Buckwheat coconut milk pudding sweetened with country sugar

IMG_0174a dinner celebration! a dessert for my guest with a sweet tooth 🙂 a recipe that I happened to think up just today 🙂 I hadn’t taken strict measurements as I was just cooking, not planning to blog about it. But when my guest liked it so much that he went for it again as a midnight snack.. and when he requested the recipe, dear reader it was time to put pen to paper & share this sweet with you.

You need
¾ cup country sugar (jaggery)
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup buckwheat
Spice Mix
½ tsp cardamom powder
2 threads saffron
for seasoning
tbsp cashew nuts
1 tsp almonds
1 tsp raisins

How to
• Rinse buckwheat in cold water.
• Then pour boiling water over buckwheat and let soak in 1 cup hot water.
• In hot pan add jaggery with approx ½ cup water and let heat till jaggery dissolves to make a nice watery paste.
• Add in the cooked buckwheat, no need to drain water.
• Add the can of coconut milk, lower heat and let everything come to a light boil.
• Add some more water if you like a runny texture for your pudding.
• Pound the nuts into coarse chunks in a mortar and pestle.
• In a hot pan, dry roast the nuts and raisins. Or if you prefer roast them in either butter/ghee/coconut oil. I used a bit of coconut oil, but you can easily dry roast them & still have the flavour.. Roasting brings out the flavour and nuts add a great texture to a smooth pudding.
• Top the pudding with nuts and raisins.

Note : Jaggery or gur is Indian unrefined country sugar extracted from sugarcane. You can find it sold in blocks in east Indian grocery stores. If you don’t have one close by, feel free to use regular brown sugar.

I initially planned to make this pudding with tapioca pearls. But my pantry didn’t have any. I found these buckwheat groats and remembered my Ukrainian friends at work singing the praises of buckwheat.

You can get a huge list of benefits from here.

I liked how buckwheats manage blood sugar levels:
The nutrients in buckwheat may contribute to blood sugar control. In a test that compared the effect on blood sugar of whole buckwheat groats to bread made from refined wheat flour, buckwheat groats significantly lowered blood glucose and insulin responses. Whole buckwheats also scored highest on their ability to satisfy hunger.

My dinner guests loved this dessert. And the one guest I made it for, the one with the sweet tooth even asked if he could have it again well after dinner. So that was a pretty successful brand new dessert I just made up 🙂 Have you ever missed ingredients in your dream of a dish? What did you use as an alternative? Did you manage to dream up something that everyone loves now?

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I love no oil desserts that are incredibly tasty. And I plan to post this recipe on the let food by thy medicine facebook page.. Do check it out for amazing oil-free diet recipes, and the cool things people are doing to manage their diabetes..

Wishing everyone a terrific valentine’s day!

–charuyoga–

Appam

Happy Diwali! The festival of lights is here. ..and appam is a great way to celebrate.. This is my mom`s Palakkad iyer recipe that she makes in a special appam pan, however I got lucky when I spotted an electric doughnut pan that was the perfect size for appams.

Ingredients
1 cup raw white rice(patna rice is best but any rice that`s not basmati not sticky works)
slightly under 1 cup jaggery or cane sugar
ghee or butter to line baking pan
Spice Mix
1 green cardamom pod, cloves removed and powdered
Serves 4

Pots n pans
doughnut baking pan

Method

  1. Dissolve jaggery in just enough water to cover the jagger and filter to remove any dust. Store in fridge.
  2. Rinse and wash rice thoroughly in running cold water a couple of times. Discard water & soak in fresh water overnight or at least 4 hours.
  3. Grind rice in little water. When rice is a fine paste add the dissolved jaggery. SOS the texture should be a little more runny than cake batter. If you added too much water, don’t worry, just add a tsp of wheat flour which should fix it or arrowroot flour if available.
  4. Set aside for 2 hours. Add cardamom powder.
  5. Grease doughnut pan with a little ghee or butter. Place 1⁄4 tsp ghee in the bottom of each doughnut mould. SOS test by making one appam & then if its not soft enough, soak a tbsp of urad dal, grind & add to batter for a softer appam.
  6. Pour enough batter to fill the bottom half of each doughnut hole in pan.
  7. Turn off baking pan when appam is browned on the bottom. When cool remove from pan.

Fun facts
Diwali is a festival that brings together many religions of the world. Jains celebrate it, so do the Sikhs & also the Hindus. For the hindus its the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and the one who put an end to the destruction caused by darkness was the crown prince Rama. There a is a lot of folklore about him, but history also indicates that there was such a good king who ruled the kingdom of ayodhya which spread all over southeast asia not just India. Born in the royal family of the solar dynasty, Rama is considered to be the epitome of goodness. Ever conscious of his duty as a prince setting an example for his kingdom, he forsake his right to the throne to help his father keep his promise. Banished to exile in the forest where he spent 14 long years, Rama underwent a lot of hardships including the kidnapping of his wife Sita by the demon king Ravana. After a long drawn battle where Rama defeated Ravana and returned to Ayodhya, the people of Ayodhya rejoiced and shared sweets. Streets were lined with brightly lit lamps as the people rejoiced that their crown prince was back home again. While the celebration of diwali varies between religions there is one common denominator – the lighting of lamps implies the removal of darkness or ignorance of our true self-the unveiling of the fact that our true self is not just this body but that spirit which is in everyone–absolute, unchanging, constant and steady. Isn’t that a beautiful takeaway from this beautiful festival.

Best served hot, I love the relative ease of Appam and how its so tasty with very few ingredients. I hope this Diwali brings you and your family lots of light, abundance and wealth-physical health, material riches and spiritual wealth too.

French Upside Down Apple Pie

Is it plums, is it dates asked my dinner guests enchanted as I served this upside down dessert. Apples everywhere in the grocery store so couldn’t resist dusting off my recipe book to bring out this classic which I made frequently over 15 years ago.

Its not surprising that this French upside down apple pie is so popular. I found a recipe years ago that I modified. In Canada we are bilingual with a large French speaking population, so I hope you won’t mind me calling this pie by its real French name,–Tarte Tatin, doesn’t that have a nice ring to it. Tarte tatin is not your usual apple pie where apples are relegated to the bottom, instead here apples shine on the surface.

Ingredients
Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter cubed
Spice Mix
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Filling 
8 apples (2 kg/4 lb)
2 tbsp lemon juice)
¼ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
Serves 8

Pots n pans
Cast iron skillet

SOS You can skip the crust steps 1-3 & the crust list entirely by using Pillsbury frozen pie crust– makes short work of your pie rolling.. I have to confess I liked the practicality of using store bought pie crust but I did enjoy making the dough from scratch as well, You pick whichever works for you, both methods work nicely.

I used a combination of Portland & macintosh apples since I had only those at home. But apparently this is also a good practice. Portlands keep their shape. Macintosh is a bit softer so I ended up with cooked & crisp apples.

Method

  1. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar & salt. Using pastry blender(SOS I don’t have one, so I used 2 knives instead). Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.
  2. In measuring cup, stir vinegar with enough ice water to make ¼ cup. Drizzle over flour mixture, stirring with a fork until flour resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.
  3. Press into ball. Flattern into disc. Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes of upto 3 days.
  4. Filling: Meanwhile peel, quarter & core apples, cut in half lengthwise.In bowl toss apples with lemon juice. SOS my apple peeler & corer does this work quickly or you could use a peeler.
  5. In 8” cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add sugar, stirring with wooden spoon for 3-5 minutes or until starting to bubble. Add cinnamon. SOS You’ll know when the caramel is ready.. This is the moment when…Sugar melts, caramel turns very glossy– try to get a deep mahogany colour for your caramel.. which will make your tart super delicious & rich tasting. If you find that the butter separates on the top, that’s ok.
  6. Remove from heat. Discarding juice, arrange layer of apples flat side down in concentric circles in syrup in pan Layer remaining apples over top to cover first layer evenly.
  7. Cook over medium high heat, basting with syrup that bubbles up, for about 15 minutes or until apples begin to soften & syrup starts to thicken. Cover & cook for 5 minutes or until apples in top layer are just tender. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile on lightly floured surface, roll out doughto 10” circle. Cut 4 small steam vents at center. Loosely roll pastry around rolling pin.Unroll over apples. Trim off pastry extending over rim of pan, press pastry edge down between aples and pan.
  9. Bake in 425 degree f(220° C) oven for about 25 minutes or till pastry is golden brown. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Invert heatproof serving plate over pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grasp plate & pan. Turn over to unmould tart onto plate. With tongs quickly arrange apples stuck in patn over top. Serve warm.

Featured Spice
Cinnamon is the talk of town in this amazing pie. I never liked cinnamon as I found it to be a strong spice till a co-worker brought some in & persuaded me to try a chew. We experimented on what else it could do other than create sweet flavours. And we found it made a great spice tea and after we drank our tea, we could still chew on the slightly soft cinnamon stick for a continued sweet sensation.

Health benefits
Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. A study conducted in 2007 and published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry suggests that specific plant terpenoids contained within cinnamon have potent antiviral properties.

Fun facts
Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, in the 1880s. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin.[2] There are conflicting stories concerning the tart’s origin, but the most common is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day. She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. In an alternative version of the tart’s origin.

Suggested Pairing

Tarte tatin is best served warm with a dollop of vanilla icecream. Heres’a pix of my home waiting for the guests to arrive. Don’t miss the skeleton drive sign, we’re ready for Halloween.