cardamom

Christmas countdown…cake!

Spicy Fruit Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Spicy Fruit Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

I have never made a Christmas cake ahead of time and followed the ritual of pouring brandy over it every week….the cake just gets gobbled up by the gremlins in my family…and when they are tired of cake…they pull of the almonds on the cake!  Some things run in the family!  I used to do just that when I was a kid and it’s a little like karma coming back to bite!

 

Most families have a traditional fruit cake recipe that is served at Christmas.  I love the aromas of Christmas cake…the brandy with spices fill a home with festive cheer!

 

Tried and tested sometimes or should I say almost always works best…I do sometimes feel that I should try a new recipe which generally ends up in a disaster.  I can bake…I am mean I can REALLY bake…..a few years ago I tried a recipe from a really flash cookbook….and it was one of those really expensive one too….the cake looked like a rather large over-baked Ouma rusk!  I was devastated and got teased about it for months!

 

I find following a recipe pretty difficult and my mom was the queen of fruit cakes…this is her recipe with a few tweaks here and there…I love spicing up a fruit cake and have added cardamom to my recipe as well!

 

I sometimes also use a good glug of Jack Daniels to this recipe instead of the brandy!  You can serve this cake with brandy butter or custard.  I just have a large slice with a good cup of coffee! Oh and I make this cake a few times during the year…so calling it a Christmas cake doesn’t come easily!

 

A big congratulations to Lalisha Singh on winning the KitchenAid stand mixer competition!  She joins our Tania Joy Fredericks, Renuka Lallbahadur and Natasha Ramlugan as well as Kay Straightfill and Krivani Pillay in our winners hall of hame!!! Stay tuned for more competitions on the blog with great prizes from AMC cookware, KitchenAid and Spar!

 

Light Christmas Fruit Cake

 

Ingredients

375g soft butter

300ml brown sugar

6 eggs

500g Safari Cake Mix

250ml mixed nuts (I love pecans)

750ml cake flour

15ml baking powder

10ml cinnamon

10ml mixed spice

5ml cardamom

2ml nutmeg

2ml salt

125ml milk

75ml brandy or whisky

100g whole almonds, blanched

 

 

Here’s how

Pre-heat oven to 170°C.

Grease and line a 10 inch round cake tin with baking paper. Sift flour, salt and baking powder and add the spices. Place dried fruit and nuts in a mixing bowl. Toss together 30ml cake flour and the dried fruit and nuts. The dried fruit should be lightly dusted with flour to prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

Mix together the milk and brandy. Sift the dry ingredients.

Cream butter and gradually add brown sugar until light and fluffy. The sugar crystals should also dissolve slightly – I used the KitchenAid mixer for this!

Add eggs one at a time with a teaspoon of cake flour to prevent curdling.

Add half the flour to the butter and egg mixture followed by half the liquid. Repeat this process and lastly fold in the dried fruit and nuts.

Arrange the blanched almonds on top of the cake and press them into the batter gently.

Bake for 70 – 75 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

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The Eid Burfee Challenge….

Coconut and Pistachio Burfee by Yudhika Sujanani

Coconut and Pistachio Burfee by Yudhika Sujanani

It’s that time of year ago and once again, I headed back to the kitchen to test and develop more recipes for Eid.  I  came up with a selection of recipes and took a look at it only to realize that it would just not be Eid without a Burfee recipe.  After a chat to the food editor, Jenny Kay, it was back to the drawing board.

 

 

It does become a challenge…every year around Eid and Diwali there are requests for burfee recipes.  Last year, I did a rose and pistachio burfee https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/29/rose-and-pistachio-burfee/

 

This time, I decided to play around with coconut and pistachios and I came up with a delicious creamy version of this old favourite.  I love just love coconut…desiccated, freshly grated, milk or just as is.

 

If you are looking for a new burfee recipe, this might be the one for you!

 

Coconut and Pistachio Burfee

500g Klim milk powder
145g dessert cream

125g butter
125ml sugar
1 x tin condensed milk
145g dessert cream
2 x 400g tins coconut milk
Green food colouring, to tint
125ml icing sugar
5ml ground cardamom
Edible gold leaf, to decorate
Pistachios, to decorate


Rub the cream into the milk powder until the mixture resembles crumbs.  
Set aside for 60 – 90 minutes.
Grease a 20 x 20cm casserole dish with non stick spray or butter.
Line the dish with plastic wrap, leaving some of the wrap draped over the sides of the dish.  
Grease the plastic wrap with non stick spray or butter.
Place the mixture into a food process in batches and blitz until the crumbs are fine ground.
Combine the butter, sugar, condensed milk, dessert cream and coconut milk in an AMC sauce pan and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer while stirring continuously to ensure it does not scorch.  This does take some time – don’t rush as if this is cream is not thick enough the burfee will not set properly.

Once the mixture reaches the consistency of thick custard, remove from the heat and add a few drops of food colouring.

Add the milk powder in batches and stir well.
Lastly stir in the icing sugar and ground cardamom.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, and leave in a refrigerator to set overnight.
Loosen the excess plastic and lift the burfee out of the dish.
Slice the burfee into cubes, wiping the knife with warm damp dishcloth.
Garnish with gold leaf and pistachios.

Paneer Makhani

Yudhika's Paneer Makhani...

Yudhika’s Paneer Makhani…

I am almost certain that by now, you have realized that Diwali is not a ‘Diet Friendly’ time of year. And this recipe is no different to any of the other Diwali favourites…a double whammy dish with cream and butter.

For a more sensible option try the ‘Seyal Paneer’ recipe: https://yudhikayumyum.com/sugar-n-spice-on-saffron-tv/saffron-tv-seyal-paneer/

I also use paneer as a pie filling in this Paneer Pasties recipe: https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/24/paneer-and-mushroom-pasties/

This Paneer Makhani recipe will get you a gold star for Diwali!

Paneer Makhani

Ingredients

600g paneer, sliced
60ml cashew nuts
125ml boiling water
60ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7,5ml coarse salt
15ml crushed ginger and garlic
2 green chillies, chopped
20ml red chilli powder
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
15ml ground coriander
10ml ground cumin
5ml garam masala
Pinch ground cardamom
2ml turmeric
60g cold butter, diced
30ml fresh cream
Coriander to garnish
Gold leaf to decorate

Here’s how:

Ingredients:

Slice the paneer into pieces.

Soak the cashew nuts in boiling water for 10 minutes and liquidize until smooth.
Pound the ginger, garlic and green chilli together.
Fry the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cumin seeds in oil until fragrant.
Add onions and salt, saute until light golden brown.
Add crushed ginger, garlic and green chilli, then add the red chilli powder.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the spices.
Sprinkle in the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala, ground cardamom and turmeric.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften completely.
Use a potato masher to break down any lumps.
Add the cashew paste and 250ml boiling water.
Simmer until the sauce thickens.
Whisk the cold butter into the sauce, then pour in the fresh cream.
Gently place the paneer into the cooked sauce and heat through.
Garnish with fresh coriander and edible gold leaf.

Pecan Chana Magaj….

Yudhika Sujanani's Chana Magaj...

Yudhika Sujanani’s Chana Magaj…

The food world is changing at an alarming rate…new trends are constantly being introduced and with so much emphasis being placed on ‘painting a picture’ on a plate, we lose the plot. I have a different approach to food and opt to keep it traditional especially with recipes like this Chana Magaj…’Why change it?’ It’s delicious, flop proof and a hit with my friends and family!

I remember paying an absolute bomb for a tray of ‘Chana Magaj’ many moons ago…much to my horror, when I sliced it, it simply crumbled. I was completely dismayed and cross (I will use a more acceptable word). I looked at the crumbled mess and tried to massage it back into a block! I eventually melted a large chunk of butter and mixed it into the chana crumble….it worked like a charm. The moral of the story is don’t scrimp on the butter!!!!

The ‘Devil is in the Detail’…As with most traditional recipes, patience is the secret ingredient. Put on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine while you are stirring the chickpea flour….taking your time makes all the difference. Use a 30cm AMC pot for cooking the chickpea flour…I know I do go on about it but ‘like seriously’…you can’t use a flimsy thin based pot for this! I get my daughters, Hetal and Tanvi, to take turns with cooking the chickpea flour. Every now and then, they bill me for their work and they do a fabulous job!

Chana Magaj keeps for ages in the refrigerator…so keep a few blocks away for ’emergencies’. I confess, I have lots of ’emergencies’ especially when I know these treats are resting in my refrigerator.

Pecan Chana Magaj

Ingredients:

500g chickpea flour
100ml milk, boiled
500g butter ghee
5ml ground cardamom
375g icing Sugar, sifted
100g Klim
100g pecan nuts

Place the chickpea flour and hot milk in a mixing bowl.
Rub the milk into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Leave the mixture to dry for an hour and then break down the large lumps using your fingertips.
Melt the butter ghee in an AMC pot on a low heat and then add the chickpea flour.
Continue stirring until the chickpea flour turns deep golden brown in colour – about an hour.
Leave aside to cool.
Grease a 25 x 25cm baking tray and line with plastic wrap.
Fold the wrap over the sides of the tray.
Stir in the ground cardamom, sifted icing sugar and full cream milk powder into the cooked mixture.
Work the icing sugar and milk powder into the chickpea flour using your fingertips.
Press the mixture into the baking tray – if the mixture is too dry, add a little melted butter.
Garnish with pecan nuts and leave aside to set.
Slice into blocks and lift the plastic wrap to loosen from the tray.

Gulab Jamun – Sugar ‘n Spice

Sugar 'n Spice with Yudhika Sujanani - Gulab Jamun...

Sugar ‘n Spice with Yudhika Sujanani – Gulab Jamun…

Oops…this recipe was lost in translation! Apologies to those Sugar ‘n Spice fans who have been looking for it!

I will keep this story short….It was my first husband who first introduced me to these delightful treats! After all these years, I still hear the mumblings about how he taught me everything I know! That said, I tasted these at his cousin’s house and asked for the recipe – in a way that would make him responsible for introducing me to this treat!

I was given the usual run around when I asked for the recipe and it flopped on numerous occasions. It was back to the drawing board for me and I was determined to get it right.

A few costly and frustrating disasters later, my trial and error mission paid off! Finally….just for the record…I don’t have anyone to thank for this recipe….I did this one all by myself!

Just a word on milk powder…I use KLIM for burfee but it does not work in this recipe…Nespray works perfectly for this one!

For the more traditional South African Gulab Jamun…click here: https://yudhikayumyum.com/2012/11/08/troubled-by-diwali-gluttony/

The gulab jamun....

The gulab jamun….

Gulab Jamun

Ingredients

450ml full cream milk powder (NESPRAY PLEASE)
45ml self raising flour
7,5ml baking powder
45ml pure butter
150ml warm milk
5ml ground cardamom
Sunflower oil to fry

For the rose syrup

750ml sugar
750ml water
30ml pure distilled rose-water
Few strands of saffron

Here’s how:

Heat saffron strands on a dry pan for a thirty seconds. Leave to cool and then slightly crush them using your fingertips. Place the sugar and water in a thick bottomed pot and stir on a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the syrup to the boil. Simmer for five minutes or until the syrup is sticky but not thick. Add the rose-water and saffron strands. Leave aside to infuse. Mix the full cream milk powder, ground cardamom and self-raising flour in a mixing bowl. Divide mixture into three equal portions. Combine the pure butter ghee and the warm milk in a jug. Mix the warm milk into the milk powder mixture and stir until a sticky paste is formed. Use your fingertips to mix into a soft and pliable dough. Rinse your hands and grease them with a layer of oil or warm butter ghee. Work quickly and roll the dough into little balls. Place them onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat until all the milk powder has been moulded into balls. Heat sunflower oil on a low heat in an 30cm AMC pot. Gently drop the balls into the warm oil and shake the pan to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. The milk balls need to be constantly stirred to ensure that they brown evenly. They should be golden brown when cooked. If you are unsure, remove one of the balls from the oil and drop it into the warm syrup. If it shrinks or deflates, the balls need to be cooked for a few more minutes. Steep the balls into warm syrup and leave to soak for 2 hours before serving.

Yudhika’s Tips:

It is important to always divide the milk powder into portions as the dough dries out very quickly.
The milk balls need to be cooked on a very low temperature as they burn quite easily.

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…

Ingredients:
Syrup:
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….

 

Ingredients:

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.