Chai Spice Indian Shortbread: Nan Katai

A typical cookie or sweet we make during Diwali, the Festival of Lights is Nan Katai (or Khatai), a Indian-style shortbread with saffron and cardamom. 

I often make this during Christmas too and add them to my cookie plates, offering a slight Indian touch to the holidays! Try with Arvinda's Christmas Chai Masala.

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NAN KATAI ~ INDIAN-STYLE SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Method of Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl soak saffron in milk. Set aside.

2) In a bowl add butter and sift in icing sugar. Mix in ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA and baking soda. Sift in flour. Mix in semolina. Mix in milk with saffron.

Shape batter into balls and slightly flatten into a discs. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until bottoms are golden in colour.

Makes 14 large or 20 small cookies.

Ingredients:
1/2 CUP ghee or butter, softened
1/2 CUP icing sugar
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
1/4 TSP. baking soda
1 CUP flour
1/4 CUP semolina
2 TBSP. milk
6-8 saffron strands
1 TBSP. almonds, whole of slivered, for garnish

Listen up runners: Here's a healthy power running treat

Arvinda’s Orange-Almond Chai Running Balls first appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of Canadian Running Magazine and later in their cookbook! They're perfect as a long-run power treat or as a post-workout recovery snack.

Any workout exceeding one hour in length, requires fuel recovery — usually in the form of sugar or glucose. Many runners use gels or syrups as an easy digestible way to raise energy levels. This was something I never enjoyed as a long distance runner as it often gave me a case of nausea. Pure sugar, often with additives and preservatives, how healthy is that? I realized bringing my own homemade running treat was a tastier and healthier option.


ARVINDA'S ORANGE-ALMOND CHAI RUNNING BALLS

Method of Preparation: 
1) In a medium-sized bowl, add almond butter and mix well. If consistency is stiff, warm up slightly in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

2) Chill in refrigerator for 15–20 minutes. 

3) Roll into balls slightly smaller than walnuts. Place remaining coconut in a small bowl. Dust with coconut to garnish. Store in the refrigerator. Yield = 40 pieces.

Ingredients:
1 CUP organic almond butter
½ CUP raw honey
½ CUP almonds, finely chopped
½ CUP hemp seeds
¼ CUP chocolate protein powder
(whey or plant-based)
¼ CUP flax seeds
¼ CUP dried cranberries or raisins
¼ CUP dates or prunes, finely chopped
¼ CUP dry unsweetened coconut + extra
       ½ CUP for dusting
1 TBSP. cocoa powder
1½ TBSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
zest of an orange

These little power balls are perfect for a run, hike or post-workout treat. Now it’s time for a run. See you on the trails!

Chai Spiced Coconut Peanut Burfi

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Burfi is an Indian sweet (mithai) that can be quite rich made with ghee and sugar. This is a healthier version of burfi if you're looking to sub out all the fat.

Anytime you need a quick ‘pick-me-up’ or have a sweet craving, reach for these which you’ll find are quite satisfying. I’ve been known to keep a stash of these in my purse for when I need some nourishment on the go! 


CHAI SPICED COCONUT PEANUT BURFI (HEALTHY VERSION)

Method of Preparation:

1) Line a pie plate with parchment paper.

2) In a bowl, combine ingredients. Press firmly into pie plate. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Cut into diamonds or squares.

Ingredients:
1 CUP organic peanut butter
1 CUP dry unsweetened coconut
½ CUP raw peanuts, finely chopped
¼ CUP raw honey
¼ CUP dried cranberries
¼ CUP raisins
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA

Turmeric Til Ladoos: Sesame Seed Sweets

Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated in northern India to mark the beginning of the growing season and the joyous kite flying festival celebrated in the central India (which comes around in early-mid January). 

A typical sweet that is made on auspicious day is called Til Ladoo, 'til' meaning sesame seeds. I spike mine with a touch of turmeric for a beautiful golden hue. I tend to make these all year round because they are so easy to make. 


TURMERIC TIL LADOO: SESAME SEED SWEET

Method of Preparation:

1) Gently roast sesame seeds on a baking rack in the oven set at 200F for 10 minutes.

2) In a skillet, heat ghee and add in jaggery (or brown sugar) and stir to combine. Stir in ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA and turmeric. Fold in roasted sesame seeds and coconut.

3) Allow to slightly cool and roll into small balls

Ingredients: 
1 CUP raw sesame seeds
1/2 CUP unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 CUP jaggery (or brown sugar)
1 TBSP. ghee (or butter)
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
1/4 TSP. turmeric powder
 

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Indian Spiced Macarons!

After a couple of failed attempts, I eventually found success making macarons at home. I wanted to experiment with a couple of Indian flavours including: 

  • Chai Spiced Coconut Macaron

  • Garam Masala Chocolate Macaron

The flavour combinations were delightful and unlike any that I've seen in pastry shops around town. Below, are the recipes for two different filling I tried.

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CHAI SPICED COCONUT CREAM CHEESE MACARON FILLING

Method of Preparation:

1) In a bowl, mix ingredients together.

Ingredients:
1/8 CUP cream cheese, softened
1/3 CUP icing sugar, sifted
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
1 TSP. organic coconut essence


GARAM MASALA CHOCOLATE MACARON FILLING

Method of Preparation:

1) Mix butter with sugar. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Ingredients:
2 TBSP. butter, softened
½ CUP icing sugar, sifted
4 squares, semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 TBSP. cocoa
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA
½ TSP. vanilla

Pumpkin Ka Halwa

A common Indian sweet is Gajjar Ka Halwa ~ Grated Carrot Halwa with chai spices, raisins and cashews caramelized with sugar. This is the same recipe, but I just used pumpkin instead of carrot.

This sweet can be served in cup garnished with nuts or molded into an Indian sweet.

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PUMPKIN KA HALWA

Method of Preparation:

1) In a large skillet, melt ghee on medium-low heat. Add jaggery and dissolve into ghee.

2) Add shredded pumpkin. Place the lid on the skillet and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, until pumpkin is cooked.

3) Remove lid and further reduce until all liquid is absorbed. Fold in cashews and ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA. Serve warm in a decorative glass with a freshly grated nutmeg.

Ingredients:
4 CUPS pumpkin, shredded
2 TBSP. ghee or butter
¼ CUP jaggery or raw cane sugar
½ CUP cashew halves
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
¼ TSP. nutmeg, to garnish