Festival Recipes, Indian, Sweets, Vegan

Roasted Cashewnut Burfi

Cashews, in the form of roasted salted nuts and burfis are highly addictive. Usually these are purchased from shops but making them at home is so easy and there is marked difference in taste. Making sweets at home using whole ingredients is a very rewarding and satisfying experience. The delicately nutty flavor of the cashews is enhanced in the homemade version, which is usually missing in the shop-bought versions. I highly recommend making this sweet at home and I think you will stop visiting the sweet shop and start making your own for festivals and when friends visit. It is much more tastier, flavorful, and economical too.
Some people think of cashewnuts as fattening. Please note that while cashewnuts are high in calories, they are rich in heart-friendly mono saturated fatty acids and soluble dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. For this sweet, I have used unrefined raw sugar. This is made from the sugarcane juice and has some minerals and nutrients. Refined sugar is devoid of all nutrients. So, if you have to eat some sweet anyway, rather than binging on empty/harmful calories, try to eat healthy homemade sweets, such as these.

Ingredients:
Cashewnut – 250 gm
Unrefined sugar – 1 cup/250 gm
Saffron/kumkuma poovu – 4-5 threads
Water – 1/2 cup
Ghee/Virgin coconut oil – 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 25 mins roasting time
Cooking time: 10 mins
Makes approximately 25 one-inch square pieces

Method:
It is best to oven roast the cashew nuts to roast them evenly. Since I do not use an oven, I used the traditional stove top method to roast the cashews. Add the cashews to a heavy bottomed vessel and dry roast until they turn golden. Turn off the fire and let them cool.
Use a mixer to powder them coarsely. I like to keep it coarse and not too fine. When you powder 250 gm roasted cashew nut, you get roughly 2-1/4 cups of cashew nut powder.
Take a wide plate and grease it lightly with ghee or virgin coconut oil. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, add water, saffron threads, and unrefined sugar. Stir occasionally and bring to boil. Cook until the sugar syrup reaches a one-thread consistency. To check this, dip the ladle in the syrup, take it out, blow into the syrup to cool it off a bit and while the syrup is still warm, touch a tiny portion of the syrup using your index finger. Try to stretch this drop of syrup on your index finger between your index finger and thumb. If it stretches for half a centimeter and forms thread and breaks beyond that, you are good to go.

Add the coarsely powdered cashew nuts to the syrup and stir. In about 5-6 minutes, you will the mixture swells up and thickens into a single mass when you move it using the ladle. It does not stick to the bottom of the wok. This means that it is time for you to transfer the cooked burfi into the greased plate that you have kept ready.

Pour the mixture on the greased plate. Tap to even out the surface using a rolling pin/potato masher/flattener. Use a knife to make horizontal and vertical divisions on the rolled out mixture. Let the mixture cool for about 10 mins.

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In a quick move, turn the plate with the mixture upside down onto a bigger plate.

Gently separate the individual pieces. Store in an airtight container. Stays good for a week.

I referred to Harini Prakash’s Tongue Ticklers to make this sweet. I have been a huge fan of Harini’s writing style and brilliant photographs since I first came across her web site. So, thanks to Harini for this detailed and flawless recipe.

Recipe courtesy: http://tongueticklers.com/2014/10/bhuja-hua-kaju-barfi-roasted-cashew-barfi/

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads

Fruit Salad with a Twist

Crunchy fruits, chewy paneer, sweet, citrus, and peppery. A very enjoyable mix of tastes and textures, this salad can be served before or after food.

Summer is when fruits are available in plenty. Including a salad in your menu cuts down time spent near the stove and is a welcome refreshment and hydration for your body.

A fruit salad sounds as easy as tossing pieces of fruits together in a bowl and serving it. But the amount of care and thought that you put into your fruit salad shows in its taste. Texture-wise, your fruit salad will taste better if the fruits you choose are soft and ripe with a slight crunch to each bite. Your individual fruits pieces should take on the flavor of the other pieces yet without seeping into the other pieces. Over-ripe fruits can break quickly into a mess and coat into the other fruit pieces. By mixing together ripe but not mushy fruits, your fruit salad looks fresh and vibrant for a long time.

fruit saladIngredients:
Apple – 1
Pear – 1
Orange – 1
Paneer – 100 gm
Cashew nuts – 6-8
Raisins – 6-8
Honey – 1 tsp
Mint leaves – 6-8
Pepper – 1/4 tsp
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Wash all the fruits. Wipe clean and cut the fruits into cubes and mix in a bowl. Pour salt and lemon juice over the cut fruits to retard oxidizing (browning of exposed portions). If you plan to serve the salad chill, at this stage, you could refrigerate. This will allow the flavors to mingle. But do not refrigerate for more than four hours. Cut paneer in cubes. Add the paneer to the cut fruits along with cashew nuts and raisins. Add honey, olive oil, pepper, and mint leaves. Serve immediately or serve after chilling for a short while.

This salad is inspired by a recipe I saw here.