Recipes: Badam Doodh or Almond Milk

A very refreshing drink made out of milk and almonds, Badam or Almond Milk. Flavoured with cardamoms, saffron and rose water, this exotic, but simple and easy-to-make drink is the perfect drink when you have a sweet craving. Almond milk is rich in vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant which can help lower the risk of serious health conditions like stroke, heart disease, and even cancer. You can also make this for neividhyam or as an offering to God, which is what I made it for. Tasting great hot and cold, my family prefers this cold as that is when the flavours have had time to meld together, giving you a yummy almondy drink.

Badam Doodh or Almond Milk

Ingredients:

  • litre full cream milk
  • 30-40 almonds
  • 4- 6 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 generous pinches saffron
  • ½ tsp rose water

Method:

  • Soak the almonds in hot water for 20-30 minutes, then drain and remove the skin
  • Blend the almonds with some of the milk until the almonds become a fine paste. Keep aside.
  • Heat the milk in a deep-bottomed pan on medium-high and let the milk come to a boil.
  • Once the milk starts to warm up, take a couple of teaspoons of the milk and add it to the small cup in which the saffron strands are lightly crushed. Mix this a bit and keep aside for later.
  • Once the milk in the pan has come to a boil, add the sugar and stir well until the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, add in the blended almond paste and stir and mix well.
  • Reduce the flame to a low and stir constantly for about 10 minutes so that the milk and almond paste do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the raw smell of the almonds disappears, add in the crushed saffron and the cardamom powder and mix well.
  • Once the saffron and cardamom have mixed well, switch off the gas and add in the rose water. Mix well one last time and keep aside until it is completely cool.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until it is cold. Enjoy your almond or badam milk

Recipes: Phirni

I like to think of Phirni as a sophisticated cousin of the Payasam. Also known as Kheer, Kheeri, Payesh, Payox, Payasam, Phirni is a sweet dish and a type of wet pudding, usually made by boiling milk, sugar or jaggery, and rice, although rice is sometimes substituted with dals, tapioca or vermicelli. It is typically flavoured with desiccated coconut, cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashews, pistachios, almonds, or other dry fruits and nuts and is typically served as a dessert. The word kheer is derived from the Sanskrit word for milk, ksheer and is also the archaic name for sweet rice pudding. The difference as I see between kheer or payasam and phirni is that payasam has whole rice grains cooked in it while Phirni has powdered rice, usually, Basmati added to it. Tasting great both hot and cold, we prefer it cold, but this is a personal preference.

Phirni

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup basmati rice
  • 1-litre full cream milk
  • ½ cup sugar or as required
  • 10 to 12 almonds, blanched and peeled, keep about a tbsp for garnishing
  • 10 to 12 pistachios, blanched and peeled, keep about a tbsp for garnishing
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • A large pinch of saffron strands
  • 2 tsp rose water

Method:

  • Rinse the basmati rice a couple of times in water. Drain the water and dry the rice by spreading them on a tray or plate. Let the rice dry completely and keep it aside.
  • Grind the rice in a grinder till the consistency resembles fine semolina or couscous and keep the ground rice aside.
  • In a small bowl, add the nuts, add boiling water to it and keep aside for about 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, drain the water and let the nuts cool slightly. Peel the nuts and slice or chop them finely and keep them aside. Keep aside about 1 tbsp each of the almonds and pistachios for the garnish.
  • Heat milk in a thick-bottomed broad pan.
  • When the milk starts to boil, take 1 tbsp of the milk into a small bowl, add in the saffron strands and stir it until the saffron dissolves and the milk becomes a lovely orange colour.
  • Let the milk in the pan reach a rolling boil, lower the heat and add the ground rice. Stir and add the sugar.
  • Cook the ground rice in the milk on low to medium heat on the pan with the pan uncovered and keep stirring at intervals so that the milk is completely lump-free.
  • Add In the cardamom powder, almonds, pistachios, cardamom powder and saffron-infused milk.
  • Stir and cook for another five minutes, or a bit more until the Phirni thickens and the rice granules are softened and cooked completely.
  • Switch off the flame and drizzle the rose water.
  • Garnish it with the reserved chopped nuts and cover tightly and let the Phirni cool down.
  • Once the Phirni is cool, refrigerate until it becomes cold and serve cold as a dessert. It should stay for 2-3 days in the fridge, but I doubt it will last that long!

Recipes: Almond Cashew Pudding or Badam Kaju Kheer

The day S was supposed to fly off for his Sabarimala pilgrimage, I wanted to send him off with something sweet. Since he was flying in the morning, I also wanted to make something quick. This Badam Kaju Kheer is that perfect recipe.

Badam Kaju Kheer or Almond Cashew Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre full cream milk
  • 20 almonds
  • 20 cashewnuts
  • 5-6 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 pinches saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Method:

  • Soak the almonds and cashew nuts in hot water for 15-20 minutes. When they cool, peel the nuts and keep aside.
  • Chop around 5 each of almonds and cashew into slivers and keep aside.
  • Blend the balance nuts together with some milk to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  • Boil the milk in a pan and when it comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat and stir for around 10 minutes to thicken the milk.
  • Add the sugar and the almond cashew paste and stir well. Let it come to a rolling boil.
  • Now add the saffron strands and cardamom powder and stir well. Remove from the fire and keep aside.
  • In a small skillet, add the ghee and the slivered nuts and stir until the nuts are brown. When the nuts turn brown, drain from the ghee and garnish the pudding with the nuts and some strands of saffron.
  • Have this hot or cold, but I feel cold is better as it tends to thicken some more. If you find the pudding too thick for your taste, dilute it with some milk.

Pal Payasam

Since yesterday was Diwali, here’s a sweet recipe to sweeten your lives. Happy Diwali folks!

As the name suggests, it is a milk kheer or milk sweet. In its very basic form, this is the simplest of the south Indian sweets and hardly needs 3-4 ingredients to make. It’s fairly easy to make with the only effort being in reducing the milk.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients:

  • 1-litre milk
  • 1 tbsp basmati rice (or any long grained rice)
  • 4-6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • A pinch of cardamom powder (optional)

Method:

  • In a large pan, boil the milk and when the milk starts to boil over and bubble, reduce the heat and continue to boil the milk.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and fry the rice for around 30 seconds.
  • Pour the rice into the boiling milk and keep stirring till it reduces to half the original quantity.
  • When the rice has completely cooked, add the sugar and the cardamom powder (if you are using it).
  • At this point, you can also use a few strands of saffron as well as some fried cashew nuts and raisins.
  • Continue boiling until the sugar gets absorbed into the milk.
  • Switch off the flame and serve hot or cold.