Pistachio Nankhatai

Today I was feeling the need for a bake, so I made these my Pistachio Nankhatai. I have many different versions and flavour combinations some are wheat free, vegan, with nuts without but the great thing about these is that they are super easy to make and taste delightful. This version can be made using the following recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain flour 

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup fine semolina

1tsp baking powder

1/2 cup of Icing sugar

1/2 cup of ghee melted

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1/5 nutmeg freshly grated

Small pinch of Salt 

2tbsp of ground pistachios 

2tsp milk

Method
 

Preheat the oven to 180c

in a bowl add all the dry ingredients except the pistachios and combine 

Add the ghee and milk to the dry mix and combine with your hands to from a smooth dough if the mixture is a little wet add a further tbsp of chickpea flour

Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper 

Take pinch size bits of dough and roll into a balls, place on the lines baking sheet and slightly flatten the dough. (Roughly 35g)

With a knife cut a cross shape Ito the dough and sprinkle with the ground pistachio.

Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes 

Remove from oven and leave to cool before removing from the baking sheet. 

Enjoy with a delicious cup of masala chai. 

Lemonies with White Chocolate and Kaffir Lime Leaf

Recently I’ve been on a forced health drive due to my gall bladder playing up, which hasn’t been much fun but it has been manageable until I came across this old picture of my scrummy lemonies with white chocolate and kaffir lime leaf. Admittedly not the most arty of pictures but delicious none the less with its gooey middle and crisp crust, and I’m pretty sure you will forgive my photography skills once you’ve made them.  

If I’m honest, I think I prefer these to its big sister the dark chocolate brownie owing too the lemon and kaffir lime leaf cutting through the heaviness of the chocolate giving a much tastier sweet treat. 

I developed this recipe back in March 2014 after being inspired by plain lemonies on Pinterest, it was the baked food thing of it’s time, a bit like this unicorn /rainbow/galaxy cake thing is that’s going on a the moment. I’m really not sure about all those colourants in foods, kids eating those types of cakes must be pinging of the walls ! Anyway I originally blogged this on my very first food blog “From Ground to Mouth” and as I’m centralising all my recipes it now appears here for you to enjoy. 


Lemonies with White Chocolate and Kaffir Lime Leaf

Serves: 12 or 6 greedy people

Prep time: 15mins

Cooking time: 28-35 mins

Ingredients:

200g white chocolate Green and Blacks

250g salted butter

3 large fresh kaffir lime leaves, scrunched and finely shredded

3 lemons, zested and juiced

125g plain flour, sieved

350g caster sugar

4 large organic eggs

Optional: use 1tbsp fresh lemon thyme instead of kaffir lime leaves

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c or 160c fan

Line a small – medium square or rectangle tray.

In a pan melt the chocolate and butter , then add the sugar, shredded lime leaves, lemon zest and juice; and mix.

Gradually add the eggs and then the flour

Place the mixture in the lined baking tray (small-medium) and bake until just set.

Set the timer for 28 mins first, then increase as you think fit. The ones I baked took 33 mins. The top of the brownies should appear cracked and have the slightest wobble.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin , then portion up. 

Meen Pollichathu – Fish in Banana Leaf

 

This dish Meen Pollichathu (Fish cooked in Banana Leaf) was taught to me by good friend Divya in Chendamangalam, Kerala. This is a deliciously spicy dish that’s great served with rice or just with a parotta and will impress your guests for sure.

Traditionally this dish uses a fish that is local to the fresh waters of Kerala called Karimeen, which is not readily available in the UK so I have opted for sea bream but grey mullet or snapper lends itself well.

The banana leaves are a really important element in this dish as not only does it hold the whole dish together it imparts a flavour and keeps the fish moist and succulent.

Meen Pollichathu – Fish in Banana Leaf

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Serves: 2

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large whole sea bream, scaled and gutted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 small shallots
  • 2 fresh green finger chillies
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tsp coconut vinegar
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 banana leaf, enough to wrap the fish twice.

Method

Prep the banana leaf by trimming into sheets to wrap the fish, taking care to remove the central spine of the leaf.  Wash in water, dry the leaves and run the leaves over a flame, this seal the leaves, making them more pliable.

Slash the fish and rub with 1tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric.

In a wok or frying pan heat the coconut oil and fry the fish until sealed.

To make the masala place the ginger, garlic, shallots, fresh chilli green, chilli powder, pepper, salt and coconut vinegar in a masala grinder and grind until smooth.

Coat the inside and outside of the fish in all the masala, and leave to marinade for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes over lap the banana leaf sheets in a cross shape, place half the tomatoes, curry leaves and onion on top of the leaves.

Place the masala marinated fish on top of the leaves, add the remaining curry leaves, slices of onions and tomatoes, and wrap the fish in the leaves securing with a cocktail stick.

In a hot wok, add a little coconut oil and place the fish parcels in the wok frying for 10 minutes on each side.

Serve with steamed rice or parotta with wedges of limes.

Warm Lebanese spiced roasted butternut and sweet potato salad with beluga lentils and pomegranate

Over the last week I’ve been feeling really sick with a cold resulting in me feeling really lethargic and irritable, everything I’ve eaten has not satisfied me in the slightest not even soup and being on a diet hasn’t helped much either.

I was determined that lunch today would be full of the things I love, the dish served was a delicious warm Lebanese spiced roasted butternut and sweet potato salad with beluga lentils and pomegranate. I was really pleased with the results as I could actually taste all the spicing and flavours for the first time in days, the road to discovery is definitely in sight.  I guess eating bright vibrant food helps to rebuild the soul too.

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Warm Lebanese spiced roasted butternut and sweet potato salad with beluga lentils and pomegranate

Prep 15 minutes

Cooking time 1hr

Serves 2

Ingredients

For roasting 

1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes

1/4 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes

2 romanesco peppers, cut in half

1 tbsp Lebanese spice blend ( equal quantities of ground: cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, all spice, coriander)

1 tbsp olive oil

1tsp sea salt

For the salad

1 small pomegranate, de-seeded + juice

10 on the vine cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/4 portion cucumber, chopped into small cubes

mixed lettuce leaves

125g ready to eat beluga lentils

1tsp olive oil

sea salt, to season

plack pepper, to season

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180c

In a tray add all the ingredients for roasting except for the peppers, combine the ingredients and roast for 40 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes and butternut squash are roasting prepare the rest of the salad ingredients and combine in a bowl.

Oil the peppers and add to the roasting pan for 20minutes.

Remove the peppers, sweet potatoes and butternut squash from the oven after 20 minutes.

Peel the skin from the peppers and slice into strips, add the peppers, butternut squash and sweet potatoes to the rest of the salad ingredients, combine and serve.

A great addition to this dish would be toasted walnuts…… wish I thought of that before i ate it !

 

Spice Kitchen : Murgh Hara Masala

Sundays are all about the chicken in most households, admitidly it’s usually a roasted. In the house I grew up in, our weekends didn’t culminate in a Sunday roast but a variety of spiced dishes. So if you ever come to mine on a Sunday it’s fairly unlikely that that I won’t  serve you a roast dinner, don’t get me wrong I enjoy a roast but I’m not bound by tradition of having one every Sunday or every month. 

If you don’t fancy a roast dinner try this dish that I wrote about when I was Malabar Aaanaa, it will liven up any dull Sunday.

This weekend was the first time I’ve had chance to get back on the spice trail to try something new and delicious. I did a fair bit of trawling through my recipe books and came across this tasty recipe for Murgh Hara Masala and being the person I am, I played about with it slightly.


Ingredients :

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion , thinly sliced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp masala chat

2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

2 chicken breasts, diced

2 chicken thighs, diced

100ml plain yoghurt

350 ml chicken stock

1 small handful of fresh mint, finely chopped

1 small handful of fresh coriander

1 green chilli, finely chopped

1 banana shallot, finely chopped

1tbsp lemon juice

100g fresh spinach, blanched and puréed

Salt to taste

1 stalk of fresh curry leaves

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium flame and add the sliced onions. Brown the onions and then add the garlic and chilli and fry until the raw smell has gone.

In a small bowl mix the chat masala and Kashmiri chilli powder and add a little water so not to scorch the spices, add this mix to the onions , garlic and ginger. Cook out the spices for 1 minute.

Add the chicken and seal the meat coating it with the spice mix.

Add the chopped mint, coriander, lemon juice, shallot and green chilli to the chicken and cook out for 2 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick add a splash of water.

Add the yogurt and bring to a simmering point and cook for a further 2 minutes

Add the stock and spinach and cook until the chicken is tender for 10- 15 minutes.

Add the curry leaves and season with salt, cook for a further minute.


Serve with rice and chapatti.

Upma – South Indian breakfast recipe

Upma is a typical South Indian breakfast made from semolina and vegetables. I’ve made this dish many times for Tiffin Brunches and Keralan Kitchen pop ups under Malabar Aaanaa,  it’s propabably one of my favourite dishes  and is best served with pappad and chutneys, it also goes well with my Kerala Mutta Curry recipe.

Upma , South Indian breakfast recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups coarse semolina
1 red onion chopped

1 small green pepper, finely chopped

1 small carrot, diced

3 green chillies, de-seeded and thinly sliced

4 stalks curry leaves

1 x 2 inch cassia bark

1tsp cumin seeds

3 cups boiling water

1tsp brown mustard seeds

1/3 cup of cashew nuts

2 dried kashmiri chillies (broken)

salt and peper to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil

In a dry frying pan roast the semolina over a medium heat until golden. Once this has been done remove from the pan and put to one side.

In another pan heat the coconut oil over a medium heat, first add the cashew nuts, whole spices and curry leaves and temper until the aroma develops then add the onions, chillies onions, peppers and carrot, fry until soft and golden.

Add the semolina to the onion mixture and combine, add the salt and pepper to taste.

Slowly add half of the boiling water once this has evaporated, add the remaining water and stir using a metal spoon. Try not to stir the mixture too much as the mixture will become stodgy.

Remove from the heat, cover the pan with a lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Fluff the mixture with a fork to separate the grains and serve with coconut and coriander chutney, and pappad

Enjoy.

Kerala Mutta Curry – eggs baked in masala 

Here’s a great brunch dish that will add spice to any weekend . I  made this for a clients 30th birthday brunch when I was running Malabar Aaanaa, all who attended loved this dish and said that the brunch added to a very special weekend.

Most of the egg curries I’ve had in Kerala have used hard boiled eggs. I feel the curry looses out on the silkiness of a soft yoke and a certain richness when combined with the masala, so with this in mind I cook the egg from the scratch in the masala sauce giving the dish a more enjoyable flavour and texture .


Kerala Mutta Curry – Baked Eggs in a Masala Sauce 

Ingredients

6 eggs, organic

For the Masala Sauce

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium onion, sliced

2 sprigs of curry leaves

2 tsp coriander seeds, ground

2 green chilli, deseeded and split lengthwise

1inch ginger, minced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

5 fresh medium tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground

1 tbsp cumin, ground

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 inch cinnamon stick

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

1 small handful of coriander, finely chopped

Method

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and temper following spices: cinnamon stick and curry leaves for 2 minutes, then add the sliced onions.

Fry the onions until soft and translucent then add the garlic, ginger and green chilli, cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the spices ( but not the garam masala) and cook until the tomatoes have broken down , add a cup of water gradually to stop the mixture from sticking.

Once the masala sauce has cooked down sprinkle with garam masala and season with salt and mix.

Pre-heat the oven to 180c

Transfer the sauce to an ovenproof dish and crack the eggs into the mixture, I find it handy to make a little well in the sauce to hold the egg.
Place in the oven and cook until the egg white is just set and the yoke is still soft.
Serve with Upma, Paratha and chutneys
 
  Note:

Instead of baking the eggs, you can just poach the eggs in the pan on the stove. To poach just cover with a  lid until  and cook over a medium heat until the egg white is cooked and the yoke is soft.