Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Cherupayar parippu payasam/ Split mung bean payasam(kheer)

This feature is assigned to those who consider the sweet tooth a vital part of their body, keeping it happy and bringing into congnizance all the lovely things that need to be eaten in a lifetime. Of course, it could purely be my own survivalist thinking, but I like to believe, that in the general realm of assumptions I speak for many of us. Am I right?

Payasam. What is it? After this one conversation, we haven't had another centering it. Surely, a coconut milk based pudding deserves more recognition than that. It certainly makes an entry into every inherited celebration our household knows, some stemming from what my imagination concocts.

With remarkably intense flavors, taken from all over the Indian food spectrum, payasam is the crown and glory of dining tables across the subcontinent's beloved Southern belt, tables teeming with no less than ten dishes and five assorted sweetmeats.

The mung bean or moong dal, a parcel of the legume family is boss ingredient in today's show. It is, in all fairness and to the credit of the post, native to India. However, of late, the moong has gained international notoriety. Punched with a plethora of minerals, these lentils are high in protein with generous amounts of disease preventing antioxidants. It would be safe to say the half cup in our recipe transcends to bowlfuls of life saving love.

Shaved jaggery and spices, imminent to South Indian dessert-ing, are part of the formula in getting our payasam sweet and tasty, so that the likelihood of second and third servings are terrifically inevitable.

Not to mention, working the variable of ingredients/methods through the Instant Pot will greatly decrease the gap from it being made over and again. Thanks to hyper cooker, the succession in steps of payasam slimmed in time, task, to sooner getting at a final taste. 

Before I conclude, below are some key points which might help in your own c.p. parippu payasam making journey. I press you to take note.

✻ There is an unsaid mung bean to lush payasam correlation. A greater amount of cooked mung, with the said amount of liquid, even a cup more, will yield a thicker, almost muckier the body, while less gives a soupy bean texture. Both are undesired. Keep to the measures given.

✻ The amount of jaggery adds to depth and sweetness. Tone it up or down, by the amount you shave in, according to your preference. You can portion in different sweeteners, like I did with the coconut sugar, to give it a bit of intrigue. But the hero of the parade will always be the jaggery.

✻ The trio of spice mentioned may be omitted. In place, you could lose out on the very essence of an old world Kerala sweet course. Hence not a commendable idea.

Take a cue and try what could be tops on your dessert list.

I'll even go as far as to dare you to swap it for one of the upcoming holiday's stipulated pies.
Then give me thanks later.

In using jaggery, you can err on the side of more, without screaming sugar coma. The sweetness of jaggery is one most people prefer in Indian sweetmeats such as these. To jazz it up, I  added coconut sugar, deepening the coconut flavor, which I very much enjoy.

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup coconut slices
  • ¼ cup cashews (I use roasted, salted)
  • ½ cup split yellow gram dal/split mung beans
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup shaved jaggery
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 pod cardamom, crushed
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Select saute feature on Instant Pot and set to high. Pour ghee and oil into the pot.
  • Add coconut slices and cashews and lightly brown, about 1 minute each. Using a slotted spoon, skim them from the oil an set aside.
  • Place mung beans into the same oil and saute until slightly roasted, not more than a minute.
  • Add 1 1½ cups water.  Turn off saute function.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook at high(manual) pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Allow for natural release.
  • Open the lid, mash the mung bean in the pot. 
  • Select the saute feature to high, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cardamom, cumin and ginger powders. Stir in jaggery, coconut sugar and stir until sugars are dissolved.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and the remaining ½ cup water( pour the water into the empty can to clean out milk contents and return it to the mixture)
  • Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, allowing payasam to boil and slightly thicken.
  • Top with the fried cashews and coconut slices.
  • Serve hot or refrigerate to serve cold.
This gets considerably thicker as it cools. Add either coconut milk or regular milk to loosen it up for a more pour-able consistency.

Don't worry and inhale coconutšŸ„„ Since the State of Kerala owns it when it comes to coconut production, a mere hint of the fruit would qualify for an unworthy payasam. So, it's studded to the core,  with aplenty milk, and generous slices of flesh too. 

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Moist yellow cake

The last few weeks in October predictably find me in a till- January successive frenzy. My annual Pinterest phase kicks in and I am all over the place, attempting a series of household/bathroom/doggie-costume, ahemartistries. I like to call it seasonal transition therapy. And I kind of take pride in nailing almost everything, despite the fact that half the fun of pin-posting is in its fails

Let's just say, you need a different ending sometimes.

It was the cake technique, Wilton decides all of us can do. Not to dissuade you, but side warning, friends, whenever a tutorial tells you to pull apart a template from a seamless finish frosting, never, ever ...repeat and repeat, NEVER listen.  I mean, you might as well smash the project, and start over again. Which is almost what I did. After I cried...then pushed mini pumpkin cutters in, a sort of half attempt to salvage what I thought was completely lost.

Was it the better ending? I believe so. A saving grace where peek-a-boo jack-o-lanterns in an altered, albeit better buttercream ultimately freed the avant garde creative in me.

The take away from the whole spiel?  Don't get distracted by the one wrong thing that you miss out on all that could be right. 

Furthermore, it was the cake that featured as the centerpiece and raffle item in a vendor stall gig I did at a nearby school fair, also major part of the above mentioned frenzy

Justification came when the winner of the raffle stated to me the following day, "there's cake and then there's Your cake." How fine does the inflection in that"your" sound, huh?! All because shifted perspective led to cookie cutters setting in motion an alternative and veritably good destiny.

Getting to cake in point, the contents underneath the flame frosting is a moist yellow one, buttery enough that you can't deny where most of the flavor comes from. 

It's moist, owing to the same reason. But a consideration here is in the preparation to getting that texture in crumb. There is an imperative balance to batter beating. Overbeating will make it dense and unable to rise. Underbeating will lead to a sort of gloop, where fat and eggs separate, leaving you with uneven baked cake. 

A sizable part of the labor was painting on the extra coat of frosting, which you will not have to worry about. 

Do consider making it, though, whether it be for holiday, birthday or just to amp up your weeknight dessert scheme.

Who knows? It might enthrall you enough to not weed from the monster packs of candy you're intending to hand out tomorrow.

  • 3 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ tbsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup salted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour cake pans (2- 8 inch is what I used)
  • In bowl, whisk flour and baking powder together.
  • Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition. Scrape bowl as when needed.
  • In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, milk and vanilla. 
  • Alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions flour mixture- 2  additions buttermilk mixture).
  • Beat until just combined. Don't overbeat.
  • Distribute evenly among the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 24-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Once done, allow cakes to cool in pans for 5 minutes. 
  • Flip onto wire racks and let cakes cool completely, upto an hour.
  • Decorate with vanilla buttercream.
Hey ya, lovely person who won the cake. Thank you for the snapshot of the slice you were eating. You're the best. God bless!

October 2016: Fanta cake

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:8