Jun 30, 2012

Rose buns

Although our sense of taste and sight are two different senses, we form our first impression when we have a first glance of our food. Its almost like saying we first eat with our eyes, then with our nose and then with our mouth..To our brains “taste” is actually a fusion of food's looks, smell, touch and taste.
                These buns will entice your eyes with beautiful rose shapes, you can smell the fresh bread being baked in your house right till the street out of your home. Finally when you bite these buns, you will feel teh soft buns melting in your mouth.
          We all love dinner rolls, figure of 8 rolls, round buns and all sorts of soft bread to go along with our entree. I wanted to try something new. So came up with the idea of Rose Buns. When we used to make basic felt flowers in school, this technique was used. Making four or more circles and rolling them to form a Rose.. I used the same technique to make bread and they turned out pretty yummy tasty roses..
What would be best is to form a bouquet of these breads and gift to your loved ones...

Try these Beautiful Rose buns....... I have given step by step instructions for the making of rolls. hope you all like it and make loads of buns..
  • 1 ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • ½ cup of water
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter

  • In a large bowl mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast. If you are using dry yeast you need to mix yeast in lukewarm water with sugar in it. Since I am using instant yeast, it can be directly added to the flour.
  • Add lukewarm water, cream and olive oil and knead the dough till its smooth and ealstic for about 10 mins. This helps gluten formation and results in softer bread.
  • Place the dough in a clean bowl covered with wet clean towel. Allow the dough to rest for about an hour till the dough doubles in size.
  • After the dough has well risen, start punching the dough and kneading it till its smooth again.
  • Now you can either make 6 balls and wait for 30 misn to raise and bake in oven or proceed to make our Rose Buns
  • Make 12 equal balls of the dough.
    For a pair of Rose Buns you will need 4 balls. Roll the balls into small discs of about 10 cm diameter
  • Arrange the 4 flattened discs, half stacking on top of each other.
  • Start rolling from left to right.
  • With a knife, cut the roll into two.
  • Place the Rose buns upright on a baking sheet.
    Let the buns rest till they are double in size.
    Top the buns with butter and chopped garlic
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 15 min till the Rose buns turn golden brown.

Enjoy the buns with your dinner or just with some butter when they are still warm and fresh

Jun 29, 2012

Aloo Kulcha

                 Aloo Kulcha is a typical north indian bread usually eaten with curd, pickle n chole. They are made with maida flour dough, filled with mashed potatoes and lots of spices are rolled into a flat bread. Traditionally they are baked in an earthen clay oven called as Tandoor. This is also what you can call Dhabba food..This is a good variation too aloo paratha and is great for feeding your kiddos as well..

  • 2 cups maida
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oil
aloo stuffing
  • 3 boiled and grated potatoes
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp amchur
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp jeera powder
  • ½ tsp salt
to brush on the top of kulcha
  • 2 tbsp kalonji
  • butter/ oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
A)Making the dough
Sieve the maida, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix curd, sugar and oil in it. Mix the ingredients well with hands. Knead the flour with luke warm water to make a smooth dough. . Apply oil to the dough and keep it in a deep pan. Cover the bowl with clean towel and keep it at a warm place for 30 min. The dough to make kulcha is ready.

B)Make the stuffing
While the dough is resting, lets make of potato stuffing. Peel and mash the boiled potatoes. Mix salt, coriander powder, amchoor powder, red chilli powder,and jeera powder with the mashed potatoes. The stuffing for the kulcha is ready.
C)Make the kulcha
Make 10 round balls of the dough and the potato mixture.
Take one ball of the dough and roll it into a flat disc of 3 inch. Put the potato mixture ball on the disc
Fold and close the disc from all the sides to make a stuffed dough ball.Place kalonji and chopped coriander leaves on the top of the ball. Sprinkle some dry flour to allow topping to bind to kulcha. 
Roll the kulcha into a flat oval disc of 6-7 inch with the rolling pin.
D)Cook the Kulcha on the pan
Place the pan over the stove and grease it with little oil. Put the kulcha in the pan and roast it until it turns brown from the bottom surface. Pour some oil or ghee on the upper surface once the lower surface turns brown. Roast the upper surface directly on open flame just for few seconds till its browned and cooked. Prepare all the kulchas in the same manner.

Serve the Potato stuffed kulchas with curd, pickle or chole

Jun 26, 2012

Papaya Ginger Smoothie

This papaya and ginger smoothie is a tempting smoothie which also cures indigestion . Slightly spicy of ginger adds a different twist to sweet smoothie and the sweetness of fresh fruits will soothe you.

Papaya is an alkaline-producing fruit that aids in detoxification by flushing toxins out of the body.
For centuries, traditional medicines have made use of ginger as an aid to digestion. Ginger increases digestive enzymes, protects the lining of the stomach, stimulates bile flow and reduces flatulence. 

S E R V E S 4
  • 2 1/2 cups papaya  chunks
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Refrigerate the papaya until very cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.Blend the papaya, ice, yogurt, ginger, honey, and lemon juice in a blender. Add up to 1/4 cup water, 1tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is smooth
and thinned to desired consistency.

Jun 25, 2012

Pesto Sauce

             Whenever Italian pasta or pizza is served, the sauce commonly used in India is tomato sauce or white sauce. The green pesto sauce isn't a very common feature in average Indian restaurants yet. I first was introduced to this sauce in form of pizza sauce with feta cheese and almond slivers in Pizza Chicago in USA.. Oh! I absolutely loved that pizza. I have attempted to make pesto sauce here which can be used for pastas or as pizza sauce or as a spread for sandwiches....
            Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, fresh basil, and pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep's milk).
             In India it would be very difficult to find Fiore Sardo and Parmigiano Reggiano is too expensive. I haven't added cheese to my sauce but if you want, you can add ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano
                 Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees. They are small elongated ivory-colored seeds from pine cones, measuring about 1/2 inch long. When raw, the seeds have a soft texture and a sweet, buttery flavor. They are often lightly toasted to bring out the flavor and to add a little crunch. Pinenuts are not commonly avaiable in India and if you are able to find them, they are really expensive.. So if you want to substitute them, cashewnuts are great substitution as cashewnuts are a tad sweet and creamy nuts. You could also make almond or walnut pesto.
                  The word pesto means to pound, but traditionally the pesto sauce was made by grinding the ingredients in circular motion using a wooden pestle in a marble mortar. But it will take lots of time to use traditional mortar n pestle, so I used blender.
            With Neil around,its impossible to cook nowadays. He is growing up and wants all of my undivided attention all the time.Only time i can cook and have some time for myself is some time when he sleeps in afternoon. He wants to talk to me and ask many questions. He starts by calling out "aai aai aai", if I dont manage to look at him within next few seconds, he will start yelling "Angiya, Angiya....." He cant say "r" yet, so his talks are very cute to hear. He is keen to know about everything I am doing.

  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh Italian basil leaves
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup lightly toasted pinenuts
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Rinse the leaves briefly and pat them dry between 2 paper towels.
  • In a skillet, lightly toast the pinenuts till they turn light golden. You want to have creamy taste of pinenuts rather than nutty taste. So avoid toasting them a lot. I toasted mine on a medium flame for 2 min only.
  • In a blender or food processor first add garlic and chop it finely.
  • Then add pinenuts into food processor and finely chop it.
  • Add fresh basil leaves and process until it is chopped.
  • Finally, slowly mix in the olive oil, until a smooth thick consistency is achieved. Add salt.
  • Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and add olive oil just to cover it to prevent the darkening of its surface.
  • Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
The pesto keeps up to 10 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. Remember to top up with olive oil every time you use it, to prevent oxidation.

Jun 22, 2012

Stir fried Oyster Mushrooms

              Me and my Hubby are both great fans of mushroom.. white button mushrooms are pretty commonly found nowadays in India. But when we saw fresh oyster mushrooms in the newly opened Food Hall on 1 M.G.Road mall we were super thrilled. It was first time I could catch hold of fresh oyster mushrooms in India..
           Anyways, God must have taken pity on me and we were able to get those oyster mushrooms. By the way did you know that the oyster mushroom may be considered a medicinal mushroom, since it contains statins such as lovastatin which work to reduce cholesterol. One more great reason to eat these umbrellas...
                This recipe I made is simple with few veggies and sauces, but in the end I thought of adding few spoons of roasted crushed peanut powder and it made a great difference to the dish.
  • 400 gms oyster mushrooms
  • 1 large capsicum (sliced thinly)
  • 1 small carrot (juliennes)
  • 1 medium onion ( sliced thinly)
  • small bunch of spring onions( about 12)
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot and sweet tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp roasted crushed peanut powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt ( to taste)
  • Oyster mushrooms have acquired their name because of their texture rather than flavor which is quite superb. They are delicate so its better to tear the mushroom into pieces along its gills rather than slicing with knife.
  • Cut the white of spring onions into small pieces and chop the greens in 1 inch pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wok, add garlic and saute till its golden.
  • Add spring onion whites, onions, capsicum and carrot. Saute on high flame for about a min.
  • Add oyster mushrooms and continue cooking on high flame till the vegetables are crisp tender and mushrooms are cooked.
  • Mix all the sauces with water and pour over the vegetables. Taste and season with salt if required.
  • Once the sauce has well coated all the vegetables, add peanut powder and stir to coat all...
To make the peanut powder, firstly roast the peanuts on the skillet till they are little browned and then make a coarse powder. You should be able to taste peanut pieces when you eat this dish.
Serve with Malay yellow rice or steamed rice....

Jun 20, 2012

Malay Yellow Rice

  Colored yellow by turmeric powder, nasi kuning (malay yellow rice)  is a delicately flavored rice often served at Malay festivals. Its simple recipe which uses coconut milk instead of water and is flavored with turmeric and garlic..

    It is a good variation from regular steam white rice which can be served as a side dish for oriental gravies and stirfries... This dish includes cooking the rice using absorption method. I usually prefer to cook rice in microwave whenever I am cooking Basmati rice. The grains are always cooked to perfection, with all the grains on the top layer standing up to salute you, once you open the microwave door. Also, I never have to worry about the rice burning at the bottom layer.
 Try this easy flavored yellow rice.....

  • 2 tbsp vegetable/ sesame oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric powder
  • 1 cup long grained rice (basmati)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (to taste)
  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 30 min.
  • Heat the oil in frying pan and add turmeric, garlic and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • As the onion starts turning transparent, add soaked and drained rice to the pan.
  • Saute the rice till it is well coated with oil and it starts looking opaque.
  • Now I transferred the rice to a microwave safe glass bowl and added coconut milk and water and gave it a gentle stir. Cooked the rice in microwave mode for 5 min. Then I stirred the rice gently. Covered it and let it rest in microwave for 5 min. Again cooked covered on microwave for 4 min. 
  • If you are going to cook the rice on stove top, add coconut milk and water to the frying pan, bring to boil, then turn down the heat and cover. Cook gently for 15-20 min till all the water is absorbed.
  • Turn off the heat and let the rice cook under steam for 10 min.
  • Fluff the rice with fork and serve warm 

Jun 18, 2012

Spiced Coffee

     Good Morning...Its such a beautiful morning... It feels like its gonna rain, cool breeze flowing, birds chirping, and most importantly Neil still sleeping... Its feels like a start of a lazy day. Just feels lazy to do any work... Wanna grab a blanket and just keep rolling on the bed.

                Nothing beats it, if someone gets you a nice warm cup of coffee to wake up from slumbers...And what do you have to say about hot cuppa of spiced black coffee.....
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 tsp instant coffee powder
Boil water with cinnamon, star anise and sugar.. let it reduce to 3/4 th the volume.. switch off gas and add coffee granules..
Serve spiced black coffee with biscuits

Jun 13, 2012

Steamed Vegetable Baozi

                    When we were in USA, I had gone with my cute nephew to four day Los Angeles tour. This tour was managed by Chinese people. So the crowd was Chinese, with just two of us Indians. We were served Chinese breakfast in the hotels were we stayed. One dish that was common for breakfast was snow white buns kept fresh in large bamboo steamers. Everyone used to have it, we were apprehensive and didn’t know how to eat it, so we didn’t try it. Later I realized they were Mantou- Chinese steamed buns.
             There was a nice Chinese shop near our home from where we got seafood. This place had Chinese bakery attached to it. There was a large collection of Chinese buns, Some were baked ans some were steamed. We tried lots of these buns, lotus paste filled, red bean filled, custard filled, roast chicken,,,,, These filled steamed buns are called bao or Baozi..
                 According to China Daily, Zhuge Liang (181-234), a military strategist from the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), is credited with inventing the baozi. He and his troops were on an expedition to south China when his army caught a plague. Zhuge made a bun shaped like a human head from flour, pork and beef. The bun, called mantou (flour head) was offered as a sacrifice to the gods and was later given to the soldiers to cure their illness.
             The name stuck in parts of southern China. In Shanghai, steamed bread, either with or without filling, is still called mantou. In northern China, though, people call the bun baozi, as bao means wrapping.
              A baozi or bao is a steamed filled bun which is typically eaten for breakfast in China.. Baozi is one of the staples of Chinese cuisine served by street vendors. The unfilled version is called Mantou and filled version is called Baozi. Most baozi in China is Cha Siu Bao, roast pork buns.. You can fill the buns with any stuffing you can imagine, be it savoury or sweet,,, its going to taste great.
            I have made a vegetarian filling for my Baozi with tofu and vegetables. Tofu or soya bean curd is commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Tofu can be found in many supermarkets named as soya paneer in India. Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein and iron and little fat.

Dough :
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
Filling :
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 chopped large white onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 6-7 button mushrooms
  • 1 small red capsicum
  • 100 gm tofu
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • salt (to taste)
  • Place the yeast in a bowl and pour the warm water over it. Stir in the sugar to dissolve. Let stand for 15 minutes. Skip this step if your yeast does not need proofing and add the yeast directly to the flour.
  • Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Remember not to allow concentrated salt to come into contact with the yeast, as it will kill it. Mix the salt with the flour, then add the yeast.
  •  Add the yeast and water mixture and begin stirring immediately. Keep stirring until you have a dough that holds together and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Adjust the amount of water, adding more or less as is needed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is smooth and elastic . Add more flour or water if needed.
  • Cover and let rest for 1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down again, and let it rest for 1 - 1 1/2 more hours, until it's size has doubled.
  • In a large skillet heat oil over high heat. Cook ginger and garlic for 2 minutes, lower heat to medium.
  • Add onions, grated carrots and mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chopped tofu and stir.
  • Season with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chilli sauce and transfer to a bowl, allow to cool.

To Assemble Bao:
  • Form a 10 equal small balls of dough.
  • Press the ball out into a round circle.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of the dough.
  • Fold the dough over and create a seal by pinching the dough around the filling.
  • Place the bun onto a square parchment paper.
  • Place buns in the bamboo steamer Try to position so they do not touch one another. and cover tightly. It will almost certainly require several batches to steam all the buns, unless you have lots of steamers, or a very big one
  • Steam buns over gently boiling water for 20 minutes.
  • After this time, remove the pan and steamer from heat, but don't remove the steamer from the pan, or lift the lid of the steamer. By allowing the steam to subside gradually like this, you prevent the dough from collapsing on contact with the cold air.
  • After a few minutes, carefully lift the lid and remove the bun gently from the steamer.
  • When cool enough to handle, remove parchment paper from bottom of buns.
  • Serve warm with sweet chilly sauce. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate them and while serving make them warm in microwave for 30 secs.
     Moist, fluffy, steamy goodness!

Check this link for knowing how to make bao. its a video on YouTube in Chinese, I didn't understand any instructions but this short and simple video demonstrates how to pinch and fold the dough to make nice bao..

Jun 4, 2012

Bharwa Paneer Pakodi

Bangalore is cool and it drizzles almost every evening,,, it feels like monsoon has already arrived. And if there is something which everyone associates with monsoon in India, its garma garam pakodas.. So one such cool evening, I decided to surprise my hubby with pakodas,,, paneer pakodas,, sounds interesting, wait for the next part, stuffed paneer pakodas (stuffed cottage cheese fritters)

They are adapted from cook called as pure and simple by Viddu Mittal. Its a nice simple vegetarian cook book which explains step by step procedures for normal Indian cooking, its great help for someone learning to make Indian cuisine for the first time.

  • 500 gm paneer
  • oil (for deep frying)
  • 1 ½ tsp ginger paste
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 1 ½ tsp green chilli paste
  • 3 tsp coriander paste
  • ½ tsp chaat powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp jeera powder
  • 1 cup besan (gram flour)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • water (about ½ cup)
  • Cut the paneer slab into 6 pieces and slice each piece into two, so that you can sandwich the stuffing in between these slices and dip them in batter and deep fry to make 6 paneer pakodies.
  • Mix all the ingredients for stuffing and make thick paste.
  • Make the batter which is semi thick in consistency, so that the batter forms a thick crispy coating over the paneer...
  • Stuff the stuffing in between two slices of paneer and dip them in the batter and deep fry paneer pakodies till golden brown in color and crispy..The oil should be medium hot..
  • Once fried, keep the pakodies on tissue paper to soak all the excess oil,
  • Serve cutting the pakodies in two halves and sprinkle with chaat masala.
  • Serve with tomato sauce and green chutney