If you’ve read my blog before, you might have noticed that I tend to have a theme each week. Not always but I do try. This week I’m sticking with the theme of Indian food. After the Indian Tomato-Cilantro Chicken, I wanted to give this Masala Paal recipe a try. Now I love Indian food, but I am a die-hard ice-cold milk kind of person. I utterly hate it with my milk starts to warm up, and I’ve always thought it was weird to purposely warm it up. And now I’m making a warm/hot milk recipe. It’s something I feel like I need to try at least once, so here goes.
‘Masala Paal (Masala Milk)’, a healthy hot beverage for the cold winter day. It is basically milk boiled with a blend of wonderful Indian Spices and nuts.
I cook Indian food pretty regularly, so I didn’t need to buy a lot of the ingredients for this recipe. Plus blogging about food twice a week tends to keep my pantry very well stocked. I had all the spices: cloves, cardamom pods, turmeric, and saffron threads, plus the sugar. That left me to shop for the milk, almonds, and pistachios.
It goes without saying the milk was easy to find (I bought whole milk). I also didn’t have trouble finding whole, shelled, unroasted, unsalted almonds. I didn’t have quite as good of luck with the pistachios, but they worked. I had to buy them unsalted, roasted with shells, but shelling pistachios is so easy that I didn’t mind.
I had a good amount of almonds and pistachios leftover, but they keep well. I’ll use them in other recipes or as snacks.
Making masala paal really is simple and took me 24 minutes, but I do have some tips for you. First, use a nonstick saucepan to boil the milk. Start it on medium, and turn it down it starts to steam and bubble. That, along with frequent stirring, helps keep the milk from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
The water for soaking the pistachios and almonds can be boiled in the microwave. It saves an extra pot and some time. Just be sure to let them cool for a minute or two before you skin them. Squeeze each nut between your thumb and forefinger, and the skin will slide right off.
Speaking of soaking things, sort of, I made a little adjustment to the cardamom pods. I used the flat side of a kitchen knife to slightly crush the cardamom pods before I added them to the milk. Their flavor comes from the seeds inside, and cracking the pods open lets the milk get to that flavor.
From what I’ve found, a mixie (Step 1) is a cross between a blender and a grinder. I don’t have one, and I was tempted to try my spice grinder, but I’m not sure if it’s safe for liquid. I ended up using my mini-prep, and I think it worked okay.
You’ll need a slotted spoon. It will let you fish the nuts out of the boiling water, fish the whole spices out of the milk, and stir the masala paal.
Oh, and the chopped almonds and pistachios I used as a garnish mostly sank into the milk. I couldn’t tell them apart from the nuts that made up the coarse paste from Step 1.
Finally, this recipe made just a little more than my largest mug could hold. I ended up drinking half of it and reheating the rest the next night.