Tag Archives: saffron

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

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


  • 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.

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.

Eggless Saffron Cookies (Nan Khatai)

8 Nov

In the introduction to my last recipe post (Eggplant Raita) you learnt about my love for Diwali and my zeal for recreating the Diwali spirit in the US by cooking up a storm. This recipe is a new addition to my repertoire of Diwali worthy dishes this year.

As a child, my favorite food memory of Diwali was the assortment of Indian sweets and cookies that could be found in every household. I fondly remember, the Nan Khatais(Eggless Saffron Cookies) that my mother bought form a local bakery to serve our guest during Diwali time. Since they were always store-bought I assumed that it would be too complicated to make them at home. Then I found this easy Nan Khatai recipe on the Moonsoon Spice website, and with a few minor modifications I was able to recreate a childhood favorite in less than thirty minutes.

I urge you to make and serve these sweet, crispy and flaky cookies to your guests with a warm cup or tea or coffee and you will automatically earn the title of “host/hostess with the mostess”.

Eggless Saffron Cookies (Nan Khatai)

Recipe: Adapted from Mosoon Spice’ Saffron Nan Khatai Recipe
Yield: 18-20
Time: Active: 12 minutes Inactive: 14-16 minutes

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted (See note)
1 tablespoon ghee/Indian clarified butter, melted
½ cup + 2 tablespoons of fine granulated or caster sugar
¼-½ teaspoon of saffron mixed in 1 tablespoon of warm milk
1 ½ cups All-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
6 green cardamoms, crushed, peeled and powdered
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, powdered
Small pinch of salt (See note)
Few cashews or de-shelled pistachios for topping (Optional)


  • These cookies are traditionally made in ghee. If you want to make them the traditional way, substitute the 1 stick of butter with ½ cup of ghee.
  • Ghee can be found at any Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi store or ordered online.
  • If you are making these cookies with butter and only have access to salted butter, then do not add the pinch of salt. You may also need to increase the sugar content by 1-2 tablespoons per your taste if you are using salted butter.
  • These cookies can be stored in an air-tight container, in a cool, dry place for upto a week.

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degree F (180 degree C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside. If using foil, then lightly spray the baking sheet with cooking/baking spray.
2) In a large mixing bowl, add the butter, ghee, sugar and milk with the dissolved saffron and mix well, till the sugar and ghee are incorporated well.
3) Now add the flour, baking soda, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and the pinch of salt to the above mixture. Mix everything well until it forms one large dough ball. If the dough is too dry or crumbly add a teaspoon of milk at a time to help the dough bind together.
4) Make small rounds from the dough – just a little smaller than a golf ball. Line each of these on the baking tray, leaving enough space between each of them. Press a cashew or pistachio onto of each ball.
5) Place the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 13-16 minutes until the cookies are a light golden color. The cookies that come out are soft, but they harden once they cool. Don’t overbake these cookies as they will then become too hard after they cool.
6) Serve these cookies with a cup of tea of coffee or a cold glass of milk.

Orange Zest and Saffron Dutch Baby

15 Oct

They say you live and you learn. I say you cook and you learn.

Ever had a culinary discovery that has blown your mind away and left you wondering why you hadn’t discovered it sooner?  I recently had one of these breakthroughs when I learnt about a “Dutch Baby”.

A Dutch Baby is a German pancake that is a cross between a pop-over and a pancake. It is baked in a sizzling-hot skillet in the oven until the sides of the pancake rise high above the edges of the pan and the center is light and puffy. The base ingredients eggs, flour and milk are always in the proportion or 1: ¼: ¼, so you can easily scale-up this recipe to feed a crowd. And unlike, traditional pancakes you will not find yourself slaving over the stove-top making individual pancakes, the oven will do all the work for you.

The batter is extremely versatile and can be flavored with any combination of flavors you like. I chose saffron as saffron-kissed Malpuas (Indian pancakes) are my weakness. The orange zest pairs harmoniously with the saffron and gives this classic German pancake an exotic twist. This recipe is perfect for breakfast or brunch and if you love it like I do, it may even become a daily tea-time snack.

Orange Zest and Saffron Dutch Baby
Yields: 2-3 servings
Time: Active time:  5 minutes Inactive time: 30 minutes
2 eggs at room temperature (See note)
½ cup milk at room temperature
½ teaspoon saffron
½ cup of sifted all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar for topping (See note)


  • For the Dutch Baby to be light and fluffy and for it to rise well, it is extremely important that the milk and eggs are at room temperature. Set them out on your kitchen counter one hour before you are going to make this to ensure they come to room temperature.
  • I like to just top this with powdered sugar, but you can get really creative with toppings. Like a pancake you could top this with maple syrup or Nutella or berry compote or any topping you enjoy. The Dutch Baby that comes out of the oven is not sweet, so you will need powdered sugar or another sweet topping to sweeten it.
  • When scaling-up this recipe keep in mind that for every one egg, you need a ¼ cup of flour and a ¼ cup of milk. Also scale-up the added flavorings. The cooking time will also vary based on how much batter you have.

1) Place a 10 inch oven proof skillet in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 400 degree F (205 degree C). Wait 5-8 minutes before you start preparing the other ingredients. You want the batter to be ready only when the oven is pre-heated as you do not want it sitting around.
2) Warm up the milk in the microwave for 20 seconds (do not over warm it). Add the saffron to this milk, stir well and set aside for 3-4 minutes.
3) In a medium bowl beat the eggs until they are light. Slowly stir the milk into the eggs.
4) Now whisk in the flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, orange zest, sugar and salt. Make sure you remove all the lumps while whisking.
5) Remove the skillet from the oven (make sure are wearing oven mitts) and place the butter into the hot skillet and swirl it around till it melts.
6) Once the oven is pre-heated pour the batter into the skillet and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes till it is golden brown on the edges and puffed in the center. If you want it more custardy in the center, then remove it from the oven a little sooner.
7) Remove it immediately after it’s baked and add the powdered sugar or any other sweet topping. Cut it in slices and serve.

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