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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Flavor of Holi on my plate- A Refreshing sinful new Taste in sweet

A Fantastic New Recipe for Holi- Coconut Mawa Kismis Khasta Kachori in Orange Coconut Milk Rabri sauce with Golden Spun Sugar  

As the spring vanishes into the waves of summer, the colors of Holi still remind you: it is still spring in the air. Today is Dol aka Holi and outside my home groups of children have gone crazy with colors, I hear their animated voices, their faces completely turned into color palettes, walking with their friends with color balloons n pichkari n perhaps coloring everyone who is coming their way-including the dogs perhaps-well that’s Holi my friends. 

Tomorrow is also Holi, today is celebrated as Dol amongst the Bengali people as today is gonna be the full moon night-Dol Purnima, Purnima means the full moon. I tell you these groups of children won’t settle anytime soon before 2 in the afternoon when their mothers will finally reach their end of patience- and why would they settle! It is so much fun putting colors over others and it comes once in a year where you have the freedom to go crazy with colors with your whole bunch of friends and that group increases as you put colors on strangers. I know what they have in their stock of colors-they have powdered colors of yellow, green, red, pink, violet, orange, they have water balloons filled with colored waters and apart from that they have a special color-which is the craziest one because when they put it on you it won’t get washed away easily until 4/5 days which is totally insane, if your face has been painted with that stupid color which is either deep purple pretending to be black or a horrible shade of green, you are like wasted for the next 4 days, but that’s also the crazy fun for the children who want to do it, so they like to carry the after marks.

The flavors are different in adults, the same spirit as with the children minus the innocence. One thing that is very popular is the use of Bhang- which is an edible thing made from the leaves n buds of Cannabis and it is the official drink of Holi and I tell you it makes people go crazy. It kinda frees up your mind, releases your anxiety and therefore you can enjoy more. With an overdose a lot of different things can happen in the level of craziness- like some people starts laughing like mad cows and they can’t stop until hours, while some starts crying and they can’t stop raining, while some women keeps on chopping all the vegetables she can lay her hands on and still thinks it’s not enough while a man can’t ride on a train in the station because the minute gap between the train n the station seems like a feet long gap…the list is really impressive.

So now I will talk about food, Holi is famous for fun, tough it is religious in its basic structure, that structure is munched away with the crispy snacks, sweets. A lot of different things are popular in Holi-the emphasis is more on bite foods, snacks – so crispy sweets n savory things make the air smell delicious, Gujiya is very popular which is a crispy friend dumpling filled with coconut n milk solids..Chicken is also popular but mostly in the dinnertime.

I love a ‘Mawa kachori’ – a crispy dumpling filled with concentrated milk solids mixed with powdered almonds/ cashew nuts/pistachios with cardamom, it is deep fried in vegetable oil or ghee, then it is soaked in a thick sugar syrup just so that it gets a coating n shine, and that crazy good to eat. So in my version of Holi sweet I wanted to play with it n push the flavors.

So in my version I have introduced the flavors of dry coconut n fresh coconut together, and the flavors of raisins/kismis and khoya/mawa- the use of raisins give that intense rich sweet flavor of the dry grapes with a slight tang to balance all that sweetness and the coconut takes it to a whole different level.

A very refreshing milk sauce provides flavor n moisture for the crispy dry kachoris, the milk is reduced to one third by simmering it slowly- so it almost reaches ‘Rabri’ but not quite, to that I added the fresh aroma of oranges in the form of orange zest and it makes the whole milk sauce sing. Finally I added coconut milk to that sauce to give a subtle depth of flavor and it’s really nice.

The golden embrace from the spun sugar makes it look unbelievable- the superfine caramel threads shine n glisten in the sun hugging the kachori and it makes it look so very special-a golden hug. When we bite into it we get the crispy sweet warm kachori, the chilled milk sauce and the crunchy subtle caramel- oh my god- it is really good an experience to eat that n you have take my word for it. 

I think you should make it so here is the recipe.

For The Recipe: you will need
For the Mawa Kismis Coconut Kachori:
Makes 6/7

For the shell:
All purpose flour- 200 gm
Ghee- 2 tbsp+ vegetable oil-1 tbsp (it can be total ghee or oil also)
Salt- a pinch
Water- close to ¾ Th cup, it varies
Vegetable oil to deep fry- 5 cups

For the stuffing:
Mawa/Khoya- 100 gm
Dry coconut- 1/2 a small dry coconut, cut into strips n brown skin removed, then almost powdered in a blender
Fresh coconut-1/4 Th fresh coconut flesh grated, then blended till smooth in blender
Kismis- 50 gm, soaked in water for 1 hour, then blended till coarse smooth
Sugar- 1 tbsp, powdered

For the Orange Coconut milk Rabri Sauce:
Milk- 500 ml, full-fat, simmered in medium low flame till 1/3 rd remains
Orange zest/peel- ½ orange
Coconut milk- obtained from ¼ fresh coconut, if using from cans use ½ cup
Sugar- 3-4tbsp
Salt- a pinch

For the Sugar Syrup to coat:
Sugar- 100 gm
Water- 50 gm
Green cardamom- 1 crushed slightly

For the spun sugar:
Sugar- 3 tbsp
Palette knife is needed to prepare the fine threads

1.  First let’s make the milk sauce, take full-fat milk  in a heavy bottom wide vessel/kadai/wok and make it come to a boil, then reduce heat n simmer, with a metal spatula or big spoon scratch the sides n bottom of the wok so that nothing sticks to the bottom n side, incorporate the scratched milk solids into the sauce, scratch every 2 minutes, reduce until one third remains in the wok which will take about 25-30 minutes, it is important to use a wide open wok and not a narrow saucepan because in that evaporating the milk will take much longer.
Grate fresh coconut, make 1/3 cup water come to a boil, then soak the coconut in that water for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes pick up and press the coconut as hard as you can to squeeze out as much milk as you can.
When the milk has been reduced to one third add the coconut milk and the orange zest or strips of orange peel cut really thin with a sharp knife which has no white parts, and simmer for 5 minutes, then add sugar, then take it off the heat, when it attains room temp. Chill it in the freeze for an hour.
2. We will make the crispy pastry now, add the ghee n oil to the flour, add the salt and distribute the fat by rubbing with your hands into the flour until the whole things goes lumpy  which will take about 2 minutes, after that add a little water and make the dough come together, add a little more n do the same, add a little more until the dough comfortably comes together, not a tight dough but softer than that, so as the dough just comes together add another 1 tbsp/2 tbsp little more,  because we want the dough to be slightly softer than that, then knead the dough for 2 minutes n it will just begin to go smooth, stop at this point, we don’t want to knead the dough any more , we don’t want to develop the gluten anymore, so cover the dough n rest for 15/20 minutes.
3. In a frying pan on low heat add the mawa and crumble it with your hands, give it 4 minutes on low heat and it will start to get slight brown color, stir the mawa in between, when the mawa has slightly brown bits, add the kismis paste and stir for 1 minute, then add the fresh coconut n give it 1 minute, then add the dry coconut powder and mix well, give it 2 minutes on low heat, the mixture will be slightly wet at this stage, only slightly wet, that’s fine, when this will cool it will dry more, take it off the heat on a plate and let it cool, when cooled add the powdered sugar to make it a little more sweet, don’t make it very sweet, the mixture is already sweet from mawa, kismis, coconut , so add a little sugar about 1 tbsp or less to increase the sweetness.
4. Get back to the dough and divide the dough into 7 equal balls, take one ball n place on a flat surface n press it with your palm to flatten it slightly, pick up n flatten it again in another direction, then pick up and make a depression in the middle with your thumb , then go on expanding that depression as you turn the dough around within your fingers and increasing the depth of the depression as you rotate, we want to give it the shape of a small cup shape where it will hold the stuffing, so when the depression has a diameter of 2/2 ½ inches, take 1 ½ tbsp of the stuffing and slightly press it in that depression , then bring the opposite two sides of the dough cup together n seal them by pressing, then do the same to one side to bring the ends together, then on the other side, then hold all the edges together to completely cover the stuffing and press gently , then rotate to seal  it well, then press the sealed point lightly on the dumpling itself, then place the sealed side down on the flat surface and press gently to flatten it a bit. Prepare all the dumplings like this.
5. Heat the 5 cups of oil in a deep wok to medium hot, the oil should not be very hot but only slightly hot, when you place a little ball of dough in the oil it should drown n begins to sizzle after some 6/7 seconds, the kachoris need to fried at a low temperature to get them crispy and it will take 10 minutes for the whole process, when the oil is ready, take one kachori and place it on your palm then by the side of your other palm flatten it gently, pick, rotate n press again all around, work gently and flatten n increase the size of the kachori gently, you can also pick n press all around within your fingers, the final kachori will have a diameter of 3 to 3 ½ inches, drop the kachori gently one by one, at one time you will be able to fry about 3 /4 kachoris.
The kachori will drown first in the oil, in a minute it will start to float up on the surface, give each side about 5 minute, with a slotted spoon brush the top sides with the hot oil gently as the kachori floats up in the oil, we want each side to be light brown, so when one side is light brown, flip n let the other side attain the same, then drain on a plate. Finish all the kachoris like this.
6. For the sugar syrup, place the sugar n water n cardamom  in a wok and let the sugar dissolve, then bring it to a boil n boil it until it gets to a consistency like honey, which will take about 8-10 minutes, when you place a drop of the syrup on a plate n then you taste it between your fingers it will form one string, it is ready, switch off the flame, place the fried kachoris into the syrup and coat on both sides, then drain n place them on a plate.
7. For making the spun sugar we need to make caramel, so take 3 tbsp of sugar n same amount of water and let it come to a boil n reach caramel stage, we want dark caramel, so when it reaches dark caramel remove from heat and dip the tip of the palette knife into that, drip off the first few drops and flick it quickly over a plate and you will see long hair like caramel thread are forming, flick it really fast.
In each plate place some orange coconut milk rabri sauce; place a kachori on it, then with the spatula produce the spun sugar to coat each plate completely with that. When the caramel solidifies, you again take that back to heat to liquefy, then come back n work quickly with the spatula, flick fast to coat the kachoris on the plate, then pick up all the threads by hand and shape them the way you want. 

Oh my god…you did it…its ready…. they look stunning, don’t they just look so cool? And now after all this hard work achieving this beauty, it is time to taste, with a spoon break one kachori, take some sauce with the kachori and taste it…
Bon appétit. Subho Dol Yatra n Happy Holi.

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