spiced egg salad

spiced egg salad | A Brown Table

Egg salad is a tasty classic, in fact I think of it as comfort food. All you need are a couple of hard boiled eggs on hand to make this simple yet tasty salad. During grad school and especially during test season, I’d make a batch of egg salad almost once a week. I’d scoop out generous helpings to stuff between thick layers of toasted sourdough bread. It was my “test -time” meal, my go-to dish. This Indian-inspired egg salad version is quick and easy to make. There’s hint of garam masala and toasted coriander seeds to give it a spicy and mild smoky flavor.

spiced egg salad | A Brown Table
spiced egg salad | A Brown Table
spiced egg salad | A Brown Table
spiced egg salad | A Brown Table

The Best Food’s Organic Mayonnaise used in this recipe, has a crisp flavor and the texture is smooth. I’ve used the Original version but they also make a lot of other delicious flavors such as the Spicy Chipotle and Roasted Garlic which can also be used in this recipe. Just remember depending on the type of mayonnaise used the flavor of the final salad will change a little.

spiced egg salad | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this salad;

  • Always use chilled or room temperature hard boiled eggs or the mayonnaise will lose its texture if the eggs are hot.
  • If you like this a little hotter, you can add 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce or add a teaspoon of thinly sliced thai green chili peppers.
  • To prepare the coriander powder, toast 1 teaspoon of the seeds in a dry skillet until the seeds just start to brown and you can smell the fragrance of the seeds as they toast. This should take less than 60 to 90 seconds. Immediately transfer and grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle. Use as needed.

spiced egg salad

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled (cold or at room temperature)

1/2 cup Best Foods Organic Mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder

1/4 teaspoon toasted ground coriander seed powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped

1. Chop the peeled eggs and place them in a large mixing bowl.

2. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the thinly sliced sections of the green parts of the scallions. Add the rest of the scallions to the eggs and all the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Garnish with reserved scallions and serve.

Disclaimer: This blog post was created in partnership with Hellmann’s Best Mayonnaiseand FeedFeed. All opinions expressed are solely my own

turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream

turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table

I traveled to LA last weekend to attend the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) awards. I made it a point to visit as many important restaurants as I could, we even visited Lisa Vanderpump's Pump restaurant in West Hollywood and saw her and Ken. We were too afraid to speak to her and chickened out, so nope we didn't speak with her or get photos with her. The IACP conference was a blast, I got to spend some time and meet some of favorite people in the world of food who have always inspired me. Now for the awards, I won the Best Photo Based Culinary Blog for this year and I couldn't be more thankful to you (click the link to see all the winners). You guys have given me so much support and love over the years and I wish you were all there with me to celebrate!

But since you couldn't be there physically, we can all celebrate with ice cream. As a kid whenever I got a cold, my dad would recommend drinking a glass of hot milk with turmeric sweetened with honey or sugar. But I've been toying with this idea for a while, why not put all of this into an ice cream and add some ginger? Sure, this ice cream is a culmination of a lot of home cold remedies in a way..... Okay, I have no scientific evidence that this will actually fight colds but it's really good! The bright yellow color of turmeric, the fresh ginger juice and the honey makes this one delicious ice cream. You can add a few bits of crystallized ginger and I did consider doing that but 1 1/2 tablespoons of juice squeezed out of a fresh piece of ginger root is intense, so I'd personally recommend cutting back on the amount of juice if you want to incorporate ginger bits. Also, don't add fresh ginger juice to milk and boil it, it will curdle! 

My recipe is loosely based on Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's cream cheese technique which makes this an egg-free version. 

turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table
turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table
turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table
turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table
turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table
turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table
turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this ice cream;

  • Use a young and fresh ginger root, the flavor is better. I add the ginger juice to the ice cream base once it is chilled or the milk can curdle when hot. You can cut back on the amount of ginger used if you like it less intense
  • You could garnish this with bits of crystallized ginger root but I felt that it would be too gingery because the fresh ginger flavor is pretty strong.
turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream| A Brown Table

turmeric and ginger honeycomb ice cream

yields: about 1 pint

ingredients

2 cups whole milk

2 cups half and half

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 cup fine grain sugar

1/4 cup diced honeycomb

2 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch powder

2 tablespoons water

3 ounces creamcheese

1 1/2 tablespoons peeled and freshly grated ginger root

1. Place the milk, half and half, turmeric powder, salt, sugar, honeycomb and honey in a thick-bottomed medium sized saucepan. Stir on medium-high heat with constant stirring until all the milk starts to boil. When the milk starts to boil vigorously, whisk the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk into the saucepan. Allow the ice cream base to thicken by boiling for about 4 minutes with constant stirring. The mixture should resemble a custard and coat the back of a spoon. Pass the hot mixture through a sieve, then whisk the mixture into a large bowl containing the creamcheese. Store the ice cream in a gallon ziploc bag, place the bag in an ice water bath until it is completely chilled. 

2. Squeeze and collect the juice from the freshly grated ginger root. Stir this juice into the chilled ice cream base. Pour the liquid into your ice cream maker and churn as per the manufacturer's instructions. Store in a freezer safe container and allow to freeze for at least 4 hours until firm. 

 

 

spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf

spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table

For the past few weeks, I've realized I'm terrible when it comes to saving time during the week and for that matter sticking to clean eating habits. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat out and try new things whenever possible but it starts to add up and things can get rather expensive. Consequently, I've been trying to get my act together and start planning out our weekly meals. There are a bunch of new one pot meals that I've been working on and I've kept one recurring theme in mind, little effort but bold flavors.

Though I can cook for hours, I hate, hate washing dishes and wiping the kitchen table down after I'm done. There are times when I want to snap my fingers or twitch my nose in the hope that my mess cleans itself up. Unfortunately, it doesn't but there is one thing that can happen to make all of this a little less crazy.  Through trial and error, I've figured out what works best for me and I've learned to set realistic goals with a more practical approach. Less prep work and cooking time translates to more free time to do other things and it makes me very, very happy!

By using a rotisserie chicken, I've cut back on a lot of time that would have otherwise been spent at the stove/oven. From shredding to chopping to simply serving it as is, the meat can be used in lots of tasty ways and you can add it to dishes such as this pilaf to make a hearty meal..  

This one pot meal is very aromatic and flavorful. Basmati rice has it's own floral scent and that fragrance when infused with cardamom and bay leaves makes one spectacular dish. The chickpeas and chicken in the pilaf are infused with an extra layer of flavor from this  delicious Progresso stock, turmeric and ginger root. I prefer to use the unsalted version of Progresso's chicken stock to control the taste of the dish but you can use their regular one too.

spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen notes that you might find helpful when preparing this dish;

  • Use a good rotisserie chicken. I like to use the herb seasoned or lemon seasoned ones in this particular dish as they add great flavor to the rice and chickpeas.
  • As always, I recommend leaving the whole spices in the rice when serving. It showcases what to expect in terms of flavor and taste and makes a great garnish.
  • Use long grain basmati rice, preferably the Indian one. The other varieties don't taste as good and don't give the same aroma or flavor.
spiced chickpeas and chicken pilaf | A Brown Table

spiced chickpeas an chicken pilaf

yields: 4 to 6 servings

ingredients

2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil

1 cup red onion, diced

2 tablespoons julienned peeled ginger root

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne powder

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 cup basmati/long grain rice, washed and drained

4 black peppercorns or 2 long black peppercorns

2 green cardamom pods, cracked

3 bay leaves

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin discarded

2 cups Progresso unsalted chicken stock

  

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee/olive oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes  until light pink. Then add the ginger and turmeric and cook for 1 minute. Fold in the chickpeas, salt, and chili powder, cover the dutch oven with its lid and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the dutch oven from stove and transfer the contents to a large mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of cilantro and keep aside

2. In the same dutch oven, heat the remaining ghee/oil. Add the drained rice, peppercorns, green cardamom, and bay leaves. Cook the rice and spices constantly stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and stock to the rice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the dutch oven with its lid and allow the rice to cook, undisturbed for about 15 to 20 minutes. The rice is cooked when the water has completely evaporated and the grains are tender. Fold in the chickpeas and cook for another minute. Remove from stove, garnish with remaining cilantro and serve warm.

 Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Progresso and FeedFeed. The opinions expressed are solely my own. 

winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing

winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table

I must make a confession, I'm not the best at naming recipes and at times, I struggle with what to call some of my recipes. Since most of the dishes I create and share are often not traditionally Indian and in some way are inspired by my environment and emotions, it's can get difficult. I don't like to name my dishes as "Indian ___" as it sounds odd. Those kind of names bug me as much as as I hear the word "chai ___" but when you go through the recipe there is no chai (tea) present. If I called this salad dressing as Indian spicy cilantro dressing, I'd be uncomfortable. I call this my "noun-adjective paradox" because it can .  So I usually defer to the much more simpler method of labeling my dishes with the prominent ingredients I use in them, I did it this time too. This delicious salad dressing today had me up for hours, wondering whether I should call it an Indian-inspired dressing or an Indian green goddess dressing. Whatever it might be called, this is one tasty and spicy green salad dressing to enjoy!

One of the best things I've finally tasted in 2016, is the pink lady apple. I'd heard of them before but never eaten one until recently. These ladies are a game changer, a life changer, they look good and they taste good. Their texture is crisp enough to dump it into a salad and if you slice them thin enough, it gives you just the right amount of sweetness and crispy texture to each bite you consume. Overall this salad is pretty "wintry", I put purple/red and regular good old green curly kale leaves, some cooked black lentils, avocado (not so winter) and the lady apples. It's a hearty salad and the dressing is very, very guilt free. I use Califia's unsweetened almond milk to make the base of the dressing, fresh cilantro leaves for flavor and color, add lime juice for acidity and fresh thai chilis and ginger for a kick. But to make it thick and give it body, this dressing needs some fat and plain almond butter does the trick here making it creamy enough to hold.

winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this salad,

  • Any type of kale will work here, just shred it well and toss the midrib out. 
  • If you can't find lady apples use Granny smith apples the tartness works well.
  • If you cut the apples and don't want them to brown. Soak them in an ice cold water bath with 2 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice. Drain the slices before you add them to the salad.
  • I like to presoak my lentils as it does make them cook faster when it comes to boiling. 
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table

winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

for the salad

1 cup cooked black lentils

4 cups shredded kale leaves (I used a mix red and green varieties)

1 large avocado, diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 pink lady apple, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pepitas, toasted

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. And toss to combine. Keep aside refrigerated until ready to serve with the salad dressing. Salad dressing can be added and tossed with salad or served on the side . 

spicy cilantro dressing

yields: about 1 1/2 cups

ingredients

1 cup Califia unsweetened almond milk

4 tablespoons almond butter, unsweetened

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped

1 cup packed cilantro leaves

4 tablespoons lime juice, fresh

6 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon thai chili peppers, chopped

1 teaspoon fine grain salt

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Serve with the winter salad. 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms but all opinions expressed are solely my own.

dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie

dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table

Ashlae of Oh Ladycakes is one of the friendliest bloggers I know, she's fun and full of good energy. She's a whiz when it comes to baking vegan pastries and recently, she and her husband visited all the places in India that M's being wanting to see such as the Taj Mahal and the beautiful palaces of Rajasthan. At one point, we even talked about meeting up with her in India on her trip but then things got busy with house hunting and we had to skip any big trips for the year. However, I did get an opportunity to do something fun with her this year and it's all about pies! Ashlae organized a fun virtual pie party for which I've baked this apple and cranberry whole-wheat lattice pie that's infused the filling with dry mango powder and jaggery. 

Here's a confession: I've always avoided lattice pies on the blog because honestly, it is easier to show how to weave the framework versus writing how to do it.  I hope the large panel of photos below makes it a bit easier to see the weaving. Your basically draping a few strips of pastry in one direction and then you keep alternating and folding the other strips over each other. 

I've announced, the winner of the America's Test Kitchen cookbook giveaway on Instagram! Have a great holiday and stay warm. 

dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this pie that you might find useful;

  • Use chilled ingredients and make sure even the equipment is cool. Anything that the pastry will touch should be cool to touch, that's my rule when it comes to making a flaky pastry.
  • Choose apples that are low in water and not too sweet when making an apple pie. Granny Smiths are great but this time I used Golden Delicious apples (you can also use a half and half ratio if you want to mix things up).
  • I've incorporated two ingredients commonly used in Indian cooking. Amchur, is a powder obtained by dry raw green mangoes and it balances the tart flavors of the cranberries and apples in the filling by giving it a mild hint of tanginess yet warmth. I use jaggery which is a type of raw brown sugar found in most Indian stores and even online. I advocate using jaggery because the filling doesn't end up being too sweet and it also gives the filling an earthy flavor, it's almost smoky (if that makes any sense). Brown sugar on the other hand though a good substitute can make the filling cloyingly sweet.
  • I've included step-by-step photos for the lattice prep process. It's easier than it looks and requires a little extra effort and patience. But it's worth it. I'm not the best 

I used Rose Levy Bernabaum's recipe from her book The Baking Bible . Her cream cheese technique is pure genius and the crust is flaky. I did make a few changes by using whole-wheat pastry flour which is low in gluten (so the pastry is flakier and made with whole grain) and I also incorporate a little sugar in to the pastry dough to give it a hint of sweetness.

dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table

standard double crust pie dough (pastry recipe adapted from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)

yields: one 9 inch double crust pie

ingredients

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks/170gm) unsalted butter, chilled

290gm whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2 teaspoons fine grain sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

128gm cream cheese, cold

3 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk

1 tablespoon (15mL) cider vinegar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar or sparkling sugar

1. Cube the butter into small chunks, wrap with plastic film and freeze for 30 minutes. 

2. Dry whisk the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and freeze in an airtight container for 30minutes. Attach the dough blade to a food processor, then put the flour mixture into the bowl of the food processor. Cube the cream cheese into 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Pulse the mixture for about 30 seconds until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cubes of frozen butter and pulse until the butter cubes are reduced to the size of small peas. Add the cream (or milk) and cider vinegar and pulse until the entire mixture resembles chunky particles. Transfer this to a dry clean gallon ziploc bag. Remove most of the air from the bag and then seal it. Using the heel of your hand knead and press the mixture from the outside of the bag to bring the dough together. Open the bag and transfer the dough to a large sheet of cling film. Form a large ball of dough and then divide it into two-thirds and one-third. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before using (you can make the dough up to 2 days in advance).

3. For the pie shell, use the two-thirds portion and for the 10 strip lattice use the one-third. To roll out the dough, either use a lightly floured cold surface such as marble stone or a silicone pastry mat. Alternatively, you can also roll out each pastry portion between sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough out from center outwards with uniform pressure to get a thickness of 1/8 inch. Add very little flour when rolling it out, just enough to prevent it from sticking. For a 9 inch lattice pie, roll it out to get a 12 inch diameter circle. Place the rolled out circle of pastry over the pie pan and fit it to the pie plate. Take care to avoid stretching the pastry or it might might shrink during baking. 

4. Fill the pie with the apple cranberry filling (at room temperature) and spread it out evenly using a large spoon or spatula.

5. Roll out the remaining 1/3 portion of pastry and any remaining scraps of pastry together to form 10 inch circle. Using a fluted pastry roller cut the pastry into twelve, 1/2 inch wide strips. Use the strips to weave a lattice as shown in the step-by-step images above in the instructional panel. Start by layering 6 strips across the length of the pie at equal distance and then weave the remaining 6 strips of pastry to form the lattice. You can trim the excess pastry strips hanging off the edges of the pie and then fold the pastry from the base to wrap the edges. Optional:If you have leftover pastry, you can also cut out small stars and glue them with a little water and line them along the edge of the pie to form a border and put one large star in the center.

6. Brush the lattice lightly with the remaining tablespoon of milk and sprinkle with the sparkling/granulated sugar. Refrigerate the pie for 45 minutes wrapped loosely with plastic wrap. In the meantime, place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 400F. Bake the chilled pie for 45 to 60 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving warm.

dry mango apple and cranberry pie filling

yields: enough filling for one 9 inch pie

ingredients

3 lbs (1360gm) Golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups (300gm) fresh/frozen cranberries

1 1/2 teaspoons amchur (dry mango powder)

1/4 cup water

300gm jaggery

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Mix the apples and lemon juice together and keep aside. 

2. Place the cranberries, amchur, water and jaggery in medium thick-bottomed saucepan and heat on medium-low heat. Cover with a lid, stir occasionally and crush the cranberries with the base of wooden spoon, cook until the jaggery has dissolved. 

3. Fold in the apples and cover the saucepan with the lid. Cook for another 10 minutes until the apples start to get translucent. Stir in the cornstarch and cook for another 5 minutes until the mixture becomes very thick. The apples should be tender but not mushy. Remove from stove, cool to room temperature or refrigerate if preparing a day or two in advance. 

Note: Thank you to PieBox for sending me one of their gorgeous handcrafted pie boxes for this post! 

 

pear and ginger compote

pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table

Here's a confession for you, I never liked pears. I didn't hate them but I didn't care for them as much as I liked apples. As a kid, apples were always a better option than pears when I had to choose. And now, I can't even remember the reason for my dislike. Such is the craziness of a picky eater, a fickle minded child! My poor parents.

I doubt I'll plant a pear tree because I have my hands tied with a few plants that I struggle to keep alive but if I did it would be one that bore red Anjou pears. Hopefully, it wouldn't bear one fruit just like my fig and pomegranate plants did this year. (Fingers crossed, next year might be more fruitful)

If you're looking for something sweet and easy to prepare, to top over dishes or serve with a selection of cheeses at a party, then you should consider this pear compote. It also goes great with yogurt (pictured here) and also with sausage. A pinch of black salt (kala namak) and a hint of green cardamom flavor the fruit while it glistens in a golden coat of sweet maple syrup. 

pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table
pear and ginger compote 6.jpg
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this compote,

  • Use ripe pears that have a firm texture so they don't get mushy and fall apart when cooking. Here's a good guide to pears. I used Anjou but Bosc are also a good choice. 
  • Don't stir the pears too much while they cook. This allows the water to evaporate but also allows  the maple syrup to coat the fruit evenly. 
  • I tend to leave the cardamom pods in the compote but you can discard the green shell after the fruit is cooked. 
  • Serve this compote as an accompaniment to a cheese platter, over your breakfast oatmeal bowl or yogurt. There's a lot you can do with it. However, do warm it up a little, if you end up refrigerating it. Ghee solidifies as the temperature drops and warming it a little will liquefy it. Just stir it up before use.
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table
pear and ginger compote | A Brown Table

pear and ginger compote

yields: 2 cups

ingredients

4 large pears (approximately 376gm)

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced

1 teaspoon ghee

1/4 teaspoon black salt

1 cup maple syrup

4 tablespoons water

5 green cardamom pods

1. Core and peel the pears. Dice them into 1/2 inch cubes and keep aside.

2. Add the ghee to a medium-size thick bottomed saucepan and heat on medium-high. Lightly crush the green cardamom pods and add them to the hot ghee and sauté for 10 seconds. Then add the ginger, black salt, maple syrup and water and stir for 30 seconds.

3. Add the diced pears to the ingredients in the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir and cover the saucepan loosely with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. The pears will be golden brown in color and most of the liquid will have evaporated. Remove the saucepan from the stove and transfer the pears to a clean dish or jar. The pear compote can be served warm or at room temperature. You can refrigerate this compote for storage, however warm it a little before serving so the ghee melts.

rose and strawberry almond milk falooda

rose and strawberry almond milk falooda | A Brown Table

You'll notice a new tab up on the blog, it's a link to my photography portfolio. Some photographs will be familiar and others new to you but in general, it's a collection of projects I've worked on or currently working on. When people ask me what I like more being in the kitchen or working with the camera, I find it hard to choose and honestly, I don't think there should be a choice. In that very sense, maintaining a food blog is the nexus of these two elements and I think it also answers that question. Probably, one of the most exciting things is having the choice to do things the way you want to and breaking and bending the rules, be it food or the camera. 

"Falooda" is probably one of the most popular dessert type drinks you can find in India. When I visited India, last year I got one and made sure it was topped with ice cream. An ice cold glass of sweet rose flavored milk served with ice cream, thin vermicelli noodles and basil seeds. But before I talk about my version, I have to give a shout out to a Persian dessert that is the origin of this delicious drink.

Persians have a dessert with a similar name called "Faloodeh" which is pretty spectacular, the ones I've generally eaten at Persian restaurants, is a rose and lemon flavored frozen dessert with thin vermicelli noodles and I like to top it off with some sour cherry sauce. But there are variations, on this theme that I know I have to taste soon. If you visit a Persian restaurant get it, you will love it. 

In this updated version of the Indian drink, I've skipped the dairy in favor of almond milk from Califia. Falooda is all about the layers so I stuck with the theme because that's what makes it rather exciting, besides all the lovely flavors. I kept the vermicelli and the rose, well sort of. Ideally you would use rose syrup but rose water is much gentler and you can control the sweetness, the syrup on the other hand can be super sweet in this drink. Basil seeds can be tricky to find but chia seeds are easily found at most stores and give a similar gelatinous texture after being soaked. I added a layer of strawberry purée to give a pop of color to the drink (usually the rose syrup does that job) , the purée is also sweetened with sugar which is why I avoided sweetening the almond milk but if you want you can sweeten the milk or use Califia's sweetened almond milk. The garnishes I suggest are all optional, some of you might like edible rose petals while others might not but the ice cream is always a nice touch (you know how much I love ice cream, I'm rather surprised that for once I didn't have any at home to add to this falooda).

rose and strawberry almond milk falooda | A Brown Table
rose and strawberry almond milk falooda | A Brown Table
rose and strawberry almond milk falooda | A Brown Table
rose and strawberry almond milk falooda | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this drink,

  • You'll notice I don't call for adding any extra sugar or sweetener to the almond milk. The strawberry purée is pretty sweet to begin with so I didn't find the need to add any more. However, if you want it sweeter, feel free to add more sugar. You can also use Califia's Almond Coconut milk blend or their pre-sweetened almond milk. They will all work very well in this drink.
  • Chia seeds absorb a lot of liquid, you might find the need to shake or stir things up in the jar when you soak them overnight. You might also need to add a little more milk to the seeds if you find them in a big chunky clump. 
  • The strawberry purée is rather thick but if you want you can thin it out a little if you prefer with water or simple syrup. Just remember that as it thins out the vermicelli will sink through and sit on top of the chia seed layer. 
  • This drink is pretty heavy and I find it best served after a really light lunch or dinner. 
  • Since this drink is all about layers when presenting, it's important not to mix them up when preparing the glasses. Carefully prepare the layers but be extra careful when pouring the almond milk over the vermicelli layer. Another trick that works well here, carefully pour the milk over a spoon so it doesn't disturb the layers.
rose and strawberry almond milk falooda | A Brown Table

rose and strawberry almond milk falooda

yields: 2 servings

ingredients 

4 cups unsweetened Califia almond milk, chilled

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups water 

1/4 cup vermicelli noodles (broken into 2 to 3 inch long fragments)

1 tablespoon rose water 

1 tablespoon dried rose petals (optional)

ice cubes/crushed ice for serving (optional)

vanilla or strawberry or rose ice cream for serving (optional)

1. Take 1/2 cup of the almond milk in a medium-sized clean glass jar, sprinkle the chia seeds over the milk. Close the surface of the jar with a tight lid or cling film and shake. Leave the chia seeds to expand and absorb liquid for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours but preferably overnight in a refrigerator.

2. To prepare the strawberry purée, place the strawberries in a medium-sized thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat along with the sugar and half cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low then cover with a lid and cook the contents of the saucepan for another 5 minutes. Remove from stove, allow to cool and then purée in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Strain the purée through a fine mesh strainer and discard the seeds. Reserve the strawberry purée and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill before use. 

3. To prepare the vermicelli noodles. Bring the remaining two cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the vermicelli and cook until soft and tender (they do not need to be al dente but should be cooked completely). Remove from stove, drain the hot water carefully and add cold tap water to cool the noodles. 

4. To prepare the falooda, take 2 tall glasses. Layer each with half of the chia seeds. Then layer about 1/2 cup of strawberry purée (you can use less if desired) over the chia seeds carefully with a spoon. Drain the water from the cooked vermicelli and divide the mixture equally between the two jars over the strawberry pureé layer. To the remaining almond milk, add the rose water. (You can also sweeten the milk with a little sugar or sweetener of your choice. See Note in Tip section above). Pour the almond milk over the layered noodles in each glass carefully to avoid the layers from mixing. Garnish with rose petals or ice cubes/crushed ice and/or ice cream if desired (you can do all three if you want in any combination). Serve chilled with a long spoon. Before drinking, stir the contents of the glass.

Note: This post was sponsored by Califia farms and all thoughts expressed here are solely my own.