Cardamom Recipes

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Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets) Recipe

Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets)

03.26.10 by Jackie

Gulab jamun is my husband Lulu's favorite Indian dessert. The sweets are deep-fried balls of dough, bathed in rose (gulab) and cardamom syrup. The texture resembles the liquor syrup-saturated French cake Baba au Rhum.

I've just experienced making my own for the first time and it tasted pretty similar to the ones I've had in the past. I added a few saffron threads to impart a brighter yellow color to the syrup and I didn't add finely crushed pistachios as Lulu's great-aunt does, because of my little sister-in-law's nut allergy.

You can eat them cold, but our favorite way to enjoy gulab jamun is to warm them a bit before serving. It adds another dimension to the dish. Gulab jamun is a bit too rich to eat on a regular basis, but it's perfect for special occasions when you want something more exotic than cake.


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Sweet Lassi (Indian Yogurt Drink) Recipe

Lassi is an Indian yogurt drink. I often make it at home, but I've never quite been able to recreate the subtle tanginess of the drink. That is, until now. On our last trip to the local Indian restaurant, I asked the waitress about their preparation techniques, and she told me that they always add Bulgarian cultured buttermilk when making plain lassi. After that lunch, I stopped at the local Middle Eastern store, picked up a carton of buttermilk, and adjusted my recipe to her specifications. I've been making it this way ever since.

I use traditional Indian flavorings in my lassi, specifically elaichi ("cardamom" in Urdu) and rose water. My mother-in-law isn't a huge fan of rose flavoring, so I only added ¼ teaspoon of rose extract. You can add as much or as little as you'd like.


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Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


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Mango Lassi (Indian Yogurt Drink) Recipe

Every mango lassi recipe you'll find always has the same list of ingredients. Milk, yogurt, mango (fresh or canned), sugar and some crushed ice are always present, though the proportions may differ. To these, I added cardamom extract, saffron (for color) and a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the mango.

There's something magical about mango lassi (Indian-style smoothie). It has the richness of a milkshake without the calories. On top of that, it's ultra easy to make at home. You don't have to wait for your next trip to the local Indian restaurant to enjoy a tall glass of mango-ey goodness.


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Lemon and Chocolate Filled Cardamom Thumbprints Recipe

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I'd prepare some ghoulishly delicious thumbprint cookies. I know, I'm a dork...

I flavored the cookie dough with cardamom. Cardamom is a very versatile spice that goes well with just about everything. For the filling, I used lemon apeels and swirled in a little dark chocolate for contrast. If you're artististically inclined, you could try to draw little bats or scary faces.  No matter what you do, I guarantee it'll be terrifying how fast these cookies disappear!


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