Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Pumpkin Pie Spice and Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you have been following the fan page on Facebook, you would be very aware of the fact that I am obsessed with pumpkin at the moment. It is as much a fall thing as it is my personal palate thing. Although I am pretty late getting into this pumpkin everything game, I can tell you that I am fully committed. In fact, I took a pledge to get out there and try everything there is to try with pumpkin! Now, my house plays host to the spicy sweet fragrance of a pumpkin-spice candle and it is only the beginning. So before I begin to tell you about the goings on in my pumpkin perfumed home, let me paint you a picture about the first time I tried this wonderful warm flavor that has become the fall colors equivalent of the culinary world:
Pumpkin spice mixIt was a warm (what else did you expect from the south?) fall day in 2013, we hit the park with a surprisingly cheerful four month old. After walking for a bit, Kishore, Amma and I decided to go to Dunkin’ Donuts because Amma needed  to taste a proper donut, the American pride. Krispy Kreme was out of question because, well, it was further away compared to DD. I decided to bring fall into my tall glass of cold latte and opted for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Needless to say, I was hooked proper for not even a crying baby could pry me away from my latte. And thus began my experiments with commercially made pumpkin latte. I tasted it in Starbucks, the official home of the PSL; I had it at Einstein Bros Bagel (aka, my favorite spot at college) and then some more at DD.

Although Starbucks does make the best PSL, I, like a good (erm, the jury is still out on that!) enthusiastic blogger, just had to try my hands at making some. So before I began the experim-erm-cooking, I had to find some spice mix. So instead of buying a box, I decided to make mine. I mean, there are a zillion blogs out there that give you the recipe. You must be cuckoo to actually go out and buy that stuff!

My favorite recipe is from The Kitchn and it is perfect as it is. But the mix is so accommodating that you can play around with the quantity of the spices and personalize it according to your preference. The one advantage of running a predominantly Indian kitchen is how easily available each of these spices are. My pantry already had ground ginger (also called Sukku Podi in Tamil), ground cinnamon, ground clove, all-spice powder, ground nutmeg and mace! Talk about luck and the lack of need to substitute with some random spice!
Pumpkin spice mix2 Thus the pumpkin spice was born, the primary reason I ditched my boring old coffee this morning and whipped up some pumpkin spiced latte (with ice, of course!). Since a few of my friends and faithful fan page followers (hem-hem, take the cue, people, and go like it!) asked for the recipe, I decided to put it up here. I adopted it from The Kitchn‘s recipe but made quite a few alterations to suit my taste.
Pumpkin spice lattePumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients:
Two Tbsp mashed pumpkin (I used it off a can)

One tsp pumpkin spice mix (and more for sprinkling)

Two Tbsp sugar

One cup milk

Half cup ice cubes

One Tbsp vanilla essence

One tsp instant coffee powder (I used Nestcafe Clasico but you can actually brew your coffee with water and freeze it in an ice tray. Just eliminate the ice in that case)

Whipped cream (optional, I didn’t use it)

Method:
Place the mashed pumpkin and the spice mix in a saute pan and cook them for a couple of minutes. However, I skipped this step and didn’t think it made a difference to the taste. Pour all the other ingredients into a blender. Add in the pumpkin mix. Process until the ice is crushed and the latte turns frothy. Transfer to a glass and enjoy the pumpkin-y goodness all season long!

Mmm, don’t mind if I do!

Ps: So about the spice bottle- I’ve been getting questioned about it. Although I haven’t branched into commercially producing spice mixes, I do have future plans to. I have a store on etsy.com but don’t search for it since it has literally nothing in it. I have stowed the idea away for the future when my schedule is slightly free and I don’t have to bend over backwards to get my very basic-daily chores done (I hear laughing in my head).

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Chai in a Glass

Oh boy! This post is going to make my aunt in Malaysia so happy that I am already dizzy with excitement as I type. Su Athai (dad’s sister in Tamil) is a tea drinker and coffee hater. When I say hater, I mean the most powerful hate for caffeine ever. There was only one problem with this: It meant deeming most of the household untouchable during coffee-time in the morning and evening because South Indians generally love their filter coffee with a vengeance.

Hence, when I became old enough drink coffee (18 years was the “acceptable” age at home), I joined the bandwagon of coffee drinkers much to the dismay of Su athai. We share a special bond and I think she sub-consciously felt that I was cheating on her. This didn’t stop us from enjoying our rare coffee/tea-time tête-à-tête back at home when she visited, of course. Every time she would stay over, my sister and I would crack the same old joke: we would take deep swigs off our coffee mug and ask her if she wanted some. This goofing around never gets old because I remember doing it to her during my 2012 India trip too.

So imagine my dismay when I learned a few months ago that I was gradually starting to hate coffee and love tea! I only hope this is a pregnancy thing or not having my mom’s wonderful filter coffee thing. Either way, I hope it passes and I get back to my java soon. Anyway, I am making the most of my Chai-love phase by indulging myself in wonderful Masala chai everyday and I can tell you this- it never ceases to please me. And every time I make it, I think of my Athai a little as I sit at my table and sip away 🙂

masala chaiHot Masala Chai

Ingredients
One and a half cups milk (I used 2%)

Half cup water

Three tsps any Indian black tea leaves* (suggested brands: Brooke Bond Red Label or Three Roses)

Four tsps granulated sugar

One tsp ground cardamom powder**

Five mildly crushed cloves

One inch piece fresh ginger***

Method
Boil the milk and water over med-low heat until it starts forming a layer on top. Skim it and add the spices. Let it boil for two minutes more. Add the tea leaves and sugar. Switch to low and let it simmer for ten more minutes. The idea is for the tea leaves and spices to steep in the milk and flavor it as much as they can. When done, strain through a tea sieve. Enjoy!

*I’ve always found that Indian tea works the best for this Chai because of its wonderful strong flavor. Unfortunately, Indian tea producers haven’t started making decaf teas yet so I am pretty sure your favorite brand of decaf tea would work too.

**It doesn’t matter if you don’t have cardamom powder at home. You can use five mildly crushed green cardamom seeds

***Normally ginger powder would work too but I strongly suggest that you use fresh ginger for a delicious earthy taste. It is exactly like choosing fresh basil over dried in pasta dishes.

I have served the tea in glasses because that’s how they do it in Indian roadside tea stalls. The taste of their Masala tea is unparalleled, of course!