Peanut Butter Poppers. You Can’t Stop At Just One. And Yes, They Are Better Than Pringles.

Remember the old Pringles ad? Once you pop…you can’t stop! Same goes for these babies.

I love peanut butter. I really do. I have loved it since kindergarten, when I used to take PBnJ sandwiches to school. And when I moved back to India, I was very disappointed- as saddened and melancholy as a ten-year-old could be- to encounter the peanut butter that was available in India then. I’m talking mid-1990s, in Kerala, no imported Skippy and Jif and American Garden; no home-grown Sundrop; only one brand called Prutina and it was very upsetting indeed. In taste, texture and packaging. 90’s kids from India, remember this?

photo courtesy | shop.bt

I mean, this stuff was so coarse, it would break toast. As in, if I tried to spread it on toast, the bread gave away beneath my butter knife.

But, since I was not a whiny kid, I just did without for years. And sparingly ate peanut butter every time someone would bring back a jar or two from abroad. Sheesh.

I missed peanut butter. I really did. It was like I left behind an old friend.

Anyway. Skip to today when we get all kinds of peanut butter in different flavours/jars/textures! I love it. I don’t care that I am in my late 20’s and still consume it like a kindergartener. Peanut butter is awesome. It may not be on the higher end of the phancy scale, like chocolate fondue or marzipan, but it’s still pretty darn good. And the only thing better than peanut butter in a sandwich is peanut butter BAKED. The chewy goodness and sheer delight of biting into a peanut butter cookie or brownie or cutting your spoon into chocolate and peanut butter pie…

This recipe for quick peanut butter cookies has been doing the rounds. I found it on The Patterned Plate first, which led me to the recipe at Gluten-Free Girl, and it was so easy, there was no way I could not try it. Plus, I had a brand new cake pops pan that I had been dying to use, and this seemed perfect for it. Instead of cookies, I could make little peanut butter cookie pops!! I thought it would be fun to make these cookies into little candylike balls which you could just pop in your mouth, one after another.

I used Sundrop Peanut butter, the creamy option. I have seen Sundrop peanut butter in stores, but I never bothered to pick it up, assuming it would not be that great. I’d head straight for imported Skippy and stick with that, even though it was the more expensive option of the two. But since I wanted to try this recipe as soon as I possibly could, I had to choose Sundrop since my neighbourhood grocer did not have Skippy in stock. And you know what? I am glad I did. Sundrop creamy peanut butter is pretty great. It is smooth, creamy, not overly sweet and spreads like a dream, without damaging crumbly soft bread. And priced at Rs 160 for a 462 gram jar, it is value for money too. (I read a positive review of Sundrop peanut butter in the July issue of BBC Good Food India, but they also add that there is a higher sodium content. I checked the label, and it is 118 mg for every 2 tablespoons, to be exact.)

I actually wanted crunchy, but my grocer didn’t have crunchy. So I added some rolled oats just to give it some texture. I have so much lying around, and I am always looking for ways to use it. I am not really big on oatmeal.

PEANUT BUTTER POPPERS (Adapted from Gluten Free Girl)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs (The original calls for just one egg; I used two because I was adding oats and felt that an extra egg would help bring everything together.)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup castor or white sugar, to roll the dough in

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • In a large bowl, cream sugar and peanut butter.
  • Then add in the egg and baking powder and beat some more.
  • Add in the rolled oats and beat a little more.
  • You will get a sticky, slicky batter. I guess this may vary depending on the brand of peanut butter you use; but I got a really slick batter.
  • Roll into little balls with your hands, coat them in sugar, and place in a cake pop tray.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180C
  • Cool and serve!

Store in an airtight container. I reckon this can last for upto a week; but we finished ours in 3 days.

Chewy, crunchy around the edges and fast…you cannot stop at just one!!

My peanut butter poppers came out with a little caramelized sugary lace around the edges, giving the effect of a flying saucer. This would make a great party treat if your child is a sci-fi fan and wants to have an X-Files or alien-themed party. (Just a suggestion. Easier than making UFO shaped cupcakes, right?)

Sometimes, instant is most exceedingly good, C 🙂

Hope everyone is having a good week!

I Went A Little Overboard. Hence, Sapodilla Pudding.

You know how advertising is supposed to make you want that product, want it so bad, that you just have to get up, put on your shoes and get out the door?

Or just call and order it in. (I know, it sounds much less exciting, but in Mumbai we can get everything delivered.)

Well, the Don Drapers of the world can rest easy as long as people like me exist. Even though consumers have so much access to product reviews and information today, and rely on those before making a purchase, there are still idiots like me who are swayed by a television advert and just buy.

But in the case of this advertisement, it was a bit of a reverse effect. This Kellogg’s corn flakes ad that has been airing for a while, on practically every channel, shows the wonderful, able-bodied and impeccably-dressed-for-so-early-in-the-day Kellogg’s Mommy (with a few flyaways for added effect) whipping up an amazingly awesome Kellogg’s breakfast for her husband and son…(corn flakes + bananas + walnuts for hubby, and corn flakes + chikoo or sapodilla + almonds for the son. (I know. All Kellogg’s Mommy did was put stuff in a bowl and shove a spoon in.)

It was something I would scoff at. Except…

…after I saw those beautiful rich brown pieces of sapodilla hitting the corn flakes, I had to have some. I went berserk. I was buying sapodillas ALL THE TIME. I put them in my corn flakes and milk. I put them in plain cold milk and drank it up. I decorated arrowroot biscuits with tiny pieces of sapodilla and ate them like crackers with a topping. I ate them plain.

I tried feeding them to my son, who obliged for a week and then began to spit it out. I had so many sapodillas I did not know what to do with them, and they bruise easily and I didn’t want them to go to waste. I had already made enough milkshakes with them.

And then I thought…why not try blending and turning it into a smooth pudding? I used to love chocolate and vanilla pudding as a kid, and sapodillas would add a nice grainy texture to a vanilla pudding. I found myself a basic vanilla pudding recipe and got cracking.

SAPODILLA PUDDING (Adapted from allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe sapodillas (chikoo) de-seeded, skin removed, and cut into little chunks
  • 2 cups milk + little more for the sapodilla puree
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter
METHOD
  • In a blender, combine the chopped sapodillas with a little milk and blend to a puree. It should not be too runny
  • In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk over medium flame until small bubbles form at the edges of the pan.
  • Pour the sugar-cornstarch-salt mixture into the hot milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously till it dissolves.
  • Keep stirring till the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Do not boil.
  • Pull off heat, stir in butter and vanilla extract and combine well.
  • Next, stir in the sapodilla puree till evenly combined.
  • Pour into serving bowls or pudding mold and chill well before serving.

And you know what? It was pretty nice. The fruit lent a nice pinkish-brown hue to the plain vanilla pudding. Sapodillas are sweet and rather honey-like and have a wonderful texture, smooth on top and grainy when you bite in, and that really came through. The walnut on top didn’t really do much, I just put it there for effect. But yeah, toast some walnuts and put them at the bottom of your pudding mold and it should make for some fun eating.

NOTE: Normal people in India just call this fruit chikoo. Everyone I know calls it chikoo. Even when I talk to the grocer, I call it chikoo. I however, am referring to it in the written form as sapodilla, because in print, sapodilla looks so much prettier than chikoo. And also because I must have known half a dozen kids nicknamed chikoo when I was growing up, and it seems like a pretty lame name for a both a person and a fruit. Or maybe I just have a colonial hangover.

Summertime Lentil Salad With Mango & Raw Papaya. Just Because.

I remember my grandmother making lentil and cucumber salad when I was little…soaked yellow moong dal (green gram) with grated coconut, lemon juice and tempered with mustard seeds. It isn’t really Indian if it hasn’t been tempered!! I kind of forgot about it altogether until I rediscovered the recipe in the May 2012 issue of BBC Good Food India, and I thought this is the perfect time to make it. This salad is light, refreshing and full of protein, which is an added bonus.

The actual dish, kosambari, is native to Udupi cuisine from Karnataka in Southern India. Similar lentil salads are also eaten in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, where they are called kosumalli and koshimbir. (Yes, I Googled it. A little trivia is always good, even if it comes from a third party.) The recipe in the magazine was the traditional one with lentils and cucumber, but since I Am Recipe Tweaker, I made my lentil salad with raw papaya and mango. Mangoes are so wonderful and I try to put them in everything when the season comes around. And the raw papaya would be firmer than cucumbers so I opted for it.

This salad is extremely easy to make, and the burnt chilli, asafoetida and mustard seeds give it quite a kick 🙂 (Asafoetida is used as a seasoning agent in a lot of vegetarian dishes in India, especially among communities where garlic is not consumed.)

I am also happy to report that I picked out the chilli flakes and fed this to my son who had about 3 tablespoons worth.

Mangoes brighten up any salad. Really. Truly.

SUMMERTIME LENTIL SALAD  (Adapted from BBC Good Food India May 2012)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup moong dal, (green gram or mung) soaked for 1 hour and drained
  • 1/4 cup masoor dal, (red lentils) soaked for 1 hour and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (you may use more if you wish)
  • 1/4 cup raw papaya, cubed
  • 1/4 cup ripe mango, cubed (I used a whole medium-sized mango because I love mangoes, so it was more than 1/4 cup)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste

For The Tempering:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder

METHOD

  • Put all the ingredients (except for the tempering agents!) together in a large bowl and combine well so that everything is evenly mixed.
  • Next, put the tadka (tempered seasoning) together. Heat the oil in a tadka dish or very small wok. When it gets hot, add the mustard seeds and the chilli flakes, and allow the mustard seeds to pop. The chilli flakes will also char a little. Add the asafoetida powder, and pull off heat immediately. Pour the seasoning into the lentil mixture and toss well.

Don’t pink lentils look pretty?

PS- I just realized, this dish is also vegan!! Woohoo.