Fudgy Coconut Balls

Fudgy is normally a word I would use with Chocolate, but the texture of these delightful morsels are quite dense and fudgy.

Coconut is one of my favourite ingredients and the combination of coconut and jaggery is a great one. This recipe is very simple and it can be stored for up to ten days in a cool place. I added cardamom powder but vanilla essence also works very well.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups jaggery/brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 large coconut, grated
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts, chopped finely

Instructions

Bring the jaggery or brown sugar with the water to a boil in a large pan. Continue boiling until the temperature reaches the thread stage (110-112 C). Add the coconut and mix well. Continue cooking until the mixture leaves the sides of the vessel and comes together in the pan. Remove from heat and add the cardamom powder. Cool and form balls of the mixture using a small scoop if necessary. Roll them in the cashew nuts. Enjoy.

Ambrosia

This medley of fruits in a sugar syrup with dry fruits, honey and nuts is a dish that our family makes every year for a festival called Dussehra. It’s a celebration that lasts for about nine days and is celebrated by Hindus all over India.

I love the richness of this dish which is so satisfying and yet so light and refreshing. The aroma of the ghee and cardamom is delicious. It’s also vegan and could be served as dessert with a dollop of coconut cream.

It’s very simple to make. Once the sugar syrup is done you just have to add all the fruits and nuts, honey, ghee and cardamom. For those of you who want to cut down on sugar, you could add less of it.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes SERVES: 6

Ingredients

½ cup jaggery

½ cup water

1 apple

2 bananas

2 oranges, segmented

2 guavas, cut into cubes

1 cup grapes, cut into two

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp ghee

1 tsp cardamom powder

½ cup dates, chopped roughly

½ cup cashewnuts

½ cup raisins

Instructions

Combine the jaggery and water and cook over a moderate heat until the jaggery melts. Strain into another pan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Add all the ingredients except the apple and bananas. Core and cut the apple into small cubes. Add to the sugar syrup immediately. Slice the bananas into the sugar syrup and mix well. Refrigerate and serve with a dollop of coconut cream.

Sweet Coconut Dumplings

These rice flour dumplings or ‘modaks’ as they are called in India are specially made during the Ganesh festival. There are many fillings that can be made, both sweet and savoury. However, they taste so good that I make it often. The one featured here contains coconut and jaggery.

Jaggery is a traditional cane sugar consumed in India. It is loaded with antioxidants and minerals, contains iron and folate, activates the digestive enzymes and acts as a detox.

The most important thing is to knead and portion the rice flour when it is hot and the dough should be kept covered with a damp cloth until all the dumplings are formed and is ready for the steamer. Rice flour from an Indian grocery store will be ideal for these dumplings.

The mould for the dumplings is available on Amazon. You can also roll it out into a circle and fold into a semi-circle after the filling is placed. Use a little water to dampen the edges and seal the edges with a pizza cutter.

This recipe makes about 20 dumplings.

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PREP: 1 hour COOK TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp salt

Filling

  • 2 cups coconut, grated
  • 1 cup jaggery
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

Heat the jaggery with the water in a pan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Strain the liquid and put it back on the heat. When the mixture begins to boil and becomes frothy, add the grated coconut and stir until the water is absorbed and the filling becomes sticky. Add the cardamom powder and set aside to cool.

To make the rice flour covering, bring the two cups of water, salt and ghee to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add the rice flour. Mix well. Cover and set aside to cool for about 10-15 minutes. The mixture will be crumbly. When the mixture is still hot, knead it until you have a smooth dough, using a little water if necessary. Divide it into 20 portions, rolling each portion into a ball. Cover with a damp cloth.

Oil the mould with a little ghee and stuff the rice ball into it. Spread it around the mould evenly and allow some of the dough to stick out of the mould. Place a tablespoon of the coconut stuffing inside. Seal the dumpling with the extra dough that is available. Make all the dumplings in the same manner, keeping the dough and the dumplings covered with a damp cloth until they are ready to be steamed.

Bring water to a boil and place the dumplings in a steamer for 10 minutes. Remove the steamer from the heat and let the dumplings sit for a while before taking them out of the steamer. Enjoy!

Green Pepper and Peanut Curry

I have been making this curry for the last 20 years. It’s very easy to prepare once you have the ingredients. It is absolutely delicious besides being very good for your health and also vegan.

In the Indian Ayurveda system, it is recommended that every food that we consume contains the tastes of sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. This curry comes very close to fulfilling all these tastes. it’s definitely a must try recipe.

This curry is traditionally called Capsicum Kairus in India. It’s a specialty of a region broadly known as the Konkan which is a rugged section of the Western coastline of India. It comprises of various places in India like Maharashtra, Goa, etc. This region is famous for mouth watering food, great beaches, seafood and delicacies with coconut and local spices.

Jaggery is a traditional cane sugar made from sugarcane juice and can vary in colour from a golden brown to a dark brown. It’s used extensively in Indian sweets and cooking. You can substitute it with brown sugar or palm sugar.

Urad dal is actually split and dehusked black gram lentils. It is white in colour. It is usually used to season Indian food along with mustard and curry leaves. These three ingredients are the standard seasoning used for most Indian recipes.

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PREP: 20 minutes  COOK TIME: 30 minutes  SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 green peppers, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp urad dal
  • 1 ½ tsp yellow split peas
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 6 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp jaggery/palm sugar/brown sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Roast

  • 1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp urad dal
  • 4 red chillies
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds

Dry roast the coriander seeds, 2 tsp urad dal, fenugreek seeds and red chillies separately. Grind to a fine paste with the coconut and turmeric powder.

Roast the sesame seeds and powder. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan or wok, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, yellow split peas, curry leaves and peanuts. Add the green pepper, tomatoes, ground paste, sesame powder, tamarind paste, salt and 1 cup water. Cook until the peppers are tender. Add the jaggery/brown sugar and simmer for five minutes. Serve with steamed rice or chapattis.