Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Baking Brunch Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Curry Non vegetarian Seafood

Green Masala Trout

Sinfully Spicy : Green Masala TroutFish or any seafood is my preferred choice of protein any time of the year but particularly more during summer months. I will not bore you with stories of how lean and healthy and good for you it is, rather lets talk about the green masala that I slathered my fresh trout with.I must have laid my hands on this fresh catch after a decade or so.The last time I remember tasting trout was while on a family vacation to northern Himalayas where grilled trout was a local speciality and a lot of restaurants could be spotted showcasing it.

Sinfully Spicy : Green Masala Trout

Sinfully Spicy : Green MasalaThere are a lot of ways in which this green masala is prepared in different parts of india, depending on the region, but the basic herbs remain more or less the same. Most recipes, on the lines of green chutney, use a bunch of grassy cilantro, few mint leaves and (Thai or any hot)green chillies which are ground to a fine paste and then that green paste is your canvas. Add more flavorings to it. Think fresh desiccated coconut, think grainy brown mustard, think nuts, think capers, think soy sauce or maybe cheese.

Sinfully Spicy : Green Masala Trout

Often,mom would make this.If you are a regular reader here, you would know that we grew up eating a lot of fish, which is slightly uncommon for north indian families, but we loved our seafood. She desiccated fresh coconut and mixed it with that herby, garlicky paste and then slathered it over rohu(indian green carp) steaks, coated in semolina  and pan-fried. The oily, milky shreds of coconut complemented the fatty fleshy protein even though coconut was not a very popular ingredient in her kitchen but somehow it worked in this recipe.The flavors are simple and fragrant.

In my recipe, I changed up things a bit and tried to make it glutenfree and used oven to cooking. The fish comes out moist and clean on the palate with simple, herby flavors.

Ingredients (Serves 1-2)

  • 1 trout, cleaned and descaled (weight about 1.5 lb)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, to drizzle
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro (from 18-20 sprigs)
  • 2-3 fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 ” shoot of fresh ginger
  • 1-2 Thai green chillies (or any hot chili, adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5-6 black peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • 2 tablespoon finely desiccated fresh coconut
  • 1-2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Few lemon slices to insert while baking (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil (optional, only if needed during blending)
  • Oil for frying
  • salt to taste

Note – Make sure that the herbs etc and olive oil are of good quality in this recipe.The taste and freshness goes a long way in this recipe since they are the main flavors.

Method

Pat the trout dry. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle liberally on both sides as well as the slit inside with salt.Set aside for 10 minutes.

In a blender, place all the ingredients listed and pulse to make a fine paste. Do not use water to thin the paste. If needed, use olive or any neutral oil. Brush this paste on both sides of the fish, stuff inside the fish. Layer sliced lemon if using. Let sit for 25-30 minutes, refrigerated.

When ready to cook. Heat up the oven to 400 F. Heat up 2-3 tablespoon oil to smoking high in a cast iron (or any oven safe pan). Put the marinated fish in the pan and let sear for 2-3 minutes. Flip and let sear on the other side. Once the fish has seared, put the pan in the preheated oven and let cook for 8-10 minutes (this time will be more or less depending on the type of fish and the cut & weight, adjust accordingly)

If you do not have an oven, after searing on both sides, put the heat to low, cover the pan and let finish cooking on its juices for 8-10 minutes, flipping once in between for even cooking.

Once the fish has cooked, squirt some fresh lime juice to taste.Serve with some steamed vegetables of steamed rice.

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Baking Breakfast Brunch Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Semolina-Almond Cake

Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With CardamomI remember that many mornings at my badi mummy’s (grand mother’s ) house opened with a warm bowl of sooji halua, a ghee laden dessert made with toasted semolina and milk, speckled with grains of woody black cardamom. In fact,it would not be exaggerating to say that the strong,nutty aroma of toasting sooji filling the air of the house sometimes managed to pull me out of the bed early,especially on the lazy weekend mornings. With half closed eyes, I headed straight to the verandah where we usually ate breakfast . Sometimes, there were cups of chai and warm bowls of halua already waiting to be eaten, many times, the eating had to wait a bit longer, for it took a extra while to roll and deep fry pooris to go along. Yes halua – poori is exactly what I am talking about here, an immensely carbohydrate loaded meal but at the same time so comforting. Those the days when you could eat as much as you wished to.The variety of foods at our mealtimes were many.An amazingly beautiful thing in the house that I grew up in, a tradition that instilled in us the virtue of sharing and caring.In those times, childhood could absorb so much sugar, oil and calories. Much unlike now when a bowl of halua will push me a step closer to long naps during mid day, I remember playing around the aangan (back yard) for hours. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With CardamomSemolina is quite a popular flour of choice when baking cakes in indian homes.There were a couple of sweet as well as savory cakes that my mother baked for us using it.Most of the cakes were steamed inside the pressure cooker(for she did not own an oven then) and they came out pretty awesome.In contrast to the sugar syrup drizzle that I used in my recipe, inspired by arabic desserts, the pressure cooker cakes from my childhood were really moist and soft.They didn’t need any glaze, drizzle or makeup, as mum says. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With Cardamom Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With CardamomThis cake is full of flavors from those days of sooji halua eating mornings.The ingredients are very few and the condensed milk and nutty almond meal makes it a lot, lot better than the actual dessert. It is quite a dense cake and a small portions will instantly make you feel full. I would really recommend not skipping that sugar syrup to cut down the sweet else it may taste dry.I do not soak the cake in entire quantity of the syrup and save some to drizzle just when serving. It keeps the cake moist just when you are about to enjoy it. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With Cardamom You can substitute any nut powder of choice here and make it. Also, I found that this cake travels and packs really well,once it cools down completely and you cut the slices, they can be packaged for lunch boxes, care packages and on the go snacks.Serve with black or green tea. Sinfully Spicy: Semolina Almond Cake With Cardamom Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes a 9″ round)

  • 1 no 14oz sweetened condensed milk can
  • 10 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted + more for the cake pan
  • 1/2 cup +1 tablespoon whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 + 1/3 cup coarse semolina (not the instant,quick cooking kind)
  • 1+1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom powder (from 5-6 pods)
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds for top (optional)

For the Sugar Syrup

  • 10 tablespoon crystal sugar (I use raw)
  • 6 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder (from 2-3 pods)

Notes

  1. I use ready made almond meal, if you plan to make your own, do not crush the blanched almonds to a point that they release their oils.Let there be a coarse sandy texture.
  2. This cake does not rise much. So if you want a high rise cake, use a smaller dish to bake it.

Method

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9 “X 2” round cake pan. I use parchment paper lining for easy handling.

In a large bowl, mix whisk together condenser milk, melted butter, milk and baking powder to smooth slurry. Add semolina and almond meal to it along with cardamom powder. Mix together to combine to a smooth batter. Do not over mix.

Transfer the batter to the cake pan. Scatter the raw almonds on top. Bake for 35 minutes or so or until a skewer comes out clean and the edges are nice and golden brown.

Once the cake is baked, take it out and drizzle liberally with the sugar syrup (recipe below) while still warm.

I sometimes, reserve 1/4 cup or so of the syrup to be used for instant moistening when serving the cake (optional)

Let cool completely. Slice and serve.

For the Sugar Syrup 

While the cake is baking, in a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and water. Cook for 10-12 minutes on low medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup has thickened a bit. Put the stove off and add cardamom powder to the syrup.Keep the syrup warm. Drizzle the warm syrup on the cake as soon it comes out of the oven.

Categories
Baking Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Snacks Vegetarian

Kaju Biscuit – Buttery Cashew & Cardamom Cookies (Eggless)



Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indian

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indian

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indianMemories tied to food is a wonderful thing, isn’t? I say it more often than not but I am an emotional eater. I get bouts of voracious eating depending on if I feel happy or sad that day. Sometimes I just cook and eat solely because that food is supposed to be associated with the season,or only coz a bowl of warm kheer (rice pudding) will see me through that dull, gloomy day or because I got to know about it when I chatted with mom or some aunt in the family last week. You can categorise these cookies as a baking activity that happened on such a whim. I spoke to mum the other evening discussing the picky food habits of my daughter and she happened to mention if I have tried feeding her ‘bakery wale biscuits‘ with milk.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indianAll along mixing the dough, the only thought that rattled in my mind was how these should taste of cashew predominantly & not just flour and sugar, just like original ones from a little bakery with blue & white candy cane style painted walls near my house in Delhi.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indian

Ingredients(Makes about 4.5 dozen)

  • 3/4 cup cashew meal (I used ready-made cashew meal from Trader Joes you can grind raw cashews to a (not very fine) powder at home if you do not get ready made)
  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups confectioners sugar/castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 green cardamom pods, break open & powder the seeds
  • a generous pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped raw cashews
  •  1/4 cup oil (any neutral oil will work)
  • 2 – 5 tbsp cold milk (just so the dough comes together, I used 3.5 tbsp)
  • Cashew bits for top (optional)

Method

In a bowl, mix cashew meal, flour, sugar,baking powder, soda & salt together. Dump the flour mix in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cardamom & nutmeg. Add the butter cubes. Pulse for a minute or so till the butter becomes pea sized.

Remove the metal blade and fit the dough blade in the jar. Add the 1/2 cup finely chopped cashews. Add the oil. Start the processor and start adding cold mix 1/2 tbsp at a time till the dough just comes together. Stop. Open the lid and take out the dough on a clean surface. The dough will be slightly sticky & loose but that’s okay. Knead gently with dry hands for a minute or less and bring it together. Divide into two portions. Wrap the dough portions in plastic/cling film. Make sure that the cling film is large enough since we will be rolling the cookies later in it. With the help of your palm, flatten each wrapped dough portion. Refrigerate for at least 30-35 minutes or till firm. Now, if you plan to bake them later, you can freeze one or both of the dough halves.

Once the dough is firm, roll the flattened dough still wrapped in the cling film to a square sheet about 1/4″ thick. After rolling, refrigerate the rolled out dough again since the heat from your hands and rolling will melt the butter.

Preheat oven to 300F. Line cookie sheet with parchment/ wax paper. You might need a couple of  baking sheets or you can bake in batches.

Once the rolled dough is firm, using a sharp knife, cut very small squares (about 1/4″ by 1/4″) since these cookies will spread quite a bit while baking. Try to cut as evenly sized squares as possible. Press some cashew bits on top and arrange the squares about 2″ apart on the baking sheet. Refrigerate again for 20-25 minutes.

If you do not want to roll the dough, pinch small portions of the dough, shape into balls and press few cashew pieces on top.

Bake the refrigerated cookies in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes till the cookie bases start & edges start turning golden brown and the top cashews changes color. I like my cookies slightly brown so I baked them a few minutes more, about 22 minutes.

Let cool completely on the sheet before storing them in air tight containers for up to 3 weeks. Serve with hot chai.

Categories
Baking Easy Recipes Snacks Vegetarian

Jeera Biscuits – Buttery Cumin Cookies (Eggless)

Sinfully Spicy :Jeera Biscuits 001(Buttery Cumin Cookies)

I have just finished unpacking the last of bags from a month long trip to Delhi. The household is slowly settling to routine, the little one is back to her usual sleep schedule and yesterday I could manage a batch of these cookies while she napped.

Sinfully Spicy :Jeera Biscuits, Ingredients 002(Buttery Cumin Cookies)

Sinfully Spicy :Jeera Biscuits 008(Buttery Cumin Cookies) Tea time in India is special, though not british like,but in its own way. From gossip sessions with the neighbor to prepping for exams the next day or just as a way to relax, the ubiquitous chai shadows each and every aspect of day today indian life. Something said to taste better with company, chai is usually served with piping hot fritters, indian trail mixes or cookies (better called biscuits).

Sinfully Spicy :Jeera Biscuits 004 (Buttery Cumin Cookies)

I grew up sipping overly milky, cloyingly sweet and richly spiced chai, something which I kind of got addicted to over years. Morning tea was accompanied by rusks but in the evening, while everybody liked their chai with samosas,I  dunk those salty-sweet jeera biscuits which mom got every now and then from a bakery near home.

Bakery biscuits back home are quite a thing, they taste different from the usual packaged cookies you get in the grocery stores, they look rustic, taste homely and make you feel gluttony. I guess thats the whole point there, its the non- consistent taste and look that makes them so special. Unlike fancy ingredients like chocolate chips or vanilla (yes), they are loaded with nuts, whole wheat flours and loads and loads of ghee.

Sinfully Spicy :Jeera Biscuits 006 (Buttery Cumin Cookies)

I am not much of a cookie person but I m partial towards these. These biscuits are more salty than sweet (which is what I like about them),crumbly thanks to copious amount of butter and the warm,woody aroma of the cumin seeds scattered in the dough is what makes them so whimsical.

Honestly, I prefer these cookies slightly over baked, when they are more crunchy than crumbly but that’s just me, the original ones which you get in India are chewy in the center even when baked through.It took me a quite a lot of attempts to scribble this recipe, hope you like it.

Sinfully Spicy :Jeera Biscuits 006(Buttery Cumin Cookies)

Ingredientes (Makes 25-30 cookies)

  • 1.5 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fine semolina
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, diced into cubes
  • 3 tbsp any neutral oil
  • 3-6 tbsp cold milk (just so that the dough comes together)

Method 

In a bowl, mix flour, semolina, sugar, salt, baking powder & soda together. Sift once. Dump the sifted flour mix in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cumin seeds & cold butter cubes. Pulse for a minute or so till the butter becomes pea sized.

Remove the metal blade and fit the dough blade into the jar.Add the oil.Start the processor and add cold milk 1 tbsp at a time till the dough just comes together.Stop.The dough might be slightly sticky but thats okay.

Scoop out the dough, bring it together, don’t knead and divide into two equal portions. Form logs with each portion. Wrap the logs in a parchment sheets or plastic cling films. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes till firm and ready to be cut into slices.

Preheat oven to 325F/ 165C. Line cookies sheet with parchment/ wax paper. You might need 2 baking sheets or you can bake them in two batches.

While the oven is preheating, take out the cold dough logs and using a sharp,serrated knife, cut cookies about 1/4″ thick. Try to cut as uniform size as possible. Do not cut very thick slices else cookies will be raw while baking.

Arrange the cookies on the sheet about 2″ apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes till the cookie bases start turning brown and the top changes color. I personally like my cookies slightly overdone so I baked them for few extra minutes.

Let cool on the sheet before storing them in air tight containers for up to 2 weeks. Serve with hot chai.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Baking Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Coconut-Cardamom Cookies

I find P rave about those coconut cookies from his hometown quite often.The discussion comes up mostly on weekends when we have the time to sit together for morning tea.  There must be something about them, I often thought to myself. More than the fancy taste, it could be the fact that his mom got them from a bakery near her workplace – making it so special for him.

I took the discussion a little further & asked him last week- after all whats so special about them? Fluffy inside, crispy outside, overly sweet but something with perfect balance of textures – a cookie which  leaves behind a ghee laden,chewy coconut taste in the mouth – his prompt reply made me wonder if he waited all the while to be asked.

I knew what was baking for next few weeks. First few batches were extremely dry, I almost burnt the bottom each time & obviously the ratios went haywire. I felt extremely uninspired to try more.Well, what can terribly go wrong with loads of ghee (clarified butter),coconut & sugar? A question I asked myself all the while – however when the ingredients are few, getting the right outcome is much more difficult.

I greeted P with (yet) another batch this weekend.They came out like a small bundle of festivity.Utterly moist & chewy – that is how I imagined these cookies.These were just like it. Now, I need to dig further about what else reminds of his hometown. Clearly,our weekend tea rituals will need new topic of discussion now on.

Coconut & sweet smelling cardamom are clearly the star here – the ingredients make these cookies enchantingly indian. If you are nuts about coconut (like me & P) – then you need to try these. I started mixing the recipe with pure gut – I ram the mortar till skin separates & I sniff the cardamom pods. I mix the resulting powder with flour till my fingers smell awesome, I play with flour & sugar, I add ghee to the dough till I feet it is just enough. The whiff of air that sways through the kitchen right from when the coconut toasts to when the baking tray comes out of the oven- the challenge came out perfect.Impatiently, I waited them to cool off, I tasted one & I knew it – this is the ticket!

The recipe is real easy & despite a lot of room for error, it runs good in the oven. I always make small batches of 15-18 which are enough for two of us. The best part about the recipe – just five ingredients. Quality of ingredients plays a huge role thereby, try using the best.

Makes 15-18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried dessicated coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (or castor sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine salt
  • 6-8 tbsp ghee, melted (or unsalted butter)

Method

Dry roast the coconut flakes on extremely low heat for about 3-4 minutes or till you start smelling the aroma, taking care that flakes do not turn brown.Transfer to a plate & let cool.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt & powdered sugar to remove all lumps. Combine cardamom powder with the sifted flour mix. Mix the coconut flakes to flour next and rub the mixture with fingers to combine everything together.

Start adding the melted ghee 1 tbsp at a time and gently kneading the dough till you get a soft & pliable dough. Do not knead too much, just until everything is combined.

Note:- You may increase/decrease the ghee by a tbsp or more if your mixture is loose/crumbly, the idea is to just use ghee to form the dough.

The dough will be slightly sticky. Wrap the dough in a cling film and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until firm.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.Take out the refrigerated dough and knead it 2-3 times. Pinch 15-18 equal portions of the dough. Roll each portion between your palms into a smooth ball with no cracks.Line the balls on the parchment paper. Press lightly with the back of fork . Line on the cookie sheet with atleast 2″ space between them. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes.Meanwhile Preheat oven to 300F.

Bake on the middle rack for 18-20 minutes keeping a close eye, these cookies should not change color while baking.Once you see the bottoms turning brown, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet itself.Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.Store in an air tight container at room temperature for upto 3 weeks.

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Baking Easy Recipes Lentils Snacks

Bajri (Millet) Crackers With Chana Dal dip

A sense of rejuvenation entwines me as I hit the publish button.Being out of touch for more than 4 months, a part of me always felt incomplete,unfulfilled. While I was away, I realized the role of blogging in my life – I missed it. Thank you so much for all your kind emails, tweets & messages. I knew I had to be back in action soon. I am doing better than before & hope to update this space often now.

Last few months have been rough, less of ups, lots of down. Keeping health issues aside, my mind was irrational, loud & restless. I had loads to complain & challenge. I denied the things which came my way, I failed to handle them. Sometimes, life takes its own course and no matter how hard you try to tame it, it does not reciprocate. The very fact that I felt a certain way at that point in my life, I had no choice but to understand that this was meant to be.The sooner I did , the easier it got. The more I questioned : “Why me?”, the difficult it became. There was no force within me that could change the situation, no magic wand or a click of fingers to set it all right, all I  got was inner strength to sail me  through. When faith falters & hopes diminish, its best to reach out for that simmering potential inside to navigate, exactly what I want to do right now.

For long, I wanted to bake crackers at home,or let me put it this way-  I wanted to experiment with savory, whole grain flour baking with an indian touch.I tried the cracker recipe below with a mix of whole wheat & fine wheat flour a couple of times, but it left me wanting for more – something more healthy perhaps? and simple,crispy, spicy too at the same time.Not the most fancy looking crackers around- these are spiced similar to deep fried indian snack – mathri and I think I got what I was looking for this time. Bajri or millet is a gluten free, whole grain widely popular in India to make porridge, flatbreads or pancakes. I did not like it much the first time I ate it but now, its an acquired taste for me especially when I want a break from carbs.

The dip to go along is made with chana (split bengal gram) lentils, which is my new found way to eat them. Rated lowest GI (glycemic index) lentils, these score high when it comes to an earthy, nutty taste.Chana dal yields better amongst lentils to dip-making coz they do not turn into a slimy mush if cooked properly. Easily available in indian stores & tasting similar to garbanzo beans, these lentils are something you would want to stock on.

P,did not care much for the crackers but liked this dip.He polished it off with baked potato chips in the name of healthy food.I found myself snacking on these batch after batch. Somehow the combo is addictive – reminds me of the rajasthani meals at Dilli Haat – bajra roti & masala chana dal.

Yield – About 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fine bajri atta (millet flour)
  • 1/2 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp water (or as required for kneading the dough)
Method
Combine all the ingredients except water in a big bowl. Rub with fingers till the mixture resembles grains.
Start adding water slowly & mixing with hands so as to form a soft, pliable dough. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel & let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 3o0 F / 150 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
Knead the rested dough for 2-3 minutes and pinch into equal portions. Thinly roll out the equal portions on a flour dusted surface or between sheets of parchment.
With the help of fork, pick the rolled dough so that it does not fluff while baking. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into desired shape.
 Transfer to the cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done & crisp. You will need to check midway & flip the crackers to ensure even baking.
Cool the crackers on a rack and store in air tight containers for upto 2 weeks.
Chana Dal Dip (Makes about 1.5 cups)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chana dal (split bengal grams)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic,chopped
  • 1 ” fresh ginger shoot, chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds to adjust heat)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more to drizzle
Method
 

Soak the chana dal in water for atleast 6 hours or overnight. Pressure cook the dal along with turmeric powder & salt in the soaking liquid on high for 2 whistles. Alternatively you can cook the dal in a pot with lid (for about 40-45 minutes) till tender.

Transfer the cooked & cooled dal to the food processor along with garlic, ginger, cilantro chili & lime juice. Pulse 10-12 times slowly adding oil until smooth. You can further adjust the consistency using the reserved cooking liquid. Check the salt & adjust if required.
Drain & reserve the liquid (this liquid can be used as stock or to knead savory doughs).Let the dal cool to room temperature.
Transfer to the serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil, garnish with chopped cilantro & serve along with bajri crackers.(recipe above)
Store refrigerated in air tight container for  4-5 days.

Note : This recipe has a strong garlic flavor. You can reduce or omit garlic quantity as per your liking.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Baking Breads/Flatbreads Breakfast Brunch Vegetarian

Masala Buns – Eggless,Whole Wheat Buns with a Spicy Filling

Featured on Foodbuzz Top 9 

Baking is totally sweet.Its therapeutic and always gives me a high.The same is not true when baking with yeast though. I feel that my fears of working with yeast were mostly because of inexperience. The unknown is always baffling.The acme of perfection that I wanted to achieve when handling yeast, mostly met with frustration of it acting foes. My dough would never rise, my yeast would cling to each other and turn into a lumpy mess. Dont even talk about the amount of food I wasted when I wanted to tame it in my own kitchen.The wastage was followed by days of agony. Whenever I wanted to make yeasted breads , I finished making something else. I could not overcome the thought of cups of flour & eggs making their way into the bin.I saw a recipe for a flaky pastry or loaf  in a book, I flipped the page as soon as I read yeast in there. All along my heart felt an overload of running away from the difficult.

Over a period of time, I realized that yeast is not that monstrous as I always guessed it. It needs patience to start with. Half of your battle is won there. The second half is of course practice – lots of it.I am the person who has none of the former but lot of will for the latter. Its like baby steps to learning towards perfecting the fungi. You have to give it attention and love.Even when you knead it, caress it. When it comes to yeast, in my kitchen, my motto is to try simple recipes & make them shine. I dream of baking those perfect  looking breads with visible pores and all. I will make it there someday. Right now, my moment of joy is when my mini buns and rolls fluff up in the warm weather I m blessed with these days  –  so far so good 🙂

I mentioned in my previous post that “Masala” is a generic term for anything spicy in Indian cuisine. Well, on similar lines, masala buns are buns with a spicy filling. I first tasted them in one of the bakeries near my college.I dont even remember how many books I have crammed eating these little beauties…oh boy..did I tell you that they give best(est) company to a cup of sweet masala chai. P calls the combo “double masala” …and it sure is. Spicy filling cushioned within doughy wrap along with sips of sweetish spiced up chai – yum!

I have tried to make these spicy savory buns in the healthiest way possible – using durum atta (whole wheat flour) which is the variety of flour rich is wheat bran.You can get it in indian stores and read about it here. I added Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)  & ajwain (carrom) which are super aromatic indian flavorings if you can lay your hands on them, else add some fennel or cumin seedsBy the way, Kasuri methi is something which is the secret behind those aromatic indian butter chicken and other curries- It lasts forever in the kitchen so you might wanna stock up! Fill the buns with anything you want, I filled them with a spicy potato & vegetable filling. These eggless buns are great for breakfast or casual snacking. These buns can be baked in advance & pair up with indian tomato soup to make a lazy day brunch.


Method:-

Ingredients (Makes 12-14 buns)

For the buns:-

  • 1.5 cup durum atta (whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ajwain (carrom seeds)
  • 1.5 tsp kasuri methi, fine crushed between palms (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (substitute with melted unsalted butter)
  • 1.5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup luke warm milk
  • 1/2 cup luke warm water (or as required for kneading the dough)
  • Melted unsalted butter for brushing 
  • Flour for dusting

For the filling :- (Makes 1.5  cups)

  • 2 medium boiled potatoes, slightly mashed (but with little chunks)
  • 1/2 cup colored bell peppers of choice, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 2 scallions, white & green parts chopped separated
  • 1 fat garlic clove, grated
  • 3 – 4 Thai green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala 
  • tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Method:-
  • In a bowl, add the flours along with crushed kasuri methi. Sift this flour mix once. Add ajwain (carrom seeds) to the sifted flour and set aside.
  • Dissolve sugar in luke warm milk, add yeast and set aside till frothy. Note:-If you dont see foam within 30 seconds of dissolving the yeast,discard the mix & restart.
  • While the yeast is frothing, in a large bowl (enough to hold doubled up dough after rise), tip in the salt.Top it up with sifted flour, olive and foamy yeast paste [ in this order].
  • Start mixing in lukewarm water till everything comes together. Note :- Start with 1/4 cup of water to begin with. Once a loose dough ball starts to come together, transfer the dough to a floured surface, and continue kneading for 5-8 minutes till you get a soft, elastic dough.While kneading , if you feel that the dough is on the dry side, add a tablespoon (s)of water, if you feel it sticky, add some flour to bring it together.
  • Brush some oil on all sides of the bowl, and once kneaded, transfer the dough back to the bowl.Brush some oil on the top of the dough ball, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm, dry place for 1-1.5 hours to rise.
While the Dough is rising 
Make the Masala/Spicy Filling:- 
  • In a pan, heat up the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped white parts of scallions and saute for 4-5 minutes on high.
  • Next, add the garlic along with chopped green chillies.Saute for 30 seconds or till you smell the aroma.
  • Next add all the vegetables along with salt to taste, mix well &  reduce heat to medium and let cook for 10 minutes, uncovered till the peppers and peas are tender.
  • Remove from heat and while still hot, add the chopped green scallion parts, cumin powder, garam masala and lemon juice.Mix well and set aside to cool.
Stuffing the buns & Baking:-
 
Line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead again for 3-4 minutes on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls.Roll out each ball using a rolling pin into a 2″ circle. Spoon about 1.5 tbsp of Masala filling into the centre of each dough circle and pinch all sides to make a stuffed dough ball.Smear the pinched ball all over with oil and line on the baking sheet, pinched side down. Line the balls atleast 3 ” away from each other so that they do not touch each other when they rise. You may use more than 1 baking sheet (if required) to line the dough balls.Let rise in a warm place for 15 more minutes.

While the stuffed balls are rising, preheat oven to 375 F/190 C.Bake the risen balls for 13-15 minutes or till they are light brown in color and you smell the aroma of baked dough & kasuri methi.Mine took 15 minutes. Once light brown, brush melted butter on the balls and bake for another 3-4 minutes till the tops turn golden brown.Pull out the baking sheet and using a pair of tongs, transfer the baked buns to the cooling rack. Cool slightly and serve warm with tomato ketchup. mango mint chutney, green chutney & masala chai.

 
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
Categories
Baking Desserts Eggs

Apricot-Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

For someone like me who is not a big fan of chocolate,baking with fruits is one of the most favorite things.It gives a perfect opportunity to experiment recipes with fruits & relish the results.Baking with fruits always overwhelms me, the way the flesh, natural oils and sweetness transform inside the oven is intriguing.Take for example an apple, the texture before and after baking is completely different and good in its own way..while the fresh one is juicy & crunchy, baked is dense & succulent.

Me and P adore fruits & try to include them as much as possible meals.With temperatures already soaring in Vegas,fruit based recipes are absolutely delightful.I saw really gorgeous stone fruits at the grocery store a week back.There is something about pink/plum/red colors – they catch my eye from far away and seem to call my name.I rushed towards them.There lay boxes of fleshy,bright-colored peaches, nectarines & apricots in front of my eyes,each trying to catch my attention.Helpless at being able to choose, I bought all of them – all in the name of health foods! Gnawing my teeth into fleshy stone fruit is super exciting.The rush of juices between the teeth & the texture from the flesh add a refreshing dimension to my dull, lazy days.Eating fruits heals me psychologically, it’s comforting to feel the intake of antioxidants the most natural way possible.

Our tastes in fruits match  to the extent that we LOVE them but differ in the kind of fruit.While he is a tropical fruit fiend, I swear by berries & stone fruits.The moment,I picked up the first apricot,Oh what a pink blushing beauty it was outside.I pitted it knew that I had to make something to showcase inside-oozing with juices, accurately tart & with golden-colored flesh, just waiting to be baked!

Started my google search and found this perfect recipe from Good houseKeeping of an apricot cornmeal upside down cake.It has very less quantity of oil.And one of my favorite ingredients to bake with – buttermilk! I was slightly apprehensive because I had never baked with cornmeal what if we don’t like the taste or it doesnt rise much or is dry? It was painful to think about  a 8″ cake making its way into the bin.But then, unless I took a leap, I would not have discovered the delight of baking with cornmeal.We totally loved it.It was moist, perfectly sweet & very homey looking.The slight tang from the buttermilk complemented the sweetish tartness of apricots very well.A perfect cake for summertime get togethers. Below goes the recipe:-

Ingredients :- [ Makes one 8″ tall cake]

Printable Recipe

[Adapted from here ]

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 whole ripe apricots
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Method:-

  • Wash the apricots if using fresh.Ceach cut in half and pit them.Set aside.If using canned apricots, drain them and discard the liquid.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8″ cake pan with at least 2″ high sides. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over bottom of skillet. Arrange apricot halves, cut side down, over brown sugar.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, granulated sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until blended.
  • In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, butter, oil, lime zest, and vanilla extract until blended.
  • Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and fold with a spatula until just blended. Pour batter over apricots and using a spatula spread evenly.
  • Bake 30 to 35  minutes, or until skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean.Mine took 32 minutes.
  • Let cool in skillet on wire rack 10 minutes. Run knife around side of skillet. Place platter on top of skillet and carefully invert cake onto platter. Remove skillet.
  • Cool cake slightly to serve warm, about 30 minutes.

Notes:-
  • I thought that  just 4 tbsp oil+butter for a 10″ cake was less.So I increased the oil quantity by a tbsp.
  • If you like your cakes very sweet, then you may need to increase the sugar quantity in this recipe.
  • This recipe will work well with all kinds of fruits.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
Categories
Baking Desserts Eggs

Strawberry Cupcakes With Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

Did you send your entry to Culinary Smackdown Battle-Mango Desserts?Please see details of the ongoing event here. Hurry..just a week more to go, contest ends 28th April 2011, Pacific time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click for Printable Recipe

Ingredients

For the Strawberry Cupcakes [Makes about 18 cupcakes]

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter[ at room temperature]
  • 3/4 cup pureed strawberries [frozen/fresh]
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1-2 drops of red/pink food color depending on how pink you want your cupcakes

For the Chocolate Frosting  
  • 2.5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2  cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp of milk or as required to thin out the frosting.

Method:
[For the Cupcakes]
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.Line your cupcakes pan with cases or grease thoroughly.
  • I like to strain out the pureed strawberries through a sieve once.You can skip this step if you do not want to.
  • In a medium bowl sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the softened butter with the pureed strawberry until mixed.
  • Add the flour mix to the butter mix and blend until fluffy.The batter will be thick
  • In another bowl,beat egg whites, milk, vanilla extract and food color until light and fluffy.
  • Fold in the whisked egg whites into the batter, divided.Keep mixing gently until whole of it is incorporated.D
  • Using your cookie/ice-cream scoop, fill the cupcake pan about 3/4 full.
  •  Bake 18 – 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.Mine took 20 minutes.
  • Transfer the cupcakes to the rack for cooling.Let cool completely before frosting

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
On a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips.Mix the vanilla extract and let them cool to room temperature.Cream softened butter and sour cream until well blended.Blend in melted and cooled chocolate chips until smooth.Add confectioner’s sugar and beat well.Add a teaspoon of  milk at a time until desired, spreadable consistency is reached.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Baking Eggs

Lime Sugar Sandwich Cookies With Blueberry Cream Filling

Did you send an entry to Culinary Smackdown Battle-Mango Desserts?Please see details of the ongoing event here.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

For the Lime Sugar Cookies [Makes 15 cookie sandwiches of the size shown]

Recipe adapted from Aparna’s Blog & Tips from Rosie’s Blog

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup  + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice

For the blueberry cream cheese filling :

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp blueberry paste

For the Blueberry Paste:

  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch

Method

Lime Sugar Cookies

  • In a medium bowl, sift flour,baking soda & powder, salt.Set aside
  • In a larger bowl,cream the butter & sugar thoroughly untill fluffy.To this add the lime juice & vanilla and beat until combined.
  • To the butter sugar mix, add the flour mix and gently combine with a spatula to bring together into a dough.You might need to add a tbsp or more of milk at this stage if required to make a soft dough.
  • Divide the dough into 2 small balls.Take a piece of plastic cling film, put the dough balls on it and flatten with palm to make a disc.Wrap the discs with plastic cling film.Repeat the same with 2nd dough ball.Chill both discs for about 30 minutes.
  • Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.Avoid using aluminium foil as the extreme heating up will burn the cookies from bottom.
  • After chilling, take one disc out, unwrap it and place it between two sheets of parchment  paper. Initially, you may find it little difficult to roll because of the chilled dough.It will soften as you go along.

  • Roll the disc using a floured rolling-pin into a sheet about 1/4″ thk.
  • Using a floured cookie cutter cut the cookies from the rolled dough.
  • Using a floured thin spatula, transfer the cookies to the lined cookie sheet.Note: Picking up the cookies with fingers will deshape them.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Chill the cut cookies again for 15 minutes.
  • Once chilled, bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the sides start turning brown.
  • Cool completely on a cooling rack.

Blueberry Paste:

Tip in the blueberries, water and sugar to a small sauce pan.Cook it on low heat until the blueberries are soft and mushy.Transfer to a blender.Blend on high to form a puree.Dissolve cornstarch into lemon juice.Transfer the puree to sauce pan again and add cornstarch mix.Cook on very low heat for about 5-8 minutes until you get a thick paste.Cool completely before adding to the cream.

Blueberry Cream Filling:

Make the filling by beating the cream cheese & butter with an electric mixer. Mix in powdered sugar until smooth.Add 2 tbsp of the cooled blueberry paste above to make a smooth mix.

Assembly:

Pipe or spread 1-2 tablespoons of blueberry filling in the center of a cookie. Top with a second cookie and press together until the filling reaches the edges of the cookies.Store in an air tight box for up to 3 days.

Notes:

  • Use any kind of berries or fruits to make the filling.The recipe remains the same.
  • I have mentioned the baking times on my oven.Since all ovens are different, please adjust the times as per your appliance.
  • You will need to adjust lime juice if your berries are really tart.

Enjoy! Thanks for stopping by!

Sending this to Hearth n Soul #43