Raisins and Walnut cookies

Since there were still some fresh walnuts left at home, my mother decided to bake some of her heart healthy cookies. So, here’s the recipe for her raisins and walnut cookies.

Raisins and Walnuts cookies

Time taken: 35 mins

Makes 22

Walnut cookiesIngredients:

  • Multi-purpose flour – 1 ¼ cups
  • Oats – ½ cup
  • Raisins – 1 tbsp
  • Walnuts – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Vegetable margarine – ¾ cup
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Milk or Water – ¼ cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp

Method:

  1. Heat the margarine and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and melt the margarine.
  2. Add ¼ cup of milk or water to the sauce pan and stir well.
  3. Remove from stove and cool.
  4. Add 1 tsp baking powder to the flour and oats. Mix.
  5. Add the flour and oats mix, vanilla essence, raisins and chopped walnuts to the slightly cooled melted margarine sauce. Mix well to ensure that the mixture comes together as cookie dough. Add a little more flour, if the batter is still slightly watery.
  6. Divide the dough into 22 balls and flatten slightly before placing on baking tray.
  7. Bake at 220⁰C/428⁰F for 20 mins.
  8. Cool before serving.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

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Pomegranate cake

As an amateur cook, I tend to use recipes and follow them precisely. My mother, on the other hand, simply mixes ingredients at hand and whips up delectable stuff. I doubt that she has ever used a written recipe. So, this week, while I have been trying to perfect the baking of challah bread, my mother has been baking different kinds of delicious fruit cakes.

Today’s recipe is for the pomegranate cake she made this week. My mother has labelled it the heart healthy cake.

Pomegranate cake

Time taken: 1 hour

Serves 8

Pomegranate cakeIngredients:

  • Pomegranate juice – ¾ cup (made from 1 cup of pomegranate fruit blended with water; the seeds can be reused by heart patients)
  • Lime juice – 1 tsp
  • Lime rind – 1 tsp
  • Raisins – ½ cup
  • Oats – ½ cup
  • Walnuts – ¼ cup, roasted and chopped
  • Vegetable oil margarine – ½ cup
  • Sugar – ½ cup
  • Multi-purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – ½ tsp
  • Rose essence – few drops
  • Red food colouring – drop or two

Method:

  1. Sift the flour with baking powder and soda and keep aside.
  2. Whisk the margarine and sugar together with 1 tsp lime juice and the lime rind, in a bowl, till creamy and smooth.
  3. Add the pomegranate juice to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Fold in the oats, raisins and walnuts.
  5. Add few drops of rose essence and a drop or two of red colouring. Mix well.
  6. Stir in the flour mix to the bowl and beat till smooth batter is obtained.
  7. Transfer the batter to baking tray and bake for 35 – 45 mins at 170⁰C/ 340⁰F.
  8. Let the cake cool before sprinkling with castor sugar. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Ravai laddu

Today’s recipe for Navarathri is ravai laddu (semolina laddu).  The semolina laddu is the type of laddu that is commonly made in homes in northern Sri Lanka. The boondi or chickpea gram flour laddu is rarely made in homes and is usually available only in Indian sweet shops.

Ravai laddu

Time taken: 25 mins

Makes 5

Ravai ladduIngredients

  • Semolina/ ravai – ½ cup, slightly roasted
  • Sugar – ¼ cup
  • Vegetable oil margarine (preferably sunflower or canola) – 3 tbsp
  • Chickpea – 2 tbsp, fried and split (store-bought or overnight soaked and fried at home)
  • Cashew nuts – 2
  • Cardamom – 3, crushed
  • Raisin – 1 tbsp
  • Hot water – 2 tbsp

Method

  1. Heat the sugar and margarine in a pan for 2 mins on low heat.
  2. Add the fried, split chickpea to the pan as well as the chopped cashew nuts, raisins and crushed cardamom.
  3. Stir and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes until they have combined well.
  4. Add the semolina and stir for around 3 minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and add 2 tbsp of hot water to the pan and mix well. Remove pan from stove.
  6. Scoop the mixture into a little mold and overturn to a plate. Let the laddu cool before serving.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Egg-less Date and Raisin Cake

Among the several delicious cakes that my mother bakes, a special treat is her egg-less date and raisin cake that she makes on special occasions.

Date and raisin cake

Date and Raisin Cake

Time taken: 1 ½ hours + 3 hours (for marinating the dried fruits)

Serves 8 – 10

Slice of date cake

Ingredients:

  • Dates – 1½ cup (when chopped) or 300 g (before chopping)
  • Raisins – ½ cup (100 g)
  • Wheat flour – 2 cups
  • Semolina – ½ cup
  • Low fat vegetable oil margarine (e.g. Flora) – 1 ½ cup (250 g)
  • Brown sugar – 1 cup
  • Condensed milk – 1 cup (vegans can use almond cream or cashew nut cream or coconut cream as a substitute)
  • Vanilla essence – 2 tsp
  • Mixed 3C spice powder (Cardamon, Cloves and Cinnamon) – 1 ½ tsp
  • Sri Lankan Tea – 1/3 cup
  • Baking powder – 2 tsp
  • Baking soda – ¼ tsp + pinch (for marinating the dried fruits)

Method:

  1. De-seed the dates and chop them. Place the chopped dates in a bowl, together with the raisins.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of strong black tea, pinch of baking soda and the mixed 3C spice powder to the dates and raisins bowl. Cover and keep aside, for 2 – 3 hours, letting the dried fruits marinate in the tea and spice mix.
  3. Whisk together the margarine and sugar, adding the condensed milk or vegan substitute. If whisking by hand, add the ingredients slowly while continuing to whisk. If using a blender, blend the three together for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla essence to the blend and mix.
  5. Sift the flour, semolina together with the baking powder and soda.
  6. Stir in the sifted flour and semolina gradually into the bowl of blended margarine, sugar and milk and mix.
  7. Add the marinated dried fruits to the batter and fold.
  8. Transfer the cake batter into a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 140⁰C/284⁰F for about 1 – 1 ¼ hours.
  9. Remove from oven and let it cool, before slicing and serving with some hot Sri Lankan tea or coffee.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.