Prep­ping for fes­ti­val of lights

The Mercury - - GOOD LIFE -

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.

Vari­a­tions:

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.

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