Tag Archives: sweet

Shrikand….Yoghurt of the chilled out kind

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This is yet another great secret in the world that is sweet things, Indian food does sweet is usually something that is quite rare , especially if it is if it is done well, and this is one of those recipehung yoghurts that if you are prepared to take your time and to follow the recipe, the end result is better than good, oh yes I like it that much.

There is a tricky element in following the recipe, so lets start right there, one of the ingredients takes a little fiddling around to achieve. The basis of this dish is yoghurt and the Indians, when they use yoghurt in a lot of dishes, like to hang it first, this helps to remove the water and thicken the yoghurt up, this then being called hung yoghurt…..

Its easy enough to do, just place a piece of muslin or cheesecloth in a strainer that is large enough to take the yoghurt that you intend to use for the recipe, and then simply pour the yoghurt into the sieve whilst holding it over the sink. Once the initial flush of water has drained from the yogurt, pull up the sides of the cloth to form a bag and tie it all up nice and tightly to form a pouch, hang that over a container for at least 30 minutes, or until you think that the yoghurt is well drained. The end product you can keep in the fridge for up to a day, noting that the more you cool it, the more solid it gets….Once this step is achieved everything else is simple in this delicious and very tasty recipe.

             Shrikand

Shrikand

Ingredients

This is more than enough to serve six, or three people with a sweet tooth!

1 tsp Saffron

1tbsp Milk

1 Litre?1.75 Pints hung Natural Yoghurt

100Gm/ 3.5 oz Caster Sugar

1 tsp cardamoms

 8-10 Unsalted Pistachio nuts

Method

This is really simple , first off place the Saffron in a small bowl with the milk and allow to soak for a few minutes. Place the hung yoghurt in another bowl and whisk in the sugar a little at a time, then stir in the saffron and milk , sprinkle over the pistachios and cardamoms , place it in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve when nice and chilled that’s the Shrikand not you……

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Shahi Tukra Sweet Morsels for the Prince

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shahi-tukdaA life without sweet things, is no life at all, and when puddings are the order of the day, my experience is less than vast where the puds of India come to mind. One of my great favourites in British cuisine however is Bread and Butter Pudding, that milk and dried fruit hot sweet that comes usually after a large Sunday Roast of Beef and Yorkshire puds.

Shahi Tukra my research tells me comes from Pakistan, and the translation  Morsels for the Prince, which I love as an idea that this dish emanates from a royal palace at some point. That said today my sources tell me this dish can be found all over India and Pakistan and is a special treat for Eid and festivals. Wherever it comes from and whatever the ingredients are as it is a much varied dish as you are free to choose which dried fruits and nuts you include, so feel free to sprinkle and adorn the recipe with the nuts and fruits that you enjoy!

Putting all that aside when you do get to eat this dish you will understand that it could very easily be confused with the Traditional Bread & Butter Pudding of my mums traditional British cookbook, without the glorious scents and aromas of rosewater and cardamom……

Ingredients

35g / 1¼oz (¼ cup) raisins
pinch of saffron threads
2 tablespoons rosewater
2 teaspoons ghee or vegetable oil
4 slices white bread
2 tablespoons condensed milk
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kewra water or rosewater
½ teaspoon lime juiceSAM_2505
250ml / 8fl oz (1 cup) milk
¼ teaspoon ground green cardamom
1 teaspoon blanched almonds, silvered
1 teaspoon unsalted pistachio nuts, blanched and silvered
4 edible silver leaves, to decorate (optional)

Method

Soak the raisins in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes, to rehydrate them, drain them and set them aside, also place the Saffron in a small bowl and soak in the two tablespoons of rosewater until required.

Next heat the ghee in a flat heavy based pan a frying pan is ideal and fry off the bread pieces that should be cut into diagonal quarters and de-crusted. Fry the until they are an even rich golden brown all over, press them well with a fish slice to get as much ghee out of them as possible, being bread their inclination is to soak up whatever they can,before placing them on some kitchen towel to drain.SAM_2512

With  the condensed milk in a bowl place in 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the single teaspoon of rosewater and mix well together, with the remaining sugar add this to a cup or two of water, in a small saucepan and warm until all of the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and reduce to a one string consistency syrup( See Gulab Jamun recipe), then add in the Lime Juice!

SAM_2515Now place the fried bread slices back into the cleaned frying pan and add the Milk, warm it gently then add the sugar Syrup, and cook over a low heat for at least 10 minutes, or until the milk has thickened and begun to change colour, you will need to stir but be very gentle as the bread will be soaking up the milky sweet mixture, and the slices will be inclined to break, you will also need to turn the slices, take care again you have come so far. You can now add the fruits nuts and Saffron, and a sprinling of the cardamon before finally spreading the condensed milk mixture onto the slices apply it evenly over both sides of the bread pieces, a thin coat is all you will need as this is already a very sweet dish. Now is the time to remove from the pan and serve utilising the Silver to add that extra touch of luxury to a fantastic sweet dish that will be loved by all with a sweet tooth, and that includes your mother!

Gulab Jamun the hard whey?

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Unfortunately when you come into the land of puds and sweets generally speaking very little is simple. The west creates pastries and creamy delights for that final dish to complete or end any special meal or banquet; India is no different,  equally as complex, equally as satisfying and equally as sweet. We  human beings just love our sweet things.

It should be remembered that if you visit the majority of indian take-aways, or restaurants that the extent of the sweet menu is farcical, never going much beyond  a bit of Gulab Jamun or Khoya Bonbons in Syrup as the translation goes those most delightful of sweet tasting sugar syrup soaked balls, delicious for sure,but packet made of that you can be certain of in the restaurants. For restaurants the genuine recipe for this dish contains two ingredients most cooks would shrink away from, and for the most part can’t be purchased at the corner store, or supermarket, and restaurants neither have the time market or inclination to make properly, so packet made is what you get and thats not to say that the packet version isnt delicious but….

That said we are not most cooks are we…No of course we are not I hear you say.

So make these tricky things we will….

First of these tricky things is Khoya, a milk reduction that is also found in many other sweet dishes Pinni for example, a quick translation is Bon Bons, and a fair description as in reality it is a sweet ball of sugar, flour, dried fruits, and khoya. You can also find Khoya in a many other dishes that require that concentrated milk taste,and there is a Khoya pudding that is delicious on its own but more of that some other time.

There is only one ingredient in Khoya and that is  whole Milk

2 litres will make 400 gm or 14oz

First of all put the milk into a large heavy based pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and stir every 5 minutes, the object here is to reduce the quantity prety much the same as you would do with any sauce, in this instance reducing by half. You will need to stir constantly and remove the dried layer of milk that sticks to the side of the pan. Carrying on with tkhoyahis reduction until your milk has reached the consistency of  mashed potato. Once you have achieved this you can transfer to another pan and allow to cool…job done in about 90 minutes for the quantity suggested above. It will store in this condition in the fridge for at least a couple of days.

You can also store for a lot longer of you dry it another process that takes a little time but is worth the effort.

Place the paste into a cheesecloth or muslin bag , place it in the sink and weigh it down and leave it for at least an hour, the object being to get as much of the liquid out as you can, the resulting solid can be stored in the refrigerator, and can be grated or crumbled.

The next of the two vital ingredients for the traditional Gulab Jamun is Chhena

There’s one more ingredient here that you will need, besides milk in this recipe

160ml white Vinegar

2 litres milk

This is another milk process but one that relies on the curdling power of the white vinegar and again will require constant attention, with at least an hour of your time, and again your full attention as all good cooking should do!

Again you need to put the milk into a heavy saucepan and bring it to the boil, then immediately remove it from the heat and add the vinegar making sure that you spread the vinegar over the whole surface of the hot milk in a steady stream, and then stir for about three or four minutes, the end result of this should be a curdled milk or whey as it should really ber called.

This should be poured into a muslin bag or into a  cloth placed in a strainer or colander in a sink to allow the liquids to drain away leaving the whey behind.chhena

This achieved you should then start to prod and squeeze the bag until the milky whey starts to Ooze out.

Now comes the fun part whilst the whey is still warm spread it out on to a flat surface and begin to knead it, almost as if it was a bread dough using the palm of your hand and continue to do so until you have mashed out all the granules and it is as smooth as it will go. That’s essentially it.

All you need do now is allow it to cool, wrap it in foil and store in the refrigerator, but use it quick as its only any good for about 24 hours.

Mission accomplished

Well almost. the rest is easy……

So now is the time to make those Gulab Jamun that you have always promised yourself and trust me on this they are far superior to the mix that you can buy!

This recipe is the real McCoy and worth every second of the time it takes, rest assured the results will speak for themselves

 Ingredients

Pinch of Saffron Threads

1 teaspoon Rosewater

300g/11 oz Khoya (See above)

50g/1.75 oz Chenna (see above)

4 Tbsp All purpose plain flour

1tsp Baking Powder

1tbsp Ghee

6 tsp cardamon seedsgulab_jamun_0

12 unsalted Pistachio Nuts

1kg/2.25 lbs Sugar

0.75 tsp Lime Juice

Enough clean oil to Deep fat Fry!

Method

First thing soak the Saffron in a finger sized bowl and soak in the Rosewater until required.

Crumble the Khoya and the Chhena to remove any lumps into a large bowl , add the flour, baking powder and 1 tbsp of Ghee and mix roughly   make a soft dough, you will now need to knead this dough for no less than 5 minutes on a flat surface, you can lightly flour the surface to reduce sticking, or you can use a little ghee or oil to achieve the same result.

Oil your hands and start pinching off and rolling the dough into balls of about 1 inch in diameter.

Heat your deep fat fryer to around 170 degrees and deep fry for about 3 to 4 minutes or until they are a golden brown remove from the fryer and allow to cool and drain on some kitchen roll.

The great pleasure of this sweet is the Syrup that the Gulabs should be soaked in; and as such the recipe that follows for this is traditional but don’t be shy or scared to use any sweet flavouring that takes your fancy, or flavouring that appeals, Vanilla works just as well as Rosewater

However the start of  a good syrup is achieved by filling a heavy based pan with water and adding all the sugar, yes all of it, you don’t need teeth for these pudding delights!

Heating the water gently to start whilst stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Now increase the heat and bring to the boil, continue to boil and remove the scum that floats to the surface with a slotted spoon, until the syrup reaches a one thread consistency, this should be done with extreme caution as this syrup is very hot indeed, but to test allow some to cool slightly on a spoon befor touching and then  take some syrup between your thumb and forefinger and draw your fingers apart, the syrup will then form fine threads, the number of the threads indicates the correct consistency, but please be carefull we do not want any burns here!

Once this is achieved add the Rosewater and infused Saffron to the syrup, stir and then transfer the golden fried Gulab balls to the syrup, and leave for at least 30 minutes for the gulabs to soak up the syrup before serving. It is worth noting that the Gulabs will continue to soak up syrup for many hours and in my opinion are best left for a couple of hours for best results, however some people prefer them completely deliciously gooey. My suggestion is make a batch stick em into soak and eat them over a period of twenty-four hours to find your ideal soak time…..or is that just a bit too greedy for ya?

Bread Head I am (Baqarkhani Roti)

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One of the great joys of Indian cookery for me is the balance of spices, that dance routine between aroma, taste and colour, that make up the explosion of complimenting flavours that is all that we have come to love in Indian Cuisine.

The key element in that Fandango is the heat in the dish, usually decided by the balance of fresh, alongside dried and ground chillies that you decide is right for the food you are creating. A further vital element for me is a complimentary vegetable or side plate; for many that is rice, for some potato, but for me it is naan and more especially  sweet naan, Peshwari, a Pakistani speciality being my usual naan of choice with something that is spicy hot hot, hot. My senses enjoy that influx of sweet that underpins that chilli heat in what I call that “curry moment”, where all the flavours come together with a sweetness that cannot be denied, bringing forth a fantastic facet to the dish that is sometimes cooling and flavour enhancing, oh yes for me sweet and spicy is the way to go!

A Naan for the uninitiated is a type of leavened oven baked bread in that it contains yeast and usually some yoghurt or milk, generically it is called a flat bread, and is common throughout the Asian and Arabic world , and for the most part and is either cooked in a Tandoor that fantastic oven that creates a lot of the flavours that make up a great curry, or on a Talwa a griddle or flat plate  on top of the stove.

Herein lies the problem, creating naan bread is not hard but for the genuine article you must have  a Tandoor, it creates a unique flavour that is very difficult to produce without a genuine tandoori,  for me digging up the lawn and laying in the traditional clay interior, and then firing that up with hot coals is a bit beyond getting the Barbie lit on a hot summers day and the domestic alternative in my kitchen is a non starter which would require the building an extension to house just to house such a fantastic cooking implement, which I think the wife may frown a little over!

However I am told these days you can buy domestic chapatis, Naan, and roti makers from ebay that claim to be the real deal, for about £60.00, which lets face it balanced against the cost of a Tandoor of around £250-£300 minimum plus the £5000 for the extension to the house, sounds like an option worth exploring!

At this time however I possess neither a tandoor or its cheaper alternatives, but I do possess a western fan oven that is both controllable and capable of producing fantastic breads, so get ready for a recipe that offers a sweet bread that will bring forth that Curry Moment

The following recipe hits the spot for me and is as near as you can get to the tandoori equivalent and for me is just about as good as it gets on the home bake front. Don’t expect to achieve a result in five minutes like all breads it takes time and effort but if you follow the recipe closely I promise you the result is well worth the effort; a semi sweet, and by that not as sweet as a Peshwari but on the way, cross between Pastry and bread, delicious!

“Oh yes let the yum yum fun begin!”

Baqarkhani Roti

500g (1lb2oz) Plain (all-purpose) Flour Plus a little extra for dusting

1 tsp Baking Powder

Pinch of salt

3 tsp Icing (confectioners) Sugar

250ml(8floz)warm full cream milk

.5 tsp Dried Yeast(.5 tsp sugar to activate Yeast)

4 Green cardamom pods ground remove the husks

2 Tbsp Raisins

1 tsp Poppy Seeds

250g(9oz)(1cup) Ghee melted plus extra for greasing

16-18 Almonds(cut into slivers)

Method

Sift the flour Baking Powder and salt into a large bowl, and add the icing sugar and warm milk (Set aside)

Now is the time to activate the Yeast, place the yeast in a small bowl and add 5 Tbsp lukewarm water and the .25 tsp of sugar set aside for at least 30 mins until the yeast has risen.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix together to make a dough using your hands to knead the dough on a flat lightly floured surface, or a dough hook if you must use a food processor.

Transfer the mixture into a lightly oiled bowl cover and set aside in a warm place for at least an hour or until risen.

Add half the Ghee to the dough and Knead again, and then divide into 12 equal portions and shape into balls .

Transfer to a baking tray cover and set aside and leave to rest for at least another 30 minutes

Preheat the Oven to 190 degrees C(375 degrees F) Gas Mark 5 that’s hot!

Flatten the ball into patties of about 18cm/7 inches in Dia and about 5 mm/.25 inches thick

Brush them with ghee and fold them into 4

Roll into balls again and leave for a further 10 Minutes

Repeat this entire process three times , then sprinkle the poppy seeds over bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown!

Because they contain “quite” a lot of Ghee they are best eaten warm, but they can be made ahead of the meal and reheated if the need is there.

Pineapple and vegetable Curry

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Traditional British fare, try my Indian twist

So OK you have this lovely piece of Gammon Ready to roast, or grill in the case of a steak, and up comes the usual question “What are we having this with then”…. Pineapple rings…yawn boring boring boring do me a favour!

Pineapple curry isn’t usually the answer that comes back!

It should be but it aint, and the reason for that is very simple… the average pub grub presents you with a nice piece of the tinned article whenever you select it from their menu or of course you could always try the fried egg

Cynicism aside, Pineapple is always a great compliment to bacon in all its forms. Getting your head round meat with fruits can always be a challenge however these two Pineapple and Bacon are very old bosom buddies, with this recipe promising to lift  your gammon steak or Bacon joint, up to a level you would not have thought possible.

You can use pretty much any mix of veg here that takes you fancy and theres a little advice at the end of the recipe on how best to include them!

My recipe here includes peas sweetcorn carrots and onions, all based round a coconut masala,  and as such are in my humble opinion a great mix, and very tasty indeed!

Let me know what you think!

Ingredients

The first thing you need here is a coconut masala

3 Tbsp Coconut fresh if you can get it or desiccated soaked to soften in a little water works too

6 Cloves

1 inch piece Cinnamon

The seeds of one Cardamom pod

7 Dried Red Chilli

1 inch cube fresh Ginger

.25 tsp Salt

Blend all of the above together, adding a little water until you have a very smooth paste, remember this takes  time as coconut fresh or desiccated is a tough veg that resist blending but persevere, you will get there in the end!

Step 2

Once achieved set aside for later use!

1 tsp peanut oil

1 tbsp Ghee or Veg oil

2 Cups fresh  Pineapple (tinned if you must)

1 Medium Onion

1 Large Clove Garlic Paste

2 tbsp Garden Peas

2 tbsp  Sweetcorn

1 Large Carrot Cubed 1/2 inch cubes

1 sprig fresh Curry leaves(8or 9 Dried will do)

.5 tsp Cumin

.5 tsp Mustard seeds

pinch  Asafoetida

.25 tsp Turmeric

1  flatTbsp grated Jaggery(or any unrefined brown sugar)

salt

Heat the pan add the teaspoon of Peanut oil add the Curry leaves, Cumin, Mustard seeds, and Asafoetida, toast to fragrance. Add the ghee or vegetable oil and the Onions and Garlic and cook to translucent soft, add the Carrots and cook for a further 5 mins or so, then add the Coconut Masala paste that you have set aside. Cook until the paste begins to brown, then add between 1 to 2 cups of Water, Turmeric and Jaggery, finishing off with Salt to taste. Give the mixture a good stir bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cook on a low heat for about 15 mins, add the Peas, and Sweetcorn and cook for a further 10 mins on a low heat finally adding the Pineapple right at the end and allowing that to just heat through before serving!

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This is a fantastic vegetarian dish too and you can add sweet potatoes, peppers, or any veg you like, bearing in mind that some vegetables take longer to cook than others and  as such par boilling potatoes before adding them, at the carrot stage may well prove a good idea, in keeping the cooking time down!

Where peppers are concerned slice finely and add them at the oniomn garlic stage!

That said serve it hot or warm with meat or without.

Good with duck and poultry and of course bacon…. I love this curry as it goes with so much!