Kale and Spinach Masala Vada(i)

What’s your indulgence on a cold miserable day? NC brought out in full spate some miserable and grumpy days to the boot. Nagging cold weather accompanied by some rain and a weather that could not decide between holding onto winter and hopping aboard the spring train. Yikes !

Now imagine a day where the sun refused to peek out and the bare branches of the trees formed a sticky silhouette to temper the gray dull skies. The weather even managed to incite my boisterous and slightly neurotic lab to snooze . And quite a vent hugger she was. The warm draft of air from the heater vent provided the perfect huggable carpet spot for her and I could hear her stretching and yawning.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

I would have loved to take out that raggedy brown blanket, stretch out on the recliner with a hot cuppa and indulge in a book. Any book. But since kids would arrive from school and look forward to something that could perk them up.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

 

So a hot steaming cup of chai it is and a plate piled with piping hot and steaming baby kale and baby spinach masala vada(i). Chockful of these and the lentils provide much of the protein and flavors of fennel and ginger and garlic. Seriously folks, you would be missing out if you do not make these.

Kale and Spinach Masala ( Vadai)

A   plate piled high with piping hot, crispy, golden brown masala vada(i).. packed with kale and spinach and spiced with those flavors that make it extra special – protein packed indulgence and hot steaming cuppa to  make it even more better. It’s ok to indulge once in a while and it sure calls for it today !

Now what’s your excuse and what’s your indulgence?

Soaking time : 3 hrs   Prep time : 15 min   Cooking time : 25-30 min  Pieces : about 30 

Serves a hungry lot !

Ingredients:

Pulses and Cereals: Soaked for about 3 hrs or so.

  • Dry split Channa dal : 3/4 cup
  • Dry Toor Dal : 1/4 cup
  • Flax seeds : 2 Tbsp
  • Rice : brown/ white : 2 Tbsp.

Vegetables/Herbs

  • Baby Spinach : 1 cup : chopped
  • Baby Kale : 1 cup chopped
  • Onion : 1 medium size : chopped fine
  • Garlic cloves: 3 : chopped fine
  • Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped fine
  • Mint leaves : 8-10, chopped fine
  • Green chilies : 8-10. chopped fine ( adjusted to spice level)
  • Ginger : peeled, 1 inch , chopped fine

Dry Spices: ( preference can dictate the kind of spices added)

  • Fennel seeds / Saunf : 1 Tbsp
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp , adjusted to taste.

Frying:

  • Deep frying in peanut/ canola/vegetable /saffola oil of your choice.

Method:

  • Grind to a thick and coarse consistency the soaked ingredients listed under pulses/ cereals
  • The batter should not be extra fine or smooth but be ground enough to show occasional whole soaked dals with coarse consistency and done so just the little amount of water required. Do not make it too watery or mush, then the vada(i)s will soak up extra oil.
  • Add in all the ingredients listed in spices and mix well.
  • Add in the ingredients listed in vegetables and herbs and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high heat.
  • Test the temperature of oil by putting in a tiny dropful of batter. If it floats immediately to the top and is sizzling, you can begin the process of making vada(i)s.

Shaping, Frying the Vada(i)s

  • You can use the flat side of a ziploc bag, dab it with oil and drop 2 Tbsp. of coarse batter, flatten to get a round disc and gently slide it the  oil.
  • Or the method I prefer, is to use my fingers and palms to shape the flattened discs and slide them gently in oil.
  • Fry in medium high heat about 6-8  in batch or so.  The discs are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • Fry these in medium high heat to a nice even brown. Do not fry in very high heat. If you do so, the outer layer will get cooked faster than the inner one and it is not something you will relish!
  • Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and the mush awaited book of your choice!

Spicy Potato / Urulaikizhangu Masala Podimas

Reminiscent of those Sunday meals where quick but delicious food was the norm and we had a gaggle of family and friends gathered around for one of those inimitable “quality times” at home. The aroma of fresh sambar and potato spicy podimas with a generous dose of onions and spiced just perfect with green chilies . Asafoetida wafting through the siren’s call of hot, steaming, fresh cooked food and aided by a perfect combination of melted ghee and vadams.

Spicy Potato / Urulaikizhangu Masala Podimas ( Spicy potato fry)

A typical south Indian brunch followed very shortly by filter kaapi – the mother of all Starbucks lattes and espresso, in my opinion. Those were the simpler times. Be it an impromptu weekend brunch or any of those big family gatherings, it was a given that house would be bursting at seams with folks.  There was always a smile for everyone and room for one more ..

yin and yang of seasoning
yin and yang of seasoning

This dish dates back to those days. Clean flavors with minimal cooking but bang on the target for taste. Fresh curry leaves were always used – just taken of the tree in the backyard. Cilantro? the kitchen garden had it. Want mint ? Running out of something? Just peek into your neighbors’ backyard and give a shout out. Have a huge lot of veggies you harvested? Neighbors took them and nothing goes waste. Community living at its finest, sometimes.

Spicy Potato / Urulaikizhangu Masala Podimas ( Spicy potato fry)

This was a favorite prep back home. Infact you can make a ton of it and use it  as a stuffing for masala dosa. Or be creative and stuff it into a bun or paratha, make a grilled sandwich. Possibilities ? Endless!

Prep time : 20 -30 min  Cook time : 15 min

This serves about 6-8 people and goes great with samabar or simple rasam  and rice.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes : 8-10
  • Onions : 2 , medium-sized
  • Ginger : skinned, a big 1 inch piece
  • Curry leaves : 6-8
  • Asafoetida : 1 generous pinch
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp.
  • Green chilies : 6 ( I used very spicy ones )
  • Cilantro :  1/4 cup, chopped finely
  • Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Split, washed urad dal : 1 Tbsp.
  • Oil : 2 Tbsp.

Method:

  • Boil the potatoes ( or pressure cook them ) well, peel and mash them roughly ( retain small chunks, don’t make it a gooey mess) and set aside.
  • Chop ginger and chilies finely or coarsely as per preference and set aside.
  • Finely slice onions and set aside. I used 2 golf ball sized red onions. You can increase or decrease the quantity based on personal preference.
  • In a wide bottom  heavy skillet ( use a heavy cast iron or nonstick if available ) add the  oil and heat it. Add in the Asafoetida when the oil gets hot.  Now add in the tempering of mustard seeds ( which will splutter) and urad dal. Once the urad dal is light brown in color , add the curry leaves, chopped ginger and chilies. Sauté for about 30-45 seconds and then add the turmeric powder and  the sliced onions.
  • Sauté the onions till well brown.
  • Now add the mashed potatoes and salt and gently stir fry in the skillet until the spices are well coated and potatoes are evenly salted as well.
  • Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Spicy Potato / Urulaikizhangu Masala Podimas ( Spicy potato fry)

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread (Wheat)

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

This post has sat in drafts for a very long time. I have no clue why it took that long but all is well… Been  a bit scatter brained , but that’s not unusual either. The usual activities of soccer and gymnastics and the seasonal prep of FRC begins. Maya, on the other hand has been the most unburdened of the lot as she explores the backyard like a new-found babe – after days of rain and blah weather , the sun gods decide to shine on us . You could see this gorgeous streak of black, shiny fur dashing about as she chases squirrels that have peeped our after a couple of weeks. And she makes the most of it. Streaking about or snoozing in the sun. She does make me en her sometimes ! Abundant energy and abundant love .. always .

Gorgeous day and I realize, I have about a dozen drafts – nope, honest not kidding, atleast a dozen drafts sitting in the folder waiting for their turn in the sun. And I shall oblige to the best of my ability.

Been to Panera bread? It’s like this secret joint for all bread lovers to unite . Much before the active baking bug bit me ( quite honestly it has not been too long, but lets just say for timeframe sake barely 18 months or so)  their neatly arranges loaves of bread and near tumbling brown fresh-baked ones from the basket were so inviting and tempting for me. Almost irresistible that I would inevitably come home with a couple at least. Well they are now too, albeit now, I use my discretionary powers and bring a couple more of the new ones as well to try their flavors. LOL! One of their creations would be this Jalapeño cheese focaccia bread – a tiny piece of marvel with generous pepping of fresh jalapeño peppers. Yum –  O ! It’s like a sirens call for A1. He could never resist it and could polish a couple if not for mom’s “look”.Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

Been wanting to try something akin to that one for sometime , and also wanted to incorporate fresh garden grown herbs in it. While I believe this was originally baked way back in early 2014 when I was starting out to look at yeast and not turn the other way ( been in the drafts folder too long ), baked it a couple quite a few times after that with ever pleasing results !

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

And here we go….

Prep time : 20 min 

Dough resting time : 60 – 75 min  + additional 25 min

Bake time : 25-30 min

Ingredients

Bread:

  • White whole wheat flour : 2 cups
  • All purpose flour : 1 and 1/4 cups
  • Brown sugar : 1 and 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
  • Garlic salt : 1/4 tsp.  ( optional, but recommended)
  • Instant yeast : 2.25 teaspoon/ 1 sachet
  • Olive oil : 2 Tbsp.
  • Very warm water : 1 and 1/4 cup

Topping:

  • Fresh garlic cloves : 8-10
  • Fresh mint : About 1/4 cup of leaves
  • Fresh Cilantro : 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • Jalapeño Peppers, green fresh : 2 – 3 big
  • Red chili flakes : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
  • Olive oil : 3 Tbsp.

Directions:

Preparing the Dough:

  • If using a stand mixer, I initially like to attach the paddle attachment and mix everything and then switch to the dough hook for kneading.
  • Add both the flours, salt and sugar and whisk well. Add the dry instant yeast (Since we are using the dry instant kind, we do not need to activate it. However if you are unsure, then proof the yeast in the warm water with sugar.)
  • Add the  2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then the very warm water and mix it well.
  • Switch to the dough hook and now knead it very well till you get a smooth dough. The dough is very soft and smooth. Not overtly sticky. If required add a tbsp. or so of extra APF to bring it to the desired smooth consistency.
  • Oil/ Grease a container . Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size ( 60-75 min). I simply spray the container of my mixing bowl and let it rise in it.

(Tip : During winter times/ colder weather , turn on the oven initially for a few min. When it hits a temp of say 150 F, turn it off. Once you knead the dough, place it in the warm oven for about an hour. It will help in making the dough rise faster.)

Preparing the Herb, Jalapeno Pepper & Garlic Spread:

  • In a toaster oven, line a baking tray with aluminum foil . Arrange the  cloves of garlic and jalapeño and drizzle about a 1 Tbsp. of oil and roast it on high. Mine hit the maximum at 450 F, so I used that setting for about 8 min or so.
  • You want these roasted well and not blackened, so do keep an eye out and prep according to the toaster oven.
  • Let this cool for a bit. Add these along with the fresh herb mix  and remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil, pulverize in a food processor / blender to from a coarse paste.
  • Add the chili flakes, mix, scoop and set aside. This will form the top layering for the bread.

Prep and Baking:

  • In about 60 min or so, the dough would have doubled in size. Gently deflate it.
  • Prepare a heavy baking tray by lining it with baking sheet or parchment paper. Generously  mist/ spray/layer it with olive oil.
  • Dump the deflated dough onto it. Using your hands work it to form a nice rectangle / oval, about an inch or so in thickness.
  • Cover it so it is prepped for the second rise where it will rise a bit more for about 25 – 30 minutes to yield a slightly puffy look.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Once the dough is ready, using 2 fingers gently poke all over the surface of the bread. You are forming indentations and not tearing the bread dough apart.
  • Using a pastry brush if desired, spread the herb, and spicy pepper mix on the surface.
  • Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until it is nice golden brown on the top. Do not over bake please.

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

To serve:

  • Serve warm bread with a drizzle of olive oil /herb oil. Best eaten warm.

Go ahead, the focaccia bread is warm , inviting and I bet it’s a siren’s call for you too.

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

Quick and No Oil Masala Peanuts – Crunchy, spicy and Irresistible

A very short post. In all honestly did not even take pictures on my Cannon. Cause today was such a day that paid homage to the ” need a vacation after the vacation” kind of thing. After a long and exhausting road trip , and I mean really exhausting, laundry and stuff needed something to munch. But since we had loaded up with enough calories for a lifetime twice over and then some, was not willing to really rack my brain or stretch my time . And then of course a pack of raw unroasted peanuts caught my fancy. We love peanuts here and except for my oldest who treats it like his mortal enemy !! Our road trip introduced us to a particularly unappealing one  – too much vinegar and a crusty outer layer that had us gagging and reaching for the nearest bottle of water. Sigh ! A good masala peanut should have enough coating to give you the crunch but not overwhelm you so you have to dig for the nut !!

This is a spin off of my mom’s take on masala crunchy peanuts. No deep frying.. Just regular microwave option ! Simple and quick made in a jiffy. I would definitely advise to make in smaller batches cause unlike deep frying, microwave method  requires you to ensure the wet coated peanuts are spread out on a plate and cooked in 2 minute intervals.

Quick and No Oil Masala Peanuts - Crunchy, spicy and Irresistible

Preparation Time : 5-7 minutes

Cooking Time : 5-8 min

Ingredients:

  • Raw peanuts with skin: 1/2 cup
  • Chickpea flour / Besan : 1/4 cup
  • Hing : A generous pinch
  • Red Chili powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala : 1/2 tsp.
  • Amchur: A pinch
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp.
  • Water : 2-3 Tbsp. 
  • Baking soda : a tiny pinch 1/8 tsp.
  • OPTIONAL : 1 tsp. of oil

Method:

  • Wash the raw, unskinned peanuts very well and drain in a colander and set aside.
  • In a wide mixing bowl, add the flour and 1/8 tsp. of baking soda and whisk well.
  • Add the rest of the spices and mix well again.
  • Add the drained peanuts and toss it well with the flour-spice mix.
  • Sprinkle the reserved 2-3 Tbsp. of water as required and  in stages so the peanuts get coated in spice mix very well and they sort of clump/ adhere together.
  • OPTIONAL : I did not use oil at all. But if you desire to and need an extra crunch, add in 1 tsp. of oil and mix it with the nut – spice mixture.
  • Spread this mix on a microwave safe plate. Spread it out in a single layer as much as possible.
  • CAUTION : Microwave for 5-6 minutes in full power in 2 minute intervals please ! You will burn the peanuts of you bake it at one stretch and you will need to stir it a bit in between intervals.

Verdict: Awesome and crunchy peanuts. I made mine without any oil and it was really crunchy. Optionally you can also add Chaat masala.

Notes and Variables :

  • Microwave cooking power would vary the time but you should generally anticipate it being done in this time frame .
  • Quality of the peanuts and the size – smaller ones tend to crunch up faster so keep an eye out
  • Stirring it in between would keep it from burning of course.
  • Mine was done in about 5 minutes.
  • Adding oil is definitely your choice. Mine was crunchy without any. 
  • Take care so the flour – spice mix coats it evenly. You do want it too lumpy or watery.

 

 

 

Beetroot leaves Thogayal/Chutney/Relish

A trip to any grocery store invariably ends up in me looking for fresh beets. And if it is usually packed with leaves, then the fresher the better naturally. The gorgeous color  and crispness of the leaves is a natural draw for me. Actually I am a sucker when it comes to all kinds of fresh leafy greens (Make it most of the veggies ). Can never resist the siren’s call !!!

 Beetroot leaves Thogayal/Chutney/Relish

So there was this lushest pack of beets beckoning to me in the produce section of HT. Gorgeous bright green leaves with veins of deep red and big fat beets clustered to it. I just had to pick it up! Don’t judge me please, I can always rationalize it as  how one can never have too many veggies. So in any case, these gorgeous beauties came home and I was itching to make something out of it. Usually the leaves can be sautéed and made with a bit of soaked dal to yield a side accompaniment. But I want something else..  I wanted to make this relish that my mom and grandma could practically whip out of any vegetable. The basic recipe remains the same but the varieties it yields with it as the base is  amazing. This is great as a spread, a side dish or to simply use it up mixed with rice and veggies as well.

 

Gorgeous green leaves with thick red veins !
Gorgeous green leaves with thick red veins !

Beet leaves sautéed and fine ground with roasted urad dal, tamarind, red chilies, whole black pepper to yield a slightly spicy, a bit tangy and wonderful earthy relish/ spread/thogayal. Chockfull of nutrients in a bowl!

Prep time : 10 min  Cook time : 10 min  Yields :  8 -10 servings

Shelf life : 1 week refrigerated.

 Ingredients:

  • Beet leaves – trim stem, chop roughly to yield 2 cups
  • Skinned, split Urad Dal : 1/2 cup
  • Wet tamarind : 1 inch piece
  • Whole black pepper : 1/4  Tbsp.
  • Red chilies ( mix mild to high heat) – 4-6 or lower according to spice level
  • Oil : 2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1 tsp + to taste
  • Water : 1/3 cup – add as required to grind

 Optional : Seasoning ( but highly recommended)

  • Oil : 1 tsp.
  • Curry leaves : 4-6
  • Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Hing : a generous pinch

Method:

  • In a  skillet  add initially 1 tsp. of oil and on heating add chilies and whole black peppers,
  • Add washed,skinned, split urad dal and roast till it is a nice brown in color. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • In the same skillet , add another tsp. of oil and now add the thoroughly washed and cut beet leaves and sauté till it is tender. Say about 5 minutes. Add the piece of tamarind. Turn off the flame and scoop it side in another plate to cool.
  • On cooling , grind the dal and chili and pepper mix initially along with salt to a rough grind.
  • Add the leaves and tamarind and a couple of tablespoons of water and grind till you reach your desired consistency. Add more water if desired. A smoother relish will be easier to handle but will have lower shelf life if you add too much water. 

Optional Seasoning but highly recommended:

  • Heat oil in skillet, add hing and when it sizzles add mustard seeds which will splutter in the heat and then add curry leaves.
  • Turn off the flame and pour it over the relish and mix it well.
  • This is a great way to temper the spices as well enhance the taste if the relish along with increasing the shelf life a bit.
A thick spicy chutney/relish/thogayal chock full of nutrients !
A thick spicy chutney/relish/thogayal chock full of nutrients !

Enjoy with hot steamed rice, phulkas , dal and even a slice of toast!

Tomato Rice – With Vegetables. Simple,wholesome,easy!

My interest in genetic manipulations aside, today was a bang on start crazy day. Thunderstorms kept me awake and up and fidgety from an ungodly hour. Clearly the singing of ” brown paper packages ” works only in movies. Bright and early and in this case it was  bright and early and a wee bit cranky cause of all the missed sleep, missed school bus and more! There was this real need to whip up breakfast, lunch dinner and after school snack in about an hour’s time. Make that for 4 please!

For those days when you want something quick and easy, nutritious and guilt free, lip-smacking but not having to do gob smacking work and of course if you absolutely need to clean only one pan or pot, then this works wonders.

Tomato Rice - With Vegetables. Simple,wholesome,easy!

 Please, while I absolutely and fervently hope to use and definitely advocate the utilization of fresh vegetables, a steady supply of fresh frozen organic ones are at hand too as a lifesaver / stopgap for me.  This recipe is so versatile that you can add and reduce the number of vegetables or combinations of it based on the contents of your refrigerator or rather your freezer.

Tomato Rice - With Vegetables. Simple,wholesome,easy!

 Best summarized by  Curnonsky on cooking, perfection, and simplicity “In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.” Presenting a simple one pot meal that is so perfect that you just need an accompaniment of cool cucumber raita and roasted papad, and you have a winner on your hands.

Perfect cooked and fluffy rice - rich in taste simple in prep
Perfect cooked and fluffy rice – rich in taste simple in prep

 Prep time : 10 min  Cook time : 20-25 min Serves : 4-6

Ingredients:

 Rice:

  • Long grained / Basmati Rice : 2 Cups

 Vegetables and Herbs:

  • Onion: 1 medium or large, chopped or diced fine
  • Tomatoes : 2 medium-sized ones, diced fine
  • Peas and Carrots : 1/4 cup ( frozen or fresh, diced)
  • Mint sprigs : a few, chopped roughly to yield 2 Tbsp.
  • Fresh Curry leaves: 2-3
  • Grated Ginger : 1 tsp.

 Whole spices:

  • Cardamom : 1( cracked open)
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
  • Bay leaf : 1
  • Cloves: 2
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.
  • Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp.
  • Fennel seeds: 1/2 tsp.

 Masala Powders, Salt and Oil

  • Sambar Masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder : 1 tsp ( optional)
  • Red chili powder : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1 – 1.5 tsp.
  • Oil : 2 Tbsp.

 Garnish :

  • Fresh chopped cilantro : 2 Tbsp.

 Method:

  • In a wide saucepan or deep skillet ( must have lid) add in the oil and on heating add in the whole spices. The spices sizzle and yield an aroma that is quite good. Add in the curry leaves and grated ginger now.
  • Add in the chopped onion and sauté then very well . Add in the chopped mint, followed by the peas and carrots. Stir for a good couple of minutes so the carrots and peas start to stew a bit.
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes next and sauté for a minute or two and then add in the salt. Based on how juicy your tomatoes are, the next step  will take any from a couple of minutes to about 5 or so. Let the juices of the tomato and veggies reduce a bit.
  • Add in the Sambar masala powder, Garam masala powder and chili powder. Stir very well and let it remain for a minute to shuck off its raw taste.
  • Meanwhile wash the rice very well .
  • Add in the washed rice to this tomato and vegetable mix in the pan. Stir in the rice very well so it gets coated with the spices, oil and vegetables.
  • Add in 4 cups of water ( 2 cups of basmati rice is usually cooked in about 4 cups of water to yield soft , fluffy grains. You might need to adjust the water based on the rice used) and cover and cook for about 15 minutes or so. Do not stir in between. Do cook on medium heat as well.
  • Once done , fluff up the rice, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with cool raita  and fresh roasted papad.

Veggies and Cheese stuffed Pinwheels – Spiced,Eggless,Whole wheat and Irresistible!

 This should have been one of those soul inspiring or a post with a deep message or something thereof. Truth be told, I was one heck of a distracted soul yesterday and goofed up on a couple of things including the prep on what I needed to do . But hey all is well that ends well right?? Plus it’s the weekend and we can all afford to go a wee bit crazy after a week of 5.30 AM alarming alarms..  Keeping it short and simple.. Just so you know while this was happening, I think Mrs. Doubtfire would have been awfully proud of me. Disaster not withstanding and leaky taps not holding me back , no sir I do not know what you are talking about the orange cup. I think Mr. Bean was channeled and changed genders in my kitchen today 🙂  So did feel like some sort of metaphysical channeling happened right there and I survived and saved the day ! Excuse me while I try and pat my back 🙂

 

So here it goes.. This one is awesome and the recipe is a sure shot keeper. Pinwheels of somewhat flaky and slightly crispy, tender, baked bread encasing spicy veg filling tempered with cheese. Absolutely sinful ( on a diet, well not really ) and so worth it ! An absolute crowd pleaser and kid certified recipe ! Perfect for starter and evening snack. Make it a winner with a cup of hot steaming ginger chai – Cure all for all times !

Truth behind...
Truth behind…

Prep time : 30 minutes    Dough rising time : 110 minutes   Baking time : 20 min  Serves 4-6

 Ingredients (Makes 12-14 pinwheels)

 For the Dough:-

  • 1.5 cup white whole wheat flour (I used KA)
  • 1/2  cup of APF  + 1/2  more cup  as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ajwain  or carom seeds
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves fine crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2-3 Tbsp. cup of warm water- as needed for the dough
  • Flour for dusting if required

For the filling :- (Makes about 2 cups)

  1. 1/2 cup of grated cauliflower
  2. 1/4 cup colored bell peppers of choice, finely chopped
  3. 1/4 cup of Broccoli slaw
  4. 1/4 cup of carrots and green peas
  5. 1/2 cup of onion finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste
  7. 1 tsp of Pav Bhaji masala 
  8. 1/2 Tsp of Red Chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. of salt and more if required adjusted to taste
  10. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  11. 1/2 cup shredded cheese blend

Topping

  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheese blend

Method :

First Rise and Dough:

  • Proofing the yeast : Dissolve sugar in warm milk, add yeast and set aside till frothy. This shows the yeast is active and proofing is especially necessary because we are using active dry yeast. If you do not see the frothing in about 5 minute, re do this step. No happy yeast, no bread rise!
  • Mixing the flours: In a  mixing bowl of your stand mixer (if using) or simply any large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of APF and whisk it to ensure that they thoroughly mixed . Reserve  the second 1/2 cup of all purpose flour to add as needed. This is especially useful when we do not weigh out the flours and use volumetric measurement.
  • Add Ajwain, Jeera and  crushed Kasuri methi ( fine crushed between the palms of your hands) to the sifted flour . Whisk once again to aerate and thoroughly distribute the spices.
  • In the mixer/  large bowl now add the salt. Add in the oil and whisk it once

Kneading and first rise: 

  • Now add in the yeast mix and 1/4 cup of  warm water to the flour mix.
  • Mix it thoroughly and knead well till everything comes together. Note :- Start with 1/4 cup of water to begin with. Once a loose dough ball starts to come together continue kneading for 5-8 minutes till you get a soft, elastic dough. Adjust the water or flour level to ensure the dough is not dry or too sticky. With so much whole wheat in this mix, the pliability will not be comparable to the one using APF exclusively.
  • In a well oiled pan or the same mixing bowl rest the dough ( cover with a damp cloth and keep it in a warm, dry, dark place) for at least 90 minutes until it is doubled in size.

 For the filling : ( while the dough is rising )

  • In a pan, heat the oil and add in the onion and sauté them very well. Now add in the ginger garlic paste, bell pepper , grated cauliflower, peas and carrots and broccoli slaw in succession.
  • Salt it to ensure it cooks well , but retains its crunchiness.
  • Add in the masalas and chili powder and toss it well so it all comes together and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so,
  • Turn off the heat and stir it well .

For the Pinwheels / Second Rise:

  • Line a large rectangular baking pan or two if desired with parchment paper or baking liner.
  • Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it and knead it well for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Roll it out on a floured surface or a lightly greased surface  to make a rectangle .
  • Spread out the cooled filling on it .
  • Top it off with 1/2 cup of cheese that has been shredded. I used the 4 cheese Mexican cheese blend here.
  • Make a jelly roll by rolling from the short end first.
  • Pinch the end of the seams to seal it.
  • Using a very sharp knife , slice it into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices.
  • You should now see concentric rings of dough and filling.
  • Lift them carefully and place it on the baking pan about 3-4 inches part. Absolutely no touching each other !
  • Cover again with the damp cloth and let it rise for another 15-20 minutes.

Baking:

  • When the second rise is happening, preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
  • Once the second rise is done ( there is an obvious increase in size , but it will not double or so), top with some cheese.
  • Bake for about 18 -20 minutes , until golden brown. 

Once baked, carefully remove them from the tray and let cool on a rack.

Make a steaming hot cup of tea/ coffee/ anything else and Enjoy!

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’25’]

Cornflakes, Poha and Nuts Chivda – Low fat and easy !

Cornflakes and Poha( Flattened rice ) Crunchy toasted mix – Low fat with added goodness of nuts and spices to make it more interesting! Happy munching !

The first of the festivities begin with a bang!!!

DH twisted his ankle and hobbled away chauffeuring A1 for his weekly robotics meeting . You know how you think you end up having this one day of the week without classes or any social commitments ….? And just like that, that day gets picked for this weekly activity. In any case , with DH away and A2 diligently working on her myriad of school projects and A3 generally clowning away, I had this itch to do something. Quick, easy and perfect!

Usually this is the time when I head to the  “baking center of my brain” and subsequently raid the pantry and fridge in the hopes of creating something new. But now is as good a time as any to begin on the Diwali list. Ideally, I would have loved to begin with the creation of a sweet or Mithai. Kind of like beginning on a sweet note kind of thing , tradition and all,so to speak.

Well in this case, this conflakes chivda has a bit of everything – sugar and spice and everything nice.

Happy Diwali folks !

Diwali DIya
Diwali Diya

Cornflakes and Poha( Flattened rice ) Crunchy toasted mix 

Cooking time : 20-25 minutes            Prep time : 5 -8 min                    Serves : 8-10

Ingredients:

  • Unsweetened Cornflakes : 3 cups
  • Thick or thin flattened rice or Poha of your choice : 2 cups
  • Cashews : 1/4 cup
  • Roasted Channa Dal or Dhalia : 1/3 cup
  • Peanuts ( skinned or unskinned ) : 1/2 cup
  • Safflower or any oil of your choice : 6 Tsp.
  • Haldi or Turmeric powder : 1/4 Tsp.

Spice Mix:

  • Paprika or Chili powder : 1- 1.5 Tsp. (Depending on your spice tolerance)
  • Hing or Asafoetida : fine ground : 1/4 tsp.
  • Chaat masala : 1.5 tsp
  • Kari powder ( optional) : 1 tsp.
  • Coriander – Jeera powder : 1/4 tsp.
    Salt : 1- 1.25 tsp.
  • Sugar : 1-1.5 Tsp.

Procedure:

  1. In a big wok or Kadai, heat 2 Tsp. of oil and roast the nuts sequentially and set aside. Do not rush this step. They do need to get roasted to a nice brown color. Hastening this step would result in semi crunchy nuts.. Not what you need definitely! (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  2. Add another teaspoon oil and fry the roasted Channa dal or dhalia and curry leaves ( washed and dried please!) to crisp.( Remove the contents and let it cool! )
  3. Add another teaspoon of oil and add in half of the haldi powder and add in the 2 cups of flattened rice or Poha. Slow roast this on medium flame. High flame heat will burn the Poha and leave you with an inedible mess! Roast this until all the flakes are nicely toasted and super crunchy. Should take you anywhere from 7-12 min depending on the type of the flakes and heat maintained. (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  4. Add in the remaining oil and toss in the cornflakes with the other half of haldi powder and slow roast it again. This should take about 10-15 min. They become really crunchy and are more brown in color than the untoasted one. Again do not rush this process and ensure you are tossing the contents thoroughly to distribute the heat. (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  5. In a separate bowl dry mix all the ingredients listed under spice mix.
  6. Once the contents of the mix have sufficiently cooled down , layer it out in big wide bowl.
  7. Add in the spice mix and gently toss it with a fork or a spoon so it coats the crunchy mix.
  8. Adding in the spice mix when it is hot, will result in sweating of the flakes and you will lose the crunchiness 🙁
  9. Make sure the contents are absolutely cool before storing in an airtight container.
  10. Should stay fresh if properly stored for about 10 days.

Fresh herbs, Cheese and Jalapeno bread – Eggless, No-Knead and Super Delicious!

Fresh herbs, Cheese and Jalapeno bread – Eggless, No-Knead and Super Delicious!

It’s a beautiful day in NC. The sun has given us a bit of respite and the weather seems to bring in the summer showers. The sky is filled with pregnant clouds – that’s how I visualize it. New life begins with showers 🙂 And my Hibiscus, the yellow one bloomed cheerily. The patio is filled with pots bursting with life – and my pride and joy of herbs and more. The fresh herbs beckon me to do something in the early hours of today- especially as my angels ( sometimes troublesome 3’s ) are fast asleep and I have this morning hour to myself.

Just myself and a cup of ginger chai.

Just myself, a cup of ginger chai and a humming bird.

Just myself , a cup of ginger chai, a humming bird and a curious brown breasted rabbit !

Oh the wonders !

And I walk in to the kitchen to see the remains of the pantry cleaning. Hmm I still have a few cupful’s of the self rising APF. What do I do? I bake of course 🙂

 Snipping away the fresh herbs , gives me an idea. As is always the case, a bit of this and a bit of that goes into this effort and creation.. The result is beautiful!

 An absolutely fragrant and moist loaf of rustic cheese and herbs bread baked to near golden perfection, filled with goodness of fresh herbs and spiced with jalapeños and pepper, flax seed laden and oh so irresistible ! Try this one, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Pointers :

  • Self rising flour is All purpose flour with baking powder and salt in it. So this recipe omits salt.
  • I used a mix of grated Cheddar cheese, Habanero and Mexican cheese blend. Already loaded with salt, hence no extra salt was added in this recipe.
  • No eggs in this recipe. But you can substitute the flax seed mix I used for 2 eggs.
  • No egg wash too, Instead, I chose milk and butter wash and broiled it for 550 for 3 min.
  • The baking was at 350 for 50 min. Please keep an eye on your oven . I would recommend tenting it with an aluminum foil at the 30 min interval and bake it further.
  • I gave  the bread the milk and butter wash and then did the tenting ,baking and broiling.

Bakes : One 9 by 5 inch loaf

 Ingredients:

  • Self rising flour APF : 2.25 cups
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp
  • Shredded mix of cheddar , habenaro, pepperjack and mexican cheese blend : 1 cup
  • Fresh or Preserved Japaleno slices : chopped, 1/4 cup
  • Fresh herbs mix : 1 cup
  • Butter milk : 1.25 cups
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed + 6 Tbsp warm water : ground ( substitute for 2 eggs)
  • Olive oil : 3 Tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes : 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
  • 2 Tsp of milk + 1 tsp of butter for wash if desired

 Method:

  • Pre heat the oven to 350℉.
  • Spray a loaf pan with grease and flour it as well to prevent sticking of the bread.
  • Sift the APF self rising flour and baking soda together and set aside in a wide bowl.
  • To this add the dry seasonings and spices you are using as well the 3/4 of the fresh chopped herbs and stir it in.
  • Now add in the grated cheese and stir it in as well.
  • Add in the  3 tbsp. oil and run your flingers through the dough to distribute it.
  • In a coffee grinder  or spice grinder , first make a meal out of the flax seeds – grind as finely as possible. Then add about 6 Tbsps. of warm water and blend it together to get a thick creamy mix.
  • Add the flax seed mix and butter milk together , homogenize and then add it to the  dry mix to and stir it in well.
  • The dough is going to be a shaggy dough !
  • Empty it in to the prepped bread pan, add in the remaining herbs mix on the top.
  • Bake it for 350℉  for 45- 52 min. After the first 30 min or so, loosely tent an aluminum foil on top of your baking pan . This will help the bread to bake more evenly.
  • Gently wash the top with a mix of milk and butter if desired at this stage.
  • Finally broil it at 550 ℉ for 2 min or so to finish off with a nice brown color.
  • Cool it out in the pan for a few min and then gently remove it from the pan to let it cool on a wire rack.
  • Once cool, slice and serve with a dollop of butter or just like that!
[yumprint-recipe id=’20’] 

Maddur Vadde: Awesome Crunchy spiced disks/patties of flour and semolina that speak to your soul!

For some one who swears by Madras ( now Chennai .. you know all about your loyalty to the birth place and all) , I have these ancestral threads and lineage linking to the grand old city of Mysore and a bit beyond.  A good 20 km or  12 miles or so from the main city of Mysore lies the sleepy village of Nanjangud. I am not exactly sure on the origins of how the lineage was established to this , but the annual or bi-annual journey for our family inevitably includes a car trip from Bangalore to Mysore. On the way of course we stopped for tender coconuts – what a refreshment right down to your soul, and of course Maddur Vade. There is this small joint on the way called Maddur tiffany’s or something similar. The simply serve the very best of this variation. My mom simply loves these. It does not matter what time of the day the trip occurred, a stop for these was always included in the travel itinerary. And yes hot, piping hot, crunchy flat discs browned with deep-frying in the oil but glistening with the tone of  fried onions in these and spiced by green chilies and flavored by curry leaves, cilantro and Jeera.. Oh my! Sure takes you down the memory lane! And no matter how hot the temperature was on the outside, my mom always had it with a cup of steaming hot filter coffee. Always!

It somehow struck me that on FD, I should make these. Just like that ! Sometimes you don’t need a reason for a good thing.. a feel good thing!

So here it goes , the second in the FD series 

#FDMenu

Maddur Vadde: Awesome Crunchy spiced disks/patties of flour and semolina that speak to your soul!

 Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour : 2 cups
  • Rice flour: 1 cup
  • Sooji/ Fine Rava/ Fine semolina: 1 cup
  • Red/yellow/white Onion, medium sized- 1,Finely chopped
  • Green chilies : 4 , Finely chopped
  • Jeera/ Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
  • Oil : 2 tbsp., heated to be mixed in the flour
  • Sour plain yogurt : 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh curry leaves, : 8-10, chopped
  • Asafoetida/Hing: A big pinch
  • Salt : 1 tsp. To be adjusted to taste
  • Cilantro leaves : 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Whisk all the dry ingredients together first. The flours, and sooji and salt and Asafoetida should get mixed well.
  • Add in the chopped onions, curry leaves, cumin seeds and cilantro and mix thoroughly . Now add in the 2 tbsp. of hot oil and gently crumble through the flour .
  • Add in the sour yogurt and add as little water as required to bind the flour to form a smooth dough. You do not need to knead this a lot. Just enough so you have soft pliable one.
  • Portion these out into small lemon sized balls. Flatten them out into thin patties or disks.
  • Deep fry these in medium high heat until they turn golden brown in color.
  • Drain and serve!
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