October 30, 2008
I dashed home from the low-lit Young Vic bar. Over-sized bag in one hand. New, cowboy-inspired black knee high boots tucked under the other.
It was Diwali. I was running late.
A quick trip to the supermarket en-route home and I had the ingredients for a festive meal. My hungry sister was hand delivering paneer in exchange for dinner. Cooked in a bombsite housing pots and pans.
The Dahi Aloo Sabzi and wok-stirred Paneer Capsicum came out really well. Recipes to follow. But the Diwali-special Kalakand, or sweet cardamom and cheese cakes, became a sticking point.
I ditched the idea of stirring them for 35-40 minutes in favour of a quicker approach. First, I baked them in a bain-marie. Big mistake. They were still watery after half an hour. Then I transferred the lot to a small dish for the microwave. Even bigger mistake.
I watched transfixed as the dish threatened to overflow every 10 seconds. Turning the power off and stirring overzealously. Then my sister came in to check on me: “Oi, freak!”
Quite. Where would I be without the loving support of my sisters.
I sent her home after main course. And finished off the Kalakand. Here is the quick Kalakand recipe with my new found wisdom. And Happy Diwali. Better later than never, right?
Mix the cheese and condensed milk in a microwaveable rectabular dish. You want no more than a 2 cm thick batter in a six-inch deep container. Otherwise it’ll overflow every few seconds.
Crush the cardamom seeds and mix into the batter.
Microwave uncovered on high for four minutes on a 800 Watts + microwave or five minutes on a lower wattage machine. Then stir for a minute, let it settle and keep microwaving again for one minute at a time until the batter dries up and you are left with a set cake.
This means you have to watch the microwave for 10 minutes. But it’s beter than watching the hob for 40!
Finally, crush the almonds and pistachios and sprinkle them all over. Leave the kalakand to set in a cool place and then the fridge when at room temperature. In an hour, cut it up into little rectangles and enjoy.