Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sesame Soba Noodles

Soba Noodles made with 100% buckwheat are one of the healthier noodles available in the grocery store. They are very flavorful and need very few additives to turn them into a flavorful dish. Today I have a very simple dish with a handful of ingredients. You could add stir fry vegetables if you wanted a more substantial meal.

You will need
8 oz. packet soba noodles (100% buckwheat)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce (if you like the taste of soy you could add upto another tablespoon)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste

For the topping
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp. cilantro, diced
2 springs spring onions, chopped (optional)

Cook the soba noodles as per packet instructions. Drain and wash with cold water. Keep aside.

In a bowl combine all the other ingredients. Mix in the cooked soba noodles and the topping.

Serve immediately.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Batatyachi Poli (Alu Paratha / Batata Poli)

The simplest of all stuffed poli is batatyachi poli. Cilantro and spices are added to boiled, mashed potato and used as the filling.

You will need
For the dough for 12
2 1/2 cups wheat flour

For the filling
2 medium potatoes, pressure cooked or boiled
handful cilantro, chopped
1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
2 tbsp. onion, chopped (onion)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste

Pressure cook the potatoes for 10 minutes or boil them until well done. Meanwhile using water for a dough with the wheat flour. Pour a few drops of oil on the palm of your hand and knead the dough well. Keep aside. Mash the potatoes and all the other ingredients. Mix until just combined and keep aside. Do not over do it or the potatoes will become slimy and sticky. Divide into 12 portions and keep aside.

Heat a griddle pan. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions.

Take one portion and roll it into a ball. Flatten it on the palm of your hand. Place one portion of filling in it.

Pull up the sides of the dough around the filling and close at the top.

Using flour to prevent sticking roll out the filled dough into a disc.

Add a few drops of oil to the pan and place the rolled disc on it. Let it cook until a few brown spots appear on the side. Flip it over and cook the other side.

Repeat for the remaining portions of dough and filling.

Enjoy with pickle and yogurt. Makes a filling packed lunch too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ezogelin Corbasi - Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup is the Turkish version of the stone soup. It is made up of ingredients typically found in the pantry of a Turkish home. I had most of the ingredients except bulgur in my pantry. This delicious soup is flavored with red pepper paste and tomato paste.

To make the red pepper paste I used red bell pepper as I could not find red banana pepper. The authentic recipe calls for the pepper to be cooked in water, peeled, de-seeded and then the pulp cooked to a paste. I roasted the pepper and covered it in aluminium foil for 15 minutes. The skin peeled right off the pepper. I then removed the seeds, cut it into pieces and ran it through the blender. As for tomato paste I had a can of organic tomato paste but it smelled of citric acid so I pureed a handful of cherry tomatoes.

Recipe adapted from here

You will need
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter, salted or unsalted
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup red lentils
2 tbsp. rice
8 cups water
2 tbsp. red pepper paste
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp. bulgur
1 tsp. paprika or cayenne powder (more if needed)
1/2 tsp. dry mint or a drop of mint extract
salt to taste

Wash the red lentils and rice. Drain and keep aside. Boil 8 cups of water in a separate pan. Heat the butter and live oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until tender and translucent. Add the red pepper paste, tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cook for a couple minutes. Add the red lentils, rice, bulgur.

Add the water and bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the mint and paprika. Add salt to taste.

Turn of heat and serve hot.

I made this for the 22nd week of the 2014 52 week challenge for the theme Turkish.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pao de Queijo

This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!

I had never heard of this treat prior to the challenge. I had seen tapioca powder in Whole Foods before but had never bought it. The only other pure starch recipe I had tried is dudali a dessert made with arrowroot powder. Pao de Queijo is a tea time snack popular in Brazil. It is light and fluffy light a cheese puff and a lot more flavorful. One is never enough!

I bought barely two cups of the tapioca powder. I decided to cut the recipe in half. Normally I copy the ingredient list, cut each one by half and then follow this new list. Since there were only a handful of ingredients I did not do this. Unfortunately, I forgot to cut the milk by half and added a whole cup. I realized what I had done only when I had added it to the tapioca powder. Instead of a crumbly mixture I got a soft dough. I had no tapioca powder to fix the problem so I continued with the recipe.

The texture may have been affected a little but otherwise no harm done. The puffs were light and delicious. There were bits of cheese browned on the surface that enhanced the taste. Thank you Renata for an awesome challenge!

You will need
250 gm or 2 cups tapioca starch
1/2 cup whole milk (I used 1%)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt (do not use if using salted butter)
1 1/2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese
1 large egg

In a pan add the milk, butter and salt and bring to a boil. In a bowl sift the tapioca. Mix the milk mixture into the tapioca. Combine with a fork to form a crumbly mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients with the eggs and mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Pull small portions of the dough and form small balls. Place them on a parchment paper lines baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

If you plan to bake them later place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is frozen. Transfer to a freezer safe ziploc and store in the freezer until needed. When ready to bake preheat the oven and place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake as directed earlier.

Cook slightly on a rack and eat them warm with tea or coffee.

Monday, May 26, 2014


I have heard a lot about foolproof dhokla recipes. I have one such such recipe. It uses baking soda. Then I heard that using Eno, an antacid, gives better results. Since then dhokla with Eno was on my wishlist.

Last month Sandhya who blogs at My Cooking Journey posted a recipe for dhokla using Eno. I bookmarked the recipe and today I tried it. The dhokla turned out great. Thanks Sandhya!

I do not have step by step pictures for this one. I tweaked the recipe a little.

You will need
For the dough
1 cup channa dal
1/2 cup mung/moong dal
3 tbsp. sour yogurt (I used sour cream as I ran out of yogurt)
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Eno
salt to taste

For the tempering
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. white sesame seeds
a pinch turmeric powder
4-5 curry leaves
1 green chili pepper (optional)

For the garnish
2 tsp. sugar dissolved in 3 tbsp. of water
2-3 tbsp. fresh grated coconut (I used frozen)
2-3 tbsp. cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil

Soak the channa dal and moong dal separately for about 3 hours. In a blender add the ginger paste and yogurt. Drain the water from both dals and add them to the blender. Grind to a smooth thick paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients for the dough except the Eno.

Grease the bottom of a pressure cooker pan. Keep the pressure cooker ready. Stir in the Eno in the dal mixture and transfer the mixture to the cooking pan. Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Let the cooker depressurize. Let the cooked dal rest for 5 minutes.

Pour the sugar solution over the dhokla. You may skip this step but it helps the dhokla retain its moisture. Cut the dhokla into cubes and let them cool completely.

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the ingredients for the tempering. Pour the tempered oil over the dhokla. Transfer the dhokla to a serving dish and garnish with fresh grated coconut an chopped cilantro.

This is my entry for week four, day three of BM #40 for the theme bookmarked recipes. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#40.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bikaneri Papad Paratha

I had never heard of papad parathas until last month. PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds posted this recipe and I knew I had to try them. My family enjoys parathas and I am always trying new ones. These parathas did not disappoint. I tweaked the recipe a little based on what I had on hand.

When it comes to papad we all enjoy the flavor of garlic papad and when I go grocery shopping I make it a point to buy garlic papad. For some reason when my husband goes shopping for papad he can never find the garlic flavor. He usually brings plain and he usually brings at least a couple of packets. Nobody likes them. I am glad I found this recipe so I can use them all up. Since the original recipe called for masala papad I added cumin coriander powder and paprika to make up for the taste. Next time I will add black pepper or crushed peppercorns.

You will need
For the dough
2 cups whole wheat chapati flour
water as needed

For the filling
4 papads (I used 1 garlic and 3 plain)
1/2 onion, diced fine
a few springs cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. paprika (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp. cumin coriander powder
1 tsp. amchur powder
salt to taste

Combine the water and flour to form a smooth dough. Knead well and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, roast the papad in a microwave for until done (about 15-35 seconds depending upon your microwave). Alternately, you could roast them over the stove top. Crush the roasted papad in a mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients for the filling.

Divide the dough into equal portions. Heat a griddle pan. Take one of the portions and flatten it in the palm of your hand.

Fill it with 2 tbsp. of the filling.

Pull up the sides of the dough and close at the top

Place both sides in some flour and roll it out to a large disc.

Place on the hot griddle pan and add a few drops of oil. Cook on one side until brown spots appear.

Flip it over and cook the other side.

Enjoy with any side, chutney or yogurt.

This is my entry for week four, day two of BM #40 for the theme Bookmarked recipes. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#40.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chettinad Tomato chutney

Tangy and spicy tomato chutney can be used as an accompaniment to a lot of different dishes. There are so many variations of this chutney. I have already posted two variations a basic tomato chutney and a tomato chutney with peanuts. But I could not resist the temptation of trying this Chettinad Tomato Chutney after I saw it last month on Usha's blog My Spicy Kitchen.

This chutney uses tamarind and chilies and is fairly easy to put together.

You will need
1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, shelled and minced
1 tbsp. channa dal
2 tbsp. oil
3 Roma tomatoes or 2 salad tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp. paprika
salt to taste
1 tsp. tamarind paste

For the tempering
3 tbsp. oil
1 dry red chili pepper
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
3-4 curry leaves

Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions, garlic and channa dal until soft and slightly brown. Add the tomatoes, paprika and salt to taste. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy.

In a blender combine the cooked tomato mixture and tamarind paste. Blend to a paste. In a separate pan heat oil for the tempering and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle turn off the heat and add the other ingredients. Pour it over the tomato paste. Mix well.


This is my entry for week four, day one of BM #40 for the theme Bookmarked Recipes. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#40.

Sourdough Petit Pain au Lait (French Milk Bread)

This month for the group We Knead to Bake we baked this petit pain au lait. The recipe provided used commercial yeast but I wanted to use my wild yeast starter. So I converted the recipe to accommodate the starter. Look here for help converting your recipe. The slow fermentation allowed the flavors to develop. The end result was a lovely flavorful bread, light and delicious.

The first thing I did was to find the weight measure equivalent of the provided recipe. Luckily for me the link provided in the recipe had the link to the original recipe that used weight measure. Once I had that I used basic rules to do the conversion. The proportion of starter I added was 40% of the total flour. Based on the total grams of starter I then calculated the grams of flour and water in the stater. I subtracted these amounts from the flour and liquid (in this case milk) amounts in the recipe. This resulted in a dough with texture that was similar to that expected from the original recipe.

Wide yeast takes a lot longer to develop and does well with plenty of time. So the next change I made was the way the dough was kneaded or not kneaded. I have learnt from my experience with wild yeast that the texture of the final product is best when the dough is folded as opposed to being kneaded. As such I applied 3 folds within an hour of forming the dough. I then left it to rise for about 4 hours bringing the total bulk fermentation time to 5 hours. I then shaped the bread, scored the top and let it proof overnight in the refrigerator. This allowed the flavors to develop and the gas to build even though the dough itself did not rise much.

Next morning I let the bread rest on the kitchen counter for about 10 minutes before I put it in the oven. I baked the bread as per the recipe at 400 F for 12-15 minutes. I got great oven spring and the bread puffed up to 3 times in volume. I am thrilled with the result and will definitely try this bread again.

The recipe using commercial yeast was provided by Aparna. The link to the original recipe with weight measures that I used for the ingredients can be found here. Thereafter, I used the technique from the book Flour water salt yeast by Ken Forkish to ferment and proof the dough. I shaped and scored the bread as per the linked original recipe.

You will need
58 gm 80% hydration sourdough starter
93 gm all purpose flour
20 gm bread flour
36 gm whole milk (I used 1% milk)
1 egg
19 gm sugar
31 gm salted butter (add 1 tsp. salt is using unsalted butter)
Pearl sugar as topping (I did not use any)

In a mixing bowl combine the starter with the milk. Mix in the egg and sugar. Sift the flours and add them to the mixture. Form a sticky dough. Now work in the butter a little at a time until it is well combined. Cover and keep aside.

In the next hour fold the dough 3 times. Keep it aside, covered, for another 4 hours.

Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide into two portions. To shape each portion roll it out on the work surface to a flat disc the size of a side dish. Starting from one end roll tightly to form a roll. Seal the edges to prevent unraveling during baking.

Using kitchen shears score the top. Transfer the shaped bun to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and proof overnight in the refrigerator.

The next morning take the baking sheet out of the refrigerator and place it on the kitchen counter. You may not see much difference in the bread. It will not rise much in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 F.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. You should see good oven spring.

The buns taste best the day they are baked.

Converting commercial yeast recipes to sourdough

You found a recipe you want to try but it calls for commercial yeast. You want to use your carefully maintained sourdough starter. Read on for instructions on how to convert from one to the other. Pain au lait (picture below) was the first bread I baked after using this conversion process.

Some instructions ask to replace 1/2 cup of flour with the starter. This is not very accurate and will lead to problems if you are a novice baker. The hydration level of the starter could wreak havoc with the recipe. A high hydration starter could lead to a very wet dough and a low hydration starter could lead to a dry one. A newly fed starter will work very differently from an unfed one. To avoid these problems stick to weights.

Conversion process
You need to know % of hydration of your starter - given a quantity how much water and flour the starter contains.

Find the total amount of flour by weight used in your recipe. Calculate 40% of this amount (multiple by 0.4). That is be the amount of starter you need to use in your recipe.

Next calculate the amount of flour and water in grams you starter contains. For example, 100 grams of a 78% starter has 44 gm water to 56 gm flour. Reduce the flour in the recipe by the amount of flour your starter has. Reduce the amount of total liquid in your recipe by the amount of water your starter has.

You are all set to bake your favorite recipe with your own starter.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Makki Roti (Corn Poli)

Makki roti or Corn roti is a classic Punjabi winter roti or flatbread. It tastes a lot like corn tortilla. Makki roti with sarso ka saag (mustard green curry) is a very popular combination.

I have always wanted to try makki di roti but I was worried about ensuring it is cooked through. As it turned out that was not a problem. Keeping the dough moist enough to make the flat bread was an issue.

You will need
2 cups corn flour (use Masa or Bob Miller)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp.salt

Mix all the ingredients and using warm water knead into a soft dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Heat a pan griddle. Knead the dough again and divide into lemon sized balls. Using a little water on your hand knead one ball of dough until it is soft. Flatten it on the palm of your hand as far as it will go. Place it on a plastic sheet and continue flattening it with your palm until you have a relatively thin roti.

Place the roti on the hot griddle and let it cook for a couple minutes. Flip it over and add a few drops of oil on it. Flip it over again and add a few drops of oil. Let both sides brown and take it off the heat.

Continue to prepare and cook the remaining rotis. Serve with bhaji (vegetable sides).