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.

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!

Coconut Fudge

Coconut in any form, be it raw or cooked is delicious. The many products of coconut and the amazing health benefits derived from them is now widely known. It’s indispensable in Asian cooking.

I fell in love with this fudge when I was a little girl and my love for it is still the same. It just melts in the mouth. It’s called Barfi in India and it’s so easy to make. It has only five ingredients including the nuts. There’s no butter or ghee that needs to be added.

I usually use cardamom with this recipe. However, vanilla extract also works well. I also usually break the nuts into large pieces. It’s tastier this way.

A large coconut will yield about 3 cups when grated; sometimes a little more or less depending on the size. This recipe makes about 15 pieces of fudge.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large coconut, grated
  • 1 3/4th cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder/1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cashewnuts, broken into large pieces

Instructions

Butter an 8” square pan.

Process the grated coconut in a food processor or blender without adding any water. It should not be ground into a paste. It should just be a little smoother than it was before.

Mix the sugar and water in a large pan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring it to boil, and using a sugar thermometer, boil it to the thread stage (106-112 C). Add the coconut and reduce the heat. Keep stirring continuously, until the mixture leaves the sides of the vessel. Remove from heat and stir in the cardamom powder or vanilla extract and the nuts. Mix well and turn it out on to the buttered pan. Cut into pieces while it is still warm. Enjoy!

Sticky Caramelised Pears with Cardamom Custard

I was going through some recipes and came across one for caramelised figs. So, when I saw some juicy pears at the market, I decided to try and do the same with them. Pears are so versatile and are perfect with pastry, salad and puddings. This dessert looks so elegant and it’s really easy to make. Just the thing for a special dinner party!

I decided to pair the caramelised pears with a baked custard. The nice thing about baking a custard is that you can just fill the ramekins and pop them in the oven. So easy! I used cardamom powder to sprinkle on the tops of the custard. When I turned out the custard, the cardamom was nicely settled at the bottom and looked beautiful.

Absolutely delicious – succulent pears coated with this gooey, melted caramel sauce and the subtly flavoured cardamom custard. Just yummy!

Recipe:

Caramelised Pears:

8 small pears

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup castor sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed firmly

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

A pinch of salt

For the Cardamom Custard:

2 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

A pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

Method (Pears):

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Peel the pears leaving the stalk intact. Cut in half and remove the core. Rub the pears with the lemon juice.

Melt the butter in an oven proof frying pan. Add both the sugars and stir, but do not let it dissolve. Put the pears into the mixture with the cut side facing downwards. Spoon the melted sugar mixture over them occasionally. Put the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, taking care to baste the pears from time to time.

Remove the pan from the oven and flip the pears carefully. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the cores are golden and the pears are cooked through. Transfer the pears to another dish and place the frying pan on heat. Cook the mixture for a few minutes until it is a rich golden brown. Add the honey, salt and vanilla and mix well. Remove from heat.

Method (Cardamom Custard):

Scald the milk. Combine the sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat well. Add the milk to the egg mixture gradually (you do not want to cook the eggs). Beat until smooth and pour the custard into 4 ramekins; place the ramekins in a shallow pan in hot water. Sprinkle the custard with the cardamom powder. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool and turn out carefully while serving. Serve with the pears and spoon the caramel on top.