Naan Therapy

Or should it be 'paratha' therapy …

Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Wild rose – pretty to look at, smells heavenly and great to eat.

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Wild rose in my yard.

Check rose for flavor

Pick roses to make about 2 cups of petals. Clean petals by swishing in cold water. Watch out for small insects. Add to one cup of water, one cup of sugar, jelling agent and juice of one lemon. Cook for about 20 minutes and chill.

Rose jam with cheese. Also nice with yogurt. The rose petals are chewy in the jelly.

Rose jam with cottage cheese and mangoes

Written by Som

May 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Dessert

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Coconut filled rice crepes, a Bengali delicacy

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Pati Shaptar Pithe/Pitha or coconut filled rice crepes. Pati means a mat, and shapta means simple in Bengali.

Grate raw coconut (or get frozen unsweetened grated coconut and thaw), about two cups, add sugar to taste and stir fry until golden brown. If you wish, you can add a tablespoon of raisins and a tablespoon of toasted and chopped cashew nuts or slivered almonds.

Pitha comes in various shapes. These are the simplest. To prepare the crepe batter, to a cup of rice flour, add a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of sugar. Add milk, 2% or full fat preferably, until the batter consistency is like crepe. Heat up a non-stick pan. If needed, you can wipe it down with a buttered cloth/brush. Follow cooking temperature regimen for a crepe.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter and roll it around on the hot pan to form a thin crepe.

As the crepe cooks, it starts to lift off the edges.

Add two tablespoons of filling. Optionally, form the filling in the palm of your hand in shape of a small spheroid.

Roll in form of a fat cigar.

Keep aside while you prepare the rest. These can be eaten warm or at room temperature. To take them to the next level (i.e. not simple), you can bake them in condensed milk as well but they do become heavy. Drizzling some condensed milk on top while not traditional can be an excellent substitute.

During this trip to India, I am seeing some new sweets in Bengal including baked rasogolla (boiled cheese balls dunked in sugar syrup) , Kolkata’s famous sweet and chana pora (literal translation for roasted cheese), a dish very similar to cheese cake.

Written by Som

November 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

Frangipane tart

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This is based on David Lebovitz’s french tart dough recipe. The ratio of liquid to dough is critical in this one. After several failed attempts, the one that worked as advertised was where our chef didn’t really wait for the butter to brown at the edges – just enough for it to bubble.

After the tart is partially baked and cooled, add a layer of fresh made frangipane and add sliced figs on top. Let bake for another 30-40 minutes – during this time, frangipane puffs up and encases the figs. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. And Voila!

Frangipane tart with figs

The tart shell is delicate and buttery and holds up well to cutting and transfer to plate. Flavor of almonds becomes a lot more pronounced upon cooking. This has so much butter that the gluten molecules pass unnoticed through your system!

Written by Som

September 24, 2014 at 7:25 am

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipe

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Ginger-y banana bread

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I think I am one of those who buy bananas hoping that no one would eat them so I could make banana bread later. My go to recipes for banana bread these days is David Lebovitz’s site. He seems to have a tropical appreciation for this particular fruit. This time, starting with David Lebovitz’s recipe, I made following modifications:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Yogurt instead of sour cream
  • Ginger syrup instead of sugar from “the ginger people” brand
  • Guittard’s white chocolate chips
  • Crushed kernels of allspice instead of cinnamon

Needed to be baked for 60 minutes but the result is again a super moist banana bread with overtones of ginger and allspice. Next time, I have to try the upside down banana cake.

Written by Som

June 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Can you convert flour to chocolate?

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After resting in the fridge for a bit

A little crumbly to roll

Cooling on the rack …

These disappeared a little too quickly. I rolled some of these around in dried and roughly crushed orange powder.

Recently, my husband made these intensely chocolate-y sables from Smitten Kitchen recipe. He used the recipe as is and used Valrhona chocolate bars (75% dark). Result is a crumbly version of Valrhona, not significantly far from eating the chocolate bar by itself. Combine it with an espresso and you will be ready for anything the day throws your way.

Written by Som

June 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Black rice pudding

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Black rice pudding with coconut milk and garnished with tapioca pearls, Green Goddess, New Orleans

Black rice pudding with coconut milk and garnished with tapioca pearls, Green Goddess, New Orleans

Yesterday, an energetic re-organization of my pantry reminded me that I have been aging Burmese black rice for at least an year. The rice itself was bought from a local branch of Whole Foods. I had also snagged myself Steen’s Cane Syrup during a recent trip to New Orleans. The two came together in a quick lactose free pudding last evening.

Pressure cook on low 1/4 cup of black rice, a pinch of salt with 2 cups of milk (2% lactose free or almond milk) for 1 hour. Add more milk to achieve desired consistency, add cane syrup to taste, perhaps a few spoonfuls of raisins and nuts and serve at room temperature.

Written by Som

April 7, 2011 at 6:54 am

Buckwheat tea cake

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Buckwheat tea cake

Buckwheat tea cake

Somewhere between lunch and dinner, I often find myself craving for a slice of cake and a cup of tea. Mostly I make do with a health bar. Some weekends, when all the chakras are in alignment, a cake is born in my kitchen. This one started out being yet another banana bread variation but the nutty taste of buckwheat overtook the tropical taste of banana. The end product was so moist and nutty that I decided to call it a tea cake, perhaps the best tea cake to come out of my kitchen.

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Written by Som

February 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Orzo pudding – three decades apart

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Orzo pudding

Orzo pudding

A memory from the first decade of my life – a winter afternoon in a small town in India, sitting in the verandah underneath a warm sun, mother patiently creating rice shaped little grains of dough. For a child, perhaps tiny  objects are fascinating. I may have helped her make 50 of those grains. She made 500 more or perhaps a 1000 more. She sun dried the grains for a day or two and then made a pudding, like rice pudding. My mother is a master pudding maker, she usually cooks a handful of rice in a large pot of milk and adds crushed cardamoms and jaggery. Although the grains cook in milk for hours, they are always perfectly melted, never pasty. The jaggery enriched condensed milk tastes like melted butterscotch icecream. There was extra excitement over the grains of dough pudding but the memory of the taste is lost among hundred other perfect puddings.

Time shift a few decades later. Now I make this quick orzo pudding, a few times a year. Sometimes to honor that lazy afternoon and sometimes to satisfy an immediate craving for a dessert.

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Written by Som

November 8, 2010 at 6:54 am

Posted in Cuisine, Dessert, Food, Low sugar, South Asia

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Trio of preserves

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Jams and marmalades this season

Jams and marmalades this season

Black berry jam:
It is the end of the season here, and I picked up 2 lbs of blackberry at 1/2 the usual price!

Rinse, crush, and add 1 lb sugar. Add juice of 1 lemon reserving the zest. Cook on medium until candy thermometer reads 220 F. Switch off flame, add zest of the lemon and proceed to can.

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Written by Som

August 17, 2010 at 7:45 am

Pomegranate chocolate cake

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Pomegranate chocolate cake

Pomegranate chocolate cake

A variation of the sticky plummy chocolatey cake with pomegranate juice. Why pomegranate juice you say? A pixie whispered in my ears that pomegranate, plums and chocolate work well together. The original recipe, Clotilde mentioned, is from Ottolenghi’s cookbook and pomegranates grow happy in the Middle East.

Clotilde’s recipe asked for buttermilk and we made this for a friend who loves chocolate but is allergic to milk proteins.

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Written by Som

July 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Gingerbread cookies with an immaculate record

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Once upon a time, a batch of gingerbread cookies turned up perfect. So perfect were they that I ate those cookies by the handful – something I hadn’t done to cookies since college days.

This gingerbread cookie recipe was from NYT. We had replaced the ground ginger by twice the amount of freshly grated ginger. While melting the butter, we had added the aromatics (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves) to toast until the flavors were released. We had also replaced the regular molasses with mild flavored one and white sugar with dark brown sugar.

Since then, we have tried multiple other recipes but they never made it to our repertoire. No amount of fiddling with the amount of butter, varitey of spices, flours, and sugar could improve these light textured, wonderfully aromatic, perfectly sized cookies. Conclusion – the combination in the NYT recipe, originally published with FOOD; Cookies for Eating and Giving as Christmas Gifts By Moira Hodgson, is perfect.


Written by Som

June 21, 2010 at 7:31 am

A taste of London and Paris

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Brioche with marmalade

Brioche with marmalade

A slice of brioche with a drizzle of Seville orange marmalade…..

Local citrus growers have started bringing their Seville oranges to markets now. Made a batch of marmalade this spring following David Lebovitz‘s recipe. We did only one alteration – removed the white pith from the rind before chopping them up. Result – absolutely the best Seville orange marmalade ever. And I am glad we canned the batch – if used in moderation, this should last us the year.

The Brioche was from Acme stand at Mountain View Farmer’s market – a citrus and almond brioche with candied orange and lemon peel and orange blossom water.

Written by Som

June 2, 2010 at 7:49 am

Flourless orange cake

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Flourless orange cake

Flourless orange cake

A cake made with poached orange and almond meal – with bits of ginger and lots of eggs. I think it was the unusual treatment of orange that got us going. Texturally, it is like a pudding with distinct taste of the nuts and orange. The cake took a trip with us through the Missions of California.

Recipe is from my favorite Parisian cook. Made without modification this time – although, a little less sugar and a little more ginger would have been fine. Took longer to bake in my oven.

Written by Som

June 1, 2010 at 7:56 am

Banana Walnut Madeleine

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Banana bread

This was inspired by banana pecan cake with maple glaze recipe from Clotilde.

Banana Walnut Madeleine (24 servings):

  • 40g walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 140g whole wheat pastry flour (~1 cup unsifted)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30g unsalted butter, softened (~2 Tbsp)
  • 40g  whole almond or walnut butter (fresh butter available from Whole Foods, ~ 2 scant Tbsp).
  • 50g brown sugar (~1/4 cup)
  • 20g maple syrup or honey (~1 Tbsp)
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 2 small eggs
  • 2 extra ripe bananas, about 300g weighed with skin – peel, mash with fork

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Written by Som

December 13, 2009 at 12:20 am

Scream Sorbet

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Evolution played a cruel trick on me by giving me a sweet tooth and then robbing me of the ability to digest lactose – a common component of milk. As a result I look longingly at ice-creams and then have to console myself with a chocolate souffle or two. But no more. Human ingenuity trumps nature again. A sorbet company based in the San Francisco Bay Area makes sorbets that are as creamy textured as ice creams, and have purer flavors to boot. Various organizations that give out awards to geniuses and what not, please take note.

The ingredients are high-quality and fresh, largely bought from local farmer’s markets, which is reflected in the clean flavors of their sorbets. It is also reflected in the sometimes unusual flavors, such as Anaheim Chile and Beet Lemon. They didn’t have Chile or Beet this weekend at our local farmer’s market. But they did have Sweet Potato and Coconut, which was intensely coconut-ty and sweet potato-ey. No fillers, just the taste ma’am. Peanut butter and caramel had that fresh roasted peanut flavor and was mercifully not cloyingly sweet. Hazelnut and Blanxart cocoa sorbet was just heavenly. As each little spoonful melted on my tongue, the perfume of hazelnuts and the lush flavor of cocoa made me want to go back and get a few gallons of the stuff for the week. Good sense prevailed as usual. I shall instead spend this week in anticipation of next week’s farmer’s market and a new set of wonderful tastes.

A note on the texture of these sorbets: I had expected hazelnuts to impart a slightly gritty texture to the sorbet, but it was as smooth as a gelato or ice cream. (Perhaps a Pacojet is involved in the process.)

Written by Sachin

November 15, 2009 at 10:51 am

Sticky plummy chocolatey cake

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A slice of plummy chocolatey sticky low fat cake

It is the brandy syrup saturating the cake that does the trick! The cake tastes way better than it looks – very plummy and full of molten chocolate. And the addition of liqueur, in our case Calvados, makes its aroma richer and the taste more voluptuous than you would think from the small amount of fat in it.

Thank you Clotilde, it is one of the best chocolate cakes we have eaten yet. Ad Hoc can try this one out instead of the ho-hum brownies that they chose to serve us after their not-so-good ribs.

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Written by Som

October 26, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Celebrating with bubbles and ?

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Chocolate souffle

Chocolate souffle

I always keep a bottle of sparkling wine in the refrigerator. Nothing too fancy, mind you – that would defeat the purpose. Just something that makes small celebrations affordable, say, Veuve du Vernay Rosé or Antech Cremant de Limoux. And I mean small celebrations like harvesting a batch of potatoes from the backyard or your first handstand.

My favorite morning celebration calls for souffle and a glass or two of sparkling wine. Souffle requires a spouse who is fond of baking and pantry basics like flour, chocolate and eggs.

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Written by Som

October 24, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Banana bread – be happy and healthy

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Chocolate buckwheat banana bread

Chocolate buckwheat banana bread

Growing up in India, soft ripe bananas usually translated to sweet and savory banana fritters. Now, they also end up in banana bread.

Yesterday, instead of the tried and tested banana bread recipe from Joy of Cooking, we decided to go for a new one. So, we substituted whole wheat pastry and buckwheat flour in David Lebovitz’s banana bread recipe, and added 1% homemade sour yogurt instead of sour cream.

Result: A dark, nutty and moist banana bread with only 120 calories per generous slice.

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Written by Sachin

October 18, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Pecan coffee cookies

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Pecan, Coffee, Butter...

Pecan, Coffee, Butter...

I am a fan of Heidi Swanson’s unusual combination of ingredients and textures. Original recipe for this cookie can be found here.

I did some variations. Like I chopped the pecans by hand instead of making a fine meal. Why? I like using a knife – a bit of blood, sweat and tears always makes the food taste better. Kidding!

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Written by Som

October 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Is it bread or is it cake?

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Spice cake/bread

Spice cake/bread

Here is a link to a cake recipe that is not only great tasting but it not too bad for your arteries.

We have made it several times now with multiple variations and it turns out great every time.

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Written by Som

September 25, 2009 at 10:17 pm