Tag Archives: breakfast

Recipe: Cinnamon Cardamom Coffee Cake with Extra Streusel

28 Mar

If you like cardamom in baked goods, this recipe is for you. If you don’t, just omit it and you will still have a delicious cinnamon-scented coffee cake with a generous amount of streusel. Cardamom, which is native to India and Indonesia, is in the same family as ginger and turmeric and is very fragrant. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used it, and the Vikings took it back to Scandinavia. Today, it is widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Swedish dishes as well as some Southeast Asian ones.

In its native India, whole green cardamom frequently appears in savory dishes, and green and/or black cardamom seeds are also part of many garam masala spice mixes. Black cardamom is also very popular in Vietnam; I discovered it was a key ingredient in the long-simmered broth of my favorite Vietnamese pho in Maryland, when the owner came from the kitchen to show me a handful of the aromatic black pods.

On the sweeter side of things (a very nice side indeed), cardamom is a key ingredient in chai teas and mulled wines like Swedish glögg and German glühwein. It is also a key flavor component in Nordic baking and in Indian sweets, which often feature one of cardamom’s most delicious partners: rose water.

This recipe pays homage to my love of cardamom, my love of coffee cake, and my love of lots of streusel.

Extra Streusel Coffee Cake with Cinnamon and Cardamom


2/3-3/4 cup (135-150 gr.) brown sugar (adjust depending on how sweet you like your coffee cake)
4 tablespoons (34 gr.) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
heaping 1/2 cup (80 gr.) chopped pecans or walnuts
3 tablespoons (45 ml.) canola/vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups (about 200 gr.) cake flour or regular flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (134 gr.) sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 cup (60 ml.) canola/vegetable oil
1 egg
3/4 cup (180 ml.) milk (oat milk also lends a nice flavor)
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
2. Grease the bottom of an 8×8-inch (20 cm.) square baking pan (or spray with cooking/baking spray), line with parchment paper, and grease or spray the paper.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the streusel ingredients until well combined. Press down on the mixture with the back of a spoon to compact (to create a few future streusel lumps), and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices.
5. In another medium bowl, combine the oil, egg, milk, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just enough to mix. The batter will be a bit thin.
6. Pour 1/2 of the cake batter into the prepared pan (it will seem like a very thin layer; just make sure to fully cover the bottom of the pan).

7. With a knife or spoon, score a line across the top of the streusel in the bowl, dividing the streusel in half. Using a spoon, scoop and scatter 1/2 of the streusel on top of the batter, trying to retain some streusel lumps. Evenly pour the remaining cake batter over, and then scatter the other 1/2 streusel on top.
8. Bake the coffee cake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick, knife, or fork inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from a recipe on food.com.

Breakfast in Old Delhi

9 Nov

It has been said that  one of the best ways of getting to a culture’s heart  is through its stomach. Sweet words for travelers who go from meal to meal with at least as much joy as they have in going from sight to sight. What a treat to learn things about other cultures (and about ourselves), bite after bite. And so it was that during a recent work trip to New Delhi, India, I had the delightful opportunity to savor Old Delhi’s breakfast culture for a few hours, weaving through narrow streets, dodging people, cars, carts, bicycles, auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, dogs, and the occasional cattle, to find culinary gems–both Hindu and Muslim (the walled city being home to Jama Masjid, the best-known mosque in India)–as the neighborhood awoke. An Indian friend, who knows me so well, arranged this gastronomic tour via Delhi Food Walks. We placed our stomachs in the capable hands of our guide, and dug in.

First, some scenes to set the stage (l-r, top-bottom): a food vendor carrying his wares to a special spot (#1), a renowned Old Delhi chef stirring one of his pots (#2), spices and tea for sale (#3), a dented pitcher atop one of the ubiquitous water containers found throughout the neighborhood (#4), and the very first things we tried for breakfast (#5)–a classic savory-sweet combination: Aloo sabzi (potato curry) in the foreground, eaten with  Bedmi poori (hot and fresh in photo #6 below), and Nagori halwa in the background (small crispy semolina poori served with sweet porridge).



After a stop at Karim’s for Nahari Mutton (morning mutton), we then went in search of a famous chickpea dish redolent of coriander, ginger, and tamarind: Lotan ke Chole Kulche (#7). The vendor of this rich specialty had set up shop in a protected nook down a narrow street, where he doled out the dish to throngs of hopefuls waiting with packets of butter in hand. The salty Amul brand butter–available for purchase just up the street from another vendor–added a perfect salty silkiness to the chickpeas, all the better to dip the accompanying bread into. After a brief pit stop to sample some biryani (#8), and then some parathas (#9) at Pundit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan, it was all about the sweets, starting with sev pak, or sev burfi at Chaina Ram (#10)-a golden treat made with vermicelli, milk cheese, and lots of sugar. I was so inspired by this particular sweet, that I am experimenting with recreating it at home (update on that to follow).

At this stage, it was definitely time to start expanding our stomachs to make room for the other sugary confections on the menu, a task I was more than willing to undertake since I have the world’s worst (or best?) sweet tooth. And judging by their sweets, so do most Indians–except, amazingly, for my Indian friend and breakfast partner, which meant I had to step up for both of us. Below is a vendor dishing up some pudding-like rabri (#11) at Hazari Lal Jain, which also sells delicious khurchan (#12), creamy layers of  “leftover” boiled sweet milk, scraped together and decorated with pistachios and silver foil (varakh). It was very hard to walk away from that khurchan, but even more delights awaited, including warm jalebi (#13 -15), which after going from a hot frying pan into a sugar-syrup bath, are about as sweet as it is possible to imagine. After that, we swore we could not ingest even the smallest morsel more, but we were wrong. One last taste awaited us: Daulat ki Chaat, or sweet milk foam from a cart (#16). Our guide assured it was like a light and airy meringue that would not take up any stomach space at all, and he was right. But after that, even I was done. But, oh, what a morning, and what a glorious taste of India.


Recipe: Chocolate Waffles

11 May

Because I’m leaving on a work trip tomorrow, I was treated to an early Mother’s Day breakfast of my choosing. But really, I didn’t have to think about it at all — I asked for the same thing I  always ask for: Chocolate Waffles. My 16-year-old daughter made them this year, and they looked absolutely gorgeous:

They tasted fantastic, too, with some whipped cream, maple syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. A heavenly combination. And long after breakfast or brunch, you can grab a plain waffle and break off pieces to eat along with a nice cup of coffee or tea.

Chocolate Waffles
Makes 8-12 waffles
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. canola oil
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. milk


1. Melt chocolate, let cool.
2. Preheat waffle iron.
3. Sift dry ingredients together over medium bowl.
4. Mix oil and sugar together, then beat in eggs until well blended. Add vanilla and melted chocolate.
5. Add sifted ingredients to wet ingredients in three batches, alternating with milk.
6. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour batter onto iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions. (Our waffle iron makes 4 waffles–we pour about 1 c. batter into the center of the iron, close, and wait for the waffle iron to beep.)
7. For these waffles, it’s important to spray the waffle iron each time you make a set of waffles.
8. Serve with whipped cream and maple syrup.

Adapted from Joy of Cooking.

Recipe: Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

22 Jan

Eggs are a miracle food in many ways, but what I most appreciate about them is that they make for a quick, nutritious meal any time of the day. These scrambled eggs are great for breakfast, brunch,  lunch, and even as an after-school snack for ravenous teenagers. And if I am ever on my own for dinner, these scrambled eggs often make an appearance.

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta
Serves 2

4 eggs
pinch salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 c. chopped fresh spinach
1/4 c. crumbled feta

1. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Add a pinch of salt, and freshly ground pepper.
2. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil, add the onions, and cook over high heat until soft and beginning to turn golden at the edges.
3. Reduce heat to medium and layer the spinach on top of the onions. Pour in the eggs, top with the crumbled feta, and gently scramble until set.
4. Serve immediately.