Friday, September 25, 2015

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread | We Knead to Bake September '15

I love banana bread though I never tried yeasted version. So when Aparna suggested yeasted version from KingArthurFlour for this months challenge I did try it out and it was perfect with nutella and peanut butter.
I halved the recipe and got a mini loaf which went well with tea.

Lukewarm Milk:4+ tbsp
Wheat flour: 1 cup
All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup
Vital wheat gluten: 3/4 tsp
Soft Butter: 1 tbsp
Instant yeast: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Honey: 1.5 tsp
Banana: 3/4 cups chopped +/-(12 tbsp)


In a bowl, mix together the flours,gluten,yeast and salt. Add in honey,butter and milk (3 tbsp at first) and start mixing together adding milk little more if needed. Once a sticky dough is formed, fold in the chopped bananas and continue kneading until you get a smooth soft almost non sticky dough.

Mine was ok -ok. The bananas got mashed and added to the stickiness.I needed barely 5 tbsp of milk.

Shape it into a ball and place in an oiled bowl and let it rise for another 1.5 - 2 hours until it doubles.At this stage you can refrigerate the dough and let it rise in the fridge overnight. If this is done, take it out atleast 20-30 minutes before the second rise.

Gently deflate the dough and place it in a greased loaf tin and let it rise under a loose wrap for an hour until it assumes the shape of the loaf and hopefully rises above the corners of the tin.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C, brush the top of the bread with milk and sprinkle optional toppings like oats etc.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or more until the top is golden brown. Take out let it cool completely on a wire rack.

The bread is not sweet. Maybe it will be if the bananas used are overtly sweet. The bread can be used as a sandwich bread with even savoury spreads or gravies.
Else you can serve it with maple/butterscotch syrups, nutella and other sweet preserves/spreads.

You can even spice it up with cardamom, cinnamon etc and include nuts as well while kneading the dough. And obviously you can replace the bananas and go for oranges pineapple etc to get a different flavoured bread. Make sure you adjust the sweetness quotient as per your choice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tomato Onion Galette | Baking Partners September Challenge

Galette is a French term for free form or rustic cakes, pies or pastries - sweet as well as savoury. Based on the size and content these can be used a side ,snack or dessert. These are most popular as desserts though. I remember baking apple galette for Suma Rowjee

I had mentioned it here though I am yet to post the recipe. This time when Suja of Kitchen Corner suggested Galette for Baking Partners Challenge by Swathi I decided to go for a simple savoury tomato onion thyme galette. I went with the same recipe suggested by Suja and filling I just did mine.

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Cake Flour: 1/2 cup (7 tbsp apf + 1 tbsp semolina/cornmeal/cornstarch)
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Butter: 8 tbsp chilled

Ice cold water: 4 tbsp

In a bowl, mix flours, salt and sugar. Cut butter in small cubes and add it to the flour mix. Using a pastry blender, cut in through the flour or if using hands pinch and fluff the mix until it becomes coarse and resembles sand. The flour should look like large flakes and butter should be pea sized.You can do this in a processor also.
Slowly add water in tbsp and mix until the dough starts coming together. Transfer the dough onto a lightly dusted counter. Flatten the dough like  rectangle with the heel of your palm to a side away from you, starting from the top left corner to the bottom facing you.

Pat and smooth the top and cover the rectangle like an envelope by bringing the bottom to the middle and the top down on it and tuck the sides towards the bottom and make it like a round ball. Cover it in a plasatic wrap and chill it for atleast half an hour or upto two days.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. 

I just thinly sliced tomatoes and thinly chopped onions and used these with salt, pepper and thyme. You can actually salt the tomato slices and leave them on a rack so that the juice drains off and even caramelize onions. This ensures the dish is done faster and the pastry doesnt turn soggy.

Once the dough is ready and you are ready to bake the galette, take out the dough from fridge and place on a floured counter. Roll it out into 1/8" thick circles. Cut into desired shapes and carefully transfer to a baking sheet which is optionally lined/greased. 

Sprinkle around 1-2 tbsp of cornstarch/semolina/flour on top.Arrange the filling around leaving atleast 2-3 inches border. Fold the edges around the filling forming loose pleats. Gently press the pleats together so that it sticks together.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes or more until the filling starts to get cooking (the onions get caramelized look) and the crust turns brown.Remove the baking sheet from the oven and after 5-10 minutes remove the galette to a wirerack to cool completely before serving.

I made medium sized ones by halving the dough and served as a snack. It was yum and tomato, onions and thyme complemented tea very well. The pastry is buttery  but for the chilly weather its perfect.

Lets see the other options and who went sweet or savoury this month. Join me to check out  Swathi's post.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Savoury Modaks for Ganesha | Ammini Kozhukattai

Ganesha Chathurthi was celebrated two days back with pomp all over India and in some parts the celebrations are still going on. Festivities that celebrate the Birthday of Modak-loving, Elephant Faced Indian  God Ganesha or Ganpati end with the immersion of the Ganesh idol and this can take upto 1 week. At homes different types of offerings are made -usually sweet modaks and sometimes savoury as well. This time I preferred savoury modaks or ammini kozhukkattai - riceflour based steamed balls whick are then tempered to the taste. These are speciailities of Tamil Nadu though popular in all Southern states in India  and they turned out perfect as an offering snack. I have adapted the recipe from Sailus Kitchen and its given below.


Rice Flour: 1/2 cup
Hot water: 1cup +
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Ghee/oil: 1/2 tsp

Grated Coconut: few tbsp


Oil: 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Channa dal: 1.5 tsp
Urad Dal: 1 tsp
Green Chillies: 1-2 slit
Red Chillies: 1-2 chopped into pieces
Hing/Asafoetida: 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves: few or 1 sprig

Mix salt rice flour together and add in ghee/oil. Add in hot water and knead the flour to get a smooth dough. You can first boil water with salt and ghee/oil and add in the rice flour and stir in to get a lump free dough. 
Whatever the method you use the dough should be smooth and lump free and let it sit for sometime so that it becomes easy to handle.

With greased hands pinch off small pieces from the dough and place in a greased steamer/ idly plates.

Place these plates in a steamer or pressure cooker and steam for 10-15 minutes (without weight if using cooker) until the balls are cooked and turn little light. Remove from heat and keep aside .

In a pan, Heat oil for tempering and add in the mustard. When it splutters, add in cumin and the  dals. Once the dals brown and the cumin sizzles, add in the red and green chillies, curry leaves and hing. Once the hing toasts and curryleaves sizzles add in the grated coconut followed by steamed rice balls. Mix well and take it off heat.

Serve in bowls as a breakfast or snack etc based on your choice.

Simple easy to make and savoury snack. You can make it along with sweet modaks and offer it during your pooja.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Chili con Elote -Chili with Corn | Mexican comfort for chilly nights

Now that its raining at nights, I thought I better prepare something that will keep us full and warm. I was thinking of good ol' chili when Aunt Google showed me chili with corn or Chili con Elote. I was under the impression that chili sin carne or meatless chili which has corn was the ultimate. But curiosity made me try this 'sweet corn only no other veg' chili  from here and it hit the tastebuds like anything.  Seriously its easy to prepare and goes well as a soup or with rice and/ or breads.

Onion: 1 chopped (almost 1 cup)
Garlic: 1 medium size chopped
Green Bell Pepper : 1 medium :chopped into bite size pieces
Vegetable Stock / Water: 2 cup +/-
Tomatoes: 1 cup chopped 
Tomato Paste : 2 tbsp

Fresh/ Frozen Sweet corn : 2 cups +

Cooked Red Kidney Beans: 3 -4 cups

Paprika / (Mexican) Chili Powder: 1/2 -1 tsp
Cumin Powder: 1/4 tsp
Oregano: 1 tsp + 
Salt: as per taste

Oil: for sauteing

Saute onion and garlic in oil until transparent and aromatic. Add in green pepper pieces and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the spice powders, little salt,corn and tomato chopped/ tomato paste along with water/stock and bring to boil. Also add in the cooked beans mashed coarsely.

Reduce heat and let it simmer for bout 20-30 minutes till it thickens a bit and reaches your choice of consistency. Do taste test and adjust the salt and spices.

Serve as a soup, side with bread/roti/rice and also as tortilla filling or bread spread or even as a dip if you grind it coarsely

A simple spicy gravy or curry if you prefer so. I liked it as a soup as well. An easy one too if you have cooked beans sitting in the fridge waiting to be used. No hassle of chopping other vegetables too. You can refer the other varieities of chili - sweetpotato and chocolate if you prefer to add veggies or go different from the usual.

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