When I saw this video on Nags’ blog, I knew that I had found the easiest way to convince my filmmaker brother to make a video for me. All these days, he was under the impression that I wanted to do a Nigella-esque cookery video, with loads of yap yap yap and puckering of lips and other seductive stuff. No offence here; I mean, I love Nigella and her sensual manner. But why would one want to be seen on camera given one’s (ahem) above-average vital statistics and un-facial-ed face? All I wanted was a simple video of the recipe coming together and transforming into a satisfying dish. The textures, the color, the homeliness of the food, the way it goes from one form to another. When we saw the beet cake recipe, I was finally able to explain to my brother what I was looking at.

This is the result of a lovely afternoon spent in good-hearted sibling talk, a director explaining to an artiste that when he says, “chalo,” he means “get ready” and when he says “okay,” he means “start.” I fumbled a zillion times, and he laughed for as many while he wiped his brow of beads of sweat. He spent several hours going back and forth and editing and “rendering” and what not, while I pestered him by asking when it would be ready. What resulted from all this, is:

Bebinca from My Jhola on Vimeo.

And while we were doing that, Amma was doing this:

I chose the Bebinca for two reasons—one, I wanted to do something that involved a lot of steps because that would make it video-friendly; and two, I wanted to do something in layers after seeing Deb’s gorgeous birthday cake. I found my answer in Deepa Awchat’s Bebinca recipe from The Authentic Goa Cookbook (so what if I had a bad experience at her restaurant, I still think she’s a talented recipe developer.) I just reduced the amount of sugar and increased the baking time for each layer by 5 minutes in order to achieve that lovely caramelization. We loved the bebinca despite the slightly uneven layers, and we’re all fighting for the chewy, caramelized “burnt” bits along the edges. I know this will be made quite often.

Here’s the recipe with my changes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups thick coconut milk (canned works just as well)
  • 1 and ½ cup sugar
  • 12 egg yolks
  • Melted ghee (clarified utter): ¾ cup
  • Grated nutmeg: 1 tsp.
  • Salt: ¼ tsp.

Method:

  1. Place the sugar and coconut milk in a large mixing bowl and stir until the sugar melts.
  2. Now, add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating continuously.
  3. Sieve the flour into this mixture and beat again.
  4. Add the salt and nutmeg, and one tablespoon of ghee and beat again, until you have a smooth batter.
  5. Grease a 7-inch round baking tin (I used a loose-bottom tin and lined it with parchment, just to be safe) with 2 tbsp. ghee.
  6. Ladle in about half a cup of batter and bake in the center of the oven at 200 degrees centigrade for twenty minutes or until the top begins to brown.
  7. Remove from the oven. Brush on another tbsp. of ghee and ladle another half a cup of batter. Return to the oven for another fifteen minutes.
  8. Repeat the greasing, layering, and baking process until all the batter is used up. Finish with a tbsp. of ghee.
  9. Remove from the oven and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes (if you can wait that long).
  10. Cut into 1-inch slices and serve warm by itself or with fresh cream/vanilla ice cream.