indian sweets

Indian Chai Cupcakes

Let me tell you I have been in a cupcake making mood this week. I really have wanted to incorporate some of the things that my family and I enjoy into a cupcake form instead of the usual everyday flavors. I have made a few successful batches and plan to make more lucky for me my husband even surprised me with a fabulous new cupcake pan. I have been making small batch sizes because that just suits my small family better and I can experiment with more taste instead of having massive amounts of cupcakes everywhere. I incorporated the main spices of the famous Indian chai into this cupcake for a perfect, flavorful and moist sweet treat. And please do not forget the most important rule of baking cupcakes and that is placing a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven while they bake.

2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice

1 cup cream cheese (I use Kiri cheese)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl add butter and sugar, with a hand mixer beat until fluffy. Add egg, mix. Add vanilla, flour, baking soda, sugar, buttermilk, cardamom, cinnamon, close and allspice, mix well.

2. Place baking cups into 6 cupcake tins. Place 1 tablespoon of batter evenly into cupcake tins. Bake for 14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool.

3. Meanwhile, make frosting. In a large mixing bowl add cheese, cardamom, cloves and butter, with a hand mixer beat until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and combine. Place in refrigerator until needed.

4. When cupcakes are cool pipe frosting on top and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Yields: 6

Cardamom Custard and Green Tea

\I have been itching to use these custard cups ever since my mom sent them to me, and I was impressed. This custard combines a few of my favorite spices so it was a sure hit from the start. In Indian, custard is served at weddings and other special events. It is rather easy to make and worth every effort.

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom, ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons slivered almonds or golden raisins, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable cooking spray
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1. In a medium sized saucepan add milk and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium, stirring to prevent scorching. Stir while boiling about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Remove pan from heat and add sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla and almonds or raisins. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature, about 20 minutes.

3. While milk is cooling pre-heat oven to 350 F. Bring a teakettle of water to a boil. Lightly spray 4 custard cups with oil. When milk has cooled whisk in eggs mixture (make sure the milk is cool are eggs will scramble). At the bottom of each custard cup sprinkle saffron. Evenly pour custard filling into cups. In a large cake pan, gently add boiling water from teakettle, enough to reach half of the custard cups once setting inside. Add cups into the water, not allowing any water to spill into them. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure the custard is done, the custard should move like jello. Serve at room temperature.

Yields: 4 custard cups

Cardamom Green Tea
4 green teabags
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick

1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil; add green tea, saffron, cardamom and cinnamon. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. With a tea strainer, strain the spices. Serve sugar cubes on the side.

Note: I usually always prefer loose tea but I prefer black tea so green tea does not get used as much in my home so I opt for teabags when it comes to green tea. A good brand I like here in KSA is Rabea but Lipton green clear is also good. I serve sugar cubes with my tea because my father in law has diabetes so this way he can sugar to taste. In addition, as you see in the picture I buy cute shaped cubes, which are just more pleasing to the guest.

Yields: 4 regular teacups or 10 Arabic teacups

Indian Rice Pudding

This is my all time favorite dessert. Every time we go to an Indian restaurant, I just have to have it and yes more then once. The coconut milk and cardamom just mix together perfect and create this beautiful dish.

1 cup cooked long grain rice
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped unsalted pistachios,
1 tablespoon saffron

1. In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, combine cooked rice and milk. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.

2. Increase heat to medium, add heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, saffron and cardamom and continue to cook until mixture begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Use a whisk to help prevent the cardamom from clumping. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat stirring in raisins and pistachios. Transfer the mixture to individual serving dishes or a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Serve chilled or at room temperature.