Venezuelan Spiced Hot chocolate

BM# 102 : Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Recipes from South America

With some showers here, the weather is on the pleasant and cooler side now. So for the third day, I didn’t hesitate to make hot chocolate. Surprisingly my husband loved this more than my son, both of which is due to the presence of ginger in the drink. I loved the ginger in there too.

There is no unique recipe for hot chocolate or this version of spiced hot chocolate. There are so many different recipes to be found in the internet. Many have orange zest in it and no ginger, but after trying it with ginger, I have become a fan of the flavor. The recipe here is from the book Gran Cocina Latina which I have borrowed from the library.

The book mentioned truffles from a shop for hot chocolate, so I think this recipe can be adapted to make chocolate truffles as well to make instant hot chocolate. The cream for ganache can be seeped with the spice mix and later filtered and added to chocolate to form truffles. The truffle balls can then be added to hot milk to make hot chocolate. A good quality chocolate is needed to make this, I used chocolate chips since that’s what I had in my hand.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: The book Gran Cocina Latina

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or one vanilla bean
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 100 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Method:

  1. Grind the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves,ginger and vanilla beans into a fine powder using a blender/food processor.
  2. Combine the powdered spices with milk and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring In between. Take off heat and let it sit covered for ten minutes for the flavors to seep.
  3. Strain the milk into a large saucepan, place over medium heat. Add the chocolate and beat with a whisk vigorously until you have a good froth. Serve immediately.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Besan Doodh – Chickpea flour milk

BM# 98: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Cooking for Two

Spring is here and there is a definite improvement in the weather. We are not ready to shed our jackets anytime soon, but its so much better already. And there is so much to look forward to – greenery, cherry blossoms, lighter jackets, sandals, walks outside….that feeling itself is heart warming. My son is not a fan of summer.  He associates summer with bugs and the tiny flies that roam over your head and go right into your eyes if you are not wearing bug repellent. Its too hot for him but the biggest disappointment for him is that there is no snow in summer! Let’s wait and see how his view changes some years from now :-).

Anyway, coming to this recipe here. Its a traditional winter recipe from Punjab. Its supposed to be a good cure for cold and cough. I had bookmarked it when I saw it in Suma’s blog Veggie Platter two weeks back. Even though the winter is on its way out, its still cold here and a hot cup of delicious flavored milk is still very much enjoyable. A pinch of cardamom adds so much of flavor, so does the almonds. If you prefer, you can reduce the besan flour a bit and add more crushed almonds to increase the flavor of almonds. I liked the original recipe as such and I didn’t make any changes.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ghee, optional
  • 2 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon chopped or crushed almonds
  • a pinch of ground cardamom
  • a pinch of saffron

Method:

  1. Heat ghee in a nonstick pan. Add the besan flour and saute for a minute or two until it starts releasing a nutty aroma and starts turning slightly darker in color.
  2. Add about half cup of milk and mix with a spatula. You are looking for a lump free smooth mixture. Add 1/4 cup more milk, if needed to get the smooth consistency.
  3.  Once you get a lump free and smooth roux like mix, add the rest of the milk, chopped nuts, cardamom, saffron and sugar. Let it come to a boil and reduce it to a simmer.
  4. Cook for a further 6-8 minutes or until the milk has thickened a little bit and the besan flour is cooked through. Take off the heat and serve in a cup.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#98

 

Smoky split pea soup

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Its been a  mild winter this year. There has been warmer days than last year; there was even a day, right in the middle of December, when we wore half sleeve shirts and went for a walk.

As if to avenge that, its been snowing steadily and heavily since last night. At times, its snow falling peacefully and gracefully. At other times, its fierce and thrown about by wind. But the wind and the snow and all the troubles are outside. Inside the house, we are quite warm and very prepared.

We have power. We have internet.

We have food too.

Its been a non stop movie watching day with minimal cooking. But I wish I had some of this soup to relish today. The next time it’s snowing, green split peas is going to be in the emergency purchase list. But for now, it’s going to be this virtual treat for you and me!

This post goes to January BM, under take away dishes theme. My choice of take away place is San Francisco Soup company. Today you will be served Smoky split pea soup.  Keep an eye here for the next two days for more soups.

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Soak 1.5 cups of split pea overnight or for at least 3 hours in hot water till its softened.

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Heat one tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon of paprika.

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Add one chopped onion and 4-5 chopped garlic cloves and let it all cook.

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Time to tip in one diced carrot and a cup of chopped celery.

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In goes one big cubed potato as well. Let it all saute for 3-4 minutes.

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Time to add the split peas with salt and pepper.

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Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. I used 2 teaspoons of bouillon.

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Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles and turn off the heat.

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Wait for the pressure to drop and after that, open the cooker add 2 diced tomatoes and let it cook. Check the seasoning and adjust according to your taste.

Serve with toasted bread. The soup thickens as it sits. This makes 4 lavish servings.

Recipe adapted from: Smoky Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups green split peas
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or chili powder
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 pods of chopped garlic (or per taste)
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 diced potato
  • Water or vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes, diced

Method:

  1. Soak 1.5 cups of split pea overnight or for at least 3 hours in hot water till its softened.
  2. Heat one tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon of paprika.
  3. Add one chopped onion and 4-5 chopped garlic cloves and let it all cook.
  4. Add one diced carrot and a cup of chopped celery. Follow it up with a big cubed potato. Let it all saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the split peas. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. I added 2 teaspoons of bouillon to water.
  7. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles and turn off the heat.
  8. Wait for the pressure to drop and after that, open the cooker add 2 diced tomatoes and let it cook.
  9. Check the seasoning and adjust according to your taste. Serve with toasted bread.
  10. The soup thickens as it sits. This makes 4 lavish servings.

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This post goes to Blogging Marathon #60. Check out the BM page for the what other participants are preparing today.