Almonds are one of my favorite nuts. When we were kids (me, my sister & my cousins) used to visit my grand parents home. And there is a temple near by. My grand parents use to do service in the temple. This temple is surrounded by huge plantation of Almonds, Cashews, Mango, Tamarind, Banana tress and lots of trees. After lunch we used to go along with them and help them clean the surroundings of the temple and at the same time collect the fallen fruits and nuts. While collecting we always hide few from our grand parents as they do not allow us to bring them home. But still we manage to get few to eat. After being caught breaking the almonds, my grand father used to lecture us. The lecture had an impact till that evening and the next day we are back at our business collecting the fallen nuts and fruits.:)
Almonds (Badam) are extensively used in Indian cooking even though they are little expensive. Few of my family’s favorites are Badam milk, Badam rolls (mixed with cashew and pistachios), dry fruit ladoo, Kheer and Halwa. Almonds are often used for garnish, also makes a beautiful presentation.
Almond paste is often used in savory dishes and to instead of cream. It gives a rich and delicate finish to the dish. Badam halwa is a delicious desert made with puréed almonds, butter/ ghee (clarified butter), sugar and saffron. The delicate flavor of saffron gives rich finish and beautiful pale yellow color to the halwa. This recipe comes from my Vasu Atta’s kitchen.
13 oz raw almonds (approx 3 cups)
2-2 ½ cups sugar
½ -3/4th cup ghee or butter (1 stick)
1 tsp saffron
Water to make paste
Soak almonds overnight. Peel the skins and grind the almonds into a soft paste with little water (don’t make it watery, it will take long to cook). Take a big heavy bottom deep skillet; add butter/ ghee and almond paste. Cook on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes, now add sugar, saffron and keep stirring continuously till it starts to come together (approx 20-25 minutes). Turn of the heat and let the mixture completely cool down. Refrigerate in tight container. Serve warm or cold.
Notes and Tips
You can use milk instead of water to grind. You can add more sugar and saffron to suit your taste. Don’t cook it long. It will turn dry. This stays fresh for 2-3 weeks in fridge. If you want to serve warm take required portion and warm in microwave.
This is my entry for Sushma’s Monthly Cooking Tipology event. I know a way head of it as Sushma said:).
Little history and facts about almonds:-
The almond that we think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-size tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers. Like its cousins, the peach, cherry and apricot trees, the almond tree bears fruits with stone-like seeds (or pits) within. The seed of the almond fruit is what we refer to as the almond nut.The delicately flavored and versatile almond is available throughout the year to make a healthy and tasty addition to both sweet and savory dishes. While packaged almonds are available year round, they are the freshest in mid-summer, which is when they are at the peak of their season.
The tree is a native of southwest Asia. It is a small tree, growing to 4-9 m tall. The leaves are lanceolate, 6-12 cm long, and serrated at the edges. The flowers are white or pale pink, 3-5 cm diameter with five petals, produced before the leaves in early spring.
Almonds are a unique food in that they are among the best whole food sources and the best nut; these are packed with mono unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and most of that is oleic acid one of the two good fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol and rich source of vitamin E (containing 24 mg per 100 g) in the form of alpha-tocopherol. Almonds are low in saturated fat and, are cholesterol free. In addition, almonds are an excellent source of magnesium, copper, manganese, riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B, contains a healthy mix of essential micro-nutrients—vitamins and minerals. Almonds are also a good source of phosphorus and calcium, which are important minerals for bone health.
Almonds are the best source of protein providing 6 grams in one ounce, nearly as much as in one ounce of red meat. Also, research shows that the protein in almonds is high quality and highly digestible. An analysis of the protein provided in one ounce of almonds showed that almonds have a Protein Digestibility Combined Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) of 0.44, which means that the protein in almonds is able to be efficiently digested, absorbed and utilized similar to black beans, lentils and peanut meal. Along with the quality protein in almonds, there are 3 grams of dietary fiber per ounce. Of this, about 80 percent of the fiber is insoluble and 20 percent is soluble fiber.
Almonds in Cooking:-
Though the almond is most often eaten on its own, raw or toasted, it is used in some dishes. It, along with other nuts, is often sprinkled over desserts (Ice-creams and cream based dishes). There is also almond butter, a spread similar to peanut butter, popular with peanut allergy sufferers and for its less salty taste.Almonds can be processed into a milk substitute simply called almond milk; the nut’s soft texture, mild flavor, and light coloring (when skinned) make an good substitute to dairy, and a soy-free choice, for lactose intolerant persons and also for vegans.
Source and for more healthy facts visit:-