Rewind to a fortnight back.
The shrill cacophony of the phone punctuates the sublime bliss of the winter afternoon.
I am half-awake, half-asleep, curled up on the couch, the quilt with its gorgeous orange and cheerful yellow marigolds over me.
I scramble to find the phone.
Who is it, I wonder, at this hour of the day.
Did I disturb you ? An excited K at the other end of the line asks.
No, I lie.
I need your help.
And then without waiting for an approval, continues, Some of our friends are coming home for lunch on the 25th. And I am keen to do an Anglo-Indian spread.
I am now distracted by a butterfly flitting amongst the royal red geranium abloom in the garden. And the wisps of cirrus against the pastel blue heavens.
Are you there ? An impatient K asks.
Yes yes, I respond, reverting to my senses.
What about Fish Croquettes to start with ? Accompanied by some gorgeous Mutton Pantheras ? I seek her approval.
Wow, now you know why you were my first port of call, A delighted K responds.
Let’s move to entree’s then.
A Roast Chicken for sure ? A medley of winter vegetables in tow. And a delectable pan sauce perfumed with garlic and thyme ?
Of course, comes the instant rejoinder.
And do an Anglo-Indian Ball Curry, I continue.
You are such a sweetheart, how did I forget that one ?
That should be good enough, I check with K.
A fish entree please, K pleads. Something with the Kolkata Bhetki.
Oh that’s easy, I confirm, Fish Bake, no-fuss and redolent of 1920s Calcutta. Referring to the delectable Fish Bake from Piyali boudis Thakumar Khata.
Should we move to desserts now?
I am baking your Christmas Plum Cake for sure. A Christmas lunch warrants one more dessert, doesn’t it ?
Of course it does, I agree. And nothing better than Rita Aunty’s Steamed Ginger Pudding.
An exasperated K calls me back the next morning.
Hey, didn’t find the Steamed Ginger Pudding in your blog.
Come on K, check again, I rebuff confidently.
She calls me back again in an hour.
No, it doesn’t feature in your blog.
I check and as an embarrassed me soon realises, K is indeed correct.
It’s never too late to mend, as the wise men say, and the next afternoon sees me pottering about in the kitchen, sipping my Darjeeling, as the ginger pudding patiently steams over a lazy flame.
Rita Aunty’s Steamed Ginger Pudding. Steamed patiently over a fatigued flame. Served warm with a ginger-spiked sauce. Perfumed with nutmeg and cinnamon. Yet another Anglo-Indian delicacy !!
Rita Aunty’s Anglo Indian Steamed Ginger Pudding
For the Pudding
- 1.5 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter soft
- 2 tbsp ginger finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- butter for greasing
For the Spiced Sauce
- 100 ml whole milk
- 100 ml heavy cream
- 1 tbsp ginger grated
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- a pinch of nutmeg grated
- 1 one inch cinnamon stick
- 2-3 cloves
For the Pudding
- Sift the flour and baking powder. Keep aside Cream butter and sugar, with an electric mixer, until soft and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter-sugar mix, beat till just incorporated, then proceed to add the next egg.
- Now add the flour to the mix, pour in the milk, throw in the ginger, fold gently till incorporated, ensuring there are no lumps.
- Grease a pudding basin or ramekins generously with butter.
- Pour the batter, taking care to not fill more than 2/3 of it.
- Place a butter paper on the top of the pudding dish / ramekins, followed by a layer of aluminium foil, this shall guarantee that the steam doesn’t go inside. Secure with kitchen twine.
- Steam for 25-30 minutes or till skewers inserted into the pudding come out clean.
- Allow to cool. De-mould onto a serving plate, serve warm with the spiced sauce.
For the sauce
- Take the milk and cream in a heavy bottomed pan, throw in the chopped ginger and all the spices. Bring to a gentle boil, now simmer for 5-7 minutes to allow the perfume of the spices to infuse into the milk.
- Allow to cool, strain the spices, keep the spiced milk aside.
- Whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a pan until pale yellow and fluffy.
- Slowly pour the milk into the eggs, give it a hearty stir.
- Return the pan to the flame, cook till the sauce thickens, yet still has a pouring consistency.
- Serve warm with the ginger pudding.