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With Diwali just round the corner, I was hard pressed to do a post on an Indian mithai/ sweet and I could not think of a single one I had not yet blogged about over the past many years. Besides the poor diabetes control rightly linked to the aftermath of this national festival of light [and sweets] convinced me to go for something healthier than the traditional burfi, gulab jamun or gato patate. Here’s a big thumbs-up for the dry fruit laddoo, which restored my faith in the unique taste of this humble Indian sweet.

Dates are the most important component in this no-cook recipe by FoodVedam as no extra sugar or sweetener is added. Try to use good quality dates of Medjool variety, if possible, as they are large and soft and therefore easier to process into a paste. The shelling, roasting and chopping of the nuts should be done ahead as it is the most time-consuming step. Once you have the nut mixture ready, the assembly hardly takes 15 minutes and you have a deliciously different laddoo to add to your sweet box and share with your loved ones on the blessed occasion of Diwali, Festival of Lights.

DRY FRUIT LADDOO

Ingredients:

200g dried dates

50g dried figs

30g almonds

30g cashew nuts

30g pistachios

15g golden raisins

15g black raisins

1/4 piece nutmeg

1 teaspoon sesame

3 green cardamoms

1 tablespoon ghee

Method:

  • Remove seeds from the dates and chop them coarsely. Chop dried figs and keep them aside separately.

  • Coarsely chop almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios. Grind cardamom seeds and nutmeg to a fine powder.

  • Put chopped dates and dried figs in a mixer grinder and make into a coarse paste. Melt ghee in a pan.

  • Add cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins and roast for 2 to 3 minutes. Add dates and figs mixture.

  • Stir in nutmeg powder, sesame seeds and mix well. Turn off flame and let it cool down for few minutes.

  • Divide mixture into equal parts. Apply a little ghee to palms each time to bind laddoos. For 12 pieces.

Happy Diwali 2018!

Pasta makes dinner so much simpler. Simply toss cooked pasta into any sauce of your choice, top with any combination of veggies or meat [leftovers work well here] and you have your evening meal under control within minutes. This holds true especially when you are too tired/lazy to cook yourself a proper meal and you’re also too tired/lazy to go out and buy food. Taken from BBC Good Food Everyday Pasta and Noodle Dishes, this cheat’s version of egg noodle pasta can be made as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chili to your taste or tolerance level.

SPICY PRAWN EGG NOODLE PASTA

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped tablespoon coriander purée

Pinch of crushed dried chilies, to taste

400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic

1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder

Half a 250g pack Chinese egg noodles

400g prawns, peeled and deveined

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Toss in the onion, squeeze in the coriander purée.

  • Sprinkle over the crushed chilies to taste. Stir fry for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.

  • Pour in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cans water, add tomato purée and sprinkle over bouillon powder.

  • Season well. Bring to a bubble, stirring, then lower the heat a little and let the sauce simmer.

  • Cook for about 15 minutes until slightly reduced but still sloppy. Break noodles into a bowl.

  • Pour in enough boiling water to cover. Stir and set aside. When sauce is ready, drain noodles.

  • Tip them into the sauce with uncooked prawns. Stir well and heat through for 2 minutes only.

  • Taste for seasoning and add more chilli flakes and a little sugar if you like. Makes 2 servings.

Spicy Prawn Egg Noodle Pasta

While garam masala is a much used spice blend in most gravies and curries in Indian cuisine, this recipe from My Food Story convincingly adds it to cake batter to give an unusual twist to your classic apple cake. Baked in a pretty Bundt pan, this dense spicy cake is good to serve on a cold winter afternoon and you do not even have to worry about making masala chai to go with it. The browned butter rum sauce is for those who dare to add a bit more sugar and complexity to the winter flavors of this warm and cozy tea time apple bake.

GARAM MASALA APPLE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Apple Bundt Cake

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 large apples, finely chopped

2 lemons, zested and juiced

2 1/8 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup light muscovado sugar

1/2 cup mild vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Brown Butter Sauce

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

Method:

  • In a bowl mix together almond milk and vinegar and set aside. Add lemon juice to chopped apples.
  • Grease a 4 cup Bundt cake pan well, making sure to get the crevices. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, garam masala, cinnamon, ginger and lemon zest.
  • In another bowl, whisk together almond milk-vinegar mixture, muscovado sugar, oil and vanilla.

  • Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix till combined, then fold in chopped apples.
  • Spread the mixture into the greased Bundt cake pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

  • A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake will come out clean. While cake is baking, make glaze.
  • Heat butter in a pan till it starts foaming and frothing and will start browning. Remove from heat.

  • Whisk in sugar, vanilla and milk till the mixture is smooth. Set aside until the cake finishes baking.
  • Once the cake is baked, invert it onto a plate or baking sheet. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake.

Garam Masala Apple Cake

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PrerrnaMirchi
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