Showing posts from October, 2014

Bread Baking Tips

I have been asked a lot of questions about baking bread. Here are some of those questions answered. How do I half the recipe? This is the most frequently asked question. If you work with weights halving a recipe is very easy. If you work with volume it can get tricky. I would say half all the ingredients but when mixing the dough reserve a little of the liquid. Use the reserved liquid only if needed.  Is leavened bread good for you? Our body does not have the ability to digest whole grain without help. Soaking, fermenting and cooking help release enzymes that break down the complex carbohydrates and proteins in a form we can digest and absorb. All ancients cultures recognized the value of fermentation. Leavened bread is dough fermented with the help of yeast and bacteria. When soaked the enzymes in the flour start to break down the complex carbohydrates and proteins. The yeast and bacteria work on these further to convert them to flavorful forms we can easily digest. They also r

Vada Pav

Vada Pav is a street food from Mumbai. Until I started working in Mumbai I had never tasted it or even heard of it. I was very wary of getting sick when I first started working in Mumbai so I stayed away from the street foods. Later a friend introduced me to it. She and I roomed together. She was from Nasik and had visited Mumbai many more times than I had. She insisted I try the vada pav from a street vendor. I was very skeptical. It was one thing to try grilled corn on the cob. The hot coals killed all the germs. But bread and vada were a different animal. After a lot of coaxing I tried it and really liked it. That version of vada pav was too spicy for me and I had to wash it down with lots of water. But the combination was great. And I did not get sick. I am told there are wada pav chains in Mumbai now. I did not venture out to try it the last time I was in Mumbai but that may be because I was in a hotel close to the airport and the Mumbai office in Andheri, far away from these

Whole Wheat Eggless Dinner Rolls / Laadi Pav

The best yeast bread I bake is one leavened with wild yeast. It has nothing but flour, water and salt and tastes great. However, dinner rolls and buns can be a little different. Most recipes call for an egg or egg yolk, butter or oil and some sugar. These dinner rolls use flax seed instead of an egg and a little oil and sugar. The rolls were soft and fluffy and browned very well. I used King Arthur whole wheat flour and that gave the buns a lovely dark color. The dark specks are from the crushed flax seed. Though visible they do not alter the taste at all. This recipe is the latest in the taming the yeast challenge where one member of our group presents a recipe that we all try to replicate. This recipe was shared by Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes . Priya is an expert baker and has a large collection of baked goods on her blog. You should check it out. Thanks Priya for this awesome recipe. Some changes I made - The dough was very wet. I like wet dough but this one nee

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

It is fall and pumpkins are everywhere! Even in your chai latte! Pumpkin spice flavors are very popular in coffee and tea. If you are one of those people who love pumpkin spice latte then you should try this at home. I am not really a tea or coffee person but I like the occasional cup. And in fall I like to indulge in a pumpkin spice flavored tea. I used a BPA free can of pumpkin puree but you could make your own if you like. Cinnamon and nutmeg are must haves for this recipe. They flavor the otherwise bland pumpkin brown sugar combination. I am not going to call this the pumpkin spice chai tea latte because it would be saying pumpkin spice tea tea latte. Chai is Hindi for tea. You will need For the pumpkin spice 1 cup pumpkin puree 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. dried ginger powder 1 tsp. cinnamon powder 1 tsp. nutmeg 1 tsp. cardamom powder a pinch of salt For the latte 3 tbsp. water 1 tsp. tea leaves or one bag of chai 2 tsp. pumpkin spice mixture 1/2 cup mil

Shubh Deepawali / Happy Diwali

Today is Narka Chaturdashi. We Maharashtrians celebrate this day with a family breakfast of the Diwali goodies, being thankful for what we have and enjoying each others company. The house is clean, the diyas are in place, the rangoli is painted and everywhere you look there is a festive atmosphere. This is a time to rejuvenate. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very happy Deepawali! May this season bring warmth, good health and happiness for the year to come.

Baked Dry Coconut Karanji (Kordya Khobryacha Karanjya)

Karanji is an must have faral item on the Maharashtrian Diwali faral platter. Two types of karanji are made. One is with fresh coconut and the other is with dry coconut flakes. The one made for Diwali is with dry coconut flakes. Traditionally the karnaji is deep fried but I baked it as I have done with all the faral recipes I made this year. The karanji 'pari' or shell is crunchy but not hard. The stuffing is made of dry coconut, roasted poppy seeds, roasted semolina (rawa) and powdered sugar. Generally dry coconut flakes are used but I used shredded dry coconut and I believe that helped to keep the filling well distributed throughout the karanji. My daughter could not resist having one while it was still warm. As a child I remember coming home from school to find fresh made karanjis. My mother always made them with the help of the maid while we were out of the house. I can understand why. Then as a teenager I remember helping my mother with karanjis. I always got ver

Baked Bhajani Chakli

Chakli is Diwali faral that is made year around as a snack. In Maharashtrian homes chakli is usually made with bhajani. Whole grains are roasted separately, combined together and milled. Roasted coriander and cumin seeds are added for flavor. The resultant flour or bhajani is combined with sesame seeds and carom seeds (ajwain or ova) to form a dough. The chakli is shaped from this dough and is usually deep fried. I baked it. I do not have the ability to mill grains so I started out with store bought flours. I roasted them separately and then combined them together with roasted coriander and cumin powder. Thereafter I followed the traditional process to prepare the dough. Once the dough was prepared I shaped the chakli and baked them. Chakli is an integral part of the Diwali faral. It is one of the must have savory faral. I kept the chakli mild so we could all enjoy it. You will need Special equipment to shape the chakli For the bhajani 3 cups rice flour 2 cups chan

Batata Vada in Appe Pan (Not deep Fried)

I am in love! With my appe pan. This simple pan has changed the way tea time snacks are prepared in my house. My first experiment dahi vada  was very successful. No one could tell the difference. That gave me a lot of confidence to experiment with other deep fried snacks. I tried dal vada, paneer kofta and a variety of other foods that I did not photograph or blog about. Over time I have gotten better at using the pan which is not surprising since I use it so often. I have better judgment of the size and shape of the food I cook in it. I am also better able to end up with perfect rounds instead of flat discs. By the time I made  sabudana vada  I knew I could make anything in this pan. Batata vada is my newest experiment. The best part about using this pan is that I use a fraction of the oil that would otherwise be needed. Oil is mainly fat and fat is good for you in moderation, in fact fat is needed. However, the main problem with deep frying foods is not the oil itself but th

Sabudana Vada in Appe Pan

Sabudana vada or sago fritters make a very tasty snack provided they are cooked right. Unfortunately, they are deep fried. That is one of the reason I have not made them in years. Recently I acquired an appe / aebleskiver pan and I started experiments to replicate all the traditionally deep fried snacks. Sabudana vada was one such experiment and I am very happy to report it was a huge success. In fact, they were gone before I knew it and I was left with just these three for my pictures. Sabudana vada are made as a tea time snack. As all the ingredients are accepted as fasting food some people indulge in these when they are fasting. I am glad I found a way to make them without having to deep fry them. Now I can make them often. You will need 1 cup sabudana or sago 1 small potato 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely ground 5-6 sprigs cilantro 1 tsp. red chilli powder 1 green pepper, minced 1 tsp. sugar salt to taste Olive oil to cook the wada Rinse the sabudana and place i

Bhajke Pohe Chivda (Flattened Rice Chivda / Poha Chivda)

Chivda made with pohe or flattened rice is one of the favorite savory faral dishes on the Maharashtrian Diwali platter. This chiva is similar to churmure chivda , which is made with puffed rice. I like to use thin pohe for this chivda. The pohe are spread on a flat tray or baking sheet and put out in the sun for a couple hours. Unfortunately, it was a rainy gloomy day when I made this chivda so I used the alternative. I preheated the oven to 200 F and put the baking sheet with the pohe in it for about an hour. During the last 10 minutes I started making the chivda. The pohe were warm and crisp when I needed them. You will need 6 cups pohe 1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil) 1 tsp. mustard seeds 2 Serrano peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces along the length 7-8 curry leaves juice of half a lime 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder 1/4 tsp. red chilli powder (I used paprika) salt to taste 1 1/2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts 1 cup daala (roasted yellow gram) a handful raisi