Monthly Archives: April 2016

Sweet and Spiced Almonds

spicedAlmonds

I love almonds especially when roasted.  Instead of spending a lot of money, I thought of making my own spiced almonds.  They are expensive.  Since this is the first time, I thought of going a bit easy on the spice side.  Just cinnamon to give a nice flavor.  Since this came out so good, I will definitely be making different ways with different spices and different nuts.  They will be posted as soon as I make them.  Until then enjoy this simple one.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds with skin
  • 1 teaspoon butter at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and spread evenly on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes
  • Let cool and store in an air tight container.

Pistou – AFrench Vegetable (Vegan) Soup

Pistou

Pistou originated from the south France.  This is one of the most easiest soup I have ever made.  Serve this delicious and light soup for dinner with your choice of garlic bread or with French bread spreaded with extra virgin olive oil and toasted until lightly golden and crisp.  I served this soup with whole grain multi seeded bread.  I placed a few slices of bread on a plate and brushed with olive oil on one side.  Then I toasted until crisp and sprinkled with garlic salt. Viola my garlic bread was ready.  If you omit the Parmesan cheese when serving the soup, (which is optional) this can be a delicious Vegan Soup

Pistou1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup zucchini cubed (about ¼ inch cubes)
  • ½ cup diced potatoes (about ½ inch cubes)
  • ½ cup green beans cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ chopped carrots
  • 4 oz tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pearl onions chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup pasta shapes

For serving:

  • Basil pesto
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Method:

  • Add zucchini, potatoes, green beans, tomato, onion, tomatoes to a large saucepan and add vegetable stock and cover and cook for about 10 minutes or vegetables are ¾ cooked
  • Add tomato paste, green peas, and pasta shapes and cook for another 10-15 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little water
  • To serve, ladle soup to a bowl and add a little bit pesto and stir slightly into the soup. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and black pepper (optional)
  • Yields: 2 servings as a main dish.

Payatram Paniyaram

payatam_paniyaram

Today is Sri Lankan New Year.  Happy New Year to all my friends.  New Year means sweet milk rice, payasam, sweets, spicy snacks and lots of traditional processes.  One of the most common sweet-snack made is Payatram Paniyaram. These are also traditionally made for special occasions such as weddings, Tamil New Year and any other auspicious events.  In different parts of Jaffna, the name slightly differs.  Where I am from, my parents and family calls these “payatram paniyaram”.  In other areas or places these are called “payatram urundai”, “thoippan” etc.

I have always wanted to make this since I left Sri Lanka.  But every time I tried, it did not taste the way my mother makes.  So after a while I thought to give it a try and focus on the measurements.  For the hard work, these came out absolutely delicious.

payatam_paniyaram1

Some Tips:

  1. Traditionally we use red rice flour.  But it may be replaced with white rice flour since red rice flour is quite expensive outside of Sri Lanka (it depends on where you live).
  2. When you make the dough, make sure that you do not add a lot of water.  The less water these has will enhance the taste and flavor.  Also these will stay longer compared to those that have more water added
  3. When you fry these drop one at a time into the hot oil.  In this way they won’t stick together and come out as a big batch.  It is alright if 2 or 3 stick together in a batch in the oil.
  4. The real secret of making the outside crispy depends on what flour you use.  Traditionally all purpose flour is used.  But for some reason, it becomes soft after a day or two and loses the taste.  So I mixed in all purpose flour and rice flour with coconut milk.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unroasted mung bean flour (payatram ma)
  • ½ cup roasted red rice flour
  • ½ cup castror sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • About 3 tablespoons Hot water
  • Oil to deep fry

Dipping batter:

  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon steamed all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon roasted white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk
  • Water
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Mix together all the dry ingredients
  • Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and mix with your hand. You have to continue to mix so that the sugar will melt into the flour.  The dough should be loose and not sticky.  Once you reach the consistency where when you able to make a ball of the size of marble, you have reached the right consistency.
  • Take a small amount and with your fist tightly squeeze to clump the loose dough. Once you have clumped, just squeeze them into a ball with one hand.  If you try to use both hands to roll, it will fall apart.
  • To make the batter mix the batter ingredients with water until the batter has the consistency of think pancake batter.
  • Heat oil in a large wok. Once hot, dip each ball in the batter and drop in the hot oil.  Depending on the size of your pan, you can add any number at a time.
  • Once lightly golden drain on paper towel. Let cool completely
  • Store in an air tight container. This will keep for about a week or 2.