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.

Strawberry Milkshakes

Our rental community has a garden in which plots are given out on a first-come-first-serve basis, and I was quick to snatch one up this past Spring. We planted cherry tomatoes and green onions in our little box, and so far both plants have been thriving (along with thriving weeds and two mystery plants). Thanks to the crazy Midwestern weather, when one day it is hot and humid and the next it’s thundering and raining, our baby plants have grown monstrous and our box looks like a miniature version of the Amazon.

Speaking of summer and its bountiful produce, I’m loving all of the ripe and sweet berries being sold at the grocery stores! My son loves strawberries, so almost every grocery trip results in a carton being brought home. He mostly noshes on them just the way they are, but sometimes I like to incorporate them into our diets in other ways.

Enter these totally indulgent strawberry milkshakes via our homeboy Emeril.

What sets these shakes apart from others is that this recipe calls for allowing the berries to macerate before blitzing. This small but crucial difference is what takes it over the top. Emeril, I’ve got to give it to you buddy, you really know what you’re doing. BAM!

 

StrawberryMilkshakePic

 

Strawberry Milkshakes

Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup milk

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside and allow berries to macerate for at least 30 minutes.

In the jar of a blender, combine berries, ice cream, and milk and blitz until smooth. Serve immediately.

Sweet Lassi

Ahh, Lassi- the ever popular drink of the Indian subcontinent.  Everyone has a favorite flavor, whether it be mango, cardamom, saffron, salty, or sweet.  The recipe I’m sharing today is a bare bones recipe.  It is totally customizable.  The yogurt can be full-fat, low-fat, or non-fat.  Greek yogurt, or even flavored yogurts, can be used instead of plain yogurt.  Any type of milk can be used, and it can even be replaced with juice.  Go ahead and let your imagination run wild! 🙂

SweetLassiPic

Sweet Lassi

Yield:  1 Serving

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons sugar
  • A few ice cubes

Directions:

Combine yogurt, milk, and sugar in the jar of a blender and pulse until the sugar has dissolved.  Pour in a glass and top with ice cubes.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

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.

Tres Leches Cake

Last week was my in-laws’ 30th wedding anniversary, so we decided to cook up a feast for the occasion.  Our menu included popcorn shrimp, chapli kababs, and Tres Leches Cake.

This cake- OMG! Delish!

I’ll let the picture do the talking 🙂

TresLechesCakePic

 

 

Tres Leches Cake

Yield:  1- 9 x 13 Cake

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

For Milk Filling:

  • 1 – 2 cups milk, depending on preference
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

For Topping:

  • 1 (8 oz.) container whipped topping, thawed

OR

  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Make Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased 9”x13” pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix well.  Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cake from oven and pierce all over with a fork.  Cool completely.

Make Filling:

Depending on how much liquid is preferred, combine 1 to 2 cups of milk, and remaining ingredients.  Pour over cooled cake.  Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.

Make Topping:

Use either frozen whipped topping or make whipped cream as a topping.  To make whipped cream, combine heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and beat on high until stiff peaks form.  Spread over cake and serve.

 

 

(Adapted from: AllRecipes)