Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Indian Milk Fudge (Khoa) With Cardamom, Orange Blossom Water and Mastiha

I was seduced by Keiko from Nordljus’ recent post about a sort of Middle Eastern ice cream flavored with cardamom, rose water and gum mastic (a.k.a. mastiha – for definition and a short history of this lovely Greek product, click here or here). Why was I seduced?

1. Keiko’s pictures are stunning!
2. Cardamom is my favorite “sweet” spice
3. I’m intrigued to cook with this big tub of Mastiha I brought back from Greece
4. There’s nothing wrong with polishing off the last ¼ cup of Orange Blossom water
sitting on my shelf. Anyway, I have no rose water.

Thing is, I live in Italy, the world capitol of ice cream and I gave my ice cream maker away when I moved here (American plug, you see). So, I think the lovely flavors of cardamom, orange blossom water and gum mastic will go beautifully in one of my favorite dessert recipes, Indian Milk Fudge (khoa). “Khoa” is milk slowly simmered and stirred for about an hour until it is almost solid, fudge-like. Then sweeteners and spices are mixed in to create different deserts. This should be one of the best.

Here’s the recipe:
·1 liter/quart whole milk
·200 gr (approx a light 8 ozs) heavy cream
·1 tbsp whole green cardamom pods
·¼ cup rose water or orange blossom water
·Optional unless you’ve been to Greece recently: ¼ cup toffee-like gum mastic or “mastiha” (which is mostly sugar) otherwise, 1 tsp pure gum mastic crystals ground with ¼ cup granulated sugar, or since mastiha tastes like ¼ mint, ¼ clove and ½ ginseng, you might be able to make your own substitute. But add ¼ c sugar.

Crush cardamom pods. Extract the seeds and place them in a coffee grinder or mortar & pestle, grind them to a fine power. Music to crush cardamom by: Cornershop “When I Was Born for the 7th Time" Try your best to sing along with their cover of “Norwegian Wood” in Hindi:) Lyrics are at the bottom of the page.

Now, put on a nice, comfy pair of shoes and pull out the largest, deepest non-stick frying pan you have. Over high heat, pour in the milk and the cream, bring to a boil and stir constantly for 15 minutes keeping the milk boiling as vigorously as possible while not spilling out of the pan. Music to stir boiling milk by: Cornershop: Handcream for a Generation. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to medium and continue stirring and scraping the bottom & sides of the pan for another 20 minutes. Singing helps ward off boredom! After the 20 minutes have gone by, you’ll be belting out Track 7: “People Power” and the milk/cream mixture will have thickened to the consistency of heavy cream. Now lower the heat to its lowest setting and continue stirring and scraping the dried milk off the sides of the pan. This is all a rather unlovely affair. You’ve got thick creamy milk with a bunch of bits of dried milk floating in it. Don’t worry, it will all become solid in the end so the texture will be nice. After another 25 minutes have gone by (now you’ve been cooking for 1 hour total!) Add the cardamom, the orange blossom water and the gum mastic (mastiha) (or whichever other solution you came up with) and stir for another 10 minutes to reduce the mass to something like a bread dough. Take off the heat and remove to a marble slab or plastic cutting board. Let cool to room temperature and place in the refrigerator. The mixture will set into a hardish putty-like consistency. Take 1-teaspoonful bits and roll them between your palms to make little spheres. Keep them refrigerated in a plastic container for up to 4 days.


Blogger Tracie B. said...

they look like little yukon golds! how cute...

i love your blog susan, and i will be linking back to you:)

1:14 PM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Ahhh, this post brings back so many memories - my mom used to make this all the time and we loved it. I hadn't realized just how much effort went into making it. The next time I call her I am going to have to say a special "thank you" to her! Thanks for the post and recipe, Susan. Maybe I will try to make it some day instead of buying it in packets from the local Indian store.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Betul said...

We do live in "savoury indian cuisine zone" here in england.Cury, cury, cury..They have lovely sweets as well.And I'm learning one of it from an American lives in italy.I loove blogging..

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:14 AM  
Anonymous domestic cat said...

Hello Susan, very nice recipe to use with mastiha. It is such a versatile ingredient, suits both sweet and savoury recipes. Does the fudge have a toffee-like texture? Must be a nice surprise for guests. Congratulations!


9:49 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Tracie, You are the "centrale" of the American "girls" in Italy blogs, I'll be proud to be a member!

Lotus, Your Mom made this all the time? Whew...The more I learn about Indian cooking practices the more in awe I am. There was a New York Times article describing the new, modern Indian woman's cooking habits and they described how one 30-something got a lot of flack from her Grandma because she (the granddaughter) no longer GROUND HER OWN WHEAT INTO FLOUR!!) Holy cow! I'm such a slacker by comparison.

Betul, Mmmm...to live in England with all those world cuisines mixed together! Reading your blog was great, I felt a little bad not being able to write even one word to you in Turkish. How do you say "delicious" in Turkish?
Hi Tulin, Thanks for visiting, I really liked your site. The ingredient "mastiha" which is mostly sugar is like a stretchy toffee but the final product is like a chocolate fudge without the chocolate, dense and rich but not stretchy.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Susan!

Yes, Indian dishes can involve some laborious procedures and this is why I am so grateful for the "instant" mixes sold at the Indian store. I will still make my curries and vegetables from scratch, but for sweets and some other South Indian "tiffin" dishes, I much prefer to buy the readymade mix - lazy me! :)

Anyway, I just love your blog and it's creating in me a hankering for some of that Milanese risotto ( haven't tasted any since our trip to Milan two years ago).I think I have most of the ingredients in my kitchen already - just need to go get some good saffron!

1:03 AM  
Blogger Betul said...

No, you shouldn't feel like it Susan, because you said "Mmmmm".It's quite international, isn't it?
Delicious means "leziz" (l-ae-z-ii-z) in Turkish. Thank you.
Have a nice weekend.It's snowing here. I can't believe it.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous keiko said...

Hi Susan, I'm happy to see your version of the beautiful ice-cream, it sounds fantastic! I'll listen to Cornershop next time I make it ;) thanks for sharing.

8:31 PM  

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