cardamom turmeric chia seed pudding

cardamom turmeric chia seed pudding

How much chia pudding can I eat? Clearly, as last week would indicate, a whole lot. Let's just say this pudding was made twice, once to test and the second time to confirm. I'll be honest, I love, love , love chia for its texture in liquids, however, the health benefits are always the last thing on my mind when I gorge on chia puddings. I'm simply just thinking about my spoon being full! 

turmeric chia seeds

Cardamom and rose water are probably one of the two most common ingredients used in Indian desserts and I have a particular fondness for both since they remind me of all my favorite childhood desserts. Chia too, occupies a special place in my food memories as it is commonly used in an Indian rose flavored milk drink called falooda. This particular chia pudding recipe combines all of those delicious flavors that I love with a hint of turmeric. There are two ways to gorge eat this pudding, raw or boiled turmeric, either way it is delicious and soothing and comforting. You can eat this for breakfast or serve it as a light chilled dessert after a heavy meal, just make sure the spoon is large enough to scoop a big bite, every time. 

cardamom and turmeric chia seed pudding

I love spending a few minutes of my day reading other food blogs and sites, these people inspire and teach me and also make me very hungry. Here are some of my favorite recent reads that I wanted to share with you; 
  • Izzy from Top with Cinnamon shared this amazing Coconut Milk Ice Cream that's adorned with a beautiful green pistachio crumble.
  • I recently discovered Sini of My Blue and White Kitchen where she shared a Pulla/Swedish Cardamom-Spiced Sweet Bun recipe. She put cardamom in it so don't think I need to explain why I love this so much.
  • Phi of Princess Tofu made this spectacular Wild Onion and Stinging Nettle Soup, she also taught me a wonderful new hashtag for artichokes.
vegan cardamom turmeric chia seed pudding

cardamom turmeric chia seed pudding

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 cup water (optional, see Note in step1)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom, freshly ground
3 tablespoons sugar (adjust as desired)
4 cups almond milk, unsweetened
1 tablespoon rose water

1. Mix the turmeric and water in a small saucepan and heat on a medium-low flame for 2 minutes or until the water begins to just boil. Remove from stove and allow to cool. OR 
Note: You can also make the raw version of this pudding by skipping the heating step completely. Mix the turmeric in water and then proceed to step 2.
2. In a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk the turmeric water and the rest of the ingredients. Transfer the contents to a container with a lid, cover with lid and refrigerate overnight. Stir the pudding before serving and serve chilled.

dragon fruit pudding

Pudding for breakfast

Fall's here and I'm already in the midst of planning vacations for Christmas, New Year's and the rest of winter. I've been busy drawing up lists of places I'd like to visit, restaurants I'd love to eat at and sight's I'd like to experience. A whole lot of planning that has me extremely distracted but happily excited. I never thought I'd say this but I am really looking forward to winter. This is how I have spent the past few weekend mornings looking at maps and eating this light and refreshing breakfast pudding. 

Dragon fruit

With a name like dragon you'd expect a little more of a blast in flavor but surprisingly the soft flesh of dragon fruit is mildly sweet with a fresh melon-like taste. I will give it this, if I had to imagine what a dragon egg would look like, a dragon fruit certainly has the exterior shape. But to me, it's all about the crunch in those little black seeds of the dragon fruit. Because of its mild sweetness, I tend to prefer dragon fruit as a refreshing fruit for breakfast, another reason why I decided to prepare this breakfast-themed pudding.

Dragon fruit pudding

To give the pudding a little bit of a flavor boost,  I've added a little bit of rambutan pulp that has a gentle floral sweet taste. Rambutans are related to lychees and longans, once you get past peeling the skin of you are left with the sweet juicy transparent flesh that has a delightful exotic floral taste. If you can't find rambutans you can use lychees which are generally easier to find at most places. 

Rambuttan
To bring everything together, I've added low-fat coconut milk and lightly sweetened it with a little brown sugar. Of course, if you prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar. You have a couple of options here when it comes to serving the pudding, you can either pour it directly into serving dishes and allow it to set or alternatively pour it into casting molds, set and then remove before serving. Which ever way you decide to go, make sure the pudding is served chilled, the flavors are delicious when cold. 

Tropical fruit

Now, it's time for me to go back and plan these holidays out and eat some more of this pudding!

Dragon fruit pudding served

dragon fruit pudding

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1/2 cup water
1 sachet unflavored gelatin
1 dragon fruit
5 rambutans, peeled, seed removed, and finely diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 can lite coconut milk

1.  Add the water to a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Leave aside to allow the gelatin to bloom for at least 5 minutes. The gelatin will absorb the liquid and look like swollen translucent granules.
2. Add the sugar and coconut milk to a thick-bottomed saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer on a medium-low flame.
3. Scoop the dragon fruit pulp into a bowl. Smash the pulp with the prongs of a fork.
4. Add the dragon fruit and rambutan fruit pulps to the coconut milk in the saucepan.
5. Stir in the gelatin and mix for about 1 minute. Pour and evenly divide the liquid into serving bowls or molds and refrigerate until the pudding is soft but firm to touch. This will take at least 4 hours. Serve chilled directly in serving bowls. If using molds, then place the outer surface of the mold in warm water for a few seconds to loosen, flip onto a clean plate, tap gently and remove mold. 

panna cotta with poached fig sauce


Another fig recipe so soon, I know, I know. I've been pretty fortunate for the past few weeks to get fresh ripe figs on a weekly basis. They are perfect! Figs are ripe and ready to eat when they feel like soft swollen balloons that are almost ready to burst. Sometimes when entertaining, I like to serve up simple desserts. The ones that are no fuss and easy to make. You dump everything together and literally forget about them till you are ready to eat. You let the ingredients do all the work and talking for you. This is one such dessert to woo your guests over in a single delicious bite.


Of all the puddings that I have tried, panna cotta is probably one of the most delicate and yet so simplistically elegant desserts. In my mind it invokes all sorts of culinary praise. You scoop a little pudding and once it enters your mouth it melts. The cool buttermilk and vanilla pervade your taste buds and delight them in every possible way. This how I feel about my panna cotta consumption experience. 


The fig sauce compliments the panna cotta not only visually but also provides a surprising burst of complex fruity flavors. The fig sauce can be served with almost any other dessert as a topping. It makes a delicious accompaniment to bread pudding, ice creams, cakes, etc. You can also serve the fig sauce by itself with a little bit of whipped creme fraiche or mascarpone. I adapted these recipes from one of my favorite dessert chefs Alice Medrich from her Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts Cookbook.


panna cotta

ingredients

1/4 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups 1% or skim buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1. Lightly spray six individual dessert dishes with a neutral and flavorless vegetable oil spray.
2.  Pour the water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on the surface. Set aside, without stirring. The gelatin will absorb water and begin to swell.
3. Heat the cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over a medium flame. Stir continuously till the sugar is dissolved. Do not bring to a boil. 
4. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the vanilla and water-gelatin mixture. Stir well at this stage with a whisk to disperse the gelatin. Cool the mixture till lukewarm. 
5. Gently whisk in the buttermilk and stir thoroughly. Let this custard sit for about 10 minutes. It will begin to thicken as it keeps cooling down. Keep mixing it every 2 minutes or so with a rubber spatula. This will ensure a tender panna cotta. 
6. Once the mixture is cool to touch and thickens, divide and pour equally into the dessert dishes. Cover each with a piece of cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight to set.
7. The pudding is ready when the surface is firm to finger touch. You can serve them in the dessert dishes or remove them from the dishes onto a dessert plate using a sharp paring knife to loosen them from the sides of the dish. Top the surface of the dish with a dessert plate and invert the dish to release the panna cotta. 

poached fig sauce

ingredients

2 cups of strong coffee 
1 cup sugar (you can add a little more if you want it sweeter)
1 vanilla bean pod 
2 pounds ripe fresh brown turkey figs
1 cup red wine (I used a Shiraz)

1. Chop the figs in half. You can keep the stems if you want or trim them off.
2. Slice the vanilla bean in half across its length. Remove the seeds with the knife. Combine the vanilla bean, the seeds with the rest of the ingredients in the saucepan. Do not add the figs yet. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame. Reduce the flame and continue to cook the sauce to a gentle simmer till the volume reduces to half. 
3. Add the sliced figs and cook them for further 10 minutes. Stir gently. 
4. Remove the sauce from the stove and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 4 hours before using. 

Note: If the sauce is warm or too hot it will melt the panna cotta. Gelatin gelled food begin to melt at higher temperatures. 

pumpkin bread pudding


With midterms knocked out, my second monster to battle this week (that spills over into next week), is another thesis assignment. Regressions, numbers and a buddy named STATA will be my companions for quite a while.



After an astoundingly chilly night with snow, sleet and rain, we ventured out to spend the day at Roosevelt Island. I don't think I have ever seen snow in October, it feels like fall never even dropped by to say hi.We had a nice sunny day today so a picnic by the G.W. parkway seemed appropriate.


We relaxed, Snoopy sniffed around. The Potomac gently billowed a cool air under the bright sun which made this a great day to be outdoors.Oddly enough, for all the years that we have lived in D.C., we have never visited the island. The central monument inside the island is certainly a must-see and the little marsh trail around is equally breathtaking.


What can be more fun, warm and hearty than a bread pudding, well in my opinion a roasted pumpkin bread pudding! After my recent excursion to the neighboring pumpkin land around the Capitol, I felt compelled to work on a pumpkin flavored bread pudding recipe for my first post, post midterms. I like my bread puddings to be mildly sweet but then drizzled with warm and sticky sweet whiskey sauce. However, this recipe made me change my tune a little, a new wine reduction sauce to replace the traditional whiskey sauce with the creamy orange pudding enmeshed with toasty bread made this a recipe that must be shared.


I flipped the ingredients traditionally used in preparing bread pudding without compromising on taste and quality. There exist a fee good tricks to any good bread pudding is the right type of bread that is correctly toasted. Both sourdough and Challah bread go well with this recipe. I used Challah because I think it is divinely delicious in bread pudding. I normally let the bread soak in the egg mixture for at least in an hour in the refrigerator to let the egg get completely. Baking bread pudding in a water bath ensures that every end is cooked evenly and a nice crust. I use a rectangular pan a little larger than my baking dish filled with tap water. The eggs in the mixture do not overcook and get rubbery this way. Give the mulled red wine sauce a shot which has the perfect complementary taste to the pumpkin and the fall spices in it.


P.S. This also made the perfect picnic snack for our walk today....


pumpkin bread pudding

serves: 12 individuals
ingredients

Bread Pudding

4 cups Challah bread, chopped and cubed
1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
6 cups skim milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon powder

1/2 stick butter melted

1/2 cup packed dried raisins or sultanas soaked in dark rum for at least 1 day 

1. Toast the bread cubes in an oven at 375F for 10 minutes in an even single layer till they get golden brown. Remove and keep aside to cool. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs, followed by the milk, the pumpkin puree, salt, and spices. In a rectangular baking pan (about 9*10 inch rectangular pan), brush the bottom of the pan with about half of the melted butter and then spread the toasted bread cubes in a layer. 
3. Pour the entire liquid mixture on the bread and using a spatula gently, firmly press the bread down. Cover the open surface of the pan with cling film and keep the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 
4. After the refrigeration, sprinkle the raisins and drizzle the pan with the remaining melted butter.
5. Bake for one hour at 375F in a water bath till pudding is firm (or till a knife comes out clean from the center). Allow the pudding to cool to room temperature in the pan and the chill for about an hour or two before serving. (Note: I sometimes like to eat bread pudding warm but the sauce cool, its just a matter of preference and taste which is the best part of this recipe)

Sweet Mulled Red Wine Sauce

1/4 cup sugar
2 cups red wine (Shiraz)
1 star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder
2 tablespoons dried and chopped orange peels

1. In a thick bottomed saucepan, add all the ingredients with the wine and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally till the wine reduces to a thick sauce (about 1/2 of the original liquid volume should evaporate). 
2. Strain the reduction through a sieve and discard the solids. Drizzle the reserve liquid, either hot or cold on each slice of bread pudding before serving.