Ras Malai

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This is the last post for this mega marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’. I can’t believe how quickly the month went by and I am so glad that I successfully completed my third mega marathon in a row. My protein for today is my favourite, that I was saving up to be the final post to finish with a flourish. I was not able to decide what dish to make with paneer. The choices are too many and I love all dishes that have paneer in it. So I kept postponing making this dish till it was time to go to Mumbai for my week long vacation. I completely forgot that I was yet to cook the 26th dish and made a distress call to my mom. She, as usual, made a million suggestions in under a minute and confused me more than ever. Then, as I was reading and drooling over Valli’s post (our boss lady, for the uninitiated), I figured it has to be a paneer based Bengali sweet and since mom makes an awesome Ras malai, I finally decided on my dish.

Mom has these phases where she masters 2-3 sweets and feeds them to everyone who visits our home for a 2-3 month duration. Then those are forgotten for the next 2-3 dishes. Her Ras Malai phase happened just as I got married and so I wasn’t a frequent beneficiary though I remember her stuffing the husband with it during our first Diwali. She was only too happy to make it again, especially after I mentioned that the husband is a huge fan. ( I might have exaggerated a bit). So this is my mother’s dish and her recipe. I helped her with most things but all my cooking and food blogging experience was not sufficient for her to trust me with the kneading of the paneer. Mothers! 

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Protein – Paneer

Serves 7-8

WHAT WE NEED

Milk (to make the paneer)                      2 litres

Lemon                                                         2

Water                                                           1 litre

All purpose flour / maida                        1 tbsp

Milk (for the soaking paneer)                 2 litres

Sugar                                                           200 gms +60 gms

Saffron                                                        a pinch

Almond and cashew slivers for garnish

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat 2 litres of milk in a large vessel till it comes to a boil
  • Simmer and squeeze the juice of the lemon on to the milk and mix well
  • The milk will separate into fat and whey (greenish liquid) 
  • Transfer the fat / paneer to a cheesecloth and tie it. 
  • Let the balance whey drip out of it. It should take approximately 2 hours
  • Transfer the paneer to a large plate and knead it for 15-20 minutes
  • When you make balls from this paneer, it should be whole and soft and without any cracks. 
  • Then it is done else continue to knead for another 3-4 minutes
  • If it is your first time, it is better to add 1 tbsp of all purpose flour while kneading the paneer. This ensures that the paneer doesn’t scramble when cooked
  • Heat the water along with 60 gms of sugar
  • Divide the paneer into small balls and roll them into balls. 
  • The paneer balls will expand once cooked and soaked in milk which needs to be considered before deciding the size of the individual paneer balls. 
  • Press the balls to form discs 
  • Once the water is hot, transfer the paneer balls in batches to the water and let it cook
  • After 2-3 minutes, carefully flip the paneer disc and let it cook on the other side
  • When the paneer starts turning pale in colour, around 5 minutes, remove it from the water and set it aside
  • The milk for soaking the paneer can be done simultaneously in another large vessel
  • Heat the 2 litres milk till it is reduced to half its quantity 
  • Add the 200 gms sugar and saffron strands and let it cook till the sugar is fully dissolved
  • Add the cooked paneer balls to the milk 
  • Serve chilled and garnish with almond and cashew slivers
  • Enjoy!



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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Quinoa Chocolate Mug Brownie

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So I am back home to Bangalore. Like every time, I am back with some amazing memories with my family and friends, lots of promises made about keeping in touch and visiting at leisure, a reasonable break from mother chores of feeding and putting the daughter to sleep, suitcases bursting at their seams thanks to my shopping excesses and very tired legs thanks to all the meeting and shopping. Finally, after so many years, I am at peace with the fact that Bombay is no longer home and I am a guest here after all.

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Today’s dish is a quick microwave mug cake. I never bought a microwave but always end up getting on my kitchen counter thanks to the house owners. I use it rarely and that is when I am sleepy and tired and need a quick fix. This brownie worked perfectly for my ‘cranky after a flight’ daughter and me. It tasted warm and fudgy which, in the cool and rainy Bangalore weather, seems like a blessing.

Protein – Quinoa

Recipe from here

Serves 1

WHAT WE NEED

Quinoa flour              1/4 cup

Sugar                           1/4 cup

Cocoa powder            2 tbsp

Oil                                 2 tbsp

Milk/ Water                2 tbsp

Pinch of salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a mug
  • Add the oil and milk to form a dough
  • Microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it is done i.e. springy on top and gooey inside. Else microwave for another 20 seconds
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

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Overnight oats is another item that has been on my to-do list forever. I am so glad that I finally got to tick it off. I have been trying various combinations with it and most of them have been quite successful. Whenever I have these oats for breakfast, I don’t feel hungry for longer hours and is perfect for rush mornings. The dish for today has cocoa and chia seeds with a splash of honey, dash of nutmeg soaked in milk and topped with bananas. I tried a similar dish with coconut milk instead of regular milk and that was delicious as well.

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Protein – Oats

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 1-2

WHAT WE NEED

Rolled oats                    3/4 cup

Milk                                1 cup

Cocoa powder               2 tbsp

Nutmeg                           1 tsp

Chia seeds                      1 1/2 tbsp

Banana                            1

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients except bananas in a jar
  • Cover it and refrigerate overnight
  • Add additional milk in the morning if the oats has become too thick
  • Top it with banana slices
  • Enjoy!

DSC_1218This is my post for the Mega Marathon for the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Spelt flour & Spinach Loaf

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My original plan for this Mega Marathon was to bake 26 protein rich breads. But I did not find the time to do that and then I modified it to protein rich bakes. Finally I figured I would showcase different vegetarian proteins because quite a few vegetarians I know are tired of the question, ‘What is your protein source?’ But I wanted to have at least one bread in the list. When I saw that spelt flour is protein rich, I knew I had to bake with it.

Remember that Spinach dosa I made last week? I had some of that purée left and needed to use it somewhere before I left for Mumbai. So the idea of a spelt flour bread with spinach was born. I baked it the last day before leaving and so it had to be a quick bread and not my usual yeast bread. 

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Whenever I try a new recipe and make modifications to it, my thought is ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ And then I plod on trying to cook it. This time the results were good but the bread was a little dry. It works great with some butter / cheese. The next time I plan to try it with a 2 tbsp more spinach puree / oil to make it a loaf that can be eaten as is. 

Protein – Spelt flour and spinach

Recipe adapted from here and here

Makes one 7″ loaf

WHAT WE NEED

Spelt flour                    1 1/2 cups

Salt                                1/2 tsp

Baking soda                 1/2 tsp

Honey /maple syrup  1 tbsp

Coconut oil                    5 tsp

Spinach puree            1/2 cup + 1 tbsp

Quick cooking oats      2 tbsp

Sunflower seeds           1 tbsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C and grease a 7″ loaf tin
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
  • In another bowl, mix the honey, oil and spinach puree
  • Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients to form a dough
  • Shape the dough into a loaf and transfer it to the loaf pan
  • Sprinkle the oats and sunflower seeds on top
  • Bake for 30- 35 minutes till golden brown on top
  • Let it cool for around 20 minutes before cutting it
  • Enjoy with some butter / cheese!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Goan Egg Curry

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Any decent cook needs to have tried and tested recipes for classic dishes which are used so frequently that one can make it in her sleep. I have been searching for a fool proof egg curry recipe for quite a while now but somehow the recipes I tried so far failed in one of the key criteria – husband and kid should like it, has to be easy to make, should not involve tough to get ingredients. Finally I found this one and it has succeeded on all three counts. Except coconut milk, all ingredients are usually always available in my kitchen and thanks to my everlasting love for Thai curries, I have coconut milk as well. If you don’t have coconut milk, increase the grated coconut quantity by 3-4 tbsp and add regular milk. 

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Protein – Egg 

Recipe from here

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

Coconut milk                    1/2 cup

Tamarind paste                      1 tbsp

Green chillies                          2-3

Cumin seeds, roasted             2 tbsp

Dried red chillies, roasted    2-3

Coriander seeds, roasted       2 tbsp

Poppy seeds, roasted              1 tbsp

Coconut, grated                       3/4 cup

Garlic cloves                            6

Chopped ginger                      1 tbsp

Oil                                             1/4 cup

Onions, finely chopped         2 cups

Curry leaves                            2 sprigs

Tomatoes, finely chopped    2 cups

Garam masala                         1 tsp

Turmeric powder                   1 tsp

Eggs, boiled & shelled            6

Salt

Coriander leaves to garnish

WHAT TO DO

  • Grind together the grated coconut, ginger, garlic, green chillies, roasted cumin seeds, roasted dried red chillies, roasted coriander seeds and roasted poppy seeds to a fine paste
  • Heat oil in a pan and add onions and curry leaves
  • Cook until onions are translucent and add the tomatoes
  • Cook till the oil separates, around 6-7 minutes
  • Add the ground paste, garam masala, turmeric powder and salt and cook till the oil separates again
  • Add two cups water and cook till it boils
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and add coconut milk and tamarind paste 
  • Let it come to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the eggs and garnish with fresh coriander 
  • Serve hot with rotis or paratha
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Mor Kozhambu

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This is me saying hello from Mumbai. I got here over the weekend to spend a week with my parents. Every time I plan a visit to my parents’ place, I have visions of having strong filter coffee while reading the newspaper in the morning, lounging around the sofa the entire day watching pointless television serials, getting my favourite dishes piping hot and fresh and spending time with my friends talking about everything and nothing. But what actually happens is I am rushing from one place to another cursing the Mumbai traffic, gulping down the coffee in a minute,  shopping in a frenzy and meeting so many people but talking jut a few sentences and rushing again. The only thing that remains constant is mom managing to make all my favourite dishes despite any crazy schedule we have.

One of my favourite dishes is this mor kozhambu. I love my mom’s version but I never manage to nail it and so I picked this recipe online despite my mother fuming. This is the last week of this Mega Marathon and I am showcasing miscallenous proteins – from diary based to flour based to eggs. 

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Mor Kozhambu ( curd based sambhar) is a creamy concoction of curds, coriander seeds, some lady’s fingers and few spices. It goes very well with beans parupu usili and rice.

Protein – Curds

Recipe from here 

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

Lady’s fingers                     5-6

Canola oil                            2 tsp

Curds                                    3 cups

Turmeric                             1/4 tsp

Salt

Coconut, grated                  1/2 cup

Green chillies                      3-4

Split pigeon peas                 1 tsp

Coriander seeds                  2 tsp

Cumin seeds                         1 tsp

Raw rice                                1/2 tsp

Coconut oil                            1 tsp

Mustard seeds                      1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                          2 sprigs


WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the split pigeon peas, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and raw rice in hot water for 10 minutes
  • Cut the lady’s fingers into 3″ pieces and fry them in the canola oil for 4-5 minutes with salt till it is cooked
  • Drain the water and grind the soaked ingredients along with green chillies and coconut to a fine paste. Add little water, if needed
  • Take the curds in a vessel and whisk it well
  • Add the turmeric powder and salt and mix well
  • Add the lady’s fingers and ground paste and mix well
  • Cook on medium low flame till it comes to a boil
  • Simmer for 3-4 minutes and take off the heat
  • Heat coconut oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • Pour it over the mor kozhambu
  • Enjoy it with rice, Adai or sevai

NOTES

  1. The lady’s finger can be replaced with ash gourd or chow chow. These do not need to be sautéed. Cook them in a little water for 5-6 minutes and add to the curds

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Poppy Seed Waffles

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This is the last day of the week and I am using poppy seeds for my final dish this week. The first three days were for the three popular nuts – cashews, almonds and pistachios and the next three days for the seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and now poppy seeds.

I bought some poppy seeds quite a while back to make some Karnataka special dishes in my bid to inculcate more local dishes into our daily meals. But like always, I got distracted by the next bread recipe and the poppy seeds made sad faces from the pantry every day. 

Does it ever happen to you that you are stuck with a craving for a particular taste or flavour for days on end for no reason at all? I have been craving some lemon flavours for the past few weeks. No idea why but the lemon in my fridge are done faster than you can say nimbu pani.

So I looked for a lemon flavoured recipe with poppy seeds and landed on to this one. The daughter, who loves my regular waffle recipe loved this one too as did the husband. So I can safely say this one was a success!
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Protein – Poppy seeds

Recipe from here

Makes 14 small waffles

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                   3/4 cup

Baking powder                       1 tsp

Baking soda                             1/4 tsp

Salt                                             1/4 tsp

Sugar                                         2 tbsp

Lemon zest                              1 1/2 tsp

Oil / melted butter.                3 tbsp

Egg                                            1

Lemon juice                            4 tsp

Milk                                          8-10 tbsp

Poppy seeds                            4 tsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  •  Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Mix the sugar with lemon zest by rubbing the zest together with the sugar to ensure it releases its flavours
  • Add the lemon and sugar to the dry ingredients
  • Whisk the egg lightly
  • Add the lemon juice and milk to the egg and mix 
  • Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients 
  • Add the poppy seeds
  • Mix to ensure no dry flour is left in the bowl
  • Pour the batter into the waffle mould till almost full
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the top is golden brown
  • Let it rest for 2-3 minutes before de-moulding 
  • Serve warm with honey or maple syrup 
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can also cook the waffles in the waffle iron. I use the silicon waffle mould

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Flaxseed Molaga Podi

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This dish has been on my to do list for the longest, just after baguette, pretzel, malai kofta, kanjeevaram Idli….ok, I clearly have a very lengthy to do list. But this was one of the first dishes I made for this marathon primarily because my regular molaga podi was almost done. At home, the one jar I cannot afford to keep empty is the molaga podi because if there is an emergency and you had to grab your important stuff and run, the husband would pick our daughter and then the molaga podi and then some documents, cash and then probably check on me. Grr
So this time I mixed some flaxseeds with the lentils and red chillies and the flavour was amazing, not to mention the other health advantages of flaxseeds.

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I reworked my regular molaga podi recipe to include flaxseeds. If you are making this the first time, you need to keep in mind that different red chillies have different spicy quotients. So I suggest that you keep 2 tbsp of the ground res chillies aside and mix the balance with the lentils. If you find that the podi is not spicy enough, you can add the balance ground chilly powder else use it for dals and curries. I jave reduced the number of chillies from that recipe since I moved to Bangalore and found that the chillies are spicier here than what I got in Malaysia.

Protein – Flaxseeds, Bengal gram, Split black gram

Makes around 1 1/2 cups

WHAT WE NEED

Dried red chillies                  25

Bengal gram / chana dal      1/3 cup

Split black gram/ urad dal   1/3 cup

Flaxseeds                                 1/3 cup

White sesame seeds              1 tbsp

Oil                                             2 tsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the stem from the dried red chillies
  • Heat a pan and dry roast the sesame seeds till they start popping
  • Set aside to cool
  • Heat the same pan and add 1/2 tsp oil
  • Add the red chillies and fry them for 2-3 minutes on low flame till it begins to get a darker colour
  • Ensure it does not turn black
  • Set aside to cool
  • In the same pan, add 1/2 tsp of oil and fry the Bengal gram till it starts turning golden brown
  • Set aside to cool
  • Repeat the same procedure for urad dal and flaxseeds separately
  • Transfer the chillies to a mixer and blend to a very coarse powder
  • Add the sesame seeds, lentils salt and flaxseeds and blend to a coarse powder
  • Enjoy with idli, dosa, etc!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Chia seed Cookies

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Finally the cake is done, cut and eaten and I can pack up my cake fears and store it away until next year. I was worried the entire day about what the husband would think about the cake, if he would like it or not. The problem is that if he likes the cake, he would say, ‘you bake so well. You should do it more often’ and if he doesn’t he would say, ‘you had to bake just one cake in the entire year and you could still not get it right?’ It is like being between the devil and the ….well, devil. I was so frightened of frosting that I finished innumerable long pending activities in a bid to postpone the frosting. Finally I started frosting just an hour before the husband was due to arrive and finished it in time. 

He was so surprised seeing the cake that he couldn’t say a word. I like that!

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I am terrified of eggless cakes. It is either a jinx or I am doing some humongous error each time because they never ever turn out good. When I told my parents about my annual cake baking adventure, they suddenly professed a desire to taste some of it. Since I am off to visit them tomorrow, I figured I had to take some over for them. But they don’t eat eggs and the only thing I am more scared of than baking eggless cakes is offering them to my perfectionist mom. Then when I baked my usual egg version of the cake, it turned out to be a disaster. It tasted really good but surprisingly the structure was off. Then I luckily landed on a eggless cake recipe which to my absolute shock, turned out really good. So yay for me! I got to eat a lot of cake because of this entire chaos and I got a decent enough cake for the husband to cut and celebrate his birthday. 

Now on to the real dish of this post -these a,axing lemon flavoured chia seed cookies. I made them quite big and eating one was quite a task and the daughter finished half with significant effort. So if you want, you could make smaller ones for it to be more manageable. But otherwise this is an amazing cookie recipe. It was a vegan recipe which I adapted to my requirements. I used yogurt instead of applesauce and buckwheat flour instead of almond flour to keep it protein rich. I absolutely loved the coconut oil flavour and fragrance from the cookies. This is a one bowl recipe and so it is as easy as it is chewy and flavorful.

I have been telling you too many stories today. Off to the recipe now –
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Protein – Chia seeds, Buckwheat flour

Recipe adapted from here

Makes 10 large cookies

WHAT WE NEED

Lemon zest                      1 tbsp

Lemon juice                     2 tbsp

Yogurt                                3 tbsp

Chia seeds                         2 tbsp

Semi solid coconut oil    3 tbsp

Sugar                                  1/3 cup

Buckwheat flour               1/4 cup

All purpose flour               1 cup

Baking powder                   1 tsp

Salt                                         1/8 tsp

Sugar & salt for coating
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, yogurt, coconut oil, chia seeds and sugar in a bowl till the sugar dissolves
  • Set it aside for 2 minutes
  • Add the buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and mix well to form a dough
  • The dough needs to be soft. If it is too sticky, add 1 tbsp of flour. If it is too dry then add few drops of oil or water and mix
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper
  • Mix 1 tbsp of sugar and a generous pinch of salt in a plate
  • Take out the dough from the refrigerator
  • Take a small pinch of dough and roll it into a smooth ball
  • Roll the ball in the plate mixed with sugar and salt
  • Place it on the baking tray and press it down so that it is flat
  • These cookies don’t spread much and so you don’t need to leave too much space between 2 cookies on the baking tray
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes and cool for 10 minutes
  • Store at room temperature for 2 days
  • Enjoy them with some milk!

NOTES

  1. The buckwheat flour can be replaced with almond flour, wholewheat flour or all purpose flour
  2. Buckwheat flour tends to absorb more moisture making the dough a little dry. If you are not using buckwheat then reduce the yogurt to 2 tbsp
  3. You can add a pinch of turmeric to get the yellow colour
  4. Semi solid coconut oil is when the coconut oil starts solidifying during cooler weather and is not easy flowing liquid

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Dryfruit Milk / Masala Doodh

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It is that time of the year again when I need to bake a cake – the husband’s birthday. I just realised that he is travelling every other year on his birthday and so this is only the third cake I am baking. The first few years were easy. We stayed with my in-laws and didn’t have an oven. Then we moved to Bangalore and I bought an oven and started this blog. The husband then started his dialogue – ‘You have an oven and a blog yet you don’t bake a cake for my birthday.’ How to explain to him that I bought the oven to bake bread not cake. So this has kind of become an annual ritual except for when he travels.

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Now baking cake and baking bread are two completely different things. But few people get that. Whenever I meet someone new and mention my baking and blog, the first thing they ask me is if I can bake a cake for them / someone they know. This is very similar to people asking me to file their tax returns when they hear I am a Chartered Accountant. It is very hard in both cases to explain that while it might seem similar, the stuff I do is very different from what they think I do. So I end up not mentioning either my profession or passion and now people think I am good for nothing. Life is tough!

I know that there is no connection between this and the dish for today. But one of the reasons I started the blog is to be able to rant about stuff. So there. Today’s dish is a simple and satisfying masala doodh. My default method was to warm the milk and mix the ground dry fruits to it and wonder why it does not taste similar to what I get in restaurants. When I had to pick a protein rich dish for this marathon, I figured it was time to explore the mystery of the masala milk and discover the secret behind the difference. Well, the secret, just like for most things, is simply more time and patience. And more sugar, but we shall ignore that.

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Protein – Pistachios and Almonds

Serves 2

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

Milk                                     3 cups

Saffron                                a generous pinch

Cardamom powder          1/4 tsp

Nutmeg powder                a pinch

Almonds                             8

Pistachios                           8

Sugar                                   2-3 tbsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Boil the milk in a deep pan / vessel
  • Once it comes to a boil, simmer it for 12-15 minutes and stir frequently till the milk reduces in quantity and becomes slightly thick
  • While the milk is simmering, blanch the almonds and pistachios and peel the skin
  • Grind the two nuts to a coarse powder
  • Add the saffron, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and sugar to the milk and mix well
  • Simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the almonds and pistachios and mix well
  • Serve warm or cold
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the mega marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80