Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Spiced Yam Soup | GoodBye Winter

Some of you might not have heard or tried this vegetable -yam aka elephant yam, chenai/chena suran, khamalu, chapri alu and also karunai kilangu in someparts of TamilNadu. This is a tuber which comes in different varieties an colours in different continents and most of them edible to eat and is starchy and has good levels of potassium, manganese, thiamine and dietary fiber while being low in sodium and  saturated fat. 
At the same time I have heard that vegetables like pumpkin and yam is not good if arthritis runs in your family. But still it is a vegetable that can be turned into a snack or curry or even cake if you check out this page on Wiki.

Yam has been a part of my regular routine cooking and yes I enjoyed it in different forms even  tikkis Chettinad Style. During Onam in Kerala, chena/yam plays an important role being a part of aviyal, kaalan,thoran,fritters etc and these days I have heard of payasam or kheer as well.It is cultivated all year round, but actual season is November mid -December. The traditional dish of "Thiruvathira Puzzhukku" made on "Thiuruvathira Day" where they celebrate Lord Shiva's Birthday has yam and other seasonal tubers taking centrestage and offcourse the tubers play their role excellently. 

I have loved yam in various ways but have never tried/ made a soup out of it. So I decided to try out the yam soup with fennel seeds from Chef Vikas Khanna's Hymns from the soil. I loved the soup and it was easy to make as well. I have definitely become a fan of Chef Khanna. 

Ingredients:
Oil: 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp

Onion: 1 medium sized finely chopped
Fresh Ginger: 1" pieces peeled and chopped/minced
Garlic: 2 cloves peeled and minced/chopped

Powdered Cumin : 1 tsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds: 1tbsp
Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp + 1-1.5 tsp or as per taste
Green Chili: 1 coarsely chopped

Yam/Chenai: 1 pound or 1/2 kg or 2.5-3 cups peeled and cut into small pieces

Vegetable Stock: 3 cups

Cream: 1/2-1 cup

Cilantro: for garnishing

Preparation:
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a deep pan and saute onion,ginger and garlic until soft and the raw smell goes for about 3-4 minutes.
Add in cumin, turmeric, fennel seeds, green chilli, 1/2 tsp of chilli powder,salt and yams and cook for few minutes until the flavours and blended. Pour in the stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer under cover until the yam is cooked through for about 20 minutes. If you are doubltful about the time, feel free to cook it in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles atleast.

Remove from heat and let it cool a bit. Stir in the cream and blend the mixture to a fine puree in batches if needed.

Meanwhile in a small pan, heat the remaining 1-1.5 tsp of oil. Remove from heat and stir in the reminder of chilli powder as per taste.

Congratulations, you have made a chili oil which can be used as a garnish not just for this soup but for whatever dishes you like.

Ladle the soup in bowls, drizzle chili oil and also sprigs of fresh cilantro/coriander. Enjoy the chili night with a warm filling bowl of yam soup thinking what else you can turn the yam into.


An easy to make gourmet soup made from a rustic or country vegetable. Never thought I would enjoy the combo  of yam with fennel seeds. Try the recipe and enjoy.






Saturday, January 30, 2016

Krendel - Ukrainian/Russian Fruit Filled Pretzel Shaped Festive Bread | We Knead to Bake #34

This post was supposed to be up last month as it was a Christmas Bread. But as usual it got postponed and  I thought I should definitely post this month atleast as it was a very tasty and really festive bread. Festivals definitely put us in a happy space. Time somehow flies and with all the aromas surrounding us we get too carried away. This is one such bread that lifts the mood and definitely makes the day festive and gourmet. The warm spice baked aroma coming out of the oven fills the house and you just can't wait to dig in. 

Krendel is a pretzel shaped Russian/Ukrainian fruit filled Christmas bread. It is  supposed to be of German origin and has a filling of fresh apples and a spiced jam of apricots, prunes and other dry fruits. As usual I halved the recipe and the recipe turned out wonderful. I was in a hurry that I could not click better pics. Serves me right as I need to control myself rather than jumping  on the dish as the aroma from the oven were heavenly. Self control is not my virtue but it definitely helps in getting better pics.

Ingredients:

Instant yeast: 1 tsp
Honey: 1 tbsp
Cream :2 tbsp
Lukewarm milk: 4 tbsp
Soft Butter: 2 tbsp
Egg: 1/2 (3/4 pkd tsp of Ener G + 2 tbsp of water)
Vanilla: 3/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup &6 tbsp to 1 cup &10 tbsp

Filling:
Applejuice: 1/2 cup
LArge apples: 1 peeled and chopped
Dried figs: 8 tsp finely choppped
Dried apricots: 8 tsp
Chopped Prunes: 1/3 cup
Butter: 2 tsp
Sugar: 1.5 tsp
Chai masala: 1/4 tsp


Spread:
Soft butter: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1/4 tsp


Glaze: 
2 tsp butter
Hotwater: 2 tsp
Icing sugar: 6-8 tbsp
Grated lemon zest: 1/8 tsp
Sliced almonds: 2 tbsp

Can be avoided. Dust with just icing sugar instead of glze

Preparation: 

Dough:
Put all the ingredients of the dough including 1 cup and 6 tbsp of flour in the processor bowl and knead to get a soft, smooth and elastic dough which is little sticky adding additional flour if needed


Shape into a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl turning once to coat and let it sit covered loosely until doubled in volume around 1.5 hours.

Filling:
Put all ingredients except chai masala in a large sauce pan, bring to boil and then reduce and let it simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally till it reaches a pulpy consistency. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool completely.

Deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly dusted counter. Roll it out into a medium thick rectangle. Brush soft butter all over the dough within 1" of edges. Mix together cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle uniformly over the butter. Spread the filling over and roll up the rectangle jelly roll style as tightly as possible from the longer side. Seal the seam well and pinch together the ends to prevent the filling from falling out.

Place the dough seam side down on a lined /greased baking sheet. Shape it into a pretzel pinching the ends to the sides or tucking them under.

Loosely cover and let it rise for around 30-45 minutes until puffy. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

Bake the krendel for about 40-45 minutes until golden brown at the top. Take out and let it cool on a wire rack.

If using glaze mix the ingredients for it and brush over the krendel. Else just dust the krendel with confectioners/icing sugar and slice and serve.



Perfect festive treat. It can be consumed anytime including midnight . Its a simple bread made festive with the filling. 
Lets see who all baked the Krendel with us and hop over to Aparna's.



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