A New Discovery and an Old Love Story

August 9, 2011 § 6 Comments

Recently I have stumbled upon a food blog that I cant believe or forgive myself that I haven’t discovered earlier. It’s Sinfully Spicy by the Lovely and talented Tanvi. Two weeks ago her blog turned 1 so happy blog-birthday to her!!

My love for Indian cuisine is no secret. I got this deep love, respect and appreciation for that cuisine! All this is traced back to my Father. Ever since we were little kids he used to take us to the most traditional indian restaurants in Dubai and introduce us to all the different flavors, textures and ingredients in it.

He used to talk to us about the history behind it and always always used to say “can you imagine how the maharaja’s used to live? how they were pampered? how all this food was created in a way to please them?” this always took me to another world, imagining their lives, how lush, extravagant and heavenly it was. I have a dream and I hope it comes to reality soon, it is to travel to India. Visit all the different regions and experience the different flavors and history from one another.

Who doesn’t love Indian food? seriously?? can u name one person? they don’t deserve to eat if they do….

Back to the food blog that got me head over heels for her recipes, photography and writing. She got me hooked when I read why she named her blog Sinfully Spicy. She writes “‘Sinfully Spicy ‘…my food blog finally! Why this name..you might ask…and will agree instantly that Indians are sinfully in love with spices.Well I m no exception either! Totally in  love with spices, herbs, fruit extracts,essential oils and anything & everything edible which infuses aroma into food.Very often people relate the word ‘spicy‘ with foods which tingles on the tongue…I am totally in love with that concept and the fact that spices unite individual entities in a dish into one.”

and I totally agree…

Since I’m in my last few weeks of my pregnancy I got so lazy and I decided to feature one of her recipes on my blog, It was so sweet of her to agree to this. There were loads of recipes that I wanted to feature but the one I settled with was the Gulab Jamun… an old love story of mine.

I just love this smoth sweet little balls from heaven, when at an indian restaurant I cant help myself from ordering one at the end of a meal. When they put it infront of me, this warm, and  shiny  little tanned brown ball sitting in a pool of golden syrup  with the  sweet aroma of cardamom steaming out of it, it just puts a smile on my face. aaaaaahhhh and when I bite into it its so smooth and spongy, warms you up instantly. I love it!

I’m never too full to have more.

Here is Tanvi’s recipe:

Ingredients (Makes 18-20 of the size shown)

For the Dough Balls (Jamuns):-

  • 1 cup nonfat milk powder ( I use Organic Valley )
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp fine crushed nuts (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder (see notes)
  • 3 tbsp ghee, at room temperature (substitute with unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, 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 cup 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 syrup aside.

For the Jamuns:-

  • In a bowl or pastry board ,combine the milk powder, flour, baking powder, soda, green cardamom powder & nuts powder 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 milk and mixing simultaneously to make a soft dough.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. The indian way of testing the oil temperature is to pinch a small ball of dough & tip it in the oil, it should riseslowly 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 thejamuns & keep them soakedAlso keep the sugar syrup nearby because the friedjamuns 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 knead the dough.Just mix the ingredients gently to combine everything till a dough is formed.
    2. Do not fry the gulab jamuns too much or on very high heat..they will harden & wont soak up the syrup.
    3. 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.

All the photos in this post are taken by the talented Tanvi.

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for the love of lentils

June 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

(previously posted on Fatmazkitchen)

Eating a bowlfull of white rice with dhal is like giving yourself a hug on the inside. Lifts you up instantly! Here’s the recipe to the 2nd best dhal I had (first being from the kitchen of our cook for 30yrs “baba baker”) Coconut dal with tomatoes and curry leaves (from Rich Stiens far eastern odyssey) 250g red lentils 1 green cayenne chilli, sliced 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 4 x 2.5 cm pandan leaf 200ml coconut milk 3 tbs coconut or vegetable oil 100g onions or shallots, finely chopped 15g garlic, crushed 3 dried red kashmiri chillis, broken into small pieces 12 curry leaves 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp black mustard seeds 7.7cm cinnamon stick 1 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds 150g tomatoes, roughly chopped Put the lentils into a pan with the green chilli, turmeric, pandan leaf and 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until the lentils have broken down and the mixture has reduced and thickened quite considerably. Add the coconut milk and leave to simmer, stiffing now and then, for another 15-20 minutes or until it has thickened once more. When the dal is cooked, heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently, stirring now and then, until golden brown. Add the dried red chillies, curry leaves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick and ground coriander and fry gently for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 1-2 minutes until they have just softened. Tip the mixture into the dal, stir will and season with 1 teaspoon salt or to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes then serve.

Eating a bowlfull of white rice with dhal is like giving yourself a hug on the inside. Lifts you up instantly! Here’s the recipe to the 2nd best dhal I had (first being from the kitchen of our cook for 30yrs “baba baker”)

Coconut dal with tomatoes and curry leaves (from Rich Stiens far eastern odyssey)

  • 250g red lentils
  • 1 green cayenne chilli, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 x 2.5 cm pandan leaf
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 3 tbs coconut or vegetable oil
  • 100g onions or shallots, finely chopped
  • 15g garlic, crushed
  • 3 dried red kashmiri chillis, broken into small pieces
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 7.7cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 150g tomatoes, roughly chopped

Put the lentils into a pan with the green chilli, turmeric, pandan leaf and 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until the lentils have broken down and the mixture has reduced and thickened quite considerably.

Add the coconut milk and leave to simmer, stiffing now and then, for another 15-20 minutes or until it has thickened once more.

When the dal is cooked, heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently, stirring now and then, until golden brown. Add the dried red chillies, curry leaves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick and ground coriander and fry gently for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 1-2 minutes until they have just softened.

Tip the mixture into the dal, stir will and season with 1 teaspoon salt or to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes then serve.

malaysian delights

June 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

(previously posted on fatmazkitchen)

Since I started watching “rick stein’s far eastern odessy” I have been craving far eastern cuisine so bad.

Yesterday I got it all together and I cooked up a Malaysian menu:

  • Beef Randang with steamed jasmine rice and cucumber coconut salad.

It was a long day with my cast iron on the stove for 3hrs but  it was worth it! and a huge hit with my Hubby.

Malay cuisine is one of the most satisfying cuisines regarding flavours, where sweet, salty, spicy mingle together perfectly in the strongly aromatic dishes. I think the world is lucky that we have such a cuisine which is new compared to others, created by the blend of people and different cultures living in that country.

this dish is perfect, the meat comes out so tender and the flavor is just divine. I can still smell the lemon grass on my hands and I luv it!

Beef Randang: (by Rick Stein)

Serves 6

  • 100g finely grated fresh coconut
  • 4 fat lemon grass stalks, bruised
  • 50g piece tamarind pulp
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 x 5cm cinnamon stick pieces
  • 3 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 12 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
  • 1.5kg blade or chuck steak, cut into 5cm chunks
  • 800ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • Spice paste
  • 10 dried red chillies
  • 225g onions or shallots, roughly chopped
  • 8 fat garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 6cm piece peeled fresh galangal, roughly chopped
  • 6cm piece peeled fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves discarded and core roughly chopped

For spice paste, put dried chillies in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well, put into a food processor with remaining paste ingredients and process until smooth.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add grated coconut and stir for a few minutes until golden. Remove from pan and cool, then coarsely process in a food processor.

Cut off and discard the top half of each lemongrass stalk. Lightly bruise the remainder with a rolling pin.

Put tamarind pulp into a small bowl and add 125 millilitres of hot water. Work pulp with your fingers until it has broken down and the seeds have been released. Strain through a sieve into another bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom and fry gently for two minutes.

Add spice paste and fry for two to three minutes more until mixture smells fragrant.

Add beef, coconut milk, sugar, kaffir lime leaves, toasted coconut, bruised lemon grass stalks, tamarind water and salt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer uncovered for 2½ to three hours, stirring occasionally, then stir more gently and frequently towards the end of cooking, to prevent it sticking on the base of the pan.

Eventually, the sauce reduces so much it clings to the meat. Adjust sugar and salt to taste and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

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