Tag Archives: nostalgia

Kheer Pana Cotta with saffron sauce

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Kheer Pana Cotta with saffron sauce

It will be one year since I auditioned for Master Chef India. It has been an incredible journey and I loved every minute of it. It started with just a casual conversation with friends, them pushing me to go for the audition. I never in my imagination thought that one simple audition could lead me to the most exciting time in my life.

When I got selected from San Francisco and reached India for the next rounds, I met so many wonderful people and little did I know that we will friends for lifetime.

I am so thankful to God for this wonderful opportunity. This post is dedicated to all that I am thankful for, my family, friends, food on the table, and here is many more such amazing opportunities to come!

I always have loved the traditional recipes, the history behind them, the love you feel when you eat them, all the memories they bring back. I feel it is up to us to preserve them and pass them on to the next generation.

But there are always new things to learn and expand your horizons. New spice, new technique, new way of plating or a new ingredient, it changes everything about the dish completely.

So today’s recipe is a new take on a age old recipe, Kheer. Made in many ways, but it always signifies celebration, joy, festivities. Rice, Milk and sugar cooked together, it is that simple and yet that comforting. So many cultures have variations of this, Isarel, Syria where its called ‘Roz Bhaleeb’, Iran and even Mexico where you get to eat ‘Arroz con leche’ which is flavored with cinnamon.

Its amazing to see how food connects people, does not matter what is your nationality, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation. One of my favorite books ‘Korma Kheer Kismet by Pamela Timms. It is a fascinating chronicle of the author who lived and experienced five seasons in Delhi and her food memories

Korma,Kheer and Kismet; Five seasons in old Delhi by Timms (2014-07-01)

Just like her I fell in love with Old Delhi. Old Delhi is a walled city established by the Mughal Emperor Shaha Jahan in the early 1600s. You must visit old Delhi if you want to some of the best delicacies. Especially during the festivals like Ramdan ( Eid-ul-Fitr), the whole area is filled with aroma that is so inviting. Fried chicken, samosa, Jalebi, Faluda and so much more.

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When I visited Old Delhi, I had to visit the Kheer shop, Bade Miyan ki Kheer. I must say that by far is the most delicious thing I have ever had. The shop only sells Kheer, and it is to die for.  My insta story says it all.

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Today I decided to take that Kheer and present it in a little differently. I have tried to keep the essence of the dish intact, I hope you all enjoy it.

Kheer Panna Cotta

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Ingredients

Panna cotta

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3-4 star Anise
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  •  3/4 cup rice
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder

Syrup

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • water as needed

Method

Panna cotta

  • Take 2.5 cups of milk and whipping cream, sugar  and warm it in a sauce pan.
  • Slightly crush the star anise and cardamom and add to the milk mixture, until it almost comes to a boil. Turn the heat off
  • Let the mixture cool for a few hours.
  • While the milk mixture is resting, take 1 cup of milk and rice, and cook on low heat for at least 40 mins. You don’t want to rush this step and this is what gives you a creamy texture.
  • Stain the milk cream mixture and discard the spices
  • When the rice is almost cooked, add the spiced milk and cook more
  • While the rice is cooking, take 1/2 cup of Milk and warm it up to 100 F
  • Mix agar-agar in the 1/2 cup warm milk and mix thoroughly
  • Add the agar mixture to the cooked rice
  • Pour it in glasses and set it in the fridge

Syrup

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, use water if need to thin it to a pouring consistency

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To serve

When ready to serve, keep the glass in warm water to loosen it. Pour the sauce on a plate and gentle put the unmolded pudding/kheer on the plate.

I garnished it with dried rose petals and a pistachio tuile with rose. I will share that recipe soon.

Enjoy!

Eid Mubarak!

 

 

 
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मख्खन or Cultured Butter..it is all about the nostalgia!

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Nostalgia is defined as  pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again. When I moved to the US I realized there are so many such things that make me nostalgic and funnily a lot of them were related to food. Food that was made for festivals, a dish mom prepared specially for my birthday, a visit to the farm and eating something farm fresh and the list goes on.  One such dish is the ‘White Butter’ or मख्खन as we call it in Hindi.  This is how butter was made in India before we started getting Amul which is an equivalent of the salted butter we get here in the US. It is one of those things that makes everything better in life. Serve it on a hot Jowar (Sorgum) bhakri, or eat it on a piece of toast, it just makes everything tastes better, and I think that is why it is the favorite of  Lord Krishna. He was fondly called a butter thief (मख्खन  चोर ). He would steal it and distribute it among the cowherds who would tend to the cows.

Fresh home made cultured butter

Fresh home made cultured butter

Since we do not get White butter here in the US, I decided to make it at home. I haven been making it for the last 2 years and loving it.

Ingredients:

1 quart Best quality heavy cream 3 tbsp yogurt with live bacteria

Method:

Heat the cream to 110 F. Let it cool down to 100F, do not let the temperature fall below that. Add the yogurt and mix well. Now you want to keep this mixture in a warm place so the bacteria get to work and the cream sets well. Once you have the set cream, it is time to churn till you get the butter. The butter will float on top and you would have buttermilk that is equally yummy. There are a couple of  tips I would like to share: 1. It helps adding a few ice cubes to help to butter to start forming a ball. 2. You can also strain the mixture to get all the buttermilk out of the butter. My mom also ‘washes’ the butter with cold water to remove any tart buttermilk from it. You want to wash it till you get pretty much clear water. white makkhan collage I love eating fresh butter with a whole grain unleavened bread, Bhakri.  Growing up Bhakri was the bread for dinner each night. Made from whole ground sorghum, it is my most favorite bread on this earth. I will write a post on it soon. Incidentally I came across an article in Food Wine on this very topic, here is the link to it.

Update:

I always make Makkhan the old fashioned way, culture the cream and then churn it with ‘mathani’. Since today I had to make it on a large scale I used Vitamix, and it was so easy. The jury is still out if the texture of the makkhan is the same but it sure took 1/10th of the time to make.

Makkhan in Vitamix