Passionfruit Lassi

(5 minutes, serves 2-4)

Some people like their lassi very sweet; some like it hardly sweetened at all. It seems like that decision is best left up to the individual cook. I don’t use any honey when I make mine

3-4 ice cubes
1 cup yogurt (or silken tofu yogurt)
1/2 c. passionfruit puree
1 T rosewater (optional)
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey (optional)

1. Combine ice, yogurt, passionfruit, rosewater, water, and blend.

3. Stop blender and taste, adding more water and/or honey if desired, until preferred consistency and flavor is reached. Enjoy!

Passionfruit Rose Cake

Rich passionfruit flavor and a hint of rose scent. This delicate cake is lovely with a very light tea. Passionfruit puree can be ordered online, or is often found in Mexican grocers, sometimes frozen. If you have are lucky enough to have actual passionfruit on hand, you can, of course, pulp and puree them yourself; strain out the hard seeds if you do.

2 c. flour
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 c. passionfruit puree
1 c. yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T rosewater
12 T butter (room temperature)
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature)
2 egg yolks (room temperature)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a cake pan (spraying with Baker’s Joy makes this easy). You can use a bundt pan, cakelet pans, or mini cake pans.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. In a second bowl, combine the passionfruit puree, yogurt, vanilla extract, and rosewater if using; set aside.

4. In the bowl of a standing mixer (paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar; add the egg yolks and eggs one at a time, pausing to scrape bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.

5. Add the flour mixture and passionfruit mixture alternately in a few additions, starting with the dry. Scrape sides and bottom again to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.

6. Fill the pan and bake on the middle rack for (50-55 for bundt, 25-30 minutes for cakelets, 15-20 minutes for mini cakes), or until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted in the center of a cake. (If you want them darker, which shows off the contrast and the detail more, bake a few minutes longer.)

Mango and Ginger Shortbread (take 3)

I keep messing with this recipe.  This version has the real shortbread crispiness that I love. 🙂

  Mango-Ginger Shortbread
(makes about 40 cookies)

The way the butter lingers on your tongue, the hint of salt with the sweet fruitiness of the dried mango and the slight sharpness of the crystallized ginger? Heaven. Bake a few minutes longer if you’re planning to dip them in coffee or tea.

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 t. salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 c. dried mango, chopped fine
1/4 c. crystallized ginger, chopped fine

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar; add the vanilla and salt. Then add flour and mix on low until dough forms. Stir in mango and ginger.

3. Turn out dough onto floured board, roll into logs. Cover in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. NOTE: Can be kept chilled at this point for several days, covered in plastic wrap, and then rolled, cut, and baked fresh.

3. Remove from fridge and cut slices. Chill individual cookies again for 10 more minutes (to reduce spreading). Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet (I like the insulated ones for even baking).

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown, then remove to wire rack to cool. Delicious with chai!

Spiced Swordfish Bowl with Red Rice, Cashews, Cranberries, Tomatoes, and Yogurt-Lime-Honey Drizzle

Experimenting with yesterday’s Sri Lankan spiced swordfish. Made a quick drizzle (1 T yogurt, 1 T lime juice, 1 t. honey), cooked some healthy Sri Lankan red rice (similar to brown rice, with a lovely nutty flavor), and stirred in some salted, roasted cashews, dried cranberries (sultanas would be more traditional, but I love the added tang from the cranberry), and fresh summer cherry tomatoes.
 
This was sweet and hearty; a comforting meal. If I were doing it again, I think I’d add some kale salad, either in place of the red rice, or in addition — the fresh green would be nice. And I definitely would want to up the spice level for me — sliced pickled jalapeños would be a great addition. But that said, yum. 🙂

Sri Lankan-Spiced Baked Swordfish

This spice preparation is one we’d traditionally use for deep-frying. In a hot country, a quick deep-fry is perhaps preferable to having a hot oven on! But I rarely deep-fry anything, so I wanted to see how it would do baked. Delicious!
 
You could certainly flake it into a salad, maybe accompanied by grilled peaches and a lime-honey yogurt dressing. I’m planning to try it soon in a bowl preparation, with red rice and a sunny-side-up egg on the top. But for my lunch today, I just had one of the swordfish steaks straight up, with a piece of fresh fruit — perfect.
 
Ingredients:
1 lb swordfish steak
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 TBL lime juice
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 T oil
 
1. Preheat oven to 400.
 
2. Mix spices, lime juice, and oil together in a mixing bowl and add fish; coat thoroughly.
 
3. Optional: Heat grill pan on stove on high; when pan is hot, add fish steaks and cook 3 minutes. (This is mostly to get the pretty char marks and a bit of that flavor; you can totally skip this step if you want.)
 
4. Turn steaks over (char-side up) and put on a foil-covered baking sheet; bake 20 minutes. Serve hot!

The Marshmallows of Serendib Launches!

Launch day! The Marshmallows of Serendib (and yes, the name was a deliberate echo of Arthur C. Clarke’s wonderful Fountains of Paradise) is now available for purchase. $3 for a baker’s dozen of Sri Lanka-inspired marshmallow recipes, plus a vegetarian variation (suitable more for making fluff than cut marshmallows), and a little story co-authored with Anand Whyte.  (It’s on Amazon for your Kindle too!)

Thanks to Kat Tanaka Okopnik for the kitchen conversations, and to everyone who ordered and taste-tested sample marshmallows the last few months. I’m done with shipping out marshmallows now, but if you follow Kat, she’s gearing up to start shipping her own again soon, and you’ll get a generous dose of smart social justice commentary along with the foodie posts.

The tiny book ($3) is available in e-book formats (DOCX, PDF, MOBI, EPUB) now, and may be available as a paperback soon; I’m working on it. With color interior for the photographs, it’ll be a little pricey, though, so just be warned.

Table of contents at the link above, along with direct ordering from me. Enjoy!

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Pistachio & Rosewater Mini Scones

Delicate and fragrant, with a little nutty goodness to add to your morning or teatime. (If you don’t have a mini scone pan, you can cut and shape these by hand, and bake on a regular baking sheet, placing them quite close together.  If you pop them in the freezer for 30 minute before baking, they’ll hold shape better.)
 
2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 c. chopped pistachios
1/2 c. dried edible rose petals
2 large eggs
1 T rosewater
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 t. lime zest
1/2 cup milk
 
Glaze:
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
6 T water
1 T lime juice (or substitute water for a plain sugar glaze)
 
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray mini scone pan with Baker’s Joy (or butter and flour pan, which will be kind of a pain).
 
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Chop butter in small pieces and cut into flour with a pastry cutter (or with your fingers) until mixture resembles coarse meal. (It’s fine to have small lumps.) Stir in pistachios and rose petals.
 
 
3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 5 scone ingredients, beating eggs lightly. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
 
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Cut into 16 equal pieces and press into the cavities of the pan.
 
5. Bake 20-25 or until medium brown. Let cool 20 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely. Serve warm, with coffee or tea.
 
6. Optional: Glaze. In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, water, and lime juice. Line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment. Pour glaze in, then dip scones in glaze. Remove to wire rack to dry. Alternately, drizzle glaze over the top.

Vegetarian Passionfruit Marshmallow Fluff

This makes a delicious and cravable spoonable dessert (you might want to stir in some chopped fruit to grace it, or sprinkle with sliced almonds).
 
NOTE: The egg whites won’t be cooked, so you may want to use pasteurized egg whites for food safety.
 
(45 minutes + cooling time)
 
1/2 c. passionfruit puree
2 t. powdered agar-agar
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. water
3 egg whites
chopped fruit (optional)
 
1. Combine passionfruit puree and agar-agar in bowl of stand mixer (whisk attachment). Stir briefly to combine.
 
2. In a small saucepan (a bigger one will be heavy and hard to hold steadily at a later stage) combine water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer), approximately 12 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat.
 
3. Turn mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the agar mixture. (Be very careful with the sugar syrup, as it is scaldingly hot and will burn you badly if it gets on your skin.) Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.
 
4. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes. Add food coloring, if using for the whole batch, during this stage; it will be a creamy color if no additional coloring is added.
 
5. Add egg whites and beat an additional 5 minutes or so, until notably increased in volume.
 
6. Turn off mixer, remove whisk, and with a spatula, gently fold in chopped fruit if desired. Pour the mixture into a large serving dish, spreading it evenly.
 
6. Chill fluff for at least four hours, and then serve.

Vegetarian Marshmallows with Agar-Agar & Egg White

I’d deem these barely acceptable. They taste right, if a bit dense and chewy, and they toast up. The biggest problem with them is that they’re quite sticky, so a huge pain to cut up into neat squares. Your best bet with them would be to abandon neatness, chop off pieces, and then toast them up over a fire, where you don’t care so much about the neat aspect. They brown beautifully, melt in your mouth afterwards, and I’m sure would be delectable in a s’more.

NOTE: The egg whites won’t be cooked, so you may want to use pasteurized egg whites for food safety.

NOTE 2:  Recommend not trying to make these on a high-humidity or raining day, as the moisture in the air will affect setting properties.

(45 minutes + cooling time & 15 minutes powdering time, makes 36)

4 egg whites, divided
2 t. powdered agar-agar
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. water
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
butter (for greasing the pan)
food coloring (optional)
chocolate chips (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

1. Place two egg whites in bowl of stand mixer (whisk attachment); add agar-agar. Stir briefly to combine.

2. In a small saucepan (a bigger one will be heavy and hard to hold steadily at a later stage) combine water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer), approximately 12 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat; if it continues, it will swiftly turn into hard candy.

3. Turn mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. (Be very careful with the sugar syrup, as it is scaldingly hot and will burn you badly if it gets on your skin.) Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.

4. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes. Add food coloring, if using for the whole batch, during this stage. (For bicolor marshmallows, you can pour half out, spreading flat. Then color remainder in mixer bowl and whip to mix, then pour out second half on top.). Add two more egg whites and whip another 3-4 minutes; volume should increase.

5. While it’s whipping, butter a large 9 x 12 pan and dust with powdered sugar (you don’t need the sugar here for gelatin marshmallows, but the agar ones are stickier). Prepare an oiled spatula.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly (and swiftly) with oiled spatula.

7. Dust the top with enough of the powdered sugar to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

8. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut. As you’re cutting, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining powdered sugar, using additional if necessary. These are more perishable than gelatin marshmallows, due to the egg whites, so best used within a few days.

Honeyed Pistachio, Rosewater, & Lime Shortbread


(makes 36 large cookies)

Fragrant, buttery, melting in your mouth. Bake a few minutes longer if you’re planning to dip them in coffee or tea.

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
2 T lime juice
1 T lime zest
1 T rosewater
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 t. pistachio extract
3/4 t. kosher salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 c. chopped pistachios
1/4 c. dried edible rose petals
powdered sugar, edible rose petals for decorating

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Cream together the butter, sugar, and honey; add the lime juice, lime zest, rosewater, vanilla, and pistachio extract. Add salt and mix, then add flour and mix on low until dough forms. Stir in pistachios and rose petals.

 

3. Turn out dough onto floured board and roll to 1/2″ thick. Cover in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. NOTE: Can be kept chilled at this point for several days, covered in plastic wrap, and then rolled, cut, and baked fresh for maximum scent and fresh taste on serving.

4. Remove from fridge and cut with cookie cutter (or roll into log and cut slices). Chill individual cookies again for 10 more minutes (to reduce spreading). Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet (I like the insulated ones for even baking).

 

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown, then remove to wire rack to cool.

6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and rose petals to decorate. Delicious with tea!

OPTIONAL: Some people like to use a royal icing on their shortbread at this stage, which I admit, may be even prettier, esp. sprinkled with additional rose petals and chopped cashews. But I tried it, and I feel that a sweet icing actually detracts from the subtly fragrant buttery glory of the shortbread. If you must, then try adding a teaspoon of lime juice to the icing, which will enhance the overall flavors.

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