Turkish Sambali (Eggless Semolina Cake with Almonds)

Moist and decadent, the eggless semolina cake with almonds drenched in a lemon-sugar syrup is a popular Turkish dessert quite similar to basbousa and you can find them on the countless street side eateries in Turkey😋

Only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep, it can’t get any simpler to make a delicious yet easy dessert on weekends when you don’t want to toil much in the kitchen.

The sugar syrup to glaze the sambali varies- sometimes it’s rose, sometimes lemon or even orange. I prefer lemon for it’s refreshing citrusy zing.

Try this easy recipe to make your tea time more delicious 🙂

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 cup granulated sugar (I used brown)

2 cups semolina (preferably fine)

1 cup milk (preferably full fat)

1/2 tsp baking soda

Soaked and peeled almonds for garnish

For the syrup:

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 tbsp lemon juice (you can switch this with rose water or orange juice)

Method:

In a bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, semolina, baking soda and milk.

Now pour the batter into a baking dish lined with a parchment paper and let it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This will help the semolina absorb all the milk.

Now make cuts on the set batter with a knife into your desired shape and garnish with peeled almonds (soak the almonds in hot water for 15-20 minutes to remove the skin easily).

Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes at 170 degree Celsius (or until a knife comes out clean, when inserted).

Prepare the sugar syrup in a pot by boiling 3/4 cup sugar and 1 cup water on medium heat. Squeeze 2 tbsp lemon juice in between and let the syrup cool down and all the sugar dissolves.

Now drizzle the syrup over the sambali making sure it glazes the whole cake. You can serve immediately but the best way would be to let it rest for at least 2 hours before serving (so that the cake soaks up the syrup nicely).

Enjoy with your evening tea 🤍

Easy Filipino Chicken Adobo

From crystal clear blue waters to some of the best white sand beaches in the world, the Philippines is abundant with natural beauty but its food is relatively less explored as compared to Thai or Vietnamese.

The classic Filipino chicken adobo is a foodie’s delight- sweet and tangy, braised in a sticky glossy sauce. Heaven on a plate 😋

Known as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, all families have their own version and style of making chicken adobo. It’s surprisingly easy and a no fail recipe with the meat simmered in a fusion of vinegar, soy, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns.

Ingredients:

8-10 (bone-in) chicken pieces

1/3 cup cane sugar vinegar (or any other regular vinegar)

1/4 cup light soy sauce

2 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

1/4 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp whole black pepper corns

2 large bay leaves, torn into smaller pieces

1 tsp grated ginger

6 fat cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 onion sliced

2/3 tsp cornflour mixed in water for a runny slurry

Salt to taste

Any white oil for frying

Method:

Marinate the chicken (bone-in) pieces in palm sugar, light soy sauce, vinegar, grated ginger, black pepper powder and some chopped garlic. Keep aside for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a wok with oil and lightly fry the chicken pieces (without the marinade) until they are golden brown. Remove them from the wok.

Add a little more oil in the same wok and throw in the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until they are cooked. You could also add some chopped red chilies.


Now add peppercorns, bay leaves and the chicken pieces along with the marinade. Continue to stir fry for a couple of minutes on high heat.


Add little water, cover the wok and let it simmer on low heat for at least 30-35 minutes.

Now remove the lid and add the cornflour slurry if you want to thicken the sauce. It is supposed to be sticky and brown, not runny.

Cook for some more time until your desired consistency is reached or until the sauce has almost reduced to half.

Serve hot with rice 🤍

Bhapa Doi (Baked Yogurt) Cheesecake: Eggless & No Cream Cheese

Say mishti doi once and most faces light up- from Bollywood celebrities to those far away from their homeland Bengal. It’s an emotion after all!

But its lesser known and equally delicious cousin Bhapa doi (steamed yogurt) deserves a mention too!
With a creamy and light pudding-like texture coupled with the earthy flavour of nolen gur (date palm jaggery), this cheesecake is a sure winner this winter ❄️

You could play around with different toppings like strawberry glaze or chocolate shavings or you may also mix fresh mango puree in the cake batter to make it even more sinful.

With minimal ingredients and a hassle-free baking technique, this cheesecake comes together in a snap! Try it once and feel the magic 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cups parle g/ good day or any digestive biscuit crumbs

1/2 cup melted butter

200 g plain yogurt

100 g hung yogurt

300 ml condensed milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 tbsp liquid nolen gur (date palm jaggery)

4-5 tbsp fresh milk (preferably full fat)

Chopped almonds and pistachios for garnishing

Method:

In a bowl, add 2 cups of Parle g/ Good day or any other digestive biscuit crumbs and the melted butter. Mix thoroughly until well combined. Now press the crumbs into an even layer at the bottom of an 8-9 inch spring foam pan. Keep refrigerated for at least 15-20 minutes.

In another bowl, gently fold with a spatula the following ingredients- plain yogurt, hung yogurt, condensed milk, vanilla essence, liquid nolen gur and fresh milk. Don’t use a whisk! Just mix the ingredients with a spatula without over mixing, else the cake may crack while baking.

The best thing about bhapa doi/ steamed yogurt is that there is no fixed measurement of ingredients unlike regular baking. You can add/ reduce the quantities depending on how sweet you want the cheesecake to be but just make sure that the batter is of slightly thicker consistency.

Pour the batter into the cake pan.

Put few drops of the liquid gur/ jaggery on top with a spoon and now spread them with a toothpick/ skewer to your liking and create any random design as seen the pictures below.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 degree Celsius for 50 minutes. Don’t forget to pour some hot water on a baking tray and place the cake pan on top and then bake (water bath).


Refrigerate for at least 5 hours and serve chilled garnished with chopped almonds, pistachios and a drizzling of some warm nolen gur🤍