Friday, August 28, 2015

Pineapple & Broken Wheat Payasam | Festivals Galore

Today is celebrated as Onam in Kerala, Varamahalakshmi Pooja in Karnataka and for select communities its also the 'thread changing day' or 'suthaam punnav' or avani avittam. Whatever way you celebrate its the foods that show the festive spirit. And obviously the sweet desserts which come at the end of the meal but linger on till next year. 

I tried a simple fruit payasam or kheer with  healthy broken wheat, split yellow lentils and pineapple. The recipe from a magazine is pretty much traditional except I replaced the rice in the traditional avatar with healthy and easy cooking ingredients.

Ingredients:
Broken Wheat /Dalia : 1 cup
Split Yellow Lentils: 1/4 cup

Pineapple chopped/grated: 1-2 cups or more as per your preference

Jaggery Syrup : 2.5-3 cups 

Thin coconut milk/ Third extract: 6-8 cups
Medium thin coconut milk/ Second extract: 2-3 cups
Thick coconut milk/ First extract: 1 cup

Powdered Ginger /Sonth : 1/2 tsp
Powdered Jeera/ Cumin : 1/4-1/2 tsp

Preparation:
On medium heat bring to boil the thin coconut milk/ third extract and add in hte broken wheat and lentils. Let these cook on low -med heat until almost done.

Add in the chopped/grated pineapple and continue cooking till most of the liquid is absorbed.

Add in the second extract/medium thick coconut milk and jaggery syrup and continue cooking stirring periodically so that this doesn't get burnt.

Once the mixture thickens a bit or reaches your choice  or the right payasam consistency, stir in the thick coconut milk and powdered spices. Stir well and take it off heat. It will thicken upon sitting. 

Serve warm or at room temperature in bowls garnished with more pineapple.



You can use or add other fruits incase you are not a fan of pineapple, but its good for me. You can cook with rice or oats or mix of lentils and grains if you wish to experiment.You can even add cashew nuts or raisins along with pineapple. I kept it simple .. just the pineapple.

I am a pineapple fan and for your kind info , if you happen to visit Kerala in hotter months(!?) make sure you visit the area called ' Muvattupuzha'- its the heart of pineapple cultivation. Though it is available all year round, pineapple flourishes in hot season. By May you can feel the pineapple in the air as they perfume the air when they ripen. Imagine loads of pineapples... Its a feeling I have enjoyed.Hope you do too. You can even see several truck loads of pineapple being transported to markets etc...

Meanwhile enjoy the payasam... healthy delicious and obviously festive..


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mexican Cemita Buns | We Knead to Bake #30

'Cemita' in Spanish refers to sandwich or the bread it is served in. Cemita buns are sandwich rolls/ buns from the city of Puebla in Mexico. These are brioche like egg -rich burger buns and a popular street food in Mexico. The cemita rolls are served with avocado, cheese and salsa rojo or your choice of accompaniments. 


We baked the cemita buns this month for We Knead to Bake by Aparna. The  recipe is adapted from Serious Eats - and ofcourse it was seriously perfect.

Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour: 2.5-3 cups (I used 2.5 cup + 2-3 tbsp)
Cream: 1/2 cup
Milk: 1/2 cup
Eggs: 2 (1 pkd tbsp of Ener G + 4 tbsp of water)
Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
Salt: 3/4 tsp
Sugar: 1.5 tbsp (4.5 tsp)

Milk : for brushing
Sesame seeds: 1/3 - 1/2 cup 
Coarse sea salt: sprinkling (optional)

Preparation:
Combine flour (2.5 cups), cream,milk, eggs, yeast, sugar and salt in a big bowl of processor. Process until a sticky dough that rides around the blade is formed about 45 seconds. Add extra flour in tbsps if too sticky.

Transfer to a large bowl - optionally greased (I didn't) - cover and let it rise for about 3-4 hours until 1.5 times the original size

Flour the working surface and also flour the dough and transfer the dough to the counter. 

Lightly press down the down and shape into a thick rope shape. Cut this into equal 6 portions with a scraper or knife.

Shape into smooth rounds by stretching tops to form a skin. and arrange these on a lined baking sheet  with an little space between them. Cover and  let these proof for 45 minutes or so until they have risen a bit.

Brush with milks and sprinkle the top with generous amount of sesame seeds -I used black and white. Lightly press the seeds down into the dough. Bake at 230C/450F for about 15 minutes until done and tops turn golden brown.


Cool completely on a wire rack before using. Mine was done in 12 minutes and it looked perfect. I waited for half an hour or so before consuming one just like that and yup it worked. 

It was like regular sandwich bun regarding to texture. Maybe eggs might add extra richness as I had used egg replacer.  I am very happy with how the  buns turned out.

Lets hope over to Aparna's  and see who all enjoyed baking cemita buns.


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