Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
kesari...a couple of ways
After a request from mariya, I looked through my Indian cookbooks -and a few websites- for kesari recipes and to my surprise, discovered that there were actually various versions of this South Indian dessert. I decided to try out two...the first the kesari we are familiar with in Singapore: made with roasted semolina (rava), sugar, liberal lashings of ghee and studded with raisins and cashews.... and the second, a rather unique recipe that uses flattened rice (aval), jaggery (vellam) and ground cardamon.
1. Heat a tablespoonful of ghee in a small saucepan and fry cashews and raisins till golden brown. Set aside.
2. Heat the 1/4 cup of ghee in a wok over medium-low heat and fry semolina until fragrant and it darkens slightly... this would take about 3-5 minutes.
3. Pour in water and stir vigorously. When it is cooked and thick, add sugar, coloring, cardamon, nutmeg, fried cashews and raisins. Cook, stirring all the while over gentle heat till it thickens.
4. Pour into a tray and cut into squares, or press into small bowls and unmould on a plate to serve.
*The semolina best for making kesari is the coarse kind, very easily found in Indian grocery stores. Just ask for a small packet of rava.
+While food coloring works just as well, kesari powder is what makes the confection have a gorgeous deep reddish orange hue. The powder is sold in Indian grocery shops as well, and a small bottle costs only 80 cents! Just ask for orange kesari powder.
Golden jaggery...nature's sweetener
Beaten rice, otherwise known as aval. Easy to prepare-just soak for at most 30 minutes- and much fluffier than regular rice.
Cooking the aval with ghee and syrup.
Poured into a tin and flattened...waiting to be cut into squares.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
toffee almond fudge
- Melt butter over low flame in a heavy saucepan. Add sugar, and stir constantly over moderate heat until sugar dissolves.
- Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the mixture develops a light caramel color. You should be able to detect a slight toffee fragrance.
- Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for 5minutes. Stir in the cream and nuts. Using a wire whisk, gradually mix in the powdered milk, 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring vigorously to remove any lumps. When the mixture is very thick and just hangs on the whisk, it is ready.
- Scrape the mixture into a lightly greased 25 by 30cm tin. Smooth out the top and sprinkle over with toasted almond flakes. Allow to cool completely, slice into 1 inch squares or other shapes and store in the refridgerator.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
vanilla sponge with berry everything
Me thinks this is the most beautiful dessert I've ever made. I know it sounds awfully pretentious to say so but I actually find it very hard to admire what I cook/bake/decorate. But this time, I can honestly say that I'm proud of my work. A dear friend was throwing her sister a surprise birthday party and asked me to bake a cake. It was so far the largest cake I've ever made for an order. 2 kilos. That's like, the weight of a sizeable dumbell. Carrying the cake to the delivery point was terrifying cos I had to maneuver through hoardes of people carrying something so heavy and at the same time try my best not to jostle the cake box least the cream smears. But thankfully, all went well and the massive cake was delivered to the party intact.
My baby... I actually was kinda sad to deliver it cos I wanted to keep it at home a little while longer. Haha! Serious psycho baker tendencies showing themselves here...
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
- Melt 2 tbsp ghee in a wok. Roast flour until the raw smell of besan is gone.
- Lightly pound the cardamon pods open, scrape out the seeds and pound into a fine powder.
- Stir the melted ghee into the roasted besan and pour into a measuring jug. I only did this cos of the narrow mouth of the jug. Really helped to pour the flour mixture in a steady stream into the sugar syrup later without losing control.
- Meanwhile, boil the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pot and continue to boil until syrup reaches a softball stage. This is when a teaspoon of syrup droppd into really cold water can be easily gathered into a soft ball in the water itself. If you take the ball out of the water, it should flatten within a few seconds.
- At this point, pour the besan mixture into the sugar syrup in a steady stream, stirring continously. I stirred with my right and poured in the mixture with my left. Of course, a MUCH easier way to go would be to get someone to help. But I love challenges you see. haha.
- Continue to stir the mixture vigorously until it thickens and leaves the sides of the pot. Switch of the flame, quickly stir in the cardamon and pour out into a 8" tray greased lightly with ghee.
- Level out the surface and let cool for about 3 minutes before cutting into diamonds/squares. Cool completely and serve. (Fyi, it tastes better the day after once the flavours have a chance to merge and mellow)
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
liberte. and yet pressed for time.
- Preheat oven to 170 degree C.
- Sift icing sugar and flour into bowl. Whisk egg whites till foamy. Add butter, egg whites and almond meal into flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined.
- Divide mixture amongst cupcake holders. Top with cherries.
- Bake for about 25mins.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
joyous days are a-coming!
The countdown has begun.
Come August 1st, watch this space.
I brought this strawberry sponge to work last week.... even though I'm not particularly fond of the strawberries we get in Singapore, pairing them with sweet buttercream and sponge cake is great cos all the sugar detracts from the often tart fruit. And I'm glad to say everybody at work thought the pairing was yummy too.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
- Grease a 9" tray with butter
- Dry roast the coconut in a non-stick wok over medium heat until most of the moisture evaporates and the coconut is slightly dry.
- Pour in 3 cups of sugar and all the evaporated milk. Stir well. Add extra sugar to taste.
- Stir stir stir. Continously. Until the mixture thickens and slightly comes off the edges of the wok. Will take up to 1/2 hour.
- Add softened butter and continue to stir.
- When the mixture is really thick, quickly add in vanilla essence and coloring.
- Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring all the time. The candy is ready when the mixture leaves the sides of the wok, almost like a lump. Also, the mixture will lose some of its shine, almost going matte.
- Working quickly, pour out the mixture into the greased tin and flatten top with the back of a clean spoon.
- Let cool ten minutes and cut into squares whilst warm. Let cool completely before breaking off into tiny brightly-colored squares and serving. Store in an air-tight container.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
browned butter crisps
- In a small heavy saucepan, melt the butter and continue to cook until it browns. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Let cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, mix browned butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the egg and mix until smooth.
- Stir the flour and spices until spices are distributed evenly; add to butter mixture and mix until blended thoroughly.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment lined cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until edges are turning golden and the tops have begun to crinkle.
- Let cool on the sheets for a few seconds, then remove and cool completely.