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Cover: Some like it hot

Recipes with milk

01Oct 12

Kaju Burfi

Kaju BarfiKaju Burfi is a traditional Indian sweet made with cashew nuts. Perhaps because it is a bit expensive to produce, it is considered an exquisite gift. I love to give my friends and family home-made Kaju Burfi on Indian festivals. I have also been known to give it to my non-Indian friends for their birthdays.

One of the reasons Kaju Burfi is so dear is that it contains saffron. Each saffron flower has only three delicate red stigmas which have to be collected by hand, making this one of the most expensive spices in the world. But despite the high price, saffron is definitely worth springing for. It has a unique flavour that really has no substitute. As you know, I am always happy to suggest substitutions for the more exotic ingredients in some of my recipes. However, I just cannot think of any other spice that matches the flavour.

Saffron is what gives so many Indian sweets and desserts their exotic hint. The funny thing about this spice is that despite the fact that its delicate strands are red, it actually colours food yellow.

If you like this idea, have a whirl at my coconut burfi as well.

 

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Kaju Burfi
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Kaju Burfi is a traditional Indian sweet made with cashew nuts.
Ingredients
  • 300g ground Cashew nuts
  • 200g Sugar
  • 600ml Milk
  • 200g Ghee
  • 1tsp Cardamom power
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 3 strands of Saffron
  • 50g grated Coconut
  • 10g chopped Pistachios
Instructions
  1. Soak the cashew nuts in water for 15 minutes.
  2. Blend the cashew nuts finely in a blender on high together with the sugar and the milk.
  3. Heat up the ghee in a large pan.
  4. Add the cardamom power, nutmeg, saffron and grated coconut. Let cook on a low flame for 1 minute, stirring.
  5. Add in the cashew mix from the blender.
  6. Lower the flame and stir. It should become quite thick.
  7. Keep stirring until it thickens to the point that it is all in the centre of the pan.
  8. Remove from heat and put in a greased dish.
  9. Spread it out flat with a spatula.
  10. Let it set for 20 minutes.
  11. Cut into squares or rectangles, garnish with chopped pistachios and serve.

 

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18Sep 12

Shahi Paneer

Shahi PaneerShahi Paneer is a traditional dish that consists of cubes of paneer cheese in a thick, spicy gravy. There are many varieties, but my mother makes it with almonds, which I also have begun to do recently. Of course, I must warn you that this is not a dish that is low in calories. Creamy gravies are never light, and much less so with nuts added in! (Also try my palak paneer recipe.)

Cardamom is an essential spice that contributes to the exotic flavour of this tasty dish. This intense spice comes from the black or green veins of a plant in the ginger family. Because of its intense flavour and aroma, cardamom is one of the most frequently used spices in Indian cuisine

This recipe also calls for garam masala. There are many varieties of garam masala, which is a mix of spices that can contain up to 15 different ingredients. It is sold in speciality Indian food shops.

As I have mentioned before, if you are unable to find paneer cheese, you can substitute it with cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. Likewise, you may substitute ghee with regular butter.

Serve hot over basmati rice or with Naan bread.

Shahi Paneer
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Shahi Paneer is a traditional dish that consists of cubes of paneer cheese in a thick, spicy gravy.
Ingredients
  • 2tbsp Ghee
  • 1 Onion
  • 1cm piece Ginger
  • 2 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 2 Cardamoms
  • 5 Tomatoes
  • 100ml beaten Curd
  • 3tbsp Almond Paste
  • 100ml Water
  • ½tsp Garam Masala
  • 2tbsp plain Tomato Sauce
  • Pinch of Salt to taste
  • 100ml Milk
  • 250g Paneer cheese
Instructions
  1. Melt the ghee in a large pot.
  2. Chop the onion, ginger and green chilli peppers and add to the pot. On medium heat, fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the cardamoms and fry for 2 more minutes.
  4. Chop the tomatoes and add in. Fry for 4 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Slowly stir in the curd and almond paste and let cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the stove and stir in the water.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Blend with a hand blender and return the mix back into the pot.
  9. Add the garam masala, tomato sauce and salt and bring to the boil. When boiling, it should form a thick gravy.
  10. Chop the paneer cheese into 3cm by 3 cm cubes.
  11. Stir in the milk and cubes of paneer and boil for another 5 minutes.
  12. Serve.

 

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20Aug 12

Pineapple Shrikhand

Pineapple Shrikhand
Pineapple Shrikhand
is a refreshing Indian dessert that is perfect for hot summer days. Served cold, it is light and low-calorie. Like most Londoners, I will be closely following the Olympics this summer. And I will be snacking on this classic West Indian dessert while I do so!

Shrikhand is a bit like a yoghurt-based mousse. The yoghurt is traditionally sweetened with sugar and then spiced with saffron and cardamom. Many people also add nuts and fruits. I have experimented with all kinds of garnishes over the years, but my favourite is this Pineapple Shrikhand. However, feel free to replace the pineapple with any other fruit that takes your fancy, such as mango.

The trick to getting a nice, thick consistency for your Shrikhand is to drain the yoghurt first. Remember, it shouldn’t be a drink like a Lassi. It is more like a mousse.

Saffron is the spice that lends this dessert its exotic taste. I find its striking flavour and aroma to be absolutely enchanting. It is a very expensive spice, but if you spring for it once in a while, you will be glad you did.

If you like yoghurt -based desserts, try my low-fat mango and mint lassi recipe or this white chocolate mousse.

Pineapple Shrikhand
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Shrikhand is a bit like a yoghurt-based mousse dessert. The yoghurt is traditionally sweetened with sugar and then spiced with saffron and cardamom.
Ingredients
  • 600g Yoghurt
  • 250g Sugar
  • 8-10 strands of Saffron
  • 50g Milk
  • 100g chopped Pineapple
  • ½tsp Cardamom powder
  • ½tsp crushed Pistachios
  • ½tsp crushed Almonds
Instructions
  1. Put the yoghurt in a strainer or a muslin cloth, over a bowl. Let drain in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Afterwards, place the thick yoghurt in another bowl, add sugar and mix.
  3. Soak the strands of saffron in hot milk for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir the saffron into the yoghurt.
  5. Chop the pineapple into small chunks and stir them into the yoghurt.
  6. Stir in the cardamom powder.
  7. Crush the pistachios and almonds and stir them into the yoghurt.
  8. Let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

 

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17Jul 12

Salty Ginger Lassi Drink

Salty Ginger LassiI absolutely love whipping up lassi drinks. Lassis are thick, creamy drinks made from yoghurt blended with various spices and fruits. They make a great alternative to fattening milkshakes for those of you who are watching your weight, since yoghurt is much lower in fat content than ice cream. Like milkshakes, they are served ice cold, so they make a refreshing snack on a hot summer afternoon.

Now, I know most of you think of milkshakes as sweet drinks. Similarly, those of you familiar with Indian food might possibly think of lassis as only sweet beverages. Many people order mango lassis with cardamom and pistachios in Indian restaurants at the end of a spicy meal. However, there are other variants of the lassi recipes as well—something my friends were delighted to learn last weekend when I served them this Salty Ginger Lassi Drink. (If you like the taste of ginger, I recommend this sugar-free gingerbread.)

Another great thing about lassis is that they are so easy to make. You can whip one up in just a few minutes, and it really takes no effort at all.

This recipe is for a fairly thick beverage, but you can adjust it to the consistency you want. If you want a smoother testure, just add a bit more water or milk. You want to blend the ingredients for long enough that the lassi has a smooth consistency, but not so long that the blender starts to warm the drink up a little. Remember, you will want to serve this very cold!

Salty Ginger Lassi Drink
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is a Salty Ginger Lassi Drink
Ingredients
  • 400ml Milk
  • 500ml Yoghurt
  • ½tsp Salt (or Salt to taste)
  • 1tsp Ginger Powder
  • Ice Cubes
Instructions
  1. Pour in the milk. You can use skim milk for a less fattening version.
  2. Add in the yoghurt. Again, I recommend low-fat yoghurt if you are watching your weight.
  3. Blend the milk and yoghurt in the blender.
  4. Add in the salt and the ginger powder and give it another quick blend.
  5. Test the consistency. If you find it too thick, add in a bit more milk (or even water) until you are satisfied.
  6. Serve ice cold in glasses with ice cubes, although you could also blend the ice with the other ingredients.

 

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13Jul 12

Coconut Burfi

Coconut BurfiIt is no secret around my house that I have a sweet tooth. I just love a sugary treat—for breakfast, for an afternoon snack, or for a mid-morning pick-me-up. To me, coconut is absolutely one of the tastiest ingredients in any dessert. (Try it in Grandma’s chocolate tiffin.)

I think I inherited this love of sweet coconut desserts from my mother. In fact, this is one of her favourites to prepare. For this recipe you can use fresh coconut, but it is sometimes hard to grate. I find that buying the coconut already grated from the market is much easier.

Sweet, flavourful and chewy, coconut burfi is one of my favourite sweets. The recipe is simple, the method is very easy, and the taste is absolutely heavenly. Can you tell I love it?

Burfi has a shelf life of about 10-15 days, so you can make it in advance and keep it ready to serve when needed. During the hot summer, you should probably only keep it for about a week because the heat will make it go bad sooner.

Just a quick warning—Coconut Burfi is very chewy, so people with retainers or braces on their teeth should not indulge.

 

Coconut Burfi
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
A fantastic coconut dessert
Ingredients
  • 500g Coconut, finely grated
  • 500g Sugar
  • 300ml Water
  • 2tbsp Milk
  • 20 Pistachios, whole or in slices
  • 4tbsp Ghee
  • Pinch of Cardamom Powder
Instructions
  1. Roast the 20 pistachios lightly in a pan with no oil. Remove them and set them aside.
  2. Heat up 1tbsp of ghee in a pan. Fry the finely grated coconut in this pan. Do not fry it for too long. You do not want it to turn brown.
  3. In a separate pot, boil the water.
  4. When it is boiling, slowly stir in the sugar. Keep stirring. The water with the sugar must come to the boil again.
  5. Now add in the milk and bring to the boil while stirring.
  6. Once it boils, lower to a medium flame and stir until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
  7. When it is syrupy, slowly pour it into the pan with the fried coconut.
  8. Keep stirring on a medium flame until it forms a thick paste.
  9. Grease a rectangular casserole dish with the rest of the ghee.
  10. Now remove it from the flame and spread it in this rectangular dish. Flatten the coconut mixture.
  11. With a knife, cut it into 20 small squares.
  12. Sprinkle a pinch of cardamom powder over the burfis.
  13. Put one pistachio on each square.
  14. Let cool. It is ready to serve!

 

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11Jul 12

Sarkarai Pongal

Sarkarai Pongal
Sarkarai Pongal
is a traditional sweet dish from South India. It is made during the Pongal festival, and symbolically offered to the sun god before being eaten. But you don’t have to go all the way to South India during the Pongal festival to enjoy this tasty treat. I’m going to teach you how to prepare it from the comfort of your own home.

This recipe calls for mung daal, which are mung beans that have been stripped of their hulls. These healthy legumes can be found in speciality vegetarian shops or speciality Indian shops.

You will also need to buy jaggery, a healthy natural sugar, to prepare this dessert properly. The refined white sugar you buy at the supermarket has been heavily processed with many chemicals. Jaggery, however, is naturally processed from sap, without any added stuff. This means it retains all its natural properties and minerals. And apart from being much healthier, it has a richer taste. Jaggery is a bit like buttery molasses.

Preparing Sarkarai Pongal with this sweet substitute will add authenticity to the dish, so it is well worth buying. And, as always, the ghee in this dessert can be substituted for regular butter.

To scoop up all the gooey sweetness in my recipe, I recommend this raisin bread.

Sarkarai Pongal
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Sarkarai Pongal is a traditional sweet dish from South India. It is made during the Pongal festival, and symbolically offered to the sun god before being eaten.
Ingredients
  • 2L Milk
  • 225g Rice
  • 50g Mung Daal
  • 250g Jaggery
  • 2tbsp Ghee
  • 15 Almonds
  • 15 Cashews
  • 50g Raisins
  • 1tsp Cardamom powder
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 10 strands of Saffron, crushed
Instructions
  1. Bring the milk to the boil.
  2. Wash the rice and mung daal and stir them into the milk once it is boiling.
  3. Cook the rice and mung daal for 15 minutes on high heat.
  4. Grate the jaggery with a regular cheese grater. Use the larger holes on your grater.
  5. Slowly stir in the jaggery and the ghee. They should melt fairly quickly.
  6. Lower the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  7. Chop up the almonds and cashews very finely.
  8. Slowly mix in the almonds and cashews.
  9. Add in the raisins, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron.
  10. Bring to the boil again and let cook for another 5 minutes. Stir constantly.
  11. Sarkarai Pongal can be served hot or cold. In the summer, I prefer to eat it cold.

 

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26Jun 12

Chicken Biryani

Chicken BiryaniChicken Biryani is a tasty Indian dish made with a layer of marinated chicken and a layer of basmati rice. Some people alternate and do four or even six different layers, but in my house we always prepared it with just one layer of chicken and one layer of rice.

I have always made this with ghee, which is Indian butter. Ghee can be bought at many speciality Indian grocery stores, or you can try my ghee recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Chicken
  • 100ml Yoghurt
  • 1 Green Chilli Pepper
  • 8 Cloves Garlic
  • 5tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1/2tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 500g Basmati Rice
  • 1l Water
  • 300g Ghee
  • 2tbsp Whole Garam Masala
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 4 Medium Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 30ml Milk
  • 1/2tsp Saffron
  • Pinch of Salt to taste

Preparation Method:

  1. Chop the raw chicken into medium-sized cubes.
  2. Mix the yoghurt, finely chopped green chilli pepper, ginger powder, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder in a big bowl.
  3. Add the chopped chicken.
  4. Let this mixture marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  5. In a bowl, cover the basmati rice with water. Let it soak for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the rice from this water and rinse it in a strainer.
  7. Fill a pot with 1 litre of water. Add the rice. Bring it to the boil. Once it is boiling, let it cook for 2-3 minutes. You should only cook the rice halfway at this point. You are going to finish cooking it later. Take it off the stove and set it aside.
  8. Melt the ghee in a pot.
  9. Add the garam masala and gently roast it. It will pop in the pot, so be careful not to get burnt.
  10. Chop the onion and 4 cloves of garlic finely and add them to the pot. Fry the onions until they are golden brown.
  11. Add the finely chopped tomatoes to the pot and cook for 3 more minutes.
  12. Add the marinated chicken to the pot and stir all these ingredients.
  13. Make sure all the ingredients in the pot are level and flat by patting them with a wooden spoon. Now add the layer of basmati rice by putting all the half-cooked rice on top.
  14. In a separate pan, heat up the milk and add the saffron. Let them cook together for one minute.
  15. Sprinkle this milk and saffron mixture on top of the rice.
  16. Cover the pot with a very tight lid. Let this simmer on a low flame for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

Makes: Enough for 8 servings

Takes: 2 hours (plus 4-6 hours to marinate the chicken)

Note: Although not Indian, I recommend this hot and spicy chicken with almonds recipe. It´s another tasty chicken and rice option!

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10Jun 12

Bhatura

BhaturaBhaturas are Indian fried puffy breads. They actually puff up as you deep fry them, which is why they are a lot of fun to make. This is a lovely recipe I learned from my grandmother. (If you want more ideas, try this cheese and onion bread recipe.)

Since they are neither sweet nor salty, Bhaturas are very versatile. You can drizzle your favourite chutney on them. Check out my chutney recipes on my homepage.

Many Indians serve these tasty breads with Channa Masala.

 

Ingredients:

  • 240g all-purpose flour (also known as Maida)
  • 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 50g yoghurt
  • 2 tsp. milk

Preparation Method:

  1. Sieve the all-purpose flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
  2. Melt the butter a little bit in the microwave and add to the bowl.
  3. Add the milk and the yoghurt.
  4. Knead until the dough is soft and elastic. This may take a while, but consider it good exercise!
  5. Now roll this dough into a ball.
  6. Cover the ball with a wet cloth.
  7. Set the ball of dough aside for 5 hours. From time to time, check the cloth on top of the dough. You do not want it to dry up completely, so wet it every so often.
  8. After the allotted time, take this dough and knead it more.
  9. Take a small amount and roll it into round circles that are approximately 1 centimetre by 10 centimetres thick. Try to make these circles as perfectly round as possible.
  10. Heat up the vegetable oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Wait until it is very hot.
  11. Take one of these circular Bhaturas and slowly lower it into the oil. Do this slowly because at this point the oil is very hot and if it spatters up on you, it will burn you.
  12. Let it fry for about 2 minutes. It should puff up as it is frying.
  13. Flip the Bhatura over. You will only flip it over once. Wait until it is slightly golden.
  14. Carefully remove from the oil.
  15. Leave it on a paper towel to let the oil drain off. Otherwise, it will be extremely fattening!
  16. Repeat this with the rest of the dough circles.

Makes: 5 Bhaturas
Takes: 30 minutes (plus 5 hours for the dough to sit)

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01Jun 12

Tasty Rava Ladoo

Rava LadooI absolutely love this Rava Ladoo recipe. Rava Ladoo is a tasty dessert that is easy to make. Ladoos are small ball-shaped treats made with plenty of sugar and other spices such as cardamom, a typical spice that we Indians love to add to dessert (try these Pistachio and Cardamom Bicuits).  Ladoos are excellent for parties because they are a nice, small snackable size. This is why in India they are served during holidays and festivals. Once made, ladoos can be stored and last up to a week, so you can prepare this dessert well ahead of any party you’re planning on throwing. That way you don’t have to leave them until the last minute.

Ingredients:

  • 150ml unsalted butter
  • 80g raisins
  • 400g semolina
  • 400g sugar
  • ½  teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 25g cashews and pistachios, crushed
  • 400ml whole milk

Preparation Method:

  1. Crush the cashews and pistachios and set them aside. The mixture should have the same amount of cashews as pistachios.
  2. In a large frying pan, sauté the raisins in the butter. Stir them slowly so they are all evenly cooked. This should make the raisins nice and plump.
  3. Take the raisins out of the butter. Drain them well so that they are not greasy. Set them aside.
  4. Using the same butter, add the semolina. Stir it constantly for 3-4 minutes so that it is evenly cooked.
  5. Add the sugar and continue stirring slowly.
  6. Add in the cashew and pistachio mixture, cardamom powder and the raisins and keep stirring.
  7. Slowly stir in the whole milk.  Stir until the milk is fully absorbed.
  8. Once the milk has been fully absorbed, take the frying pan off the stove and let everything cool down for 5 minutes.
  9. Now you are ready to make it into little lime-sized balls. Don’t wait until it gets too cold, because then it will not hold the shape. But since it is still very hot, I recommend using an ice cream scooper to form the balls.
  10. Leave them on a slightly greased platter. They should be separate so that they don’t stick together.
  11. Let them cool down for at least an hour before serving.

Makes: 35-40 ladoos

Takes: 30 minutes

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19May 12

Low-fat Mango and Mint Lassi

Low-fat mango and mint lassiThis is a another deliciously refreshing lassi drink. You are probably thinking, “Jay! You have already shared a lassi recipe!” And, of course, you are right. However, this version is my low-fat mango and mint lassi is for those who are already preparing for bikini season.

This recipe is even healthier than the last because I include 2 mangos instead of just a few grams. It is made with low-fat yoghurt so that those of us who are watching our figures can enjoy a nice dessert without having to worry about the number of calories. I also replace the sugar with saccharin or other such sweeteners and the milk for skimmed milk.

I once served my friend a Thai green curry with chicken, and she started sweating. She was about to grab her glass of water, when I stopped her and made her this lassi. It immediately soothed her taste buds. I had to laugh because even though the dish was spicy, she kept digging in, all the while taking swigs of the lassi for a good balance. She learned that day why my family likes to have lassi after a spicy meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large fresh mangos, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 900ml low-fat plain yoghurt
  • 520ml skim milk
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • 8 teaspoons of saccharin

Preparation Method:

  1. Put the skim milk, low-fat yoghurt and mango into a blender and blend for 1 minute. The mango should already be well chopped so that you don’t have to blend for too long.
  2. Add the saccharin and blend for 1 minute.
  3. Add the mint and blend for 1 minute more.
  4. Add the crushed ice and blend for 30 seconds. You don’t want to blend for too long here because the ice is already crushed, and you don’t want the blender’s motor to end up heating up the ice. After all, this is supposed to be a cold, refreshing drink.
  5. Serve in a tall glass with a straw.

Takes: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 glasses

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