Tag Archives: cardamom

Orange & Cardamom Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

11 Mar

Orange and Cardamom Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

Feeding Your Appetite is 6 months old, and we are celebrating with a divinely decadent dessert!

Panna cotta (Italian for cooked cream) is a classic Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing it with gelatin and letting it cool until set. Using Greek yogurt instead of the milk creates a variation from the classic Italian dessert. The Greek yogurt creates a tangy and creamier Panna Cotta. The flavors of the cardamom with the Greek yogurt are suggestive of an Indian Shrikhand (Indian hung yogurt sweetened and flavored with cardamom). But it’s the addition of the cooked cream, orange extract and gelatin that make this dessert a closer relative of the Italian Panna Cotta than the Indian Srikhand.

This is one of those desserts that are effortless to create and yet it portrays you as a Master Chef, mesmerizing all when it’s served. So go ahead and have yourself a Master Chef moment!

Orange & Cardamom Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta
Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten’s Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries
Time: Active 15 minutes   Inactive 24 hours for setting
Yield: 5 (4-5oz) ramekins

Ingredients:
Panna Cotta Ingredients:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1 ½ tablespoons of cold water
1 ½ cups of heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole-milk (full fat) Greek Yogurt (See note)
½ teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (See note)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon fine granulated sugar
Orange segments for garnishing

Orange Sauce Ingredients:
½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
½ tablespoon of butter
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon sugar

Notes:

  • If you live in a country where it is hard to find Greek yogurt then just replace it with regular whole-milk (full fat) yogurt. The resulting Panna Cotta will be a little less creamy and a little less tangy but will still taste great.
  • If you do not have pre-ground cardamom use a mortar-pestle to break the pods and remove the seeds. Grind the cardamom seeds in a spice or coffee grinder or using your mortar-pestle.

Method:
1) In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on 1 ½ tablespoons of cold water. Stir and set it aside for 10 minutes to let the gelatin dissolve.
2) In the meantime, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek Yogurt, ¾ cup of cream, the orange extract, 1 tablespoon of orange zest and the ground cardamom.
3) In a small sauce pan stir together ¾ cup of cream and the 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of sugar and bring it to a simmer on medium heat. Keep stirring till the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the softened gelatin and stir to dissolve.
4) Pour this hot cream mixture into the cold yogurt and cream mixture and stir to combine.
5) Pour the mixture into 5 (4-5oz) ramekins or custard cups and refrigerate uncovered until cold. When the panna cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
6)  For the Orange sauce: In a small sauce pan heat all the sauce ingredients for about 15-20 minutes, until all the ingredients are well combined and the sauce is reduced to the consistency you want. Turn off the heat and set the sauce aside to cool.
7) To serve: Run a small knife around each dessert in the ramekin and dip the bottom of each ramekin for 3-4 seconds in a bowl of hot tap water. Invert onto a dessert plate and spoon some sauce over each one. Garnish with orange segments

Indian Whole-Wheat Pancakes

5 Mar

Saffron and Cardamom pancakes

My earliest memories of pancakes are my dadi’s (paternal grandmother’s) “meetha pudas”. They are eggless, whole-wheat pancakes laced with Indian spices and cooked in ghee (clarified butter). Reflecting on these pancakes conjures up several food memories of my childhood that are often centered on my grandmother’s cooking.

My grandmother embodied the very concept of “Feeding Your Appetite”, expressing the depth of her love through her cooking. I believe that my innate desire to cook for the ones I love is something I inherited from her. Unfortunately, my grandmother never experienced the birth and development of my culinary passion and I never had the opportunity to cook for her. Since my blog is just a week shy of its 6th month anniversary, I wanted to share a recipe that could have played a small part in developing my culinary zeal.

These pancakes are laced with fragrant Indian spices – fennel seeds, cardamom powder and saffron. Replacing all-purpose flour with

Saffron, cardamom and fennel seeds

whole-wheat flour and eliminating the eggs creates a healthier alternative to traditional pancakes. I use lesser sugar in the batter in order to add honey in the end, which really augments the flavors of the Indian spices. These pancakes are perfect for a nourishing breakfast (or after-school snack) and are a remarkably delightful way to show someone how much you care.

Indian Whole-Wheat Pancakes
Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4-5 large pancakes

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon 2% milk, slightly warm
1/8 teaspoon of saffron
1 cup whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons fine granulated or powdered sugar
¾ Teaspoon of green cardamom powder (See note)
1 ½ teaspoons of fennel seeds
1-1 ¼ cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil divided
Good quality honey for drizzling on the pancakes

Note:

  • Cardamom powder is readily available in all grocery stores. In case you only have whole cardamoms pods at home you can easily make cardamom powder. In a mortar with a pestle break apart the cardamom pods and discard the green skin. Use the pestle or a coffee grinder to powder the seeds of the cardamom pods.

Method:
1) Crush the saffron with your fingers and add it to the warm milk. Mix it and set it aside for 10 minutes.
2) While the milk and saffron is set aside, you can start making the rest of the pancake batter. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the whole-wheat flour, baking soda, sugar, cardamom powder and fennel seeds.
3) Add 1 cup of milk and the saffron and milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir all the ingredients well but do not over-mix – it is okay to have a few lumps. If the consistency of the batter is too thick then add in the remaining ¼ cup (or some part of it) to this batter.
4) Heat a skillet or a griddle to medium-high heat.  Heat the oil in batches and add 1/4 – 1/5 of the batter in the center of the skillet and spread out to make a round pancake. Cook till brown on both sides and the insides are fully cooked. Repeat this process till all the pancakes are made.
5) Serve hot drizzled with a good quality honey.

Chai Chocolate Truffles

13 Dec

Chai chocolate truffles

I have taken longer than usual to post a recipe as I was en-route to India, followed by an onslaught of jetlag and a plethora of friends and family to catch up with. Amidst all this frenzy, I am basking in the immense pampering that comes with visiting my parents’ and relishing the diverse foods of Mumbai that I so miss in DC. Not only do I miss the food, but also the importance that is placed on all meals, specifically breakfast.

Breakfasts are an elaborate affair in most Indian households, especially at my parents’ place. While the menu is ever evolving, a staple at their breakfast table is an abundance of heart-warming cups of masala chai. Masala chai is a tea drink prepared by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. The combination of spices and herbs may vary but green cardamom and ground cinnamon are common ingredients.

At breakfast, earlier this week while I was sipping contently on my second cup of masala chai my husband broached the subject of making chocolate truffles. I am always looking to switch up flavorings for chocolate truffles and the apt timing of our conversation lead to developing this chocolate truffle recipe. These luscious truffles melt in your mouth, revealing a magnificent synchronization of earthy masala chai and creamy, decadent chocolate. Try these at your own risk – you will probably pack in more truffles than you serve your friends and family!

Chai Chocolate Truffles Recipe
Yield: 24 truffles (depends on size)
Time: Preparation 30 minutes; Refrigeration 18 hours

Ingredients:
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2.5 tablespoons honey
2 black tea bags (I used Lipton Yellow Label Tea)
6 green cardamom pods, bruised
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon powder
8 oz good quality semisweet chocolate, cut up into bite size chunks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cocoa powder for dusting (Optional)
Crushed or chopped pistachios for coating (Optional)

Method:
1) Place the bite-sized chunks of chocolates in a medium glass bowl and set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan, heat the cream along with the tea bags, cardamom pods, cinnamon powder and honey on medium-high heat, until it reaches a boil. Once it reaches a boil remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze the tea-bags to get all the flavor out of them. It takes about 30 minutes for the chai flavors to infuse into the cream.
3) Re-boil the cream mixture and remove from the heat once it comes up to a boil.
4) Using a mesh strainer, pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate chunks and let it rest for 2 minutes. Discard the teabags and cardamom pods. Use a whisk and slowly start mixing the chocolate and cream until you get a smooth mixture. It is important to do this slowly to ensure that minimal air bubbles enter the mixture.
5) Now add the butter and whisk well, till it is fully incorporated. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.
6) Take a large bowl and fill it with cold water and ice cubes. Remove the chocolate mixture from the refrigerator.
7) Dip your hands in the ice-bath and then dry them completely. Roll the chocolate mixture into one inch size balls. Note: I use a rounded tablespoon measure to ensure that all the truffles are even in size. I usually need to repeat the step of dipping my hands in the ice-bath and drying them 1-2 times in the middle of rolling out 24 truffles. Body heat melts the ganache and makes it difficult to form even balls. The ice bath step helps reduce this. This is a messy and tedious but extremely rewarding process.
8) Place the rolled balls in a serving platter and refrigerate for another 6 hours.
9) After 6 hours (or more) remove the chocolate truffles from the refrigerator and coat them with cocoa powder or crushed pistachios.
10) Refrigerate the chocolate truffles for at least another hour after coating them and before serving.

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