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India

Thandai Indian Rice Kheermy version of serving up Thandai in an Indian rice pudding, or kheer as locally called. Flavoured delicately, this indulgent rice pudding hits all the right notes. Sweetened gently with jaggery, the flavours of almond, cardamom and saffron just shine. The texture of broken simmered rice is what adds body to this delectable kheer or pudding.The underlying inspiration comes from Dolphia who inspired, coerced and pushed me to shoot saffron. That’s one of the reasons this kheer came to be. The other reason of course was that the better half has bitterly complained over the last few days that I haven’t made a kheer in years!  As much as I love stirring a good kheer, for some reason it hadn’t happened yet…

Then yet another trip into Old Delhi, some Kashmir saffron bought to please Dolphia and the hub {in no particular order of course} meant that the kheer was simmering away gently quite soon. The recipe of course inspired by the season, all the Thandai kind of stuff I make at this time of the year. Thandai is a spice and nut blend, with ingredients that include almonds, melon seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, green cardamom, saffron, rose petals, sometimes whole pepper too. It is popularly served up as a milk cooler, often with a local bhaang or intoxicant, on Holi. There are a million versions, every household laying claim to their recipe. Mine changes all the time!

Sometimes, a theme helps me find direction, and this time around the prettiness of the colours got to me. Spring is like that, and so is every visit into the heart of Old Delhi!

First I did a Saffron Almond Chia Thandai for  Olive Tree Trading and that really set the mood. So much colourful prettiness and so much inspiration. That’s just how this time of the year is. I’ve dried loads of organic rose petals, so you’ll see me using those a lot.And so to cut a loooong story short, I finally made the Thandai Indian Rice Kheer. And it came out finger licking good. It’s a quick one, one I figured out as I went along. It’s the first time I’ve ground almonds with rice {an earlier version had the Thandai nut mix}. 
For some reason, I loved this simpler version. Here it is, the Thandai Indian Rice Kheer.

Thandai Indian Rice Kheer
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Flavoured gently, this indulgent Thandai Indian Rice Kheer hits all the right notes. Sweetened gently with jaggery, the flavours of almond, cardamom and saffron just shine. The texture of broken simmered rice is what adds body to this delectable kheer or pudding.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Thandai Indian Rice Kheer
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Flavoured gently, this indulgent Thandai Indian Rice Kheer hits all the right notes. Sweetened gently with jaggery, the flavours of almond, cardamom and saffron just shine. The texture of broken simmered rice is what adds body to this delectable kheer or pudding.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5-8 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Dry grind rice and almonds to a coarse breadcrumb like texture in a coffee grinder.​ You can add the cardamom seeds here if you like.​Stir the above into cold milk with the jaggery, cardamom seeds and cream if using.
  2. Put over low heat and cook for about 25-30 minutes, STIRRING OFTEN, until the rice is cooked and the kheer thick.
  3. Taste and adjust sweetness if required. Take off heat and add a generous pinch of saffron. Stir well.
  4. The kheer will continue to thicken as it cools. You might need to add a little milk as the absorption quality of rice differs. Once it gets to room temperature, ladle into earthenware bowls, individual serving bowls etc to set. Garnish with saffron strands, almond slivers, pistachio bits, rose petals etc.
  5. Serve chilled.
  6. Note: Rinse, drain and d​ry the rice overnight, else dry in microwave for 1 minute.
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Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
Ruth Reichl

Dhungaar-e-Keema  or Smoked Indian Lamb Mince is a quintessential recipe from the Indian subcontinent, one that is as simple as it is flavourful. The recipe is quite basic, the underlining key words characteristically ‘andaaz‘ and ‘bhuno‘, terms very familiar to how we cook in this region. Andaaz referring to eyeballing ingredients, and bhuno, ‘the quintessential stirring and roasting’ that gives Indian cuisine its essential character. Kebab spice mix Be it kebabs, kormas, bhuna gosht or then keema like this, the spice mixes are generally region specific. This Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Lamb Mince is minimally adapted from an old one from @ My Tamarind Kitchen, a blog written by Scotland based Sumayya.It’s an old familiar recipe, one that has roots across this region, North India and Pakistan. It’s strange how similar the culinary vocabulary and cooking methods are. Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince My mother and her friends, who I owe a lot of my initial recipe repertoire to, always had the same two favourite words, ‘andaaz’ and ‘bhuno’. The  story was the same with my aunts who I used to pursue relentlessly in an attempt hone my abysmal cooking skills. These words were firmly rooted in the North Indian cooking lingo of the past, a reflection of how recipes have evolved down the ages. We’re down to measures now – teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, grams, ounces in cookbooks, yet ‘andaaz ‘or eyeballing in Indian cooking still rules the kitchen!Spices for a smoked Indian lamb minceFor recipes other than baking I still pretty much eyeball what goes in, merrily tasting and tossing as I stir. Andaaz is my way to go too. No better way to cook I’d say, though maybe not the ideal ‘cookbook’ for newcomers on the scene, or for people alien to a particular cuisine. The good thing is that I am an obsessive ‘picture taker’ for steps of cooking, and especially when cooking with spices as they keep me fascinated. As a result of that, I usually know how the recipe has progressed and what went it.

Spices for a smoked Indian lamb mince

Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince 1000 2This time was of course no different even though I followed Sumayyas recipe pretty much. The steps were familiar since most of our curries follow the same pattern. The only thing different about her recipe was that no powdered spices were included, something that I found quite interesting. I don’t think I’ve cooked often with only a smattering of whole spices and not even a single teaspoon of coriander powder or turmeric.

The Masala Dabba / Indian Spice Box

The Masala Dabba / Indian Spice BoxI did add a few whole spices of my own though. Star anise for one. A new found love for a spice I barely cared for. Shooting for our Masala Dabba series I fell in love with it because of the way it looked. So I included it in a sangria, then in a panna cotta. Then one trip into the heart of South India to Karaikudi,and I was sold on it. It’s quite an integral part of Chettinad cuisine, often thrown in in wild abandon, the aromas filling the air the minute star anise hits hot oil.

Sunset, Chidambaram Vilas, Karaikudi, Chettinad, South India

Karaikudi, Chettinad, South India

Chilies from KaraikudiAlso in went bay leaves, a gift from the garden of my mother’s friend who lives in the UK, but grew up here in India. She carried a bag for us, for me especially, since she knows how fond we are of her recipes, a lot of them inspired from Pakistan. Bay leavesShe influenced a lot of my recipe and cooking processes when I had just got married, gingerly stepping into the kitchen for the first time. The rest of course is history …  the recipe follows!Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince

Cooking | Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Lamb Mince
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
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Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Indian Lamb Mince is a quintessential recipe from the Indian subcontinent, one that is as simple as it is flavourful. The recipe is quite basic, the underlining key words characteristically ‘andaaz‘ and ‘bhuno‘, terms very familiar to how we cook in this region. Andaaz referring to eyeballing ingredients, and bhuno, the quintessential 'stirring and roasting’ that gives Indian cuisine its essential character.
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking | Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Lamb Mince
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Indian Lamb Mince is a quintessential recipe from the Indian subcontinent, one that is as simple as it is flavourful. The recipe is quite basic, the underlining key words characteristically ‘andaaz‘ and ‘bhuno‘, terms very familiar to how we cook in this region. Andaaz referring to eyeballing ingredients, and bhuno, the quintessential 'stirring and roasting’ that gives Indian cuisine its essential character.
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Ingredients
Keema
Whole garam masala
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat some ghee/clarified butter in a heavy bottom and add the khara masala/whole spices and saute until fragrant. Throw in the chopped onions and stir fry until light golden brown on the edges. Add the ginger garlic and saute for a further 2-3 minutes, until the raw smell has disappeared.
  2. Now add all the chopped tomatoes and roast well until almost dry, then add the mince. Stir in well to mix, then roast over high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Season with salt.
  3. Then add the yogurt, stirring constantly to roast/bhuno until the yogurt has been absorbed and is no longer white. Cover the wok/pan with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to lowest, allowing the mince to slow cook in it's own juices.
  4. Check once in a while to make sure it isn't catching the bottom, giving it a quick stir. A heavy bottom good quality pan really works well here. cook until the liquid has evaporated and the colour is nice and reddish brown. As Sumayya says, 'bhuno-ing the keema is key!'
  5. Add loads of fresh chopped coriander and green chilies. Cover and allow to dam for a about 5 minutes, then turn off heat and let it stand. I f you wish to smoke the mince, please see instructions below.
  6. Smoking the Keema: Light up a piece of coal over the gas fire. Make a tiny bowl with an aluminium foil. Place the hot burning coal in it and quickly drizzle a few drops of melted ghee/clarified butter over it. The coal will begin smoking immediately. Tightly shut the lid and leave for about 15-30 minutes.
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Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles with Clove Ice Cream “Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.”
Don Kardong

Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles with Clove Ice Cream. It’s no secret that I have a deep love for spices, for styling them, experimenting with them and of course including them in my dishes. While I don’t like over spicing my food, it is fascinating to discover how far you can go with them. My favourite spices of course are cinnamon, star anise and clove especially since they work so well with desserts and bakes. Gur Panna Cotta With Candied WalnutsThe spice infused Gur Panna Cotta With Candied Walnuts that I developed for askme with cinnamon, star anise and cloves was a runaway winner.
Masala Dabba… as was this Sangria Mocktail.

Sangria MocktailWhile I use the three together often, the last was just 2 days ago in this finger licking good Gosht Do Piaza or Mutton Stew, it’s rare for me to go solo with clove. I love the flavour, but find it difficult to capture the essence stand alone. Cloves; laungThings I love clove in – mulled wine, spice infused sangria, spice shortbread, infused orange juice, preserves. Cloves are also packed with goodness they say.
Cloves 1000 2So when I heard of the Baskin Robbins Clove Candy Crunch Ice-cream from a friend, I just had to go and experience it for myself. Cloves in ice cream? Never heard of that before, and am so glad I tried some. Cloves have a deep lingering flavour, something I struggle to recreate at home. Clove Ice CreamOne icy bite down and I just knew it was magic! Intriguing, exciting, different, in fact so unique! The cloves shining through, I knew this would pair beautifully with Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles that I make so often when it rains.
Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles with Clove Ice Cream Kill two birds with one stone they say. Romance the monsoons with the best of both worlds I’d say – clove and cinnamon, ice cream and waffles, indulgent and healthy. Doesn’t get much better than this. And of course if you have ‘ouch’ super sensitive ice cream teeth like I do, then makes sense to reach out for this new clove toothpaste. Yes, you heard me right. Clove there too! Colgate Sensitive Clove helps you enjoy your favourite ice cream without worrying about sensitivity. Reminds me of the ‘laung ka tel‘ {clove oil} that my aunt used to recommend using years ago!Clove Ice Cream, and clovesSo here you go. Hope you enjoy this magical combination as much as we did. We even had some in Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches, then a Cookie Ice Cream Cake. Simple and fun. Line a baking tin with cling wrap. Crumble cookies, press into a baking pan to make a layer, top with softened ice cream, followed by another crumbled cookie layer. Freeze for 6-8 hours, better overnight. Spread over with unsweetened mascarpone cream, a dusting of cocoa powder, and chocolate shavings! Enjoy!Cookie ice cream sandwiches, Cookie ice cream CakeThese Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles {GF} with Clove Ice Cream turned out to be the perfect pairing while it rained a few days ago. Hot crisp waffles and delicately flavoured clove ice cream, try them now. You can thank me later!Monsoons, North India

Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles {GF}
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Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles are the best treat for breakfast and for a snack, even doubling up as a quick delicious dessert. Pair them with clove ice cream and watch the flavours come alive on your palette! I keep a jar of ground oats on hand in the pantry. These waffles are the best ever!
Servings Prep Time
2 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles {GF}
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Wholegrain Cinnamon Oat Waffles are the best treat for breakfast and for a snack, even doubling up as a quick delicious dessert. Pair them with clove ice cream and watch the flavours come alive on your palette! I keep a jar of ground oats on hand in the pantry. These waffles are the best ever!
Servings Prep Time
2 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place buttermilk, cinnamon powder and clarified butter in a measuring jug and microwave for 30-45 seconds until butter melts. Whisk in the egg and honey.
  2. In a large bowl stir together oat flour and baking powder. Pour wet mix into dry and stir until just mixed. Leave to stand for 10 minutes while you turn on the waffle maker to preheat it.
  3. Pour half the batter in and cook according to manufacturer instructions, 5-8 minutes, until golden brown and firm to touch.
  4. Serve with topping of clove ice cream.
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