Tag Archives: Jaggery

Jaggery, pistachio, sesame, cardamom and chilli crusted popcorn

30 Jan

Jaggery, pistachio, sesame, cardamom and chilli crusted popcorn

 

My baby boy turns two today.

We went to buy his cake today and he, completely unprompted thanked the staff. In the supermarket he now walks with me, for quick shops only (rather than sitting in the trolley or pram) and natters the whole way; busses, music, birds, cars.  He scoots straight past all the dolls and pink crafts and goes straight to monster trucks, robots and aeroplanes.  He knows to hold my hand at all times.  When we got home he refused to let me cook dinner and swung from my leg until I carried him whilst cooking so that he could stir. After dinner he told me that wanted cuddles with mumma and whimpered until I sat down with him and he hurriedly made conversation, becoming breathless in fact…just in case I would get up and move away from talking about favourite vehicles, animals, planets or dinosaurs.

He still feels a part of me, an extension.  Not everyone will see this. I have learned an incredible amount about life through my boy in the last two years.

I eat more popcorn now than I have for many years, because he likes it.  I used to be a definite salted girl, but somewhere along the lines, things changed. Apart from when it comes to masala popcorn, of course!

Jaggery, pistachio, sesame, cardamom and chilli crusted popcorn

For this recipe I have used jaggery.  Jaggery is a molasses like block, deep and smooth and is a product of date, cane juice or palm sap without the separation of molasses and crystals and can vary from light to dark brown in colour.  Jaggery is typically combined with other ingredients such as nuts, coconut or condensed milk to make sweet delicacies. I am using jaggery because it has got to be better than using caramel and also, because I love the deep tones of jaggery. I know that jaggery has been used for Ayurveda as it contains minerals that aren’t found in sugar.  I had added sesame seeds and peanuts, which make the popcorn taste quite festive when combined with jaggery. There is an aromatic hint of cardamom and a kick of heat.  Give it a go.

Please be careful, melted jaggery is very hot and can burn you. Please don’t lick it for a taste test when hot.

 

Ingredients

175g jaggery

3 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

75g toasted and coarsely chopped pistachio

1/3rd cup of popcorn kernels

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

¼ tsp. cardamom

¼ tsp. chilli powder

Method

  1. Start by making the popcorn. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and allow the popcorn kernels to pop and then cool the popcorn
  2. Heat the jaggery on a medium to low flame in a non-stick pan. Be patient and let the jaggery melt. Cut it into smaller pieces to speed it up.
  3. Once the jaggery is smooth, turn the heat to a very low flicker and quickly stir in the spices, blending them through evenly. Turn off the heat and let the jaggery cool until it is warm, but not piping hot.
  4. Add the sesame seeds and pistachio and then the popcorn and stir quickly before it sets into clumps. Try and get an even coverage.
  5. Tip the popcorn out onto a large plate, letting it cool.
  6. When the popcorn is cool separate any clumps.

 

 

 

Diwali and Christmas nuts-pecans in a crisp jaggery, cardamom and cinnamon shell

25 Oct

Diwali and Christmas nuts-pecans in a crisp jaggery, cardamon and cinnamon shell

Things are different now, compared to how they were back in the day. I remember watching TV with a bag of sherbet in my hand ( a rare treat) whilst my dad nipped off to work and and just an hour or so before mum arrived home from her job. I must have been about ten. Nowadays that just wouldn’t happen would it. I mean, many people I know don’t even allow their kids to walk home from school. I think dad even left my brother sleeping in his cot when picking me up from nursery down the road. I would freak at the thought of doing this now my toddler, I even take him into the bathroom when I am showering. Things have changed.

We didn’t eat a lot of sugar or fried food as kids. My dad is diabetic and he used to be a diligent one. He refused even a fleck of mithai (traditional Indian sweets made most often from milk powders and lots of sugar, often nuts) at Diwali or auspicious occasions. He would rarely eat a samosa and we never had pudding after dinner. I mean, we weren’t deprived…we ate ice cream and chocolate and cake…it just wasn’t part of our regular diets.

At Diwali we chose nuts over the mithai, naturally.

So it turned out that for years I would prefer crisps over sweets and never drank fizzy drinks. I would eat an extra chappati with a green vegetable curry and okra was my favourite, but I wouldn’t eat rasmalai (paneer based dessert). I craved pasta not cake and definitely pizza over cake. Then I had baby.

It has been the most bizarre experience. Pretty much weeks after having my boy, I started craving biscuits and I ate loads of them. Arguably this could have been simply hunger and pumping loads of calories into my bit via breast milk, but I’d not really craved biscuits before. I was part of an NCT group where us new mums would meet weekly and guess what we ate? Cakes, biscuits, wafers, muffins…

I started craving lemon drizzle cake every day. I would wake up thinking about apple and blackberry crumble. But then my hair fell in clumps as part of normal post partum hair loss and I think my my hormones were a mess. Spikes in insulin and are related to hormone levels and eating all that cake was not doing me any favours, especially as I had a family history of diabetes. The sugar honeymoon was off!

Jaggery however is unrefined sugar and you can get it in blocks from asian supermarkets.I do struggle sometimes to keep my iron levels up and jaggery is a source of iron too. I was fed it with nuts after I had my baby to help me recover. I did find mums traditional recipe tasty, but I was bored as heck so I created this recipe.

I’ve eaten so much of these crisp, smooth and flavoursome little bites today and it has really been hard to stop! I’m so excited about showing these off during Diwali and Christmas. The cardamon and cinnamon are definitely present and warm the dish up and add so much depth and flavour.

I love these crunchy bites, I feel better that I’m not eating a lump of fat but they taste so ridiculously good. Make some, eat them, gift them.

Ingredients

150g pecan nuts
225g jaggery
2 tbsp water
1/4 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon

Method

1. Toast the nuts on a non stick pan for a 4 minutes or until they catch a light colour and are crisp. Leave them to cool.
2. On a low flame melt the jaggery. Add the water if its stiff.
3. Once the jaggery achieves a caramel type of consistency, add the cardamon and cinnamon and mix well
4. Turn the flame to a very low flicker and mix in the pecans and pull them out with tongs individually and lay them on baking paper to cool. Please do not use your fingers, hot jaggery burns.image

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