Monday, 17 November 2014

Gooseberry, Dates and Jumbo Black Raisins Jam

Gooseberry is also known as Amla is among the healthiest food due to its high nutrient content. It is rich in antioxidant, iron, vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and calcium. So it highly proves beneficial to health. It is effective to prevent cancer or tumor cell growth. It improves eye health, improves hair luster, skin, anemia, etc.With all the nutrient packed in this mini berry, how could I resist from attempting to make something sweet and edible. Unlike other types of berries, the tartness and sourness of gooseberry able to annoy any health conscious person utterly. They might vouch not in many years to deal with gooseberry in any form of culinary. I'm not a sweet tooth kind of person and not much involved in baking cakes or cookies but I do need something to spread on a slice of bread or crackers without feeling guilty of eating sinful luscious spread. At home, we use to make spicy gooseberry pickles as a complement with yoghurt rice but sometimes you get so bored eating conventional food. When food gets mundane in your life, it's time to instil fresh ideas, plan and concoct miracles which will last impressively for at least six months. You know what I mean, we all need that inspiration not only in cooking but in everything that we deal with. Whenever I achieve little success whether in the kitchen or in my teaching, the little girl in me leaps joyfully and that moment had given me countless opportunity to recall back. I personally liked this jam for the sweetness from dates, black raisins and palm sugar concealed the tart and sourness of the gooseberry. I won't be able to justify this recipe to be the healthiest one but I can assure you of the healthy stuffs used here and how delicious it is. You may adjust the sugar level according to your personal taste, some like the tartness and some may not. I stirred the mixture for some time till it absorbed all the liquid so that I can prolong life storage of the jam. The mixture was sticky, shiny and deep caramelized brown in colour. I made huge batch of the jam for giving it away as a gift but you can try in small proportion. There isn't exactly any A to Z rules to follow in this recipe, increase and decrease whichever ingredients as you make. I prefer to use this jam not only as a spread on a slice of bread but also as a filling for sweet puff pastry or jam tart. The buttery crust works well with this jam.

Gooseberry, Dates and Jumbo Black Raisins Jam

Ingredients :

Big gooseberry : 1 kilo
Medjol dates : 500 grams
Butter : 100 grams
Palm sugar : 2 cups (add more if it is still tart and sour)
Jumbo black raisins : 3 handfuls
Orange : 1 (its zest and juice)
Salt : 1 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon : 1 stick
Star anise : 5
Cloves : 10


1. Pressure cook the gooseberry till tender and discard its seeds. After that, mash it. 

2. Grind the dates with little water to a smooth paste.

2. In a heavy bottom pan, melt the butter and then immediately add mashed gooseberry, ground dates, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, palm sugar, orange zest and its juice and salt.

3. Keep stirring it by adding 1 cup of water to blend all the ingredients. The sugar can be increased if not enough of sweetness. You must cook till liquid is fully evaporated otherwise it may have shorter storage time.

4. I stirred until it was beyond the jam consistency and the mixture started to leave the sides of the pan. I wanted to prolong the storage so cooked further. Let it cool before transfer it into refrigerator.


Soya Bean Savoury Fritters

This post had been lying in my draft for nearly a month. The first time when I made the fritters as a kitchen experiment, I never knew it was going to be a great success among the rest in my family. This recipe was adapted from my earlier post of 'Masala Vadai'. I felt that using Australian dal (type of Channa dal) as a main component in this fritter creates heaviness after devouring few pieces. So, an idea struck my mind of using white soya bean which was left in the pantry for many months. Well, it was a good excuse to eliminate the stuff from my pantry after the last attempt of making soya bean beverage. There wasn't any strange smell of soya but surprisingly it created soft interior. I kept the use of other ingredients to minimum. Blended green chillies and fennel along with Australian dal and soya bean indeed a special concoction. Well of course the fritter was deep fried but once in a blue moon, you need to indulge the soul with unhealthy way of cooking but entice your heart with the use of healthy ingredients. A CHEAT TREAT for your heart and soul, I guess.  I hope many viewers will try this recipe and have a great success in their kitchen.

Soya Bean Savoury Fritter

Ingredients :

Australian Bengal dal or Australian Channa dal : 1/2 cup
White soya bean : 1 3/4 cups
Onion :1 medium
Small green chillies :6 (adjust accordingly)
Fennel seeds : 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp (used more in place of asofetida)
Curry leaves : 2 sprigs
Salt : as needed 
Oil : for frying

Method :

1. Soak dal and soya bean in a sufficient water for 8 hours.

2. After 8 hours, drain off excess water in a colander.

3. In a liquidizer, add soaked dal and soya bean along with salt, chopped green chillies and 1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds. Grind half of the dal to a smooth paste and the other half grind to a coarse texture without adding water.

4. To the ground dal mixture, add finely chopped onion and curry leaves. I kept half the ground mixture in the refrigerator for later use. In that case, I did not add chopped onion to all the mixture only to the first batch of mixture that I planned to fry. The reason was I don't want liquid to ooze out after adding onion and salt and turn the mixture soggy and unpleasant.

5. Mix well and form a small lemon size ball and pat it lightly on top and edges.

6. Sufficient oil is needed for deep frying this savory balls. Keep oil on medium flame and make sure oil is hot enough before frying. 

7. Serve hot as an evening snack.