I am spending this season with family and it has been more hectic than I could have ever imagined. I will be back in the New Year with what seems to be a very promising line up of posts. I have so much inspiration at the moment, its kind of dizzying. I hope you take this opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy their company with good food and create lots of wonderful memories.
As Christmas comes closer, I see so very many posts of Christmas cookies and treats pop up all over the place. A lot of the treats that you now see have evolved over the years. In the last couple of years, I have seen and tried out a few that are brand new to me and I wouldn’t have known of if it wasn’t for the internet. These were so much easier and quicker to make than the kind of Christmas sweets I am used to making, not to mention absolutely delicious. Today, however, I’m going to share with you a Christmas treat that I’ve grown up with, these gorgeous Kulkuls. This is a traditional Goan sweet and if you haven’t had them before these are little deep-fried, sweet, pastry bites.
This sweet called Kulkuls (cuhl-cuhls), is something I’ve grown up with. Every year, at around this time the family would gather to make these little treats. And yes, it is a family affair. This little bites of fried, sweetened pastry take a while to make. Since, many hands make for light work, my Grandma, my Mum, my Father (whenever he was on leave from work), my brother and I would sit down to make these sweets. We’d make a massive batch of this every year and it would take a whole evening from start to finish. That being as it is, we’d make Kulkuls every single year. These little fried dumplings can be sweetened to your liking and they have a long shelf life. The batch that we used to make around this time, would last till the end of Jan. In all honesty, they’d probably keep much longer, but they are so tasty and addictive, they’ll be finished long before that.
Most of my family recipes, the old Goan ones have been handed down from one generation to another. The weird part is almost all of these recipes, never had fixed quantities of ingredients mentioned. The recipe is very forgiving and I’ve managed to chart down some quantities for reference. This quantity is a much more manageable batch size than what I’m used to, but you could cut it down further, if you need to. The process should take a couple of hours but I think its all worth it. While I did manage to get step by step pictures of the process, I didn’t manage to take a picture of the batch after it was done frying. So for the time being, I am putting up a picture of our platter of traditional Goan Christmas sweets from last year which has some kulkuls on it. I”ll try and get a better one this year.
|L-R: Date Rolls, Nankatais, Kulkuls, Chonya Doce, Perad, Milk Cream|
1/4 kg Semolina (rava)
1/4 kg All purpose flour (maida)
A splash of milk
3 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
1/3 can coconut cream (400ml can) (You could also use about 150 ml freshly extracted coconut juice)
2 fat pinches of salt, or to taste
Superfine (or powdered) sugar, to taste (Start with a couple of heaped tablespoons and add more as needed)
Oil, for deep frying
Knead all the ingredients to a dough using milk as needed.
Kneading the dough once its done, should leave a slight trace of ghee on your hand, but only just. If your dough is on the dry side, add a little more ghee and knead again. This ensures that the dough doesn’t stick to the forms we’re using to shape the kulkuls.
Taste a little pinch of the dough for sweetness. I tend to not make these too sweet so that it cuts through all the other sweetness on the plate. If you think you want the kulkuls sweeter, add some more sugar and knead into the dough.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about half and hour.
To shape the kulkuls, you can use a variety of things. We now use these paddles that are specifically used for kulkuls. If you don’t have these paddles, you can use the back of a fork or a new, clean haircomb.
Work with a small portion of the dough at a time. Keep the unused dough covered with a damp cloth while you work with the rest. Roll into a long sausage shape and cut into pieces.
Working with one piece at a time, place the piece of dough on the paddle.
Using your thumb, flatten the dough into a rectangular piece as shown in the pictures below.
Starting with the end closest to you, gently life the dough and roll away from you, keeping the roll fairly tight.
Lightly press the edge of the roll to seal it up so that it doesn’t open up while frying.
Adjust the size of the pieces of dough to suit the size of the kulkuls you need.
Repeat with the rest of the dough. As you shape the kulkuls, keep them on a flat tray. I turn a cookie sheet upside down and use the back of the tray.
When they are all done, heat some oil for deep frying.
Test that the oil is hot enough by gently dropping a small bead of dough into the oil. If it bubbles in the oil, instantly and comes to the top, the oil is hot enough.
Keep the oil on medium heat.
Gently tip the kulkuls into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry them in small batches as the oil may froth a little and bubble up and spill over. Start with the ones that were shaped first.
When the kulkuls are golden brown, drain using a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.
Repeat with the rest of the kulkuls until they are all fried up.
When the kulkuls have completely cooled down, store in an airtight container.
Enjoy this lovely addition to your Kuswar platter.
** I’m hoping to get more pictures this year and will add them to this post.
If you’re looking for other Kuswar recipes, you can find them here –
Leave to set in the refrigerator till firm. I left mine about 8 hours. You may be able to cut into this sooner, but make sure that the Jelly has set firm before you cut it up. This dish can be made ahead of time. So plan for about 8 hours to set at this stage.
You can watch the step by step video crepe paper flower tutorial here.
If you’d like to play along you can find the template here.
Since this is my first smoothie bowl, I kept it simple. It is so easy to make and so refreshingly delicious, I know I’m going to be making more than a few more of these All you need is the fruit of your choice, milk and a little yogurt. Onto the toppings. You could use your choice of cereal, granola, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips pretty much whatever you feel like.
So go ahead and give these bowls a try. They will be a hard summer option to beat. You know you’ll be seeing a few more of these. Oh, have I mentioned these just take a couple of minutes to make. Its a winner all the way.
Also, I have news. I have finally been bitten by the Instagram bug. I hope you can join me there. My Instagram username is @TheAspiringHomeCook. You can find the recipes from this blog making an appearance there at #theaspiringhomecook. Have you tried a recipe from this site. Post a picture on Instagram with #theaspiringhomecook and tag me in the picture to be featured in my feed.
Mango Smoothie Bowl
1 cup frozen mango cubes
1 banana, frozen
1 cup milk
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
For the toppings –
A few fresh blueberries
Peanut butter granola
Place the mango, banana, milk and yogurt in a blender and blitz on slow at first.
Scrape down the sides and blitz till you are left with a soft serve consistency.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl.
Top off with fresh blueberries and some granola.
11) Cayenne Truffles
12) Brownie Pudding
15) Sriracha Peanuts
16) Carrot Fritters
22) Iced Caps
24) Coconut Pie
30) Apple Hand Pies
33) Pots de Creme
35) Chorizo Hash
39) Caramel Popcorn
42) Mocha Muffins
49) Orange Julius
53) Black Russian
Last week I had 2 over ripe bananas and its been so hot, I had no intention of switching the oven on to make the banana bread. I kept putting off the tea-time fritters and yesterday I decided I had to use the bananas and if I left them anymore, I’d probably have to throw them out. I hate wasting food so that was out of the question. The plan that morning was to make some oatmeal for breakfast, but then it struck me I could use the bananas with the oats and do something with that. I remember a while ago, coming across a banana oat pancake recipe and decided to try it out. Now, those of you who’ve been visiting for a while know I love my pancakes. So what could be better than combining my love for bananas and pancakes. Nothing much right! So breakfast that morning was sorted. I blitzed the ingredients in the blender and added a few fixin’s like fresh blueberries and roughly sliced almonds. I think Jamie Oliver would have been happy with me. I really like his philosophy on superfoods. Eat a variety of fresh produce in moderation and everything acts as a superfood. I figure the addition of the berries and almonds would amp up these pancakes to superfood status. I googled a few recipes but in the end just ended up throwing a few things together and I tell you it was great. I was really pleased with how the pancakes turned out.
Basically this recipe uses no refined flour and no refined sugar and you’ll never miss them. We did use some maple syrup over the pancakes to sweeten the deal, but who can resist maple syrup over pancakes. Definitely not me 🙂
I hope you give these pancakes a try. They deliver taste and health together.
Banana Oat Blueberry Pancakes
Makes 6 pancakes
1 cup rolled oats
2 over ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
A handful of fresh blueberries
12-15 roasted almonds, roughly sliced
A pinch of salt
A little oil, to fry the pancakes (I use olive oil, but you could any oil of your choice)
Maple syrup, to drizzle over
Blitz the oats in a blender till you are left with a powder.
Add the bananas, eggs, a pinch of salt and the vanilla extract. Blitz till you are left with a nice batter.
Scrape the sides down and give it another quick blitz.
Pour the batter in a large bowl and add the sliced almonds and blueberries and fold through gently, making sure they are evenly distributed.
Heat a little oil in a pan, about half a teaspoon. I use an oil spray to reduce the amount of oil being used.
Carefully ladle some batter onto the pan. Cook on medium heat.
When the bottom edge looks like its getting a little color, gently lift a portion of the pancake. If you are happy with the cooking on that side, flip the pancake and let it cook on the second side too.
Repeat with a spray of oil and a ladle of batter for every pancake till you finish the batter.
Serve warm with some maple syrup.
For my last assignment, I got Emily’s blog, Life on Food. Emily’s blog is full of wonderful food. I had an almost impossible task of picking a recipe for this reveal. Go over and say Hi to Emily and tell her I sent you. While you’re there check out the wonderful food on her blog. You will also see her gorgeous little baby there – absolutely precious. Here’s probably what makes Emily my favorite person – she goes to Disney World every year. Yes, every single year. Someday, I hope to be able to visit every single Disney park there it to visit. It is on my bucket list. Anyway, back to Emily’s blog. In the end, I narrowed down my endless list to these gorgeous Cheddar Bay Biscuits, these Chocolate Hazlenut Truffles, Chocolate Chip and Hazlenut Cookies with Sea Salt, Macaroon Blossoms, and this Coconut Rice Pudding, but in the end these Classic Blueberry Muffins won.
We’re in the middle of spring at the moment, so everywhere I look I can see berries and that was one of the main reasons I decided to go with this muffin recipe. You can never have too many muffin recipes, can you? This recipe is perfect for summer and they make a great brekkie on the go. You know what else they’d be great for …. morning tea at work. These muffins are one of the best berry muffin recipes I’ve tried. They’re packed with berries and have a beautiful crumb. At first, I was a little skeptical of the cinnamon in this recipe, but don’t be like me. The cinnamon is subtle and you can barely tell its there, but it does wonder for the flavor of the muffin. I did add a little vanilla extract to the recipe but other than that stuck to the original. Thanks Emily for a fantastic blueberry muffin recipe.
Classic Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup blueberries
Preheat the oven to 180º and line a muffin tray with paper liners or grease a tray.
In a mixing bowl, place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt and whisk till combined.
Toss in the blueberries and make sure the flour mix coats them well and set the bowl aside. (This ensures the berries don’t sink to the bottom.)
In another bowl whisk the egg till it has loosened. Add the sugar and whisk till you are left with a thick mixture.
Add the vanilla extract and combine.
Add the melted butter and whisk well to combine.
Lastly, add the sour cream and whisk until just combined.
Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients and gently fold in using a rubber spatula until just combined. The batter will be thick and you may see a few small dry flour spots. I found mine a little too dry so I added a couple of tbsps of milk and folded in gently. Take care to not overmix the batter.
Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tray.
Bake till the tops are a light golden brown and a toothpick pierced in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
Immediately move the muffins to a wire rack to cool and serve at room temperature.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.