Fusion Indian caramel flan

Caramel, the name itself will get you imagining a beautiful golden river of sugar . Endless are the desserts which have caramel incorporated into them. Its a world wide favourite. Be it the salted caramel icecream or the luscious flans. Not to forget the alpenliebe caramel candy or the carmello cadbury chocolate both my favourites. Call this a flan, or a caramel custard , or a pudding, this dessert is always drool worthy.
Today’s recipe is my version of the caramel flan with a indian twist to it.

I have added cardamon and saffron with rose essence highlighting the pudding.
Recalling childhood days when we did not own an oven. Mummy made this pudding by steaming it . Of course she did not call it a flan, instead named it as bedhe ji pudding( egg pudding). And she always used cardamom as a flavoring . I never tried making this delicious pudding, only because either my mom or my sister always made this on my trips to India. This custard is also very popular in Parsi cuisine, called the lagna nu custard, normally served during weddings. The Parsi variation is more richly made. One of the best caramel custard pudding,I have ever eaten would be at the Dorabjee and sons Restaurant which is situated at dastur meher road , Pune. You can find the best authentic Parsi food here.
In recent years I have tried many receipes to get a good caramel flan, and this method is top rated in my diary.This flan be made by either baking it in an oven using a water bath, or by steaming it directly in a steamer.
Do try this recipe and relish it cold.

Ingredients
3 cups of full fat milk
200 ml condensed milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs( at room temperature)
1/2 tsp saffrons strands soaked in a little hot water
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp rose essence

Method
1. Boil milk and condensed milk together with the cardamom powder. Once it boils, shut the flame and keep aside. Cool completely.
2. To make the caramel, put 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a pan and heat on high heat untill sugar melts and starts browning .At this point lower the heat and allow the sugar to turn to a beautiful golden brown liquid. Try not to stir in between. Transfer this caramel to either one big oven proof dish or divide it into 2 dishes. Allow the caramel to cool.
3. Beat 4 eggs lightly and add to the cool milk mixture. Mix well and strain this mixture.
4. Add the saffron liquid and rose essence to the milk and egg mixture.
5. Pour into the caramelized bowls , cover the bowls with aluminium foil .
Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees celcius for 60 mins.
Cool completely before transferring to the fridge..

Overturn the caramel onto a serving platter at the time of serving.

Garnish with sliced almonds and pistas.

* For the water bath baking, I put the flan dishes in a baking tray and poured hot water into the tray , to come upto 1/4 level of the dishes.
Using this method, the flan does not dry up and retains its moisture.

Jhatpat cabbage sabji

One of the most humble and quick cooking vegetable. Cabbage can also be used raw in salads like coleslaw where purple and white cabbage leaves are mixed with mayonaise and carrots…served cold this is an amazing summer salad. Todays recipe is an amazingly quick sabji, have this with phulkas, and a raita. Based on gujrati cooking, I have added crushed peanuts for added crunch, and besan to absorb the water let out when our cabbage is cooking.

Growing up in Pune, I remember my mom making cabbage in sindhi style, which she always served with pan fried boiled eggs. Then it was not my favourite vegetable. I started loving this humble vegetable after I ate coleslaw at a restaurant, when it was served as a side dish with burgers.

Years later, it has found a niche in my kitchen where it is used in stir fries, soups and yes in my Indian cooking also. True to my love of regional indian cooking, this recipe has a permanant place in my cook book. Do try it.

Ingredients

200 gms finely sliced cabbage

1 finely sliced green paprika

1 boiled, peeled and cubed potato

1 tbsp besan, ( chick pea flour)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp hing

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsps mustard oil

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsps roasted and coarsely crushed peanuts

1 tsp kitchen king or pao bhaji masala

1 sprig curry leaves

Chopped corriander leaves.

Method

Heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Next add hing, curry leaves and garlic.

Saute well

Add the cabbage, paprika and saute for a minute.

Add the boiled potato, sugar, lime juice, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, pao bhaji masala and stir till cabbage lets out water and becomes limp…about 5 mins. Now add the besan and stir.

Lastly mix in peanuts and chopped corriander leaves.

Serve piping hot with chappatis/ phulkas and a raita.

SINDHI LASAGNA (MANI SEYAL CAKE)

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As the name suggests , todays recipe is of the quintessential breakfast of  sindhi homes.  Down the ages, some innovative home maker thought of using left over rotis in a practical form and came up with this delicious dish. Almost all sindhi homes serve this dish, but in many forms. Seyal maani( chappati) or Seyal dabroti using bread has many different recipes. Green masala paste or an onion based gravy is cooked and either bread or rotis are added to the simmering gravy and allowed to soak up the masala gravy. The normal procedure would be to tear up the chappatis into pieces and add to boiling gravy and cooked till the liquid evaporates , which would be within a few minutes. But, my mother in law made this dish in a unique way and that was stacking the chappatis or bread with the thick gravy between layers and building it up into a layered cake. A little extra effort and a pretty looking dish was ready to be served. Resembling an Italian lasagna but made with fewer ingredients.

Growing up, mummy made this dish once a week for breakfast, mostly on saturdays and was savoured by my grandparents, the plus point being its soft texture which was easy for them to consume. The leftover green paste was stored and very often my mom applied it on a chappati, folded it into a half circle and roasted it on a hot tawa with a little oil till crisp.. a delicious side dish ready in minutes.

Do try out this recipe and enjoy a sindhi dish which does not take long to cook and with all the ingredients easily available in our homes.

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SINDHI LASAGNA OR SEYAL MAANI ( CHAPPATI)

INGREDIENTS

8 LEFTOVER CHAPPATIS

1 CUP CHOPPED CORRIANDER LEAVES

4 CLOVES GARLIC

6 GREEN CHILLIES

2 TOMATOES .. BLEND INTO A PULP

2 TBSPS FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

1 TBSP LIME JUICE

1 TSP SUGAR

2 TSPS CORRIANDER POWDER

2 TSPS CUMIN SEEDS

1 TSP TURMERIC POWDER

SALT TO TASTE

METHOD

1.. BLEND THE CORRIANDER LEAVES , 4 CLOVES GARLIC AND 6 GREEN CHILLIS INTO A FINE PASTE WITH A LITTLE WATER AND KEEP ASIDE.

2.. HEAT 2 TBSPS OIL AND ADD THE CUMIN SEEDS, NEXT ADD CHOPPED GARLIC AND SAUTE TILL FRAGRANT, NOW ADD THE CORRIANDER POWDER AND TURMERIC POWDER, ALONG WITHE TOMATO PULP AND SALT. COOK FOR A FEW MINUTES. FINALLY ADD THE GREEN PASTE AND COOK FOR JUST 2 MINUTES, ADD LIME JUICE AND SUGAR, MIX WELL AND REMOVE INTO A BOWL.

3.. NOW TAKE A WIDE BOWL AND ADD 1 TBSP OF THE COOKED GREEN MASALA AND ADD HALF CUP OF WATER TO IT.. THIS MIXTURE IS FOR DIPPING THE CHAPPATIS, TO MOISTEN THEM.

4..HEAT ONE TBSP OF OIL IN A PAN, AND ADD 1 TBSP OF THE COOKED MASALA TO IT.

5.. GENTLY DIP ONE CHAPPATI IN THE GREEN WATER MIXTURE, AND PUT IT IMMEDIATELY INTO THE FRYING PAN, APPLY SOME GREEN MASALA ONTO IT AND REPEAT WITH ANOTHER CHAPPATI..MAKE LAYERS WITH MOISTENED CHAPPATIS AND GREEN MASALA , FINISHING WITH GREEN MASALA ON TOP LAYER, ALL THIS SHOULD BE DONE ON LOW HEAT.

6.. COVER AND COOK FOR 5 MINS.

7..SLIDE THE STACK OF CHAPPATIS GENTLY ONTO A SERVING PLATE WITH A FLAT SPATULA AND GARNISH WITH GRATED CHEESE OR CHOPPED CORRIANDER. CUT INTO WEDGES AND SERVE .