Saffron TV

Five tips to perfect pilau…Spicy Brinjal Pilau!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

The first pilau I made was from a recipe that I took out of the Indian Delights. I thought I would surprise my mom but it turned into a rather bad surprise…it wasn’t a recipe, it was my cooking skills! I was in high school at the time and without much patience! I cooked the pilau on a high heat and burnt it, the rice turned to mush and it was a complete mess! I am thankful to my creator for blessing me with determination….but still not sure whether it was determination or my ego that kept me cooking after the weeks of being teased about my kitchen disaster!

A good pilau is the perfect dish that turns meals into feasts. This is recipe that is perfect for Ramadan or it could make an appearance at your table served with roast chicken or lamb, curries and stews! For the vegetarians out there, it is a meal on it’s own, served with a salad and a creamy dollop of raita!

Here are a five of my tips to making a fabulous pilau…

Firstly, use a good quality rice. The broken grains in the cheaper brands cause the rice to cook unevenly and turn to mush.

Secondly, always cook the rice in advance and leave it to cool before adding it to the pilau. Rice that has chilled in the refrigerator works best and your pilau will be flop proof with fluffy steamed grains.

Third tip….slow and steady wins the race….pilau should be steamed gently to prevent it from sticking and burning.

Fourth tip….use a good quality pot with a thick base to prevent the pilau from steaming unevenly. I use AMC cookware without a hassle!

Fifth tip…back to the rice rice rice….I personally stick to basmati rice…avoid Jasmine and white rice as they are quite sticky….you can use long grain rice if you prefer but basmati for me is best!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

2 large brinjals
Fine salt, to sweat brinjals
Sunflower oil, to grill or fry brinjals

45ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
10ml crushed garlic
10ml paprika or red chilli powder
400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
10ml roasted ground coriander
5ml ground cumin
1 x 400g tin butter beans
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
1 400g tin lentils
50ml fresh cream, optional
1000ml cooked Basmati Rice
125ml boiling water
10ml chilli flakes, to garnish
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Slice the brinjals into wedges and place them in a colander.
Sprinkle fine salt over the brinjals and leave to sweat for 20 minutes.
Use paper towel to dab the excess moisture off the brinjal wedges.
Heat the sunflower oil and fry/grill the brinjals.
Gently pat the excess oil of the brinjals and leave aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a thick bottomed pot.
Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf until fragrant.
Add the cumin seeds and when they begin to splutter add the chopped onion.
Sprinkle the coarse salt over the onion and fry until they turn light golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and stir for a few seconds.
Add the paprika and then stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for a minute before adding the ground coriander and cumin.
When the tomatoes soften completely, add the drained butter beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Pour in the fresh cream and layer the cooked basmati rice over.
Pour the boiling water over the rice and then reduce the temperature.
Simmer the pilau on the lowest heat setting until the rice has steamed through.
Place the brinjal wedges over the rice.
Garnish with chilli flakes and fresh coriander.

Yudhika’s Tips:
Fry the brinjals while the pilau is steaming though so that the wedges are hot when serving.
Par-cooked potatoes can be added to this recipe.

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Holi Cow…It’s our first high tea!

The Holi Cow High Tea hosted by Yudhika Sujanani

The Holi Cow High Tea hosted by Yudhika Sujanani

I am one of those people who can always add one more project to my stressful life. I was on my way to collect pictures from Vanessa Lewis, my photographer friend, when I drove past a “Remax For Sale’ sign…I called Jenny Ramsay, the agent, who was on holiday and climbing Table mountain. I viewed the property a few days later, and arranged for my better half to see it, and much to my surprise, he suggested that we put in an offer….this was the beginning Holi Cow!

The beginning....

The beginning….

The property was really old, a face brick one…inside and out…and needed lots of work. Here are some of the before pics…

The house...complete with swimming pool

The house…complete with swimming pool

The bar and living room

The bar and living room

Living room, bar leading into dining room....

Living room, bar leading into dining room….

The dining room....

The dining room….

It was time for some major renovations and so the drama began. I have never really had much luck with a ‘good builder’ but ours proved to be good but slow…it didn’t help that some things, I mean lots of things changed along the way. Walls moved, finishings changed, more demolition work not to mention electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. We resorted to drinking lots of Gin and I self medicated occasionally to cope with what seemed like a never-ending renovation.

I am not sure what was worse…the pics before renovations or during renovations….take a look at these pics and decide…

Gin and Jackhammers to remove the swimming pool

Gin and Jackhammers to remove the swimming pool

The entrance...

The entrance…

The entrance...

The entrance…

After 5 months...this is what we were looking at!

After 5 months…this is what we were looking at!

I began to lose heart – and just when I did, it seemed to come together. The Eastern Mosaic show on SABC 2 played a big part in getting the renovations done. I had a deadline and passed it on to the team…everyone had to be out by the 10 February. It worked….it was still not 100 percent complete but I had the place to myself for the first time….

Yudhika Sujanani - hosting the Holi Cow Tea Party

Yudhika Sujanani – hosting the Holi Cow Tea Party

Here are some pics from the Holi Cow High Tea…

The Eastern Mosaic with Yudhika Sujanani and Mo Nassuirio

The Eastern Mosaic with Yudhika Sujanani and Mo Nassuirio

Holi Cow Treats by Yudhika!

Holi Cow Treats by Yudhika!

The guest list…

Brenda Barton, Deputy Director of United Nations World Food Programme and Nokwazi Mzobe

Brenda Barton, Deputy Director of United Nations World Food Programme and Nokwazi Mzobe

The Gibs/Goldman Sachs Girls....Meagan Deventer, Zaakira Mohammed, Yudhika Sujanani and Orly Shapiro

The Gibs/Goldman Sachs Girls….Meagan Deventer, Zaakira Mohammed, Yudhika Sujanani and Orly Shapiro

Lyn Woodward...food genius with Yudhika at Holi Cow

Lyn Woodward…food genius with Yudhika at Holi Cow

The Holi Cow, Cooking School and Deli Details – 38 Kingfisher Drive, Fourways, 2191
Contact Number: 011 467 2661

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.

How to make Paneer….

Yudhika Paneer recipe...

Yudhika Paneer recipe…

Paneer is an Indian Cottage cheese…it resembles feta but does not contain salt. For vegetarians, this is the equivalent of a ‘lamb curry with mushy potatoes’ (my favourite). I use paneer in pastries, breyanis and even in starters!

Please please please, do not use low fat milk – so far, Full Cream Clover milk works best for this recipe. I do experiment a fair bit and this blog is not sponsored by Clover! Use a good pot, (I use AMC cookware) so that the milk does not scorch and burn on the bottom which will ruin the paneer.

I am just about to post the Paneer Makhani recipe…I anticipate that there will be recipe requests for the Paneer…

Paneer

Ingredients

4 litres CLOVER Full Cream Milk
180 -200ml white vinegar

Boil milk in a large 30cm AMC cookware unit and stir continuously to prevent the milk from sticking.
Once the milk comes up to the boil, remove from the heat.
Pour the white vinegar around the pot and gently move the milk – do not stir.
If the mixture still looks milky, add a little more vinegar.
Leave aside for 30 minutes.
The curd should float to the top and form a thick layer.
Place the curd in a strainer and use the back of a spoon to press out the excess whey.
Tip the curd into a muslin cloth and mould it into a ‘cake’.
Place the paneer on a chopping board and place a large pot filled with water on top.
This will help the excess moisture drain away.
Leave to drain for 2 hours.
Place the paneer in a zip seal bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Yudhika’s tips:
Always use full cream milk when making paneer.
Leave the paneer on the draining board while it is being pressed – the whey can cause a mess.
If the paneer is too soft, leave it unwrapped in the refrigerator to firm up.

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.

Idiot proof Burfee…

Idiot's Burfee.....

Idiot’s Burfee…..

It’s not that you are an idiot..but Mani Govindsami just asked for a bloke’s version that even an idiot could do!

Here is a simple recipe for Burfee…

Almond Burfee

Ingredients:

Whole almonds
Red food colouring, to tint almonds
Gold dust, to tint almonds

500g Spar milk powder
175ml tinned dessert cream
375ml Spar castor sugar
250ml cold water
2,5ml ground cardamom
25ml butter
100ml finely ground almonds

Tint the almonds with red food colouring and roast in a hot oven until dry.
Leave aside to cool and then sprinkle the gold dust over.
Gently rub the gold dust over the almonds.
Grease a 20 x 25cm pyrex dish or baking tray with butter.
Line the tray with plastic wrap ensuring the sides are also lined.
Grease the plastic wrap with butter.
In a mixing bowl, rub the dessert cream into the milk powder until it resembles bread crumbs.
Leave this aside for an hour to dry out.
Place the milk powder mixture into a Kenwood food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until the crumbs are fine.
Combine the sugar and water in an 24cm AMC pot and boil until a thick sticky syrup forms.
Add the cardamom and butter to the syrup.
Mix the ground almonds into the milk powder and pour the syrup in.
Stir well to combine and working quickly press the mixture down into the prepared dish or baking tray.
Once the mixture cools, garnish with the tinted almonds.
Refrigerate the burfee until firm and slice into blocks or diamonds.

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.

Soji – I remember, I remember…

Yudhika's Decadent Soji

Yudhika’s Decadent Soji

I am sure most of us walked into a dark room when we were kids and whispered, ‘There is no such thing as ghosts’. I still whisper that after I watch horror movies! Now that I am all grown up, I whisper at weddings, ‘There is no such thing as lite SOJI!!! I wish people would stop asking me for the low-fat version – there simply isn’t one! Eating a skinny version defeats the purpose…it’s all that buttery goodness that got you hooked in the first place.

Soji brings back lots of memories….for me, it’s mostly around weddings. Not the modern versions of weddings…I am talking about the ‘paper plate’ ones. Let me explain…this is when marriages were made to last unlike paper plates….no fancy stuff! The garlands were made with fresh yellow carnations…and burgundy Benares saries were the rage! So was Kruger coin jewellery and Bally shoes!

The Soji was served on the SAME paper plate as the breyani – little bits of curry spices would soak into the sweet butter semolina – Heavenly, I tell you! No cutlery in sight….I would just squish little bits into my mouth and feel the warm comfort of those calories in each bite. And then there were the ‘Rich People’s Weddings’ – in my tiny world that meant that the Soji had lots of almonds!

Soji is served at weddings, birthdays, tea time and even at funerals….let’s just say that you can tell how a person feels by what goes into a soji…funeral soji is generally the unhappy, lite version! Definitely not my favourite!

By the end of today, I am sure that someone is going to report me to the Heart Foundation for this recipe…but Diwali is just once a year! So, I will just have to take my chances…make up a batch of this Soji, dish up a luscious helping, and while you suck on a scoop of buttery decadence, think of your best memory….post your comments!

Here is the recipe:

Soji

This makes about 1,6kg

Ingredients

3 large cinnamon sticks
350g Taystee Wheat
400g butter
200g dessert cream
250g evaporated milk
90g condensed milk
250ml milk
300ml cold water
2,5ml egg yellow food colouring
7ml ground cardamom
100g sugar
100g tinted almonds

Here’s how:

Getting set....with AMC cookware!

Getting set….with AMC cookware!


Place the Taystee Wheat and cinnamon sticks into a 30cm AMC pot.
Toast the semolina on medium heat until the grains brown slightly.

Which piece of butter should I use???

Which piece of butter should I use???


Add the butter and continue stirring, until the semolina changes colour.
Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble....

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble….

CAUTION – Take care when adding the liquid…it does splutter and can cause a nasty burn! Add the dessert cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk and water to the pot.
Add egg yellow, add more colouring if necessary.
Stir the mixture until it thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan.
Continue stirring and then add sugar.
Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
Once the butter start to ‘float’ around the side of the pan, remove from the heat.
Place in a serving dish and garnish with brightly tinted almonds.
Call the Heart Foundation or your nearest hospital if you have any problems!

Rose and Pistachio Burfee

Diwali recipes: Rose and Pistachio Burfee

Diwali recipes: Rose and Pistachio Burfee

Diwali would not be Diwali without a chunk of decadent home-made burfee….I grew up in Isipingo and it always seemed to me as a child that the Muslim aunties who lived on our road made the best burfee. They just seemed to have a knack for it….and also for butter biscuits and pastries too!

I decided to give the Burfee recipe a bash a seriously long time ago…the first thing I needed was a food processor and I had to break my piggy bank (and my heart) to get a Kenwood! Armed with a copy of the Indian delights and a lot of courage, I prepared my first batch…it wasn’t too memorable…I guess, we all know first times generally aren’t!

Diwali baking takes practice…and it certainly isn’t a one day game…more like a test series or something in cricketing terms. The sooner you start practicing, the better….there will be tears, regret and embarrassment but it certain does pay good dividends!

Once I perfected the basic recipe, I began experimenting with different flavours and textures. For a more decadent burfee which I call the ‘Calorie Blocker’ Burfee which I prepared on ‘Sugar n Spice’ Feast of Eid, click here: https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/07/29/sugar-n-spice-recipes-fresh-cream-almond-burfee-by-yudhika/

I love the Kuhestan rose essence…it is not a synthetic product and adds a delicate perfume to this Diwali treat! It’s almost like a hint of Turkish Delight which brings a new twist to an old favourite.

Rose and Pistachio Burfee

Ingredients:

500g Klim
175ml tinned dessert cream
375ml Spar castor sugar
250ml cold water
7,5ml rose essence
2,5ml ground cardamom
25ml butter
Few drops of red food colouring
50g ground pistachios
Whole pistachios, to garnish
Gold leaf, to garnish

Use non stick spray to grease a silicone mould.
In a mixing bowl, rub the dessert cream into the milk powder until it resembles bread crumbs.
Leave this aside for an hour to dry out.
Place the milk powder mixture into a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until the crumbs are fine.
Bring the sugar and water to boil in an AMC pot until thick.
Add the rose essence, cardamom and butter to the syrup.
Mix the ground pistachios into the milk powder, then add the syrup.
Stir well to combine and working quickly press the mixture into the moulds.
Refrigerate the burfee until firm and unmould.
Garnish with gold leaf and pistachios.

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.