Sunday, 28 April 2013

BEET BREAD




My love for beets and passion for baking bread resulted in Beet bread. I was mulling over incorporating beets in bread since long. Yesterday when our vendor got us fresh crisp beets, we got down to baking my “dream bread”. The beets were grated, flour measured, yeast sprinkled, oil added and with a balance of sugar and salt and the bright pink dough was all set to rise into a perfect loaf.


Beet bread a strong flavour of beets.


Studded with bright red shreds of beets, it toasts perfectly and tastes heavenly with honey, peanut butter or plain butter.


BEET BREAD
Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup grated beet root (raw)
1 tablespoon canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons  instant yeast (also known as rapid rise yeast)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water for kneading (quantity of water can vary according to need)
Method
Add sugar to warm water.
Mix flour, salt, yeast and oil till well combined.
Add grated beet to the flour and mix well.
Add warm water and knead. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes to get soft smooth dough. By now the dough will become a bright pink due to the beets.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and leave for 10 minutes.
Knead again for five minutes.
Roll the dough into a rectangle. Beginning at short end, roll up tightly.
Pinch seams and ends to seal. Place the loaf in the greased loaf tin ( 8 inch x 3 1/2 inch ) with seam sides down.
Cover and leave to rise in warm place for an hour or till doubled in size.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 190 degrees C for 20 to 25 minutes or till the top turns golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove from the oven and transfer to the rack to cool.

Sending to the food event YEASTSPOTTING


Friday, 26 April 2013

LOW FAT CHOCOLATE YOGURT CAKE




Soft, moist, delicate and fluffy with a deep chocolate flavour is how I would describe this cake. This is one cake that I love to make and eat without feeling guilty. Most of the cakes baked at home are enjoyed by our kids while we are happy and contended with a slice or two. The quantity of butter is always intimidating in cakes. Chocolate yogurt cake uses less butter and hence less guilt. This cake comes from a huge collection of recipes cut out from Femina and Good House keeping magazines ages back and stashed in a file. My blog gives me a reason to try them out!

Serve it with thick custard or ice cream or enjoy plain. Either way it is great.

LOW FAT CHOCOLATE YOGURT CAKE
Ingredients
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup low fat yogurt
½ stick butter
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 large egg
1 egg white
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Method
Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees. Grease and line a 9x5 inch loaf tin.
Sift all purpose flour, salt and baking soda.
Beat butter and sugar. Add egg and egg white and beat till fluffy.
In a bowl mix water and cocoa powder. Beat yogurt till smooth and add vanilla extract. Mix till well combined and smooth.
Add butter-sugar-egg mixture to this. Mix well.
Add flour mix in three shifts, mixing well and scraping down from the sides.
Pour the batter in the loaf tin. Level the top.
Bake for an hour till the top changes colour and a skewer inserted at the center comes out clean.
Slice when cold.





Tuesday, 23 April 2013

WHOLE WHEAT SEED BREAD



This bread was in my “must bake” list since a lot time. I’ve always loved and enjoyed the seed studded breads from the bakeries.
 I was waiting for the weather to be warmer so that the yeast could rise from its slumber faster and bubble well to give a much wanted perfect loaf. And now that we are in summers, the time is perfect for baking yeasted breads.
A medley of seeds 

There is more to this bread. The melon seeds in the bread have been procured from the first melon of the season that we bought last week. I have memories of my grandmother meticulously cleaning the melon and water melon seeds, drying them and removing kernels. The dry seeds would be split open with a forceps and the kernels would be collected in a jar. In most of her recipes she would use them.
These days convenience rules us. Even if we have time, we do not have inclination for such jobs. I have always tried to follow the food practices of our ancestors. They were a lot more enlightened about food and health and their practices were in sync with nature.
This bread is special because I have worked hard to make it.
First melon of the season!


Slices

Slices with home made Kiwifruit jam, Marmalade and Strawberry jam.

WHOLE WHEAT SEED BREAD
Ingredients
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons melon seeds
2 tablespoons water melon seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup water (some more while kneading)
2 tablespoons milk and ½ tablespoon sugar to brush the top of the bread.
Method
Set oven temperature to 120 degrees C and timer to 15 minutes. Spread flax seeds, melon seeds, water melon seeds and sesame seeds on the baking try and toast till the seeds just start changing colour and a nice aroma emanates.
Mix whole wheat flour, butter, salt and yeast. Mix well.
Add honey and brown sugar to warm water and stir till sugar dissolves completely.
Add warm water mixture to flour. Knead well for 8 to 10 minutes till you get smooth dough. Add more warm water if needed.
Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Knead the dough again for 5 to 6 minutes.
Turn dough out onto the work surface.
Add toasted seeds and a tablespoon of poppy seeds. Knead again and ensure that the seeds are evenly distributed.
Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan. Starting at the far end, roll the dough towards you keeping it tight. Pinch seams to seal.
Place the loaf in the greased loaf tin and cover it. Keep it for 1 hour or till double in size.
Spread some milk sugar mix with a brush and sprinkle the remaining poppy seeds.
Bake at 190 degrees C for 20 minutes or till the top turns golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cover the bread with a foil after 15 minutes if the top has become too brown while baking.
Slice when cold.

Sending the bread to -Yeastspotting






Saturday, 20 April 2013

BEET CHOCOLATE CAKE (Whole grain and Butter free)

 

 Winter is the season of migratory birds. We have spotted the winter guests in large numbers. Some right in our bird bath, while some in the bushes and trees around. Yesterday, we spotted a Grey Bush chat in the fields.



Winter is also the season when vegetables are in bountiful. Lush spinach, shiny zucchinis, bright carrots, spotless cauliflowers, smooth beans, green peas, red and rotund tomatoes and many more. 


The colour of beets has always inspired me to use it in my bakes. 


Last time when we got beets, a Beet Chocolate Cake was baked. I read this recipe in The VanillaBean Blog.


If you are an avid beet lover, then this is a must try Cake. It is a very Beety Cake with lovely colour and flavour.


BEET CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
¾ cup canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
¾ cup buttermilk
2 medium size beets
½ cup sugar (powdered)
2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Method
Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Pressure cook the beets till just tender. Peel and puree in a blender.
Add honey, buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla essence and blend till smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Add sugar.
Sieve together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet till well combined and smooth.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Transfer the batter to the cake tin.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or till the cake shrinks from the sides and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the pan and transfer to the rack to cool.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

STRAWBERRY JAM



Making jam is such a pleasurable experience. Nothing beats home made jam with fresh seasonal fruits personally picked and processed for making jam. This is the best way of preserving seasonal fruits and relishing it for a long long time. I have a variety of jams in my pantry that I made some time ago. Once you make jam at home, you will never like the store bought version that generally has  loads of preservatives, artificial colour, pectin, flavouring agents etc etc…..

Last week during a weekly trip to the fruit mart we got two packs of strawberries and made Jam. It is a spread able jam with loads of fruit pieces bursting with flavour.

STRAWBERRY JAM
Ingredients
Strawberries
Sugar (depends on quantity of fruit)
Lemons
You will also need-
A plate kept in the freezer
Method
Wash the strawberries; keep them for sometime to dry.
Hull the strawberries and chop them.
Measure the chopped fruit and transfer to a heavy bottom steel wok.
Measure equivalent quantity of sugar.
Mix sugar and fruit well and let it rest for two hours. The strawberries will become soft and release juice.
Add juice of half lime for every cup of chopped fruit.
Cook over medium flame stirring at short intervals to avoid jam from sticking to the bottom and burning.
When the quantity of jam reduces and starts attaining jam like consistency, reduce the heat and cook on low flame stirring constantly.
To test doneness, drop some jam on the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate... if it doesn't try to run back together, it is done. If it is runny, it needs to be cooked for some more time.
While the jam cools, sterilise the bottles. Place the washed and dried bottles with the lids in the oven. Set the temperature to 100 degrees and set the timer to 10 minutes. Remove the bottles and their lids from the oven. 
Ladle hot jam into the jars leaving ¼ inch head space. Secure the lids tightly.

Monday, 15 April 2013

BAKED PAPDI CHAAT - STREET FOOD MADE HEALTHY AND GUILT FREE



Whenever I think of street food, myriad images conjure up in my mind. Images of people huddled around chaat vendors enjoying the spicy and tangy treat. Breaking hot aloo tikkis and smothering with chutney and seasoned yogurt and enjoying  the blissful indulgence. Others managing a blast of spicy water as gol gappa bursts inside their mouth.  Slurping, licking, chomping, smacking their lips and savouring every morsel of their favourite chaat while the vendor deftly attends to one and all with dexterity that he has acquired in his trade over the years!
In north India, chaat is the most popular street food. Though momos, and dosas have also made a foray but chaat stills reigns supreme. Every street and every corner of the market has a chaat vendor doling out his specialties – samosas, tikkis, gol gappas and papdi chaat. I am not a fan of chaat, but whenever I pass by a chaat vendor, the palate titillating aroma  does hit me.
When Annarasa announced the street food event, there couldn’t have been a better occasion to try out my own version of healthy homemade Baked Papdi chaat. 


BAKED PAPDI CHAAT
Papdi
Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon semolina
1 tablespoon butter or ghee (clarified butter)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon carom (ajwain) seeds
Water for kneading
Method
In a plate, mix flour, semolina, salt and carom seeds. Add butter and mix well.
Add water gradually and knead firm smooth dough.
Cover the dough and let it rest for an hour.
Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees C.
Divide the dough into three parts.
Roll a thin chapatti from each part.
Cut out Papadis using a cookie cutter. Prick with a fork.
Arrange on the baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or when the edges start turning brown. Remove from the tray and bake the rest of the Papadis.
Sweet chutney
Sweet Chutney
Ingredients
1/3 cup amchur powder (dried mango powder)
1 ½ cups crumbled jaggery
1 teaspoon kala namak (black rock salt)                         
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon dried saunth (ginger powder)
½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
1 ¼ cups water
Method
Mix amchur powder and water. Breaks the lumps.
Add crumbled jaggery and cook on medium flame till it becomes thick and gains sauce like consistency.
Green chutney
Add kala namak, garam masala, saunth and chili powder.
When cold, transfer to a glass jar and store.
Green Chutney
Click here                                            
Yogurt – 1 ½   cup
Beat the yogurt till smooth. Add a teaspoon of salt
Potatoes
Boil the potatoes, keeping them firm. Peel and dice.
Cumin seeds
Roast the cumin seeds on a hot griddle. Powder when cold.
Salt and chili powder
Keep a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of red chili powder to sprinkle.
Chat masala
Keep a tablespoon of chaat masala to sprinkle in the end.

Roasted cumin seeds
Arrange about 10 to 12 papadis in a serving plate. Add diced potatoes. Pour yogurt. Pour a tablespoon of sweet chutney and a teaspoon of green chutney. Sprinkle some salt, chilly powder, cumin seed powder and chaat masala. Serve.
My notes: Monitor the Papadis after 15 minutes. Remove when they start turning brown from the edges. They tend to burn fast.
Adjust salt and sweet in chutney according to taste.
Add spices according to taste.

Sending to:





Saturday, 13 April 2013

YOGURT DINNER ROLLS



Its back to bread baking. Yesterday we had a simple mixed vegetable with yogurt dinner rolls. Yogurt dinner rolls are very soft.
Have them with a veggie or just plain with butter. Either way they taste good. My daughter loves have them halved, buttered and browned on hot griddle.

We enjoyed these with a generous spread of  marmalade in the end.

YOGURT DINNER ROLLS.
 Adapted from here
Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
½ tsp salt
½ cup warm water (can vary according to need)
Method
Add sugar to warm water and add yeast. Mix well and cover. Let it rest for fifteen minutes. It will turn frothy.
Add honey, oil and yogurt. Mix well.
Add this mixture to flour mixture. Knead well for about six to eight minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth. Add more warm water if needed.
Lightly oil a bowl, transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a cling film or a damp towel and leave the dough for ten minutes.
Knead the dough again for five minutes.
Pull out small balls of the dough. Roll them to make oblong rolls. With a knife make vertical cuts on the rolls. Arrange on the greased loaf tin keeping some distance between them. Cover and keep in a warm place for one hour till they become double in size.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 to 25 minutes or till well baked and golden.
Remove from the oven and brush the tops with butter. Cool on the rack.
My notes : if you are using active dry yeast, let the dough rise for an hour or till it becomes double its original size. Punch and knead again for five minutes. Shape the rolls, cover them and keep them to rise for 20-25 minutes before baking.

Sending Yogurt dinner rolls to Jagruti's events " Gain Popularity"  and "Know your dairy - Yogurt" hosted by Padmaja

and  Vimithaa's event

Friday, 12 April 2013

MINT(PUDINA) - GARLIC CHUTNEY


 Mint-Garlic  chutney is a great appetizer. It can pep up the meals. Tastes great with rice and daal and  paranthas. It makes lovely sandwiches too. Butter the bread slices and spread a spoonful of mint chutney, the sandwiches taste amazing. Tastes great with cheese spread too!
Mint chutney can be made in bulk, stored in a glass bottle and refrigerated. It can be used for two three days.
It goes well with all types of snacks.
Mint is good for the digestive system. It relieves flatulence and stomach aches. Mint is useful in strengthening the stomach and promoting its action and also counteracting spasmodic disorders. It forms an ingredient of most drugs prescribed for stomach ailments because of its digestive properties. It is good for liver and helps dissolve gravel in kidneys and bladder.
Garlic is a powerful anti- biotic. It also has anti viral and anti fungal properties. Garlic kills the harmful bacteria in the intestines and promotes the growth of the intestinal micro flora. It is helpful in diarrhea, gastroenteritis, colitis, intestinal infections and flatulence. It promotes the overall well being of the intestines

MINT(PUDINA) GARLIC CHUTNEY
Ingredients
2 cups packed mint leaves
8 buds of garlic
4 tablespoons amchur powder (dried mango powder)
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2-3 green chillies (optional)
Slightly  less than ¼ cup of water.
Method
Wash and clean the mint leaves
Peel the garlic buds
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
My notes : replace amchur powder with a raw mango if  available.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

BOTTLE GOURD FUDGE- SIMPLY DIVINE AND GUILT FREE



“Simply divine”, is how I would describe bottle gourd fudge. Chewy, sweet succulent shreds of bottle gourd make guilt free sweet perfect to satiate the sweet cravings after meals.
My grandmother used to make it for herself during fasts. She would sprinkle kewra extract for flavour. I used cardamom. It is amazing how the humble bottle gourd transforms into a flavourful treat.

The KEWRA essence is the  flavouring derived from a variety of pandan, Pandanus fascicularis. It is extracted  from the male inflorescence of the plant. It is strongly floral. Concentrated oil made from pandanus flowers is used to flavor desserts and beverages in Indian cuisine



Bottle Gourd Fudge | Lauki ka Halwa

Ingredients

  • 3 cups grated bottle gourd
  • ½ litre milk
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ cup milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder / kewra extract
  • ¼  cup sliced pistachios
  • ¼ cup blanched and sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out excess water from grated lauki.
  2. Take grated lauki in a thick bottom pan. Add milk and cook on medium flame.
  3. When the mixture begins to look dry, dissolve milk powder in water and add to the pan. Cook till lauki becomes tender and the milk reduces in quantity.
  4. Add powdered sugar and ghee. Cook  till the mixture becomes almost dry and attains halwa like consistency.
  5. Add cardamom  powder. 
  6. Let the halwa cool. Garnish with nuts and serve.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

WHOLE WHEAT CRACKERS WITH CAROM AND FENUGREEK




Whole wheat crackers are a wonderful teatime accompaniment. The crackers remind me of the goodies made at home by my grandmother and mother during Holi. The sweet and savoury snacks would be made in bulk. And the stock would last for days after Holi. We would eat to our heart’s content, take them in our lunch box and stuff in our pockets when we went out to play.
I made the crackers using my family recipe but baked them instead of frying. My kids loved them with cheese spread, ketchup and also with mango pickle.
Ready to be baked.


Crackers contain ajwain and turmeric.
Ajwain is an appetizer. It is carminative, digestive, expectorant, laxative, diuretic, antihelmenthic and an aphrodisiac. Ajwain is a tonic for the stomach and is good for all the stomach related disorders. It gives relief in stomach ache caused due to flatulence, indigestion or infection in the intestines.
Turmeric has many medicinal properties. It is carminative, anti-septic, digestive and a stimulant. Turmeric contains phosphorous, calcium, iron, carotene, thiamine and niacin. The main constituent of turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric is anti inflammatory. It is also an antioxidant


WHOLE WHEAT CRACKERS WITH CAROM AND FENUGREEK        
Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
2 tablespoons yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried and powdered fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
½ teaspoon carom seeds/Bishop’s Weed/Thymol seeds (ajwain)
¼ teaspoons turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Water for kneading
Method
Sieve whole wheat flour with salt, baking powder and turmeric powder.
Add carom seeds and dried fenugreek powder.
Add oil and yogurt and mix well with hands.
Add water and knead soft dough.
Cover the dough and let it rest for at least half and hour.
Roll out a thin chapatti of uniform thickness.
Cut out crackers using a cookie cutter.
Prick the crackers with a fork.
Arrange on a baking tray.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees C for 18 to 20 minutes or till the sides start browning.
Cool and store in an air tight container.

Click to here to read the health benefits of Bishop's seeds

Food event : "Heart and healthy" Vimithaa"s space



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