Masala Milk is a traditional Indian drink made using milk blended with nuts, spices and flavors. I am not sure which part of India this drink originated from. In Maharashtra, during Kojagiri Poornima, it is a ritual to serve Masala doodh (Milk) after watching the full bright moon. Many people fast on this day and make this Masala Doodh and keep the milk in a container directly under the Moonlight as a prasad and get blessings from the Moon God. I always enjoyed having this drink as a child since we had lots of Maharashtrian neighbors growing up and we girls would always have a blast on Kojagiri Poornima. Drinking this milk was the best part for me 🙂
Now that I avoid dairy, I decided to come up with a vegan version of this milk, which was not difficult at all. I just used cashew nut and coconut milk to be the ‘milk’ source and additionally I also used dates to be the sweetener so no other sugar was necessary! So I have a really healthy version of this traditional drink and this is one delicious drink that makes you feel special! I indulged myself with this drink on one hot lazy afternoon last week as I stayed indoors enjoying the view from our sunroom. I felt like royalty -It was just perfect 🙂
As we celebrate Diwali over the next few days, this would be a great drink to serve to your guests!
Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate! I have two ‘Diwali special’ recipes for you and both of them have cashew nuts as the main ingredient. And both the recipes are extremely simple and easy! But most importantly the end products are absolutely delicious!
The first one I will share in this post is the recipe for sugar free Kaju Katli! Bet you can feel my excitement! Having gone refined sugar free since last two years, Kaju Katli had gone out of my life too sadly 🙁 But I had been meaning to experiment making Kaju Katli using honey and finally for this Diwali I was able to try it. And pleased to inform you that it was a super duper success! Yipee!
My son loves Kaju Katli. in fact that is the ONLY Indian sweet that he will eat! So when he came home from school I told him there was Kaju Katli in the fridge. He quickly went to grab it and had a bite. ‘Hmm… very good mom!’ he said. I said to him – “And guess what?” . He immediately responded knowing how much I detest refined white sugar, “You must have not added sugar…so, what did you add?” .
I smiled and replied ‘Honey, I just added some honey!” 🙂 Also added rose flavor instead of cardamom. That coupled with the natural floral tint of the honey made this Kaju Katli absolutely fragrant and delectable. It was the perfect offering for a Diwali Pooja.
And guess what else was perfect? Fresh flowers! Yes this year the weather has been so warm until this week that my garden has still been blooming.This is so unusual for us to have flowers in our garden for Diwali! Don’t you love it when that happens? I consider it as a gift from the heavens!
Have a Happy Diwali and stay blessed! And look out for my next post which also has cashews in it!
A healthy and delectable version of the traditional Cashew nut barfi or Kaju Katli made with cashew nuts and honey and infused with a rose flavor.
1½ cups cashew nuts whole
½ cup honey
1 tbsp water
1-2 drops of rose extract
In a skillet or a frying pan, dry roast the cashew nuts on a low flame for about 5 mins stirring continuously to avoid burning. The cashew nuts should only slightly change color (with some light brown spots). Turn heat off.
Transfer the roasted cashew nuts to a food processor and pulse for about 10-20 secs until you get a coarse powder. Take care not too grind too much or you might get lumpy cashew butter. Keep aside.
In a medium size cooking pot, add the honey and the water. Heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Immediately add the ground cashew powder and mix using a spoon or spatula until all the powder is mixed well with the honey and you get a wet pasty mixture. Turn heat off.
Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the kitchen counter(or a large tray). Dump the hot cashew mixture onto the parchment paper.
Take another parchment paper sheet and place it over the mixture to cover it. Now use a rolling pin to flatten the mixture from all sides.
Now place this flattened spread out mixture along with the parchment paper onto a tray and keep in the freezer for about 30 mins (or refrigerator for 1 hour).
After the mixture has turned firm, remove from the freezer (or refrigerator) and cut into diamonds or squares.
Keep the Kaju Katli pieces in the refrigerator until serving.
Roast the cashew nuts on low heat so that they don't turn brown in color. Store the kaju Barfis in the refrigerator since they become sticky at room temperature. You can try using maple syrup for honey too although I haven't tried it yet.
Nothing can be more American than an apple pie, right? And recipes for a scrumptious pie crust are in plentiful! I have one recipe myself that I have been making for years and one that is absolutely delicious. I make it with a streusel on top with almonds and brown sugar and this apple pie is my family’s favorite.
This year I wanted to make a grain free, dairy free apple pie that I could eat too. One day as I was rearranging my baking items on the kitchen shelf, I saw my mini tart pans and from nowhere the thought of making apple pies in them came to my mind 🙂 I thought that would be really neat because that way you won’t make a mess when you try to slice the apple pie. Each of us could have a personal apple pie! I initially thought that I would make my original pie crust recipe for the rest of the family and make a paleo version for myself. But as I began to get things out of the pantry, I thought why not make a Paleo version for the entire family? I knew that the crust I had made when I made my Paleo Blueberry Pie was absolutely tasty. So I decided to take the risk and see my family’s reaction.
I used the same crust recipe as I had for my Paleo Blueberry Pie and for the filling I decided to cook the apples first on the stove top first since this crust needed very little time to cook and the apples would need more time. The pies came out so good! – just as I had anticipated. The conversation below describes my children’s reaction after I served them this pie.!
My daughter – “Mom, this is sooo good! What did you put in it this time?” And then “Wait, mom, you can eat this too? “(in a surprised tone after watching me eating the same pie)
I nod and say “Yes this has only things that I am allowed to eat and is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free”
My son – “Really! Really! This is so good, man!. This crust – its so powdery, so shortbread-like and so tasty! What’s in it?”
I say “Coconut flour and Arrowroot flour and coconut oil”.
My daughter – “These mini apple pies are so cute!”
And I smiled to myself. As you can see, more than the pie, this conversation made me satiated! Now that was well worth the risk! And the bonus? This crust is such a breeze to make!
Delectable mini apple pies with a scrumptious, shortbread like crust of coconut and arrowroot flours with a soft 'melt-in-mouth' filling of apples
For the crust:
⅔ rd cup plus about 2 tbsp coconut flour
⅔ rd cup arrowroot flour
pinch sea salt
½ cup coconut oil (semi solid)
For the filling:
5 medium size apples, peeled and sliced thinly (use soft variety of apples like Macintosh)
½ cup water
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp all spice (use cinnamon powder for AIP)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional, use ginger for AIP)
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup coconut sugar
2 tsp tapioca flour mixed in ¼ cup water
Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F(160 deg C).
In a medium size mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients. Mix using your hands and form a dough. (You may need to add a little more coconut flour if you feel the dough is too sticky). The dough should be smooth. Divide the dough into four equal parts.
Grease four mini pie pans with coconut oil. Place parchment paper on top. Place the dough in each of the pans and press using your hands to cover the base and sides of the pan. Prick using a fork. Bake at 325 deg F for about 5 mins until the crust looks golden brown from top. Take out of oven and keep aside. Turn oven temp to 350 deg F(170 deg C)
To make the filling, add all the filling ingredients, except the tapioca flour slurry in a cooking pot. Heat on medium heat covered for about 10 mins stirring frequently. Once the apples start to turn soft, mix the tapioca flour with water in a small bowl and pour this slurry slowly into the pot and stir vigorously. Cook for only one more min and turn heat off.
Spoon apple filling into each of the four mini pie pans on top of the pre baked crust. Bake the pies additionally for about 7 more mins at 350 deg F(170 deg C) until golden brown on the edges.
Ever since I went grain free about 9 months ago, tapioca has been my savior! Tapioca has a variety of different names in case you are confused – tapioca, yucca, cassava! Yes they are all the same root vegetable. The end product also comes in a variety of forms – fresh yucca roots, frozen yucca pieces, tapioca pearls (sabudana in hindi, also called a s sago), cassava flour, tapioca starch or tapioca flour.
And I use each of these different forms to create a multitude of dishes which enables me to not only stick to my grain free diet but also enjoy it! Tapioca pearls are a product made from fresh tapioca/yucca. In India this ingredient called as sabudana is primarily used during religious fasting periods. Sabudana Khichdi is one such popular dish.
Nowadays I have started using sabudana to make sabudaana kheer or pudding where I use coconut milk and coconut. This recipe is a variation of the tapioca pearl pudding recipe where I incorporated fruits to make it a ‘parfait’. So yum. This has become one of my regular items for breakfast now but this could easily be your dessert too!
A delicious and light parfait made with alternate layers of tapioca coconut pudding and fresh papaya and pomegranate.
½ cup tapioca pearls(sabudana or sago), soaked in water overnight (or at least for 4 hours)
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup water
1 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup fresh papaya pieces, chopped
2 tbsp pomegranate arils
Drain the tapioca pearls using a strainer. Wash thoroughly in running water while in strainer. Place the tapioca pearls in a medium cooking pot and add all the rest of the ingredients except the fruits.
Cook on medium heat for about 7-8 mins stirring continuously until all the pearls turn translucent. Turn heat off. Let cool for a few mins.
In a tall serving glass, layer this tapioca pudding with the fruits and serve!
You can use any combination of fruits for this recipe
Chestnut flour is something that I recently got acquainted with. Thanks to my friend Monika. A few weeks ago when we were at their home for dinner, she told me about this flour which is called as ‘singhare ka atta’ in India and how this flour is used during religious fasting periods called as Vrat. She said that this flour came from water chestnuts and hence it is grain free. Wow, I was so happy to hear this and the next time I was at our local indian grocery store, I picked up a bag of this flour. I couldn’t wait to try this for making parathas as Monika had suggested!
I did make the parathas with aloo(potatoes) in them since that was the only way to make the dough. The parathas were good and now I started browsing more recipes using singhare ka atta. There are all sorts of things that showed up – dosas, samosas, etc and I started to drool looking at all these foods that are forbidden for me on my current grain free diet. I was feeling so excited already and then I saw the recipe for ‘singhare ka halwa’! Omg! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Halwa has always been my favorite Indian dessert and for the past two years I have not had halwa being dairy free , gluten free and sugar free! So looking at this recipe, I imagined the possibility of a halwa in the near future for me. That was incredible! If it came out good, Monika, my friend deserved a treat from me!
And today happened to be the perfect day to try this recipe since it was Janmashtami which is Lord Krishna’s birthday. I started seeing all kinds of Indian traditional sweets recipes posted on instagram and in the afternoon, it was time for me to try making the singhara atta ka halwa.!
Turned out great – satisfied my halwa cravings totally. Even though I used coconut oil instead of ghee and maple syrup instead of sugar. The chestnut flour itself has a nutty taste and aroma so the halwa tastes rich even without any ghee or milk in it.