Prepping for festival of lights
Durban-born MasterChef winner Deena Naidoo shared some of his failsafe Diwali recipes with us. Naidoo co-owns Aarya Restaurant at Montecasino and recently opened another Aarya restaurant at Silverstar Casino, also in Joburg. 500g Klim powder 125ml dessert cream 5ml ground cardamom 250ml icing sugar + 175ml granulated white sugar 5ml rose water 125g margarine 130ml full-cream milk 5ml cornflour
In a large bowl add the dessert cream to the klim. Gently hand rub the cream into the klim until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Do a decent job with this cause you need all of the cream to mix and absorb into the milk powder. Cover and rest for 30 minutes. Once done you will have to sift this mixture through a fine metal sieve. Fill up the biscuit tins with this lovely textured biscuit. Even after the festive season is over; they make a great treat for lunch-box fillers. Makes about 4 dozen
350g cake flour (625ml) 4 tbsps cornflour (60ml) 130g icing sugar (250ml) ¼ tsp salt 250g soft butter 120g light brown sugar (150ml)
Preheat oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan/ Gas mark 3. Sift flour, icing sugar and salt together. Work in softened butter until the mixture comes together. Place on baking paper or plastic This step is most critical and determines the success of your efforts. There is no compromise here, no mixing in blenders, so enjoy sifting. Sift in small batches,then add the cardamom powder and mix well. In a separate large heavy bottom pot combine all sugars, margarine, milk and cornflour. Bring to slight boil then reduce heat to simmer.
You will have to watch this carefully because there is a risk of burning the solids in the mixture. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low heat stirring very frequently until mixture forms a thick smooth syrup. Remove from heat and add the rose water then gently add in the Klim and cream mixture, stirring continuously. Return to low heat and continue stirring for 3-4 minutes until a smooth creamy consistency. Be careful not to burn. Remove the pot from the stove if the temperature is too high. Transfer to an approximately 25x25cm tray and decorate with pistachios. Since this is a milkbased dish it will absorb odours from other items in the fridge therefore cover well with cling wrap. wrap, roll into a sausage shape. Roll in light brown sugar.
Place in fridge for 30 minutes. Cut slices, place onto greased baking sheet which has been lined with baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until still pale, but just going golden around the edges. Place onto a cooling rack to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
Lavender biscuits: Add 5-7ml dried lavender to the recipe in step 3. Rosemary biscuits: Add 5-7ml fresh rosemary leaves to the recipe in step 3. (strip them off the stem.) Orange and cardomom biscuits: Add 6 cardamom pods, split and seeds ground and grated rind of one orange to recipe in step 3. Kathi rolls are hot Indian wraps and one of India’s favourite street foods. They come in many guises, few of which resemble cold wraps as we know them.
100g plain yoghurt, not too sour 20g roughly chopped root ginger (peeled weight) 2 large garlic cloves Scant tsp garam masala (fresh if possible) A sprinkle of ground cumin 1tsp chaat masala ½ tsp ground turmeric 2 tsp concentrated tomato purée Salt tsp chilli powder, or to taste
For the rolls: 240g paneer, cut into small fingers 2cm wide x 5cm long 2 tbsps vegetable oil ¾ small green (bell) pepper, thinly sliced Good handful of thinly sliced red onion rings 50ml tangy herb chutney Freshly ground black pepper
For the wrap: 125g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus more to dust 1tbsp vegetable oil 6-8tbsps water, or as needed
Blend together all the ingredients for the marinade. Season to taste with salt; I use 1tsp. Add the paneer, gently turn the pieces to coat, and leave to marinate as you prepare the dough. Put the flour in a bowl and pour in the oil, water and a good pinch of salt. Knead together well; it will be a bit squelchy at the beginning but should become lovely and soft without cracks once it is done. Cover with a damp dish towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
To make the breads, place a tava or frying pan over a medium heat. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and roll each out on a work surface lightly dusted with 2 cups gram flour 1½ cups melted butter 2½ cups icing sugar 125ml milk ½ cup almonds, chopped 1tsp cardamon powder 1½ cup klim powder ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg ½ cup almonds or chopped pistachio nuts flour into a thin, round bread around 13cm in diameter. Dust any excess flour off the bread and place on the pan. Cook, turning once, until the bread has just a few light brown spots on both sides; it only takes a minute or so.
Repeat to cook all the breads, stacking them on a dish towel, covering each with the corners as you go to help keep them soft. (You can also reheat them in some foil in the oven.) Now back to the rolls. Heat the 2tbsps oil in a saucepan, add the pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the paneer and all its marinade and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced and you can see oil in the pan, 6-8 minutes or so. You might need to add a splash of water at some point once the pan gets dry. Add the onions and cook for another minute, or until the liquid now just coats the ingredients and is still moist. Take off the heat. Working quickly, spoon a line of the filling down the centre of each wrap, top with 1 rounded tsp of tangy herb chutney, wrap them up and serve hot.
Anjum Anand from ‘I love India’. Add milk to gram flour, mix well to breadcrumb consistency. Melt butter separately. Add gram flour mixture to melted butter. Stir over low heat for approx 40 minutes or until the mixture takes on a nutty brown colour. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Set in tray decorate with almonds.