A new cookbook launch from an Indian author is always interesting. Laid my hands on Aditya Bal's book The Chakle India Cookbook and read it end-to-end as I lay in bed nursing an allergy induced ENT shut down. Having the doctor tell me to keep quiet for a few days and not talk is torture. Having Aditya's book for company was a bright spot. Having watched his show on NDTV, was curious to see what he's put together in the book. Like the show, his book is a collection of recipes from different parts of India. A book is not a mere collection of recipes... It's a story... It's a connect... The book has lovely pictures of Aditya with various people across the country in each section.
What I like about Aditya is his gumption to follow his dream in the world of Food... being a crossover.. having changed his career from modeling to a television food show host.... he has a lot under his belt to show for the short years he's spent in this space... Travelling to various parts of the country, entering the kitchens and homes of countless people, bringing a focus on diverse regional cuisines in India is something admirable. The map on the front and back cover of the book is a sweet nuance.
Recipes like Rogan Josh, Mutton Yakhni, Galawati Kabab, Amritsari Paneer Bhurji, Kosha Mangsho, Goan Prawn and Mango Ambotik, Malabari Prawn curry and Moru Sambhar represent the varied cuisines from most states of India especially from Kashmir(Since he was born there) and Goa (his favorite place where he trained at some of the restaurants).
Am more of a baker than a cook in the kitchen, with a h-u-g-e sweet tooth.... Started reading the recipes in reverse from the desserts section... There is Badam Kulfi, Nariyal Ladoo, Doodhi ka Halwa, Fruit Custard, Shrikhand, Phirni, Gulab Jamun, Aam ki Kheer, Seviyan and Shahi Tukda....
Haven't made too many Indian desserts before so thought of giving Badam Kulfi a shot. Yes, I hear you... my ENT is shut down and yet I choose Kulfi..... What to do... am a total icecream lover... promised my friends online that I would have just a bite to taste...
Recipe from The Chakle India Cookbook by Aditya Bal
1 cup blanched, peeled and ground almonds
4 tbsp fresh cream
1 cup condensed milk
Apinch of saffron strands
1/4 cup of milk
A small handful of pistachios
A small handful of almonds, blanched and peeled
1. First, to make the kulfi mixture, put the ground almonds, cream and condensed milk into a bowl and whisk thoroughly, till it's fully combined and thick.
2. Heat the milk in a small frying pan and when it's steaming hot, add the saffron strands to the pan, and let it infuse. turn off the heat and let the milk cool, stirring it every few minutes.
3. Once the milk is cooled, add it to the kulfi mixture and fold it in to combine well. The ground almonds will act as a thickener and absorb the milk completely. Whisk the mix well, till it is thick, creamy and homogeneous.
4. Now, heat a small frying pan and add the almonds and pistachios. Roast them for a few minutes on low to medium heat, till they are nutty and aromatic. Transfer to a chopping board and crush them coarsely with the side of a heavy knife or a rolling pin.
5. Reserve about 2tbsp of the crushed nuts and add the rest to the kulfi mixture. Stir through to combine. Now the mix is ready for pouring into the kulfi moulds or clay kujjas.
6. Spoon the deliciously rich and creamy mixture into each mould, cover with a piece of butter paper and secure with a rubber band stretched across the rim of the mould.
7. Put the moulds into the freezer and freeze for 3-4 hours or till the mixture has perfectly set and is hard in texture.
8. Take them out of the freezer and remove the butter paper. Dip the moulds into hot water and turn out the kulfi on a plate. Sprinkle a little of the reserved nuts and serve right away.
I kept the kulfi overnight and got lovely results the next day. It was as Aditya described it delicious, rich and creamy. The only small thing i's have done was to add some crushed cardamom to enhance the flavour a little more. It's a thing with personal taste and not Aditya's kulfi.
Leafing through the book, I found many Meat, Fish n Seafood and Vegetarian recipes. The snacks were interesting too. Would have loved the book even more if it could have better pictures, most of them were extremely close up shots of the dishes with their garnish standing out. Since this is Aditya, the traveler's book, would have expected pictures which did justice to both. Would have loved to hear a traveller's tales on how he collected these recipes from various people across the country. I believe every recipe has a story to tell which gets handed from from 1 person to the next gathering lots of moss on the way making it a tradition.
All I can think now is Saffron.... It's an artists's delight on canvas... The crimson strands making a yellow hue on warm white milk.... While making this recipe, I chanced upon a large number of packets stashed away in my mom's pantry. Am just sooooooo compelled to use them. Had infused some of it in milk for taking these pictures and had it with a glass of milk this morning.... Step aside, cold coffee... make way for saffron milk every morning.
Anushree from Westland publishers sent over the book for a review. Thank a ton, really enjoyed it :)