Mahanandi

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

Boiled Chestnuts

Boiled Chestnuts

Due to my craving for something I have never tasted before, the chestnuts have leaped from roasting skillet into the steaming pot on New Year’s Day at my home.

The chestnuts that appear during winter season here have been a fascination for me for the last couple of years. I like roasted chestnuts. This year I ventured into boiling and cooking with chestnut territory. The boiling process is similar to how we do with fresh crop peanuts in India. But with chestnuts we have to score and then steam. Once the shell softens, drain the water. Peel the outer covering and enjoy the tender chestnut inside. Boiled chestnuts taste almost like boiled peanuts (and jackfruit seeds san the smell). Sweet, nutty and starchy, with aroma typical of boiled nuts.

For our New Year’s Day meal, I prepared a chestnut and date yogurt. Finely chopped few dates and boiled chestnuts and then added them to yogurt. A sprinkle of salt. There it is, a fine and exotic side dish welcoming the 08.

Boiled Chestnuts and Finely Chopped Dates with Yogurt
Boiled Chestnuts and Finely Chopped Dates with Yogurt

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dates (kharjuram), Yogurt, Chestnuts (Marrons) (Wednesday January 2, 2008 at 7:44 pm- permalink)
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A Date with Cashew

Dates with Cashews

What could be a more delirious combination than a cashew encased in a sweet date. To my mind, nothing! Cashew-date is a pure, natural treat, and has particularly been a long tradition in Hyderabad region (Charminar area). A favorite at tens of small shops specializing in dates, dates with cashews is prepared by stuffing sweet, moist dates with fresh cashews. When you take a bite, first you would get the caramel like date and then the cashew, which balances and enhances the date experience. It’s a pleasant mini jugalbandi. Vijay and I, we both enjoy cashew-dates.

I think it would be refreshing to eat something uncooked, raw as it is given by the earth at the end of a meal before leaving the table. I believe that’s why fruit is served at the end of traditional meal. A date with cashew is another succulent way to conclude the meal with the sweet taste of Mother Earth.

Date with Cashew
A Date with Cashew ~ for Chandrika’s Date Event

How:
Moist and sweet dates - pits removed
cashews - whole, raw (or unsalted, roasted ones)
****
Gently push the cashew into the date, in place of pit.
If the dates are on the firm side, warm them in a oven/microwave for five seconds to soften. This will make the dates pliable and placing cashews will be easy. (This works on firm dates, trust me). Store them in a box, or wrap each one like a candy.
Natural pick-me uppers and also make a sweet gift to share with friends and family.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dry Fruits, Nuts & Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Cashews, Dates (kharjuram) (Monday December 10, 2007 at 12:50 pm- permalink)
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Date and Prune

Date and Prune
A Date with Prune ~ for this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Weekend Blog Read:

Hey, Sweetheart!

Love Song for Trader Joe’s

I Finally Said Goodbye to Food Network

Saturday Night at the Movies, The Obligatory Top Ten List

Blogging in Telugu: Tools and Tips

What’s Wrong with American Academia

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Dates (kharjuram) (Sunday December 9, 2007 at 2:42 pm- permalink)
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Honey~Date~Walnut Cake (Kharjuram Cake)

Honey-Date-Walnut Cake
Honey-Date-Walnut Cake ~ Fresh Out of the Oven

The classic combination of honey, dates and walnuts is used for this light, moist cake. This is my first ever cake of this type that I baked. Delicious and nutritious, Honey-date-walnut cake is one of my favorite cakes.

Recipe:

1 cup dates
½ cup honey
1 cup walnuts
2 eggs - at room temperature
¼ cup each - milk and butter at room temperature
2 cups - all-purpose flour (maida pindi)
½ cup brown sugar or white cane sugar
½ tsp each - baking powder, baking soda and cardamom powder


Honey, Walnuts and Dates

Dates and Honey: Finely chop dates into thin rings. Take them in a cup and add honey. Keep the dates soaked in honey for about 30 minutes. This is done to soften and further sweeten the dates. The dates that I used in this recipe are Deglet Noor, mildly sweet Tunisian variety. Extremely sweet and soft Medjool type does not need the honey/soaking part.

Walnuts: Finely chop walnuts to small pieces

Eggs: Break eggs into a cup and beat with a spoon. (I removed yellows, my preference.) Sometimes I skip the eggs totally and would add a mashed, ripe banana in its place. This works too.

Sift and add flour to a big vessel. Stir in sugar, baking powder, soda and cardamom powder. Mix.

Add butter, milk and eggs. Also walnuts and dates along with the honey they are soaked in. Combine all thoroughly. If the batter is too tight, adjust the consistency by adding little bit more milk. Pour the mixture into a cake pan. level it evenly.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the cake pan in the bottom rack for the first 15 minutes, and then move the pan to the top rack. Bake for about a total 30 minutes, until the top of the cake turns to light honey color and when a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from oven. Let cool. Slice and enjoy!

Cake and Care Package to Our Friends
Cake and Care Package to Our Friends

Vijay’s classmate and friend became a proud parent of a cutest baby boy, couple of days ago. They came home from hospital yesterday and this is the care package we sent today for them. Chapatis, aloo chole, idly, peanut chutney and honey-date-walnut cake.
Congratulations Dimpy and RP!

Notes:
Honey tends to thicken during winter time. Microwaving for couple of seconds usually lightens the honey.
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Dates (kharjuram), Honey (Friday March 9, 2007 at 8:21 pm- permalink)
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Soymilk Skin (Fresh Yuba) ~ Savory & Sweet


Fresh Soymilk Skin (Fresh Yuba, Uba, Bean Curd Skin, Fuzhu, Foo Pi)

Few months ago, after much hesitation I dared and prepared soy milk at home. The milk was alright, but what I liked most was the skins that would form while boiling soymilk. Do you remember from India, when you boil cows/buffalo’s milk, a thick layer of skin would form on top of boiled milk. You can just lift the layer and eat - Milk meegada or malai, do you remember the taste? Mildly sweet and irresistible because of limited amount. Same thing here with soymilk.

Soymilk skins are much thicker, almost like samosa/wonton wraps. They taste sweet and have a distinct soy smell. What I gathered from the web is that Japanese call this soymilk skin “Yuba” and they are an expensive delicacy. Famously and religiously prepared by Buddhist Monks and used in several Buddhist recipes for its protein richness.

I wanted to try an Indianised yuba recipes and prepared two entries with soymilk skins. A savory and a sweet - Yuba:Potato Curry Rounds and Soymilk Halwa. As entries to IMBB+SHF ~ Soy, hosted by Reid of Ono Kine Grindz. Started the whole process first by preparing fresh soymilk. And then boiled the milk for about an hour. Constantly picking up the milk skins with a chopstick. I wrapped these milk skins around the potato curry and sauteed them for few minutes. With leftover soymilk skins and soymilk, I prepared halwa by adding sugar, finely chopped dates and freshly grated coconut. Simmered the whole thing until it came together like pala kova. Removed to a box and kept it in the freezer to make the halwa little bit firm.

Both the yuba-potato rounds and soymilk halwa tasted superb. Time consuming but worth my effort and I am glad that I tried this ancient classic Buddhist delicacy.

Here is the whole process in images. Enjoy!


Boiling homemade soymilk to pickup soymilk skins (Yuba, Milk Meegada)


Wrapping Potato curry in soymilk skins (Yuba, Milk Meegada)


Sauteing the Soymilk skin (yuba) wrapped potato curry rounds on low heat


Golden colored yuba-potato curry rounds - in closeup


Yuba-Potato Curry Round in fresh soymilk skin (soy paala meegada) with red chilli-garlic powder as garnish


Soymilk Halwa with dates and fresh coconut


More about Yuba - Here and from Egullet
Yuba making - in images
Tags: +

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Soy (Tofu, Yuba), Dates (kharjuram), Sugar (Friday June 23, 2006 at 9:33 am- permalink)
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Ma’amoul (Dates & Pistachios Filled Cookies)

Chanit of My Mom’s Recipes and More left a comment on my blog last month. To return the compliments I visited her blog, and what I found was a very detailed recipe for mamoul (dates filled cookies) with photos. I knew I had to try it. What attracted me to this recipe more than anything is the use of semolina for dough. I did some googling on these famous Middle Eastern cookies to know more about them and how they are made. Next, I went and bought the ingredients: fine Tunisian pitted dates, pistachios and wooden ma’amoul mold from the only ethnic grocery store in our small town, Ghossians Mid East Bakery.

I did experiment with the recipe. First, I used ghee instead of butter because ghee is not only more flavorful and unlike butter has no unnecessary baggage. I reduced the ratio of all-purpose flour to semolina. I also complimented the dates filling by adding pistachios. Finally I skipped the eggs. One more thing is I prepped the mamoul mold with ghee so that when cookie dough pressed into the mold and reversed, it can come out easily without sticking to the mold.

The final result of my experimentation was exquisite, one of a kind sweet cookies, the one I am going to make many more times from now on. A delicious paradox, they have a mildly sweet, crisp and grainy outside because of semolina and insides are moistly sweet and tender. Thanks Chanit! It is little bit of time consuming to make these using the ma’amoul mold but I had time and so happy with the beautiful outcome.

Ma'amoul mould, Pistachios, Dates, Rose water, Semolina, All Pupose Flour (Maida)

Recipe:

Dough:
2 cups - semolina
½ cup - all purpose flour (maida)
½ cup - melted ghee
½ cup - powdered sugar ( or more if you like sweet cookie covering)
1 tablespoon - rose water
1 teaspoon - active dried yeast melted in 1 tablespoon of luke warm water
Pinch of salt

Melt the ghee and cool it to room temperature. Sift the all purpose flour(maida) and mix it with semolina and ghee. Add the yeast water, rose water, powdered sugar and salt. Mix and make a dough by adding little bit of water. Set aside for about 3 hours, covered, to rest.

Cookie Dough after 3 hours of rest and Dates-Pistachios Filling Making of Ma'amouls - Pressing the cookies dough into ma'amoul mold

Dates- Pistachios Filling:
2 cups - fresh soft-pitted dates
½ cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup - powdered cane sugar
1 teaspoon - rose water
and Ma’amoul mould to press and shape the cookies

In a food processor, take pistachios and powder to fine. Then add the dates, sugar and rose water. Blend them together into fine paste. Remove to a cup.

Ma'amouls (Dates-Nut filled Cookies) Ready for Oven Ma'amouls After 20 minutes in the Oven

Preparation:

After 3 hours of rest, knead and divide the dough into lime sized balls. Flatten each ball using your hand and lift the sides up to form a hollow. It is now ready for the filling. Place one tablespoon of dates-pistachios filling into the hollowed dough. Close the dough over the dates mixture. Press the edges to seal well. Press it into the ma’amoul mold to give it a decorated appearance. Reverse the mold; gently shake to loosen it from the mold. Prepare each one in this way and place them neatly in rows, on a greased/parchment paper lined baking tray.

Place the tray in a preheated oven at 350° F and bake for about 20 minutes. I reversed the cookies to the opposite side after 10 minutes in the oven for even baking. After 20 minutes or when they turn lightly golden, remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Ma'amouls (Dates-Pistachios Filled Cookies)

Ma’amoul (Dates-Pistachios Filled Cookies) ~ Delicate, rose flavored and naturally sweet. Our Thanksgiving treat and contribution to this month’s SHF-IMBB Cookie-Swap event.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Pistachios, Dates (kharjuram), Sugar, Jaggery and Honey, Molasses, Suji/Semolina, Ghee (Friday November 25, 2005 at 8:46 pm- permalink)
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