All posts tagged: cardamom

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Salted Caramel Mohanthal

Salted Caramel Mohanthal

My grandfather was a sweet maker. He had big, thick-skinned hands that were made for harvesting sugar canes using a machete and stirring giant pots of bubbling syrup. He never used a sugar thermometer. He could tell it was done just by looking at the consistency of the syrup, perhaps testing it using a little cold water to see if it had a “one-string consistency ” or what a western pastry chef might call the “soft ball stage”. Indian sweet making isn’t for the feint hearted, you see. It’s painstakingly long, laborious, hot and intense work. Stirring, stirring, all the time you’re stirring. No, don’t stop because it will catch on the bottom and your whole mixture will taste scorched. Some of the most revered and expensive ingredients in Indian culture: sugar, milk, ghee and saffron, all wasted. If it was your full-time job and you had a knack for getting distracted, you’d be out of the door faster than you can say, “Oh fudge!”. If you’ve ever stepped inside an Indian sweet shop you’ll be …

Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua - Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts

Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua – Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts (Vegan)

Jambo! Flicking through hard to come by East African cookbooks fills me with that familiar, comforting feeling of when I cosy up with my favourite Indian ones. Exotic spices, simple veggies and coconut milk everything is what makes it feel so fresh, vibrant and soul warming. Being nourished with a mishmash of Indian, African and British food has all my life, allowed me to connect and experiment with the culinary cultures of all these cuisines. In other words, I’ve been spoilt and have loved every minute of it. Hell, I’ve been rabbiting on about it to you all since I started this blog in 2009 (yeah, it’s been that long!) For my generation, it feels like the Indian influence on East African cooking is a hush-hush camp, with recipes hidden away inside the spirits of expat grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles. As sad as it may sound, I’m a 29-year old who’s worried that Zanzibar Trail Mix, Malindi Halwa and Ugandan Kasodi will one day be forgotten. We can’t let that happen, guys! In the name …

Vegan Cardamom and Saffron French Toast

Vegan Cardamom and Saffron French Toast

If I was only able to flavour my desserts with three things for the rest of my life, cardamom and saffron would be two of them. The third would be a toss up between vanilla and cinnamon, but thankfully such grand decisions don’t have to be made. I’ve been away for a little while, still here but not here if you know what I mean. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know the story but if you don’t, here’s a really short round up. So for the last 6 months I’ve had this shooting pain across my right cheek. It’s like an electric current and unspeakably painful, and in my teeth too. After going back and forth to the dentist and GP who both championed OTC painkillers (why do they do that?! They are not the answer to everything and can mask real underlying issues!) I went to see a neurologist who confirmed that I have Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). It’s a nerve disorder that causes facial pain and sometimes it gets really bad. Shitty, …

Fluffy Vegan Aquafaba Pancakes with Vanilla and Cardamom Poached Pears

Fluffy Vegan Aquafaba Pancakes with Vanilla-Cardamom Poached Pears

I like my pancakes fluffy, stacked high and drenched in syrup. If they just so happen to come with a side of spiced pears, I wouldn’t turn my nose up. Aquafaba, or chickpea brine is the magical egg white alternative rocking the vegan food world. From Vegan Macarons, to Pavlova, Meringue Nests, Meringue Kisses and even vegan cheese, the discovery of aquafaba by Goose Wohlt opens up a whole lot of possibilities for eating the foods you love and sticking to a vegan diet. As many of you already know, I love playing around with this ingredient, conjuring up my own takes on dishes I adore, and all the while veganizing them for my family, friends and you fantastic people. My favourite Sunday morning ritual when I have friends or family over is to start on a big batch of pancakes while everyone’s still asleep. Not only does it make the entire house smell like the inside of a bakery that just had a massive vanilla cake eruption, it also ensures I get a huge smile …

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Syrup-Soaked Doughnuts)

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Doughnuts)

I figured that as everyone seems to have totally lost their minds this year, I’d follow suit in my own crazy way. You might have noticed a Facebook and Instagram post I wrote, earlier this month. It was a big deal for me, having dedicated a huge amount of myself to this blog. In case you missed it, it served as a reminder to myself that if we pursue our passions with our whole selves, we must not forget to extract every last bit of love it gives back to us. Anyway, enough of that soppy stuff… it’s rum time! I have a love/hate relationship with gulab jamun (or gulab jambu as we call them at home). I mean this in the sense that I love to eat them but hate that I can never just have one.  These sweet, saffron, rose and cardamom-soaked milk doughnuts are one of the most well-known Indian desserts, and the chances are, they’re on your local Indian restaurant’s menu. Kala jamuns are the lesser-known big sister of gulab jamun. …

Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies

Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies

I’m obsessed with brownies; rich, chocolatey, fudgy, incredible brownies. I’ve also got a soft spot for peanut butter and in case you hadn’t noticed, I cannot possibly go a day without eating cardamom. It’s not often I go in to the kitchen completely sure of what I’m going to produce. I’ll have something in the fridge or cupboard I know I want, then I forage about until I find the perfect partners for what I fancy and they could be totally bizarre combinations I’ve never tried before. If I’ve learned anything from all my years of experimental cooking is that you have to be fearless. FEARLESS. Yeah sure, sometimes things don’t turn out the way you plan but that’s what takeaway pizza is there for. I’ve rescued even the most disastrous of dinners and 98% of the time, the antidote consists of lemon, salt and sugar. They are like magic for repairing even the spiciest of curries. Baking is different. As sweet as it can be, baking can also be very cruel – especially eggless …

Slow Cooker Aubergine Makhani

Slow Cooker Aubergine Makhani

Beautiful, butter-soft aubergines simmered in a rich makhani sauce for three hours are what you’ll be dreaming about tonight. It’s velvety smooth and perfect with basmati rice and fluffy Garlic and Coriander Naan. I’ve recently fallen in love with my slow cooker and have been batch cooking soya mince and black bean chilli, spicy coconut daal and this delicious Aubergine Makhani. The basis my sauce is an irresistible combo of butter (it’s not a makhani without butter!), tomatoes, selective spicing and a touch of cream to finish. It makes for a perfectly-balanced sauce to coat juicy aubergine pieces. Slow cooking is a great way of making sure your aubergines remain chunky and don’t fall apart. If you’re looking for an equally delicious aubergine recipe where they are first blackened, then mashed, head this way. One of my favourite dishes to eat in Indian restaurants is Paneer Makhani or Paneer Butter Masala. If it’s on the menu, there’s a 99% chance I’ll be all over it. After trying it in a number of different restaurants, I …

Mandazi Barazi

Swahili Breakfast: Mandazi and Mbaazi

I spent some time in Mombasa almost five months ago. It’s safe to say I’ve missed sipping on fresh madaf (coconut water) on Bamburi beach, eating fried cassava crisps doused in lemon juice and chilli on the side of the road, and feasting in mind-blowing authentic Swahili restaurants by moonlight. I ate a lot that week. For me, the most incredible thing about East African food is the simplicity of ingredients that go into a dish and the unbelievable flavours that are produced. Basic seasonings like salt, sugar, lemon and chilli are paramount to everyday cooking. Spices like cardamom and turmeric are also popular, although they are used sparingly. Whilst cassava, beans and ground rice make up the majority of the diet, fruit and veg are showcased in such a simple, yet delicious way that vegetarian food is an absolute pleasure to eat. My wonderful aunt and uncle in Mombasa are blessed to have a garden full of palm trees, banana trees and fresh herbs, which allow them to indulge on the freshest exotic ingredients …

Cardamom Wreath with Rose Drizzle and Candied Lemon Peel

Cardamom Wreath with Rose Drizzle and Candied Lemon Peel

I’ve been craving cinnamon rolls all week. Soft, buttery bread with crispy edges, heaps of spice and the best part – lashings of sweet icing. Whenever I make Lotte Duncan’s version with maple icing, they fill the house with the most mouth-watering scent of fresh bread.   In fact, I love Lotte’s buttery cinnamon roll recipe so much, I used it as the basis for my Indian-inspired wreath here. The basic white dough is rolled with a shameless amount of butter, ground cardamom and cinnamon, twisted into a Finnish bakery-style wreath and placed in a hot oven. Once baked, I couldn’t help but drizzle it with icing made with rose syrup (the kind I use to make my Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda), and then scattered with homemade candied lemon peel and pistachios. Need I say more? Okay, let me explain the beauty of these flavours together… The spicy cardamom and cinnamon combined with sugar and butter create the most amazing, rich flavour once baked inside the dough. The fluffy bread mops up the buttery juices and …

Kashmiri Dum Aloo (3)

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

There’s nothing more comforting than meltingly-soft potatoes enveloped in creamy, spicy-sweet sauce – even when it’s dinner for one at the Modha residence. Nobody likes cooking for one, do they? For me, it’s a tedious task knowing I’m the only one who will get to sample my efforts. I’m a feeder – I come from a long line of feeders who taught one another to feed others until they could eat no more. Like my mum, I’ll make dinner by the bucket load regardless of whether I’m feeding one mouth or ten. It’s most definitely in our blood. I understand this is the case for lots of Indian girls who are told from a young age that finding the perfect husband involves filling his belly with spicy food, carbs and sugar. Either it’s the way to a heart or the way to heart problems – I forget which one. That’s not to say I started cooking to find a fella. Hell, I started cooking because I was an eight-year old chubster with a penchant for …

Cardamom Tofu Curry

I stuffed myself with Palak Paneer last night. I feel terrible about it and actually had a bit of trouble sleeping. I think it’s time to give that beautiful cheese a break (at least for a little while, anyway). On The Rebound What’s a girl to do when she’s decided to cut the one true love out of her life? Then it dawned on me; I’m going to replace paneer with something similar, something I won’t feel as guilty about. Hi tofu, remember me? We used to have a healthy relationship before I lost all my inhibitions to full-fat Indian cottage cheese. Simple Infusions If you ever asked me what my favourite spice was, I think I’d probably cry. There are so many to choose from and limitless possibilities in terms of creating breathtaking new flavours. Cardamom is one of those spices that’s never really at the forefront of a curry. Well let me tell you something, it really should be given the chance. A combination of both green and black cardamoms impart musky flavours …

Cashew Nut and White Chocolate Burfi

A love of sweets must run in my blood. Back in Kenya my grandfather worked in a sugar cane factory, boiling up vats of syrup bigger than a fully-grown wildebeest. He even knew syrup temperatures without having to use a sugar thermometer. My grandad’s passion for cooking with sugar led him to become one of the best sweet makers and teachers I’ve ever known. My other grandfather was head chef to one of the most well-known sugar merchants’ in East Africa. He’d rustle up the most spectacularly orange chickpea flour fudge and be ready to teach anyone willing to learn. Being just a tot when he passed away, my mum passed on his wonderful recipes to me. Indeed, the very nature of both my grandfathers’ livelihoods depended on the sweet stuff, which is why I put my love of sugar down to it pumping through my veins. What the fudge? These diamonds of sweet fudge have a delicious, crumbly and chewy texture from the ground cashew nuts. Laced with ground cardamom and vanilla extract, floral …