Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Claypot Cooking: Poha Payasam with Almond Milk

అటుకుల పాయసము

Claypot
Claypot Cooking: Poha Payasam with Almond Milk

I had been looking for a decent clay pot for cooking for a long time. Last weekend, I have come across one at a local grocery shop called Apna Bazar. The clay pot is from India, very well crafted and decorated with pretty floral design. The size is good and it also has a well-fitted lid. Price $12.

I brought the clay pot home, prepped it by soaking in water and then simmering the water for few times, half an hour each time. Simmering was done on stovetop following the clay-pot cooking principles. First warm the pot on low heat and then gradually increase the heat to medium level. I never tried high heat setting fearing that it might crack. Although it was on electric stovetop, this method has worked very well. Like the iron box on steam setting, the clay pot hissed every time, but absorbed this newbie trails kindly. I felt confident enough to try out the real deal and did the opening ceremony with payasam preparation yesterday. The sweetness that comes with clay pot cooking, combined with sweetness of the payasam, it was a good experience.

The following poha payasam with almond milk is very easy to make. And I think, it has a taste that delights most everyone. If you prefer, semiya or sabudana can be substituted for poha.


Toasted Poha, Golden Raisins and Chironji Nuts

Recipe:
(for two to four people, for one meal)

3 cups almond milk (badam paalu)
½ cup maple syrup (or sugar to taste)

1-tablespoon ghee
2- tablespoons golden raisins
1-tablespoon chironji (Saarapappu or charoli)
1-cup poha (atukulu, rice flakes)
1 teaspoon freshly crushed cardamom

1. Place almond milk in a wide pot on stovetop. Add maple syrup. Slowly, on medium-low heat, simmer for about 20 minutes, until three cups have reduced to about two and half cups.

2. While almond milk is simmering, in a small kadai or wok, take ghee. On medium heat, warm the ghee. Add golden raisins and saute, constantly stirring. Wait until they puff up like round balloons. It’s a beautiful sight and worth the wait. With a slotted spoon, remove the balloons to a plate.
Add chironji nuts to the kadai. Toast them to pale red. Take them out and add poha. Toast for couple of minutes just until they are warm to touch. Together, they will look like shown in the photo above.

3. Add the toasted poha, golden balloons and chironji nuts to simmering almond milk. Sprinkle the crushed cardamom. Mix. Turn off the heat immediately. Cover the pot and let the poha absorb the almond milk. Poha is like cereal flakes, softens quickly.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Just before serving, drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup. This poha paysam with almond milk is as nutritious as it is tasty and makes a comforting dessert for people who fear the hormonal effects of regular milk and soymilk.

Claypot
Claypot Cooking: Poha (Atukula) Payasam with Almond Milk

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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Almonds, Poha (Atukulu), Indian Sweets 101 (Thursday April 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm- permalink)
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Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk
Badam Paalu

Almonds (Badam) - one cup
Water - 5 cups
Maple syrup - Half cup (or sugar to taste)

Soak almonds in water overnight or for at least four hours.
Drain the water. Rinse the almonds and take them in a blender.
Adding water gradually, puree to smooth.
Pour through a muslin cloth into a big pitcher or bowl to extract milk.
Run the pulp through blender one more time, adding water.
Strain through muslin cloth for milk, and save the pulp to add in curries.
To the almond milk, add maple syrup. Mix with a spoon.
Refrigerate for half an hour. Drink or enjoy with cereal, oatmeal or poha.

For Ugadi, I’ve prepared payasam with almond milk. Smooth, creamy with almond-maple flavor, Payasam naivedyam tasted excellent.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Almonds, Maple Syrup (Wednesday April 9, 2008 at 10:53 am- permalink)
Comments (23)

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Homemade Rice Milk (Horchata)

Homemade Rice Milk
Homemade Rice Milk

Simple, inexpensive and adaptable to many flavors, rice milk is like glacial water. Thick, creamy and sweet. My recipe is loosely based on the Horchata that they serve at mom and pop style Mexican restaurants. Rice and almonds ground together and I flavored the milk with cardamom and jaggery. This is my first try and we both, Vijay and I, liked the result very much. Here is how I prepared it:

Ingredient list:
(Fills 4 small glasses)

3/4 cup - brown basmati rice
1/3 cup - almonds
6 cardamom pods- seeds coarsely crushed
6 cups - water
1/4 cup - jaggery (or sugar)

Wet grinder or blender


Brown Basmati Rice and Almonds

1: Soak almonds in warm water for about 30 minutes and then peel the skins.
Grind rice to fine, using a blender or spice grinder, until a semolina like texture is achieved.

Pulverized Brown Basmati Rice and Almonds without skins

2: Combine the rice powder, almonds and cardamom. Add about 4 cups of water and mix. Keep the mixture covered overnight.

Rice, Almonds and Cardamom covered with water for overnight soak Rice, Almonds and Cardamom covered with water for about 12 hours
Rice, Almonds and Cardamom ~ Before and After Overnight Soak

3: Next morning, place the mixture and jaggery in a stone grinder or blender. Gradually adding two cups of water, blend to smooth. Pour the rice milk through cheesecloth or filter into a bowl. Gently squeezing/stirring, extract the milk. Refrigerate the rice milk for about 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

If you wish, add lemon or orange juice and bananas to the milk and blend to make a great tasting rice milk smoothie.

Horchata, Rice milk for JFI:Rice Food blog event
Refreshing Rice Milk ~ for JFI: Rice, hosted by Sharmi of Neivedyam

Kitchen Notes:
The idea here is to use unpolished, unmilled rice. If you think for a minute, it’s easy to see that nutrient-rich brown rice makes a great tasting milk than the one prepared with polished, white rice. And, brown rice goodness and basmati’s sweetness make brown basmati, a perfect choice to prepare rice milk.

Recipe idea for leftover rice-almond sediment: Vennai Puttu (Sweet from Tamilnadu, India)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Almonds, Jihva For Ingredients, Brown Basmati (Saturday September 1, 2007 at 9:42 pm- permalink)
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Pumpkin Halwa with Butternut Squash


Pumpkin Halwa with Butternut Squash and Almonds ~ For JFI:Deepavali Treats

When talented food writer, photographer and blogger Vee of Past, Present and Me announced special edition of Jihva to celebrate Diwali festival, I was really elated and thought it was an appropriate idea. “Jihva for Ingredients” (JFI), is an online food blogging event, created to celebrate the natural ingredients and what they can do for our Jihva.

The ingredients that we use in our cooking may not be constant but love, family and tradition, the natural, real ingredients that we share to celebrate the Deepavali festival are going to be constant and would always be there to sustain us through our life journey. Also if there is one festival that truly unites India, it is Deepavali~the festival of lights. All ages and religions joyously participate - Lighting the divas, sharing sweets, presents or enjoying firework displays. The festival has something for everyone. Even the grinch among us would shine and smile during this time.

Deepavali is also about giving and receiving a second chance in life and I am glad to share with you my second chance with pumpkin.:) To tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of pumpkin, I never was. My dislike of this vegetable started in my childhood, continued through upto now. But after seeing several of my fellow food bloggers’ fabulous creations with this vegetable, I too wanted to join the fun. But would the pumpkin accept me, I was skeptical. So I took the help of almonds, milk kova and of course our true friend that would instantly bring joy to any occasion, ‘the sugar’. With the help of all these ingredients I have prepared pumpkin halwa with butternut squash. Boy, oh boy, what a delight that was. I was astounded by how generous the pumpkin was with its gentle sweetness and its ready mixing with other ingredients. It may look all bulky and intimidating, but the vegetable has a sweet taste of a kind giant.

Many thanks to my fellow food bloggers (dear InjiPennu , where are you?), to my new friend pumpkin for inspring me to take this second chance and also to lovely Vee for hosting this special edition of Jihva. If it’s not for you guys, I would have never tried pumpkin again, I think. And this pumpkin halwa sweet truly is a special Diwali treat for us, and is going to be a tradition from now on in my family.


Butternut Squash ~ Cut in Half and Grated

Recipe:

Butternut Squash, almonds, milk and sugar
Ghee, rose water and cardamom

Prep work:

1. Almonds - Soak half-cup almonds in warm water for about 2 hours. Remove the skins and make a smooth powder in a food processor.

2. Butternut squash (2 pounder) - Peel the skin and cut into half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and finely grate using a mandoline. Comes about 3 cups of tightly packed grated squash.

3. Meanwhile prepare milk-sugar syrup: take 5 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of sugar in a big, thick-bottomed vessel. Cook the mixture until is gets thick and is reduced to about one fourths of the original quantity. Takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

4. Take 8 cardamoms, remove the skins and in a mortar pound the seeds into fine powder with a pestle.

Showtime:

1. In a big sturdy, wide bottomed vessel, heat about 2 tablespoons of ghee on medium heat.

2. Add the grated pumpkin to the melted ghee. And with a big slotted spoon, gently mix and cook the pumpkin. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring in between, until the raw smell of pumpkin disappears and color changes from yellow to orange-yellow.

3. Add the almond powder and condensed milk-sugar kova. Add cardamom powder and two teaspoons of rose water. Gently mix and constantly stirring, cook the whole mixture until it comes together into a solid firm mass. Takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove the halwa to a pan. Level it even and let cool. Keep it in the freezer for about one hour to firm it up even more. Remove and cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to cut round shape discs.

5. Serve chilled.

I think this halwa can stay fresh upto one week, when refrigerated.


Pumpkin Halwa ~ Our Diwali Treat ~ For 101 Indian Sweets
and My Entry to VKN’s “Festival Foods” Event

Recipe source: My own creation
I have prepared this halwa on less sweet side. My preference. Increase the sugar quantity if you like more sugary sweet taste.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Almonds, Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101, Pumpkin (Thursday October 19, 2006 at 2:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (57)

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Chestnut-Almond Cookies

For Indian recipes, I can’t and won’t break the tradition and I will always follow the elder’s footsteps in preparing food. I believe the ingredients they use for a particular recipe have been chosen for a reason, and the steps they followed to make a recipe work are methodic, implicitly giving a perfect taste and nutritional boost.

But when it comes to western food, since I ‘m not used to making these traditionally, I feel very free to experiment. Also I believe most of ‘traditional’ recipes that I see in magazines and TV shows are the stuff that they makeup as they go, to promote some food ingredients or products following the corporate orders. When food ingredients have their own associations and mega budgets to promote and influence peoples opinion in their favor with advertisement blitzes, I am not sure how traditional most of these recipes are, though they proclaim otherwise.

Chestnut cookies first posted by Mine of Teatime then submitted to cookie swap event by Ulrike of Kuchenlatein, captivated me mainly because they sounded real authentic, traditional and old world. When I saw the beautiful photographs, I so wanted to try these cookies. I changed few things here and there, going all the way to make them rustic pure. Use of molasses in place of powdered sugar, turned the cookies golden brown instead of creamy white. I tried decorating cookies differently, but it didn’t come out as I expected. Except for that one gaffe, the cookies turned out to be mouthfuls of wholesome goodness. Thanks Mine and Ulrike for sharing this wonderful, traditional recipe.

Molasses, All purpose flour, Almonds, Roasted Chestnuts, Clove, Cardamom, Cinnamon

Recipe:

2 cups of almonds, soaked in water overnight, then skins removed
15 chestnuts, roasted, then shells removed
1 cup of all purpose flour
11/2 cups of molasses
(Molasses is an acquired taste, difficult to like. Sugar/honey works fine too)
2 egg whites
1 inch cinnamon, 1 clove, and seeds from 1 cardamom pod - finely powdered together

Powdering Almonds and Chestnuts in a Food Processor Almond-Chestnut cookies all ready to go into oven
Powdering Almonds and Chestnuts in a Food Processor…Almond-Chestnut cookie dough, ready to be baked

Preparation:

Powder the almonds and roasted chestnuts in a food processor to a smooth powder. Make it easy on the motor and do it in batches. In a vessel, take egg whites and beat them until they turn to foamy white. To these egg whites, add molasses and cardamom-cinnamon-clove powder. Mix and stir in all purpose flour and almond-chestnut powder. Mix them thoroughly. Shape the dough into a log, wrap it in a wax paper and store it in the freezer, until the cookie dough firms up. I had to keep it overnight in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Remove the hardened cookie dough from the freezer, cut it into 1 to 2 inch rounds crosswise. Place them neatly in rows on a greased or parchment paper lined baking tray. I egg washed the tops and sprinkled some brown sugar on top of each cookie, my idea of decoration, not so successful, I have to say.:) Place the baking tray in preheated oven and bake them at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

Believe it or not, they tasted like, do you know the South Indian sweet “Ariselu“, exactly like that. Roasted chestnuts and molasses gave a special and characteristic taste to these cookies, a first for us and we liked them very much.

chestnut cookies
Chestnut-Almond Cookies

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Almonds, Molasses, Chestnuts (Marrons) (Tuesday December 13, 2005 at 7:16 pm- permalink)
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Lentil & Almond Burgers (Toor Dal-Badam Cutlets)

These easy to prepare no-meat burgers are great on their own or on buns. The recipe is from Eating Well magazine. I tried it today and they turned out good.

Recipe:

1 cup toordal or (recipe called for French green lentils, but I used toordal)
½ cup sliced almonds (badam)
1 tsp of salt
Vegetables:
½ cup carrots
1 onion
5 green chillies
cilantro (whatever herb you prefer, celery, thyme) finely chopped.
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Magazine recipe also used eggs as binding agent, but I skipped the eggs.

Ingredients for lentil-almond burgers Sauteed ingredients

Preparation:

Pressure cook lentils with little water or cook lentils in water until tender, drain the water, keep aside. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet; add carrot, onions, chillies, cilantro and almonds. Sauté them until the almonds are lightly browned. Let them cool down a little bit. Then transfer the mixture to a food processor, add the cooked lentils and salt. Pulse several times, scraping the sides, until the mixture is coarsely ground. Take this mixture into a bowl, add lemon juice, and mix it well.

patties Browning the other side

Form the lentil mixture into round patties. Heat 1 tsp of oil or ghee in a cast iron skillet. Add the patties, cook for 3 to 4 minutes on medium low, each side, until lightly browned. They are delicate; use a big spatula to turn them.

Serve them hot with ketchup.

Toordal-Almond burgers with ketchup on top
Toor dal - Almond Burger with ketchup ~ our lunch today

Recipe source:Eating Well magazine

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Almonds (Tuesday May 17, 2005 at 5:22 pm- permalink)
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