Showing posts with label dates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dates. Show all posts

May 28, 2018

Ramadan Recipe Round-up!

authentic, beef, Chicken, dates, dessert, easy, laddoos, lamb, Mutton, ramadan, Recipe, round-up, simple,

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, even foregoing water. Food takes on a special significance during this holy fast. Before sunrise Muslims eat suhoor, a big breakfast large enough to to get them through the day. After sunset comes iftar, or the breaking of the fast. Iftar is often a communal and festive affair. Hearty meat dishes and rich desserts are popular during Ramadan as a way to fill up before or after fasting. I've rounded up my favorite Ramadan recipes for suhoor and iftar, as well as for the big Eid-al-Fitr feasts afterward!


Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,
Railway Mutton Curry: During the days of the British Raj while traveling on Indian Railways a British officer complained the mutton curry served was too hot for his liking. An ingenious Indian Railways chef deliciously tamed the fiery curry by adding coconut milkThus "Railway Mutton Curry" became a popular dish in its own right and was served in restaurants as well as railway refreshment rooms and long-distance trains throughout India. An easy and delicious dish to make for Ramadan.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,
Karim's Aloo Ghosht (Mughal Style Mutton with Potatoes):  Karim's is the most famous and iconic Mughal restaurant of old Delhi. "Aloo" means potato and "ghosht" is Urdu for mutton. In classic Mughal style, mutton is simmered in a rich blend of caramelized onions, warm aromatic spices, and tangy yogurt until falling off the bone tender. This creates the savory and spicy red gravy so prized by the royals of the Mughal court which perfectly pairs with the creamy and delicate potatoes.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,Vikas Khanna's Classic Lamb Curry: the famed Michelin starred chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer's version of an authentic north Indian curry. Lamb is simmered until tender in a rich gravy infused with traditional aromatic spices. So easy to make, everyone will think you're an award-winning chef when you make this too!



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,
Mutton Do Pyaaza: "Do" means two or twice and "pyaaza" means onions. As the name implies this classic North Indian dish features a lavish amount of onions. Onions are added in two stages, first slowly caramelized then ground with traditional spices to make a rich brown gravy. The mutton is then braised until tender in this bold mix of rustic flavors. This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, or water buffalo stew meat. Pair with rotis, parathas, or chapattis for a hearty meal.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Punjabi Dhaba Style Mutton: Punjabi Dhaba restaurants are popular with all members of the traveling public along India's burgeoning highway system, not just Punjabi drivers. This is my version of the traditional North Indian mutton curry served at India's famed Punjabi dhabas. This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, or water buffalo stew meat.



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Nepali Style Chicken Curry: From the heart of the Himalayas comes this delicious chicken curry. Chicken is marinated then slowly simmered until delectably tender in a richly seasoned sauce of traditional Nepali spices. Don't let that long list of ingredients in this recipe intimidate you, this is one of the easiest and tastiest chicken curries you'll ever make!



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,Kashmiri Style Chicken Curry: From the beautiful vale of Kashmir comes this recipe for a brilliant red chicken curry. The warmth of traditional aromatic spices and crimson Kashmiri chilis are melded in a velvety yogurt based sauce. Crisply seared chicken is then simmered until meltingly tender in this richly aromatic sauce. The Kashmiris enjoy this dish garnished with dried mint or perhaps sultanas and cashews on special occasions.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Chicken Rogan Josh: Rogan Josh made with mutton is a traditional dish of Kashmir and was introduced by the Persian speaking Mughals. This recipe uses chicken in place of mutton for a delicious red curry. Although lavishly spiced this dish is more aromatic in flavor than fiery hot. The chicken is seared until golden brown then braised until tender in the rich and velvety sauce.




Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic, 
Malabar Style Chicken Curry: A lavish use of spices, tart tamarind, and rich coconut are the hallmarks of Malabar cuisine. This boldly spiced brilliant red chicken curry is typical of Malabar's delicious dishes. Mellowed by sweet and sumptuous coconut milk the spices present as warmly aromatic rather than fiery hot. The sweet and sour tang of tamarind perfectly accentuates the combination of assertive flavors.


Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,
Mughal Style Green Chicken: Mildly spiced but bright with the flavors of fresh mint and cilantro. Ground browned onions, almonds, and yogurt make for a rich gravy. Whenever you see a "Mughlai" recipe you know it's going to include lots of steps- chopping, marinating, frying, cooling, grinding, more frying, and probably then some. Here I've minimized the steps using a few modern techniques. But this recipe will still take at least a good three to four hours to complete.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic, 




Labaniah (Saudi Milk and Pistachio Candy): From Saudi Arabia comes this sweet treat. Indian Muslims on Hajj brought milky mithai with them on their pilgrimage to Mecca. The Saudis liked the traditional Indian sweets so much they made their own version! Humble milk powder is transformed into delicious bite-sized candies with the rich flavors of saffron, cardamom, and pistachios in this easy recipe.





Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Shortcut Gulab Jamun: Who doesn't love a gulab jamun? Making this traditional sweet treat is a snap with this shortcut recipe. This simple recipe using bread and milk to make gulab jamuns was all over the internet a few years back, so I am not sure where it originated. I've embellished it a bit by infusing the milk used for the gulab jamuns with Kashmiri saffron. The saffron not only gives the gulab jamuns with it's rich flavor and color, but also lends it's golden hue to the syrup as the gulab jamuns steep.


Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,



Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos: Easy, eggless, and no-bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for Ramadan or any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.  



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic, 






Rose, Coconut, and Cardamom Laddoos: These delicately flavored laddoos are elegant enough to serve as a dessert at a posh dinner party or holiday gathering yet easy enough to make for an after school treat. The classic Indian pairing of light rose, aromatic cardamom, and rich coconut is combined with milky sweetness in this dainty treat!




Wishing you and yours a joyous and blessed Ramadan! 
Love, Bibi



Jun 26, 2017

Chinese Chews

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

Chinese Chews are a delicious combination of walnuts and dates. These chewy date cookies are baked in a pan, cut like bars, and then rolled in granulated sugar to give them a unique knobby shape. A nostalgic recipe that's easy to make and perfect for holiday platters, snacks, or packed lunches.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

This classic recipe first appeared in the American homemakers' magazine Good Housekeeping in 1917. I had an aunt that made these every year for Christmas and have seen the recipe in many vintage cookbooks. No one is certain why this recipe is deemed Chinese. None of the ingredients nor the techniques involved are Chinese in any way. My guess is that this recipe was part of the 1920's fad for all things Chinese. From mahjong to Anna May Wong, anything Chinese was the bee's knees in the 20's. Dates were revered as Oriental and therefore exotic in the 20's. Commercial date farms in the American Southwest were just beginning to market their produce in the US in the early 20's too. I've seen several pamphlets filled with date recipes published in the 1920's. I'll bet some date farmer's association sponsored a contest for a recipe containing dates. Rather than call these date squares or date slice why not roll them into balls and call them Chinese Chews? Swell! Wouldn't that be the cat's pajamas to serve at your next mahjong party?
1920's "Plum Blossom"chalkware bust by American artist Esther Hunt made into lamp with fanciful Napoleon shade
Probably not PC by today's standards but 'on trend' in the 20's
Anyhow, this is a great recipe for Ramadan or Eid! I think dates fell out of fashion in the US due to their exorbitant cost. And the quality of dates you get in the US really isn't great either. I didn't really care much for dates until I tried the ones from Iran, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Dates from the Middle East are more caramel in flavor than ones from other regions. This recipe showcases their rich flavor beautifully in an eggy batter which bakes up crisp and chewy. The walnuts also mellow and improve when baked in this tasty treat. I prefer to use brown sugar in this recipe as I like the dark color and deeper flavor it lends. Anyway you choose to make them this old fashioned treat is sure to please!

Ingredients:
1C dates, chopped
1C walnuts, chopped
1C sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
3/4C flour
1tsp baking-powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/4 tsp salt

Here's what do:
Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

1) Preheat oven to 325F/165C. Grease and flour a 9 inch by 13 inch pan.  In a medium sized mixing bowl beat together sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt until smooth.


2) Add flour to mixture and stir until smooth. Fold in dates and walnuts.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

3) Pour mixture into greased and floured pan and spread with back of spoon or spatula.  (Batter will just barely cover the bottom of the pan.)

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

4) Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

5) Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Slice into small squares or scoop and roll into balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar.  Keeps well for up to 3 weeks at room temperature in airtight container.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

Helpful Hints:
I've also seen these served simply sliced into small squares and dusted with powdered sugar. If you choose to serve your Chinese Chews this way be sure to place them in paper candy cups as they're very sticky.


On Eid al-Fitr may Allah's blessings and love be showered upon you!

Bibi

Oct 11, 2016

Classic American Oatmeal Cookies (Eggless)

veg, vegan, vegetarian, oatmeal, honey, golden syrup, recipe, cookie, biscuit, drop, raisin, dates, walnuts, egg free, eggless, spice, american, baked, oatmeal, oats, healthy, honey, quick cooking, holiday, snack, oatmeal cookies,

Fill your cookie jar with this eggless version of the classic American oatmeal cookie. Buttery, sweet, with a hint of spice and a texture that's a delectable combination of crispy edges with delightfully chewy centers. Embellish them with raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, dried cherries, or chopped dates as you choose. This tasty recipe can easily be made vegan too. Great as a snack, tea time treat, gracing any holiday platter, or even breakfast! 

Oatmeal Cookies Eggless, veg, vegan, vegetarian, oatmeal, honey, golden syrup, recipe, cookie, biscuit, drop, raisin, dates, walnuts, egg free, eggless, spice, american, baked, oatmeal, oats, healthy, honey, quick cooking, holiday, snack

In looking to make an eggless version of classic American oatmeal cookies I first tried this highly lauded recipe on Food.com. It used a quarter cup of boiling water mixed with baking soda and resulted in a rather bland cake-like textured cookie that I really didn't care for. (Even the neighbor's buffalo gave me the side eye when I fed them to her.) So I substituted room temperature honey for the boiling water, baking powder for the baking soda, added an extra quarter cup of oats, and a touch of spice. The result was the best oatmeal cookie I've ever eaten! The honey really gave them the absolute perfect texture of crispy edges with a tender chewy center as well as a boost of flavor. I've also made them vegan using vegetable margarine and golden syrup in place of the butter and honey and they taste just as delicious. The optional dash of nutmeg and cinnamon was just enough spice to add a bit of pizazz. Baking the cookies at the recommended 350F/175 tended to give a cookie with a crispy bottom but raw top so I amended that by reducing the heat and lengthening the baking time a bit.

The dark and sweet raisins traditionally used in American oatmeal cookies are not usually available here in Nepal. The raisins we get are mostly sultanas or a type of golden raisin which I find tend to scorch or be too sour for this cookie. But we do have are these incredible dates from Iran! Can you believe this? A full kilo of hand packed dates with the most lovely caramel-like flavor and texture for a mere three dollars! Roughly chopped these dates perfectly compliment this oatmeal cookie. Of course, to please the Kashmiri contingency here I also use the deservedly famed Kashmiri walnuts too. But feel free to add in whatever you prefer in the way of dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips. 

Ingredients:
1 C butter, softened to room temperature (or margarine if you wish to make these vegan)
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg or allspice (optional)
1/4 C honey (or golden syrup if you wish to make these vegan)
1 tsp baking powder
1&1/2 C flour/maida
2&1/4 C quick cooking oats
1/2 C chopped dates (or raisins, chocolate chips, dried cherries)
1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional) 

Here's what to do:                                 
1) In a large mixing bowl beat butter or margarine, sugars, vanilla, salt, spices, and honey together until smooth and creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl if necessary.

2) Add in flour and oats, mix well. Add dates or raisins and nuts if using. Mix until dough pulls away from the bowl and sticks to itself. Cover dough with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours. I usually put the dough in the freezer overnight.


3) When ready to bake heat oven to 325F/170C. Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone mats. Flatten scoops of dough to about a half inch thick with the bottom of a glass wrapped in cling film or the heel of your hand. Be sure to leave about an inch and a half between cookies so they bake evenly. 

Flatten the scoops of dough slightly as seen on the right.

4) Bake in preheated oven for for 18 to 20 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are slightly browned.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking sheet with spatula. Makes 3 dozen. Keep stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.








Jun 12, 2016

Ingredient of Week: Dates, Khajur, Khajoor


The familiar fruit known as dates are called "khajoor" or khajur" in Hindi and Urdu. Dates have been a staple food cultivated in the Indus Valley as well as the Middle East for thousands of years. Dates have deep significance in many cultures as they are mentioned over fifty times in the Christian Bible and twenty times in the Holy Koran. Fossil records show that the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years.


The date palm is also known as Phoenix dactylifera and is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae. Reaching a height of seventy to seventy five feet date palms grow singly or form a clump with several stems from a single root system. The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants and is naturally wind pollinated. In traditional oasis horticulture and in modern commercial orchards date palm are all pollinated manually. Manual pollination is done by skilled laborers on ladders or by use of a wind machine.


The English word "date" derives from the ancient Greek word "dáktulos" meaning "finger." Dates ripen in four stages, which are known by their Arabic names kimri (unripe), khlal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), and tamr (ripe, sun-dried). 


Agricultural experts estimate that there are more than 3,000 varieties of dates worldwide. In the southwestern United States only two varieties are predominantly grown: "Deglet Noor" a small, drier date primarily used in baking and the Moroccan "Medjool" which is prized for eating out of hand because of it's large size, succulence, and rich caramel flavor.


The date you'll most commonly see served at festivals and holidays in South Asia is called the "chuara" or "chohara." This type of date is grown primarily in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

Chuara or chohara dried dates
Chuara dates are picked when not quite fully ripe then boiled with a yellow dye. After being boiled, the dates are spread over straw mats and left to dry under the sun for at least for six days. The result is a rock hard and rather flavorless but sweet date. They are very inexpensive and seem to keep indefinitely.


We also have many premium quality dates available here in South Asia that I'd never seen in the United States. These "Dabbas" dates are from the Emirates, they are small but very soft, flavorful, and sweet. That box is a full kilogram (or about 2 lbs) of premium dates for $7USD - can you believe that price?


These are "Barari" dates from Tunisia. They're still on the stem in the box and a bit drier, larger, and less sweet than the Emirati dates.  My personal favorite is a hand packed variety called "Miriam" from Iran that tastes just like caramel.


 "Wet pack" dates of unspecified varieties are always available at a modest price too. The bag on the left is 500 grams or about a pound for $2USD. These wet pack dates are great for cooking and baking. Date syrup as you can see on the right usually shows up in the markets around Ramadan here too. I like date syrup over vanilla ice cream.


In South Asia dates are often made into laddoos, halwas, and kheer for holidays and festivals like Diwali, Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr, as well as weddings. One of the chutneys frequently served with chat and samosas is made from dates, tamarind, and dry ginger/soonth.

The brown chutney is made with dates and red is tomato.
Most often dates are eaten alone as a simple snack or sweet in South Asia. In fact, a certain someone in our household likes to eat dates on the front porch and toss the pits in between the flower pots which has resulted in this:


Our own baby date palm!

Jun 10, 2016

Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos

dates puffed rice cereal sweet dessert ramadan easy laddoo balls recipe

"Laddoos" or "laddus" are ball shaped sweets popular in South Asia. Easy, eggless, and no bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for Ramadan or any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.


Here I've taken an old fashioned American recipe and "Desi-fied" it a little with cardamom and ghee. Variously called "humdingers" or simply "date balls" these tasty treats graced many a Thanksgiving and Christmas platter in my home when I was growing up in the US. For some reason we Americans love breakfast cereal in our sweets. Dates and rice are familiar favorites to the Desi palate so these are sure to please all around. 


Truly a crowd pleaser, this recipe was originally from my 1970's 4H cookbook. However, I've been making this for so long I know it by heart. From what I understand this recipe has been around with minor variations since the 1920's in the US. In the US you can buy 8oz bags of pitted dates that measure to about a cup which is what this recipe was written for. Pitted dates are not available in South Asia so I'd recommend using "wet pack" dates as shown in the above photo. They are fairly inexpensive and are very good quality for use in baking and cooking. I do have to pit them myself which is a bit of a sticky chore. The bag you see in the photo is the standard 500g package available here which yields about 2 cups of chopped and pitted dates. When using the 500g bag as shown in the photo I simply double the ingredients in the recipe below. If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee. These are so yummy and in less than an hour you can easily whip up about 48 to 50 laddoos for any special occasion or just an after school treat!

Ingredients:
1/2 C butter, ghee, or coconut oil
3/4 C sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
7 - 10 green cardamoms/elaichi, seeds removed & coarsely ground (optional)
1 C dates, chopped & pitted
3 C rice crispy cereal
1 C desiccated coconut or 1/2 C powdered sugar

Here's what to do:
1) In a large heat safe mixing bowl measure out rice crispy cereal.


2) In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar, dates, salt, vanilla, cardamom, and butter or ghee.


3) Over medium heat bring to simmer while stirring constantly. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes,  keep stirring constantly so the mixture does not scorch.


4) Remove cooked date mixture from heat, immediately pour over pre measured rice crispy cereal in heat proof bowl. Mix well with wooden or silicone spoon. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

5) When mixture has cooled roll by tablespoonful into walnut sized balls. I use a tablespoon sized cookie scoop to get uniform amounts.


5) Roll the balls in desiccated coconut or powdered sugar as desired. A round cake tin or shallow bowl works well for this. Keeps well in a sealed airtight for up to two weeks. (But they only last about two days around our house because everyone eats them.)

Helpful hints:
If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Printfriendly