Gurpareet Bains’ book, Indian Superspices is based on the idea that spices such as turmeric, nigella seeds and fennel have medicinal properties that can help alleviate everyday ailments such as allergies, hangovers, insomnia or headaches.
Whether this is true or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that this book has some fantastic recipes and offers a healthier and much tastier, lighter alternative to your average Indian take-away (albeit with a little more effort on your part).
Since reviewing Indian Superspices for The Good Web Guide back in January, I’ve tried out several of the recipes, including the best Puy Lentil Dahl I’ve ever tasted and a truly spectacular (even though I do say so myself) ‘PMT-and-Pain-Annihilating Beef (I used chicken) Rogan Josh,’ which, for the record, I served up to a group of very hungover boys (they were none the wiser).
This week, I whizzed up Gurpareet’s Date, Cashew and Fennel Balls as a healthy alternative to my usual muffin or chocolate brownie. Sugar, dairy and wheat-free, super quick to make and containing ‘anti-inflammatory’ fennel seeds, this delightful little sweet snack is fruity and tangy, chewy and delicious – and almost, dare I say it, better than a brownie!
Anti-inflammatory Date, Cashew and Fennel Balls
Makes 5 (I doubled the quantities and made 12)
Recipe by Gurpareet Bains, taken from Indian Superspices
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (analgesic, anti-inflammatory)
75g unsalted cashews
90g pitted dried dates
80g dried cranberries
Mango juice (I didn’t have any so used cranberry juice, which also worked well)
Desiccated coconut for coating
What to do with them
1. Pound the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar until ground (I didn’t bother with this step)
2. Put the ground fennel seeds and cashews into a food processor and blitz until the cashews resemble breadcrumbs.
3. Add the dried fruits to the food processor and process until the mixture becomes a paste. You may need to add a few drops of mango juice to get the right consistency. Start with one tablespoon of mango juice (or any other kind of juice would work), working up to about three tablespoons if necessary.
4. Divide the mixture into about five equal portions shaping into them into balls using the palms of your hands. Roll the balls in the desiccated coconut until completely coated.
5. Keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to seven days (they taste better when they’ve been in the fridge for a while!)
* Indian Superspices by Gurpareet Bains is available for £8.99 from Amazon.