vegetarian

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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Another Meat Free Monday! Creamy Cauliflower

Yudhika Sujanani - Quick and Easy Creamy Cauliflower Curry!

Yudhika Sujanani – Quick and Easy Creamy Cauliflower Curry!

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a Meat Free Monday!

Creamy Cauliflower

Ingredients

800g cauliflower florets
60ml sunflower oil
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
10ml crushed ginger and garlic
10ml red chilli powder
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
125ml fresh cream
250ml frozen peas
Fresh curry leaves or coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes and then drain.
Rinse the florets in cold water and leave to drain.
Heat the oil in a 24cm AMC pot.
Add the cumin seeds and when they splutter, add the onion and salt.
Saute until the onion turns light golden brown.
Add crushed ginger and garlic – cook until the moisture evaporates.
Stir the cauliflower florets into the onion.
Saute for a minute then add the powdered spices.
Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes, pour in the cream.
Add the frozen peas and simmer on a low heat until cooked through.
Once the sauce thickens slightly, remove from the heat and garnish with curry leaves or fresh coriander.

Meat Free Monday’s Mushroom Macaroni

Yudhika's Meat Free Monday Mushroom Macaroni

Yudhika’s Meat Free Monday Mushroom Macaroni

I am a carnivore!  I love all things good and meaty.  With food inserts being filmed and the Post recipe page, I have to put my food wishes aside and put together a balanced recipe offering.

 

My daughter, Hetal almost 15 now…and going on 55 surprises me Sometimes they are pleasant, sometimes they are shocking!  But she has suddenly developed a love for vegetarian food.  How did she get through 14 years without me knowing that she loves paneer?

 

Sundays are busy days with the Mela food insert – you can find recipes after the show on the Mela Facebook page or get onto their twitter page too. I got into the kitchen quite early so I could clear my arvie for the Sunday dose of the show!  If you missed the food mela, click here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7d-b10Pu_s

 

I took a time capsule back to Std 6 Home Economics and decided to re-create the old Macaroni and Cheese by turning it into a gratin for Hetal yesterday.  Do you remember Home Economics from the good old days?  I almost expected her to say that she would prefer chicken…another surprise…she polished off the macaroni and went back for seconds.

 

I tasted some and although I am not a huge fan of vegetarian food, it was delicious…slightly creamy with fresh thyme to delicately flavour the sauce….then topped with a layer of golden melted cheese!  Just a word on the sauce, I added egg yolks to the sauce to add a little richness.  If you are strictly vegetarian, omit the eggs from the recipe.

Mushrooms in the AMC 28cm Chef's Pan

Mushrooms in the AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan

There are four easy steps to making up this dish, first the pasta and while that is on, I get going with the basic sauce and while that is cooling slightly, I saute the mushrooms.  Assemble and bake!  The ‘Big Mac’ just got a makeover!

 

For more pasta recipes, don’t forget to check out the Post Newspaper this week and you can also enter the AMC cookware competition!

 

All baked and ready for lunch...

All baked and ready for lunch…

Mushroom Macaroni Gratin

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

350g macaroni

Butter, to grease baking dish

45ml sunflower oil

400g button mushrooms, sliced

4 sprigs fresh thyme

5ml crushed garlic

Salt, to season

10ml Curry me Home Magic Masala or crushed chilli flakes

Black pepper, to season

100g cheddar, grated

 

 

For the sauce:

 

75g butter

50g cake flour

750ml full cream milk

1 bay leaf

100ml fresh cream

2 egg yolks, optional

50g cheddar, grated

Salt to season

 

Here’s how:

Cook the macaroni with salt and a little oil in a large AMC pot with boiling water. Check the packaging for the cooking time.

Grease the baking dish with butter.

Heat the sunflower oil in a 28cm AMC chef’s pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms on high and add the fresh thyme.

Once the mushrooms are golden brown, add the crushed garlic and chilli flakes or Magic Masala.

Toss the mushrooms and season with salt – leave aside.

 

Heat the butter in an AMC saucepan on medium. Once the butter melts, stir in the cake flour and use a wooden spoon to mix until smooth.

Add the milk gradually and whisk well between each addition, making sure the sauce is smooth. Add the bay leaf and simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Stir the cheese into the sauce and whisk until smooth. Add the fresh cream and leave the sauce to cool slightly.

Beat the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Pour the sauce into the beaten eggs and whisk until combined.

Stir the cooked mushrooms into the macaroni, add half the sauce and mix gently to combine. Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared oven dish and pour the remaining sauce over the macaroni. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 25 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

 

 

Festive feuding…..

Yudhika visits the Fourways Farmers Market on SABC 2's Mela...

Yudhika visits the Fourways Farmers Market on SABC 2’s Mela…

The festive season…some people love it…some people dread it!  The producer of Mela, is always full of brilliant ideas….and one of our themes was what to make when the inlaws….or should I say ‘outlaws’ come to visit!

Mother in law blues….it’s awful but over the holidays we all seem to overdose on it….yes, yes…they are perfect and they are the best cooks too….so, we first had a look around to see what we could come up with….first stop was our local ‘Fourway’s Farmers Market’.  The produce is amazingly fresh and it is a must for any ardent foodie.  I happened to come across a chocolatier stand.and they had fabulous white chocolate that was too tempting to resist.

 

We decided to prepare a meltingly delicious burfee with a decadent twist….white belgian chocolate…that ought to get the tongues to stop wagging!

 

Burfee isn’t a festive must….but, a little slice served at any time of year can be just what the doctor ordered to soothe those fraying nerves…I have to agree with the Mela producer on this one!  If you missed this episode of the ‘Food Mela’, click here to view….https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/yudhikas-chocolate-burfee-on-mela/

 

 

A word on milk powder…I suggest using Klim milk powder for this recipe.  For more on burfee check out these links on this blog….https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/07/24/the-eid-burfee-challenge/ for the Coconut Burfee and here for the rose and pistachio burfee…https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/29/rose-and-pistachio-burfee/  and perhaps this one for the super decadent fresh cream burfee recipe…https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/07/29/sugar-n-spice-recipes-fresh-cream-almond-burfee-by-yudhika/ and check out the video link to watch how to make up this burfee from my show Sugar n Spice…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWFDoAJuQXI

White Chocolate Burfee by Yudhika on SABC2's Mela....

White Chocolate Burfee by Yudhika on SABC2’s Mela….

 

Chocolate Burfee

Whole almonds

Red food colouring, to tint almonds

Gold dust, to tint almonds

500g Klim milk powder

175ml tinned dessert cream

375ml sugar

250ml cold water

2,5ml ground cardamom

25ml butter

50g chopped white chocolate, chopped

50g chocolate, to garnish

Tint the almonds with red food colouring and roast in a hot oven until dry.

Leave aside to cool and then sprinkle with gold dust.

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 food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Combine the sugar and water in a small AMC pot and boil until a thick sticky syrup forms.

Add the cardamom and butter to the syrup.

Pour the syrup into the milk powder, add the chopped chocolate and stir well to combine and leave to cool just slightly.

Add the chopped chocolate and working quickly press the mixture down into the prepared dish or baking tray.

Once the mixture cools, garnish with the tinted almonds and chopped chocolate.  Refrigerate the burfee until firm and slice into blocks or diamonds.

Blog down….

Yudhika on SABC 2's Mela....preparing a Gandhi inspired Thali

Yudhika on SABC 2’s Mela….preparing a Gandhi inspired Thali

 

 

 

I have been blogging my heart out and then things have quieted down and so did the blog…I needed a little time to catch my breath and fix a few techno glitches.  To end this crazy busy spell, I have just completed a whole new series of ‘Food Mela’ – I was absolutely delighted to be cooking on the show!

 

 

I haven’t blogged for a while and was quite surprised after receiving messages from my blog friends requesting my return to the blogosphere!  Heartwarming is the best word to describe it!

 

Okra on the menu....

On last weeks food insert, I featured a Gandhi inspired thali concentrating on frugal food. A thali is a metal plate that has a few different dishes served in little bowls or Katoris on it…this is the best way to enjoy Indian food and you can try a selection of different dishes in smaller quantities.  I have grown up loving frugal food like a simple potato curry, dhal and okra!  Gandhi’s food philosophy was around not just filling your tummy, it was about nourishing the soul too! If you missed the step by step food Mela video, click here…https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/mela-gandhi-inspired-thali/

 

 

On the Mela menu, was Potato Curry with Methi and Tempered Okra  – Gandhi’s favourites!  Potato Curry is one of those stock standard favourites in any Indian home and I love a little leftover potato smushed into fresh bread almost like a potato buttie!  Paired with a cup of good coffee, it’s the best hangover treatment…not that I get hangovers!

 

 

The potato is simple enough to make – just remember to use Up to date potatoes for this recipe….they are available in Fruit and Veg City and in Indian Green Grocers!  These potatoes have a floury texture like the English Maris Piper and King Edwards – they work like a charm! Here are a few tips to getting the okra right!  Firstly, always slice the okra and leave it to dry out for a while to get rid of the sticky gooey liquid.  Add salt after the okra is cooked…salt draws out the moisture from the okra and will turn your dish into a sticky mess…if you are cooking up a large amount of okra, fry them off in batches to prevent them from stewing….and for heaven’s sake, use a really good pan or skillet like the AMC 28cm Chef’s pan to fry off the okra….if you have a ‘crack pot’, the okra will stew!  With an AMC pan, the solid base heats up evenly and retains the temperature!  Now, on with the recipe!

 

Potato and Methi by Yudhika SujananiPotato and Methi

Ingredients
50ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml salt
10ml red chilli powder
3 medium sized potatoes, cubed
Pinch of turmeric
200g fresh methi, washed and chopped
Here’s how:
Heat oil in a 30cm AMC pot and add the mustard seeds.
When they begin to splutter, add the cumin seeds.

Fry until the cumin seeds turn a shade darker.

Add the chopped onion, then the salt and saute until light golden brown.

Add the red chilli powder and stir for a few seconds.
Add the cubed potatoes, then pour in boiled water – I add a little at a time so that the potatoes don’t turn mushy….potatoes can be pretty unpredictable!
Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Sprinkle the fresh methi over and simmer for a minute or two until the methi wilts.
 Tempered Okra by Yudhika Sujanani
Tempered Okra
500g okra
60ml sunflower oil
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, sliced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Salt to season
Fresh coriander, chopped
Lightly rinse the okra and wipe dry with absorbent paper towel.
Slice the okra into rings and leave to dry for an hour.
Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Chef’s skillet.
Add the okra and fry until light golden brown.
Remove the okra from the pan and reheat the oil.
Add the onion and fry until light golden brown.
Add the okra and green chilli.
Toss the okra lightly and add salt.
Add the chopped coriander and stir lightly.

The bold and the breyani….Coming up on Mela!

Parda Veg Breyani baked in AMC Gourmet Cookware by Yudhika Sujanani

Parda Veg Breyani baked in AMC Gourmet Cookware by Yudhika Sujanani

The breyani police will be out in full force on Diwali.  The breyani police could be anyone…difficult kids to your dragon in-laws or especially a battle-axe mother in law…for some homes there will be a vegetarian breyani but I am sure that by now you know that I will be enjoying a non vegetarian feast!  My mother in law doesn’t visit or eat curry!  I am not sure if this is a good thing….perhaps it is just one of ‘those things’!

 

I do enjoy a spicy vegetarian breyani served almost ‘drowning’ in delicious yellow dhal!  A bit of grated carrot with finely sliced red onions and maybe 2 pickled chillies would make it a memorable meal.  Oh, and soji as dessert – what could be more traditional or delicious!  For the soji recipe, click here… https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/30/soji-i-remember-i-remember/

 

If you are looking for a festive lamb breyani, try out this recipe from my show, Feast of Eid on Saffron/Home Channel last year, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/07/26/ready-set-spice-feast-of-eid/ and if you’re feeling a little nervous, take a look at the video clip before getting started here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXuhIfzGiR0…leave a comment….It would be great to hear from you!

Yudhika on the Mela set preparing the parda veg breyani

Yudhika on the Mela set preparing the parda veg breyani

 

Back to the veggie breyani….this week on Mela, I will be featuring a Parda Veg Breyani…this breyani is also called ‘Dum Breyani’ which means its cooked in a pot sealed with dough so that all the flavours are ‘trapped’.  I always post Mela recipes on Sunday, but since SABC 2 are running a week behind schedule, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to share this amazing recipe with you right now!

 

It makes a change from the stove top breyani….for this recipe….get your AMC pot and mojo on!  Haul out an AMC gourmet roaster….it goes from hob to oven to table…really, who needs extra washing up on Diwali!  If you are hankering after an AMC gourmet pan, click here to enter the competition on my blog, https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/amc-giveaway/.  AMC cookware are also giving away one of their awesome pans on Mela’s twitter page so do take a look!

 

Potatoes make a breyani so get down to your local veg store and ask for ‘Up to Date’ potatoes….no kidding ….it’s really called Up to Date!  These potatoes are often the most expensive and are almost a floury variety that soak up the delicious flavours.  Soft mushy potatoes are a must!  Waxy potatoes won’t do for this recipe or any breyani recipe!

 

 

The Feast...a bold and breyani special by Yudhika

The Feast…a bold and breyani special by Yudhika

Vegetable Breyani

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, sliced into rounds and par cooked

3 carrots, sliced

250g green beans

250ml frozen peas

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

45ml sunflower oil

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

5ml cumin seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

7,5ml salt

15ml crushed ginger and garlic

15ml red chilli powder

10ml ground coriander

5ml ground cumin

5ml garam masala

2ml turmeric

60ml fresh cream

4 level cups par cooked basmati rice

250ml cooked brown lentils

30ml butter

Egg yellow food colouring , to tint rice

125ml crispy fried brown onion

250ml boiling water

Coriander and curry leaves, to garnish

 

For the dough:

200g cake flour

50g butter

5ml sugar

75ml cold water

 

Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil in a AMC gourmet pot (with metal handles), add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Fry until the spices turn a shade darker, then add the cumin seeds. Once the seeds begin to splutter, stir the chopped onion into the oil and add salt.

Saute until the onion is light golden brown then add the ginger and garlic.

Add the red chilli powder and stir for a few seconds. Add the veggies, the remaining spices, and fresh cream. Stir well to coat the veggies in the creamy spice marinade.

Layer half the brown lentils over the veggies, top with the par cooked rice, then scatter the remaining lentils on top of the rice. Slice the butter into little blocks and place them on top of the rice.

Sprinkle the brown onion slices over the rice and the drizzle in the food colouring.

Pour the water over the rice and set aside.

 

Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the sugar and water. Use a mixer with a dough hook attachment and work the dough until smooth – I used the KitchenAid Mixer for this!

Roll the dough into a round large enough to cover the pot. Dab the edges of the round with water. Place the round over the pot and press the moistened edges firmly over the sides.

Brush the dough with milk. Place the breyani in a preheated oven at 180°C and bake for 45 -60 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown and should sound hollow when tapped.

Use a bread knife and cut through the dough to let out the steam – the steam can leave you with a nasty burn so take care when you are removing the dough.

Gently toss the breyani and garnish with fresh coriander and curry leaves.

 

More Mela, More recipes…

Yudhika Sujanani hosting the Navarathri episode on SABC 2's Mela....

Yudhika Sujanani hosting the Navarathri episode on SABC 2’s Mela….

It’s almost time for another episode of Mela….this Sunday I will be preparing a traditional leg of lamb called Raan and serving it with home-made Naan bread. The Raan is marinated overnight and then slow cooked for a few hours and it sure is worth the wait. The meat is meltingly tender and delicious! Don’t forget to catch the show for more Mela this Sunday on SABC 2 at 10.30am!

I am so delighted that we get to shoot the Mela food inserts at Holi Cow…there has been much to celebrate! Click here to enter the AMC Gourmet Cookware competition: https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/amc-giveaway/

For those of you who missed the last episode, here is a link to some delicious salad ideas, watch the recipe clip here https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/navarathri-salads-on-sabc-2s-mela/ Scroll down for the recipes….

During the fasting month, there are loads of delicious curries so here is something you can prepare if you want to have a ‘curry time-out’! I confess that I am not much of a salad fan….but here are the recipes to salads that I do enjoy!

Potato and Broccoli Salad

500g potatoes, boiled
400g broccoli
50ml sunflower oil
5ml cumin seeds
Rocket leaves to serve

Yoghurt Dressing
170ml yoghurt
30ml lemon juice
30ml rasberry vinegar
15ml olive oil
Pinch of salt
Salt to season
Fresh coriander and mint, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Heat oil in an AMC skillet. Add the cumin seeds and saute until they begin to splutter.
Add the boiled potatoes and cook until golden brown.
Season the potatoes with salt and leave to cool slightly.
Bring a pan of water to the boil.
Add the broccoli stems.
Simmer the broccoli for a minute and then plunge them into iced water – lift them out the water with tongs or pour them in a colander to drain.
Combine the ingredients for the dressing and stir well.

Place the rocket on a platter.
Layer with the potatoes, then place the rocket on top.
Spoon the dressing over the salad and serve.

Roasted Butternut Salad
1 large butternut, roasted
160g feta cheese
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Honey Mint Dressing
60ml olive oil
30ml lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
15ml honey
Salt to season
Black pepper, to season

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and honey. Stir the ingredients through and then add mint.
Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Place the butternut onto a platter.
Scatter the red onion and chickpeas over the butternut.
Then sprinkle the spring onion and feta over the butternut.
Pour the dressing over and season with black pepper.
Garnish with fresh mint.

Under the whip…Baklava Semolina Cake

Baklava Semolina Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Baklava Semolina Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

The silly season is here….and most people think that it starts around November. For me, it’s been a silly year….with 17 episodes of Mela on SABC 2 plus more to be shot, a recipe column in the Post, Holi Cow… and the KitchenAid competition!it’s been a full plate…really full and then came along the Post Diwali supplement that will also be featured in the Daily News! It’s going to be a bumper Diwali with another supplement for Diwali with Golden Cloud that will also be featured in the Post newspaper.

I am just completing the recipes and proofreading which means that the end is near! Must say, although its fabulous to finish a project, I am really going to miss all the recipe trials and feasting and the 5am starts to my day….there have been pies, cakes, biscuits and curries….my best were the home-made bread rolls and naan.

I have been under the whip…but the best thing about doing these features is you have to come up with new recipes….and this one will make you fall in love! It’s a Baklava Semolina Cake! This is an eggless recipe which is also great for the fasting month. I love semolina cake…it has a lovely texture and it soaks up the fragrant syrup. Topped with toasted pistachios and almonds, it is irresistible! Speaking about irresistible, the KitchenAid competition was won by Renuka Lallbahadur and for the latest competition to win one of my kitchen must-haves from AMC cookware worth R3350, click here….https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/amc-giveaway/

You might worry that there is lots of syrup in this recipe…but the semolina soaks up every little bit of the syrup. Leave the cake for a few hours before serving to ensure the syrup soaks through and there isn’t a dry centre.

So this recipe is the hook….there are more delicious recipes coming your way…..and just a few more days till the Post is out….diarize it….Post Newspaper: Wednesday 15th October!!!! If you would like to watch some of the cooking clips from Sugar ‘n Spice click here, https://yudhikayumyum.com/new-videos/ and for the clips from the new show, Mela, click here….https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/

Eggless Baklava Semolina Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Eggless Baklava Semolina Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Baklava Semolina Cake
Ingredients
325g Golden Cloud semolina
45g desiccated coconut
100g sugar
5ml bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
150g melted butter
200ml milk
30ml double thick greek yoghurt

Syrup:
350g sugar
350ml water
2 cinnamon sticks
30ml honey
15ml lemon juice

Topping
4 sheets of phyllo pastry
60g melted butter
140g roasted pecans and flaked almonds

Here’s how:
Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Place the all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 20cm loose bottom baking or pie tin.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and the top is pale golden brown.

While the cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup.

Place the sugar, water and cinnamon sticks in a thick-bottomed pot.
Heat on low until the sugar melts, stirring continuously.
Increase the heat and simmer until the syrup lightly coats the back of a spoon – it should be slightly sticky to the touch – it should not be too thick or it will not drench the cake.
Remove from the heat, then stir in the honey and lemon juice.

Pour the hot syrup over the warm cake and reserve a 60ml syrup for the topping.

Brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter, then layer with the next sheet. Brush the sheet with butter and repeat until all five sheets are done.
Brush the top of the pile with melted butter, then roll the sheets up to resemble a swiss roll.

Slice the roll into 5mm pieces and place on a baking tray. Bake at 175°C for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and unroll them slightly so they resemble ribbons.
Bake again until golden brown.

To assemble:
Sprinkle half the nuts over the cake, then arrange the phyllo pastry on top.
Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the cake, then drizzle with 60ml reserved syrup.

Paneer and lentil curry….

A little piece of heaven...Le Meridien, Chiang Rai...

A little piece of heaven…Le Meridien, Chiang Rai…

It’s storming here in Chiang Rai…and it doesn’t bother me at all….you see, I am at the Le Meridien Hotel and enjoying five-star service in the lap of luxury! The hotel room is large enough to host my entire family, the rim flow pool is too tempting to resist, and the service leaves nothing to be desired…I spent last night wondering how people here are so efficient without shouting at each other…my pet hate is South African restaurants where the staff talk loudly to each other, shout from across the room and then have lengthy conversations next to your table! What has happened to South African service and standards???

While I am away, I feel a little guilty for deserting my job as recipe provider especially during the fasting month…A quick curry in ten minutes is appealing on any day, but during the fasting month it’s a must! I double up on my paneer recipe and save half for an emergency curry day. You can check out the paneer recipe here….https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/09/06/no-goats-no-glory-the-mela-debut/ and take a look at the video: https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/mela-episode-1-paneer-and-double-bean-curry/

You don’t have to use goat’s milk for the paneer, cow’s milk will do perfectly…try using Clover Full cream milk – it does work best! By the way, I have to just add that I don’t work for Clover, but some brands are just worth a mention to turn a recipe into a flop proof one! I also used tinned tomatoes and lentils to cut down on the prep time…tinned tomatoes are a must especially when the tomato supply is a bit ‘iffy’…by this I mean always use super ripe tomatoes that have been left out at room temperature, not ones from the refrigerator! Refrigerator tomatoes lack flavour, don’t break down easily and sometimes just remain chunky. Tinned brown lentils, chickpeas and beans are my favourite ‘cheats’ for ten minute curries….do give it a try!

Paneer and lentil curry by Yudhika Sujanani

Paneer and lentil curry by Yudhika Sujanani

Paneer and Lentil Curry

Ingredients

400g paneer
50ml sunflower oil
1 small cinnamon stick
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
10ml crushed ginger and garlic
10ml red chilli powder
4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
Pinch of turmeric
500ml cooked brown lentils
Or 2 x 400g tins lentils, drained
400g baby spinach, finely chopped
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil on medium in an 30cm AMC pan.
Add the cinnamon stick and cumin seeds, then saute until the seeds begin to splutter.
Stir the chopped onion into the oil, add the coarse salt.
Saute until the onion turns light golden brown.
Add the ginger and garlic – stir for a few second, then add red chilli powder.
Next add the tomatoes, and stir in the cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Once the tomatoes have softened, add the brown lentils and simmer 5 minutes on a low heat.
Scatter the spinach over the lentils and leave to wilt – this should take a minute or two.
Slice the paneer and place the pieces into the lentil and spinach sauce.
Garnish with fresh coriander.

No Goats, No Glory – The Mela Debut…

Mela Magic with Yudhika Sujanani

Mela Magic with Yudhika Sujanani

The big day has finally arrived! I cannot believe that after months of shooting and flying around South Africa, Mela will be launching tomorrow on SABC2 at 10.30am! I have been celebrating the launch date and the KitchenAid Stand Mixer competition has been keeping me incredibly busy. More about the competition on this link, https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/kitchenaid-giveaway-2014/

Rina and I at Belnori Boutique Cheesery....

Rina and I at Belnori Boutique Cheesery….

My first episode took the team and I out to Bapsfontein to Belnori Boutique Cheesery and it was a real treat. I was set on making paneer and thought it would be a great idea to try it with goat’s milk. We were met by the owners, Rina and Norman Beicher – this couple is really passionate about goats and cheese, of course! They produce an extensive range of award-winning cheeses. I am an absolute fan of ‘Chevre Frais’ or the soft goats cheese so I didn’t need much coazing to get started on the tasting!

The stars of the show....The Goats of Belnori!

The stars of the show….The Goats of Belnori!

Goats....goats...goats...

Goats….goats…goats…

Goats…I do love them! I think I must have fallen in love with these creatures at the Fairview Estate! I absolutely love the curiosity that sparkles in their eyes, their animated silliness, and they are incredibly mischievous!

Rina was an absolute charm and took me through the range of from cottage cheese to semi hard varieties, camembert and even yoghurt! But it was the fresh goats milk that i was after! I have sometimes tasted goats milk and cheese that was pretty unpleasant. Rina explained that the ewes are kept away from the rams and bathed regularly….it all comes down to good animal husbandry, she said! Tasting the products, I realized that she had a point…there weren’t any ‘goaty’ flavours in the yoghurt or cheese! Belnori is a gem!

I picked up a bucket and then hustled back to Holi Cow to prepare a batch of paneer! Cow’s milk can be used instead in this recipe…but if you are feeling adventurous, give the goat’s milk a chance!

Yudhika preparing paneer in the AMC paella pan

Yudhika preparing paneer in the AMC paella pan

A word about paneer…it does take some time to prepare so please do use a good pot for the preparation. I used the AMC paella pan, which is wider at the top. Use a paddle spoon to stir the milk as it heats through to prevent the milk from scorching which gives the paneer a nasty burnt flavour. I also prefer making up a larger batch of paneer so you get thicker, chunkier pieces and it can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days or even frozen until needed.

In the first episode, we got through two recipes…the preparation of the paneer and a double bean curry with creamy paneer! Double beans can sometimes be found in Fruit and Veg City stores and almost always at Indian greengrocer. They are bright, colourful, and delicious.

Fresh double beans from the Indian green grocer.....

Fresh double beans from the Indian green grocer…..

Paneer
Ingredients
4 litres Full Cream Milk, either goat’s or cow’s milk
180 – 200ml white vinegar

Here’s how:
Boil the full cream milk in an AMC pot.
Stir the milk to prevent a skin from forming.
Prevent the milk from burning by scraping the bottom of the pan.
Once the milk comes up to the boil, add the vinegar.
The curds will separate from the whey.
If the whey still looks milky, add a little more vinegar.
Do not stir the milk – this will break the curd that will be difficult to work with.
The curd will float to the top and form a thick layer.
Gently scoop the curd into a sieve using a large slotted spoon.
Gently press the curd down with a spoon to remove excess moisture.
Tip the curd into a clean dishtowel and mould into a round.
Wrap the curd tightly and place on a chopping board.
Fill a large pot with water and place this on top of the paneer to press out the whey.
Leave aside until firm.

Yudhika’s Tips:

If the paneer is too soft, unwrap the cheese and leave uncovered in the refrigerator.

Double Bean Curry with Paneer by Yudhika Sujanani

Double Bean Curry with Paneer by Yudhika Sujanani

Double Beans with Paneer

Ingredients

60ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
15ml ginger and garlic
15ml red chilli powder
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
Pinch of turmeric
1kg double beans, shelled
2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
7ml coarse salt
Fresh curry leaves and coriander, to garnish

Heat the sunflower oil, then add the mustard seeds and fry until they splutter.
Add the cumin seeds and fry until they turn a shade darker.
Add the onion and sauté until the onion turns light golden brown.
Stir the ginger and garlic paste into the onion, then add the red chilli powder, cumin, coriander and turmeric – stir for 3 – 5 seconds.
Drop the double beans into the pot and stir well to coat.
Cover the beans with boiling water and simmer until they soften.
Add the chopped tomatoes and salt.
Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.
Cut the paneer into chunks and place them over the cooked beans.
Lower the heat and simmer until the paneer heats through – add a more boiling water if the sauce is too thick.
Garnish with curry leaves and fresh coriander.