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

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Saffron Buns

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I have to confess. This is part this theme and part a desperate attempt to somehow make it fit into the theme because I couldn’t do it last month as part of the mega marathon. Aren’t they cute? These are Swedish saffron buns and they are so aromatic. As I was telling you yesterday, I have this major fear of forgetting ingredients and letting them go waste. Last year my parents visited Kashmir and my mom went slightly overboard in buying saffron. When I say slightly, I mean ‘I have to gift this to every person of my acquaintance so let me buy the entire supply from the valley’ level overboard. And to her credit she did gift it to almost every person of her acquaintance (you should be friends with my mom, it is so beneficial) but she did prepare for contingencies which left her with quite a few extra cute boxes of saffron. Naturally, I was part inheritor of those boxes and so now I have around 3 boxes of saffron sitting in my fridge and staring at me every time I open it. While I know saffron doesn’t spoil easily, I am still kinda sorta uncomfortable looking at them all the time. So for the past one years, the husband has been wondering as to why all the sweet dishes in the house are orange in colour and I am yet to get through box one. 

Hence you can imagine how insanely happy I was to spot a bread recipe with saffron. I intend making his a weekl dish at home and thankfully the daughter loved it. Yay! And I am sure the husband will like it once he has them. Yes, I had them for lunch, don’t judge me. Anyway this recipe is from Gayathri’s blog and so egg free. Yum is the word.

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Makes 6 pieces

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Saffron                        a pinch

Hot water                    1 tbsp

All purpose flour       1 1/2 cups

Sugar                            2 tbsp

Instant yeast               1 1/2 tsp

Oil                                  2 tbsp

Curds                             3 tbsp

Milk                                1/4 cup + for wash

Raisins                           12

WHAT TO DO

  • Add the saffron strands to the hot water and set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar and yeast in a large bowl
  • Add the milk, curds and oil to the bowl
  • Add the saffron water and mix well
  • Knead for 10-12 minutes till you get a soft pliant dough
  • Cover and set aside in a greased bowl till the dough doubles in volume
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 parts
  • Roll each part into a 12″ rope and twist the ends to form the ‘S’ shape
  • Transfer all the 6 portions of the dough to a greased baking tray
  • Keep a raisin at the two ends of the ‘S’ for each portion
  • Set aside for 20-25 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Brush the dough with milk just before baking
  • Bake for 20 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Let it cool for 10 minutes
  • Enjoy with some jam or butter or both!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme ‘Picnic Dishes’.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#76

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand with Poori

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My second recipe for the festivals of March is Poori Shrikhand for Gudi Padwa which is celebrated as the first day of a new year in Maharashtra, India. This idea is again from my bestie who i requested to give me the name of any dish except puran poli. For some reason the poli is nemesis. I have tried it thrice and failed so miserably that I am convinced it is not to be. I have conducted extensive research on puran polis but every hack and idea fell short and my husband’s face was a sight to behold whenever I tried to make it. Since he is a nice guy, I decided to spare him any further experiment and stop trying for now.

Thankfully Maharashtrians make puran poli for Sankranti which is the harvest festival in the month of January and they make the delightful shrikhand poori for Gudi Padwa. The shrikhand is amazingly easy to make and can be done within minutes, once you have the hung curd ready. It is a creamy, smooth dish which leaves you licking your fingers for a long time after. Another lovely aspect is that it lends itself to multiple creative flavours and can burst into a new flavour every time. You can add fruits like strawberry, mango or apple or spices like cardamom, saffron and cinnamon to name a few. This is a perfect dish to try new flavour combinations.

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Since this is my first time I decided to try the classic flavour of saffron and cardamom and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. Since this is a no cook recipe, it can be whisked together within minutes and served to an excited family.

Serves 4-5

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

Curd (made from 1 litre milk)            4-5 cups

Sugar, powdered                                    1/2 – 3/4 cup

Cardamom powder                                1/4 tsp

Milk                                                            1 tbsp

Saffron                                                       5-6 strands

Pistachios                                                 4-5 for garnish

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Take a clean kitchen towel and place it over a deep bottom vessel
  • Pour the curd into the towel and tie it up to a large spoon or spatula and place it in the vessel
  • Ensure that there is a significant gap between the bottom of the towel and the vessel so that the whey that drips from the curd does not find its way back to it
  • Keep it in the fridge overnight till all the whey drips from the curd to the vessel and only thick curd remains in the towel

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  • Take the milk and add the saffron strand to it and keep aside for 10 minutes
  • Take the thick curd in a large bowl and add the powdered sugar, cardamom powder, milk and saffron
  • Using a whisk, mix all these ingredients together to form a smooth mixture
  • Taste it to ensure it is sweet enough for your taste
  • Chill the shrikhand for 2 hours before serving
  • Garnish with pistachios and serve with hot pooris
  • Enjoy!

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NOTES

  1. Usually 1/2 cup of sugar should be sufficiently sweet but if you need more then add 1 tbsp at a time and taste before adding more

 

This is my post under Festival Themes for the Blogging Marathon.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

Kawha Tea

After gorging on all the muffins and breads and cakes, one does need something to balance it out. I had my first kawha tea after attending a tasting session for my brother’s wedding. In other words, I had tried decent sized portions of ALL the items on a wedding dinner menu. You can imagine how I was feeling – full to the neck. Then my host suggested the kawha tea with a very tall claim of making me feel light almost instantly. I smiled politely and rolled my eyes when he was not looking. How could that be possible that this liquid, that too a small portion, would diminish the effects of all the paneer, cheese and biryani I had chomped on. Anyway, I had to taste it and so I did. True to his claim, this miraculous tea made me feel so good and so shocked as well. So, I definitely had finalized one item on the menu of my brother’s wedding reception! Kawha tea just HAD to be there. Then a couple of months later, I had a very heavy lunch with the husband. As I was groaning and making futile promises of not over indulging again, I remembered this magic potion. After half hour of diligent ‘Google-ing’ I chanced upon this recipe. (My fault, I was not sure of the spelling).  So here goes –

Ingredients

2 tsp green tea

2 cloves

3 cardamom pods

1″ stick cinnamon

1 almond

2-3 saffron strands

1/2 tsp dry ginger powder

3 tsp sugar / honey (see note)

3 cups water

Directions

1. Boil three cups of water

2. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, dry ginger powder and sugar/honey.

3. Stir till the sugar is dissolved

4. Simmer for 3 minutes with the lid on

5. Add the green tea and turn off the heat

6. Put the lid on and leave it aside for one minute

7. Cut almonds into slivers and divide them equally among three cups

8. Add saffron equally to the same three cups

9. Sieve and pour the tea into the cups

Notes

1. If you are using honey instead of sugar, you will need around 1- 1 1/2 tbsp. You can add honey even after the tea is poured into the cups

2. Dry ginger is optional and is not part of the original recipe. I liked the slight taste of ginger and hence included it

3. If you like your tea strong, you can leave it to rest for more than 1 minute. I leave it for 3 minutes

4. Though the recipe does not say so, I found that the flavours (especially saffron) are infused better in the tea if left to rest for about 5 minutes after being poured into the cup