All posts by Lakshmi

Let’s Do Rasmalai in a cake, shall We?

Not too long ago, I tried to make a decadent Rasmalai cake that was created by the very talented Melissa Clark. It was a work of labor and love. More recently, looking at the aisles of Rosogolla in the Indian store sparked an interesting thought. What would happen if I somehow weaved store brought Rosogollas into a tres leches style cake batter with some rasmalai flavors infused in?

That is the experiment that went down in my kitchen tonight. I started with making a tres leches cake base, swapping in cardamom for the vanilla. When the cake batter was ready, I folded in sliced Rosogollas (I squeezed out their sugar syrup first), baked the cake and gave the final touch – a soak in a tres leches (three milks) concoction flavored with saffron, cardamom and crushed pistachios.

My parents were over the moon happy, their neighbors delighted with this unexpected gift and me? I was just beaming because yet another idea came to life beautifully! Here’s how this cake came together.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tsps cardamom
  • 12 small store bought Rosogollas (I bought a can of Bikaner mini Rosogollas)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 4 strands of saffron, crushed
  • 1/8 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter for prepping pan
  • 1 tbsp flour for prepping pan

How to:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a 9×13 inch pan with one tbsp of ghee or butter and dust it with the tbsp of flour.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and cardamom (two tsps) in a bowl.

3. Slice the Rosogollas in half, gently squeeze out the sugar syrup and set it aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat till blended.

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and mix till the ingredients are blended.

5. Fold in the Rosogolla slices into the cake batter.

6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or till the top of the cake is light brown and a cake tester comes out clean.

7. Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick and set aside to cool.

8. Prepare the tres leches mixture by mixing the half and half, 2% milk, condensed milk, saffron, pistachios, and 1/2 tsp cardamom in a bowl.

9. Pour the tres leches mixture over the cake.

Enjoy every milk infused crumb and be transported to flavor nirvana!

It’s a Peachy ChutNey

I saw three farm fresh peaches call my name. I turned around and there was a hot round chili and a piece of ginger that did not want to be left behind. So I rounded them up with a few spices and out emerged this chutney with a perfect amalgamation of flavors – sweet, tart, spicy. I had this immediately as a side dish with rotis and vegetables, but tomorrow, this will be the spread on toast that will form the base for a slightly runny egg.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large peaches, skin and pit removed and cut into medium sized pieces
  • 1 jalapeño, round chili or green chili, finely chopped
  • ½ inch piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 tsp urad dal or peanuts
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

How to:

1.Heat the oil. 

2. Add the mustard seeds, red chili, urad dal or peanuts.  When the mustard seeds stop crackling, add the curry leaves, ginger and green chilies.  Sauté for a minute. 

3. Now add the chopped peaches, salt and turmeric powder.  Cook for five to six minutes uncovered, smashing the peaches with a wooden spoon so they are blended with the spices. 

Enjoy!

Flaky, buttery, Date Bread – Inspired by the Omani Maldouf

Not too long ago, I had an opportunity to spend time with family in Oman. I was bowled away by the country’s natural beauty, the rugged mountains juxtaposed against magnificent beaches and the dates served everywhere. But somehow, I missed an opportunity to taste good Omani bread and it was an Anthony Bourdain episode on this country that got me curious. One of the first breads I came across was Maldouf, a date flatbread also known as a date chapati. The combination of ground dates and ghee sounded divine, something that would appeal to my sweet toothed parents and in-law, but the egg in the dough was something I wanted to skip.

I started with a recipe from the local paper in Oman, The Oman Times and tweaked it to come up with this. The dates add just a hint of sweetness, the cardamom makes it a tad bit exotic and the ghee leads to the flaky delectable layers.

It takes a bit of time to roll out the dough, but the end result is so worth it. Have it warm as it comes off the griddle or serve it at room temperature with a spicy curry.

Ingredients:

  • 15 pitted dates
  • 1 cup atta (chapati flour) – you can use white whole wheat flour instead
  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
    ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt.
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • Ghee for shallow frying bread
  • Flour for rolling out bread

How to:

1. Soak the dates in one cup of boiling water for one hour and then grind to a paste with the water in a blender.

2. Once the date paste is ready, whisk the atta, white whole wheat flour, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Add the ghee and mix with your hand till it gets a bit crumbly.  Add the date puree and mix the dough well till it all comes together and forms a soft pliable dough.

3. Divide the dough into 12 balls, roll in your hands till smooth, and set aside covered by a damp towel for an hour.

4. Take one ball at a time.  Place on a lightly floured board and roll out into circle, about 6-7 inches in diameter.  With a pastry brush, brush the circle with ghee.  Fold dough from opposite sides to the center, slightly overlapping the ends. Brush some more ghee and bring the other sides to the center forming a square.  Press the dough down, and spread the square into a larger one with 6 inch sides. Repeat with all dough balls.

5. Cook each bread on a medium hot griddle adding some ghee on the sides.  When the bread starts puffing (about 1/2 a minute or so), flip it over and cook till both sides and have nice brown spots.