Here’s an easy DIY for party time, or even when you want to make something special for yourself. The edible flower and herb butter takes very little effort to make, and the results are so pretty!
Here’s an easy DIY for party time, or even when you want to make something special for yourself. The edible flower and herb butter takes very little effort to make, and the results are so pretty!
It’s that time of the year when the radio plays your favourite Christmas carols, and storefronts are lit up with red, green and white lights. When the mind of the home-cook turns to baking. When images of cakes, cupcakes, cookies and muffins crowd my FB feed. When my post on how to soak fruits for a Christmas fruit cake is the most popular on my blog and readers send urgent anxious questions through comments, messenger and the like. There have been many requests for a recipe for an Eggless Christmas Fruit Cake, but this post has taken time, as I am not all that used to baking eggless cakes. Finally the process turned out to be quite simple.
Somehow I’m not comfortable with just substituting eggs with bananas or apples, though this has been successfully done by many friends and bloggers and the results are pretty tasty. I have however, been looking for a recipe for a cake which is ‘naturally’ eggless!
The theme for the 175 Foodie Monday BlogHop is Christmas Special, and the eggless Christmas Fruit Cake did get made, just in time for posting on the theme. All thanks and credit to the recipe in ‘Baking’, by Martha Day. This is one of the earliest baking recipe books that I bought but with its 400 odd recipes, I did not notice the one for an Eggless Christmas Cake till recently. I have made several changes to the recipe but it helped me with the information I needed for making this Christmas Fruit cake.
The fruits have been soaking in rum for more than a year as I did not get to bake my Christmas cake last year, due to a troublesome shoulder pain. With periodic topping of rum, the dry fruits have been waiting patiently till I got around to baking this eggless Christmas fruit cake. I do have to bake two more, to send to my son in law and grandchildren in Mumbai, and I hope I get that done by next week.
Once your fruits (dry fruits and not fresh ones) are ready (soaked in rum, boiled in tea decoction, soaked in orange juice/ apple juice/ cranberry juice) making the cake is a breeze. Keep everything ready from the ingredients list below, and then mix the batter for the eggless Christmas fruit cake from the instructions below. The ingredients include molasses as an optional item which can be omitted for a lower calorie, no-added-sugar version. As molasses are not easily available in India, honey can be used instead. And of course, molasses is also just sugar, so its no healthier or lower in calorific value. The cake is flavourful because of the fruit, so the vanilla extract is also an option that may be left out if you wish.
Here is a detailed guide on soaking the fruits for the Christmas cake
For instructions on non alcoholic soaking of fruits, see the first part of the recipe in my post for baking an easy rich Christmas cake, that I have briefly summarized here:
1. One day before the day you have planned for baking the Christmas Plum cake, heat the soaking liquid (cranberry juice, apple juice, orange juice etc) on low heat.
2. Add the sliced dry fruits and stir them in, keeping the liquid on a low simmer.
3. Transfer the fruit along with the liquid into a container. Once it cools, cover the container and keep it in a dark cool place overnight.
4. Use the fruits as in the recipe below, along with the liquid in which it is boiled.
For detailed recipe with volumes for fruit and for the soaking liquid, check my recipe on this blog for soaking fruits for the Christmas Cake.
For a traditional Christmas cake with egg, here is my recipe.
This Post for an Eggless Christmas Fruit Cake has been sent to the Event, Foodie Monday BlogHop
Ive been reviewing two popular posts on the blog, one on the customs and traditions for keeping Navarathri Golu, and the other for easy Navaratri Naivedyam and Sundals. In the second post I had suggested a different Sundal to be made for each day of Navarathri, with recipes for some of them. Now I am adding a recipe for one of the sundals I had suggested, viz Black Eyed Peas Sundal or Karamani Sundal. This is a traditional recipe as followed in Tamilnadu, and has a minimum of seasoning and ingredients.
Memories of growing up, in Kharagpur in West Bengal are filled with images of festivals and celebrations and more importantly, the food that (to us at least) was the highlight of each such day. Every festival meant a traditional meal prepared by my mother with devotion and culinary expertise, and very often, new clothes as well as the freedom to run around the house with friends, playing and getting in everyone’s way. The Tamil New Year’s day or Puthandu, was no exception. Apart from the Neer mor and panakam which we drank by the gallon, one of the special dishes for the banana leaf meal at mid day was the Raw Mango pachadi.
A few days ago I had re-posted my recipe for Panakam (the delicious jaggery and dry ginger drink for hot humid days) on my social media pages. Among the many ‘likes’ and responses to the recipe for this cooling drink, I was surprised to see how many of my readers asked about the recipe for Neer Mor. Surprised, because Neer Mor is so easy to make that it doesn’t really need a recipe. I then realised that just because something is simple doesn’t mean one automatically knows what goes into it and in what proportions. Hence this easy recipe for a mildly spiced buttermilk summer cooler. With a special ingredient!
This post is a detailed guide on How To Soak Fruits for Christmas Fruit Cake. The choice of fruits and the proportions in the recipe below are similar for soaking in alcohol or in an non alcoholic liquid, and I have given the steps for both types (the timelines for a non-alcoholic liquid are given at the end of the write up to the post). The timelines do differ, as well as how to preserve the fruits for the cake till it is baked.
If you do not want to soak the fruits ahead of time, I have given a short-cut method in the recipe for baking a Christmas Fruit cake.
It is customary to offer Navaratri Naivedyam to the Mother Goddess on each of the 9 days of Navaratri, and for the Pooja to be carried out twice a day, i.e. in the morning and evening. This post brings you Navaratri Naivedyam and Sundal Recipes that you can easily make. The rice based dishes or variety rice can do double duty as both naiveydam and as lunch or for tiffin boxes, after you have first lit the lamp and offered it to the Goddess. Sundal Naivedyam is usually prepared in the evenings and is the prasadam for visitors for the kolu. …
The popular Indian festival of Navaratri (or Navarathri/Navratri) is about to begin and I am listing out some of the traditions and significances along with useful and interesting recipes, in a new series on my Blog, on “Navaratri: Fasting and Feasting And Everything In-between”. The first part of the series is on Navaratri Golu and How To Keep It. I hope it will be useful to those keeping golu for the first time, or having practiced Bomma Kolu (or Golu) for Navarathri for a few years are interested in knowing more about the significance and how to arrange the dolls as per traditional customs.…
This recipe for Uppu seedai from store bought flour is quite simple, if one follows the instructions meticulously. This is the first Krishna Jayanthi that I am spending with my daughter, son in law and granddaughter whom I am visiting in the USA. I am not good at making sweets, let me confess. Perhaps because I haven’t tried them out much. However the success story of the Uppu Seedai for Gokulashtami has now made me venture out to try sweets and savouries for festivals.
This recipe has appeared first on the blog Tangy Tales when fellow Food Blogger Aparna Parinam asked if I would do a Guest Post on her blog. I had been experimenting with different rasams, all using my homemade rasam powder, and looking at the fresh sliced pineapples on sale at my local grocers, I thought it high time I made the Festive Pineapple Rasam. …
A foodie’s happiest times are when the berries are all around in abundance, gorgeously coloured: sapphire blueberries, startling pink strawberries, ruby red cherries, like jewels waiting to be snatched off the shelves in the grocery store or the farmers market. Deep red cherries are the hero of this so easy to make Cherry Compote Yogurt Parfait with Granola. It won me lots of brownie points at home. Jump to Recipe
Though the heat of the summer has been blistering, making it difficult to enter the kitchen, yet the season has its compensations. Bright green raw mangoes can be turned into so many tasty recipes, each being quick and easy to make. Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam is a favourite with its sharp and tangy flavours.
It is Sri Rama Navami today and as I sat with my mother yesterday, I asked her for the recipes for the traditional dishes she used to make for this festival. The festival of Rama Navami is in April when summer is just beginning (though this year summer has shown its force since February) and the festive feast seems to be tailor made for the hot weather. Every item on the menu is cooling and refreshing. Panakam or Panagam is a traditional item in the food prepared by Tamilians on this day, and is easy to make.
A glass (or two, or three!) of chilled panakam is great for quenching thirst. With the flavours of cardamom, dry ginger (sukku) in the jaggery water, it is tempting to drink this throughout the day, and then to make it again and again on these hot and humid days.
I have prepared the Panakam just according to my mother’s recipe, however as an option, lemon juice could be added – about 1 to 2 tablespoons for 3 cups of panakam. Pepper corns may be freshly powdered and added too, to give its distinctive flavours – about ½ teaspoon of pepper for 3 cups of the panakam. A pinch of edible camphor would enhance the flavours, but take care to use just a little as the taste can be overpowering.
Rama Navami is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of Sri Ram, the 7th avatar of the God Vishnu, as per Hindu mythology. According to the Hindu calendar, Sri Ram was born on the ninth day of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month. When we were growing up, at Kharagpur in West Bengal, this was an occasion for my parents’ friends to gather together and cook and enjoy a grand lunch. The thirst quenchers were the panakam and the neer mor (spiced buttermilk), along with a cooling salad of cucumber and moong dhal, green chilli and coriander leaves.
There would be a kheer or payasam, a sambar and tasty vegetables, rasam of course, by the gallon, and fried papads. My father and Manian Uncle (my dear friend Ravikumar’s father), would make their famous Badam Kheer instead of a standard payasam. All in all the food that day was a feast for the Gods, though it was we mortals who tucked into it with gusto.
The house would have been scrubbed and cleaned allover the previous day. Mango leaves would be strung across the main entrance, and early in the morning, my mother would wash the area outside the front door and lay out wonderful designs called kolam or moggu (rangoli) with rice powder. I would do my small bit, adding dots to the kolam wherever they were required. The house would be fragrant with the scent of flowers and incense and all the aromas from the kitchen.
Here is my recipe then for the easy to make panakam. I hope you enjoy making and having it!
Health & medicinal benefits:
The cancer and disease fighting properties of ginger and of tulsi (holy basil) leaves are being researched internationally and there are several articles accessible online explaining the possible benefits and the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger on health, such as this one from the International Journal of Preventive Medicine and the many possible medicinal properties of tulsi, as discussed in ‘A Herb for all Reasons‘.
This is a step by step guide to making a rich Christmas Fruit cake. Do read the Steps as well as the tips given just below the history of Christmas Cakes here, before you move to the recipe. This will help you plan for soaking fruits as well as for baking the cake.
For a recipe on making an Eggless Christmas Fruit cake, click here.
After posting my guide on how to soak fruits for a Christmas Cake I have followed up with this recipe for baking the rich Christmas fruit cake. Last year I had soaked the fruits in the 3rd week of November, and by the first week week of December it was time to bake the cake, giving a little time for the cake to mature. This year I will try to soak the fruits earlier, in September or October.
This recipe is for a rich Christmas Fruit cake, though it tastes so good, I might just make it several times a year. No more buying dry plum cakes from the local bakery! If you are going to try this recipe, the first thing you have to remember is that you either soak the dry fruits ahead of time (here’s the link to my recipe for soaking the fruits) or at least start the preparation for making the cake a day before you plan to bake it – check in Step 1 below.
The quantities here are for one rich Christmas Fruit cake though I have actually made 3 small cakes – 2 with fruits soaked in rum and one little round one with fruits soaked in orange juice, for my little granddaughter Natasha. I made the batter for the cake and then separated a small quantity for Natasha’s orange flavoured cake.
For a little bit of Fruit cake history – Wikipedia says that some of the earliest known recipes from ancient Rome had pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins all mixed into barley mash! Later on, in what are called the Middle Ages, honey, preserved fruit and spices were added. The recipes varied from one country or region to another, down the ages depending on availability of ingredients locally as well as local customs, church regulations not permitting the use of butter during fasts, etc.
Wikipedia goes on to say that Pope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the North German Stollen fruit cakes. It was only in the 16th Century, that the awareness (and availability of sugar from the Colonies) that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits) created candied fruit, thus making fruit cakes more affordable and popular.
Now lets go on to our rich Christmas Fruit cake!
There are some preparations to be made before you can actually get to baking the cake, if you want to bring out the best flavours and rich moist softness of the cake without having it brown and burn on one side and remain sticky on the other.
Step 1: Preparing the Dry Fruits : I have given the steps for soaking the fruits well ahead of the baking, in my recipe on this blog, as well as my thoughts on what fruits to select, quantities, etc. Please refer the same for the mix and quantities of dry fruits for the cake. Link to the recipe on this blog: How to Soak Fruits for a Christmas Cake
This recipe is for a traditional rich Christmas Fruit cake, but if you have not soaked the fruits ahead of time, there is a short short cut which you could try – the intense flavour of well soaked dry fruits would not be there, but you would get a nice Christmas fruit cake anyway.
How to bake the rich Christmas Fruit cake without soaking the fruits:
The day before you are going to bake the cake, set the soaking liquid in a saucepan on the stove on low flame. Add the dried fruits and bring the mixture gently to a simmer, keeping the heat low so that the liquid does not boil away. Turn the fruits with the liquid into a bowl, stir it well, and once it cools, cover and keep in a dark cool place. For quantities of fruit and soaking liquid, check my recipe on this blog for soaking fruits for the Christmas Cake.
Soaking liquid: You could soak the dry fruits in alcohol (brandy, rum, cognac, etc) or in unsweetened fruit juice. For Natasha’s little cake I used freshly squeezed orange juice. A combination of orange and cranberry juice or apple juice would be good too. Black tea such as a Darjeeling tea, pre-soaked in cup of very hot water, could make an effective non alcoholic substitute. The dry fruits and nuts are the hero in this cake, The flour, butter and eggs are put to use to hold the fruits together and shape the cake.
Step 2: Preparing the Baking Tin : The recipe below is for an 8″ square tin, or a 9″ round one, or you could bake the cake in smaller tins or a round bundt tin. The Christmas cake is to be baked on low heat for a long time, so that it cooks evenly without burning. It is important to line the baking tin with parchment paper or grease proof paper.
I did not have brown parchment paper so I used the white one, but I have heard that brown parchment is of more use in keeping the cake sides and bottom from browning too fast or burning.
Grease the tin all around and use 2-3 layers of the parchment paper, lining the bottom and all sides of the tin, with an inch or two of paper protruding from the top of the tin on all sides. Some bakers suggest wrapping the outside of the cake tin too, with brown paper and tying it in place, so help ensure the cake does not overcook.
Step 3: Preparing the ingredients:
Check the list of ingredients below for the rich Christmas Fruit cake and ensure you have brought them all, specially the eggs and butter, to room temperature. You may even need to keep the butter out overnight for it to come up to room temperature, depending on the climate.
Measure all the ingredients and keep them ready. Mix the spices in the proportion given in the ingredients below.
Grind the almonds in a processor (unless you are using processed almond flour). Measure the flour and then sieve it along with the baking powder so that the baking powder gets dispersed into the flour. Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
Step 4: Bake the cake: When you are ready to go, set the oven to preheat at 160 deg C (320 F). Prepare the batter as per instructions in the recipe below. As the cake bakes, the liquid in the fruits oozes out and givens the Christmas Cake its moist, soft texture.
This is a crumbly cake but if you bake it correctly you can slice it cleanly. Using alcohol to soak the fruits for the cake is of course optional. The alcohol in the cake evaporates during the baking, however it leaves its flavour behind. As there would still be some residue in the cake, it would not be advisable for expectant mothers or children.
Some tips you may find useful in making the rich Christmas Fruit cake:
Molasses or Syrup: I have used dark molasses in the cake. You could substitute with treacle which is traditionally used in Christmas cakes, and if you don’t have either, use maple syrup or dark honey. The flavour would differ for each of these.
Nuts – I readily had available walnuts and almonds, and the almonds make a nice flour when ground which adds to the texture of the cake. Pecan nuts or hazelnuts or a combination of nuts could be substituted for the walnuts, in the same proportion as in the ingredients list below.
Zest: I have put both orange and lemon zest in the ingredients, to give the cake a lovely citrusy flavour. Whether you use only lemon or both is your option to choose.
Be gentle with the Batter Don’t mix or beat the batter more than required for the ingredients to just combine, as the cake would become heavy. Gently fold in the ingredients.
BakingTemperature and Time: Oven temperatures vary, so you need to keep checking your cake after an hour and a half. When a small skewer inserted comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs, your cake is done. I started my oven at 160 C and after an hour when I saw that the top looked set, I brought the temperature down to 150 C. It took about 2 hours and 15 minutes for my cake to get done.
Storage: I have given the steps for storing the cake after baking, in the instructions below. Do not wrap the cake directly with foil as the alcohol or juice could react with the foil. Wrap in clingfilm and then in foil.The cake is not be refrigerated as it could harden and the sugar in it crystallize. The alcohol in the cake acts as a preservative.
I have not decorated the top of the rich Christmas Fruit cake, as it looks good as it is. I may do so before Christmas, though – a simple decoration of sliced almonds and sliced candied cherries, maybe. Next year I may cover the cake with icing in Christmassy theme.
Have you soaked the fruits for the Christmas cake yet? There is still time to do this!
This will be my first Christmas with my granddaughter Natasha, and I want it to be really special. One of the best ways to the hearts of my grandchildren, Tamma and Tasha, is definitely through their little tummies. Both of them take a healthy interest in food and are well on the way to becoming junior gourmets.
The plan now is to bake Christmas goodies for Tasha, starting with a Christmas Fruit cake.
I have been wanting to make a traditional plum cake and this year have actually organised everything. Yesterday I finally soaked the dry fruits for the cake.Here’s the link to my recipe on How to soak fruits for Christmas cake: https://www.pepperonpizza.com/how-to-soak-fruits-for-christmas-cake
I will be making 2 cakes – one with the fruits soaked in rum, and another small cake for Tasha with the dry fruits in a non-alcoholic soak. I have been reading up a lot about how to soak the fruits, what dry fruits would be suitable, when to start the process, how to nurture the fruits till cake is ready to be baked. I will be sharing most of my new found knowledge with you through this Journal post and the Recipe for the Cake.
Update: I have now baked the cakes! Recipe for my Easy Christmas Cake is up on the blog, at https://www.pepperonpizza.com/christmas-cake-easy-recipe
Cookies are the next part of the Christmas Bake Plan. Tasha of course, loves Cookies (who doesn’t?). A cranberry orange tea cake is also scheduled. The recipe for this tea cake is already available in the recipe section of my blog, and it is truly delicious as well as having the great health benefits of cranberries. My recipe for the tea cake needs some better images, and I hope to add them once I make the cake.
One more treat for Natasha that I would like to bake, are the little biscuits which we would call ‘animal biscuits’ during our growing up days. You know the ones I mean – thin flat crisp biscuits, shaped liked different birds and animals. It has not been easy finding the right cookie cutters for these. I have been able to get one with a few animal shapes.
Muffins and cup cakes are also on the list, and I will be trying my hand at icing – which is not something I am totally comfortable with. Tasha has been asking for macarons and that will be a big baking event!
What are you baking this Christmas season?
This Black Rice Salad has to be the most fun salad I’ve made so far. If you’ve been following my blog, you will know that I use several ingredients in each recipe, to bring together a variety of textures, flavours and colours into one (mostly) healthy package. So when I received a sample of Heirloom Black Rice from First Agro Farms, I wanted to showcase this intriguing grain and bring out its goodness, and at the same time to have the medley of taste and texture that I’m so fond of in all my recipes.
You may ask, what is intriguing about Rice? We in India have rice as a staple and use it in every possible way, so what’s new? Well, Black Rice is new, at least to me. The colour, the texture, the taste, the aroma when its bubbling on the stove….
A little time spent on the net gives interesting information: that Black Rice was first cultivated in China, some Ten thousand years ago, and for hundreds of years was reserved solely for the culinary pleasure of Chinese Royalty and noblemen: hence the name of Forbidden Rice or Emperors Rice, as its consumption was not permitted for the common people. The Rice was grown in limited quantities and the distribution carefully controlled.
Black rice may not be Black, it could be pinkish, brown, purple, grey, or shades in between. And of course, black! When cooked, some varieties may be glutinous and sticky, due to high levels of amylopectin ( a major component of starch, and made up of glucose units). The black colouring is due the presence of large amounts of anthocyanin, which is what makes for colourful purple grapes, blueberries, aubergine .. You get the picture?
Perhaps these ancient Chinese Emperors knew a thing or two: that this Black rice that they reserved for themselves, was considered highly nutritious, fabled to increase both health and longevity, and in fact called ‘tribute rice’ or ‘longevity rice’ during the Ming Dynasty. In India this rice is mostly grown in Manipur, and is available in some gourmet stores and on online stores, and if, like me, you are lucky enough to live in Bangalore, then you can get the Zero pesticide, non-GMO variety from First Agro Farms . I’m planning a number of recipes using Black Rice, it is tasty, healthy and different!
Like I always say, do check with your doctor for the individual suitability or otherwise of consuming any of these items, however ‘healthy’ they are said to be, specially when being treated for any illness.
Superfood Black Rice is rich in disease fighting antioxidants, contains vitamins like B1, B2, folic acid; essential amino acids such as lysine, tryptophan; minerals including iron, copper, zinc, calcium and phosphorus; anthocyanin- said to help lower the risk of heart attacks by preventing plaques from building up in the arteries, as well as to fight cancer; research is going on to support the view that consumption of black rice can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes and even Cancer. Low in calories, high in flavonoid phytonutrients, and a rich source of fibre as well as Vitamin E. Reference: Purple Rice Health Benefits
And not to forget the Cranberry Orange dressing, which I adapted from ‘Oh She Glows‘ Blog. Cranberries, Apple Cider Vinegar, Maple sugar, Fresh Orange juice, each with its nutrient benefits.
The rest of the Black Rice Salad is comprised of Red veined Sorrel and Bok Choy. Sorrel leaves are low calorie and low fat, and are rich in Vitamin A. One serving a day can take care of your Vitamin C daily recommendation. Reference: Sorrel
Bok choy contains selenium, a mineral which plays an important role in cognitive function, immunity and cancer prevention. Reference: Healthiest Leafy Greens
Now to stop sounding like my Biology text book and to get back to cooking the Black Rice and dishing up this Black Rice salad.
The quantities listed here are indicative, you could adjust the ingredients to your taste while making the Dressing. For the Black Rice Salad, I used gorgeous Black cherry tomatoes (which are green when you slice them), Red tomatoes, Yellow peppers, Bok Choy, Sorrel and a variety of herbs. Any other greens could be substituted. And you could use pine nuts or walnuts instead of the almonds.
I dry the salad greens and herbs in a salad spinner. If you make salads frequently, it would be good to invest in a sturdy salad spinner which lasts for some years. I use an Ikea salad spinner and its been value for money. Its amazing how much water is shaken off the leaves of lettuces and other greens, and my salads are now not soggy at all when I add the greens.
Other Recipes you may like to try on this blog:
Vanilla Apricot Black Rice Kheer – A delicious dessert
Ganesh Chaturthi is around the corner and Onam too, and we are all busy planning special sweets and desserts. Make your festival meals exotic as well as healthy, with this Black Rice Kheer Payasam of Forbidden Black Rice flavoured with vanilla and enriched with apricots and pistachio. The result is a delicious festival treat, truly fit for the Gods! As the rice cooks, the aroma wafting through the house has to be experienced to be described! The kheer (pudding) is cooked on low heat for about 40 minutes after the rice is cooked in the pressure cooker. No ghee is used in this recipe. For a vegan version, substitute almond milk for the dairy milk in the recipe.
This recipe was created when I participated in fellow food blogger Teena Sunoj’s mystery box Onam Payasam challenge. The ingredient I found in my mystery box, was Black Rice. I had already made salads using Black rice, and was happy for the opportunity to try out a Black Rice Kheer Payasam for our Onam round up, which was also published that week in the Deccan Herald.
The ingredients in this Black Rice Kheer Payasam are nutritious and healthy as well as delicious. Black Rice is used in Indian kitchens in the North East and in Chettinad cuisine as well as in Kerala. The variety of rice differs from place to place, with some varieties turning a dark purple hue when cooked. In this recipe I have used a Black Rice with purple, black and brown grains, a Heirloom variety from First Agro Farms at Talkad, Mysore. Any sticky Black rice should give similar results though the taste and aroma of the Black Rice from First Agro is truly special.
A little time spent on the net gives interesting information: that Black Rice was first cultivated in China, some Ten thousand years ago, and for hundreds of years was reserved solely for the culinary pleasure of Chinese Royalty and noblemen: hence the name ‘Forbidden Rice’ or ‘Emperors Rice’, as its consumption was not permitted for the common people. The Rice was grown in limited quantities and the distribution carefully controlled.
Black rice may not always be Black, it could be pinkish, brown, purple, grey, or shades in between, and of course, black!. When cooked, some varieties may be glutinous and sticky, due to high levels of amylopectin ( a major component of starch, and made up of glucose units). The black colouring is due the abundant presence of anthocyanin, which is what makes for colourful purple grapes, blueberries, aubergine … You get the picture? Perhaps these ancient Chinese Emperors knew a thing or two: that this Black rice that they reserved for themselves, was highly nutritious, fabled to increase both health and longevity, and in fact called ‘tribute rice’ or ‘longevity rice’ during the Ming Dynasty.
In India this rice is grown in Manipur, and is available in some gourmet stores and on online stores. If, like me, you are lucky enough to live in Bangalore, then you can get the Zero pesticide, non-GMO variety from First Agro Farms through their distributor, Sakura Fresh.
Black Rice Health & Nutrition: (information sourced from various online sites): Rich in disease fighting antioxidants, contains vitamins like B1, B2, folic acid; essential amino acids such as lysine, tryptophan; minerals including iron,copper, zinc, calcium and phosphorus; anthocyanin- said to help lower the risk of heart attacks by preventing plaques from building up in the arteries, as well as to fight cancer. Ongoing research is being carried out, to support the view that consumption of Black rice can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes and even Cancer. Low in calories, high in flavonoid phytonutrients, and a rich source of fibre as well as Vitamin E.
Step by step instructions are given in the Recipe below on How to Cook Black Forbidden Rice
Soaking the rice for about 3 hours, reduces the cooking time. The rice could be soaked overnight, however for the variety that I used, 3 hours was more than enough for the rice to cook into a soft and yet chewy texture.
In this recipe for Black Rice Kheer Payasam, the addition of vanilla subtly complements the fragrance of the rice, and along with the Apricots, lifts an exotic ingredient to a delicious, aromatic dish. No ghee is used in the preparation, and pistachios substitute for the traditional cashew nuts. The cardamom is optional as the other ingredients give more than enough flavour and aroma to the sweet dish.
You may like to try out other recipes on this Blog:
I don’t often make sweets and have tried out only a few dessert recipes. However when friend, (fellow CA and fellow food blogger) Paluk Khanna asked for a post as a contribution to the Rakshabandhan round up we were planning, I had to think of an interesting item to make.I finally fixed on making this Saffron Flavoured Badam Halwa.
This post is dedicated to H.U.G – Humane Universal Good Deed Network, who had undertaken to generate and distribute 200,000 meals for the needy and the underprivileged at Bangalore, during the Daan Utsav between 2nd and 8th October 2016. A menu had been fixed, with simple rice items which could be easily cooked even in large quantities in the micro kitchens being established, and by volunteers who were to help in this endeavour. Follow H.U.G and the hashtag #HUGFeedWithLove, on Facebook to know more about the event. One of the items on the menu is a Puliyodharai or Tamarind Rice, and here is my recipe for preparation of the same.
A simple and popular yogurt based dish, Boondi Raita is served as an accompaniment to biryani, pulav or tehri. This dish is even today a regular part of the meal in any home in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Simple and quick to put together, specially if you have the boondi available. The black salt gives a distinct and pleasant flavour to the raita.
A fragrant traditional rice dish from Eastern Uttar Pradesh in India, Matar ki Tehri – made with seasonal Green peas cooked with Basmati rice, subtly spiced and flavoured with Desi Ghee.
Having married into a family from Eastern UP, I’ve been making my own version of Vegetable Tehri and Matar ki tehri, for many years. However when I wanted an authentic recipe for Tehri, I turned to my sister in law Kusum Dutt for these step by step instructions.
As Kusum explained, there are two versions of Tehri: one is made with potato, carrot and cauliflower and using haldi (turmeric) and the other is the one I’m relating here, that is made with green peas and where turmeric is not added. With peas being plentifully available now, this is a great one pot easy to make dish. Serve the Tehri with a simple boondi raita and with marinated and fried slices of eggplant.
Click for the Link to Recipe for: Boondi Raita
For a vegan version, substitute a mild flavoured vegetable oil (olive oil or sunflower oil) for the Ghee, and reduce the quantity of oil to 1 tablespoon.
The rich taste of the matar ki tehri was enhanced by the fresh zero pesticide Roma tomatoes from First Agro Farms
Use whole spices, fresh coriander leaves and equal volumes of raw rice and peas, to get that ‘authentic’ taste. Spices of good quality will add to the flavour and aroma.
Most often when I order Vegetables online, the lemons that are supplied are small and quite pathetic. I was happy when the veggies delivered yesterday included 3 large lemons. I could squeeze more than enough lemon juice to make this sharp and tangy lemon rice today, garnished with fried peanuts and fresh cilantro. I usually fry papads to accompany lemon rice, but today we just had the lemon rice with freshly made potato chips from the handy Hot Chips near my apartment.
Ven Pongal is the South Indian breakfast version of khichidi and is made of moong dhal (green gram lentils) and rice, pressure cooked and tempered with cumin, coriander leaves, pepper and ghee.
It is a popular breakfast, served with chutney and sambar and also along with dal vada or vadai, made from deep fried lentil batter. Ven Pongal is easy to make and is both nutritious and tasty, specially when it is tempered with ghee, garnished with fried cashew and served really hot.
My little granddaughter Tamanna loves these easy Strawberry Buttermilk pancakes. As do I! A simple and delicious breakfast treat with very little effort.
The buttermilk subtly adds its unique flavour to the pancakes. Serve the easy Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes hot with honey or syrup and with a knob of butter melting on top.
The secret to perfect pancakes is in mixing the batter lightly, at the same time ensuring the ingredients mix smoothly and there are no lumps. Too much whisking or beating could make the pancakes tough and not allow them to rise.
This recipe will guide you to make pancakes by substituting the strawberries with seasonal fruit available to you – try it with Blueberries, Apples, Pear, Banana or Mulberries and earn brownie points from the family!
Kitchen tips for making really easy Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes:
Strawberries are now more easily available at Bangalore than they used to be, and whipping up the strawberry buttermilk pancakes takes very little time. If you haven’t made them before, check the step by step recipe below and give your family a treat this weekend.
To read more about Strawberries as well as other quick recipes using strawberries, such as strawberry salad dressing and tasty easy salads, click the link below to my post on this blog for the ‘Ingredient spotlight’ on Strawberries.
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