Saffron Yoghurt with Fennel Seed Biscuits (Indian #2)

In my search for different Indian dishes to try, the BBC website has been a big help. Have you ever watched the Indian Food Made Easy show? Although names like that normally put me off (possibly because it sounds like you’re cheating!) I have enjoyed the few shows I have watched and the food always looked really yummy. All the recipes are available online, and quite a few of them are accompanied by a video clip of the particular dish in the show, so it’s very useful and makes it easy to follow.

I saw this recipe for Fennel Seed Biscuits and I thought I’d give them a go. For some reason, I had imagined them to be shortbread-style, but after reading the recipe I realised they were nothing like it. For starters, they needed frying rather than baking. As mentioned in the recipe, they go nicely with creamy desserts, so I decided to make this Saffron Yogurt to go with them. I love using saffron, just because it looks awesome, and it seems like an extravagant thing to do. Pity I don’t have a clue where to use it! This recipe was starting to sound perfect for me.

Sweet Saffron Yoghurt (Shrikand) (recipe adapted from here)

Ingredients

500 ml greek-style yoghurt
2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp saffron
icing sugar (to taste)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds

Heat the milk in a cup in the microwave and crumble the saffron strands in it. Let the saffron infuse for 5-10 minutes. Every now and then, use the back of a teaspoon to crush the saffron into the milk.
Mix the icing sugar with yoghurt until it’s sweet enough for you. I don’t like it too sweet actually, especially with the biscuits, so I think I must have used 3 tbsp. 
Add the saffron milk (I discarded the saffron but, thinking about it, I probably should have kept it) and the ground cardamom seeds. Leave it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Note that the recipe calls for you to drain excess water from the yoghurt by draining it for a few hours in the fridge, using a tea towel and a sieve. I skipped that step as I used a tub of Total Greek yoghurt, which is already quite thick. If you use thinner yoghurt, you probably want to follow that step and also use more than 500 ml as it will lose water and reduce in volume.

Fennel Seed Biscuits (adapted from here)

Ingredients

80g plain flour, sifted
70g caster sugar
140ml milk
1½ tsp fennel seeds, ground to a powder in a pestle and mortar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp butter, melted
4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil, for frying

Mix all the ingredients (apart from the oil/ghee) in a bowl and let them rest for 10 minutes. Heat the oil or ghee in a small frying pan and drop tablespoons of the mix in it. Fry for a couple of minutes, turning once. You want to have the oil hot enough so that they don’t absorb too much oil, but not too hot because the edges will brown too much. When cooked, place them on some kitchen towel to get rid of excess oil.  

I’m not sure whether these two are served together traditionally but I think the biscuits went very well with the sweet and fragrant yogurt. I’m sure you could have them separately or use them in different combinations. We actually had some of the yogurt by itself the next day, but it would also be very good with a sprinking of nuts.

Previously on Round the World in 100 Recipes:
King Prawn Puri 

Next time on Round the World in 100 Recipes: Trying to use up all those prawns. They turn out great.

Almond Macaroons

These are my dad’s favourite biscuits and I’ve loved them since I was little as they were a bit of a treat in our house. I think this is where my love for everything almond-flavoured comes from, especially Amaretto. Is it wrong to blame my drinking habits on my father? Well, I suppose so, but then again, he doesn’t read my blog.

My auntie, though, has to take the blame for completely putting me off making my own macaroons. Being quite a good cook herself, with a particular skill at puddings and cakes, I always considered her failure to produce edible macaroons as proof that they are impossible to make.

We made a key lime pie the other day and, having several egg whites left over I thought I’d use them in some macaroons. They were going to waste anyway, so I didn’t really mind if they didn’t turn out amazing. I didn’t trust any recipes that I found online thinking that my mix will be too dry but it is amazing how much almond powder you can incorporate in a single egg white. So, I spent most of my time trying to add more things to the mix to make it into some kind of consistency that I could shape into balls.

They were pretty good but didn’t last for long so the next day I tried to reproduce the recipe. Given how sketchy the first one was, I am surprised they turned out so similar! Well, this is Take 2:

Almond and Coconut Macaroons
makes about 20

3 egg whites
200 gr ground almond
(up to) 100 gr coconut
200 gr sugar
3 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp almond extract

Whisk the egg whites slightly and then add everything else together, leaving the coconut last to control how wet your mix will be. You basically want it to still be moist but to be able to shape it into balls. Place them on some baking paper on a tray and then press each one down with the back side of a wet spoon.

Bake for approximately 15 mins or until golden. Let them cool down for a little bit before you eat them – if you can resist! And please, don’t try and balance one on your forehead, it will burn you. It has happened before.