Yes, I know, I haven’t blogged in a while, its been a busy time for me. I’ve been in the process of completing my teaching diploma and was on my first practical, a six week placement in a year one class. It’s hard to run a household, a marriage and look after a child while having to be out of the house for 7 hours a day, alhumdulillah, the experience was great and extremely fulfilling, although I am relieved that it’s over (for now anyway).
For those of you that read my blog and remember, I took part in a Dilmah competition a few months ago where I entered these Chai Macarons (if not, you can read about it here and here). These macaron shells were flavoured with tea, cardamon, cinnamon and sandwiched with a chai white chocolate ganache. I’ve finally gotten the chance to post the recipe. Yippee!!
I’ve attached the recipe in .pdf format because that’s how it’s saved on my computer as I needed to give a copy to the Dilmah officials and figured it would be the easiest way to share it with all of you. This recipe is made using the Italian meringue method (pouring a hot sugar syrup into egg whites) instead of my usual French meringue, if you have a handle on the French meringue method, feel free to use that, just remember to add the spices to the almond/icing sugar mixture.
Give these a go, and if you’re not too afraid (and have a thermometer lying around) try the Italian method. Chai macarons with a pot of tea, perfect late night snack, enjoy!
Just over six months ago we embarked on a journey to the subcontinent. My husband, son and I left in late December to make a few stops along the way. Phuket and Kuala Lumpur were on the cards before getting to India, a country neither of us had been to, despite our Indian heritage. This was not a holiday by any means, our sole purpose was to attend the wedding of Abdullah’s sister (my wonderful sister in law), Aasiya. What we never expected was to leave feeling humbled, grateful and renewed.
India is an amazing place with amazing people and beautiful sights. One of the most enjoyable parts of our trip was definitely the wedding and the functions that preceded it. And coming a close second was the food, there is honestly nothing like Indian food, so intricate in flavour and colour. My favourite dish in India was anything that had paneer (an Indian cheese, looks like a block of fetta, texture and taste of cottage cheese).
It’s something I always order in an Indian restaurant here and usually cook with the frozen bags at home. As in India has a high population of vegetarians, paneer is extremely popular, and depsite having over 20 paneer dishes while in India, not one of them was the same, there was paneer in different types of curries, paneer with marinates that were grilled, paneer balls, crumbed paneer, paneer stuffed in chillies and vegies, and too many more to mention. Even after all that, I wasn’t sick of the paneer, and forunately for me, on my last day in India I watched an Indian chef on TV make paneer from scratch, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.
Since our trip, I have made paneer countless times, and there’s nothing like the fresh stuff, I’ll never go back to frozen again. I will be doing a recipe on how to make paneer from scratch sometime in the near future. For now, here’s a recipe using paneer.
Paneer Malai** Tikka
1/2 bunch corriander
3/4 tsp salt1 tsp ground cumin
1 whole green chilli
1 tblsp lemon juice
1/2 cup cream (**malai is an Indian term for cream)
Cut the paneer into cubes and set aside in a bowl. Grind all ingredients except for cream in a blender, once blended into a paste mix in cream. Pour over paneer and leave to marinate. Cook off on a medium to high heat in a about 1 tblsp oil. Serve with naan bread.
Variation: This recipe works well with chicken, just substitute the 500g paneer with 500g chicken pieces.
India is a definite must see and it’s a place I’m sure we’ll be visiting again. For now, enjoy some photos from our trip.
Try out this paneer malai tikka recipe, great with chicken as well. Oh and Happy 6 month Anniversary Aasiya and Salim!
With Ramadhaan right around the corner, I thought I might put together a few tips on making Ramadhaan a little more healthier. I’m not sure what Ramadhaan is like at your place, but at our place, Ifthaar is an array of deep fried goodies. I guess I can blame that on my Indian heritage. We usually try to compensate for the foods we missed during the day which is very unhealthy. This year I’m attempting a healthier Ramadhaan and here are a few tips:
1. Incorporate nutritious items onto the menu: including foods that are low GI to for a more sustained energy release, porridges such as oats as well as fruit like bananas are filling and keep you fuller for longer. Add fresh fruit and vegetables into your Ifthaar/Dinner which will leave your tummy feeling lighter and give you the energy for Taraweeh (night prayers). Don’t forget the dates, they’re nutritious and full of fibre, and most importantly breaking your fast with dates is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).
2. Prepare your meals in advance: It is more likely that you will be able to keep healthier if you have a clear idea of your meals in advance. Being unprepared is more likely to leave you flustered and running to grab the closest thing that can be quickly prepared in the fryer.
3. Space out your meals: Spreading out your meals will help to get your metabolism going as well as giving your stomache enough time to digest between meals.
4. Bake everything: During Ramadhaan we tend to prepare many ‘fry-ables’ in advance, like samoosas and spring rolls, etc. Try baking these instead, it still has all the flavour and crispiness, but feels so much lighter on the tummy.
5. Fluid Intake: Drink lots of water during Ramadhaan. This is 1 thing we tend to neglect, but it is very important. It seems hard to fit it in, but keep up with the 8 glasses. Remember to sip your water instead of sculling it, drinking in 3 sips is another Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).
Hope this helps all of you have a healthier Ramadhaan.
Ramadhaan Mubarak to you all!
Tandoori it is… This had to be my first recipe, it’s the easiest, yummiest thing I like to make. Normally I use chicken, but in this case I decided to use chicken and paneer for a vegetarian option. I was surprised, it actually turned out quite well with the paneer. What is paneer? It’s an Indian cheese, that is basically a hardened cottage cheese.
1 kg boneless chicken (I used 750 g chicken and 200 g paneer)
115 ml tomato paste (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tblsp yogurt
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp oil
1 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground red chillies (chilli flakes are a good alternative)
Mix all the ingredients together and marinate chicken and paneer. You can use it straight away, but if you have the time, leave to marinate for a few hours. You can use this recipe for a roast marinade, you can fry the pieces or with cut up vegetables on skewers. I used red onion, red and green capsicum. A tandoori meal needs a cooling accompaniment such as a raita (cucumber yogurt) but my beetroot version is an absolute hit… It goes well with almost anything, and works wonderfully as a dip with bread and crackers.
2 medium beetroot (or half a can of beetroot)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
If using fresh beetroot, boil them until cooked (about 30-60 minutes). If using whole beetroot, grate them. If using sliced beetroot, chop finely and mix in with yogurt. I know it seems too simple, but trust me, it doesn’t need anything else.
Tandoori skewers and beetroot yogurt… flavoursome, healthy… Yum!