum Anand‘s cookbook Anjum’s New Indian.She is lesser known in USA but is a celebrated television personality in UK.If you have seen her shows on The Cooking Channel, you would mirror what I feel about this lovely lady who has been hailed the “The Indian Nigella Lawson” by Vogue.The best thing I like about her is the fact that even though she grew up in the western world, her recipes, story telling and cookery is so close to her indian roots.Her recipes are innovative, combine the best of traditional & modern indian cuisine & really easy to follow. In this cookbook too, she presents more than 100 doable, regional recipes – both vegetarian & non vegetarian.I recently got this book with beautiful photography & have already tried few of her recipes.See the rules of giveaway at the end of  this post.

Images via Google

I asked my  FaceBook fans a couple of weeks back about what they would love to see on the anniversary post – and the request was unanimous – Gulab Jamuns…what better way to celebrate something Indian. A simple sweet which is now synonymous with Indian dessert scenario all over the world. Deep Fried, Melt in the mouth kind dough balls dunked in sugary,rosewater & cardamom syrup – its pure bliss to gobble these up especially when slightly warm. “Gulab” means “rose” in Hindi and “Jamun” is a south asian fruit which has a similar shape & size – that is how the sweet gets its name. Again in India – there are two varieties available one is called gulab jamun (which is light brownish in color) & the second one is called kala jaam/jamun – the same thing except that the dough balls are fried till they are deep brown/blackish in color.I love the second variety more coz the crust is quite chewy!




Rules for the Giveaway:-

This giveaway is open to USA residents.If you reside outside USA but have relatives or friends here, you can use the address & still enter the giveaway.The giveaway is open to bloggers as well as non bloggers.

Mandatory Entry:-

Tell me in the comments section what you like or dislike about this blog, what kind of recipes you would like to see on this blog , scope of  improvement, your suggestions. Just say anything nice..joking 🙂

Additional Entries:- (Leave separate comments for each )

  1. Follow me on Twitter  & tweet about this giveaway.Please include my Twitter handle (@gettanvi) in your tweet.If you are already following me, tell me. Tweet – “Just entered the #giveyway on Sinfully Spicy to win #AnjumAnand cookbook”
  2. ‘Like’ Sinfully Spicy fan page on FaceBook.If you are already a fan,let me know.
  3. Subscribe to this blog via email.

Last day of entering this giveaway is 7th August 2011,11 :59 pm (your part of the world). Since I will be away for a little vacation to Florida, I will come back & announce the winner on Monday, 8th of August, picked by a random draw.See you then!

Ingredients (Makes 18-20 of the size shown)

For the Dough Balls (Jamuns):-

  • Ingredients (Makes 18-20 of the size shown)

    For the Dough Balls (Jamuns):-

    • 1 cup milk powder, unsweetened ( I use Organic Valley )
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tbsp fine powdered nuts (optional ,see notes)
    • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder (see notes)
    • 3 tbsp ghee, at room temperature
    • 2-3 tbsp whole milk yogurt, at room temperature (or as required for kneading)
    • Canola Oil for deep-frying
    • Nuts/dessicated coconut for garnish (optional)

    For the Sugar Syrup:-

    • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cups water
    • Few saffron strands (optional)
    • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
    • 2 tbsp rose-water (use 1-2 drops if using essence)

Notes:-

  1. I take 8-10 mixed nuts (cashews, almonds & pistachios), grind them in coffee grinder to a fine powder.Adding this to the dough gives a terrific, nutty taste in each bite.This is my mom’s trick & I really love it to pep up the texture of the jamuns.
  2. You dont need to buy cardamom powder (its uber expensive), buy whole pods instead from any indian or middle eastern store, just crack open the pods and use your mortar & pestle to grind the seeds into a powder.This is how cardamom is commonly used in Indian homes.
  3. Traditionally, jamuns are fried in pure ghee, however I add 2-3 tbsp of ghee to the oil to add the rich aroma, if you don’t have ghee,then skip)

Method:-

For the Syrup:

  • In a large pot,add water, sugar along with cardamom pods and bring it to a boil.We are not looking for any consistency here, just boil & stir till the sugar dissolves.About 6-8 minutes on medium heat. If you see some scum on top, remove with a spoon.
  • Let the syrup simmer for a minute and then put off the stove. After 5 minutes when the syrup has cooled down a bit,add saffron strands & rose-water to the syrup.
  • Set the sugar syrup aside.

For the Jamuns:-

    • In a bowl or pastry board ,combine the milk powder, flour, baking powder & soda, green cardamom powder & nuts powder(if using) and mix thoroughly.You can sift this once to catch the coarse nuts or lumps if any.
    • Next add the ghee to the mix and rub between hands so that the whole flour mix is moistened.Start adding yogurt and mixing simultaneously to make a soft dough.You do not need to knead or over mix because gluten should not form.Mix with gentle fingers. If you over mix, the jamuns will not absorb syrup and will be hard inside.The dough will be quite sticky.Cover the bowl with a cloth & let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
    • Heat the oil in a frying pan/kadhai on medium heat. The frying pan should have enough oil to cover the balls completely while deep-frying. A way of testing the oil temperature is to pinch a small ball of dough & tip it in the oil, it should rise slowly to the top. If using a thermometer, use the temperature you fry doughnuts at.
    • While the oil is heating, with greasy palms pinch the dough into 18-20 equal parts and roll into small, smooth balls.As far as possible, roll out such that there are no cracks on the balls.This will give the jamuns a smooth look.The balls will double up after frying & soaking in syrup so do not make big balls. Line the balls on a plate & keep covered till ready to fry.
    • Meanwhile if your sugar syrup is cold or luke warm, put it on stove again so that it warms up.We want the sugar syrup warm (not hot) when the fried jamuns are tipped into it. Once warm , transfer the syrup to a bowl big enough to accommodate all the jamuns & keep them soakedAlso keep the sugar syrup nearby because the fried jamuns will go straight from frying pan into the syrup.
    • Once the oil is hot, tip in the rolled jamuns into the oil.Do not over crowd the pan/kadhai.While frying keep flipping the balls gently for even browning all around. Fry until the jamuns become golden brown. About 4-6 minutes depending on size.
    • Once browned,using a strainer, transfer the jamuns straight to the warm sugar syrup.The jamuns should sit undisturbed in the hot syrup for at least 30 minutes before ready to serve.
    • Once soaked, serve in bowl with few tablespoons of syrup & nuts/dessicated coconut garnish.I like them slightly warm.

Notes:-

    1. Do not fry the gulab jamuns too much or on very high heat..they will harden & wont soak up the syrup.
    2. Gulab Jamuns can keep well in the fridge for up to 20 days.Whenver you want to serve, just microwave for 10-15 seconds.They can be frozen for 3-5 months.

Enjoy ..Have a fun Weekend Everyone & Thanks for stopping by !

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Strawberry Phirni – Indian Semolina Pudding

This recipe was featured on 100 ways to use Strawberries at Endless Simmer

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: {Serves 4-5}

Printable Recipe

For the Strawberry Sauce:

  • 3 cups chopped strawberries [fresh or frozen]
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar

For Phirni [Semolina Pudding]

  • 1/2 cup fine semolina flour [suji/sooji] [available in indian stores]
  • 1 tbsp ghee [substitute with clarified butter/unsalted butter]
  • 4 cups evaporated milk [ Substitute with half n half /whole milk/soy or almond or coconut milk for vegan version]
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar [ adjust to taste]
  • 2 tbsp rose-water [use 1-2 drops if using rose essence]
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios & almonds [Or any nuts of choice] + Extra for garnish.

Method:
For the Strawberry Sauce:-
Add the chopped strawberries and sugar to a sauce pan and let cook on low heat for about 5-8 minutes till they are soft.Once they are soft, I used my spatula to mush them in the pan itself,you can blend them to make a smooth sauce if you like.Once cooked, let cool to room temperature, if you feel that the sauce is runny after cooling, you may need to cook it little more to achieve a thicker consistency.Tip the sauce into the glasses or serving bowls and let chill.
For the Phirni :-
[While the strawberry sauce is cooking]
  • In a skillet, on very medium heat,toast the semolina flour along with ghee till its light golden in color.You will need to continuously stir the flour as it roasts and keep a watch because semolina burns easily.Takes about 5-8 minutes.
[While the semolina flour is toasting]
  • In a wide-mouthed, heavy bottomed utensil, let milk come to a boil on medium heat.Stir once or twice midway to prevent milk from sticking to the bottom of the utensil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and start adding the toasted semolina flour to the boiling milk and whisking thoroughly with the other hand.This is a very important step, if you do not whisk continuously, semolina will form lumps within seconds.
  • Within 5 minutes you will see that the milk starts to thicken as the semolina granules swell up and absorb milk.Continue whisking for about 3-4 minutes until you get a thick but runny consistency similar to ketchup.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.Add the granulated sugar, nuts, cardamom powder and rose-water to the semolina-milk mix and combine thoroughly.You will see that as the sugar dissolves the pudding will thin out.Note that it is important to add the sugar while the pudding is still warm.
  • Let the pudding cool to a room temperature and then add it on top of the already cooled strawberry sauce.Cover the bowls/glasses with cling film to avoid formation of skin on top and let set in the refrigerator till set [About 2-3 hours]
  • Garnish with chopped nuts or strawberries and serve chilled.

Notes:
  1. I used canned evaporated milk because we like the taste and the caramel color that it lends to the pudding.In case you will use milk and half n half, you wont get the same color.
  2. Instead of strawberry sauce, try pureed mango , sliced bananas or any other kind of fruit.Please do not use citrus fruits because that may lead to cuddling of the milk in the pudding.You can avoid the fruit sauce completely & make the pudding on its own only.
  3. The same recipe can be used to make phirni with ground rice or cornmeal.In case of rice flour,do not toast it.
  4. The pudding keeps for 2-3 days, refrigerated.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Rice Dishes Vegetarian

Kewra Kheer-Aromatic Rice Pudding With Screw Pine Water & Foxnuts

Kewra Jal or Screwpine water is used to flavor a lot indian curries,biryanis,drinks and desserts particularly those which are milk based.It is also used in lot of indian sweets made out of squashes and dried milk.Drinks prepared with Kewra are said to be have a cooling effect on the body during the scorching summer months.Similar to rose-water or orange blossom water, the essence is more concentrated than Kewra water.The essence may be yellowish or transparent in color.

Other than food, if you happen to visit the beach destinations of India, you can indulge in Kewra water bath and spa sessions at many of the resorts and hotels.Perfumes and body lotions containing essential oils made with Kewra are also popular as stimulants to cure headaches and provide general relaxation to body. Ayurveda,the ancient form of medicinal cure with natural products is known to use Kewra for healing joint pains and bone related problems.All in all Kewra is supposed to have cater to those senses of your body which provide calmness to mind and soul.

Talking about “Makhana” or Foxnuts, these are used a lot to make curries and desserts.These are nothing but puffed seeds of the foxnut plant.Some people like to add foxnut seeds to the daily cereal to increase fibre in their diet.In indian cooking, it is widely used as a natural thickener in crushed or powdered forms.When toasted with butter/oil and sprinkled with salt and dried herbs, puffed foxnuts make a great snack with evening tea.Eating a handful of foxnuts daily is considered to strengthen the heart and is very useful in anemia.

Dont get the impression that the rice pudding that I have prepared using all the stuff above is healthy, but it is certainly rich and flavorful.Anyhow, after all that overdose of knowledge, let me come to the recipe which is nothing but “Kheer” or indian rice pudding made by cooking crushed foxnuts and basmati rice with whole milk and flavored with green cardamom powder and kewra water.It is the most luscious and exotic form of dessert for us.Indian kheer is different from the pudding recipes around the world in the sense that it is not egg based.Some people like to add condensed milk to rice pudding for fast thickening, I normally don’t do that and stick to the traditional way of thickening the milk via slow cooking.It is considered auspicious to offer Kheer to God during festivals.I prepared this recipe last week.Below goes the recipe:

Ingredients [Serves 4]

  • 1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 5 cups whole milk [or half n half]
  • 1/4 cup crushed foxnuts [makhana, available at indian stores]
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar [or adjust to taste]
  • 1 tbsp Kerwa water [If using essence put, 1-2 drops only] [Available at indian stores]
  • 1 tsp green cardamom powder
  • handful of golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • For Garnish- chopped almonds, raisins,toasted foxnuts,pinch of cardamom powder, shredded coconut [optional]

Method:

  • Wash the rice under 2-3 streams of water and let soak in 1.5 cups of water for one hour.
  • In a pot with heavy bottom, pour the milk and let come to a boil.Once boiling,reduce the heat to low, drain the rice and tip into the pot.Tip in the crushed foxnuts also along with rice.
  • Cook the milk and rice mixture on low heat for about 30-40 minutes on low heat stirring at intervals, so that the rice does not stick to the bottom.
  • Cook until rice is soft and broken and milk has reduced to about half the quantity and is thick.
  • Add chopped almonds,raisins and cardamom powder and cook for 10 minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for about 5-8 minutes to cool down a bit.
  • Stir in the granulated sugar and kewra water. Make sure that when you add the sugar the pudding is not very hot.
  • Serve garnished with almonds or any nuts of choice.

Variations:

  • You can use rose water in place of kewra water.
  • This pudding can be prepared with foxnuts only also.

Enjoy!