Khajoor ki Kheer (Dates Pudding)

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Khajoor ki Kheer or Dates Pudding

Recently, I hosted my grandmother-in-law along with my uncle-in-law and aunt-in-law for dinner. Like most elders in Indian families, they are all highly inspiring in the way they lead their lives. But it’s their discipline that i am most awed about.

While I have been truly blessed to have parents-in-law with a very modern outlook, it’s the grandma-in-law that’s the coolest with a mix of deep-rooted traditions and an open mind. She has been so generous in sharing her food wisdom when I was a novice! Grandma’s warm, inviting kitchen is the place where love and health are guaranteed.

Today’s recipe is not only dedicated to the grandma-in-law but also to the young-at-heart couple that accompanied her to my place for dinner. They have been married for close to three decades. After almost two decades of being a teacher at a school, the aunt suddenly decided to quit and study psychology. She went on to complete her doctorate in psychotherapy and is now a fairly successful hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. If this isn’t the epitome of companionship, I don’t know what is.

So, when they were at my place for dinner, I wanted to make something special yet healthy as all three of them are diabetics. My pantry is always stocked up with the highly nutritious khajoor (dates) so I came up with this quick and easy, diabetic-friendly khajoor kheer or dates pudding. I have not added sugar to this pudding as the natural sweetness of the dates suffices.

Khajoor ki Kheer (Dates Pudding)

Ingredients:

15 Dates, de-seeded
1 litre Milk
A handful of Tapioca pearls or sago pearls (optional), soaked for 4 hours in water and drained
Dried fruits like almonds, walnuts, raisins, cashew and pista for garnish
2 tbsp ghee

Method:

In a bowl, soak the dates in half a cup of warm milk and leave it aside for 15 minutes while you fry the dry fruits. In a pan, heat ghee and fry the sago pearls. Remove and fry the dry fruits. If you are using raisins, fry them in a separate batch as they tend to turn brown soon. In a blender, make a paste of the milk and dates mixture.  Boil the remaining milk and add the dates paste. Stir, mix and let it boil till it forms a thick, pudding like consistency.

Serve in pudding bowls and garnish with the dried fruits. You can serve it hot, cold or chilled.

 

Until next year, sweetness!

The summer’s about to end in this part of India and many are trying to make the most of mangoes before the rains take away their favourite fruit.

I see neighbours hurriedly peeling raw mangoes to pickle them, colleagues rushing to the nearby cafe to taste mango cheesecakes and mango shakes and kids being coaxed (and sometimes playfully threatened) to finish their plate of mangoes before it rains on the lovely mango trees, thus rendering the mangoes tasteless. Sometimes I feel that mangoes are like a one-time leading actress in a Hindi movie who makes a “comeback”, rather keeps making comebacks after few intervals. I know people who rigidly refuse to touch a mango after it rains. Celebrated when at the peak and sidelined at the slightest hint of pour,  I wonder what poor little mangoes have to say about this.

There were some showers in my city last Sunday. And since then, the “mango talk” has come down drastically in my circle.  But all of a sudden, two days ago, a colleague mentioned that she had a tall glass of mango milkshake for breakfast and reminded me of how delicious a mango milkshake tastes! My way of giving a decent farewell to this delicious, golden fruit until next year!

Here is my super simple recipe of a Mango Milkshake! Enjoy!

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Mango Milkshake

Ingredients:
Two mangoes, peeled, cubed and frozen for 20 mins
Milk: 1 cup if you want a thick shake and 1.5 cups if thin
Sugar: 2 teaspoons
Ice (optional)

Blend all the ingredients. Serve in a tall glass. Enjoy whatever is left of the summers! 🙂

 

Chocolate Walnut Fudge Brownies

I have been invited for a slumber party tonight by my best friend Kavitha Nair, who I have known from my kindergarten days. It feels like I am back to my growing up years when there would be these unplanned ‘pyjama’ parties, an entire night of snacking, sharing secrets and talking about the latest crush. So, after many years when my bestie decided to invite me over, I thought, ‘how can food be left out of a slumber party’?

A fudge-y, chocolate-y delight!
A fudge-y, chocolate-y delight! These brownies combine the best of both worlds–the moist texture of a fudge and the rise of a cake

So I decided to bake some chock-walnut fudge brownies that we can eat all night over gossip, after a quick dinner. Right from our first day at kindergarten till when we were in high school, Kavitha and I would always sit next to each other in class. Like most kids, we have been pulled up by teachers for excessive talking during class 😛  The canteen culture had just begun back then and it was considered uncool to bring lunch boxes from home. Most kids would wait for the recess bell to ring to hang out by the canteen while Kavitha and I used to sit back in class and share our lunch from, where else, our tiffin boxes. Once in a while, we used to buy some chocolates from the roadside stall just out side our school’s entrance. She is somebody who would let me have her piece of chocolate as soon as I finished mine, something even my younger brother never did 😀

Once, we decided to “run away” from school because we both felt that there was too much pressure on us to study. I told her to pack some snacks and nail paint, which we would use to pass our time while we hid from school authorities and till our parents “rescued us” 😉 God, we were so stupid! However, she developed a cold feet at the last minute and told me it would be wrong for us to do that. Thank God, at least one of us was mature!

She moved to a different school after class X and then we both chose different streams to pursue higher studies. Today, we may not talk on a daily basis and hardly meet each other for months in spite of living in the same city. But, our beautiful friendship has grown stronger with each passing year!

Chocolate Walnut Fudge Brownie

Ingredients

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate – 2 bars of 200 gms

Cocoa powder- 2 tbs

Castor sugar or powdered brown sugar -1 cup

Eggs, room temperature- 2 nos

Butter, room temperature -1/2 cup

Flour-3/4 cup

Walnuts- 1/2 cup

Vanilla essence-1 tsp

Baking powder-1 tsp

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a square or rectangle shaped baking tray with butter.

Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl in microwave for 20-30 seconds or use a double boiler method, if you are comfortable with that. In another bowl, whisk eggs and keep aside. Mix together the dry ingredients, nuts and add vanilla essence. Once the chocolate-butter mixture has cooled, add the whisked eggs and fold in the dry ingredients. Make sure the chocolate mixture has cooled or the eggs will start cooking, ruining the texture of your brownie.

Pour this mixture into the baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes or till a fork or toothpick comes out clean. Leave it on a rack to cool and then cut into squares or triangles.