Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diwali Wishes with Stuffed Marzipan Baskets (badam ki tokri) and Marzipan Apples.

Wishing all my Indian readers a very Happy Diwali. May this festival of lights fill your lives with love, happiness and prosperity.


On this auspicious day, I have made not one, not two but three indian sweets - the more the merrier! For this one day, calories are on the backburner (literally!) I decided to just enjoy the sweets and the festival. I am sure my hubby will be the happiest when he gets back from office and sees all his favourite sweets.


Almond sweets are a must at my place for any occasion, so I decided to share this with you. Because of the chaos in the kitchen, I forgot to note down the exact proportions of the filling, but , don't worry, the filling is really easy to assemble. If, by any chance, you have some leftover - it tastes good on it’s own, or you can, like me, make some of these cute looking marzipan apples.


Without further ado (I have to rush to the kitchen now), here is the recipe.

Ingredients

For the dough

100 grams - almonds, preferably no bitter almonds
100 grams - sugar

For the filling

this is an approximate measurement

5 tsp - a mixture of finely chopped dried figs (anjeer), almond slivers, pistachio slivers
1/2 tsp - rock candy white sugar crytals (misri)
1/4 tsp - cardamom powder
a few strands of saffron
2 tsp - sugar
water



For the Marzipan Apples/Badam Apples

a few strands of saffron mixed with  a few drops of rose water (should be like a thick paste)
pistachio slivers
cloves


Method
  1. Make the dough. See my recipe badam katli here.
  2. Make the sugar syrup using 2 tsp of sugar and very little water. Keep aside.
  3. Add the figs, almond and pistachio slivers, misri, cardamom powder and saffron strands to the sugar syrup and mix. 
  4. Take a little portion of the marzipan dough and press it with your hands. Use a rolling pin and roll out into a circle unitl it is around 1 mm thick. 
  5. Loosen the rolled out dough and carefully lay it into a silicon tart mould. Remove the excess dough jutting out of the mould and shape the top with your fingers.
  6. Carefully remove the shaped marzipan basket from the mould.
  7. Fill in the stuffing into the marzipan baskets and serve. (optional- you can also brush the top of the baskest with the saffron-rose water paste, make them look more inviting)
  8. For the marzipan apples- Use the leftover dough (if you have any)
  9. Take around 1 tbsp of the dough and roll it between the palms of your hands and make a small ball.
  10. Brush the sides of the ball/apple with a thick saffron-rose water paste
  11. Push in the clove (upside down) on the top of the apple and press gently.
  12. Press the pistachio slivers on to the side of the clove.
  13. Serve and enjoy.
The above mixture of dough yields approx 5 baskets and 5 apples. 



Happy Diwali and Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Red Chilli Pickle

It's hard to keep up with time these days...nonetheless I am enjoying every bit of it. It was really good to have mom n dad in law at home. I have been learning a lot of traditional recipes from my MIL. Today's pickle recipe is also by her. 



I had a bag full of chillies as gift from an acquaintant, who, ever so generous, gave me these chillies and said, "You are Indian and you do use a lot of chillies in your cooking, don't you?" I was a little taken aback and a bit lost for words. I forced a smile on my face - for what does one do with a Kilo of chillies?


Well, I started thinking on how to use so much chilli (I can't eat very spicy food, well, my hubby can... but that's another story). I gave half the chillies to a good friend of mine, who said, she would freeze them. But, even after that, "What should I do with so many chillies?" was a constant thought in my mind. The next day, my in-laws were arriving from India. My MIL, saw the chillies and said "Why do you have so many chillies at home?" I narrated the story and she smiled and said, "We'll make something really delicious out of them." and this recipe was born. Some went into this pickle and a few went into a thai red curry, recipe follows soon. As for the rest - we sun-dried them, for later use.

To my astonishment, the pickle turned out not too spicy, as I thought it would be. It came out so yummy and went well with so many sorts of indian food, that even non chilli fans like myself could have fun with them. The next time my acquaintance wants to give me more chillies, I'll say - bring it on! 


Ingredients

20 pieces - red chillies
1 tbsp - ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 1/4 tsp - mustard powder
1/2 tsp - cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp - garam masala powder
2 tsp - salt (more or less)
2 tsp - rock salt
1 piece - dried dates, finely chopped (chuare)
3/4 tsp - sugar
a very little piece of mace
100 ml - lemon juice (more or less)

Method

  1. Wash the chillies and dry them completely, cut into rings and remove the seeds
  2. Put the chillies in to a glass bowl, add all the ingredients to it and mix well.
  3. Cover the bowl with a muslin cloth and keep it in sunlight for 4 days (do not forget to stir once in a while). At night, put the bowl, still covered with the cloth, at room temperature.
  4. After around 4 days, store in an air tight container. Shelf life 3-4 months at room temperature or you can keep in the fridge for appx 10 months.

Enjoy!

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