Shahi Paneer and Whole Wheat Stuffed Kulchas

A complete meal.

A complete meal.

Sunday Lunches are usually special in our house. I don’t know why. Maybe because I lighten the breakfast and skip cooking dinner. Whatever the reason, these meals bring much happiness, smiles and cheer. So, one such beautiful sunny day our lunch was a full blown punjabi meal.

heavy lunch, this.

heavy lunch, this.

Delicacies using paneer or cottage cheese is very integral to the vegetarian Punjabi. If you are going to refuse tandoori chicken and lamb kebabs, then paneer is the The Protein for you. The cuisine comprises of lip smacking dishes with chickpeas, paneer, whole black lentils and copious amounts of cream and ghee. Punjabi food was the hottest cuisine to tuck into back in the late 70s and 80s.

That Sunday I made a creamy paneer side along with vegetable stuffed oven baked unleavened bread and some rich whole lentil dal. The dishes are heavy and little bit of it stuffs you up. But we like to make it just the way it should be. No fat free version, no zero oil. This kind of lunch makes us forego dinner and just snack on salads and soup.

I have recipes for the paneer and the flatbread. Saving the dal for another post.

SHAHI PANEER

Shahi is royal in hindi. Royalty comes with a whole lot of ghee/butter and cream. So please don’t attempt this curry with fat free oils 🙂
Shahi paneer is a wonderful aromatic curry made using cream, tomatoes and spices. This is my second favourite recipe of the cheese after Makhani Paneer.

Shahi paneer

Shahi paneer

Ingredients

  • 200 gms paneer/cottage cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 medium sized onions, minced
  • 5/6 cloves of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 2/3 green chilies, minced
  • 3 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom
  • a small stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder or as per taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala or garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried crushed kasoori methi
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 cup cream or malai
  • optional: 1/2 cup mushrooms or bell peppers.
  • To garnish: coriander leaves or mint leaves.

Method

In a wok, heat ghee/butter. Drop the bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Saute for just about a minute. Crackle the cumin. Add the minced garlic, ginger, green chilies and onions. Sprinkle little salt. Cook till the onions turn translucent. Remove the whole spices if you’re afraid kids will bite into it. Add kasuri methi and fry for another 30 seconds. Now add the tomatoes, along with red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Cover and cook till the fat leaves the sides. Takes approx 10-12 minutes.

Once that is done, stir in the cream. Mix well. Give it a boil. Stir in the tandoori masala. Add chopped cubes of paneer. Switch the flame off, garnish with coriander leaves or mint.

Serve hot with any flatbread or rice.

Note: If you want to add other vegetables, sauté the chopped veggies in a different wok using very little fat or oil. Stir the sautéed veggies when you add paneer to the onion tomato cream mix.

Note: Mincing the veggies really fine is the key here. Makes the gravy come into one harmonious mix.

Easy to make

Easy to make

UNLEAVENED STUFFED KULCHAS

Kulchas are small round Indian bread made from flour, milk, and butter, typically stuffed with meat or vegetables. Some use leavening agents like yeast or baking powder. I have skipped the leaveners and used whole wheat instead of refined flour. Dotted with nigella seeds and sesame seeds these little breads are extremely nutritious and very easy to make.

Whole wheat stuffed roasted flatbread

Whole wheat stuffed roasted flatbread

The stuffing I used was made with crushed boiled potatoes, minced onions and coriander leaves. You can be innovative and use any grated vegetable you like. Carrots, cheese, cauliflower, peas make great fillings too.

Stuffing

Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • a bit of salt
  • 1/2 tsp carrom seeds or ajwain
  • 1 cup milk
  • Optional: 2 tbsp cream or ghee
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds and 1 tsp nigella seeds, mixed and set aside.
  • To serve: ghee or white butter.

Method

To the flour, add salt, carom seeds. Using luke warm milk bind the dough. Use more milk if required. The dough should be soft and pliable. If you like, you can add a bit of cream or ghee to the flour before binding. Once done, keep covered for 30 minutes or more.

For the stuffing: Use boiled potatoes, minced onion, green chilies and coriander leaves. Mix well, add salt and cumin powder.

To make the kulcha:

Heat a flat griddle or tawa.
Grab a handful of the dough, make a well in the centre, put a tablespoon of the stuffing, close it like a basket. and using more flour roll it out into a small circle. Before placing the rolled out circle onto the griddle, sprinkle some mixed sesame and nigella seeds. Press the seeds into the dough using the rolling pin. Carefully pick the rolled out circle and slap it onto a semi hot griddle. Once it browns a bit, flip the kulcha and roast a bit from the other side.

The making

The making

Now, you can roll the rest of the dough in similar fashion and keep the slightly roasted ones aside. There are two ways to go ahead from this step:

1. You can use a tong and directly roast the kulcha on an open flame till it browns beautifully. Serve hot with ghee or butter on top.

2. Pre heat the oven to 200 degree C. Place the kulchas on a tray and bake till they brown. Takes approximately 6-8 minutes. Serve with ghee or butter.

Kulchas taste great with paneer, kali dal, amritsari channe and many more!

Note: If you add spices to the stuffing and use it for filling the kulcha, it will be good enough to eat with a bowl of yoghurt. No curry, sides or lentils required then.

Perfect combination

Perfect combination

Whole urad lentil and rajma is soaked overnight and pressure cooked. Cream, ghee and milk is again used copiously in this dal. It is so rich and whole I felt it deserves a space of its own. So another post will carry the recipe and mouth-watering pictures.

Not to forget the daal

Not to forget the daal

Alarmed at the quantity of fat and cream used in the recipes? Well, that’s why we make it sparingly and save it for special occasions. Like a sunday 🙂

Yumm.

Yumm.

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Veggies Stuffed Braided Bread – Yeast Free

Yeast Free does catch your eye, doesn’t it? For all of us who are fighting this love hate battle with this fermenter, this recipe comes as a welcome relief.

I find yeast moody. Sometimes it plays well and sometimes it just messes up my dinner.
Now I happen to find this yeast free dough formula, a patterned pretty lookin bread, some healthy cheesy filling and an assignment for my photography challenge, all in my lap at the same time. What do I do? I combine all of it and present you with this crunchy, super tasty, eye-catching stuffed bread – without the tormentor!! 🙂

Stuffed Braids

Stuffed Braids

I’ve always believed the fact that we eat food with our eyes first, but to make delicate patterns with bread is another story altogether! Some fine nimble hands, a good work surface, great ingredients and a whole LOT of patience is all that you need 😉 I messed up the design of my first one – not even worth a picture. By then I had my 6 year old mildly amused and highly entertained. Homework ditched, she pulled a stool to try her hand.

bread patterns

bread patterns

I let her fiddle here and there with my not so proper braid, but when I gave her a bit of dough, she tried to fill them like momos. Now mother is impressed – what the little one did was cute and easier 🙂
So, we made two full braids, but soon half moon shaped little bites were more in action.

Playing with leftovers

Playing with leftovers

The Recipe:
Adapted from here:

Ingredients

For the yeast free dough:

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour or maida
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup curd/yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • salt to taste

For the filling:

  • 2 cups chopped assorted vegetables like carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower, potato, broccoli, sweet corn
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 4-5 pods of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 3-4 minced green chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp of crushed dried mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp of grated mozzarella

Method

For the Dough:
In a large bowl, sieve flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center, pour oil in it. Rub together with your fingers and palms. The oil flour mix will look like a crumbled coarse mix. Add curd at this stage and start kneading the dough. It might be messy and not pliable, but keep working on it and you will have a super smooth and soft dough by the end of it. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise for at least 5-6 hours.
The dough would have almost doubled at the end of 6 hours. Knead for a minute or two again and use as required.

For the Filling:
In a pan, heat oil. Saute garlic, ginger, green chilies and minced onions. Once almost done, throw in the chopped vegetables along with salt. Cover and cook till they are almost done. Now sprinkle herbs and pepper powder. Give it a final mix. Cool before filling it in.

For the Braided Bread:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a baking tray and keep aside.
Sprinkle flour on your kitchen top. Knead the dough for a minute or two. Now using a rolling pin spread the dough into a rectangular or oval shape of thickness between 1/4″ to 1/6″. Add more flour is required.
In the center, spread the prepared cooled vegetable filling. Place grated cheese over the vegetables. Now, using a sharp knife, make inclined cuts of 1 ” width along the sides of the rolled out dough. Repeat the same on the other side. for best results, try and make equal number of cuts on either side.

Ready to be patterned

Ready to be patterned

Now take two strips from opposite sides and place them overlapped on the vegetables maintaining a criss cross pattern. Stretch the strips to seal the beneath layer. To seal the edges, gently fold and press the top and bottom section. Then braid with few strips on it. Brush off excess flour.

Now gently brush the braid with melted butter. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, or till the crust is a beautiful brown.

Cool the bread completely before running a knife through it. Enjoy while it’s still warm.

Yummy Bites

Yummy Bites

I know it looks like a huge effort, but SO worth it once in a while. And if you have a dancing prancing little human monkey around you, then the whole process can be fun too!

They tasted like Vegetable Puffs

They tasted like Vegetable Puffs

Mung Bean Paneer Soup, Grilled Veggies and Skinny Garlic Bread – Diabetic Friendly

A complete healthy meal

A complete healthy meal

Nearing an unfinished book, catching missed episodes at 10 am in the morning, helping friends strike good deals in clothes and gifts, paying important pending social visits to cheer sullen relatives, crafting amidst incessant chatter with my 6 year old, revising tables with her, discovering the romance in watsapp with my traveling husband(the guy was totally enamored by it – 🙂 ) and among all these, failing attempts at writing a post-worthy post.

So there dear friends and foodies. I have not been doing much apart from a LOT of lazing and vacationing. And in all honesty, I did try to write. But words fell and failed me. It’s no fun to publish something without a good mean bone to feed on.

“Not many people read you know” is one constant refrain I get from the husband. Yes, true. But I still like to write, I retort. And so I do. Without a care of who is reading and who is not, I give words to my feelings and thoughts. Now, this is a personal creative high for me. Sigh! but this so called high evades me most of the times lately, leaving me groping for words and quotes.

I just needed a nudge, a push to wake me up from my trance like state. And Priya did the needful. A simple message, if I would be interested to contribute to her diabetic friendly week. Oh Yes! Interested I am!! “But I have a block”, I told myself. I can’t seem write. And Diabetes? I have no clue about that..

Kicking all the buts/ifs/hows/whys, I set to work. first I had to read up about Diabetes. So what better than Priya’s simplified illustrated theory. A must read. Her site is a diabetic’s delight.

To contribute to her fabulous Diabetic Friendly Food Week, I zeroed in on a soup, some grilled veggies and of course the favorite carb – made in a fat-free way!

Diabetic Friendly Food Week

Diabetic Friendly Food Week

Mung Bean Paneer Soup

Protein Packed

Protein Packed

Green whole mung beans have low glycemic index. Low glycemic foods promote healthy blood sugar levels. tend to have lower total body fat levels as opposed to those who consume high-glycemic foods, such as white bread and soft drinks. In recent studies, mung beans reduce blood glucose, plasma C-peptide, glucagon and blood urea nitrogen levels in non-human type-2 diabetic subjects. See #Reference.

Paneer or cottage cheese made from Cow’s milk is low in fat and contains a good amount of protein and calcium. Refrain from using “malai paneer” or the super soft melt in mouth types, as they are alarmingly high in FAT and low in nutrition. Shrewd use of this cheese for diabetics can work brilliantly for their overall health and fitness.

Simple, abundant flavors and so easy to make, you will find yourself making this soup more often than required.

Mung beans and paneer - super healthy combo

Mung beans and paneer – super healthy combo

For 2 people:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mung beans, preferably soaked for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  • salt, tiny piece of ginger, 2 clove of crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2-3 tbsp paneer, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime – optional
  • black and white pepper powder – as per your taste
  • Garnish: chopped coriander leaves and herbed garlic infused olive oil – optional

Method

Pressure cook the mung beans in 2 whole cups of water(yes! lots of water for very little mung beans), along with salt, garlic and ginger. If you do not have a pressure cooker and you are cooking them in a pot, then make sure your beans are preferably soaked overnight. The beans should be cooked well, almost mash like consistency.

In another pot, heat oil, crackle cumin, fry onions till they turn pink. Then add paneer. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. Slowly, pour the boiled mung beans along with all the water. Stir in pepper powders and check salt. Give it a final boil.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and little grated paneer, if using lime juice, stir it in now. A drop of chili-garlic-herb olive oil enhances the flavor, but if you do not have it ready, don’t sweat.

Sluurp this soup away with some grilled veggies and toasted bread.

Abundant Flavors

Abundant Flavors

Herbed Garlic Chili Olive Oil

This is so simple, even your little one could make it, although eating the vegetables would be a task for them 😉 A simple flavored oil does the trick. This is a usual in my house, but it never occurred to put it up on the blog. Missing the forest for a tree they say. Well, here it is:

Garlic herbed Olive Oil

Garlic herbed Olive Oil

Add 3-4 crushed minced garlic, 1 tsp chili flakes, 1 tsp mixed italian dried herbs, a wee bit of salt to 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well. Keep aside for at least 30 minutes before using. Use as required.

Fresh Veggies marinated in Herbed garlic infused Olive oil

Fresh Veggies marinated in Herbed garlic infused Olive oil

Use the oil to marinate your vegetables.

Basket of Goodness

Basket of Goodness

Or smear it on whole grain bread.

Grilled/Roasted Vegetables and Paneer

Colorful Melange

Colorful Melange

This is a no brainer actually. Dice up any vegetable of your choice, I used carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms. Paneer is added for some extra bite. Marinate your veggies in herbed garlic olive oil. Keep aside for atleast 30 minutes. Lay them on baking sheet, bake at 200 C till brown specks appear on the veggies. Alternatively you could stir fry in a thin wok on high till the vegetables are semi cooked and crunchy.

Garnish with pepper powder and rock salt if required.

Goes great with Soup

Goes great with Soup

Garlic Bread – made Fat free

We usually make garlic bread at home, by melting butter, adding all the herbs and minced garlic to it, smearing it on bread, topping with jalapenos and lot of grated cheddar cheese.

lightly smeared with Garlic infused olive oil

lightly smeared with Garlic infused olive oil

But we want a fat free version don’t we? Well, for that, use the flavored olive oil and skip the cheese. Toast your bread or roast them on a flat griddle and you have a guilt free and fat free version of the famous Garlic bread.

Note: My 6 year old girl didn’t like her garlic bread without cheese, so still using the same herbed olive oil, I grated cheese for her to enjoy. But when you’re watching your weight or struggling with diabetes, I would suggest skip the cheese.

Toast the bread, enjoy with your favorite veggies and a big bowl of Soup!

Toast the bread, enjoy with your favorite veggies and a big bowl of Soup!

Mumbai Special – Pav Bhaaji

Mumbai Special - Paav Bhaji

Mumbai Special – Paav Bhaji

She never ate what the school served her. Hardly ever. Parent Teacher Meets were usually about how she would not even acknowledge the food but simply found peeling her crayons more interesting than the snack served. But this rule had one exception. Colors and crayons forgotten, hands washed, mat placed she dug her little hands into a delightful plate of paav bhaaji. Teachers heaved a sigh of relief on such days. They saved an extra paav, just in case she came back for more.. which on most such days she did!

Milee is a true blue Mumbai-ite! Sandwiches, pav bhaji, sev puri, vada paav and Gola are on her list of comfort food. Surprisingly I never cared too much for bread. My eyes never sparkle when paav bhaaji is mentioned. I always thought it is a dish made up of leftovers! And do you know the origin of Mumbai’s signature dish(sorry, Mumbai’s one of the ) was actually made from leftovers.. So I was really not that wrong. But as is the case with many things in my life, I have learnt to like things which I previously ran away from.

This immensely popular dish has its origins as lunch eaten by the Mumbai’s textile mill workers, for whom it was affordable and easy to eat during a very short lunch break. Small roadside eateries started making this using leftover vegetables and some easily available spices. And paav? Paav was always there. It is to Mumbai what the Arabian sea or the Gateway is. 🙂

Laadi Pav

Laadi Pav

“What! You’re making paav? why?” , what they really meant was – Why would you or anyone bake them at home?!! You get the bestest, softest cheapest paav here, in Mumbai, the only place in the world.
My friends doubted my mental balance – hugely. Still they came trickling in once the heavenly aroma from freshly baked rolls started drifting.

Bhaaji

Bhaaji

Bhaaji is no rocket science really. Just throw in any type of veggie, over cook it, spice it, mash it, lime it, top with spoonfuls of butter, and viola!
Lap it with your rolls and you will be smacking your lips, wiping a runny nose, licking your fingers and more… No I don’t eat like that, but I’ve seen lot of people who do. 😉

Laadi Paav

Laadi means slab and paav is nothing but delicious soft white bread rolls, so here I am posting the formula for a slab of soft dinner rolls!

Now, when ever I try something new, I drastically reduce the quantity of the said measurements. This time I reduced it so much that I made only 9 mini rolls. What you see in the pictures is all that I baked. Maybe sufficient only for an adult and a child.
The quantity here is for 15 whole regular sized paavs, so feel free to adapt and change.

Mini paavs

Mini paavs

Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/2 cups to 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey or sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 to 2 tbsp melted butter for brushing on the pav

Method

In a small bowl, proof the yeast – by adding luke warm water, 1/2 tsp sugar and yeast. Mix well. cover and keep aside for 10-12 minutes until frothy.

Put 3 1/2 cups of flour, proofed yeast, salt, sugar (not honey, if you are using it) in a big bowl.
Put milk and butter in a small pan, heat it, while whisking a couple of times, till the milk is just lukewarm. Take it off the heat. If you are using honey instead of sugar, add this to the milk.

Add the lukewarm liquid to the dry ingredients and knead till a soft and elastic dough forms. You will have to add a bit more of flour (a tbsp at a time) while kneading, to achieve this. Do not be tempted to add more flour, or your rolls will become tough.

Your dough must be soft and elastic, just short of sticky. Shape the dough into a ball.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, rolling the ball of dough till it is coated with oil. Cover with a towel and allow it to double in volume (mine took two hours).

Lightly knead the dough and divide equally into about 15 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place on a greased rectangular baking tin. Place the balls of dough about 1/4” apart in 3 rows of five each.

Cover them with a towel and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. Bake them at 220C (425F) for 10 minutes till they rolls have risen and started browning. Take them out of the oven and quickly brush them with melted butter and bake them for another 5 minutes till the tops have browned well. Take the rolls out and let them cool on a rack.

To serve: Melt a tbsp of salted butter in a pan. Slice 2 pieces of the pav sideways and place both, cut sides down, on the melted butter and allow the pav to absorb the butter and brown slightly. I like to saute a little on the other side as well. Some serve the paavs as it is, without sauteing.

Rise and shine

Rise and shine

Bhaaji

Bhaaji is a mix of sauteed onions-tomatoes, potatoes and vegetables like peas, carrots, beans etc. It is essentially very spicy, flavorful and served with loads of lime and minced raw onions. Usually a bit red color is added to give that scarlet dead look to the bhaji. I have skipped the pav bhaji masala, color and reduced the chilies as per as our taste.
The following recipe is by a very dear aunt who makes the best pav bhaji ever. The color of her bhaaji was naturally so bright and red, that I begged her to share her trick.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables (carrot, cauliflower, beans, peas)
  • 3 big potatoes
  • 1 big onion, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 6-7 whole dried kashmiri red chilies, soaked
  • 1-2 whole dried normal red chilies – the spicy variety
  • 7-8 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala – optional
  • To serve: lemon wedges, 3 to 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, 4-5 tbsp minced raw onions, 2 to 3 tbsp salted butter

Method

Steam cook the mixed vegetables and the potatoes till well done. Mash them very well and keep aside.
Grind the soaked kashmiri and regular chilies, along with garlic and ginger to a fine paste.

Heat the oil/butter in a large kadai/wok. Saute onions till soft and translucent. To this add, the grounded paste. Fry well for a minute or two. Add the chopped tomatoes and using a wooden spoon mash the onion-tomato mixture further. Cook until the oil appears on the edge.

Add the turmeric, coriander powder and pav bhaji masala if using. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring often, until the raw smell of the spices disappears. Add the mashed vegetables, salt and about half a cup of water. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until everything blends into a homogenous thick gravy-like consistency, adding a little more water, if necessary. Lastly, switch the flame off, stir in garam masala and chopped coriander leaves. Mix. Serve hot.

Serving Suggestions:
My aunt borrowed this neat trick from the street side vendors and it works like magic when she serves her world famous Paav bhaaji:
On a hot flat thick bottomed iron griddle/tawa. Place a small spoon of butter. Pour as much bhaaji as can go on it without the gravy spilling over. Keep the flame high. Using a potato masher mash and sizzle the veggie mix till it simmers like a sizzler. Then serve immediately topped with small cubes of refrigerated cold butter and lime wedges, along with lightly sauted paavs and raw minced onions.

Mixed Vegetable Curry

Mixed Vegetable Curry

Owing to my classic measurement skills, I had 9 tiny rolls, a wok full of bhaaji, 6 adults and a very hungry child. Of course we ran out of paavs. But our trusted age old bread wala who comes delivering freshly baked bread and Mumbai special laadi paav every evening at our door step saved our day. Lucky Me.

This recipe is my entry to Vardhini’s Bake Fest#25.

Rajasthani Gourmet Delight – Dal Baati, my Skinny Version!

Rajasthani Special - Daal Baati,  Spring Onion Stir fry and Garlic Red chili Mint chutney

Rajasthani Special – Daal Baati, Spring Onion Stir fry and Garlic Red chili Mint chutney

Rajasthan literally means “Land of kings”. The largest state of India, boasts of the great Indian desert in the midst of it. Culturally rich, folk music, dance and of course food holds a special place in the heart of every Rajasthani.

Rajasthani cooking was influenced by both the war-like lifestyles of its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this arid region. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables have all had their effect on the cooking. But now with technology nothing is scarce any more and you get everything everywhere at any time. So although you will find excessive use of lentils and pulses in their food, fresh vegetables has found its way into their thalis too.

Now Rajasthan’s signature dish is Dal Baati.
Baati is a hard, unleavened bread prized for its long shelf life and high nutritional content and for the minimal quantity of water required for its preparation. Baati is usually mostly eaten with dal/lentil stew. Traditionally, this dish is served with loads and loads of ghee/clarified buttter. But now since no one is happy eating that much ghee, we literally make it sans the fat.

Basket of Baked bites

Basket of Baked bites

Where I have been brought up on Dal makhani, tandoori roti, Chole Bhature, Rajma chawal, the husband was served Dal Baati. I had never tasted it before my marriage, and truthfully, I didn’t care for it much after that too. But after 10 years of togetherness, we start to like each other’s favorite food. Thats what marriage does to you. Now he doesn’t wince when Chinese is mentioned and I volunteer to make Dal baati! Now thats huge on my part.. 😉

Baati

Baked to perfection

Baked to perfection

There are many ways to make the baati. The easiest is to deep fry the shaped dough in ghee till they turn golden brown and crisp. But that is also a sure shot way of clogging all your arteries and sending you to God a wee bit faster than desired.
So, we have all taken to baking them. Lot of people bake with out a traditional oven, by slow roasting on the gas using a metal sieve or a gas tandoor till the baatis have browned.

I use my regular oven and what I have learnt after many years of making horrendous mistakes is to make them small, literally bite size, so that they bake quickly and uniformly . Although shaping of the dough is actually a big pain in itself.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour/atta
  • 1/4 cup semolina/rava/sooji
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp oil or ghee or cream/malai
  • Luke warm water to bind

Method

To the flour, add semolina, salt and the softener(ghee or oil or cream). Rub well with your palms. Now add warm water and bind into a semi hard dough. This will take some time, as you want your dough to be a bit stiff. Knead well. Keep aside covered for 30 minutes.

The smaller the better

The smaller the better

Now to make the rounds, pinch small portions out of the dough and shape into a ball, making sure that no creases or cracks are on the surface. To achieve this, you have to keep massaging the small round between your palms and shaping-reshaping them into perfect smooth round balls. Mind you this requires some time and patience, so my advice would be grab that bowl of dough, switch on the fan and put on some music, SIT and then start to make the rounds. Just makes it a little pleasant, that’s all.

Preheat your oven. Once the rounds are made, using a sharp knife, make light incisions making sure they do not go all the way to the base. This is done to ensure they are baked evenly and the insides do not remain raw. Place the rounds on a greased tray and bake for at least 30 minutes at 170C, till they brown and are cooked evenly. You can keep turning and checking on them while they are baking.

Once done, remove and keep them covered.

Serving Suggestion: While serving, coarsely crush the baati between a clean kitchen napkin using your palms. Ideally the crushed bits are topped with spoonfuls of ghee and served with dal and other sides.

Soak these beauties in a big bowl of daal

Soak these beauties in a big bowl of daal

Panchmeli Daal

This lentil stew is absolutely divine. Made with a mixture of 5 different lentils, tempered with garlic and onions, this makes for a perfect accompaniment for the royal baatis!

Panch meli Daal

Panch meli Daal

I usually eyeball the quantity of the daals/lentils and this dal is best made in ghee.

Ingredients

  • 2 fistfuls green split mung dal, chilke wali mung dal
  • 1 fistful yellow mung dal
  • 1 fistful toor/arhar dal
  • 1/2 a fistful urad dal
  • 1/2 a fisful channa dal
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 piece of ginger, julienned
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 big tomato, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • red chili powder – according to taste
  • salt
  • Ghee or butter – 2 tbsp
  • To garnish: 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Method

Mix all the lentils, wash and soak for at least 30 minutes.
In a pressure cooker or a pan, boil all the lentils along with turmeric powder, bay leaf, salt, julienned ginger and 2 crushed cloves of garlic.

Garlic and bay leaf lend a tantalizing aroma to the lentil mix. Once done, keep aside.

In a deep pot, heat ghee, crackle the cumin, fry minced garlic, slit green chilies and onions till they turn pink. Now add tomatoes, along with red chili powder. Cook till the fat leaves the sides and the tomato is fully mashed. This will take about 5-6 minutes. Now add the boiled dal. Mix well. Boil for a couple of more minutes till the consistency is one. Lastly, switch the flame off, stir in garam masala and chopped coriander leaves.

Serving Suggestions: You can make an added tempering of ghee, one dried whole red chili, some cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp red chili powder. Pour it over the dal, serve hot.

Spring Onion Saute

Spring Onion Saute

Spring Onion Saute

This has to be one of the easiest and tastiest saute ever.
In a wok, heat little oil, crackle cumin, fry slit green chilies, throw in the chopped spring onions, along with salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, red chili powder and 1/2 tsp coriander powder. Saute on high till the onions are rightly cooked, that is, not too mushy and still retaining a bite. That’s it. Serve.

Garlic Red chili Mint Chutney

Garlic Red Chili and mint Chutney

Garlic Red Chili and mint Chutney

Now this is one killer chutney! Best when made in a mortar pestle or over a stone. But a mixer would work fine as well.
Take: 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves , 1/4 cup mint leaves, 6/7 soaked dried kashmiri red chilies, 1 huge clove of garlic and some salt. Grind into a coarse paste. Mix in juice of 1/2 a lime. Serve.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch

This recipe is my entry to Vardhini’s Bake Fest #25.

Creamy Spinach Corn Spread/Dip, a Sandwich and some very cute Canapes

Its creamy. Its colorful. Its versatile. It has spinach! so yes. Its healthy too. Is it dip? Or a spread? or a side… call it whatever you wish, doesn’t matter. Its yummy and your family and friends will digg deeper into the bowl for more, is what matters. 🙂

Spinach Corn Creamy Spread

Spinach Corn Creamy Spread

So, I cooked a good deal one morning. Made this creamy spread, fixed sandwiches and canapes, roasted healthy parathas, potato saute, baked a simple eggless chocolate cake with a divine ganache(the cake was too soft so it fell apart, but that didn’t deter us from grabbing mouthfuls!). I am not making a post of the cake. Fabulous to taste but a dud to look at, so would you call that a recipe failure or what?

Not posting this one

Not posting this one

My girl absolutely abhors peas and corn in her food. Corn on the cob is ok, but none of the sweet corn kernels in her parathas or rice or pasta.

I had to make her like it. Somehow. Simply because it was turning to be a pain, to cook separately for Miss finicky or sometimes remove the bits that sneaked in. Pain.

Wonder Veggies

Wonder Veggies

So here my new little helpers, cookie cutters helped me draw Milee’s attention to corn and wonder veggie spinach.

Using the cutters, scooped different shapes of bread, dabbed little bit of the spread, sprinkled cheese and baked to golden perfection!
No bribing, No threatening, No screaming. It all worked like a charm. Gone in minutes, she comes back for more. Yay!

Kids love it

Kids love it

The dip also turned into a wonderful spread when combined with green mint chutney(my favorite! I put it on everything) and some ketchup on the side.

Creamy Sandwich

Creamy Sandwich

A steaming cup of hot masala tea/chai is all that I needed to complete my breakfast. Tea with milk and sugar, enhanced by crushed pounded ginger, guest appearance of cardamom and cinnamon is our very own Indian masala chai. Although I try not to start my day with a cup of tea, but with breakfast it’s mandatory.

Perfect Breakfast

Perfect Breakfast

For the Spinach Corn Dip/Spread:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn kernels, coarsely cut. Just place them on the board and using a knife, roughly chop them.
  • 1/2 cup spinach, washed, blanched and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil.
  • 1 tsp oregano or any mixed italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp flour, any – plain or whole wheat
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp red chili flakes – or as much as you need
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Optional: 2-3 tbsp cheddar cheese or fresh cream

Method

In a wok, heat butter/oil. Saute garlic and onions. Add corn kernels along with the salt. After 2-3 minutes, throw in the flour. Let it coat all the veggies. Now add milk, keep stirring, till the milk thickens. Mix in the spinach. Season with oregano and red chili flakes. If using cheese or cream. Mix in now. The sauce should be creamy and thick. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Use as required.

Note: If you wish to use the sauce as a dip for your croutons or cucumbers, then add more milk to get the consistency a little runny. If using as a spread on bread or parathas, then you might want it to be a little thick, so in that case, reduce the quantity of milk.

Note: Garlic and onions can be avoided. I just used them as flavor enhancers.

Note: Spinach is best blanched in wilting the leaves in hot water for 3-4 minutes, then immediately running them in cold water. This retains the fabulous color.

Note: To not wash away the essential nutrients of spinach. I suggest: wash the leaves well, chop them roughly, then blanch the leaves in very little hot water. Do not throw away the water, use them in boiling lentils/pulses or in your daily dough.

Tasty Finger Food

Tasty Finger Food

For the Canapes:
Using cookie cutters of different shapes, scoop out bread slices, dab with sauce, top with cheese and bake till brown. So simple. Serve with tomato ketch up. Simple 🙂

For the Sandwiches:
I applied a layer of green chutney on both slices of bread, spread the sauce, cover with the other slice and roast or grill or toast.

Spread/Dip/Side.. whatever you wish to call

Spread/Dip/Side.. whatever you wish to call

Pooris / Deep Fried Indian Bread

Most houses celebrate special days in a signature trademark way. Mine is no exception. Festivals, birthdays, poojas and various other special events brings back memories of a lot of noise – decorations – flowers and food! Glorious Food!
I can almost see my mother fry pooris and make gorgeous halwa. And I almost hear her say ‘Kadai shubh mauke pe chadai jaati hai’, an auspicious day calls for putting that oil filled wok on fire.

Kheer Puri chole for Lunch

Kheer Puri chole for Lunch

So, in essence, my most memorable days of celebrating birthdays and festivals included me gorging on deep fried pooris with alu(potato) or chole(chickpeas) and lick bowl full of decadent halwas n kheer. In case you are wondering, I am still battling my baby fat 😉

Deep Fried Puffed Flatbread

Deep Fried Puffed Flatbread

But then marriage happened and I got to see his side of conviviality. The festivities were an eye opener. I never imagined things to be so distinctly different in other houses… Naive? Yes.
The celebrations in his house were such a dampner that my over enthusiastic spirit took a blow in the very first instant itself.
His home housed 4 boys. Morbid, serious, sobre and very very health conscious boys. They never fried. Special days were as good as any other day. None of the noise or food or spirit that I grew up with.

Whole wheat Flour - Atta

Whole wheat Flour – Atta

The husband always grumbles when I fry something. Especially Pooris. He dislikes them. It’s oily, Its deep fried, It’s not good for health… the complaints are many.
“Its only once in a while” argument has no takers in my little fussy home. Daughter follows father’s footsteps, and declares that she is not too fond of all things ‘deep fried’.
I’d like to believe she is just imitating him, but if only she was like me in some ways. Sigh.

A basket of smiles

A basket of smiles – for me

But dear readers, I do what I have to do. In spite of their protests, I fry. In an effort to make them respect every one’s wishes, likes-dislikes and in some hope of getting them to acquire the taste(Ha! As if its’s beer), pooris are made.
Demanding to like what I like, doesn’t work. Coercion at gun point does. 😉 But I take such liberties just once in a blue moon, literally. I can count the number of times I ventured into Poori making in all my 10 years of married life – 10 times. Really.
So, usually-mostly-always I mess the making of these puffed breads.

Channa Masala as accompaniment

Channa Masala as accompaniment

Not this time. I made sure the dough is stiff and firm, the oil hot enough and my rolling skills a little better than before. 🙂

Adding carrom seeds or ajwain to the flour, enhances the flavor and digestive properties of the bread. This dried herb is the show stealer according to me.

Carrom Seeds or Ajwain

Carrom Seeds or Ajwain

Now for the Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour or atta
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp carrom seeds or ajwain
  • luke warm water, enough to bind.
  • 1 tsp oil, to knead
  • Oil, to deep fry

Method

To the flour, add salt and carrom seeds. Using luke warm water, bind into a stiff firm dough. The dough should be soft enough to roll our without needing to dust it with flour. Using little oil, knead again. Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.

When ready to fry. Put an oil filled wok on heat. Grab walnut sized portions from the dough. Roll out into small flat rounds, around 2 to 2.5 inch diameter. Care not to make it too thin, else the pooris will not rise and puff.

Now, the oil should not be smoking hot, just hot enough for the rounds to rise up when dropped in oil. If the oil is very hot, the pooris darken immediately. Using a slotted ladle, gently fry one side, then the other and remove on absorbent paper once done. Repeat with the other rounds.

Festive Food

Festive Food

It looks simple, and once you are familiar with the technique it is a breeze. But I learnt this the hard way. I have messed it enough times to tell you the Do’s and Don’ts.

  • The dough should be stiff because if it is softer, you would need to use flour and when frying the pooris, the excess flour will settle in the oil and burn causing the pooris to get coated with black specks.
  • The second reason is that the pooris would absorb more oil and become greasy. A good poori should barely show traces of oil on itself, after being deep-fried.
  • If the oil is too hot the pooris will not puff up and become flat, crisp and very brown.
  • If the oil is not hot enough the pooris will not puff up and will be very greasy.

I pack Chole and puri in her lunch box. And its empty when she comes home.
I’m pleased as a punch, only till I hear, “Sanjana loved your pooris Ma”. Sanjana? Huh? What did you eat? “Her bhindi roti”, pat comes the reply.

Paneer Corn Mushroom Cilantro Whole Wheat Pizza

Simple tastes yet a curious palette. Fond of familiar comfort food yet experimental with myriad cuisines. Happily digg in to something alien and innovative but satiated only with those last bites of conventional native usual viand. Sounds primitive?

Pizza with Indian Flavors - paneer, corn and cilantro

Pizza with Indian Flavors – paneer, corn and cilantro

I married a simple man. He likes dal rice and will be happy if a papad is added. The same guy never shies away trying something new and bold. He is experimental but his taste buds are immensely hard to please. If he doesn’t like something he will not mince his words to say so. He eats without creating a fuss partly because it is already made and he hates to waste food and partly because he loves me 😉 but later declares full throttle, that he will not eat that particular thing again.

He prefers familiar food. Something he has grown up with. Well, his case is not as severe as a friend of ours who even after having a full blown chinese meal wouldn’t be satisfied unless he had a small bowl of curd rice. 🙂

Yummy Slice

Yummy Slice

Just 2 posts back, I tried my hand at this wonderful 100% whole wheat pizza dough, which was a fabulous sunday lunch for all of us at home. A simple margherita with astounding results.

Happily gobbled in no time, husband craved for something closer to home…No basil-shasil, lots of garden fresh veggies and a whole lot of coriander/cilantro leaves to garnish. The guy is in love with coriander leaves from time immemorial. He likes it in everything (except desserts). Daal, sabzis, soup/stew, pav bhaji, bread, rice or in parathas!

He told me to hide the basil, and get the coriander leaves out. Along came the corn paneer and mushrooms with a wee bit of tandoori masala to tantalize his austere palette.

One for all

One for all

The Recipe:

To make 1 medium sized pizza:

Ingredients

  • 100 % whole wheat pizza dough
  • 2-3 tbsp pizza sauce or simple ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 4-5 tbsp grated paneer
  • 1 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp tandoori masala
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves to garnish
  • seasoning and red chili flakes – to serve with

Method

In a pan, heat oil. Saute onions. Once pinkish, add corn and chopped mushrooms along with a little bit of tandoori masala and salt. Takes hardly 3-4 minutes. Keep aside.

Roll out your dough into desired thickness on a pre oiled parchment paper. Spread the pizza sauce or ketch up on it. Spread the corn mushroom mix on it evenly. Top with grated paneer and little bit of cheese.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Bake at 200 degree celsius till the base slightly browns. Don’t wait for the paneer to brown, it won’t.
Once out of the oven. Sprinkle seasoning and chopped coriander leaves. Let is sit for 2-3 minutes – hardest to do. Then… Attack!

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

So, I chopped. He topped. We baked and then we devoured with such frenzy right on the kitchen top, that Milee definitely puts a check on the crazy parents box. The delightful bites with very Indian flavors won me over so much that I had to put this recipe up for you guys to try.

Healthy Indian flavored Pizza

Healthy Indian flavored Pizza

Milee did not care much for this mix mash of punjabi-italian slice. She was well fed with her simple margherita. But her amused, curious and ‘u guys are mad o wot’ look did seal the deal for a perfect end to a Sunday Brunch.

Thin Crust Classic Margherita – 100% whole wheat!!

An impromptu picnic at the very beautiful Kanheri Caves(Mumbai), relentless rain, a homely sweet birthday party, hot steaming cups of chai, some sweet succulent corn on the cobs and a very runny nose – the weekend just zooms away. Before it fully whooshed past, I grabbed the chance to make some very healthy crisp thin-crust Margherita!

Divine Bite

Divine Bite

A confession – I have never been a fan of pizza – don’t worry, I’m real.
When we were growin up, pizza hut made its presence felt loud and clear. I still remember my first bite, the when and the where… a brand new sleek looking pizza shop on Cunningham Road. An afternoon out with friends. We- a bunch of teens, eager to try the enticing cheesy gooey triangle, with barely 100 bucks in our tiny pockets. All smiles and chatty till I have my first bite! And oh! how I disliked the doughy mass gulped with gallons of coke. I was so upset – (more with the fact that I just wasted my precious money on something so highly distasteful!).

Tempting triangles

Tempting triangles

Seven years back, a tiny quaint little pizzeria in Times Square of NYC transformed my charred taste buds. Super thin crust – fresh simple ingredients, incredible flavors and the fact that I could eat with my fingers… (pick,fold and bite!) was a revelation to me. That one huge slice satiated and more than made up for all the years that I had given it all up for. Since then I have been eating this ultimate deliciousness but of course on my terms and conditions 🙂

Fresh Basil to garnish

Fresh Basil to garnish

This(Blogging) wonderful medium has introduced me to new people, new cuisines, awesome photography and of course stupendous new recipes! I stumbled upon this very enticing formula to make whole wheat pizza sans the refinery, using very little ingredients and emphasizing the simplicity of the procedure. I had to bookmark it. With ingredients readily available in your pantry, a classic thin crust margherita can be created, all you need is – Time.

So simple

So simple

The Recipe:

Ingredients

For the pizza dough:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt according to taste
  • luke warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the Assembly:

  • 6-8 tbsp of pizza sauce
  • 8-9 tbsp of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • chopped sweet basil to garnish

Method

For the Dough:
Proof the yeast according to instructions on the pack. I have given a small tip at the end of the post. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt and 1 tsp sugar. Make a well in the center, add olive oil, proofed yeast and luke warm water to bind. Get all of it together. Knead for at least 5-6 minutes. Then in a well oiled bowl, place the kneaded dough and cover with a plastic film. Let the dough rise to double the volume. This takes approximately 2 hours.

For the Assembly:
Once done, preheat your oven to 250 degree C for 5-6 mins.
Remove the cling film, punch the dough and grab a handful of it, and using extra flour roll it out or spread with your fingers to form a pizza base. Carefully pick the base and lay on a pre oiled parchment paper. Brush little olive oil on the base. Spread your desired quantity of pizza sauce and loads of grated mozzarella.

Carefully pick the parchment paper, place in the pre heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degree C till the edges brown and cheese melted.

Once done, remove. Stay for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped basil.

Serve with seasoning n tabasco.

Scrumptious Slice

Scrumptious Slice

Proofing the yeast: I dissolved 1/2 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup luke warm water. Then added 2 and 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast. Mixed it vigorously, till a pasty structure was formed. Covered and kept it aside for 10 minutes. After the said time, the yeast was all frothy and bubbled up. Ready to be used. Sorry I forgot to click it, I was way too excited to get going with the dough.

Classic Easy Peasy Pizza Sauce: Heat olive oil, saute garlic(5-6 pods), 1 chopped onion, 3-4 dry red chilies, and 5-6 round fat ripe red tomatoes(skin peeled), along with 1/4 tsp sugar and salt to taste. Simmer for at least 30 minutes till the oil leaves the sides. Cool. Coarsely grind. Add oregano and 1 tbsp chopped basil. Ready to use!

No cook super simple Pizza sauce: 1 cup tomato ketch up, 1 tbsp butter, 3 minced garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all together, microwave for a minute or two. Mix well. Use!! Its good.. seriously. When you don’t have time to make the original, this works like a dream.

Link to the original: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/05/100-whole-wheat-pizza-dough.html

Simple comfort food

Simple comfort food

Herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

Mixed herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

Mixed herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

I have been toying with the idea of baking some bread from a very very long time. But attempting to bake bread is intimidating. The very thought of all the possibilities that could go wrong loom large in front of my eyes. Yet, that fateful day, I decided to take the plunge. And I usually take risks when someone is coming over for dinner. Silly? Hmm..Thats me.
I experiment most when I have guests over. Feeling all the while for those poor little guinea pigs aches my heart, but still I go ahead with my bold ventures. You know, how it is when something comes to your mind and you want to do it then and there, at that time only.. yea… it happens a lot to me. I know, no justification for my mindless endeavors.

Crisp Crust

Crisp Crust

I was particularly going through a very busy day. The husband had crazy conference calls from dawn till dusk(he works from home), Milee was being annoyingly demanding, a doctor’s appointment, one absent maid and my favorite brother in law over for dinner. My best half suggested we go out, but I was attacked by that untimely, unpropitious bug of creating something new! So, ignoring his proposal, I go all out and BIZARRE! He shook his head, knowing very well the intensity of the bug bite.

Well Baked and Well Risen

Well Baked and Well Risen

I greatly admire Aparna’s My diverse Kitchen. Adapting and recreating the magic with her dishes is a huge learning experience for me. Having bookmarked innumerable recipes from her site, I dug this one out, and set about making it among the chaos reigning large in my house and in my head. Hoping that cheese, herbs and some fabulous warm bread might soothe out my wrinkely nerves.

Since its my maiden attempt to bake something that looks so formidable… I have stuck to refined all purpose flour(not healthy)but my later attempts(after I become a little better at baking) would be to eliminate the refined flours and adopt the whole grains. But as of now, bear with me.

Tea Time Treats

Tea Time Treats

While making this bread, I filled the entire bread pan with the dough, and the leftover dough was rolled into small tiny bite sized rolls. Now, while baking, these bite sized bits turn out exceptionally well.. better than the original bread baking in the pan. They are light, crisp and golden. So, hence forth I’ve decided to make these rolls with the dough instead of the pull bread. Its easier and they bake uniformly. So, you could try a bit of both to see what works for you.

Small rolls bake perfectly

Small rolls bake perfectly

The Recipe:
For step by step pictorial refer here:

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2¾ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25gm butter, soft at room temperature
  • ¾ to 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ¾ cup milk (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)

For the Filling:

  • 15 gm melted butter
  • 2 tsp dried Provencal or mixed herbs*
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • Crushed pepper/ red chilli flakes to taste
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • (or any kind of herbs you like)

Method

1. Dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the ½ cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up. (If you use instant yeast, the waiting time is not necessary as it wont bubble up)
2. Put the flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste in a large bowl
3. Mix well with your hand or do it in a food processor.
4. Then add the yeast mixture and the remaining milk.
5. Start kneading. Keep mixing until it all comes together. You could do this in an electric mixer or food processor too. Knead for 10-15 minutes until you get a smooth, elastic dough. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a couple spoons of flour.
6. Place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil
7. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1½ hours or until almost double in volume.
8. Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough & place it in the work counter Shape it into a rough square with the help of your hands
9. Roll the dough out into a larger square. (roll it our as thinly as possible, maintaining the shape)
10. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the herbs, pepper/ chilli flakes and the cumin seeds and then the grated cheese. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
11. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect.
12. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips. You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater.
13. Cut straight down through the stack dividing it into equal pieces (6-8 square stacks). First cut the strip in half. Then cut each part in half & quarter & so on. If the is any excess dough, cut it off.
14. Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin
15. If you have excess dough, roll it out long; sprinkle with herbs & cheese.
16. Roll it into a log & cut into swirly rolls.
17. Once the pieces are stacked, cover the loaf tin with a damp cloth. Let it rise for an hour or so.
18. Preheat the oven at 180 C (if you’re baking in OTG) or 160 C (if its a convection oven). Bake for 30 -40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.
19. Serve warm.

A gift which won't be refused - for sure

A gift which won’t be refused – for sure

Note: I took exactly half the measurements of the above ingredients as it was my very first. I was mad enough to attempt it on a
harrowing day but not mental enough to waste food if it turned out to be a dud. 😉

Note: Reduce the garlic paste or eliminate altogether from the dough, tastes better. I forgot to add it to the flour, and mine
tasted good as the mixed herbs had enough garlic in them.

Crisp and cheesy

Crisp and cheesy

Milee had to be picked from a near by building where she had gone for a class. It was already evening, the sun was about to set soon. And I was eager to take pictures before it turned dark. I also wanted a new setting. I grabbed the bread, camera and all, reached 15 minutes before the kid’s class got over. To my luck there was a fabulous well scratched rough looking painter’s stool/table lying desolately in the car parking area of the building. My joy knew no bounds. What a steal!! I make the settings and holler to a very sweet friend who stays just above the magical podium. She thought I was a nut to go bonkers on a rough dilapidated looking stool. She changed her mind ofcourse. 😉

If you have noticed(mostly you would have), the color on the bread is not very golden, it needed a little more baking time. But I had to do the pictures before it got dark. After the shoot, the bread was back in the oven for a good 10 more minutes, and the result rocked completely.

Picture Perfect?

Picture Perfect?

And no, I could not steal the stool. It was too big to be sneaked out. But the good old friend of mine has assured that it will always be there and I am welcome anytime to come and shoot away. 🙂 lucky me!

Note: For those dear friends and readers who saw the Lasagna making pictures on my FB page, here is the party pooper: I clicked away the step by step assembling of the lasagna, but it was a pot luck dish, and I took it over to a cousin’s place, where in the get together, I forgot to click the final outcome and the serves. So sorry, the dish will not be featuring any time now. But soon, I will make it again and post the fabulous vegan egg free Lasagna. So, till then, make bread!