Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Vegan Recipe

THANDAI LATTE

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Trying to kill two birds with one stone. Here is a post that is the first among a series of posts that will follow through to the colorful festival of Holi. Thandai is specific to Holi, however, this nutty, spicy, aromatic beverage makes for a great drink for those celebrating Valentines Day. Spices are so integral to Indian way of cooking that you will find them in savories, sweets, pickles, chutneys and our drinks. And why not?! They give every dish a boost in taste and health, taking them to the next level i.e. if they are used judiciously and in the right amount. Balance is the key when using spices especially ones that are bitter or really intense such a turmeric or asafoetida. ‘A little goes a long way’ is the mantra one needs to follow.

Coming back to the Thandai, also called as Sardai, it is consumed chilled as a beverage on the festival of Holi and also Maha Shivratri. Another version that is popular among some, is the Bhaang Thandai which makes use of cannibis leaves that is used along with other ingredients for making thandai.

I have however, turned the drink into a latte and it became my nightcap of sorts through the winters. The spices and nuts give it a rich flavour and make it a beautiful and comforting beverage for chilly winters. Feel free to reduce or increase the amount of which ever ingredient you wish to, to suit your taste.

Here is the amount of ingredients I had used for this delicious hot beverage 🙂

12 Almonds

12 Cashews

12 Pistachios

1 tbsp Melon seeds

20 – 25 Black Pepper corns

2 tsp Poppy Seeds (white poppy seeds are used for this beverage)

1 tsp Fennel seeds

1/3 C Water

½ tsp Cardamom powder

1 pinch Saffron plus extra for garnish

3 tbsp Milk

1 tsp Cornflour

3 tbsp Milk

4 – 5 tsp Sweetner of your choice (I had used agave nectar)

600 ml Milk (dairy or non dairy)

Wash and soak the first seven ingredients in one third cup water, over night.

Soak saffron in a three tablespoons milk. Set aside for atleat an hour. (the longer the better)

Grind the soaked seven ingredients, along with the water, to a smooth paste.

Heat milk and add the saffron milk to it along with the paste.

Stir well and simmer on low heat for 5 – 7 minutes. Stir every now and then.

Mix the cornflour well in remaining three tablespoons milk and add gradually to the simmering milk, stirring all the while.

Add cardamom powder and simmer further for a minute.

Switch off the heat and add sweetener of your choice.

(You can sieve the milk before serving or you can serve it as it is.)

If you like the milk frothy, you can whisk it using a hand whisk or an electric mixer or perhaps an immersion blender.

Pour in serving glasses and garnish with finely chopped pistachios and slivered almonds and a few threads of saffron (garnish is optional)

(Don’t forget to check the ‘NOTES’ below)

Note – Since we do not like rose flavor, so I gave rose petals a miss. Feel free to use it if you enjoy the flavors of rose. And if you do not have rose petals then swap it with gulkand (rose petal preserve).

Note – We like just a subtle hint of fennel therefore I used one teaspoon of fennel seeds. Go for 2 tsp if you like to have pronounced flavors.

Note – Also, once the latte is ready, I prefer to set it aside for 15 – 20 minutes for flavors to infuse really well. Then reheat it before serving.

Note – I had removed the skin of almonds before making the paste.

Serves – 5 (120 ml each)

Thanks for your visit. See you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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CHIA SEEDS AND CACAO NIBS OATS COOKIES

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Oats may not find favour in my house in the form of porridge but cookies with oats are much loved and happily lapped up. They are healthy, easy to make, great for breakfast (especially for those hectic madenning weekday mornings), good to snack on or to pack for kid’s snack box…who am I to complain?! And yes, they are eggless and take no more than half an hour, of your precious time, to get ready. A winner all the way! This recipe is originally meant for flapjacks, also know as health bars and you can bake them in an eight inch square tin or may be a rectangular baking tin if you fancy. Bake these just as you would bake the flapjacks. They will take approximately the same baking time as these cookies. My daughter thinks they tasted similar to cookies she used to have from Cookie Man. Enjoy them in bars (flapjacks) or as cookies. But we prefer cookies to bars since the bars turn out somewhat chewy. If you are unable to get your hands on rolled oats feel free to swap them with muesli.

1 C scant (100g) Flour (Maida)

1 C Oats (100g) Rolled Oats

½ C Caster Sugar

½ C Desiccated Coconut

3 tbsp Chia Seeds

3 tbsp Cacao Nibs

100g Butter (Coconut oil for Vegans)

1 tbsp of golden syrup, or treacle

2 tbsp boiling Water

1 tsp Baking Soda (bicarbonate of soda)

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease two baking sheets and set them aside.

In a bowl, mix together the first six ingredients in the ingredient list. Keep aside.

In a wok or pan, melt the butter on medium heat. As soon as it melts, add the golden syrup and stir it in.

Add the boiling water and immediately add the soda and whisk it in. It will begin to foam up.

Remove from heat and quickly add and stir in the the dry ingredients. Mix everything well so there are no dry bits.

Take a tablespoon full of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Place it on to the greased baking sheet keeping a distance of two inces between each cookie.

Bake the cookie dough for 20 minutes or until the balls flatten and are golden brown in colour. (I like mine crisp so I baked them for 22 minutes)

Remomve the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool before you remove them onto a wire rack.

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t have chia seeds or cacao nibs. Add what ever you wish to! Go ahead with choco chips, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts of your choice…basically what ever you fancy.

Note: If I was to make any edits to this recipe, I would probably go with a little less butter and throw in some finely chopped walnuts.

Note: If you have a single baking sheet like I do, you will obviously have to wait for the first batch to come out of the oven before you can go with the second round baking. I suggest that when you put in the second batch of cookies to bake, flatten the balls of the second batch to half their size. This is to ensure that the cookies spread and bake well like the first batch.

Yield – 18 Cookies

Adapted from here

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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AMLA CANDY / आमला कैंडी और आमला ‘शहद’ (Indian Gooseberry Candy & Concentrate)

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Although packed with health benefits but astringent, sour and bitter to taste, this fruit does not fit into everyone’s diet. Amla powder, amla juice and amla pickle and murabba (preserve) are some of the few ways that people try and incorporate this powerful superfood in their diet. Not so loved produce but very popular among the healthy conscious, this humble fruit increases immunity, slows down ageing, reduces blood sugar, increases metabolism, purifies blood, helps fight common cold, improves eye sight. Besides many other vitamins and minerals, it contains eight times the Vit C found in your regular orange.

Earlier I had shared my mother-in-law’s Amla Murabba and now I am sharing her amla candy recipe. I had made it last year but could not share it in time. I found it to be an interesting recipe coz she recommends freezing the washed and wiped amla in a ziplock bag for five to six days days before kicking off the procedure to turn it into a candy. I was intrigued when she shared this recipe and after trying it a couple of times, I decided to share it here. It is really simple but takes time to get ready. No, it won’t make a dent on your time or demand any effort from your behalf. It takes time – first, to sit and release its juices into the sugar and then soaking the syrup and second, when it sits in the sun, wearing that coat of sugar syrup, waiting to dry up before being sprinkled and kind of dredged with spices, salt and icing sugar. Lip smackingly good and an extremely healthy way to snack. This is a picture-heavy post since i have tried to incorporate picture of each stage of the process (having missed one pic though)

 

Ingredients

850 gram Amla

350 – 500 grams Granular Sugar (adjust to taste)

1 tsp Kala Namak (Rock Salt), adjust to taste

1½ tsp Jeera Powder (roasted and powdered cumin seeds)

A pinch of Heeng (Asafoetida)

A few tablespoons Powdered Sugar (Icing Sugar)

Method

Wash and dry the amla.

Put them inside a ziplock bag. Flatten them out in a single layer and keep them in the freezer for five to six days, depending on the size of the amla. Remove the amla from the freezer and allow them to sit till they soften. The amla slices will come off easily by scoring or running your knife along the natural segment line of amla. This process should take you 20 minutes approx.

Once this process is over, transfer the pieces to a glass mixing bowl or a non corrosive pot (I used steel pot) and sprinkle the sugar all over it so that the amlas are completely covered by the sugar. Cover with a lid and set aside at a place where no ants can reach. The sugar will take 2 – 3 days to melt (depending on the size of the amla).

After 24 hours, stir the pieces around using a spoon or spatula and again cover & keep aside. After three days, the sugar will completely dissolve and the pieces are ready to be removed from the syrup. Remove excess liquid by passing it through a strainer. Keep them in the strainer for 15 – 20 minutes to ensure that the syrup is well drained. Reserved the syrup.

Lay the pieces in a single layer over a tray (non corrosive) and keep the amla pieces covered by a muslin or cheese cloth (without the cloth touching the pieces) in the sun for approximately two to three days (depending on how strong the sun is) or till the amla is no longer sticky to touch. (Ensure that the pieces are not over exposed to the sun else they dry out and turn hard & chewy)

(I missed clicking this step but will update when I make the next batch)

Once the amla pieces have dried and are no longer sticky, they ready to be dredged with spices and icing sugar. The sun dried pieces will wear a discolored look but that is fine.

Transfer the amla pieces to a clean and dry mixing bowl and sprinkle the ground spices over it. Ensure that each and every slice of the amla is well coated. Next, dust over / sprinkle the icing sugar, using a sieve (to avoid sugar lumps). Use as much as needed. I used just enough to cover them.

Shake the candies inside the bowl to ensure that each and every piece is well coated with the spice mix and icing sugar. Remove the amla candy in an air tight container. The candy should stay well for six months.

And for the liquid that we had reserved, after soaking the amla in sugar, you can turn it into a syrup and store it in a bottle. Use it as a concentrate.

You can swap sugar with jaggery. Use equal weight of both amla and jaggery. You need to follow the same procedure except that while using jaggery you need to layer the jaggery and amla alternately before you leave them for soaking. Also ensure that you grate the jaggery to ensure smooth assimilation and dissolving.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe.

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