VATALAPPOM - EID SPECIALITY DESSERT (OVEN RECIPE)






Vatalappom/ watalapam/ vatalapam is a famous Eid dessert. I don't think there can ever be any Indian/ Srilankan household that doesn't make this speciality dessert on Eid day. Its usually served along with jalar/ roti jala.

As usual every household has their own family recipe. Some use coconut milk, jaggery....and some even use roasted gram dal..... 

I always bake my dessert in an oven. but you can also steam it if you wish.

INGREDIENTS:
eggs - 5
cardamoms - 20
almonds - 10
cashewnuts - 20
milkmaid (condensed milk) - 1 tin (392 g)
full fat milk - 1 and 1/2 cups 

PROCESS:
  • grease an oven proof dish with little ghee and keep aside.
  • pre- heat the oven at 180 degrees celcius.
  • put the cashewnuts, almonds and cardamoms in a saucepan with little water and boil it for few minutes until it is easy to remove the skin of the almonds.
  • strain and throw away the water.
  • now remove and discard the skin of the almonds.
  • put the almonds, cashewnuts and cardamoms in the blender along with just enough milk ( from the measured milk) to grind into a smooth and fine paste. Keep aside.
  • now in  a big bowl, break the eggs. whisk well but gently to avoid he foam.
  • next, add in the condensed milk and the milk. mix well
  • add in the nut paste too. mix well.
  • strain the mixture into the prepared dish. cover with aluminium foil.
  • place the vatalappom on a water bath and bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes OR until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. (can take longer. 
  • once cooled refrigerate. cut into desired pieces and serve chilled.
IF YOU WISH TO WATCH THE FULL RECIPE VIDEO CLICK BELOW:



SPINACH PESTO SAUCE



Sweet basil pesto is the original pesto! But over the years we have come to invent various versions of the pesto - be it the ingredients or even colour! 

The original pesto has been my daughter's favourite since she 'was 8 months! Yes! I'm not kidding!'................ and she still loves it! So I try to sneak in veggies into it whenever I feel 'mean'! Kidding! Not abt the sneaking in veggies part! ;) The recipe for the original pesto can be found here.




INGREDIENTS:
sweet basil- 100g
baby spinach leaves - 100g
almonds - 1/4 cup
garlic cloves - 3
parmesan cheese, grated - 1/3 cup, more for garnishing
extra virgin olive oil - 1/2 cup
lemon juice - 1 to 2 tbsps (as per taste)
salt and pepper to season 

PROCESS:
  • Clean and discard the stems of the basil. 
  • Clean and wash the spinach leaves.
  • In a blender/ food processor or you can even use an immersion blender  dump in the basil, spinach, almonds, garlic and half of the extra virgin olive oil. Blend till the almonds and garlic have been ground completely.
  • Once all the ingredients are pulsed well, add in the cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper and the rest of the olive oil and pulse again till just blended. 
  • Transfer to a clean dish and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top and use as required.
  • Store in the refrigerator and stays fresh for about 5 to 6 days.

KALAKHAND - A MILK SWEET MADE FROM CHENNA/PANEER





Kalakhand is a famous North indian milk sweet made from reduced milk and cottage cheese/chenna. it is flavoured with cardamom and saffron and garnished with chopped nuts. totally delcious and ofcourse fattening.

 diwali is around the corner and many of you must be excited and getting ready for it. although this year will probably be low key in many households due to the covid situation im sure nobody will cut down on the sweets ....wink! food definitely brings us happiness!!




This dish is definitely very easy to make provided you have the patience. you have to be near the stove and stirring the milk at all times as it is very easy to burn the milk. Im sure we all have our 'milk stories'!! one minute we turn around and that milk gives us double the work!! but its alllll worth it :)



You can aslo view the recipe video below!

INGREDIENTS:
to make the chenna/ paneer-
full cream milk - 500 ml
lime juice or white vinegar - 2 to 3 tsps

to make the kalakhand:
full cream milk - 500 ml
sugar - 1/4 cup + 2 tbsps
cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
ghee - 1 tbsp
almond, sliced - 10 (to garnish)
pistachios, sliced - 15 (to garnish)

PROCESS:
  • To make the chenna, bring the milk to boil. 
  • Then, start adding the lime juice or the vinegar 1 tsp at a time to curdle it. Stop when the milk has completely curdled, and the whey water has completely separated.


  • On a strainer, spread a muslin cloth. next pour the curdled milk on it. The chenna will collect in the muslin cloth and the whey water underneath. 


  • Wash the chenna under running water to completely remove the lime/ vinegar taste.
  • Then wrap the muslin cloth tightly to remove any water and let it stand/ hang for awhile.


  • In the meanwhile lets make the kalakhand - In  a non-stick pan, heat the milk on low flame. Keep stirring continuously so that the milk doesnt burn at the bottom. 
  • When the milk has reduced, and only quarter of the milk is left behind, roughly break up the chenna/ paneer and add it to the milk and continue to cook on low flame. 


  • Continue stirnng and let the chenna absorb all the milk.
  • When the milk has thickened slightly add in the sugar. Now, again the milk mixture will become loose and runny.


  • Continue stirring on low flame till the milk has thickened again.
  • Now, add in the cardamom powder and the saffron and mix.


  • Continue cooking and stirring. When the milk has almost thickened add in the ghee to moisten it.


  • Cook further and when all the moisture has left you will be left with thick lumps of chenna and milk you can switch off the flame.


  • Generously grease a 5x5 inch dish with ghee. If you want thicker slices you can choose a smaller dish.
  • Drop all the hot kalakhand mixture into the greased dish and press it well so that there are no gaps. 
  • Garnish with the sliced almonds and pistachios and press so that it sticks to the kalakhand. Let it cool completely before cutting.


NOTES:
  • This sweet, like palkova, takes a long time to cook. It took me almost 45 minutes to cook this. We have to be patient and cook on low flame. Otherwise it is easy to burn the bottom.
  • It is advisable to use a non stick pan so it is easier. I started off using an iron pan, and even though I was stirring continuously, towards the end it still started to burn at the bottom. 
  • Also it is easier to cut neatly when you line the pan with parchment paper before you set the kalakhand. so you just lift it out along with the baking paper. this way you can get neater cut slices.
YOU CAN ALSO VIEW THE VIDEO BELOW:



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