Thai Pineapple Salad| Sriracha Pineapple

Just two more days to go for 2020! I know I say this every year, but I really can’t believe the speed at which the year has whizzed by. It feels like 2019 just started, and we are on the brink of a new year already. Anyhow, if you are hosting a new year party or planning to make something special on the first day of 2020, I have a lovely appetiser idea for you. Here’s presenting to you Sriracha Pineapple!

Looking for a party appetiser? Think Sriracha Pineapple!

As the name suggests, Sriracha Pineapple is a Thai pineapple salad made using Sriracha sauce. It is a very simple thing to prepare – once you have the pineapple prepped and the other ingredients handy, this salad can be put together in just a few minutes. If you are planning to serve this at a party, you could keep the ingredients ready in advance and assemble the salad when it is time to serve.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the recipe, though. This Sriracha Pineapple is a flavour bomb. Hot and salty and sweet and sour all at once, it will surely leave your family and guests hankering for more. The crunch of roasted peanuts makes the salad all the more irresistible.

The Sriracha sauce gives the pineapple a pretty orange-ish hue, the fresh coriander garnish adding to the overall effect. Do consider serving this Sriracha Pineapple in small cups or glasses for a party.

#PartyStarters for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is brought to you in co-ordination with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, a bunch of us food bloggers showcase recipes based on a pre-determined theme. The theme this Monday is #PartyStarters, and I chose this Sriracha Pineapple recipe to share.

The theme for this week was suggested by Poonam, the very talented blogger at Annapurna. Poonam’s blog is a treasure house of traditional Maharashtrian recipes, healthy bakes and simple foods from across the globe. I have already tried out her Vegetarian Nasi Lemak, and loved it. Now, my eyes are on her Methi Aur Gond Ke Laddoo, Whole Wheat Nankhatai and Narali Bhat. Yum!

How to make Sriracha Pineapple?

Here’s how I make the Sriracha Pineapple or Thai Pineapple Salad.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 medium-sized pineapple
  2. 1 tablespoon Sriracha or red chilli sauce, or to taste
  3. 1/2 tablespoon soya sauce
  4. 1/2 tablespoon honey or to taste
  5. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
  6. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  7. 1/4 cup peanuts

Method:

1. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get crisp, 5-7 minutes. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool down fully.

2. Make sure all the thorns and cores are removed from the pineapple. Chop into large cubes. Place them in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the Sriracha sauce, soya sauce, lemon juice and honey to the mixing bowl.

4. When the peanuts have cooled down fully, take them in a small mixer jar. Coarsely crush the peanuts. Add the coarsely crushed peanuts to the mixing bowl.

5. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl together, well.

6. Transfer the salad to serving plates, cups or glasses. Serve immediately, garnished with finely chopped fresh coriander as needed.

Tips & Tricks

1. For best results, use a pineapple that is ripe, juicy and sweet. An overly ripe, raw or sour pineapple will alter the taste of the salad.

2. I have used my home-made hot sauce to make this salad. You can make it at home too, or use store-bought Sriracha sauce or red chilli sauce.

3. Adjust the quantity of honey, lemon, soya sauce and red chilli sauce as per personal taste preferences.

4. It is important to roast the peanuts on medium flame and get them nice and crisp. Stirring constantly will help you achieve just the right level of roasting, while ensuring that the peanuts do not burn.

5. I used naturally fermented soya sauce from a Thai brand called Shoyu. You can use any variety of soya sauce that you prefer.

6. Do not grind the roasted peanuts to a fine powder. Just coarsely crush them in a small mixer jar.

7. Chopping the pineapple right is crucial here. Get all the thorns and cores out. For best results, chop the pineapple into large cubes that can be speared with a fork.

8. This is a completely vegetarian preparation. It is gluten-free as well.

9. If using a store-bought sauce, don’t forget to ensure that it is gluten-free, in case that is a requirement.

10. For a vegan version, substitute the honey used in the recipe with palm sugar or jaggery powder.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

No-Cream Methi Matar Malai| Fenugreek & Green Peas Gravy

When two of my winter loves – fenugreek greens and green peas – get together in a single dish, what’s to not love? I’m talking about Methi Matar Malai, that classic Punjabi gravy that is sheer delight to indulge in.

What is Methi Matar Malai?


The slight bitterness of fenugreek leaves (methi), mild heat from the green chillies used in the gravy, and the sweetness of seasonal green peas (matar) meld together beautifully in this dish. Typical restaurant-style Methi Matar Malai is made using loads of cream (malai), which is what gives the curry its rich, creamy texture and also adds to its sweetness. I absolutely adore this delicately spiced dish; I love gorging on it with some piping hot naan or parathas.


Making Methi Matar Malai relatively guilt-free


I endeavour to make Methi Matar Malai a relatively guilt-free indulgence for my family. Mock me if you want to, but I make mine sans any cream. I do use full-cream milk and a few cashewnuts, which makes the gravy just as rich and delicious as store-bought Methi Matar Malai. Cashewnuts, albeit a high-calorie ingredient, are far healthier than a carton of cream.

Very little oil, just 1/2 tablespoon, goes into the sabzi I make. It is a completely vegetarian preparation, one that can easily be made gluten-free by skipping the asafoetida used in the recipe. Milk or fresh cream are essential parts of Methi Matar Malai, and I’m not sure if it can be made vegan.

Methi Matar Malai recipe


Outlined below is the way I make Methi Matar Malai.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1. A small bunch of fenugreek leaves, about 1 cup when finely chopped
2. 2 cups shelled green peas
3. 1 small onion
4. 2 green chillies or as per taste
5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
6. 6 whole cashewnuts
7. 6 whole almonds
8. 1/2 tablespoon oil
9. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
10. 2 pinches of asafoetida
11.1 cup milk, boiled and cooled
12. 1 cup water
13. Salt to taste
14. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
15. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder

Method:

1. Wash the fenugreek leaves thoroughly under running water, removing all traces of mud from them. Then, place them in a colander and let all the water drain out.

2. Take the green peas in a wide vessel, and add in 2-3 tablespoons water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 3 whistles on high flame or till the peas are cooked but not overly mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Peel the onion and ginger, and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies roughly. Take the chopped onion, ginger and green chillies in a small mixer jar, and add in the cashewnuts and almonds. Grind all the ingredients in the mixer jar together to a smooth paste, adding a little water. Keep aside.

4. Once the water has fully drained out of the fenugreek greens, chop them finely. Keep aside.

5. Now, we will begin to prepare the Methi Matar Malai. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the cumin. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Add the finely chopped fenugreek leaves to the pan, along with a little salt. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame till the fenugreek leaves are cooked through, 4-5 minutes.

7. Add the paste we ground earlier to the pan. Keep sauteeing on medium flame till the raw smell from the paste goes away, 3-4 minutes. If the paste gets too thick, you can add a little water at this stage.

8. When the paste has cooked, add the  green peas to the pan, along with the water they were cooked in. Mix well.

9. Add 1 cup of water and milk to the pan, along with salt to taste and jaggery powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes.

10. Now, add garam masala to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the Methi Matar Malai thickens and starts coming together. This should take another 2-3 minutes. Switch off gas when the curry is still quite runny – it thickens considerably on cooling.  Serve the curry hot or warm, with rotis or parathas.

Tips & Tricks

1. Many prepare the Methi Matar Malai entirely in a pan, without using the pressure cooker at all. I prefer doing it the way I have outlined above.

2. Fresh, tender, seasonal fenugreek leaves and green peas work best in this curry.

3. I use full-cream boiled and cooled Nandini milk in the above recipe.

4. If you want, fresh cream can be added the Methi Matar Malai. In fact, many cook the sabzi entirely in fresh cream, but I have omitted it. It is still creamy and delicious, thanks to the cashewnuts and full-fat milk.

5. I have used a mix of milk and water to cook the sabzi. You may use milk entirely, too.

6. The jaggery powder is optional in the above recipe, but I highly recommend it. It rounds off the taste of the sabzi beautifully. Sugar can be used instead, too.

7. Adjust the quantity of cashewnuts, almonds, milk and water as per personal taste preferences. Similarly, adjust the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the curry to be.

8. Do not use more than 1 cup of fenugreek leaves for the above quantities of ingredients, otherwise the curry will turn bitter.

9. You can add in some tomatoes and garlic while grinding the onions, cashewnuts, green chillies and ginger for the gravy. I don’t use them, though.

10. Don’t overdo the garam masala. Add in only a little bit, just enough to mildly flavour the gravy.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Milagu Jeeram Rasam| Pepper & Cumin Rasam

Rasam equates to comfort food in our family any time of the year, but especially so in the cold days of winter. In winter, a plate of piping hot rasam served with piping hot rice, a bit of poriyal or appalam (papad) on the side spells out ultimate comfort. Have it on its own, like a soup, and it is just as soothing. I share with you today our family recipe for Milagu Jeeram Rasam – rasam made using pepper and cumin – which is an absolute delight.

Benefits of Milagu Jeeeram Rasam


~ This rasam is made using pepper, an excellent warming ingredient. The rasam helps warm up the system in cold winters. Our ancestors believed that regular intake of Milagu Jeeeram Rasam keeps cold, cough and flu at bay.

~ Milagu Jeeram Rasam soothes the throat when you already have a cold and cough.

~ This rasam is considered to be a great detoxifier. When you have had heavy meals for a few days or when your digestion has been disturbed, it is believed that the consumption of this rasam helps the stomach in settling the stomach down.

~ Milagu Jeeram Rasam has traditionally been considered as ‘Pathiya Samayal‘ or part of the home-cooked food that is given to new breast-feeding mothers. It is believed to aid post-partum recovery.

PS: I am neither a dietician nor a trained medical practitioner. The health benefits I share here are purely based on what I have learnt from the elders in our family, what I have read and experienced in Tam-Brahm society. Kindly consult a qualified doctor for specific queries.

Milagu Jeeram Rasam for #GrandmaRemedies



This recipe is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. This Monday, Narmadha of Nams Corner suggested that we showcase healing recipes from our family kitty, for the theme #GrandmaRemedies. Our grandparents believed that food is the best medicine, and that most ailments can be cured with simple remedies dished out of the home kitchen. This  Milagu Jeeram Rasam is one such dish,  an effective remedy for several minor ailments. I chose this dish because I believe it fits the theme perfectly.

The beauty of this rasam is the freshly ground black pepper and cumin added to it, which gives it a unique flavour. The ghee used in the tempering is comforting and soothing. On the whole, it is utterly delicious! 

Milagu Jeeram Rasam recipe

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, suited to those on a plant-based diet. It is a no-onion, no-garlic, Sattvik preparation too, though you can add in garlic if you like.

Most commercial brands of asafoetida include some amount of wheat flour. Hence, it is advisable to skip the asafoetida in the tempering if you require a gluten-free version of the rasam. However, if you are able to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

Here’s how we make the Pepper & Cumin Rasam.


Ingredients (serves 4):

1. 2 tablespoons toor dal
2. A small gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
3. 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
4. 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
5. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
6. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
8. Salt to taste
9. About 1-1/2 cups water or as needed
10. 1/2 tablespoon ghee
11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
12. 2 dry red chillies
13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

Top and bottom left: Steps 1 and 3, Top, centre and bottom right: Steps 5, 6 and 7


1. Heat up a heavy-bottomed pan. Dry roast the black peppercorns and cumin seeds on medium flame for a minute or so. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool down fully, then crush them coarsely using a mixer or mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

2. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. When it cools down enough to handle, add water little by little and extract all the juice from it. You will get roughly 1 cup of tamarind extract. Keep aside.

3. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Take it in a wide vessel and add in enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker, and put the whistle on. Pressure cook on high flame for 6-7 whistles or till the dal is fully cooked. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

4. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside.

5. Heat up a heavy-bottomed pan and add the chopped tomatoes to it. Add a little water and salt, as well as the curry leaves. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, 2-3 minutes.  Stir intermittently.

6. Now, add the tamarind extract to the pan. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes on high flame or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

7. Add the cooked toor dal to the pan, along with about 1-1/2 cups water. Mix well.

Top and bottom left: Steps 7 and 8, Right top, centre and bottom: Steps 10, 11 and 12

 

8. Add in the coarsely crushed peppercorns and cumin. Mix well.


9. Cook on high flame till the mixture comes to a boil. This should take 2-3 minutes.

10. Now, lower the flame to low-medium. Allow the mixture to simmer for just about a minute, then switch off gas.

11. Heat the ghee in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and allow to sputter. Add dry red chillies and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Add this tempering to the rasam.

12. Add fresh finely chopped coriander to the rasam. Mix well. Cover the rasam and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, undisturbed, before serving. Serve it hot with steamed rice and poriyal of your choice.

 

Tips & Tricks


1. Adjust the quantities of pepper, cumin, toor dal and tamarind as per personal taste preferences.

2. A few cloves of garlic, pounded roughly in a mortar and pestle, can be added to the tempering too.

3. Oil can be used to prepare the tempering, instead of ghee.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the rasam you require.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Do check out some of the rasam varieties we make at home:

Kalyana Rasam| Nataraja Iyer Rasam| Orange Rasam| Arachuvitta Rasam| Garlic Rasam| Long Pepper Rasam| Lemon Rasam

Dosa Milagai Podi| Idli Podi

Recently, I posted a story on my Instagram handle about how I used the last of the precious few onions I had left to make my beloved Onion Uttappams. I had  served them drizzled with Dosa Milagai Podi akagun powder‘, that hallmark of South Indian cuisine. The story had several people pinging me to ask for the recipe for the podi. Making a fresh  batch of the powder had been on my to-do list anyway, so I went ahead and completed the chore yesterday, and also managed to click pictures of it for the blog. So, here we go.

Home-made Dosa Milagai Podi. Doesn’t that look bright and sunny and beautiful? 🙂

What is Dosa Milagai Podi?


Anything in powdered form is referred to as ‘podi‘ in Tamil, while the term ‘milagai‘ refers to chillies. ‘Dosa Milagai Podi‘ is, hence, a powder made using chillies – dried red chillies – served as an accompaniment to dosas. By the same association, it is called ‘Idli Podi‘ as well.

Dosa Milagai Podi is a quintessential part of a South Indian home, along with several other such powders. Made using sesame seeds (ellu) and lentils, along with dry red chillies, this is an absolutely delicious thing. It is often referred to as ‘Ellu Podi‘ too.

Different families make the Dosa Milagai Podi with variations of their own. I’m here today to tell you how it is made in our family – with brown sesame seeds and Bydagi chillies, which gives it its beautiful orange-red colour. We also add in a bit of jaggery powder, for added flavour.

This podi is completely vegetarian and vegan, suitable to those following a plant-based diet. Skip the asafoetida used in the recipe, and you can make it gluten-free too. This is because most commercial brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to some extent. However, if you are able to procure gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely use it.

How to make Dosa Milagai Podi or Idli Podi


The detailed proceedure to make the podi follows.

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups):
  1. 1 cup urad dal (ulutham parippu)
  2. 1/2 cup chana dal (kadalai parippu)
  3. 1/2 cup sesame seeds (ellu)
  4. 18-20 dry red chillies (kanja milagai)
  5. 3/4 tablespoon salt (uppu) or to taste
  6. 1 teaspoon asafoetida powder (perungayam)
  7. 3-4 tablespoons jaggery powder (podi vellam) or to taste (optional)

Method: 1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on high flame. Then, reduce the flame to medium and add in the urad dal and chana dal. Dry roast on medium flame for about 3 minutes, by which time the lentils will start to emit a lovely fragrance and start changing colour. Stir constantly to ensure that all the lentils get roasted evenly and do not burn.

2. Now, add the dry red chillies and sesame seeds to the pan. Mix well. Dry roast for about 2 minutes on low-medium flame. Switch off gas. Again, constant stirring is essential to ensure that there is no burning and that all ingredients come in touch with the heated pan evenly.

3. Allow the roasted ingredients to cool down fully, then transfer them to a mixer jar. Add salt, asafoetida and jaggery powder. Mix the ingredients up using a spoon.

4. Pulse for a couple of seconds, then stop, mix up the ingredients. Now, pulse again for a couple of seconds, stop and mix the ingredients again. Repeat these steps till you get a powder that is almost fine, with a few coarse bits. Your Dosa Milagai Podi is ready.

5. Allow the podi to cool down fully after the grinding. Now, fill it up in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store at room temperature, in a dry place. Use as needed.

Tips & Tricks


1. I have used split chana dal and whole white urad dal to make this Dosa Milagai Podi. You can use whole or split lentils to make this.

2. Some families use black sesame seeds to make this podi. I have used brown ones.

3. Adjust the quantity of salt, as per personal taste preferences.

4. I have used a mix of the hot Salem Gundu and the milder Bydagi dry red chillies to make this podi. You can use any variety of dry red chillies you prefer and adjust quantity as per personal spice preferences. The above quantities yield a medium-spicy powder which can be consumed by kids as well.

5. Garlic cloves, flax seeds, curry leaves, fried gram (pottukadalai), coriander seeds are some of the ingredients added in by some to Dosa Milagai Podi. We don’t. In our family, we make the podi as per the above recipe.

6. Adding jaggery powder is optional, but I would highly recommend doing so. The sweetness of jaggery adds a beautiful touch to the podi. In some families, sugar is used instead of jaggery.

7. Some advocate using a few drops of oil to fry the lentils, dry red chillies and sesame seeds separately, then  grinding them together after the ingredients cool. I have, however, not used any oil here and have dry roasted all ingredients together.

8. Make sure the Dosa Milagai Podi cools down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. This can be stored at room temperature for a few months, but is best used within a month or so.

9. Make sure you don’t grind the roasted ingredients at high speed. Pulse, stop, pulse, stop, as stated in the recipe above. This will help you get a lovely, free-flowing podi, and will prevent it from getting all clumped together.

10. I have used rock salt here. You may use regular table salt instead, too.

11. You can grind the Dosa Milagai Podi as coarsely or finely as you prefer. I prefer keeping it very slightly coarse and not too fine.

12. Different families use different proportions of lentils and sesame seeds in the Dosa Milagai Podi. We follow the above proportions.

13. Ensure that you dry roast the ingredients for the podi as per the steps stated above only. Stirring constantly will help in all the ingredients evenly coming in contact with the hot pan and getting roasted evenly.

14. Make sure the ingredients do not burn while dry roasting. Therefore, use a heavy-bottomed pan only.

Different ways to use this Dosa Milagai Podi


In spite of the name of this podi, dosas  and idlis aren’t the only things it is served with. The following are some ways in which it is commonly used in Tam-Brahm households.

  • Mix some of the podi with sesame oil or coconut oil as needed, then serve with dosas or idlis.
  • The sesame oil-podi mixture can also be coated on idlis. These idlis make for a convenient snack while travelling.
  • Sprinkle some of this podi inside masala dosas, before placing the potato stuffing over it. This adds to the taste greatly.
  • The podi can be drizzled on uttappams too, which makes them immensely tasty.
  • This podi can be added to South Indian rice dishes like Tomato Bath, to flavour them.
  • You can also use this podi to make sundal and poriyal.
  • This podi can also be used while making Idli Upma with leftover idlis.
  • It can be used as a stuffing in parathas too.

I hope you liked this post, and that you found it useful. Please do let me know, in your comments!

Doodh Masala| Milk Masala Powder Recipe

I used to be a happy milk-loving baby, as per my mother. However, my love for milk disappeared when I grew into a teenager, she says. I started hating plain milk, the very smell of it putting me off. Like most Indian moms, she would get paranoid if I refused to have at least one glass of milk a day – and hence began her journey to find various sorts of flavouring powders that would mask the smell of milk. The regular chocolate-flavoured ‘health powders’ were there, of course, but she wasn’t very happy with them. And then, a Gujarati neighbour of ours taught her how to make Doodh Masala, and life as we knew it changed – both for her and me. It made me a happy milk drinker, all over again, and mom became much more calmer and relaxed.


I’m here today to share with you all the recipe for Doodh Masala, the way my mom made it all those years ago, the way she taught me how to go about it.

Doodh Masala – a very useful, very Indian and unique Xmas gift!

 

What is Doodh Masala?


Doodh Masala is a powder that you mix into hot milk, to add flavour to it and, like in my case, to mask its actual smell. This powder is made using ingredients like nuts and a few spices, to give that unique mildly sweet, mildly spicy taste.

It makes for a wonderful winter warmer. The nuts, black peppercorns, cardamom, saffron and all other ingredients going into the Doodh Masala are great for the body in winters. That’s definitely not to say that you can’t use the masala during the other months of the year.


The Doodh Masala as such is completely vegetarian, plant-based or vegan, and gluten-free. We use it with regular pasteurised milk, but you may  add it to soya milk or cashew milk if you prefer it that way. 

 

Why you should be trying out this Doodh Masala recipe


~ Mildly sweet and spicy, this Doodh Masala adds a lovely taste to milk. I recently made a batch, and all of us at home are loving it!

~ It is super easy to make the Doodh Masala. Just get the ingredients together, and making this is a matter of minutes.

~ When stored well, the Doodh Masala has a good shelf life.

~ It is very Indian, very unique in taste, very different from all the flavoured milk products out there.

~ It is made using all-natural ingredients, no preservatives or artificial colours or flavours.

~ Using the Milk Masala Powder is very easy too.

~ I think it makes for a great edible gift for Christmas. Pack it in small jars, tie it with a ribbon, and voila! There’s a beautiful favour you can give to the guests who attend your Christmas party.

~ You can also use this masala to flavour kheer, milkshakes and other desserts.

Doodh Masala or Masala Milk Powder recipe


Here’s how I go about making the Doodh Masala.


I share this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Mayuri of Mayuri’s Jikoni suggested the theme for this week, #ChristmasTreats, to showcase various edible gifts we can prepare at home this Christmas season. I’m so glad this theme made me go down memory lane and zero in on this Doodh Masala recipe.

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup of masala):

  1. 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  2. 1/3 cup almonds
  3. 1/3 cup cashewnuts
  4. 1 teaspoon saffron strands
  5. 6-7 green cardamom
  6. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  7. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  8. 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  9. 1 big piece of palm sugar candy (tal mishri or panam kalkandu)


Method:

1. Crush the green cardamom roughly, using a mortar and pestle.

2. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the pistachios, almonds and cashewnuts. Now, reduce flame to low-medium.

3. Dry roast the nuts on low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till they start getting crisp. Make sure you stir them constantly and that they do not burn. Transfer the roasted nuts to a plate, and keep aside.

4. Add the crushed green cardamom (along with the peels), saffron strands, black peppercorns, fennel seeds and ginger powder to the pan. Switch off heat. In the residual heat of the pan, roast the ingredients for about a minute. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer these roasted ingredients to a plate too.

5. Allow all the roasted ingredients to cool down fully. Then, transfer them to a mixer jar.

6. Using a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the palm sugar. Add the crushed palm sugar to the mixer jar too.

7. Pulse the ingredients in the mixer jar together, for a couple of seconds. Then, stop to scrape down the sides of the mixer and mix up the ingredients with a spoon. Pulse again for a couple of seconds. Repeat this proceedure till you get a coarse powder. Your Doodh Masala is ready.

8. When the powder has cooled down fully, transfer it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated.

 

Adding palm sugar candy to the Doodh Masala

 

How to use this Doodh Masala


There are two ways:

1. Bring a cup of milk to a boil. Add in sugar or crushed palm sugar candy if needed. Mix in 2-3 teaspoons of the Doodh Masala, as per taste. Serve immediately.

2. Take a cup of milk in a saucepan, and add in 2-3 tablespoons of the Doodh Masala. If required, add sugar or crushed palm sugar candy. Mix well. Place on high flame and bring everything to a boil. Serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks


1. Use good-quality unsalted pistachios, almonds and cashewnuts, for best results.

2. Adjust the quantity of ginger powder, fennel seeds and black peppercorns as per personal taste preferences. The above quantities work perfectly for us.

3. Regular refined sugar or candy sugar (mishri or kalkandu) can be used in place of the palm sugar candy. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences. You may even leave out the sweetener altogether.

4. Some people add a bit of nutmeg, dried rose petals, milk powder and turmeric to the Doodh Masala. I have skipped these ingredients.

5. Make sure you dry roast the ingredients on low-medium heat, taking care to ensure that they do not burn. The ingredients don’t need to change colour – the roasting is done just to ensure that all the moisture from the ingredients is removed and to bring out the flavours from them.

6. Make sure all the roasted ingredients have cooled down fully before you start to grind them.

7. Don’t grind the ingredients at a high speed after roasting them – this will lead to the nuts releasing their oils, and the masala becoming a lumpy paste. Make sure you pulse the ingredients gently, stop after a couple of seconds, then pulse again.

8. I prefer keeping the Doodh Masala coarse. If you want, you can make a finer powder.
9. The Doodh Masala is best stored refrigerated, in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and used hygienically whenever needed. This way, it stays well for a couple of months.
10. In case you add nutmeg to the Doodh Masala, do not boil the milk after adding in the masala. The nutmeg might cause the milk to turn bitter. Boil the milk first, then mix in the Doodh Masala, and serve immediately.
11. You can add other nuts of your choice in the Doodh Masala too – chironji, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Check out the other edible gifts from my kitchen:

Tomato Thokku| Strawberry Jam| Strawberry Chilli Jam| Jalapeno Jam| Orange Marmalade| Rasam Podi| Jeeravan Masala| Chai Masala| Chaas Masala| Bhavnagri Red Chilli Pickle| Methi Greens Pickle| Turmeric Root Pickle| Garam Masala