diwali baking

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.

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Wanted: Yudhika Sujanani – FED or ALIVE

The Diwali Burfee Macaron!

The Diwali Burfee Macaron!

It might be paranoia but I am beginning to feel that I am ‘wanted’! I hope been posting full fat Diwali recipes for the last week and judging by my depleted ‘SPAR BUTTER STOCK’, the calories count is rising rapidly! With the whole Diwali weekend to go, my daughter’s birthday and a ‘BOLLYWOOD DIWALI PARTY’ next weekend…the calorie count shows no signs of dropping!

I am going to grin and bear it! The way I cook on-screen is the way I cook off-screen and that is the ‘Sugar n Spice’ secret of my show! A splash of butter here and a drizzle of cream there…it’s all good as long as it’s in MODERATION! I have never eaten a salad as a meal – I just can’t!

Diwali is a time where splashes and drizzles becomes chunks and large glugs! And yes, I do wish there were low-fat versions but sadly not!!! I hope that the Heart Foundation, Weightwatchers and Weighless are not looking out for me….I am beginning to think that I am public enemy No 1!

I am not a heart specialist, dietician or a nutritionist – just a happy hearty cook with a sparkle in my eye and a love for food! In other words, I plead not guilty!

Shabnum Moosa from the Daily News said I just make something to tickle her dessert loving taste buds…and this is how the Diwali Macaron was born….bright red to symbolise a happy occasion and good fortune, filled with white chocolate and leftover burfee bits and a hint of cardamom to zhoosh them up! In other words, to die for!

After I submitted this recipe to Jenny Kay from The Star Newspaper, we met for coffee at Tasha’s in Hyde Park…she explained that Macarons are a pretty ambitious dessert to make and I was quite surprised…I have always just popped into the kitchen and banged up a batch…she tested the recipe and I got a late night sms with a picture saying they worked…for those of you who don’t know….Jenny Kay is ‘Angela Day’ from the Verve section of the newspaper! I have worked with her for a few years and have to admit that she is our very own ‘recipe guru’! For more recipes from her, log onto http://www.angeladay.co.za

Here is another recipe perfect for a Diwali treat!

Macarons!

Macarons!

Diwali Burfee Macarons

Makes 18

Ingredients

100g ground almonds
180g Spar icing sugar
Pinch of salt
90g egg whites
25g sugar
Pinch of cardamom
Red gel food colouring

Filling
60ml fresh cream
100g white chocolate, chopped
60g burfee, finely chopped

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.
Draw 4cm circles on silicone baking paper and turn it onto a baking sheet.
Place the almonds in a coffee grinder and process until fine.
Sift the icing sugar with the ground almonds into a bowl, then add salt.
Whisk the egg whites until foamy and gradually add the sugar.
When stiff peaks form, add the cardamom and red colouring – brighter colours work best!
Gently fold the almond mixture into the egg whites.
Pipe the mixture onto the baking paper.
Gently tap the tray to remove air bubbles.

The macarons...fingers crossed!

The macarons…fingers crossed!

Leave aside for an hour so that the macarons set.
Bake for 12 15 minutes and then leave the oven door ajar for 5 minutes.
Leave to cool and then remove from the baking paper.

For the filling:
Heat the cream and then add the chocolate.
Whisk until the mixture is smooth, then add the chopped burfee.
Stir the mixture until smooth and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours.

...and now for the tasting....

…and now for the tasting….

Sandwich the macarons together with the filling.
Serve at room temperature once the filling has set.

Coconut Fudgy Squares – Kopra Pak

Kopra Pak...fudgy coconut squares

Kopra Pak…fudgy coconut squares

Fudgy coconut squares take most of us on a trip down memory lane! Making up a batch of these takes a few minutes…store them in the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before serving. I am a lover of anything with coconut…coconut ice, coconut clusters…coconut creme brulees and coconut THESE squares.

Click on the link here for the eggless coconut cupcakes: https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/08/26/eggless-faking/

Click here for the coconut and lemongrass creme brulee recipe: https://yudhikayumyum.com/sugar-n-spice-on-saffron-tv/saffron-tv-lemongrass-creme-brulees/

Kopra Pak

300g sugar
200ml cold water
5ml freshly ground cardamom
260g desiccated coconut
200g Klim milk powder
Pistachios and gold leaf, to decorate

Line a square casserole with butter, and a layer of plastic wrap.
Let the plastic wrap drape over the sides of the dish.
Grease the top of the plastic with butter.
Place the sugar and water in an AMC pot on medium heat.
Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves and bring to the boil for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the ground cardamom, desiccated coconut and milk powder.
Stir well until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan and form a ball.
Press the warm mixture into the greased dish. Fold the plastic wrap over the surface.
Use your fingertips to smooth the surface.
Once the mixture has cooled, cut into squares.
Decorate with pistachios and gold leaf.

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.