Monday, November 24, 2014

Sheermal- Persian Saffron Flatbread | We Knead to Bake #22

I had heard the word sheermal but was under the impression that it was something that existed only in Kashmir. Aunty Google helped me know that it exists even now as a street food in India especially in Muslim neighbourhoods and is an integral though rare  part of Lucknowi especially Awadhi,Kashmiri or Hyderabadi cuisines. Its origins can be traced to the Mughals or Persia as the name is based on the Persian word for milk 'Sheer'. 
Shirmal/Sheermal is a naanlike milk bread made with refined flour, clarified butter/ghee , along with saffron and milk. Slightly sweet in taste, it can be served with spicy kormas/gravies or even sweeter spreads.This month for We Knead to Bake Aparna gave us Sheermal and it was a joy to bake it.

Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 tsp
Luke Warm Water: 4 tbsp

All Purpose Flur: 2.25 cups
Salt :3/4 tsp

Egg: 1 lightly beaten OR Ener G Egg: 1.5 tsp packed powder whipped/mixed with 4 tbsp of water 
Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 4 tbsp

Milk 4-8 tbsp (I needed only 2-3 tbsp)

Kewra Essence /Rose essence: 1 tsp

Few Saffron Strands soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
Ghee/ Melted Butter : for brushing


Mix yeast & sugar with warm water and keep aside for few minutes until frothy.

In a big bowl or processor, mix together flour & salt. Add in the yeast mixture and egg and whisk/beat well. Add in the ghee in two additions and continue  whisking/beating until it resembles finee crumbs.

Add in milk tablespoons at time -it took just 2 tablespoons for me- and continue kneading until you start getting a dough. Add in the kewra/rose essence -I added rose- and more milk if needed and knead until you a soft and very lightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning once to coat, covering loosely with a plastic wrap and let it sit until doubled for an hour or two.
Meanwhile soak the saffron strands in little warm milk and keep aside. You can see it turning a happy yellow.

Once doubled, take the dough and knead again applying ghee all over. Let it rest again for another 15-20 minutes. 

Dived the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take a piece, roll it out to a circle of 4" diameter or 1/8" thickness. Transfer it to a lined/greased baking sheet. Using a fork, prick holes all over the surface of the bread. Repeat the process with the other three pieces. 

Brush the saffron milk all over the rounds so that it absorbs as much flavour as possible. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for about 10-15 minutes till they turn a lovely golden brown. Take out and lightly brush them with melted ghee/butter. Serve warm. If serving after sometime transfer to a wirerack.

These are perfect when they are warm. They can be enjoyed as such or with any korma/choice of sides.They are only slightly sweet and a yellowish in colour thanks to the saffron. These are usually served in Muslim households with nihari or a slow cooked beef or lamb stew.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Low Fat Banana Bread | Healthy and Tasty

While posting the Banana Bundt cake, I was wistfully wondering whether I can make it again and that too quickly. But ofcourse patience which is never my virtue, wanted something quick. Something that we can easily put together and pop off in the oven to finish the work to perfection. And lo, out came another bookmark -Low Fat Banana bread from Joy of Baking. This was lower in fat as it contained no butter but oil, and a part of refined flour was replaced by healthier whole wheat flour. 

So those who are still salivating on the banana bundt cake can try this low fat banana bread which is healthier and as tasty. I had only half cup of banana with me and hence I halved the recipe as given below.

Banana: 1/2 cup mashed ripe
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Low fat Plain yogurt : 4 tbsp 

Veg Oil: 2 tbsp
Demerara Sugar: 6 tbsp
Egg: 1/2 = 3/4 tsp pkf EnerG + 2 tbsp water
Vanilla Extract: 1/2 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup ~ 8 tbsp
Whole Wheat Four: 4 tbsp
Cinnamon Powdered: 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
salt: 1/8 tsp
Nuts/Chocochips/Combo: 1/4 cup (optional)


Mix together bananas,soda and yogurt. Let it sit till other ingredients are ready.

In another bowl, whisk together oil,sugar, egg and vanilla.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.Optionally add in 4 tbsp of chopped nuts, choco chips

Add the banana mix to oil mix and add this to the flour mix. Stir until all ingredients are moistened. Now if you have forgotten to add the nuts with the flour mix earlier, then now is the time to add them. You can fold them gently into the batter.

Pour into a greased or lined loaf pan, smooth the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F until the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let the bread cool for about 10 minutes in the loaf pan. After which transfer it to a wirerack to cool  completely 

Serve the bread for breakfast or as an anytime snack. A hot cuppa and a slice are heavenly in the morning with hot news.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chocolate Whoopie Pies | Baking Partners November Challenge

Winter has started and countdown to Christmas and New Year has already started. Nights are getting longer and we can feel the chill at 6.30 itself. In such depressing weather a mood enhancer or a pick-me -up is a perfect solution. What better than chocolate or rather fudgy chocolate cookies sandwiched with butter cream.!

Chocolate Whoopie pies was one of the recipes we were given for this months Baking Partners challenge by Swathi suggested by Anitha of KitchenDiary. The recipe from JoyofBaking is easy to bake as well.Whoopie pies are fudgy ...or soft. They can be called cookies but they are neither cookie nor cupcake. They are somewhere in between... As per wiki they can be called a cookie,pie or cake.. So pick your option and make your own as given below.

All Purpose Flour :1 and 3/4 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder : 3/4 cup 
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Soft Unsalted Butter: 3/4 cup or 12 tbsp
Granulated white sugar: 3/4 cup 

Egg: 1 OR Ener G Egg (1.5 packed tsp of ener G + 4 tbsp of water)
Vanilla : 1 tsp

Buttermilk: 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup
Luke warm Water/coffee: 8 tbsp or 1/2 cup

Vanilla Filling:
Soft Unsalted Butter: 4 tbsp
Shortening (Vanaspati): 4 tbsp

Powdered Sugar: 1 cup

Vanilla Extract: 1.5 tsp
CornSyrup: 1/3 cup or 16 tsp

In a bowl, mix together flour,cocoa, baking powder,soda and salt.

In another deep bowl, beat butter until creamy.Add in sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg followed by vanilla.

Mix together buttermilk and coffee/water. Beat in dry mix and wet mix alernately in three additions starting and ending with flour.You will get a messy chocolatey batter.

Drop tablespoonful or scoopful of batter onto a lined/greased baking sheet. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 375F/190C for about 8-10 minutes until the cookies are still springy on touch.

Take out and let them cool on the sheet for a while. Remove and cool them completely on the wirerack till they are ready to be sandwiched.

Beat together shortening and butter in a bowl until soft and creamy. Add in the powdered sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extracct and also cornsyrup at low speed until soft and fluffy.

Scoop in tablespoonful of filling on the the flat side of one cookie and then top with another one.

Sooo YUM...Instant pick me up especially if you have added coffee. Ahh...
Hop onto Swathi's to find out what others baked ..

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Studded Banana Bundt Cake | Perfect Indulgence

Last post was delayed post. Talking of delayed posts this one takes the cake .. literally. This studded banana bundt cake was something I made almost 4 months ago and was sitting in the drafts.

What to do with a blackended banana?. Every time I see such a thing siiting on the counter,I make a face and move away. I prefer not to bake with banana.  I feel it makes the cake or cupcake or muffin or whatever you are baking heavier.This actually puts me off. I have defintiely tried overcoming this and had successfully baked the banana into things.But  the first sight of over ripe black banana... 

Still when I saw the bundt cake in this post I just couldn't resist. 

As usual I added my own twists by replacing the eggs and adding colourful tutti fruti bits as well. The recipe was easy to make and I got a thumbs up from my family and friends as well. I am sure if you try this one then surely you will not be put off by the sight of a blackened banana as well.


Unsalted Butter Soft: 6 tbsp
Brown Sugar : 1/2 cup (I used demerara sugar)
Granulated white sugar: 1/4 cup

Eggs: 2 OR EnerG Replacer packed 1 tbsp + 4-6 tbsp of water
Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp

Ripe Banana: 3/4 cup mashed

Salt: 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder: 3/4 tsp
All Purpose Flour : 2cups

Chocochips / Tutti fruti bits / Combo: 3/4 cup

Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and keep aside. 

In another bowl cream together butter and sugars for two minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla next. Add in banana and blend until it is dispersed throughout. Add in the dry items mixing until smooth.  Finally stir in the chocochips or tutti frutti bits. 

Transfer the batter to a greased and floured bundt pan making sure the batter is spread evenly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/175C for 40-45 minutes until the tester comes out clean and the cake looks firm and golden.  

You can let the cake cool for an hour or two in the bundt pan itself and then remove it. Else place the bundt pan on a wet towel -soaked in steaming hot water for 2-3 minutes. Check with a spatula around the edges if the cake is stuck to the pan - this can happen if not greased properly. Then place a cooling rack on top of the pan and invert it carefully. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Never before I have fell in love with a black overripe banana.. Itwas Perfect. Whatever complaints I had against the overripe fruit were simply forgotten. Soo YUM..

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dry Fruit Laddoos | Quick Fix Sweet

Diwali is long gone. Normally Diwali posts are before the festival. But for me I am busy that time. Sometimes cleaning, sometimes real work other times laziness. Something or other to keep myself busy. Usually I make the traditional poha for Diwali. This time I tried a quick fix laddoos as well. The no sugar, no bake nutty laddoos are courtesy Chef Ajay Chopra, who was demoing this recipe while I was surfing channels. 

The recipe is pretty simple, and it takes barely 10 minutes to bring everything together. It can be made vegan and is lowfat and sugar free. The original video can found here.

Almonds: 1/3 cup chopped

Flax Seeds & pumpkin seeds: 1/3 cup each

Dates: 1 cup deseeded and chopped
Figs: 1/2 cup chopped



Poppy Seeds: 2  tbsp
Dessicated coconut : 1/2 cup 

Roast almonds and flax & pumpkin seeds till aromatic. Keep aside to cool a bit.

Add the chopped figs and dates and the toasted mix to the processor bowl and blend to a fine paste. You can actually powder the toasted nuts and seeds a bit before adding the chopped dry fruits. 

I had previously soaked the dates and figs before chopping them as this makes the blending easier. Add the dark brown paste mix to a bowl.

Toast the dessicated coconut and poppy seeds till aromatic and transfer it a wide plate. If using dried coconut flakes then toast the poppy seeds alone and mix with it. If not a fan of poppy seeds, then feel free to leave it out as well. 

Apply ghee/oil to hands for the ease of rolling. Pull out palmful portions from the mix , roll into a ball within greased hands, roll in the coconut- poppy seed mix. Arrange in a serving dish.

These can be stored in an airtight dish. I store in the fridge as I don't want to take chances. A simple quick fix which is sugar free and filling. A wonderful way as well to use up the dry fruits and nuts that you have received as Diwali gifts as well.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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