Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sweet Potato Bites | Healthy & Tasty

As most of you who follow this blog might know that I love spuds. And I should also add the sweet potatoes in that list. If I have to choose between the two I would definitely choose the spuds. But the sweet potato also is one of my favourites. One major eye opener for me in US was that the sweet potatoes were orange compared to the paler counterparts in India. And Thanksgiving was like sweet potato festival. I got 5 lb bags of these and turned into varieties. Anyways, recently I tried this recipe from Vanilla & Spice and they were superb for tea time sweet cravings. Its a simple and sweet recipe and within 30-40 minutes you are done.

Sweet Potatoes: 2 medium 
Maple syrup: 2 tbsp
Cinnamon, Cayenne: one or few pinches as per taste

Walnuts: finely chopped: 3-4 tbsp
Rolled Oats: 3-4 tbsp
Shredded Fresh/dry coconut flakes: 1-2 tbsp
Brown Sugar: 1tbp + as per the sweetness required.

Roast/steam/microwave the sweet potatoes. Once cooked and cool enough to handle peel and mash them.Add in the maple syrup, cayenne and cinnamon to this and mash well.

Mix well the chopped walnuts, oats,coconut and brown sugar.

Pinch palmful of the mash mixture and roll it in into a round ball . Roll the ball in the oats mixture and place it a lined baking sheet. repeat this till the mash mixture is fully used. Depending on the size you may get 6-12 balls.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 -25 minutes or more until the topping is brown. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Simple and tasty tea time sweet bite.Mine were not orange in colour but were definitely tasty. I suppose we can even turn them into savoury bites as well. Or even use potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. ;) What say?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kanel Snegle- Swedish Cinnamon Buns | We Knead to Bake #11

After few days of  being netless I thought atleast now I will post my Swedish Cinnabuns which were baked for We Knead to Bake #11. I love cinnamon rolls and never leave a chance to bake them. I have tried several versions and definitely loved the Swedish version also. As I was in a hurry I didn't attempt the different shape suggested by dear Aparna and went with the normal/common shape.

Kanel Snegle or Cinnamon Snails/Swirls or Kanelbullar Cinnamon Buns are the Swedish version of the popular cinnamon rolls. In fact it is the original version and the Swedes make it with a little twist and less sugar and its perfect as an anytime snack . October 4th every year is celebrated as Kanelbullar day in Sweden.


Warm Milk: 1 cup
Instant Yeast: 2 tsp
All Purpose Flour: 2 cups


All of the starter
All Purpose Flour: 2 cups
Salt: 3/4 tsp
Cardamom: 6-8 pods powdered/ around 1 tsp powdered
Lemon zest: 2 tsp or chopped up lemon peel
Caster Sugar: 1/3 cup
Salted Butter: 60 gm soft 

Soft Unsalted Butter: 75 g
Caster Sugar: 1/3 cup
Cinnamon: 2 tsp
Powdered Almonds: 1/3 cups coarely powdered

Milk: few tbsp for brushing
Sugar crystals: for sprinkling.


Mix together all the starter ingredients in a big bowl to get a more or less sticky dough. Place this in a greased bowl and chill overnight in the fridge loosely wrapped in plastic. The dough might rise a bit even though it is placed in the fridge. Mine didn't may be because I tightly wrapped it!?

The next day keep the starter bowl outside for atleast 30 minutes or until it reaches room temperature. Tear the starter dough into pieces and add to the food processor bowl along with flour, cardamom, sugar,salt and lemon zest/peel. Blend to mix well and then add in soft butter and knead well to get a smooth and elastic dough. If the dough is dry add in more milk - I did add extra 2 tbsp - or if sticky/moist add more flour to get the correct dough consistency.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly dusted surface and roll it out into a 20" x 12" rectangle . 

Cream together the filling ingredients except the almond powder with a fork/whisk/spoon to make a spreadable filling. 

Spread this filling all over the dough rectangle if you plan for the normal/common shape.Sprinkle the almond powder atop the filling. Roll the dough tightly in jelly roll style and into 20 equal pieces with a sharp knife.Place the pieces cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet leaving space between them .

Let these rise for about 10-15 minutes till they look puffy but not swollen up. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 200C/ 400F.

Brush the swirls with milk and sprinkle with sugar crystals. Bake them for about 15 minutes till they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. If browning too quickly , reduce the temperature by 20C/65F and bake till done.

Take out and after 5 minutes on the baking sheet turn these onto the wire rack to cool completely. You can serve these warm or at room temperature anytime especially tea/breakfast time. You can even freeze these for later use.

Now lets see how others did their cinnamon snails . Hop over to Aparna's post.Let me finish my last one. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pataqueta | Traditional Spanish Bread for Baking Partners # 17

Pataqueta is a crescent/moon shaped traditional bread from Valencia, Spain.  It is known since the seventeenth century and was originally consumed by inhabitants of valencia most fertile regions or the orchards or L' Horta when they went to work. These days it is not consumed daily but people prefer to consume the pataquetas -a diminutive form of 'pattaca' during the important festival of 'Fallas' which falls in the month of March every year.

Thanks to Marisa of Thermofan and Swathi of ZestySouthIndianKitchen we all baked pataquetas  for Baking Partners #17. I had tried to stick to the original shape and hope I have achieved it. The bread which is baked with steam has a firm crust, and soft crumb. Its perfect for the month of Thanksgiving and is vegan as well.



Water: 100 ml / half cup
All Purpose Flour: 1/3 cup
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Yeast: 1.5 tsp


All the ferment

All Purpose Flour: 3 cup
Tepid water: 200 ml / 1 cup
Sea Salt: 1 and 3/4 tsp

Flour: for dusting the countertop/worksurface and bread


Prepare the ferment in a big bowl by adding water first and then sprinkling the yeast. Add the flour and sugar next and mix well. Cover this with a plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for overnight or uptil 48 hours.

Next day when yu are ready to make the bread, take this out, let it sit in room temperature for sometime and then add the water for the bread followed by flour. The salt is not to be added at this point.

Mix well and turn out the sticky mass that you get onto a dusted/floured worksurface and knead it for another 5 minutes. Then you sprinkle the salt on top of it and knead it again for another 5-10 minutes till you get a smooth and elastic dough.

Divide the dough into 150g pieces and let these rest on the dusted work surface for about 20 minutes or until it  doubles in size.At this point I freezed half of the pieces for later use.

Taking one piece at a time, flatten little with palm and making sure the shape is round, with a sharp knife cut  in from the centre along the radius and cut open towards outside to get a crescent moon shape. 

Transfer to a lined and dusted baking sheet and repeat the process with the rest of the pieces. Cover with a  dusted kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rest until doubled for another 1 hour or so. At this point also you can chill them in the fridge for baking the next day or freeze them for future use.

When you are ready for baking, preheat the oven to 200C/ 392F.
Place a tray filled with water when there is just 5-8 minutes remaining for preheat to complete. While preheating, make two cuts along the sides of the pataquetas and sprinkle/dust flour on the top of the bread.

Place the baking sheet in the preheat oven and bake for around 30 minutes. Take out and let it cool for about 5 minutes in hte baking sheet after which transfer to wire rack for cooling completely.

The bread looks very rustic and is crunchy. Its prefect for soaking up gravies and can be consumed as such also or with tea.

Lets see how others baked the pataqueta. Hope on to Baking Partners Challenge # 17

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tomato Murabba | Sweet, Spicy & Sour in a Jar

Murabbas refers to savoury or sour pickle or jam  or compote like dish popular in northern India and Pakistan, and even Iran as per wiki. These are spiced up preserves made using fruits and also raw mangoes or other seasonal fruits. 

I usually associate summer as the pickling season atleast here in South thats what I have observed, though ofcourse these days you can do it in winter also if the ingredients are easily available like I did with tomatoes.

I am never a pickle person ie making of it as I always felt it was a strenuous task requiring complete concentration and patience. May be pickling always reminds me of the way the mango pickles are made. I still remember my mom sitting and cleaning and wiping and cutting or sometimes leaving whole the mangoes which were to be pickled adding the right amount of spices and then sometimes waiting for days for the flavours to be mixed well, blah blah blah.....

I prefer something quick and easy and I hit the jackpot with this tomato murabba which turned awesome. I had bookmarked the recipe from goodfood magazine and tried it out with an overload of juicy tomatoes waiting to be used up in my fridge.

Tomatoes: 2.5 kg
Sugar: 1.2-1.5 kg 
Black peppercorns: 8-20
Cinnamon: an inch stick
Cloves: 6
Black Cardamom:4
Green Cardamom: 8
Bay leaves: 3
Red Chilli Powder: 2 tbsp
Salt:  tbsp
Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Onion Seeds: 1 tsp

Add the tomatoes in boiling water for about a minute and then put them in room temperature water in another bowl.

Peel off the tomato skin and crush/ grind the tomatoes to a coarse paste. Put them in a large vessel, add in 1 kg of sugar along with peppercorns,cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, bayleaves, red chilli powder and salt.

Bring the mix to boil and the let it simmer  for 45 minutes or until syrup like. Check whether you are ok with the sweetness of the murabba otherwise add in remaining sugar as needed to balance the sourness of the tomatoes and mix well. Add in the vinegar and cook for a minute. 

Turn off the heat and add in the onion seeds. Cool and store in sterilised glass jars and refrigerate.

An excellent spread/relish with breads or fritters or even a side with your main course.  I tried and loved it with bread and also as a dip for salted biscuits and other fried tidbits. May be its the taste but do give it a try. Its definitely helpful when you are in a hurry and trying to decide what you are going to stuff in the roti or bread slice for tiffin box. You can definitely get creative with this compote around.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dry Fruit Chikki | Happy Diwali

This time I wanted to do something very easy and simple for the festival. I am not a great sweet tooth person and not confident in churning out mithais or sweets for a festival that is not just a 'festival of lights' but of rich sweets as well. So I browsed through sites and made a simple dry fruit chikki from Sanjeev Kapoor. ITs not ghee laden but full of nuts and even rose petals. Simple to make and hearty and festive.


Almonds: 1/2 cup chopped
Pistachios: 1/2 cup chopped
Cashew Nuts: 1/2 cup chopped

Ghee: 1.5 tbsp + more for greasing
Sugar: 3/4 -1 cup for a very sweet chikki
Saffron strands : few
Cardamom: few pinches

Dried Rose petals: 1-2 tbsp 


Chop all the nuts and roast them lightly in the oven or stovetop. Grease a thali/tray/counter top with ghee.Also grease a rolling pin with ghee. I actually placed  butter paper on my countertop and lightly spread ghee.

Heat 1.5 tbsp of ghee in a deep wide pan and mix in saffron strans, few pinches of cardamom power & sugar. Cook till the sugar turns into a light brown syrup. Remove from heat and then mix in the nuts.Immediately spread the mix onto the greased worktop/thali/butterpaper and sprinkle the rosepetals on top. 

With the greased rolling pin spread in out into a layer of 1 cm thickness. You can actually place it between sheets of waxed paper and roll it out. 

While slightly warm make marks with knife on the chikki. When cool cut these along the  marks into smaller pieces.

Serve along with other sweets -store bought or homemade as such.

You can also crush the pieces and use as a topping/ingredient  for icecream or even use as an ingredient in frosting.They are as good as such and also a make a healthy lunchbox or anytime snack as well. They are not ghee laden -barely 2 tbsp of ghee is used in total. 

Have a perfect, sweet healthy and yummy DIWALI

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Hummus | Fall Twist to the Classic Dip

What to do with leftover pumpkin puree. ?

I had tried pumpkin in breads, cookies, pasta and even butter and smoothie. But still when I see another bowl of puree in the fridge or counter top I feel like eating my brains. Tomorrow I tell myself, but the tomorrow never comes. 

But wonders of wonders. This time I did it. I had little less than 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin after making bread and thanks to this post I got few ideas. And without wasting any time I turned the puree into a spicy hummus courtesy this recipe here

Chickpeas: 1/2 cup presoaked and cooked or 1 cup cooked
Garlic Cloves: 2 small minced + more if you can stand raw garlic 

Lemon Juice: 1-2  tbsp  as per taste
Water: 2 tbsp 
Tahini: 1-2 tbsp 
Pumpkin Pureed: 1/2 cup (I used a little less)

Powdered Cumin: 1 tsp
Salt & Cayenne Pepper: as per taste

Olive Oil: 2-3 tbsp 

Place chickpeas, garlic and tahini in the bowl of the blender. Process until smooth adding lemon juice and water. Add in the pumpkin puree and powdered spices and salt and blend drizzling olive oil through the nozzle of the blender.

Taste and adjust the spices and salt as well as the sourness (lemon juice). Serve as a dip or side or even as a spread.

You might need to add more lemon juice and possible cayenne/chili based on your taste and how you want the raw garlic taste to disappear. You can roast the garlic prior to blending as well. The measurements can be adjusted based on taste. 

Other Versions:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread | We Knead to Bake #10

I have baked breads with wheat in them. I have also read that if the wheat is more than 50 % of the total flour required in the recipe then you can call it a whole wheat bread or rolls or whatever. So despite the fact they were whole wheat rolls the breads had refined /all purpose flour in them. 

This changed this time when I made a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread  for We Knead to Bake #10 courtesy Aparna. The original recipe is from Peter Reinhart 's Whole Grain Breads. I have followed the recipe to the 'T' and the entire process went smoothly without any glitches except the wet soaker and extra flour added. This did affect the way the bread looks. Top of the loaf looks slightly rustic.But otherwise it was a perfect sandwich bread.Soft crumb and crust that is normally expected from the commercial bread -brown and soft. The taste is  great. The texture is slightly crumbly as well.


Whole Wheat Flour: 1 3/4 cups
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Water: roomtemp: 3/4 -1 cup
Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Whole Wheat Flour: 1 3/4 cup
Instant Yeast:1/4 tsp
Milk: 3/4 cup +
Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Final Dough: 
All soaker
All sponge
Vital Wheat Gluten: 1.5 tsp(optional)(I left it out)
Salt: 1/2 -3/4 tsp 
Whole Wheat Flour: 1/3 cup + few tbsp as needed. (needed almost 1/3 cup)

Instant Yeast: 2 tsp
Vegetable Oil /Melted Butter: 2 tbsp
Honey :2 tbsp


 Mix together, all the dry ingredients with vinegar and 3/4 cup water till the flour is hydrated. You may need few tbsp more than 3/4 cup water and your intention is to get a manageable yet sticky dough . Leave it overnight or from 12-24 hours. 

Here I added first 3/4 cup of water and then another 2-3 tbsps. But this made the soaker very moist and resulted in a very sticky dough. So make sure you add just enough water to get a manageable sticky dough.

Mix together all the dry ingredients with vinegar and knead to form a dough by first adding 3/4 cup of milk an then spoonfuls if needed. Knead it to get a soft dough which need to refriegerated overnight or atleast 8 hours. On the day on bread making remove the sponge from the fridge atleast two hours before and let it come to room temperature. You can even see it rising a bit during this time.

This went off very well for me as I added just enough extra milk and kneaded to get a soft manageable dough which I refrigerated overnight.

Final Bread Dough:

Divide the soaker and sponge into pieces and add to the bowl of blender/food processor. Add in all other ingredients except the whole wheat flour and blend together to get a mass. Let it rest for 5 minutes atleast.

To this add the wheat flour and little extra if needed and blend for 3-4 minutes to get manageable non sticky soft smooth dough. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

 It is here that problems cropped up for me.Since the soaker was very sticky, I ended up adding extra flour to get the final dough and used up almost 2/3 cups total or double of that mentioned to get a manageable dough. May be this affected the final look of the bread as mine looks amateurish. :(

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turning once to coat and let it sit until doubled for about 1-1.5 hours. This again went beautifully for me. The dough took just about 45 minutes to double. This despite it being chilly all day with intermittent rains. 

Turn over the dough gently onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a loaf with the width little lesser. You can check the video at the Kitchn for this incase of doubts. Its really helpful, Thanks Aparna.

Transfer to a greased and floured loaf pan an let it rise until it is higher than the loaf tin.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/ 180C for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Take out and within 5 minutes remove from the loaf and onto a wirerack. The bread when thumped should sound hollow.Let it rest completely for two hours atleast before slicing. You can refrigerate it if not consuming it the same day.

Enjoy the slices with your favourite toppings and spreads.Healthy and Perfect with almost anything.

Lets see how the challenge went off for others. Hop over to  Aparna's to catch up with the others.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Creamy Chickpea Soup | Easy Lazy Soup

Winters always call for soup. These days its getting chillier and I love making soups. Filling soups but easy ones. I had planned to make a simple chickpea soup mostly Morrocan style like Serrouda but I found this one here whic seemed a spiced up version of the original one. Its quick and easy and easy and I made it in a pressure cooker. You can have it as such if you are lazy to puree but then it won't be a soup. It will be just a thin watery stew with chickpeas. 

Chickpeas/Kabuli Chana : 1/2 cup pre soaked

Olive oil: 2 tsp + 1-2 tsp for garnish
Onion: 1 small finely chopped
Garlic: 1 small clove minced/grated

Ground Cumin: 1/2 tsp + as per taste
Ground Coriander: 1/4 tsp + as per taste
Salt: as per taste

Lemon Juice : drizzle
Fresh Mint

Heat oil in a deep pan or pressure cooker. Add in onions, and cook till tender and transparent for a few minutes . Add in garlic and spices and cook till fragrant. Add in chickpeas,salt and water and bring to boil.  

If it is a pot then reduce the heat to simmer and cook till the chickpeas are tender for about 1 hour. If it is a pressure cooker, cover and cook for two or three whistles.

Puree the soup in batches if needed and put back on medium heat. Add in the remaining oil and lemon juice and adjust the salt and seasonings. 

Serve in bowl garnished with chopped fresh mint and optionally more lemon juice/ olive oil.

Simple filling and easy soup for everyone. Even those who feel soups are work or plain lazy :). 

Now I was supposed to send it yesterday for No Croutons Required as the theme this month is blended soups. I missed the deadline as we are ahead in time but since the linky tool is yet to be closed I thought why not - let mine be the last but never the least in the blended soup heaven at Tinned Tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Whole Wheat Spicy Pumpkin Bread & Rolls | Welcome Fall - Baking Partners #16

Its fall in US and pumpkin season. Pumpkins here are available year round though and since common we don't value it at all. I know people who don't prefer a pumpkin. We can turn them into several dishes and obviously this includes breads as well. This time for the Baking Partners Challenge, we were given three lovely breads with pumpkin . What a great way to welcome fall . 

Of the three recipes suggested by Tamy of Three Sides of Crazy I chose the yeast based pumpkin bread from King Arthur Flour Website and made it spicy and healthy.  I had also gone through the reviews in the KAF site and chose to do a little twist on the original recipe with the addition of whole wheat flour and garam masala. As usual I halved the recipe as the original yielded 12 big rolls and large loaf. 

Warm water: 4 tbsp
Instant Yeast: 1 pkg

Warm Milk: 1/3 cup 
 Egg: 1 or Ener G : 1.5 packed tsp + 3 tbsp water
 Pureed Pumpkin: 3/4 cup
Vegetable Oil: 1 tbsp

All Purpose Flour:  3.25 cups as per the recipe
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup + 2 -4 tbsp as needed
Whole Wheat Flour: 1.5 cup + 2 tbsp

Brown Sugar: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder: 3/4 -1 tsp heaped as per choice

In a bowl, mix yeast and water and let it froth for 5-10 minutes.

Add in milk, egg/Ener G egg, pureed pumpkin, 1 cup all Purpose Flour, 1cup whole Wheat flour, oil, salt, sugar and garam masala  to the mix and beat for 2 minutes.

Add in the remaining whole wheat flour and apf start with 2 tbsp and knead in till you get a pliable dough. Turn over to a floured surface and knead adding as much flour as needed to get a smooth elastic dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it once to coat with oil and let it sit covered with a plastic wrap until doubled for  an hour or so. Mine took about 45 when it became huge and lovely.

Turn out the dough gently into a lightly oiled work surface, divide into half . Shape one half ino a loaf and other into 6+ rolls and place in a well greased loaf pan and baking dish respectively. Cover and let it rise until doubled again for another 45 minutes -1 hour. Mine done under 30 minutes when Istarted preheating the oven at 375F/ 190 C.

Bake the rolls for about 15-20 minutes and loaf for another 5-10 minutes more till they are golden brown on the top.Remove from the oven and also move the loaf and rolls from their baking dishes to the wire rack to prevent their crusts from becoming soggy.

Serve with your choice of accompaniments. They are perfect for sandwiches and can also mop up a stew or gravy. 

I have also tried them with mozzarella slice and pizza sauce. A really quick and tasty pizza bites they make. If you have gone with the spices mentioned in the original recipe -cardamom &ginger then you can just use them with a sweet cream cheese or jam or whatever you prefer. 

Next time I make , I will go for slightly more garam masala. I went for 3/4 tsp and still don't find it that hot. May be its personal choice. Any way lets check out how the other Baking Partners welcomed Fall and Pumpkin. Hop over to Swathi's Post 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Garlic Bread Sticks | Soft, Quick and Easy

There are days when I have that urge for bread baking though lesser time. So I first go through my bookmarks for the easier ones and bake the bread. One such is the recipe as usual from KingArthurFlour site and I just turned these easy bread sticks into garlicky ones and that also satisfied my daughters hunger for pizza. ;)

Usually we classify dishes as one pot rice or one pot meal, one dish chocolate cake like that. This one can be descibed/categorised as one baking sheet bread . 

How ? Read on..


Luke warm water: 1.5 cups
Olive Oil : 3 tbsp for more for drizzling
Salt: 1.25 tsp 
Garlic paste:  1.5 - 2 tsp 
All Purpose Flour: 3.5 cups
Instant Yeast : 1 tbsp
Pizza dough flavour: 4 tsp (I didn't use this as I don't have it)

Pizza Seasoning: to sprinkle on top

Lightly grease an 18' x 13' baking sheet and also also drizzle 1-2 tbsp f olive oil on this.

Combine all the ingredients in the blender/ food processor and beat at high speed for about 1 minute.

We will get a sticky batter which we can scoop onto the prepared pan and spread it to the edges using oiled fingers.

Using a pizza cutter/ sharp knife, score the dough vertically into 3/4' or 1' wide strips. You will get around 13' long strips.

Now score the dough horizontally or lengthwise so that you are getting 6.5' long strips.

Cover the pan and let it rise  until puffy for about 60 minutes.

Once ready drizzle the dough with olive oil ,sprinkle with pizza seasoning or your choice of herbs.

Bake the bread for about 20-25 minutes till light golden brown in a preheated oven at 375F/ 190 C.

Remove from the oven, carefully lift it out of the pan and onto a rack and let it cool for another 2-3 minutes based on how much warm/heat you can handle.

Using scissors/ sharp knife, cut the bread along the scored lines.

Now comes the crucial part of deciding how soft or hard you want your bread sticks to be. 

Place the bread sticks with their sides up back onto the baking sheet, close together and bake again for 5 minutes for slightly soft bread sticks or 10 minutes for crunchier ones.

If you want really soft bread sticks, don't go for the second bake. Serve immediately after baking after cutting into sticks.

Simple soft bread sticks perfect for snack time. You can even replace the refine flour with whole wheat flour for healthier sticks. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bean N' Rice Burrito | Hearty Mexican Meal

They always say fashion trends revive or circulate  or rather old trends make a comeback into limelight. 

For me its same with food/cuisines. Old favourites make a comeback sometimes. Now that there are several Mexican restaurants in my neighbourhood, I am in Mexican frenzy. Not ordering but cooking.. 

Okay, make that "not just ordering, but cooking as well".

Anyways, now Mexican is a family favourite with this one topping the list. This one recipe or dish is a wholesome one with my favourites - rice, beans, tomatoes and tortillas. 

This one is a nice change from the usual or routine fare of dal, roti, subji or even flavoured rice or whatever you make at night. This require slightly more prep time if you are preparing all the ingredients from scratch as I did, but its totally worth it. 

I had already posted my tortillas, salsa and sourcream. So I will be posting the Kidney bean rice that I adapted from here.

Basmati rice: 1 cup atleast
Water : as needed to cook the rice appprox. 2 cups
Vegetable Stock: 1/2 cup atleast but quantity to be adjusted with water (optional)

Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Onion: 1 finely chopped
Green Pepper: 1 medium chopped into bite sized pieces
Garlic: 1 -2 cloves minced/grated

Chilli Powder:1 tsp+/- tsp as per taste
Cumin Powder: 1 tsp +/-
Red chili flakes: 1/8 + tsp

Red Kidney Beans: 1/2 cup pre soaked and cooked

Tortillas: 4 + as needed

Salsa: 1-2cups

Sour cream /Cheese : optional


Cook rice till done adding enough water and stock.

Stock definitely imparts flavour to rice and enhances the final dish.  Fluff it up using fork and keep aside to cool. Cook the beans with salt and then drain off the excess water. You can use this water along with stock while cooking the rice.

Heat olive oil in a deep pan and saute the finely chopped onions and green pepper till the raw smell disappears. Add in the crushed garlic and saute for another minute or so. Make sure its not burnt. 

Then add in the chilli and cumin powders along with red chilli flakes and salt and saute till raw smell disappears. Then stir in rice and beans and cook till heated through and the flavours mix well. Adjust the salt and seasonings.

Your rice is ready to stuffed up as a burrito. You can prepare and keep this rice ready so that dinner time includes just reheating the tortilla and filling it.

Spoon few tablespoons of rice in the tortilla. Top with salsa and optionally shredded cheddar or any Mexcian blend. Fold the sides and ends over the filling and serve with more salsa, sourcream  and more cheese. 

A simple yet full meal. While preparing the rice, I was wondering whether the rice will be good enough for the burrito. I love tomatoes and have heard that Mexican rice always include tomatoes apart from salsa. So this rice was a bit different or 'hatke' for me. But trust me the burrito was awesome. All the ingredients -rice and the salsa contributed to the dish but held their own as well.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Khaliat Nahal - HoneyComb Buns | We Knead to Bake #9

Khaliat al Nahal is known as Bee's  Hive or Honeycomb in Arabic. The bread is called so because of its shape. The buns are baked close together and traditionally they are sweet buns though we can make these savoury too.

I got to know of these buns when Aparna chose them as this month's challenge recipe. My first impression was that these were like pav buns with a filling inside. And ofcourse I opted for a savoury filling of caramelized and spicy onions. Started preparations at noon and they were ready at teatime. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy as my daughter puts it. I went for half of the recipe but next time would be going for the original quantities mentioned as the buns are addictive.


Luke warm milk: 1 cup
Instant yeast: 1.5 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 2.5 cup + 1-2 tbsp if needed
Salt: 1 tsp

Melted Butter: 40 gm or 3 tbsp + 2 tsp roughly

Milk : 2 tbsp for brushing on top
Sesame seeds : for topping

Filling: Caramelized Onions 


In a bowl, combine milk, yeast and sugar and let it sit until foamy for about 5-10 minutes.

In a food processor or in a bowl if doing manually, pulse/mix together 2 cups of flour and salt till well blended. Mix in melted and cooled butter to this and blend well.

Add in the milk yeast mix and knead to form a non sticky soft smooth dough adding remaining 1/2 cup or even more as needed to form a round shaped dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled vessel, turning once to coat and let it sit covered with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel until it doubles up for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. I went for caramelized onions with spices. I sauteed the thinly sliced onions in little oil, adding salt and little sugar and once they started browning, I added seasoning to them and continued cooking till they were browned and dry and well coated with the spices. You can go with your choice of sweet/savoury filling.

Once the dough doubles up, transfer it to a counter. No need to dust the counter with flour as the dough is non sticky. Divide the dough into 2 equal halves, and each half you roll out with your hands to a 9' long rope. Divide the rope into 9 pieces of 1 ' long. Repeat the process with the other half too and you will have total 18 pieces.

Working with one piece at a time, slightly flatten the piece - the piece is long, you can shape it as a round ball and then flatten with hands- add about 1-2 tsp of filling in the centre, bring the sides together around the filling to close and shape the piece into a round ball.

Place the stuffed/filled ball with the seam side down on a parchment lined/greased 9' round cake tin.Repeat the above process of stuffing with the remaining 17 pieces and arrange them as a concentric circle in the cake tin. 

Let these pieces sit until puffy or doubled up for another 30-40 minutes under a plastic wrap.

Brush the top of the buns with milk. Top them with sesame seeds or appropriate toppings. I had only black sesame . Bake the buns in a preheated oven at 350F/180 C for about 20-30 minutes. I too these out at 24th minute. 

Cool for about 5-10 minutes in the cake tin after which transfer these carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Yummo. Let me finish mine now. Why don't t you guys hop over to Aparnas place to see they did this time?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vegan Crouu Doughnuts | Baking Partners Challenge #15

Crouu Doughnut or a cronut is a new name to me. It is actually a croissant-doughnut pastry developed by Dominique Ansel and it is said that people queue up for this half croissant half doughnut cronut. Imitations of this recipe has mushroomed almost everywhere it seems. 

Wondering why too much fuss over a nut ?  I did too till I tasted it !.

Well, this month Thanks to Swathi Iyer & Reeni we tried it out for Baking Partners #15 sourced from Bootleg Cronut. Its a lengthy 3 day recipe, but totally worth it once you sink your pearlies into the flaky pastry .On top of that I made it vegan using the base recipe provided from Vegan HeartLand, and then laminating with shortening instead of butter. It was risky, but it worked.

 I have read that  most commercial puff pastry makers go for shortening instead of butter, so I thought why not try in the home version too!. Then I read conflicting reports on how shortening gives bad taste and blah blah..

So I was on hot coals till the first bite. One bite and it was heaven.So heres my version 


Crouu- Doughnut:

Instant yeast : 2.1/4 tsp
Water: 2.5 tbsp
Coconut Milk: 1 cup warm
Sugar: 5 tbsp
Salt: 3/4 tsp
Applesauce: 5 tbsp
Shortening /Vanaspati: 6 tbsp
All Purpose Flour: 3 cups  + 1-2 cup as needed

Laminating : Shortening: 1.1/4 cups of cold vanaspati

Deep Frying: Vegetable/ Canola Oil: 2+ cups as needed

Procedure:First day Make the doughSecond Day: LamnateThird day: Deep fry


First Day: Dough:
Blitz together all the dough ingredients adding more flour as needed to get a non sticky dough, scraping the the sides of the processor. 

Gently knead/shape the dough into a round mass and let it sit covered in a well oiled vessel until it turns puffy or doubles in 45  minutes. Refrigerate overnight.

Second Day: Laminating : 
I took out the required quantity of shortening, let it cool a bit, then made it into a rectangle within 2 sheets of waxed paper and then chilled it for another 15 minutes or so.You can also add a little flour while doing this so that it sticks better and rolls out better, but I lightly dusted the wax paper with apf. 

Unwrap the dough, roll it out into a 10.5 ' square on a floured surface. Unwrap the shortening and place it on the dough so that its points are centred along the sides of the dough.

Fold one flap of the dough over butter/shortening, stretching it lightly so that the point reaches the centre of fat. Repeat with other flaps. Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.

First Turn:

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.Press the dough to elongate slightly. Then turn the dough so that the smaller side to face you. Roll out the dough to expand the length, adding more flour as needed. Once you have a rectangle of 21 x 9 inches, fold the top third of the rectangle to the centre,and then the bottom third on top to cover it. Chill the dough for atleast 15 minutes and then turn the dough 90 degrees to resemble a book. Now comes the second turn.

Second, Third and Fourth  Turns:  

These are similar to the first one except that you have to ensure you are working along the length of the dough and chill in between. Refrigerate overnight or till frying time

For me from the second turn problems started. The shortening broke inside (may be I chilled overtime, it was sort of hard), but I continued and adjusted the chilling time with the successive turns and the fourth turn was lovely. 

Third Day: Fry Day

Take out the cold dough, let it sit for few minutes in room temp, then roll out expanding the length  or along the length of a baking sheet into 1/2' thick rectangle adding enough flour as needed to prevent sticking. Chill the rectangle in the baking sheet itself in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Take out and punch out the crouu-doughnuts,remove the punched ones onto another lined baking sheet,brush the tops with water and let it sit at room temp until puffy for about 30 minutes. You can refreeze the dough rectangle for later use as well.

Once puffy freeze these for 15 minutes before deep frying. 

Baking might not work for these as Swathi has mentioned in her post, but still I am planning to try with some dough left in the freezer.Also she describes the correct size for these pastries, but I have used my doughnut cutter.

Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep small bowl and deep fry the crouunuts on both sides at a lower heat. The correct temperature is the one when you add a pinch of flour to the oil, it sizzles up.The low heat ensures the golden brown colour of the crust and also they are cooked inside.

Drain these on paper towels till the shiny colour drains out. Prepare the glaze and also toss the crouu doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.

I went for a simple chocolate glaze.

Y U M M O. Perfect taste, Perfectly Vegan.I am surprised that apple sauce, shortening, coconut milk could result in such a tasty pastry. It was a risk well done. Ofcourse you can even go for butter if you do not want shortening. But whatever bad reports that shortening tastes crappy compared to butter is wrong. But ofcourse it might be just a mental hitch that you feel and not the real thing.

Anyways the challenge is well completed though as usual I am late in posting. But better late than never!.Enjoy the crouu doughnut :- P

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Crunchy Pretzels | We Knead to Bake #8

I tasted pretzels few years and was fascinated by it. I am not a  great fan of too crunchy things, but the saltiness and the knotty shape made me hold them at a  distance with awe. Though I had tried softer pretzels and even tried stuffing them, hard crunchy ones always eluded me. 

But this time thanks to We Knead to Bake, where Aparna chose Alton Brown's recipe from FoodNetwork I did bake the crunchiest and hard pretzels which can definitely give complex to any commercially manufactured pretzels. 

So crunch on..


Instant Yeast: 2 tsp
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Luke warm Water: 1 and 3/4 cups 

All Purpose Flour: 4.5 cups + more for dusting
Salt: 2 tsp (adjust if sprinkling with pretzel salt)

Water: 6 cups
Baking Soda: 2 tbsp

Pretzel salt/sea salt: for sprinkling

In a bowl, mix together yeast,sugar and luke warm water. Let it sit for five minutes till it turns frothy. Will instant yeast this step is optional but I followed it.

In a food processor, mix in the flour,salt and the yeast mixture and blend in until the flour is incorporated. A dough starts forming and take out once it starts pulling away from the sides.

Turn the dough onto a lightly dusted surface and knead on adding more flour if needed to get a smooth,moist non sticky elastic dough.You can do this step in the food processor as well.

Once the dough is formed place it in a oiled bowl, turning once to coat with oil and let it sit covered with a towel or a foodwrap until it doubles in size. This takes an hour or so.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and deflate it so as to remove most of the air.

Roll out the dough into a 12' x 12' square and using a pizza cutter divide it into equal sized pieces.
At this stage, my dough was not a perfect square and I ended up with different sized pieces. But still I could work with these.

Once  the pieces are formed, make ready a plate/cookie sheet by lightly greasing with oil. Also keep ready another baking sheet by lining it with parchment/aluminium foil and lightly oiling on top. Also lighly oil your hands as you are about work with each individual pieces.

Flatten each piece of dough and roll into a tightly cylinder. Then slowly roll it out into a thin rope. The rope should be thinner than a pencil and almost 1' in diameter.

Then shape into a pretzel and place on the greased plate/cookie/sheet. Repeat this process with as many dough pieces as needed to make a batch. My shaping is not perfect but yes you can get a mastery over it by practicing on the umpteen pieces. :-D

Meanwhile bring water to boil and slowly add the soda. It will first bubble up and then settle down. Cook the pretzels for not more than 30 seconds in this soda bath. Slowly remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on lined and greased baking sheet.

Sprinkle pretzel/sea salt atop them along with egg wash if using. I didnt opt for egg wash.

Bake the pretzels in a preheated oven at 180C for 40- 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and shiy and the pretzels are hard. Mine was done under 30 minutes. So it depends on the batch size and better to keep an eye after 20 minutes.

Take and cool for a few minutes on the sheet after which remove to the rack to cool completely. This will also take few minutes after which store in air tight containers to prevent them from turning chewy.

Yum yum and yum. Perfect pretzels that will give the market ones a run for their money...

For me they are perfect midnight snacks.. or anytime snacks as well.

Hope over to Aparna's Post for We Knead to Bake #8 to find who all crunched the pretzels.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Speculoos Cookies | World Cookies for Baking Partners #13

Speculoos are Dutch Spiced Cookies. These are like spiced shortbread cookies baked in Netherlands for St.Nicholas Feast in December or around Christmas.

 I love baking cookies and have a special affinity towards spiced ones. So I loved the World Cookies Challenge that was given by Swathi and Sowmya for Baking Partners #12 this time.

Also it was so long that I posted something on this space.What item better than a spiced cookie? It was actually a cookie sandwich recipe, but I didn't fill them as the first batch were toooo good to resist and so decided to have/serve them as such.

Oops let me stop and lets go straight to the recipe.I need to finish this and munch on.Two lone cookies are waiting for me .. unless ofcourse Daughter dear smells them out ;)


Cubed Cold Butter : 8 tbsp or 100g or 1 stick or 1/2 cup

Sugar: 1/3 cup
Light Brown Sugar (I used demerara) : 12 tbsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp

Ground Cinnamon: 2.5 tsp
Ground Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp
Ground Ginger: 1/2 tsp
Ground Cloves: 1/4 tsp
Fresh Grated Pepper: 1/4 tsp

Egg: 1 or Ener Egg: 1.5 pkd tsp of Ener G + 2-3 tbsp of water
Vanilla : 1 tsp Molasses: 1 tsp All Purpose Flour: 1 and 3/4 cup

In a food processor, blend together the cubed butter, sugars, salt, soda and the ground spices on medium speed till well incorporated or for about 30 seconds.

Add in the vanilla, egg and molasses and blend on medium speed for another 1-2 minutes scrapping the sides of the bowl if needed.

Add the flour and beat in medium speed till all the flour is incorporated.

Scrap the dough -slightly sticky- on to a plastic wrap,cover it  and shape it into a disc and chill for about 30 minutes atleast or upto 2 days. The dough can be frozen for upto 3 months as well.

Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F.
Take out the dough, roll it out into a 1/4' inch. I did this within the plastic wrap to avoid mess. You can turn the dough out on a floured surface and roll it out.

Using cookie cutter of desired shape, cut out cookies and place them on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet leaving an inch of space between them.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes until they start to darken around the edges. Take out and let them cool in the sheet for about 10 minutes after which transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

When I took them out after 8th minute, the centre was just set and they sort of crisped up in the cookie sheet upon cooling.  
I loved them as such and hence didnt go for filling. The cookies if remaining can be stored in fridge in an airtight container.

Now Lets see what other baking partners baked for this World Cookies Challenge:

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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