Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Hello Everyone! I’m about to switch things up a bit tonight and share with you a recipe from a country that I have yet to culinarily explore. Amcarmen’s Kitchen is afterall, a Third Culture Foodie! It’s a bright orange Indian carrot pudding that is absolutely decadent and is sure to please, not only yourself, but your guests as well.

Gajar Ka Halwa, is a delicious and rich carrot pudding that’s perfect for any celebration. In India, this dessert is enjoyed mainly on the occasion of Diwali, Holi, Eid al-Fitr, and Raksha Bandhan. It can be served hot or cold. The classic Indian dessert is traditionally made using ghee and full-fat milk, but of course, you can easily substitute those dairy products out for non-dairy products for a vegan option of this dish, but apparently it won’t taste as great. I can’t judge for myself as I haven’t tasted the traditional version.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Also, I just want to add that I had a hard time sourcing cardamom in store here in the Philippines. Cardamom has a complex flavour of fruity, nutty, spicy, woody, and citrusy that’s hard to replicate with other spices. However, cardamom substitutes like ginger, nutmeg & cinnamon are the closest.

If you too have difficulty in sourcing cardamom, I found online that you can mix together equal parts ground cinnamon and nutmeg and use in place of the cardamom called for in your recipe – which I already conveniently had both lying around at home in the pantry. If you don’t have nutmeg, then try equal parts cinnamon and ground ginger or equal parts cinnamon and ground cloves instead.

Before we delve into tonight’s recipe, please do check out the original by Ashley of My Heart Beets.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated/shredded
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (or 1/16 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • Handful of chopped pistachios or other nuts, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Add the shredded carrots, coconut milk, and water to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover and bring to a rapid simmer.
  2. Once simmering, add the sugar and cook for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until most of the liquid has reduced.
  3. Add the coconut oil and stir-fry the carrots for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until the carrots become dry and the coconut oil separates from the mixture. The carrots should look dark orange or reddish in colour.
  4. Add the ground cardamom and mix well.
  5. Transfer to individual serving ramekins and top with the chopped pistachios. Enjoy!

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Note: You can easily double or triple this recipe if you plan on making this dessert for a crowd.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops

Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops

Hello Everyone! We’re on our third Apple recipe for the month of March, which means that we’re close to yet another month flying by so quickly! I’ll keep tonight’s post short – and no it’s not because I’m pressed for time to get this post up for you guys by tonight, but rather, I believe I don’t have much of a back story to this post, nor do I have anything personal to share with you guys for this week.

Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops

With that being said, do check out the original recipe that I followed to make these juicylicious Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops from Taste of Home. It’s a very quick and easy autumn-inspired dish to put together for a delicious mid-week dinner! Yes I am aware that it is summer in the Philippines (where I am currently residing at), but like I’ve said in previous posts, it’s autumn somewhere around the world!

Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 bone-in pork chops, about 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 large Red Delicious Apples, washed and wedged
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the pork chops and cook about 3-4 minutes per side or until browned. If your skillet isn’t large enough to fit all the chops at once, work in batches. Once done, remove and set aside in the oven (heat off) to keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, add the remaining butter together with the brown sugar mixture, chopped walnuts, and wedged apples. Cook and stir until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with the chops along with some creamy mashed potatoes and blanched green French beans on the side to complete your meal. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Apple Chicken Bake

Apple Chicken Bake

Hello Everyone! March is here which can only mean one thing for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. That’s right! A new month means a new fruit to play with and we’re all about Apples this March! More specifically we’re going to be playing around with Red Washington Apples only because they were on sale at Rustan’s Supermarket for only P28 apiece! I think they were originally priced at like P35 or something. I know it’s not much of a difference but other supermarkets have them priced at P230 or something per kilo, which is crazy!

Apple Chicken Bake

I’ll keep my introduction short tonight, as I am not feeling well today – the creative writing juices aren’t flowing at the moment, apologies for that. I didn’t want to start off my post in saying what happened, but you can read more about it at the end of the post.

Before we dive right into the recipe, please head on over to Taste of Home for the original recipe where I drew my inspiration.

Apple Chicken Bake Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3

*Allow for up to 4-6 hours to marinate the chicken, or even better, overnight in the fridge. Remove from the fridge about an hour before baking to bring the meat back to room temperature.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 whole chicken legs (about 1/2 kg)
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and wedged
  • 1 large Red Washington Apple, washed and wedged
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

For the marinade

  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 1/3 cup Hickory BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns

Apple Chicken Bake Process

METHOD

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Dip the chicken whole legs into the marinade and then place skin side down into an oven-safe Pyrex dish.
  2. Pour the remaining marinade into the Pyrex dish, cover with cling wrap and then set aside in the fridge to marinate for about 4-6 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge and turn the chicken legs over skin side up. Leave aside to bring to room temperature, about an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Scatter the wedged apples and onions onto the Pyrex dish, and season with a touch of freshly cracked black pepper. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Once done, turn the heat off. Drain the sauce into a small saucepan and place the chicken back into the oven to keep warm.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add slurry of cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it. Once thickened, turn the heat off.
  7. Serve with any sides of your choice. I served mine with a side of salad with cherry tomatoes and French beans, and corn on a cob.

Apple Chicken Bake Process

Apple Chicken Bake

Before I end tonight’s post, I would just like to say that it’s been one heck of a crazy week! So busy that I haven’t even had the time to plan and cook my dishes for this month ahead of time, which is what I usually do to stay on top of things. This is one of the reasons why tonight’s post isn’t as informative as my previous posts. The reason for that being is that I’m also suffering from piercing stomach pains and an irritable bowel syndrome, quite possibly due to food poisoning. I’m confined at home and hydrating lots. Hopefully I’ll be all good in the coming days and I can get back on track with my cooking and writing by the weekend or early next week!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! It’s been a quiet and boring week to be honest, and I having a serious holiday withdrawal syndrome. I miss the lush greenery of Temburong, crystal clear waters, physical activities, and the sun piercing through your skin – giving you a tan that you’re proud to wear for the next couple of months because it reminds you of the fun times you had. But in all honesty, I just miss going on weekly adventures; a new hike trail every weekend to rejuvenate from the work week. It doesn’t even need to be a holiday, just a 2-day weekend where one of them can be spent going out and exploring, and the other to do chores, cook up a storm for Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and basically recover from the working week. Back in Australia, this was easy to do because there were plenty of trails to explore. Here in Brunei, not so much – and not much of great views too, and the fact that I only have a 1-day weekend.

All that aside, I have a bit of a unique smoothie bowl to share with you guys tonight; and I say unique because I’ve never thought of using these flavours (and spices) in a smoothie before. I mean, besides using spicy chai tea leaves and cinnamon in my Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie from a while back, that’s pretty much the extent of me using spices in my smoothies.

The link to the original recipe can be found over on My Life Cookbook by Denise. She drew inspiration from ‘Golden Milk’ which, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a combination of turmeric, coconut milk (or oil), and black pepper. This Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl is an aromatic, flavour-popping combination of golden milk and chai tea – perfect for an immune system boost if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, but also a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast to go!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated

Toppings

  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Raspberriesgood source of vitamin C, E, K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the bananas, coconut milk, honey, ginger, and spices altogether until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the raspberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and desiccated coconut. Enjoy for breakfast or an immune-boosting afternoon snack!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another french toast recipe with a twist for you again today, but this time there will be no added milo to it. Instead we’re gonna crust our classic french toast with some cornflakes to give it that extra added crunch to an already soggy bread. I came across this idea a couple of months ago back in July when Symmetry Breakfast went viral. They posted a photo of some cornflake-crusted french toast and when I planned for Breakfast/Brunch Month for October, I knew I had to tackle a recipe for that!

I absolutely love their work! If you have been following my Instagram during that month, you would’ve seen that Jialing and I (and Edison) hopped on the #symmetrybreakfast bandwagon for the last remaining week that I was in Sydney. Actually, I might just share the photographs here since I don’t know if I will be posting them on the blog anytime other than now I guess (click on the individual images to view a larger version of them):

Homemade Charred Eggplant & Baby Octopus Shakshuka with Lebanese Bread; Blueberry & Passionfruit Cider French Crêpes with a Honeyed Citrus Creamcheese Filling topped with a Mixed Berry Compte; Orange Sunrise Cocktail Pea and Ham Soup with Stone-baked Pane di Casa and Strawberry & Lime Cider
Potato Hash Crusted Breakfast Quiche with Caramelised Onion, Chorizo, Spinach, and Sunnyside Up Egg with Mixed Leaf Salad and Garlic Butter Bread Beer, Bacon, and Tater Soup (aka “Man Soup”) with Pane di Casa; Russian Earl Grey Tea Fancy Filipino Hotsilog Brekky with Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Brekky Mocktails

L-R: Homemade Charred Eggplant & Baby Octopus Shakshuka with Lebanese Bread; Blueberry & Passionfruit Cider | French Crêpes with a Honeyed Citrus Creamcheese Filling topped with a Mixed Berry Compte; Orange Sunrise Cocktail | Pea and Ham Soup with Stone-baked Pane di Casa and Strawberry & Lime Cider Potato Hash Crusted Breakfast Quiche with Caramelised Onion, Chorizo, Spinach, and Sunnyside Up Egg with Mixed Leaf Salad and Garlic Butter Bread Beer, Bacon, and Tater Soup (aka “Man Soup”) with Pane di Casa; Russian Earl Grey Tea Fancy Filipino Hotsilog Brekky with Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Brekky Mocktails

I know, they’re not quite as symmetrical as the guys from Symmetry Breakfast (we tried to be creative with our symmetry/asymmetry lines), but it still gained a lot of views, likes (especially from Symmetry Breakfast), and new followers! Anyway, yes I realise that I have gone on a bit of a tangent, but I’m pretty sure you enjoyed those photographs (for those who have not seen them that is). So let’s get down to business shall we and get a move on to today’s recipe:

Cornflake-crusted French Toast Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-12 MINS | SERVES 2-4*

*Depending if you want one or two slices of french toast per person; recipe is for 4 slices of bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of cornflakes, crushed
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Optional:

  • Green Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Honey
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla yoghurt

METHOD

  1. Whisk the eggs together with the milk, sugar, spices, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  2. Dip both sides of a bread slice to soak up the wet mixture; do not soak it for too long. The dip the soaked sliced bread into the cornflake crumbs and coat.
  3. Place the bread slice into the frying pan and cook until done, 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oils. Repeat for the remaining bread slices.
  5. Top with your favourite toppings, and/or serve with your choice of fruits for a fresh salad on the side. Enjoy!

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com