Month: August 2016

Mango Shrikhand – Yogurt And Mango Dessert

In my experience when writing a regular food blog, often two disparate food-related events culminate in a new recipe or a twist on a memorable flavor. This time around, it was a case of overripe mangoes in addition to excess yogurt from experiments with a starter culture. Combining these two ingredients brought back memories from my childhood in Bombay of a wholesome, custardy dessert – shrikhand.

Shrikhand (pronounced shreek-ind), from the western states of India, combines the velvety richness of thickened yogurt with hints of warm floral notes from saffron and cardamom and a crunchy finish of pistachio nuts. Similar to ricotta, the creamy strained yogurt also complements pureed fruits, which gave me the idea to pair it with mango. When I was young, my father would bring home a small box of freshly-churned shrikhand made at a roadside stall. This unpretentious shop was exactly what today’s gourmet hopes to find, tucked in a market selling everything from vegetables to plumbing equipment. At that time, shrikhand was expensive as the ingredients were all top quality; which is why we only ever received a small box! Making shrikhand at home was much easier than I had expected, and perfectly recaptured the taste of my memory. The silky, thick consistency of the strained yogurt pairs well with mango’s natural sweetness.

Shrikhand

Yogurt (32 oz) – 1

Mango – 1, peeled and pureed

Superfine sugar – 2 tbsp + more if needed

Saffron strands – 3-4

Milk – 1 tbsp

Cardamom powder – ½- ¾ tsp

Pistachio nuts – 10, lightly crushed

Cheesecloth or muslin

  • Strain the yogurt through a cheesecloth. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together to form a bag. Suspend the bag high over a bowl, such that the whey liquid can drain out without touching the bag.
  • Peel, slice, and puree the mango. Put the mango pulp in a colander, to drain any excess juice.
  • Warm the milk for 10 seconds, and add the saffron strands. The milk should turn a warm yellow color in about 5-7 minutes.
  • Combine the strained yogurt, mango, sugar, saffron milk, and cardamom powder. Whip them together with a fork or whisk, until smoothly combined.
  • Divide and serve in small, individual ramekin- sized bowls.
  • Garnish with a few pistachio pieces.

Note: Use the best quality saffron and cardamom that you can get, as these flavors are subtle. Try the original shrikhand recipe (which uses no fruit) if you don’t have mangoes, adjusting sugar according to your taste.

 

 

 

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Lomo Saltado With Quinoa “Fries”

As last week’s waffalosa turned out well, I thought that I would use the waffle iron for one more experimental twist on a classic recipe. One of my favorite dishes from Peru is Lomo Saltado, a meal that blends two cultures in one pot.

Lomo saltado is a stir-fry dish created by Chinese immigrants in Peru, combining sliced beef and soy sauce with Peruvian ingredients such as hot aji and sweet bell peppers. The sauce and juices from the meat seep into the fries and the steaming cup of rice that usually accompany the meal. Replacing the fries with quinoa “fries” keeps both traditional ingredients and the intent of the original dish intact. The accompaniments are meant to soak up the sauce, and the quinoa version accomplishes this just as well. Additionally, making the quinoa “fries” in a waffle iron is a healthier alternative to frying, while still retaining the crisp and crunch of regular fries.

Quinoa flour is the base for the waffle batter. As I couldn’t find quinoa flour in the large grocery stores, I ended up buying whole quinoa in the bulk produce section. I dry-toasted the grain first, following steps that I had learned from my mother, before blending small batches in the blender. Dry-toasting whole seeds removes the grain’s moisture and keeps the milled or blended flour fresh for longer. It also prevents pesky bugs from settling into the ground flour.

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Quinoa “Fries”

Quinoa – 2 cups

Eggs – 2, lightly beaten

Milk – 1 cup, warmed

Butter – 1 ½ tbsp, room temperature

Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp

  • Heat a wok or pan to high heat. Add the whole quinoa and dry-toast it, tossing lightly with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring, until the quinoa seeds are hot to the touch. Remove and let the quinoa grains cool.
  • In a blender, add ¾ cup of the toasted quinoa. Blend, intermittently tapping the sides of the blender, so that all the grains are mixed equally for fine flour. Remove and add a new batch, and repeat until all the quinoa grain is ground into flour.
  • Keep aside until it is cool. Sieve the flour.
  • Add baking powder to the flour and mix together.
  • Mix the eggs, milk, and butter together.
  • Combine the egg mixture with the flour. Add water to get to a pouring consistency.
  • Heat the waffle iron according to the instructions.
  • When the waffle iron is ready, pour the batter over the pan, until is completely covered.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove and let the quinoa waffle cool. Cut the quinoa waffle along the lines into three strips. Make as many waffles for the “fries” as needed. Keep aside.

Lomo Saltado

Beef tenderloin – 1 lb, cut into thin strips

Oil – 2 tbsp

Red onion – 1 medium, cut finely lengthwise

Garlic cloves – 5, finely chopped

Chili – 3, sliced lengthwise (de-seeded if you don’t want the chili heat)

Red bell pepper – 1, cut into thin strips

Oregano – 1 ½ tsp

Tomato – 1 medium, cut into chunks

Soy sauce (light) – 2-2½ tbsp

White wine vinegar – 1 tbsp

Parsley – 2 sprigs

Salt and pepper – to taste

  • Heat the oil in a wok
  • Add the beef strips and stir-fry for a minute, until browned all over. Remove and keep aside in a bowl.
  • In the same oil, add the onion slices and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until they are transparent.
  • Add the garlic, half the red bell pepper strips, oregano, chili pepper, and tomatoes.
  • Add the soy sauce and white vinegar, and mix.
  • Sauté for about 3 minutes, until the bell peppers lose their crunch.
  • Add back the meat and the juice from the pan and heat through.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with parsley and remaining red pepper strips.
  • Tuck the quinoa “fries” under the meat and vegetables. Serve immediately.

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