Cardamom Almond Spiced Milk / Badam Harira

Another month, another Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge! Although I’ve passed on the last few months of challenges because of one reason or another, I’m excited to be participating today. The theme for this month is befittingly Ramadan Memories. We were asked to share a recipe for anything that reminds us of Ramadan. I jumped at the chance because I’ve been dying to make my mom’s version of a Badam Harira (a cardamom and almond spiced milk).

This drink takes me back to my childhood. My mom would make this delicious and homey beverage multiple times every Ramadan (not sure why not throughout the year, though). I still remember the small black saucepan she would cook it in and allow it to cool in. Sometimes when she would be running low on time she would serve it warm, and other times she would let it cool in the refrigerator. It’s delicious and comforting either way!

To see what lovely Ramadan memories the other bloggers are sharing, be sure to check out their submissions here:

 

 

Badam Harira

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup almonds, coarsely ground
  • 3 cardamoms

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, and warm over medium heat. Cook, while stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve either warm or cold.

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Kulfi (Cheat Recipe!)

The days seem to be finally warming up in our parts, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it. We’ve been going for walks in our neighborhood and making regular trips to the park. The change in weather seems to bring about a change in our food preferences as well, where we’re opting for lighter and cooler meals. Enter this delicious Kulfi.

Kulfi is the South Asian Subcontinent’s equivalent of Western ice cream. Traditionally, sugar and milk is cooked over low heat until much of it has thickened and reduced. Although delicious, ain’t nobody got time for that! The recipe I’m sharing today was given to me by a good friend (Hi Reetu!), and cuts the time to a fraction. It’s quick to whip up, and always leaves behind a great impression. No one will know that it takes literally 5 minutes to throw together 😉

KulfiPic

 

 

Kulfi

Yield:  20-25 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup ground unsalted nuts (almond or pistachio) (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.  Pour into molds and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving.

Note:  Small disposable cups can be used as kulfi molds.  Cover cup with aluminum foil and insert a wood stick into the center.  The foil will help keep the stick in place.

Daring Bakers: Mawa Cake and Bolinhas de Coco

It’s that time of the month again!  For those of you who aren’t familiar, Daring Bakers is a group of bloggers and non-bloggers who are assigned a “secret” challenge at the beginning of each month.  The 27th of each month is the “reveal” date, in which those who blog can write about their experiences and recipes for the challenge.

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!

Our guidelines this month were to make the Mawa Cake and one of the two given cookies.  Mawa is the Hindi term for milk that has been cooked down to the point all of the liquid content has been evaporated and all that is left is milk solids.  The Mawa in Mawa Cake results in a deliciously dense and caramel-y flavor that is reminiscent of pound cake.

Of the two cookies, I chose to make Bolinhas de Coco, which are semolina and coconut cookies.  Although crispy and light on the first day, the cookies failed to retain their texture from the second day onwards.  The recipe for these cookies can be found at Aparna’s site.

BolinhasDeCocoPic

The Mawa Cake, however, was amazing!  I made it for Eid because we were expecting lots of guests and I thought that it would make a nice addition to our spread.  Boy, was it a hit!  Everyone enjoyed the cake and asked for seconds!  This cake will definitely be made over and over again in our home.  Thanks Aparna for the fabulous challenge!

MawaCakePic

Mawa Cake

Yield:  1 Cake

Ingredients:

For Mawa:

  • 4 cups whole milk

For Cake:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup crumbled mawa
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Blanched or sliced nuts to decorate

Directions:

Make Mawa:

Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan and bring it to a boil, stirring often to prevent burning.

Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the milk has reduced to one-fourth of the original quantity.  Stir often to avoid burning.  Reduce heat to low and allow the milk to cook a little longer.  Stir regularly until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance.  There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist.

Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.  Once completely cooled, mawa can stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.  Allow to come to room temperature before using.

4 cups of milk yields approximately ¾ to 1 cup mawa.

Make Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased 9-inch spring form pan (or 8-inch baking pan that is deep).

In a large bowl, beat butter, crumbled mawa, and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated.  Add milk and vanilla and mix well.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom powder, and salt into the batter and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated.

Pour the prepared batter into the spring form pan.  Lightly smooth the top.  Decorate with nuts.

Bake for about 1 hour, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.

Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.  Remove from pan and cool completely.