Monday, November 26, 2012

Steamed Pumpkin Puree &Pressure Cooked Pumpkin Butter

Now, I know I have been silent here for a while. Diwali came & went, I made something, but could find time to post. In between thanks to deadline posted my shaped dinner rolls. Now Thanksgiving also came and went and am eagerly waiting for Christmas baking. But still experiments are going on, and so I thought since pumpkin is the flavour of fall, why not pumpkin puree and butter my way. Its very simple also.

Pumpkin puree is rather puree made of cooked -steamed,boiled,roasted or whatever method you prefer - pumpkin. I think steaming is the easiest way and usually prefer this over roasting. You need to have a steamer or atleast a pressure cooker for this. It leaves less water and is over in minutes as well. 

Pumpkin butter on the other hand is concentrated and  optionally flavoured pumpkin puree. Atleast this is the impression that I have got while visiting several sites and recipes. I have adapted mine from this site though I had made using a pressure cooker. I had 2-3 sugar pie pumpkins and I had used them up for making these two. 

Pumpkin Puree: 

Cut the pumpkin in chunky pieces, scoop out seeds, wash well and place in a suitable tray that goes well inside your steamer/pressure cooker. Add water inside the steamer or pressure cooker and place the tray or dish covered with a lid inside and steam away to glory :D for 10 minutes atleast or until the pumpkin turns glossy yellow and will easily fall apart from the skins.  

Take out, cool till you can handle and peel off the flesh into a a vessel,mix in a pinch of salt (optional) and lo, pureed pumpkin is ready to be used in smoothies and bakes.

Pumpkin Butter:

For pumpkin butter, I peeled ,deseeded & chopped pumpkin to about 2 cup of pieces, added about 1/2 cup of peeled,cored & chopped apples,  about 4+ tbsp of demerara sugar,1/2 tsp + of fresh orange zest  and about 1/2 tsp+ of pumpkin pie spice. and another 4+tbsp of water.Mixed everything together and pressure cooked for 3-4 whistles until the pumkin and apples turn mushy. Take out cool till able to handle and blend to a thick brown butter in a mixer.

You can serve it as a bread spread or even use it in baking or as per choice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Baking Partners # 4: Shaped Dinner Rolls

I love baking breads especially dinner rolls. I was the happiest when this month Baking Partners had to bake dinner rolls that to in three different shapes. We were given two recipes -one with egg  -Lion House Rolls and an eggless one. I had already tried and posted the eggless recipe while the eggy one was very new. I as usual went for the eggy rolls recipe and tried it eggless. You might think I am stubborn!. But  the rolls turned out amazingly perfect.Out of the seven shapes I tried lion house, knots and crescent. Ofcourse me being me, tried making rosettes and others as well, but these three shapes came out better. I still feel I have got to improve a lot in shaping, but this definitely was a first step. My daughter had a gala time choosing each and every shapes and she loved the knotted ones.  We devoured the rolls fresh from the oven. 

Warm Water: 1 cup
Milk Powder: 1/3 cup
Instant yeast: almost 1 tbsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Butter/Shortening: 8 tsp
Egg or Egg replacer: 1/2 an egg . I used 3/4 packed tsp of Ener G with 1 tbsp of water.
All Purpose Flour: 2.5 cups +  more for dusting

In a large bowl, combine water and milk powder till the powder dissolves. Add in first the yeast, followed by sugar, salt, shortening, egg (half egg) and 1 cup of flour.

Mix on low speed until the ingredients are wet and then add another cup of flour  and knead for another two minutes and continue this process till you get a stiff dough. From this point onward you need to knead the dough by hands if you had been using a blender. Continue adding more dough and knead on till you get a soft moist but not sticky dough. 

Place the dough onto a greased vessel turning once so that it gets coated with oil. Let it rise until doubled covered with a plastic wrap for about 1 - hours.

Once the dough  has  risen, its time to shape the dough Place the dough onto a floored surface and divide it into small pieces which can be shaped into cloverleaf,crescents,lionhouse rolls etc.

Place the shaped rolls in a greased baking sheet and let it double covered with a plastic wrap.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375F/190C for 15-20 minutes until browned to your satisfaction. Take out,brush with melted butter and enjoy warm with or without other accompaniments.

Perfect bread rolls for snacking and the different shape it make it look exotic. Warm aroma during baking definitely gives you a high. I had gone for lionhouse rolls, crescent rolls and knots. Very easy to make if you are skilled :)

Crispy but not so hard crust and soft crumb makes this bread perfect for mopping your soups and subjis. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Orangy Chocolate Cookies

What do you do when you are busy with work and looking forward to just an hour break before the hell breaks out again? Especially when you want to satisfy your chocolate cravings ? Simple, bake a chocolate cookie. Thats what I did when I got time in between work and they were perfect for the occasion. I had tried to make  chewy cookies, but mine were turned out crispy. Maybe the cornflour I used to replace the egg made the trick. I was in a hurry and made just half of the original recipe found here


Unsalted Butter: 6 tbsp soft
Brown/ Demerara Sugar: 1/3 cup
Granulated White sugar: 1/3 cup

Egg: 1/2 or Ener G : 1/2 or 1 tbsp cornflour whipped with 2 tsp of water/Orange Juice. I went for OJ.
Vanilla: 1/2 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 10 tbsp
Unsweetened Cocoa: 1/3 cup
Baking Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: a pinch

Candied Orange Peel: 2+ tsp grated or Fresh Orange zest


Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg or Vegan Egg and vanilla. On a lower speed, beat in the dry mix of flour,baking powder,cocoa and pinch (1/16 tsp) salt. Fold in the orange peel / orange zest to get a moist, dark  dough. Pinch tablespoonfuls of dough, drop on an ungreased but lined baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190c/ 375F for about 8-10 minutes till the edges start browning. Pull out and cool for about 10 minutes on the sheet after which remove the cookies to a wirerack to cool completely.

Not so great texture I feel. The cookies look dark and rustic. But one bite and you are in heaven. Orange and chocolate /cocoa are perfect together. We can go for brown sugar and even use fully whole wheat flour I suppose. The butter can be reduced by the use of other alternatives as well. I tried topping it with coloured candy when I took them out of the oven. And my daughter loved it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Terong Balado - Indonesian Style Eggplant in Chili Sauce

When I made my sambal oelek, I was actually wondering how it could be of more use to me. It appears now that I was wrong. I have started using it on a regular basis and keep on accidentally finding such recipes as well. One such was when I came across Terong Belado in a magazine. A little googling as always and there I  made it. The name is quiet interesting actually. Terong is for eggplants and Balado is the spicy chili sauce. The dish is quiet simple. Sauteed/pan fried eggplants served/stirfried  with balado sauce. The dish can be served as a dry side unless you really want a liquidy sauce. 

The balado sauce or sambal balado is another variety of sambal from Indonesia.It is also a ground/chunky thick paste of fresh red chilies along with tomatoes,shallots, garlic,sugar and salt.Now how does sambal oelek comes into play here? Instead of grinding chilies fresh use the sambal oelek and major part of the work is done. Read through the recipe..

Eggplants: 2 -3 purple eggplants
Garlic: 2-3 small cloves finely minced
Shallot/small onions: 2-3 finely chopped
Tomato: 1 medium -big chopped 
Sambal oelek : 1-2 tbsp as per taste
Brown Sugar: 1-2 tsp as per taste
Salt: as per taste
Lime Juice: 1-2 tsp 

Chop the eggplants into small pieces and salt them and keep aside for atleast 15 minutes. This will remove bitterness from them if any. Saute them in little oil in a wok till they cook. Keep aisde. Instead of sauteeing you can grill/pan fry/fry/bake them.

In the same wok, sautee garlic and shallots till aromatic and then add in the sambal oelek and chopped tomatoes.Let it cook until the tomatoes start to become mushy. Add little water if  needed and simmer until it reduces down to a thick sauce.  Add and adjust salt,sugar and lemon juice to this. This is our balado sauce.

To the sauce add it the sauteed eggplants. Mix well and stirfry for another 12 minutes and its ready to be dished out with Nasi Uduk  aka coconut rice or even plain white rice.

An umami dish perfect with rice or breads. Make it to savour it. I am off to make another batch of sambal oelek.  If you do not have homemade or store bought sambal oelek, use fresh red chillies while making the sauce and grind the whole thing together into a paste before sauteeing with eggplants.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Curtido -El Salvador Fermented Cabbage Salad

Sometimes I am surprised how some dishes just come to me. I was searching for something else and then found this word 'curtido' and little more googling led me to several mouthwatering recipes of this El Salvador style coleslaw. This unless coleslaw is much lighter but equally tasty unless you do not mind the tanginess of the vinegar used. I had found that it traditionally uses pineapple vinegar which is fruity and tangy.  I had used regular white vinegar here though feel free to use a mix of vinegars. It is usually served with pupusas which is an El Salvador national delicacy. 

Shredded cabage: about  2+ cups
Shredded Carrots: 1 cups+
Finely chopped Onion/white part of scallions: 1/4 cup +
Jalapeno/Green chillies : 1 finely chopped (optional) (as per taste)
Oregano: 1/2 tsp + as per taste

Boiling Water: 1.5 cups

White Vinegar: 1/4-1/2 cups as per tartness needed

Salt & Pepper : as per taste

Finely shred cabbage and carrot and add in a big bowl along with finely chopped onion. Pour about 1 cups of boiling water on top of this and let it steep for 5 minutes. Drain and mix in with remaining water,vinegar ,salt,pepper and finely chopped chiles. Adjust the salt and seasonings.

Chill in the fridge for atleast 4 hours or overnight for the flavours to mingle. Serve as a crunchy tangy side salad. 

A tangy dish that requires a complimentary spicy mains. I liked the dish as I like tangy tastes.You too might like it.

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