Almonds info Cooking Tips
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Almonds info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.
The almond has always been a symbol of affluence and romance in India. indian heroines in classical literature and mythology are described as having dark almond shaped eyes epitomising beauty and allure. Even in a pack of playing cards the heart suit is referred to as badam or almond in many indian languages. The Mughal emperors of India were great connoisseurs of art and lovers of food. It was in fact the Mughals who introduced the almond to indian cookery and encouraged the use of the almond motif in textiles weaving and sculpture. Their royal robes were decorated with gold encrusted patterns inspired by the almond fruit leaves and seed.
how it grows
Although the almond is native to the Meditenanean a small amount is grown in India mainly in Kashmir. Almond trees are large and shady they grow up to a height of 15m and bear large oval leaves tinged with red and fleshy fruits which turn from green to bright red as they mature. The fruits of the tree are extremely fragrant and sweet with an astringent after taste and are popular with children. In cultivated orchards the fruits are picked when mature and the seed is extracted. This is bleached if left whole but most often the kernel from within is removed. This is the almond we use. There are two basic varieties of almonds: bitter and sweet. indian almonds tend to be slightly bitter but the sweet ones are imported into India from Afghanistan in great quantities.
appearance and taste
Almonds range from 24 cm length and are a pointed oval shape. They have a thin variegated skin which can be peeled off after soaking the nuts in water. Almonds are sometimes left in the shell which is pale beige hard and covered with tiny craters. Delicate and sweet to taste almonds have no particular smell but they add a nutty rich flavour to a dish.
buying and storing
Mostly used whole or flaked almonds are also available ground chopped or powdered (from indian shops). Almond oil is very popular as a cooking medium or a beauty aid. Look for large plump nuts. Avoid old almonds which have a film of white dust that smells rancid. Store in a glass or plastic jar for up to 8 months.
Almonds are used extensively in beauty products. The oil is used to massage babies to keep their skin soff and supple. Almond paste is used as a face pack and almond milk extracted from the nut is used as a face wash. Almond derivatives are used in commercial beauty products. Burnt almond shells are made into toothpowder.
Almonds are ground to a paste for curry bases They can be fried or blanched as a garnish or used as slivers in sweets. Biryanis milk desserts and meat curries are dusted with finely chopped almonds. Almond ice cream made with rich creamy milk called kulfi is a delicacy. Badam halwa made of powdered almonds and sugar is a traditional sweet and almond sherbet is a cool drink made of almonds milt sugar and rosewater
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