Showing posts with label Indian Sweets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indian Sweets. Show all posts

Friday, June 18, 2021

Vegan GiNNada KaDubu (Jun KuDumulu)


Close up of a sweet called GiNNa in Kannada. This is the vegan, cruelty-free version. Rectangular slice, brown in colour, jelly texture. In an off white bowl and a bit of steel spoon showing.

 🍮 GiNNa ಗಿಣ್ಣ is a dessert traditionally made out of Jaggery and Colostrum. Let me describe these exotic ingredients to you...

Freshly extracted sugarcane juice is boiled for a long time in large, heated vats. It gets caramelised into a delicious sweetener. That’s Jaggery. 🤤

A female is pregnant for a long time. Soon after she gives birth, an antibody rich secretion comes out of her mammary glands to feed her baby. That’s Colostrum. 😳

Now imagine what kind of a sick, twisted mind decided to put the two together and invent dessert.

Someone sees a cow give birth and says, “hey, let me push that wee baby calf aside, squeeze the very first milk out of his mother’s udders, and cook it with Jaggery.”

And then it just becomes a special, gourmet recipe, passed on from generation to generation.

It’s bloody scary how easy it is for us humans to commodify and normalise the use of things which we have absolutely no business taking! 🤯😨

Sadly, as a kid, GiNNa was one of my favourite desserts.

Usually I’m not the kind of vegan who feels guilty about my past food choices. What’s done is done. I’m just grateful I make better choices now.

But GiNNa is the one dessert from my past that breaks my heart. 💔😢

I can’t believe how casually my tastebuds could enjoy something that an innocent new born should’ve been eating. 🐮🐄👩🏽‍🍼

If you still like GiNNa, you don’t have to wait for a cow to give birth and steal her baby’s first food.

Instead, make this Vegan GiNNa anytime you crave it!

Close up of a caramel brown, jelly like dessert being help up with a steel spoon. More dessert in the background. A vegan version of GiNNa (in Kannada), also known as Junnu (in Telegu).

1 1/2 L Soy Mylk
15 g Agar Agar Sheet – cut into small strips
1 1/2 C Jaggery

🌻Rinse the agar agar strips
🌹Add to soy mylk and bring to boil
🌻Reduce heat to low and keep cooking, stirring periodically, until the agar dissolves completely (takes 20-30 mins)
🌹Gently stir in the Jaggery and simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes until it dissolves (don’t let the mylk boil!)
🌻Turn off heat and transfer to a tray or individual cups
🌹Allow to cool, then let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours
🌻Enjoy cold!

📝 Other plant based mylks work, but fresh, homemade soy mylk gives the best texture
📝 You can use agar agar powder instead of sheets

Friday, November 08, 2013

Madhu's Besan Laddoos, Rithika's Carrot n Coconut Date Squares and a message from Zeeshan of PCRM

Besan Laddoo, or as we say in Kannada, Besan Undé, is one of my absolute favorite sweets! I have wonderful memories of my grandma making them in my childhood days. Popping that freshly made, warm Besan Undé into my mouth as soon as she shaped it into a ball was pure bliss. Mmmm.

After I turned vegan, my gran and my aunts started to switch out the ghee with oil when they made Besan Undés for us. Those are pretty darned yum too but the texture is a bit on the softer side.

So recently, during Deepavali, when I saw a recipe for Besan Laddoo by my Facebook friend Madhulika Jajodia where she'd used cashew powder in the recipe to add firmness to the Laddoos, I just knew I had to try it out.

I made a few tweaks to the recipe to suit the ingredients I had at home and created these super delicious Besan Undés. They are so easy and quick to make that I'm afraid I'll be making them a little too often. :p

Vegan Besan Laddoos

Vegan Besan Undé

1 C Besan (Chickpea) Flour
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Cashew Powder
1/4 C Groundnut (Peanut) Oil
Elaichi (Cardamom) Powder
Toasted Almond Pieces

*Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pan (iron baandli) and heat.
*Add the besan flour, stir and toast on medium flame till it emits a nice aroma.
*Add sugar and cashew powder and continue to heat and stir for a few minutes.
*Finally add the elaichi powder and toasted almonds, mix well and turn off the heat.
*Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, till it is comfortable to handle.
*Grease your palms with oil and shape into tight balls.
*Eat some.
*Allow the remaining to cool completely and store in an airtight container.
*Enjoy! :)

Vegan Besan Laddoos

Talking about Deepavali sweets, Zeeshan Ali of PCRM wanted to share a few words here about healthy desserts, along with a delicious recipe by my good friend Rithika Ramesh of Vegan on the Prowl and The Green Stove.

“Following the celebration of Diwali — a festival of lights, fireworks, and sweets — in India, physicians with the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) offer a healthful alternative to traditional treats that are typically made with high-fat, high-cholesterol eggs and dairy products, including milk and ghee. These ingredients aren’t just bad for your waistline, recent studies link dairy consumption to prostate cancer.

“The good news? Health-conscious families can now swap dairy products for nondairy options, such as cashew milk. Other tips, to boost nutrients and curb fat, include swapping sugar for dates and applesauce for eggs.

“According to the study published in the journal "Diabetes Care," a diet low in cholesterol, fats and sugars lowers risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

“Carrot and Coconut Date Squares is a delicious example of a healthful, cholesterol-free treat; it’s packed with a decadent combination of carrots, coconut, and dates, which provide a mega-dose of beta-carotene, vitamins, and dietary fiber. These antioxidants naturally boost your immune system and fiber will help fill you up without filling you out.

Zeeshan Ali PhD
Phone: 202-527-7302

Rithika's Carrot n Coconut Date Squares

Carrot and Coconut Date Squares (Dessert)

For the base and crumble:
3 cups oats powdered
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 medium carrot grated
1/2 cup jaggery melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond butter

For the filling:
400 grams pitted dates
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange peel

Preheat your oven to 180˚C.
Mix all the dry ingredients for the crumble and then add the wet ingredients. Make it into a thick, firm dough.
Boil the dates with 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes. Make sure it doesn't burn. Once it cools, blend it into a smooth paste and add more water if required. Add the vanilla and orange peel.
In a square or rectangular baking dish lined with parchment paper, put two thirds of the oat mixture and spread evenly. Spread the date mixture on top of it. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture on top of it.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Links to additional recipes:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Video and Recipes from my Vegan Demo at Soul Kadhi

On 18th May, I was part of a vegan cooking demo and lunch event at Soul Kadhi. I had a really nice time talking about vegan food and showing people how to make a bunch of scrumptious, Indian, vegan dishes along with Chef Ajay.

The response was very good. There were about 20 participants and all of them said they found the demo interesting and the food delicious. Less than half the attendees were vegan. The rest were people who wanted to learn vegan cooking for various reasons. It was all totally worth the effort! :)

My hubby captured the demo on video and I spent some time editing and putting it together. The video explains the general outline of the recipes and also contains a few pointers about making vegan mylks and curds. I've shared all the recipes below, after the embedded video. Between the two, you will be able to clearly understand all the steps involved and easily make the recipes at home yourself.

If you were present for the demo, do drop me a line here in the comments section to let me know how you liked the experience. :)

Vegan Demo Video

I already have a blog post explaining the process of making Peanut Curds in detail.

In all the recipes below, the quantities of ingredients are approximate and certain quantities are not even mentioned. As you prepare the food, taste and adjust often to suit your preferences.


1/2 C Cashews
2-3 tsp Sugar
Small pinch of salt
Sliced Pistachios
Crushed Saffron/Elaichi

In a dry jar, grind together the cashews and sugar into a fine powder.
Scrape down the sides and grind again until the cashew starts to release its oils and becomes slightly buttery.
Add a small pinch of salt and a splash of water and blend to a smooth paste.
Add a little more water and blend into a cream, it should have the consistency of condensed milk.
Pour into a bowl and garnish with sliced pistachios and crushed saffron and/or elaichi.
Chill for at least half an hour and serve.

This dish doesn't need to be cooked and you can make it completely raw by using soaked dates in place of sugar.
If you like, you can heat the Basundi for a few minutes while stirring continuously and chill it. This makes it a little more creamy but is not really a necessary step.

Tamarind Tofu Tikka

500 gms Firm Tofu
1 Onion
1 Capsicum (preferably red or yellow)
1 Tomato
1-2 T Thick Tamarind Paste
1/4 tsp Dhania Powder
1/4 tsp Jeera Powder
1 tsp Kasauri Methi
1 tsp Chilli Powder
Mustard Oil
Chopped Green Chillies
Chopped Cilantro

Drain and gently squeeze the tofu to remove water.
Make the tofu into 1 inch cubes.
Cube the vegetables.
Mix salt, tamarind paste, spices, herbs and mustard oil with a few spoons of water to get a creamy marinade.
Toss the cubed tofu and vegetables in the marinade.
Cover and keep aside for a minimum of 30 minutes.
If you have more time then marinate overnight in the fridge to meld the flavours very well.
Skewer and grill on high in a convection oven or tandoor for 8-10 minutes.
Serve hot.

You can alternately roast the skewered tikkas on a hot, non stick pan that's greased with oil, turning them occasionally to ensure even grilling. In this case, don't add the chilli powder in a marinade because it will create a lot of smoke. Instead, sprinkle the chilli powder on top of the tikkas after they have been grilled.

Malai Kofta

For the Kofta Balls:
4 Potatoes - boil/steam, peel and grate
200-250 gms Tofu - drain, rinse, gently squeeze to remove water, grate
2 T Corn Starch
Elaichi Powder
Pepper Powder
Dry Fruits/Nuts - chopped finely and mixed

Gently mix the grated potatoes and grated tofu together with a fork or spoon.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Dust a clean surface or a plate with corn starch.
Rub corn starch on your palms and fingers.
Shape the potato/tofu mixture into balls and make a hole in the center with your finger.
Place some dry fruits/nuts in the hole and close the ball.
Shape into elongated balls.
Deep fry in hot oil until golden.
If you want to make them more healthy, instead of deep frying, grease the kofta balls with a little oil and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for about 15 minutes, until the balls have browned lightly.
Drain on tissue paper and keep aside.

For the Malai Sauce:
Ginger-Garlic Paste
Green Chilli Paste or Pepper Powder
Thick Cashew Cream
Elaichi Powder
Sugar (optional)
Keora/Kewra Water (optional)

Stir fry the ginger-garlic paste in a dry pan or optionally with a spoon of hot oil.
Add the green chilli paste (if using) and stir.
Add the thick cashew cream (this could be raw or cooked cashew cream, either way is fine).
Add salt, elaichi powder and pepper powder (if using) and stir.
Optionally add sugar and keora water and mix.
Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes.
Adjust the thickness of the sauce with some water.

How to proceed:
While the sauce is simmering on low heat, the prepared kofta balls and toss gently.
Add a splash of water to the sauce to keep it in a constant simmer (so it doesn't start boiling vigorously).
Simmer the koftas for a minute and turn off the heat.
Serve hot with rotis or pulaos.

Kadhi Pakora

For the Pakoras:
Besan Flour
Sliced Onion
Chopped Curry Leaves
Chopped Cilantro
Chilli Powder

Mix everything with some water to make a thick batter.
Heat oil and drop spoonfuls of the batter.
Deep fry while occasionally turning over, until crispy and golden brown.
Drain on tissue paper and keep aside to cool.

For the Kadhi:
Peanut Curds
Besan Flour
Turmeric Powder
Finely Chopped Garlic
Thinly Sliced Onion
Amchoor Powder
Roasted Red Chillies

Make a thick batter by whisking together besan, peanut curds and turmeric powder.
Heat a spoon of oil in a pan.
Add whole jeera and dhania and stir for a few seconds, allowing them to crackle.
Add the finely chopped garlic and stir.
Add the thinly sliced onion and stir fry until the onion is translucent and lightly browned.
Pour in the peanut crud-besan batter and stir well.
Add amchoor powder and salt and mix well.
Adjust thickness of the sauce with a little water.
Add the dry roasted red chillies and simmer.

How to proceed:
While the sauce is simmering, add the deep fried pakoras.
Mix for half a minute and turn off the heat.
Optionally season with toasted mustard seeds, dhania, jeera and curry leaves.
Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Carrot Halwa

4 Large Carrots - grated
1/2 C Thick Cashew Cream
2-3 T Sugar
1 T Oil
2 Cloves
2 Elaichis (crushed)
Chopped Dates
Slivered Almonds

Grate the carrots.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cloves and stir.
Add the grated carrots.
Stir fry until the carrots are cooked and have reduced in quantity.
Add thick cashew cream, stir and cook for a few minutes.
Add crushed elaichi and sugar and stir for a minute.
Mix in the sliced almonds, chopped dates and raisins and turn off the heat.

You can reduce the sugar or eliminate it completely and add more dates and raisins for sweetness.
If you want to avoid oil, steam the carrots whole and grate them, that way you can completely skip the stir frying process.
You can add finely ground cashew powder instead of cashew cream.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Great Vegan Fix - cooking demo and lunch event at Soul Kadhi, Bangalore on Sat, 18th May 2013

My Hazelnut Chocolate Cake blog post in March was full of updates about all the awesome things happening in my vegan life. One of the things I'd mentioned was an upcoming vegan cooking demo at a local restaurant. I'd promised to tell you more about it as soon as all the details fell into place. They finally have and here's the story...

It had been a long and pleasantly tiring day. We were all winding down at the end of the first VGF, basking in the overwhelming success and fretting about how we hadn't gotten our hands on certain sinful delicacies which had sold out way too fast. That was when Aditi Shankar walked in and asked for me. She told me she had found me through my blog and wanted to speak to me about another vegan event which involved promoting vegan food.

I thought she meant an event like VGF, a fair of sorts, and having just finished one after weeks of planning and preparing, I didn't have the capacity to start thinking of another one right away. So Aditi and I decided to connect on Facebook the following week and I promised her I'd be happy to discuss further with her then.

As it turned out, this event happened to be a vegan cooking demo and lunch at a restaurant called Soul Kadhi. The concept is similar to the demo-lunches I helped organise at Vivanta by Taj last year, but with one significant difference, it's all about promoting Indian vegan food.

Sould Kadhi Event Poster

Soul Kadhi is a North Indian cuisine restaurant located on a cozy street just off Richmond Road, in the heart of Bangalore. It is owned and operated by Nirmala Balakrishnan, who also runs two other eateries on the same premises. Though it is not a completely vegetarian joint, they do serve a variety of vegetarian dishes. Unlike typical North Indian restaurants, they don't overly douse their food with fats and oils. Instead, they strive to serve good, simple, comfort food with a homemade feel. In fact, Nirmala says that ever since she opened the restaurant, she's not felt the need to cook at home. Her whole family eats the food served at the restaurant. :)

Now Nirmala wants to introduce vegan and veganisable options into the menu and that is where I come in. I met with Aditi and Nirmala in March and we came up with some interesting ideas for the event menu. When asked why Soul Kadhi wants to have this vegan event, Nirmala said, "Vegan food has become this trendy/fashionable concept and it is a general impression that to be vegan, one must eat fancy dishes with exotic ingredients. But what people don't realise is that in India, we just happen to eat vegan food at home on a daily basis. So the idea here is to show people that not only are they already eating vegan food as a part of their regular diet, they can also veganise everyday foods which might contain animal derived ingredients."

Everyday staples like rice, roti, dal, sambar, idli, dosa, etc... are already vegan by default. Most vegans already know how easy it is it be a vegan in India and how it takes barely any changes in day to day cooking/eating for a person to follow a cruelty-free diet. But I was *really* happy to hear a non vegan person understanding and explaining all this. It truly does show that veganism has come a long way in India and is growing each day.

We fixed an appointment for a cooking/tasting session in early April. I first spent some time in the Soul Kadhi kitchen, teaching Chef Ajay and his staff how to make basic dairy better-natives like peanut mylk/curds, cashew mylk/cream. The next day, we worked together for a couple of hours to create the tamarind tofu tikka, malai kofta, kadhi pakora, gajar ka halwa and basundi.

Chef Ajay is really nice and down to earth. He was very open to learning about vegan food and since he's an experienced chef, I ended up picking up some valuable cooking pointers from him as well. It was such a pleasure working with him!

All of us had a scrumptious food tasting session that afternoon. :)

Tamarind Tofu Tikka
Tofu Tikka

Cucumber Raita
Cucumber Raita

Kadhi Pakora
Kadhi Pakora

Malai Kofta
Malai Kofta

Gajar Ka Halwa
Gajar Ka Halwa


Everything was delicious but the kadhi was hands down the *best* dish! Nirmala exclaimed to the chef that this vegan kadhi made of peanut curds was even better than his regular kadhi (which is supposed to be really good to begin with). :)

Event details:

Location: Soul Kadhi, #3, Laurel Lane, Richmond Town, Bangalore - 560025
Date: Saturday, 18th May 2013
Time: 12 noon
Price: Rs. 500 per person (inclusive of taxes)

At 12 noon, I will give a short introduction to vegan food. Then the chefs and I will begin the cooking demo and show you how to make the dishes pictured above. It will take about an hour to hour and half.

This will be followed by a sit down lunch where all the demo-ed dishes will be served, along with steamed rice and tandoori rotis. The lunch is not limited to single portions.

Registrations for the event begin after 12th May. You can reach Nirmala at +91 96866 01021 and book your place.

You can additionally RSVP on the Facebook Event Page.

This will be a nice event for veteran vegans to spend a relaxing afternoon indulging in some delicious fare. It will be even more useful to new vegans who want to learn some interesting vegan recipes and those people who are considering a vegan lifestyle or are curious about what completely plant-based food tastes like.

I'd love to see some of my fellow Bangalore Vegans at Soul Kadhi on the 18th. More importantly, if you have friends or family members who you've been talking to about switching to a vegan diet, this is an excellent opportunity for you to make them experience vegan food at a restaurant first hand.

Depending on the response to this event, Soul Kadhi plans to organise more vegan cooking events in the future. They also intend to introduce these and other vegan dishes into their regular menu based on the feedback of the participants.

Looking forward to seeing you there! :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sweet Potato Jamoon Vegan MoFo day 15

Umm remember how I didn't do a blog post on Friday? Well, today's post is going to totally make up for it, plenty and more. It's a super awesome Vegan Jamoon recipe!!! Yeah!

Yes, yes, I do know it's not a part of this week's Main Courses theme, nor last week's Snacks and Starters theme for that matter, but who cares? It's Dessert! And *everything* moves aside for Dessert. :D

Vegan Gulab Jamoon

Many of you might already know about my lengthy quest for the perfect Vegan Gulab Jamoon. I even spoke about it on a video two weeks ago when GiGi interviewed me for her weekly program, Who Dat Vegan on her blog Veganville.

It started way back when hubby and I lived in Bloomington, IL. I had made a *large* quantity of Vegan Therattu Paal (Khova) out of soymilk. It's a traditional dessert made by boiling milk while stirring continuously until it turns into a thick cream, then adding jaggery (or sugar) and cardamom and cooking it to a very thick, shape-able consistency. I think I'd made it for some festival and after hubby and I had eaten plenty, the rest had been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days.

One evening, I decided to attempt making Jamoon out of it. I vaguely remembered how my grandma used to make them out of Khova when we were living in a big, happy joint family. My grandpa used to bring these pre made packages of Khova and grandma, my mom and my aunts used to mix it with maida (white flour), shape balls, deep fry them and soak them in sugar syrup.

So I mixed a random quantity of flour and a pinch of baking soda (or was it baking powder?) with the Khova and made Jamoons. I was thrilled with the results! The Jamoons seemed especially delicious since it had been over a year since I'd become vegan and I hadn't even eaten non-vegan Jamoons for a long time before that. But alas, I never wrote down the quantities or exact method I followed to make the Jamoons and to this day I regret it!

Vegan Gulab Jamun

After that, my next attempt at Jamoons was only after returning to Bangalore. The result was a huge disappointment! The balls were thick skinned and rubbery and did not absorb any sugar syrup. :( This was especially painful since I'd spent over an hour in front of the stove, stirring soymilk to turn it into the Khova that went into the Jamoons. And that was only the first of my frustrating Jamoon attempts.

I unsuccessfully tried making Jamoons with a soymilk powder and tofu a few times over the years. With each attempt that was a flop, I used to get disheartened and swear I'd never bother making Jamoons again. Then again on a day I was in a particularly adventurous mode, I'd give it another go and end up feeling disappointed all over again.

Then last year during Vegan MoFo I made Jamoons again, following Richa's recipe from her blog Vegan Richa. They were made of almonds and oats and were delicious, but their texture pretty different from the Jamoons I had eaten while growing up.

My next attempt was a few months later, when I suddenly had a light bulb moment of deep frying cupcake batter and soaking that in sugar syrup. The result was yummy! Slightly more close to 'real' Jamoons. But I had made the mistake of frying the Jamoons in coconut oil, so upon refrigeration, they became hard and more like Baadushas than Jamoons. I figured I'd make them again with oil that doesn't harden upon chilling and then share the recipe here but I guess I must've finally gotten bored of trying to make Jamoons, so I never got around to doing it.

I finally remembered Jammons again last week, after all this time, when someone on our Vegan Bangalore facebook group asked for a vegan Jamoon recipe. That's when Dr.Varadarangan shared a link to his wife's fantastic Sweet Potato Jamoon recipe on their website, Prevanka. The moment I read the recipe, I just knew I had to try it out. And the next thing I knew, I was ordering sweet potatoes.

This Jamoon recipe is the closest I have ever gotten to my grandmother's Khova based Jamoons. They could be a little more soft so they absorb the sugar syrup better, but other than that, the taste and texture were really impressive. All I need to do is learn to mix the dough with a lighter touch to make the balls more fluffy and I know I'll hit the perfect Jamoons. Finally! :)

I reduced the quantities a little and added a bit of saffron for garnish, but other than that, I pretty much followed Ms.Veena Varadarangan's original recipe. I thought I'd expand on the step by step details of the method below, so that people who would be attempting Jamoons for the first time don't make the mistakes that I've made in my previous Jamoon-making experiences. A reliable recipe is the key to making good Jamoons, but the precise method of making them is just as important.

Vegan Gulab Jamoon

Vegan Sweet Potato Jamoons

For the Jamoon Balls:

500 gms Sweet Potatoes (3 large sized ones)
1 C All Purpose Flour (loosely packed)
1/4 tsp Baking Soda (I think I'll try Baking Powder next time)
2 tsp Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Sesame Oil for Deep Frying.

For the Sugar Syrup:

1 C Sugar
1 C Water
2 pods Cardamom
Pinch of Saffron

Steam or boil the sweet potatoes until tender.
Peel and mash them well.
Sieve together the all purpose flour and baking soda.
Add the flour to the sweet potato and mix gently, without kneading.
Do not add any water, just mix in enough flour to form a soft dough.
Cover and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
Pinch off bits of dough and very gently and quickly shape them into 1 inch balls (I got around 30-35 balls).
If the balls get pressed too much, they will become dense and not absorb the syrup, that's why it's important to get the balls as smooth as you can without pressing too hard.
Cover and let the balls sit for 5-10 minutes.

Heat the sugar and water together in a wide pan.
Stir until the sugar melts.
Crush the cardamom pods to coarsely powder the seeds and add.
Simmer on a low heat for a few minutes, until it becomes a thin, sticky syrup.
Turn off the heat and add a few strands of saffron.
Cover and keep the syrup warm.
If the syrup cools a lot before the balls are done, then warm it up again on a low flame, for a few minutes before adding the balls.

Heat sesame oil in a wok and deep fry the balls until they are golden brown.
The heat should be on medium-high so the balls cook well on the inside and outside.
If the flame is too low, the balls won't expand and if it is too high, then the outside will brown too quickly and the insides won't get cooked.
Place the balls on a tissue paper to drain out excess oil and let them cool for at least 5 minutes.
It's very important to let the balls cool before adding to the syrup, otherwise they'll collapse and become rubbery.
I just deep fry the whole batch of balls and then add them to the syrup together after a few minutes.

Cover and let them soak for at least 2 hours.
They taste best after sitting in the syrup overnight, in the fridge.
Jamoons taste equally delicious when served cold or hot (20 seconds in the microwave).

It's tempting to pop them in your mouth whole, but slice through them with a spoon and have each bite with some sugar syrup for the full experience.

Enjoy! :)

Vegan Gulab Jamoon

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Cashew Barfi Truffles and a Video Vegan MoFo day 4

Just when I had the Vegan MoFo blogs all organized, I discovered Rando and he created chaos in my life!! is a brilliant tool created by the people of Vegan MoFo. What it does is that every time you visit the link, a random Vegan MoFo blog post gets loaded. The surprise factor makes it so much more fun that I've blog hopped on it all day yesterday and my Newsify app pretty much got ignored. :oP

Raw Cashew Barfi Truffles

Cashew Barfi is a very common Indian sweet. It's made by grinding cashews into a paste and cooking it with cardamom powder and sugar. The paste is then spread onto a plate in a thin layer and scored in a criss-cross pattern. Once the paste cools, the Barfis harden and can be removed and served as individual diamond shaped pieces.

This sweet is vegan by default, except when some idiot decides the plate needs to be greased with ghee (yuck!). Cashews have plenty of oils on their own and the plates really don't require any greasing to begin with. And if a person wants to make things easier, they could just line the plate with a sheet of plastic or foil and it becomes super simple to pop off the set pieces of Barfi.

I started out making a mostly raw version of Cashew Barfis but I soon learnt that the cooked paste sets to a firm consistency, whereas the raw paste remains sticky and soft, even after being chilled in the fridge for a few hours. That's why I decided to shape the paste into balls and make truffles out of it. The texture turned out to be perfect for truffles!

I rolled some of my truffles in cocoa powder and the others in saffron strands, just for variety (and because I really hadn't intended to do yet another chocolate based post today). One could also use coconut powder, toasted sesame seeds or a variety of other things to coat the Barfi Balls.

I had mentioned in September that my theme for Vegan MoFo would be dishes for a four course meal with each week featuring recipes for one course. My first week's theme is Desserts. But if you've been following my posts all week, you might notice that there's a sub-theme going on. Can you guess what it is? :)

Raw Cashew Barfi Truffles

Cashew Barfi Truffles - vegan, gluten free, mostly raw

1 C Cashews
2 T Sugar (the only non-raw ingredient)
2 Cardomon Pods (use only the seeds, the skins can go into your tea powder to add a mild flavour)
1/8 tsp Saffron Strands
Pinch of Salt

Cocoa Powder
Saffron Strands

Grind everything in a food processor for a few minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the grinding jar once in a while through the grinding process.
Continue processing until the cashews start releasing their oil and you get a smooth, buttery paste.
Transfer the paste into a bowl and chill for half an hour.
Shape the paste into balls and roll onto cocoa powder and saffron strands.
Chill in the fridge for a little more time.
Enjoy! :)

Raw Cashew Barfi Truffles

And now for the video I promised (in the title of this post). You might all be familiar with my dear friend GiGi of Veganville, who did a guest post on my blog earlier this year. She's doing a series of video interviews called "Who Dat Vegan" on Thursdays through Vegan MoFo this year. I'm stoked to be the first person to be interviewed. :)

Here's the question video she sent me:

And here's my long, rambling reply:

Visit GiGi's blog, Veganville to read more about her Thursday program, Who Dat Vegan and also read her other hilarious recipe posts for Vegan MoFo. You'll thoroughly enjoy her write ups and laugh your head off at the videos. Check out her MoFo intro video along with her hubby, Crazy Boy aka Psycho Boy aka Larry. They're even all dressed up for it! haha

Also, if you live in the USA, then order some delicious Veganville Voppee Pies made by GiGi herself.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Steamed Ragi Sweet, my guest post on Tongue Ticklers.

Steamed Ragi Sweet, my guest post on Tongue Ticklers.

Want to know what that is and how to make it? Check out my guest post on Tongue Ticklers (that website has unfortunately disappeared now).

Tongue Ticklers is a vegan blog run by Harini. It's filled with beautiful food photography, interesting recipes and lots of handy tips on vegan and gluten free cooking and baking. I'm super happy to have a guest post featured on it. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Raw, Vegan 'Rasmalai'

When I saw this link for Raw, Vegan 'Rasmalai' on my friend P's facebook profile yesterday, I was consumed by the desire to immediately attempt it. One just can't have the words VEGAN and RASMALAI jumping out from the same sentence and resist its pull. Any plans I'd had to laze around after lunch went right out the window. I prepared and gobbled up the chapati and tofu/capsicum curry in a big, fat hurry and lunged for my mixie, all the while showering a thousand blessings upon the heads of Rohit and Rishi of Roshi's who came up with this ingenious, raw concoction.

I tweaked the original recipe a wee bit. Here's the version I followed.

Raw Vegan Rasmalai

Cardamom and Saffron Flavored Cashew Mylk Base:

1/2 C Cashews
2-3 T Agave Nectar
4 Green Cardamom Seeds (crushed)
1 generous pinch Saffron Strands
1 3/4 C Water

Add all ingredients, except water, into a grinder jar and powder well. Add water a little at a time and make a smooth paste. Add the rest of the water and blend well to form a creamy vegan mylk. Keep aside.

Rasgulla Balls:

1 C Cashews
1 C Almonds
1/2 tsp Sesame Seeds (optional ingredient for added calcium)
5 Soft Dates (chopped)

In a dry jar, grind 1/2 C cashews and 1/2 C almonds into a fine powder. Separately grind the rest of the cashews and almonds along with the sesame seeds into small granules.

In a large bowl, mix everything with dates by hand until evenly distributed. Add 2 tablespoons of the cashew mylk and knead. Shape into 1 inch balls and lightly flatten them into saucers.

Place in a wide bowl and pour the prepared cashew mylk over them. Sprinkle sliced pistachios and a small pinch of saffron on top. Cover and keep aside for 7-8 hours for the balls to soak up the mylk and soften (this is the hardest part!!).

Tastes best when served cold.

Raw Vegan 'Rasmalai'

Note: This is a rich, healthy and extremely delicious dessert but it didn't turn out exactly like normal Rasmalai. The mylk did taste like the kind used in Rasmalai but the texture of the balls was not soft and creamy like Rasgulla should be. They were more like a rich, dry fruits barfi/ball soaked in decadent saffron mylk.

I will be redoing this recipe again and next time I will eliminate the dates and also lightly mix and shape the 'dough' rather than kneading.

But in the end, even if it doesn't turn out like Rasmalai, I don't really care because it tastes absolutely heavenly!! Plus it's easy to make, raw and healthy (not a single bad ingredient in there!). I even guiltlessly ate it for breakfast just now. :D

I have a feeling that this will be a staple dessert at our home. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gulab Jamuns and Gratitude - Vegan MoFo Post 17

I've had a pretty physically and mentally exhausting two weeks. It's so not like me to say these words because I normally manage to lead a comfortably slow paced life. But sometimes unexpected stuff happens and all we can do is drop everything else and deal with the unwanted stuff in the best way we can. Anyways, I like keeping things cheerful around here so enough about this topic. I only told you all this because I just wanted to explain my lack of MoFo activity.

I normally have a tendency to focus on the positive (and there is always plenty to be thankful for when we open our eyes and look around us), so today I'll focus on some foodalicious things I've been enjoying with gratitude since my last Vegan MoFo post.

For Diwali every year, the hubs and I have been making Baadushas for the past few years. But this time I decided to attempt Vegan Gulab Jamuns (yet again) and they turned out closer to the regular kind than they have been in a long time. I am very grateful to Richa of Hobby and More for this awesome recipe. I followed it to a T and these beauties were the result. :)

Vegan Gulab Jamuns

I definitely have a bit of a way to go before I perfect the precise Jamun texture, but the almonds and oats that Richa has brilliantly included in the recipe make them so delicious that the texture almost didn't matter!

The next thing that I'm *extremely* thankful for is good friends!! At times like these, there's nothing like hanging out with a few buddies to lighten things up.

A few days ago I had lunch with two of my very close friends from high school. It was so wonderful to meet up with them after a long time. We had lunch at Infinitea (a tea room close to my heart) and yakked away to our hearts' content. We were celebrating M's birthday. She had come with her very sweet hubby. We later dropped into their hotel room to play with her super cute 6 month old munchkin. I love little babies! They bring so much joy!! :)

This is the tea I had at Infinitea. Rose Hip and Hibiscus. What a gorgeous colour!!

Rose Hip and Hibiscus Tea

For many years now, it's been a Diwali tradition for me and my little sis to hang out with our cousins on the terrace at our parents' apartment. We watch the fireworks in the sky all around us and talk and laugh until the wee hours of the morning. This year everything's change and we weren't able to do our yearly ritual. :( But I am thankful for all the sweet memories from years past that I can fondly look back on and I hope that some day we can all be together again.

Diwali has always been about home and family but this year on the night of the main day of Diwali, hubs and I did something different. We went out for dinner with our dear vegan friends to Little Italy, Indiranagar. While the people of Bengaluru were bursting loud crackers outside, our cozy little group was sitting indoors and sharing a delicious vegan meal. We were celebrating World Go Vegan Week. I'm so thankful to have these awesome, cool, compassionate souls in my life.

Out of everything I ate, my favorite was the Zorba Pizza with added capers. Ooh lala! It was a slice of garlicalicious heaven.

Zorba Pizza from Little Italy

All of us shared all the dishes so I got only one slice of this baby but I think I'll be getting myself a whole Zorba pizza the next time I'm at Little Italy.

Tomorrow's our monthly Vegan Bengaluru meeting. The lunch buffet that I was telling you about last week. I already know that this is going to be something that my tummy will be grateful for. Needless to say, my camera's coming along. :)

So here's hoping that life goes back to being simple and peaceful once again so that I can give you all a visual treat of the special vegan lunch buffet very soon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sundal and Payasam - Vegan Mofo Post 10

Last week we had a series of festivals called Dussera (also known as Navarathri). Traditionally we have ten days of celebration and this means lots of sweets and snacks. The most important of these festivals for us is Ayudha Pooja. It's a special occasion reserved to give thanks to all the tools, machines and vehicles we are blessed with.

On the day of Ayudha Pooja this year, hubby and I made a simple sweet and snack combination for Naiveidhyam (offering to the Gods and Goddesses). Something quick and delicious which we could eat and share.

Whatever is cooked with the intention of being placed at the altar as a food offering should only be eaten by us after the ritual is over. So while we prepare the food, we don't have the luxury of tasting and adjusting. But for some reason, every time we make Naiveidhyam food, it turns out perfect! This always reminds me that the taste of a dish is largely dependent on the energy and intention of love that goes into preparing it. Positive vibrations always yield beautiful results. :)

Sundal is a savory dish made of Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas. We can use any kind of chick peas to make these but this time we had Kabuli Channa (the larger ones) on hand so we used them. I normally follow the quick soak method to soak pulses but this time I soaked them overnight.

Channa Sundal

1 C Dry Chickpeas
2 Chopped Green Chillies
2 tsp Coconut Oil
Mustard Seeds
Curry Leaves
Asafoetida Powder (a pinch)
Dessicated Coconut
Chopped Cilantro
Lime Juice

Wash and soak the chickpeas over night (about 8 hours). Throw out the water, add fresh water and steam for 45 minutes or pressure cook for about 15 minutes until the chickpeas are soft.

In a wide, heavy bottomed pan heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add the chopped green chillies, asafoetida powder and curry leaves and stir for a half a minute.

Now add the cooked chickpeas and salt and a wee bit of the cooking liquid and cook on medium high heat while stir frying continuously. After about 5 mintues of this, once the water has evaporated, add the dessicated coconut and toss well and turn off the heat.

Mix in the lime juice and garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve hot.


Payasam is a liquidy dessert which is best eaten hot. It is served at the beginning of traditional South Indian meals.

Payasam can be made with many things - Rice, Dals, Tapioca, Semiya (fine semolina noodles), Broken Wheat etc... This time we made Channa Dal (Split Bengal Gram) Payasam.

Channa Dal Payasam

1 C Channa Dal
1/4 C Dessicated Coconut
1/4 C Grated Jaggery
6 tsp Sugar
1 T Chopped Cashews
1 t Raisins
2 Cardamom Pods (crushed well with a stone/hammer/mortar and pestle)

Soak the channa dal for an hour. Add dessicated coconut and steam (in the soaking water) for half an hour.

Meanwhile, dry roast the cashews to a golden color, add the raisins and stir for a few seconds, until they brown slightly. Keep aside.

Once the channa is ready, add jaggery and sugar and mix well. Bring to a simmer on medium heat and stir till the sugar and jaggery have dissolved. Add the crushed cardamom, lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.

Turn off the heat and serve hot.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Ganesha Chaturthi and Yummy Kadubus

I love a good, filling festival feast! But then, who doesn't? No matter what religious festival it is that one is celebrating, the love for the associated food is commonly shared. :)

It's probably because of a combination of the joyous childhood memories we have associated with festivals and the amount of care and hard work which always goes into making food fit for celebration.

Kadubu / Kozakottai

Being a strong believer in the power of spiritual vibrations, I feel that food when it's made with the intention of a offering to a deity as neiveidhya first before being eaten is most sublime.

Among all the festival we grew up celebrating, my fondest memories are of Gowri and Ganesha (not even Diwali with all its fire crackers matches up). For the first half of my life, I lived in a big, happy joint family. We were fourteen of us in one huge bungalow. All festivals were celebrated together, as a family.

On the first day was the Gowri pooja followed on the next day by the Ganesha pooja. The story is that Gowri comes down to Earth on that day to visit her mother and Ganesha (Gowri's youngest son) accompanies her to stay at his grandma's place. And grandma spoils him with all kinds of delicious goodies. After the festivals are done, a few days later Ganesha safely takes his mother Gowri back up to Kailasa (heaven). That's when we leave the clay idols in water as a send off until the following year.

A few days before the festival, when the adults purchased the larger Gowri and Ganesha clay idols for the ritual, they always purchased smaller ones for us kids.

Me, my little sister and our two little cousin brothers used to willingly and enthusiastically wake up at the ungodly hour of 4 am on both festival days, get dressed in traditional clothes and sit at our mini altar to do the ritual to our little Gowri and Ganesha. The girls did the Gowri ritual and the boys did the Ganesha ritual. We even had miniature silver vessels, aarthis and all the other stuff required for the ceremony. And at the end of the ritual, the feast was brought out and placed in front of the deities as an offering. This marked the end of the ceremony. After this, we could commence wolfing down the yummy goodies! :D

Those were such utterly joyful days!!

Ganesha after the pooja

Now hubby and I bring home only the Ganesha (I visit my mom's place and all my aunt's places on the day of the Gowri festival) and perform a simple, short pooja. But we do make sure to cook a whole bunch of the traditional delicacies for the neiveidhya offering so we can stuff ourselves later to our tummies' content. :D

This year we made three types of kadubus/kozakottais, unfermented idli with coconut cilantro chutney, sundal out of small, brown channa and these miniature steamed snacks (don't really know what they are called).

For the three kadubu fillings - coconut jaggery, sesame jaggery, savory urad dal - we followed the recipes from Subbu's Kitchen. For the outer rice dough covering we used a slightly different method.

Kadubu Dough

1 C rice flour
1 C water
2 tsp oil
a pinch of salt

Mix everything into a paste in a heavy bottomed pan and place on medium heat. Stir continuously (will take maybe 5-10 minutes) and let it cook until the paste starts coming together into a ball of dough.

Take the pan off the stove and once the dough cools a bit, dip your palm in cold water and knead the dough until it's smooth. Follow instructions to make various fillings, stuff and steam.

Kadubus / Kozakottais inside

Fun Little Savory Steamed Snacks

These are usually made out of leftover kadubu dough but I like them so much that I always make extra dough just for these. :)

Kadubu dough
1 tsp moong dal and 1 tsp channa dal (soaked together for half an hour)
2 fresh green chillies, asafoetida and salt (crushed well together)
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

Mix everything together.
Form into fun little shapes - ball, stick, ring, disk etc...
Steam along with the kadubu for 5-8 minutes.

Another Ganesha Chaturthi dish that I truly relish is Kandundes (didn't make them this time around though). They are made of four kinds of lentils soaked together and ground to a thick paste along with spices, shaped into balls and steamed. Then they are dunked in a yogurt based gravy and served. I make these on non festival days too because then I get to add onion (a festival no no) and also a bunch of chopped veggies. I either serve those in a vegan yogurt based gravy or just plainly spiced vegan yogurt. I'll share a recipe for those the next time I make them.

What goodies do you prepare for Gowri Pooja and Ganesha Chaturthi and which ones are your favorites?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegan Baadusha Recipe

Do you know why Baadusha starts with 'baad'? Because it is one baaadass sweet! heheh Ok stop cringing, I promise not to make anymore poor jokes for the rest of this post. :oP

We've been making these babies for Diwali in the recent years. One of the quickest desserts to make! The only 'work' involved is the deep frying and even that can be easy with a partner. In my case, I shape the Baadushas and pop them into the oil and DH deep fries them and transfers them into the sugar syrup. 10-15 minutes of this et voilà, all done! :)


2 C maida/all purpose flour (I do intend to try these out with whole wheat flour at some point though)
1/2 C cold coconut oil + more for deep frying
2 C sugar
2 C water + more for the dough
A generous pinch of baking soda
Tiny pinch of salt
Chopped nuts - pista, almond, cashew

Fry the chopped nuts in a bit of coconut oil until lightly brown, strain and keep aside.

Pour this strained oil plus the remainder of the 1/2 C oil into the flour along with the salt and rub everything together until crumbs form.

Sprinkle the soda on top, add a little bit of water and knead into a soft dough.

Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a slightly thick sugar syrup with the sugar and water by boiling them together.

While the syrup is still warm, heat the oil for deep frying.

Shape the dough into little balls, flatten them and press your thumb (or index or whichever finger you like) down in the middle to form a crater in each one.

In batches, deep fry them in the hot oil on a medium flame until golden brown and transfer them directly into the warm sugar syrup.

Let them soak for about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer them onto a plate and place the nuts in the craters.

After they cool slightly, the sugar syrup will harden a bit and form a layer on top.

At this point the Baadushas are ready to munch on. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A delicious Sankranthi vegan brunch

Sankranthi (aka Pongal) is an important Hindu festival which marks the beginning of the Sun's 'climb' into the Northern Hemisphere. In South India, we also celebrate Sankranthi as the beginning of the harvest season. Like most other Hindu festivals, we celebrate this one by having a bath (hair wash too) and then cooking the customary sweet and savory dishes meant for the festival. Then we place the food in front of the holy altar carrying pictures and idols of various Gods and Goddesses and light two oil lamps. We pray, offer thanks and request blessings. Then we offer the food to the Gods who get to 'taste' everything first (we don't taste them while cooking) and then... we dig right in! :)

In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh States, women also exchange Vayanas with the relatives or neighbors. These contain various items representing a good harvest like Sugarcane, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Peanuts, Elachikai (a kind of sour berry) and also other traditional things like Turmeric Sticks, Kumkum Powder (the red dot we put on our forehead), Coconut, Fruits, Beetle Leaves and Beetle Nuts.

In the South the main traditional delicacy for the Sankranthi breakfast is Pongal. Two types of Pongal to be precise - the Sweet Pongal and the Savory Pongal. The main ingredients in these are rice and split mung beans (yep, my favorite moong dal :)). Today, along with the Pongals, we also made Vadas (deep fried black gram fritters) and a Tamarind Gojju (sauce) to have on the side with the Savory Pongal. The Vadas are normally doughnut shaped but we weren't able to shape them so instead we dropped little spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. So what came out was something which could be termed Vada Holes (like doughnut holes) :D

Sankranthi or not these are delicious, easy to prepare dishes. If you try these out, please do leave a comment here on how they turned out.


Vegan Savory Pongal

1 C Moong Dal
1 C Rice
8 C Water (more if required)
2 t Olive Oil
1/4 t Turmeric

For the seasoning:

3 T any Vegetable Oil
1/2 t Mustard Seeds
1/2 t Cumin Seeds
1/4 t Asafoteida Powder
1/2 t Whole Black Pepper
10-12 Curry Leaves
1 t Ginger chopped into tiny pieces
Sea Salt

Lightly toast the moong dal in a dry pan for a few minutes, stirring continuously till it's slightly deepened in color.

Put the rice, moong dal, turmeric, olive oil and water with a pinch of sea salt in a pressure cooker and cook for 6 whistles. If you don't have a pressure cooker then you can cook them in a large pot on the stovetop on medium flame for about 45 mins till the dal is well cooked and soft, in which case it needs to be monitored and stirred occasionally.

In a small pan, heat the vegetable oil for about half a minute. Add the mustard and let it crackle, then add the cumin, asafoteida powder, whole black pepper, curry leaves and the ginger and stir for a few seconds and switch off the flame.

Add sea salt and the seasoning to the cooked rice/dal mixture and mix.

Serve hot.


Vegan Sweet Pongal

1/2 C Moong Dal
1/2 C Rice
1/4 C Channa Dal (Split Gram)
2 C Water
2 C Soymilk or Almond Milk
2 T Olive Oil

Lightly toast the moong and channa dals in a dry pan for a few minutes, stirring continuously till they have slightly deepened in color.

Cook all the above ingredients in a pressure cooker or a large pan till the rice is cooked well and the dals have become soft.

Stir in:

1 1/2 C Jaggery or Molasses
1/4 t Cardamom Powder
Handful of toasted Cashew nut pieces and Raisins.
1/2 to 1 C water

Bring to boil while stirring continuously and simmer for a few minutes.

Serve hot or cold.


Tamarind Gojju - as a side for the Savory Pongal

1 T any Vegetable Oil
1/4 t Mustard Seeds
1/4 t Cumin Seeds
Pinch Asafoteida Powder
1/4 t Whole Black Pepper
5-6 Curry Leaves
2 Red Chillies

Heat the oil in a small pan for about half a minute and add the mustard seeds (they should crackle immediately). Add the rest of the seasoning ingredients in the order given.

Take it off the flame. Then quickly mix in:

1/2 C Water
1/2 t Tamarind Paste
Sea Salt (to taste)

Put it back on the stove and bring to boil. Reduce the flame a simmer for a few minutes.

Note: If you desire a slightly thicker sauce then mix 1/2 t Gram Flour with a few spoons of water and make a liquidy paste. Stir in the paste into the Gojju while it's still simmering and keep stirring for a few minutes till the sauce has slightly thickened.


Oh will you LOOK at the time! It's 11:30 pm and I need to get to bed. So I'll post the recipe for the Vada Holes some other time. Until then... enjoy the Pongal! :)

love and light,
Susmitha :)