Month: November 2012

Laddoooooommmmaaaa – scoring a Diwali goal!

Ladoooma! Scoring some Diwali goals!

My son, Rushil, runs around screaming ‘Laduma’ every time he sees a Laddoo. These are made not only at Diwali time but whenever there is a prayer.

Here is my recipe for Laddoo…

625ml Spar sugar
300ml cold water
5ml egg yellow food colouring
2ml red food colouring
Spar sunflower oil, to fry
500ml chickpea flour
7ml baking powder
20ml Spar butter
220 – 250ml cold water
5ml ground cardamom
Tinted almonds to garnish
Edible gold leaf, to garnish
Combine the sugar and water in a thick bottomed pan.
Stir until the sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil.

When the syrup thickens slightly, remove from the heat.

Add the food colourings and stir.

Add more food colouring if necessary.

Place the chickpea flour in a large mixing bowl with baking powder.
Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add enough cold water to make a thick batter.
Heat the sunflower oil in a thick bottomed pot.

Hold a colander over the hot oil and press a little batter through.

Frying the boondhi in the 40cm AMC electro roast unit

Fry the batter droplets in hot oil and remove when they are light golden brown.
Drain the cooked droplets for a few seconds and then place them in the warm syrup.
Repeat until all the batter has been fried and soaked in syrup.
Sprinkle the ground cardamom over and leave aside until the syrup has been absorbed.

Grease your palms with a little oil and mould the mixture into balls – they are quite sticky at first but do dry out after a few hours.

Moulding the boondhi into laddoo

Garnish with tinted almonds and gold leaf.
Yudhika’s tips:
The syrup must not spin threads when it is tested – it should still be thin enough to penetrate the fried batter droplets.

The controversial biscuit – Naan Khatay!

Naan Khatay

I remember these biscuits from my childhood – the aroma of green elachi (cardamom) wafted through our home when these were baked.  These delicious biscuits are  most often served with tea. They are dunked and swirled around the teacup.  There is an art to eating Naan Khatay – it’s all about timing…get it as soft as possible and schlurp it up before it breaks and ends up in the tea!

One of my guilty childhood pleasures was plucking the whole almonds off the biscuits and leaving a pile of naked nutless biscuits in the tin.  I always got caught and I never learnt my lesson.  Naan Khatay was probably the single most regular cause of my childhood hidings (back in the days when bedroom slipper thrashings were compulsory!)

The main controversy around Naan Khatay is whether it originated in Pakistan or India.  Since I am sure that these biscuits have been around way before the 1947 partition of India, the answer is clearly – India!  This is good enough for me and that is why your Diwali feast should include a stack of these treats.  I have also been troubled by whether the correct spelling is Khatay, Khatai or Khataai.  So, I have just been doing some research and the only fact that I have been able to establish is that each one is fine  – so you can choose.  Call it what you like, it’s fabulousness remains the same even if you translate it into Afrikaans! I have just decided I have a prize for the person who comes up with the best Afrikaans name for these biscuits – so please post your answers as a comment.

Almonds or pistachios?  Although I have never made these biscuits with pistachios, I see most Pakistani recipes are made this way.  These biscuits will probably become a family favourite of yours so I think you should try both and put it to the vote.  Also, I see that most Pakistani recipes contain egg.  The biscuits are sometimes also glazed with egg and dusted with chopped pistachios.  I don’t include eggs in my recipe because why mess with perfection?


Indian, Pakistani or even Afrikaans. Khatay, Khatai or Khataai.  Pistachios, almonds or pecans.  Eggy or not.  All that really matters is how many biscuits you can eat!


Here is my recipe for an Eggless Naan Khatay….



125g butter

125ml Spar castor sugar

125ml Spar sunflower oil

65ml semolina

Pinch of salt

2,5ml cardamom essence

5ml ground cardamom

5ml bicarbonate of soda

500 – 625ml cake flour, sifted

Whole blanched almonds, to garnish


Here’s how:

Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees celsius.

Lightly grease a baking tray with butter.

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and use a hand-held beater to cream until light in colour.

Gradually add the castor sugar and beat well.

Pour the sunflower oil into the creamed butter and continue beating.

Add the semolina, salt, cardamom essence, ground cardamom and bicarbonate of soda.

Stir well to combine and sift 500ml of cake flour into the mixing bowl.

If the dough is too sticky, add the remaining flour a little at a time until a soft dough forms.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.

Grease your palm with a drop of oil and roll the dough into balls.

Place a whole blanched almond on the ball of dough and flatten gently.

Space the biscuits on a baking tray.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until the biscuits are pale golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.


Yudhika’s tips:

Substitute almonds with pecan nuts and use cinnamon instead of cardamom.

Greasing your palms with oil prevents the dough from sticking.

Place the almonds over the biscuits as each one has been moulded into a ball to prevent them from cracking.

These biscuits puff out a fair bit so ensure that there is sufficient space between each biscuit on the baking tray.






Jackie Jalebi out on parole for Diwali!






Let’s face it…there is nothing straight about a Jalebi.  On the positive side, this Jalebi won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth.  In fact this is so sweet, the only scandal it has been known to cause is mysteriously shrinking jeans!  With more twists than the final episode of Dallas, this Diwali delight oozes with festive cheer.  They are best eaten warm and dripping with syrup.



Before I move onto the recipe…I would love to read your comments so please post them and you could win an AMC 16cm taster pan!     We are giving away three prizes for the most entertaining comments about my blog!  I am so looking forward to reading your comments!





This is my quick, fuss free Jalebi recipe…there is no need to make the batter up days in advance!








Few strands of saffron, optional

750ml sugar

600ml cold water

10ml egg yellow food colouring

2ml red food colouring


Place the saffron strands in a dry pan and roast for a few seconds.

Leave aside to cool and then crush the strands with your fingertips.

Place the sugar and cold water into a thick bottomed pot.

Cook the sugar and water on a medium heat stirring continuously.

Once the syrup comes up to the boil, do not stir.

Boil the syrup for 10 minutes until it thickens.

Remove from the heat.

Add the saffron strands, egg yellow and red food colouring.

Stir well and add more colouring if necessary.

Syrup must be kept warm for dipping the jalebi.



500ml self raising flour

30ml cornflour

7,5ml tartaric acid

20ml Spar butter

30ml Spar Greek yoghurt

320ml cold water

Spar sunflower oil, to deep fry jalebis


For the jalebi batter:

Sift the self raising flour, cornflour and tartaric acid in a large mixing bowl.

Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

Mix the yoghurt with cold water and pour this into the mixing bowl.

Whisk until the batter is smooth and thick.

Place the batter into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle.


Jackie Jalebi in hot oil!

Pipe squiggles into warm oil and fry until set.

Turn the jalebi over and cook until crisp.

Drain for a few seconds and then gently place in the warm syrup.

Remove from the syrup and leave on a wire rack to drain and cool.








Troubled by Diwali Gluttony!

Gulab Jamun

Hooray…its that time of year again – Diwali!

I remember the fuss free Diwali parcels of the 1980’s – paper plates loaded with home-baked Diwali goodies and covered with a paper serviette.  The kids got to wear new clothes and walked around the neighbourhood delivering these offerings.  The aunties naturally compared the various parcels they received and this brought out their competitive side.

In the late 1990’s someone got really smart and decided to go one up on the Indian aunties by sending out their Diwali treats on a fancy plastic plate…it has gone downhill ever since.  A new Diwali stress was added to the occasion – picking out a suitable tray or plate for the Diwali sweetmeats.

I also got caught up in the Diwali madness.  I remember in 2000, I wowed everyone with 15 different sweetmeats that were sent out on brass platters – that’s what being newly married does for you!  I was trying to impress the husband and in laws with my baking skills.  And did it work for that relationship?  Sadly not, my husband found somebody else who cooked and looked better!

Enough about my ex…..

Diwali is always a special time of year…for me, it means that I get to bake and eat like a pig!  This year, I have compiled a Diwali recipe booklet which was sponsored by Spar (YAYYYYY) in association with The Daily News and Star Newspaper.  For the past few weeks, I have been baking and cooking my heart out.  30 recipes were prepared and photographed – some were cooked a few times and naturally each tasting led to more tastings….and eventually gluttony.  What can I say, my food is fabulous!

I hosted the Diwali cooking demo at the Angela Day Kitchen last weekend.  It was a fun afternoon filled with laughs, tastings and there was a bit of the notorious Diwali sugar shock going around at the end.  I roped my kids into assisting me with the demo since little hands are exactly what you need for Diwali baking….they are great at dunking sweetmeats in syrup, stirring chickpea flour for an hour and sprinkling coconut over the goodies.  I always include my kids in the baking – I think it’s a great way of passing on some Diwali traditions without boring them with myths and legends.  A special thanks goes out to the lovely Les Hamlyn from the Angela Day team for being a sport while I invaded her kitchen with my kids (it was a bit like a Diwali baking tribe).

I had two hours to complete 5 Diwali recipes….so I fired up my 40cm AMC Electro roast unit with 4 litres of Spar sunflower oil and I was good to go!  I hate it when sunflower oil changes colour and cannot be re used especially for something like sweetmeats – delighted to report that the Spar oil stood the test of time and I got to finish all my frying without changing it!  The AMC electric pan was a life saver – perfect for the heavy-duty frying around this time of year!  We started out with Gulab Jamun, then went on to Jalebi and lastly the Laddoo.

Frying the Gulab Jamun in a 40cm AMC Electro Roast Unit…

Here is the Gulab Jamun recipe…..

Gulab Jamun

1 tin Spar condensed milk (385g)
30ml water
30ml Spar butter, melted
30ml semolina
10ml baking powder
2,5ml bicarbonate of soda
550ml Spar cake flour
2,5ml ground cardamom
Spar Sunflower oil, to deep fry
Desiccated coconut, for sprinkling
750ml Spar sugar
500ml cold water
1 large cinnamon stick

To make syrup:

Place the sugar, water and cinnamon stick in a thick bottomed pot.
Stir well and bring to the boil until a thin, sticky syrup forms.
Remove the syrup from the heat and keep warm.

Here’s how I do it:

Pour the condensed milk into a large mixing bowl.

Pour the water into the empty condensed milk tin and ‘rinse’ to ensure that you get all the condensed milk out.
Mix in the melted butter, ground cardamom and semolina.
Sift the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cake flour into the mixing bowl.
Mix well until a soft dough forms but leave a few sticky patches in the dough as this will prevent the dough from becoming too dry.
Grease a large baking sheet with non stick spray.
Wash your hands and grease palms with a little oil.
Mould small amounts of dough into balls,then roll into fingers and place them on the baking tray.
Deep fry the fingers in preheated oil on a medium heat.
Reduce the heat slightly when they start to swell to prevent burning.
Turn the fingers to ensure they brown evenly.
Remove from the oil and drain for a few seconds before soaking the fingers in the warm syrup.
Remove from the syrup once the fingers start to sink.
Place the gulab jamun on a wire rack and sprinkle the desiccated coconut over.
Yudhika’s tips:
Cover the dough with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.
If the dough is too soft to mould into balls, add a little flour into the dough.
The Gulab Jamun Assembly Line….

Many hands make light work….

Diwali Diwali Diwali

Diwali is around the corner and over the next few days I am going to be uploading one recipe everyday until Tuesday, 13th November 2012. On Friday, 9th November 2012, The Star Newspaper and Daily News will distribute my 30 recipe booklet compiled by me just for you…thanks and thanks again to My Spar for sponsoring this project!

This is one of my favourite Diwali treats – I am not sure why it is called banana puri since it does not contain or look like bananas!

Here is the recipe…..

Banana Puri

500ml Spar cake flour, sifted
2,5ml ground cardamom
75ml Spar butter
Pinch of salt
2,5ml baking powder
5ml lemon juice
200ml iced water
200ml Spar butter, melted
Cornflour for sprinkling
Spar sunflower oil, to fry banana puri
Tinted roasted almonds, to garnish

For the sugar syrup:
250ml Spar sugar
200ml cold water
1 cinnamon stick
25ml rose syrup

Here’s how

Mix the sifted cake flour, ground cardamom, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Slice the butter into little cubes and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the lemon juice to the iced water.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add enough iced water to make a stiff dough.
Leave the dough to rest overnight (8 hours).
Divide the dough into eight portions and mould into smooth balls.
Use a rolling pin to work each portion into a paper thin round.
Dust the work surface with flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
Dust a large baking sheet with flour and place the first round on it.
Brush the round with melted butter ghee and then sift a tablespoon of cornflour over.
Pile the rounds on top of each other making sure that both sides of the rounds are brushed with butter ghee and dusted with cornflour except the top of the last round.
Gently roll out the pile and trim the edges.
Brush the top of the dough with melted butter ghee and then dust again with cornflour.
Roll up the dough tightly to form a swiss roll and slice the dough into 12 portions.
Place the sliced dough with the layers facing up and flatten at a 45 degree angle.
Roll the dough into an oval and fold the open edge over and press firmly to ensure its does not open when being fried.
Heat oil in a small pot on medium heat.
Fry the banana puri one at a time and gently spoon a little oil over the pastry. This helps to puff up the layers in the pastry.
Turn the pastry over and continue spooning oil over.
The banana puri should still be pale in colour when cooked.
Drain on a wire rack.

To make the syrup:
Combine the sugar, cold water and cinnamon stick in a pot. Cook on a medium heat stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves. Simmer until a thick syrup forms. Pour in the rose syrup and leave aside to cool slightly. Drizzle a little syrup over the banana puris and garnish with flaked almonds.

Yudhika’s Tips

The sugar must dissolve before it comes up to the boil as this would cause the syrup to crystallise.
If the banana puris start to open, use a slotted spoon to hold the pastry against the side of the pot. Once the pastry holds its shape it can be turned over.
Dust the banana puri with icing sugar instead of sugar syrup.