Friday, September 4, 2015

Kesar badam doodh (Saffron and Almond milk)

This is a traditional recipe from my family. Milk is must everyday and on special occasions it would get transformed into this fragrant, pale yellow elixir which tastes heavenly. My best memories of the drink are the fasting days when it would be especially made and devoured eagerly.

Milk with saffron and almonds is known for its health benefits. Saffron has digestive, anti - oxidant, antiseptic and also anti - depressive properties. Almonds have Protein, Fiber, Vitamin E, Manganese and Magnesium.


1 liter milk
10 pieces almonds
10 pieces cashew nuts
Fat pinch of saffron
2 tablespoons sugar

Soak the almonds and cashew nuts in water for about an hour. Peel the almonds and slice both in long slivers.

In a thick bottomed pan, heat the milk. When it comes to a boil, take aside a few spoonfuls and soak the saffron in it. Add sugar to the milk and continue to heat till the sugar dissolves. Now add the soaked saffron and continue to boil till the milk starts becoming darker in color and reducing in volume. When it reaches 3/4th volume, switch off the heat. Add the nuts. 

You can enjoy it either hot, warm or chilled!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sabudana Khichdi

Does it really need an introduction? Soft spongy balls of tapioca with perfectly cooked soft cubes of potato with nutty roasted peanuts with the spicy kick of ginger and chilies. 
Always use the large sabudana, the small one will become a sticky lump in this method of preparation. 


250 grams sago / tapioca / sabudana (approx 2 cups after being soaked and drained)
1 1/2 cups diced potato (3 medium potatoes)
1/3 cup peanuts
2 green chilies
1 inch piece of ginger
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons groundnut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 handful of coriander, chopped
Lemon wedges

Wash the sabudana under water till the starch is washed away (the water will be clear). Take about 1/2 cup of water and soak the sago in it. Cover the vessel. If it becomes dry, sprinkle some water on the sago and cover again. Let it soak for about 1 hour. The balls will fluff up and become soft.
Dry roast the peanuts either in an air fryer for 7-8 minutes at 180 deg or in a thick bottom wok on the stove. Keep stirring continuously (if using a wok) for even roasting. Crush the peanuts in short pulses in a blender till coarsely ground. Removing the skin of the peanuts is optional.

Wash and remove the stem of the chili. Remove the skin of the ginger and chop into small pieces. Take the chilies, ginger, salt (1 teaspoon, only enough for the sago), sugar and lemon juice and crush using a blender.

In a wok, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. Stir to make sure all the seeds crackle evenly. Add the cubed potatoes and salt (only enough for the potatoes). Mix once and cover to cook. The potatoes will take about 10 minutes to cook. Stir gently once midway to make sure all the potatoes are cooked evenly. When the potaoes are cooked, add the sabudana, crushed peanuts and chili-ginger paste. Fold in gently till everything is evenly combined. Cook till the sabudana starts becoming translucent, about 5 minutes. The chili ginger paste will also be cooked. Towards the end add the coriander and mix.

Serve hot with a wedge of lemon and curd on the side.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Khajur Anjeer Shake (Date and Fig Shake)

A tasty and interesting drink which is protein rich, fiber rich along with a plethora of vitamins and minerals. It can be breakfast shake or a welcome drink as well. I usually make this on fasting days for breakfast as it easily tides you over to lunch. This proportion of figs and dates makes it mildly sweet, if you like it sweeter, add some powdered sugar. Makes 4 servings.

5 pieces Figs
10 pieces Omani Dates
15 pieces Cashew nuts
1 litre milk

Remove the pits from the dates. Then chop the figs and dates into small pieces. Soak the figs, dates and cashew-nuts in a cup of warm milk for 2 hours. You can even soak them overnight but remember to put them in the fridge.

When the dry fruits have softened, blend till smooth. Add the remaining milk and blend again. If you like it frothy, add a few ice cubes and blend.

If your blender jar is small, blend the figs and dates first. Then blend in the milk in 2-3 batches, making sure you leave some of the date-fig mix in the jar every time. Mix it all up in a tall pitcher.

Serve chilled!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Triple Layer Chocolate Kalakand

This Rakhi we had a special sweet to celebrate. Home-made Chocolate Kalakand. It's an easy fool proof recipe resulting in luscious grainy kalakand. If you like smooth kalakand, sieve it through a wire sieve before adding the condensed milk. You can store it in the refrigerator for upto 1 week in a air tight container.


1 teaspoon ghee
3 litres full fat milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
400 grams sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
Slivered pistachios for garnish

For the chocolate layer
1 tablespoon cocoa powder 
1 tablespoon milk
4 tablespoons milk chocolate chips

For the chocolate ganache 
50 ml cream 
50 grams milk chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate)

In a saucepan, take the 3 litres of milk and bring to a boil. Once it boils, take it off the heat. Then add the lemon juice and stir. The paneer / ricotta will separate from the liquid. Strain using a cheesecloth or steel sieve. Drain as much liquid as you can. 

In a heavy bottomed wok, take the ghee and add the paneer. Next add the condensed milk and stir to mix. Breakdown any lumps in the paneer with a spatula. Continue to cook on low heat till all the moisture has evaporated. It takes about 15-20 minutes. Divide the mixture into 3 parts.

Take a 9x9 square / rectangle pan and grease with ghee. Divide the mixture into 3 parts. Take out 1/3rd portion for plain kalakand layer. In this layer, add the cardamom and mix well. Spread out this in the greased tray into an 8/10 mm thick layer. I wanted tall pieces so I spread it to only 2/3rds of the pan.

In the remaining mixture add the cocoa powder, milk and chocolate chips. On very low heat, continuously stir the mixture till all the chocolate has melted and the milk is cooked out. Spread this on the plain kalakand layer. Press down well to compact it. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes. 

In another saucepan, heat the cream. When it is hot, not boiling, add the chocolate and stir to melt the chocolate. When the chocolate has melted and it becomes a smooth ganache, bring it to room temperature. Now pour this over the cold kalakand in 2-3 mm layer. Try to get an even layer and be careful not to pour it over the side. Let it set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cut with a sharp knife into 1 inch rows and columns. Garnish with pistachios.

 Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
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