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.

rose petal and saffron ice cream

rose petal and saffron ice cream

Perhaps the hardest challenge of adulthood is attempting something you should have done during your childhood. This is how I feel about camping, I should have tried it as a kid so I could have been acclimated by now. Last weekend, a friend of mine was to cross his thirtieth year and being an avid camper, he asked a bunch of us to spend the weekend camping up in the mountains of West Virginia. I love the outdoors and nature so I was excited about that portion but not so enthusiastic about the parts related to personal hygiene (which I partially blame on getting my undergraduate degree in microbiology, it's made me a germ-o-phobe!). Consequently, I had my fears and I packed my bags with all sorts of antibacterial agents and bug sprays in my battle kit. When we reached our destination, the campgrounds were beautiful and we were right next to the river, I avoided the bugs and they avoided me, though some of my friends were not so lucky. Our tent was huge, with a little pseudo patio area  in the front and we had enough room to arrange our clothes neatly on one side (OCD craziness). The bathrooms were clean and the only thing I envied and highly missed was my treasured and now highly appreciated and valued daily showers. After "roughing it out" and doing all the crazy insane things that come with camping, I have to admit that my initial fears have been allayed and I can safely say that I would try it again (I'll still prefer a campsite with heated water amenities and clean bathrooms). But for now, I am going to go and check that important life experience off my list!

trickling

Now moving from the mountains of West Virginia and back to the streets of DC! I like to support our growing local  DC food scene which not only has several new eateries and restaurants but also a number of market spots that focus on and promote the use of local seasonal produce and dairy from the neighboring farms. One such place in the D.C. food scene is Union Market. Often on weekends, we drive down  to grab a quick bite at the many different fun food stations/restaurants and will also pick up our groceries. Over time our favorite booth has become the amazing dairy store run by the folks from the Trickling Springs Creamery that's based in the heart of Amish country around the DC region where they source their milk from local family farms. The first time we walked into their booth, we each got a scoop of their grape nut ice cream that was deliciously soft and creamy! Ever since then I migrated to using their dairy products at home. Their milk is fresh with that mild natural sweetness that made us both avid fans at home, so much so that if I don't have time to go down to Union Market, I'll run by our local Whole Foods (who also carry their dairy products) to pick up their milk. Plus they also offer an opportunity to recycle glass bottles which is such a rarity these days! Trickling Springs Creamery uses a special low-temperature small-batch pasteurization process to retain not only the high quality of their milk but also the benefits of the natural proteins and enzymes present in milk. Seriously, if there is anytime the freshness and high quality of milk is necessitated, it is in frozen dessert recipes such as ice creams and kulfis.

rose syrup

I know another frozen dessert recipe back-to-back but I felt compelled to share this recipe with you sooner than later. It's hot and humid and this ice cream fits in perfectly with the weather. It's rich and creamy yet soft and delicious with the scent of cardamom and yellow tint of saffron. But it's the fragrance of the rose petals and the lemon-rose syrup that make it so special and fitting for summer. I've used Gulkhand or Indian candied rose-petal preserves several times before to make cookies and cakes. You can find gulkhand and rose syrups at Amazon and in almost any Indian or Middle Eastern store (for the different varieties of rose syrups, I have previously listed the brands  that I've used here and they are available from Amazon).

icecreamprep

rose petal and saffron ice cream 

yields: 16 medium sized-scoops

ingredients

1 quart or 4 cups whole milk 
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seeds, freshly ground
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/4 cup gulkhand (candied rose petals)
4 tablespoons rose water
1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, strained to remove pulp 
1/4 cup rose syrup

1. In a thick bottomed saucepan, bring 3 cups of the milk and sugar to a boil on medium-high flame. Immediately reduce to a gentle simmer, add the saffron and ground cardamom and continue to cook with constant stirring until the milk reduces to 2 cups. This should take approximately 25-30 minutes. Just be careful to avoid scalding the milk.
2. Whisk the cornflour into the reserved one cup of milk (make sure there are no lumps) and pour it into the hot milk in the saucepan and bring the milk to a boil again. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook with constant stirring for another 10 minutes. At this point the milk should be thick with a custard consistency. 
3. Remove the milk from the burner. Fold in the gulkhand, rose water and heavy cream. Transfer to a glass bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. 
4. Pour the ice cream liquid into your ice cream maker and proceed as per your manufacturer's instructions (I used the Cusinart ICE-30BC ice cream maker for 25 minutes). Transfer the ice cream into a clean freezer proof dish and allow it to firm for at least 4-6 hours before serving.
4. Whisk the lemon juice and rose syrup together in a small bowl. Before serving, top each scoop of the ice-cream with the lemon-rose syrup as needed. 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for this product and all opinions stated here are my own.

rose cake

Rose Cake with Candied Rose Petal Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Mardi Gras! However, once Fat Tuesday is gone this will also end up as the week of all things sweet that are pink and red, so I thought it would be appropriate for me to share a recipe that displayed the colors and mood of the week. Personally, I am not much of a big Valentine's day person, I prefer if people loved and sent me gifts on each of the 365 days of the year versus just one day. Plus the "holiday" these days is way too commercialized and over priced, so I tend to avoid it. But this week I too will have a pink colored week with this delicious rose petal flavored cake and I hope you will enjoy it too! Ever since I baked my rose and cardamom cookies for the cookie swap, I've been besieged with thoughts of baking a rose-themed cake sans the cardamom. 

Candied Rose Petals, Rose water and an Eggy Whisk

I wanted a soft, tender and moist cake that would just simply smell and taste of fresh roses. Rose water is a very mild ingredient when it comes to fragrance but if you can get your hands on a good quality rose syrup that is used to make sweet drinks and sherbets, you are in luck! I normally use the Rooh Afza brand which I find very easily in most Indian stores as a stronger rose flavoring ingredient if I want to flavor a dessert. Another fun ingredient that you can also find at most Indian and Middle Eastern stores is the candied rose petal preserve called gulkhand. This is a very common accompaniment in India that is used as a mouth cleanser and freshener after a meal. Just by itself, I find the taste and fragrance to be deliciously heavenly. Fresh edible rose petals are collected and then cooked with honey or sugar to create a preserve of the tender petals.
For my cake, I adapted a chiffon cake recipe from one of my favorite and in my mind, a very useful cookbook, "The Science of Good Cooking" by Cook's Illustrated. If you are a science geek or nerd, then you will love this book.
For the frosting, I turned as always in time of need to my domestic fairy godmother Martha Stewart, for her easy cream cheese frosting. By adding the rose petal preserves and flavoring it with the rose water and syrup, I eliminated the need to incorporate the petals into the cake batter. You can  adjust the color of the frosting by adding a little more or less of the syrup. The oil keeps the cake moist while the cake flour offers a tender crumb due to its lower protein content than regular all-purpose flour. Do make sure to have your eggs at room temperature and always use fresh baking soda that is active!


Ready to  Bake Cake Batter

rose cake

servings: 12

ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups unbleached cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs (2 whole, 5 separated), room temperature
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil (preferably a neutral tasting oil)
2 tablespoons rose water
3 tablespoons rose syrup (Rooh Afza brand or any other rose syrup that is sweet and red in color)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325F. Line the bottom of a 9" circular springform pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt for one minute, till all the dry ingredients are completely mixed. 
3. Whisk in the 2 whole eggs and the 5 egg yolks, water, oil, and rose water until the batter is smooth. Do not over mix the batter.
4. Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar at medium-low speed for 1 minute and then medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until the egg whites form stiff peaks. 
5. Using a silicone spatula carefully fold the egg whites into the batter. Make sure that all the egg whites are folded into the batter and there are no traces of egg white.
6. Pour the batter into the springform pan. 
7. Drizzle the rose syrup on the batter and with a fine knife or skewer (I use a bamboo skewer for this) swirl the red syrup in a random circular motion to create a swirl pattern.
8. Gently tap the pan to release any trapped air bubbles in the batter and bake the cake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the center. 
9. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least an hour and then remove the cake from the pan by carefully running a knife between the edges of the cake and the pan. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for another 2 hours before icing. 

rose petal cream cheese frosting 

yields: about 2 cups 

ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of butter, chopped, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup gulkhand or candied rose petal preserves
1 tablespoon rose syrup

1. In a large mixing bowl, mash the cream cheese with a fork or rubber spatula.
2. Gradually beat in the butter with an electric hand mixer until completely smooth.
3. Sift the sugar into the bowl and beat until smooth.
4. Mix the gulkhand/preserves and rose syrup in a small bowl to make a slurry. Beat this into the frosting until completely mixed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before use. 

assembling the cake

1. Slice the cooled cake in half with a serrated bread knife. Carefully place the top of the cake aside on a clean surface. 
2. Spread about half of the cream cheese frosting on the surface of the lower half of the cake.
3. Carefully align and place the top half of the cake over the frosted lower half. 
4. Spread the rest of the frosting on the top of the cake. 

Note: I recommend chilling the cake for 20 minutes before serving. It makes it easier to cut the cake without having cake move. The frosting gets firmer and will prevent the sandwiched cake from sliding.  While assembling the cake, it useful to  place the cake onto a circular cake drum, it will make it easy for you to transfer the frosted cake to a cake stand or any other serving dish.