Monday, September 18, 2017

Sujir Payesh with Dried Apricots - Semolina Pudding with Dried Apricots

Sujir Payesh with Dried Apricots
Soft and creamy, this adaptation of a childhood comfort food appeals to young and old alike. Semolina or cream of wheat or suji is a familiar food in the breakfast aisle of the grocery store. The breakfast cereal packages contain semolina in its instant form which is not what is used in this recipe because when it is cooked in this way, it turns to a mushy paste. So visit an Indian market and get unprocessed large grains of semolina in a bag. Kept in a cool, dark place, the bag will last several years if kept in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

The semolina is first toasted in a skillet with butter until golden brown and fragrant. Meanwhile, milk is scalded with raisins & sugar in another pan and the two are combined to produce a smooth and creamy pudding. Just to be different, I decided to use coconut milk instead of regular milk and replaced the raisins with minced, dried apricots. 

A gentleman who loved to have this with heated tortillas for breakfast once told me that the semolina, sugar and butter should be used in a 1:1:1 ratio and the milk to semolina ratio should be 2:1. I admit this tastes heavenly, but not so good for diabetics or people with high cholesterol levels, so I toned it down significantly. A hint of cardamom powder gives this pudding a decadent touch.

Phulkopi Diye Bhaja Mooger Dal - Toasted Mung Bean Lentils with Cauliflower

Toasted Mung Bean Lentils
With Cauliflower
Split mung bean lentils taste quite different when they are toasted in a dry pan until light brown. The lentils are cooked until soft and mashable, then combined with cauli-florets that are stir-fried separately. Tomatoes add a tangy note and green chilies add a tongue-tingling heat. This dal pairs well as a side dish with tortillas or hot rice.