One of my all time favorite snacks is the ‘almond’ or badami as it is called in Kannada. Some interesting facts about the almond are-
1. Almonds are high in mono saturated fats( which have been known to reduce heart disease).
2. Almonds have a high Vitamin E content. Vitamin E is an Antioxident, great for beautiful skin and heathy hair. Remember the Bajaj Almond drops Ad on Doordarshan?
3. In ayurveda, badam is considered to be a great food for the brain and nervous system.
4. It has high levels of magnesium and potassium, essential minerals for maintaining normal blood pressure.
5. The Almond tree is the cousin of the walnut, the plums, apricots and cherries. They all belong to the rose family.
6. Almonds have been considered to be an aphrodisiac.
I was a great fan of the magazine ‘Femina’ once upon a time ago. There used to be beauty secrets from film actresses in that book, some of which I remember even today. Hindi Actress Rekha had said she ate 4 almonds soaked in milk overnight, every morning. Well, considering the fact that she she looks gorgeous at her age, it is worth trying.
Almonds make great desserts, like Badami halwa, Badami holige, badami barfi, etc. This recipe is for one such dessert, tastes great when chilled, so here goes-
Almonds- 1 cup
Milk- 2 cups
Condensed milk- 1 small tin
Saffron- a few strands soaked in 2 Tbsp warm milk
Cardamom Powder- 1/8 tsp
Almond slivers- 1 Tbsp for garnish
Soak the almonds in water for 2-3 hours and remove the skin. A faster way of doing this would be to soak the almonds in water and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Run the hot almonds in cold water for a minute, and squeeze the skin off.
Grind the peeled almonds with 1 cup of milk, to make a very fine paste. Heat the remaining milk in a thick bottom pan. Add the almond paste and reduce the heat. Add the condensed milk, the saffron and the cardamom. Keep stirring at regular intervals. Turn off the heat when the mixture starts bubbling. Let it cool. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. Garnish with almond slivers before serving.