Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Leopard Patch Bread |We Knead to Bake #37

My daughter learned about aestivation last year. Aestivation is the hibernation during summer months.Come April May or the Indian Summer I aestivate.. now I can give a name to my condition.Its tough to blog when exams come, school finally closes and travel plans being made.But my aestivation extends usually more than two months.. I enjoy the process sooooo much that I don't feel like coming back.. Posts line up, deadline for events come and go but I am me.. 

Its good to be back though once that starting trouble is over.This post was supposed to be up in April, but as usual I baked and then put it on backburner.. Blogging is something which always gets the back seat in the journey of life. We know its there but yup its the last in the list.. 

Anyways todays post is the leopard patch bread which I baked in between trips.This was the chosen one by Aparna for We Knead to Bake #37and is inspired by Partricia Nascimentos Pao de leite leopardo


All purpose flour: 2 cups
Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
Warm milk: 2/3 up
Warm water: 1/2 cup
Melted butter: 4 tbsp or 50 gms
Sugar: 4 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Instant yeast: 2 tsp

Dark Brown Dough:
Cocoa Powder: 3 tbsp
Milk: 1 tbsp

Lighter brown dough:
Cocoa Powder: 1.5 tsp
Milk: 1 tbsp

Combine all dough ingredients into a bowl and stir until it starts leaving the sides of the bowl. 

Transfer to a lightly greased surface and with oiled hands knead it for 6-8 minutes till its smooth and supple. 

Divide it into 2 halves.Shape one half into a ball and place it in a greased bowl and let it rise until double for about 2 hours covered loosely.

Take the other half and divid it into 2 equal portions. To one portion add the lighter cocoa milk and knead well in a processor to get a ligter cocolour dough for the leopard patches.

Repeat the same process with the other portion and darker milk to get a dark brown dough. 

Shape each into a ball and let it rise until double.

Gently deflate each of the dough and divide each into 6-8 equal portions.

Roll each light brown dough piece into long ropes of 8.5 " long.

Roll each dark brown dough piece into ropes of similar length. Flatten the dark rope and place the light brown ropes within them.  These need not be perfectly enclosed as imperfections create the unevenness that show up as beautiful leopard patches.

Roll out the white dough pieces into the same length, roll these to flatten them out and enclose the brown ropes cwith the white piece completely.

Gently roll the enclosed ropes gently increasing their length to about 17". Cut each rope into half to get around 14 ropes of 8.5" long

Arrange these a little unevenly in a greased loaf pan, cover and let it rise for an hour of so until doubled in volume. 

Brush the top with milk.

Bake the bread at 180C for 30-35 minutes, until light golden and done. Remove from the oven and cool it on a rack before slicing. 

The bread is not as sweet as you would want. It will be with a dollop  of nutella or peanut butter or whatever spread you like. You can also go for savoury spread but I prefer chocolate with sweet so never tried. The loaf or remaining slices can be frozen till three months. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Curried Brown Chickpeas - Chana Upkari | Happy Ugadi

Every Friday when I was in school, I would wake up to the sound of fresh pepper being ground in the traditional Indian style spice grinder. No modern pepper mills for my mother.. even now its the same. The pepper would then be added to a seasoning for cooked brown/black chickpeas - kaala chana - along with a handful of coconut gratings to make Konkani style chona upkari. 

Every Friday it was a ritual to include chickpeas in the menu. No idea why this was but most Konkani homes followed this tradition on Fridays and also festival days as well.This continues even today and come Thursday night, I will soak chickpeas (black /white) or rajma or other dried beans (being little experimental).

Ugadi or New Year for Konkani, Kannada and Telugu communities falls today and is being celebrated with traditional rituals and food. A New Year for me means Khotte/Ittu along with my mom's special coriander chutney, lemon pickle (nonche), chana ghhasshi and upkari.  Every Konkani festival this was my breakfast. Though ofcourse marriage changed all this. Its good to have a spread when your mom is cooking, but when you have to do it, then its a bit tough...ahem !! 

Anyways today being Friday and also Ugadi, I thought I would share the simple chana upkari with you all. Khotte/ Ittu being a distant dream due to lack of jack fruit leaves and inability of yours truly to turn the leaves magically into a basket.. Oh.. the Goodness of mothers..


Brown Chickpeas : cooked 1 cup  (any chickpeas will do)
Soak 1/2 cup chickpeas overnight and cook it in a pressure cooker next day  or 1 hour on stovetop adding little salt.

Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds/Jeera : a very small pinch 
Curry Leaves: 5-8 
Dried Red Chillies: 1-2 
Fresh grated Pepper : 1/2 tsp +/- (adjust the chillies and pepper )

Salt: as per taste
Fresh coconut gratings: handful /as per your taste

Wash and pressure cook the soaked chickpeas adding little salt. Once done drain the cooking water. You can keep this water for later use like to make rasam or whatever you want as its good healthy lentil water. You can even use canned chickpeas after draining off the water.

Heat oil in a deep pan. Add mustard. When it sizzles add cumin ,red chillies, curry leaves and fresh grated pepper. Let these sizzle till you get a nice aroma from the pepper. Add in the cooked chickpeas and saute well to mix everything well.

Mix in the coconut gratings and let it cook for 1-2 minutes on low flame so that water if any is remaining will be absorbed by the coconut and we get a dry curry. Adjust salt and garnish with more coconut if needed before serving.

Serve as side to whatever you like - idli, khotte/ittu, dosa, puri ,roti/breads or even rice.. Goes well even as a teatime snack... be creative and be traditional.

Wishing all a healthy & prosperous Ugadi and wonderful year ahead..

Friday, April 1, 2016

Vegan Potato Knish | Baking Partners April 2016

Knish is an Eastern European snack consisting of usually potatoes and meat filling in a doughy crust and can be either baked,grilled or deep fried. Made popular in USA by the Eastern European immigrants, a Kentucky Knish version has also come up. Knishes can be made round rectangular or square with filling completely covered or peeping out.

For this months Baking Partners Challenge by Swathi Knish was tried out by Yours Truly. That too a vegan knish  from here with a tofu filling from here and in 3 different shapes.


Mashed Potatoes: 1 cup
Oil: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp
All Purpose Flour: 3 cups
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Cold water: 1/2 cup (+ 1/4 cup)

Oil: 1 tbsp
Chopped Onions: 1 cup
Tofu: 1.5 cup mashed
Fresh Parsley: 1/4 cup

Garlic Powder :1/2 tsp OR Garlic cloves: 2-3 minced

Black pepper: 1/4 tsp or as per taste
Salt: 1 tsp +/- as per taste
Other spices : as per taste



In a big bowl, beat together mashed potatoes, 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tsp of salt.

Add the flour and baking powder and mix well.
Mix in water and knead into a soft and smooth dough. More water might be needed depending on how moist your mashed potatoes are.
Let it rest in a bowl or counter covered with a cloth or plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the filling.

Heat oil in a deep pan and saute oinions and minced garlic until transparent.


Add the scrambled/grated/mashed tofu along with parsley, salt and other seasonings.
Incase going for garlic powder, add that also at this stage. Mix well and let it cook for another minutes or few more until almost done.

We can go with whatever filling we want. Traditionally mashed red potatoes with caramelized onions is used with meat added for nonvegetarians.

Once the dough is ready divide into 4 portions. Work with one portion while the others are resting.

Shape 1: Cylindrical Round : Source : JoePastry
Roll out the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle.
Place a mound of filling on the dough  on the longest side .
Enclose the filling with the dough.  This should not be either too tight as it might burst out while baking.

Continue rolling up to get 2 + layers of the dough. The more you roll more flakier you will get the snack. This is the reason why the dough should be rolled out as thin and possible.

You can stop once you get as much layers as you want and trim off the excess (to be used later) using a pizza cutter.
Now decide how big you want you knish. I went for bite sized ones. So select an appropriate  length, give it a pinch with your fingers to mark it.

Give it a twist.

Then using a pizza cutter/knife  or even your palms ,cut it off.
You'll get a small sausage like dough piece. Pinch the ends shuts to enclose the filling.
Place it on the counter/palm and push it down with your palm to form a cylinder.

Place it on greased/lined baking pan and press the top down with your finger to keep the center from puffing up in the oven.

Repeat the process with the rest of the dough and make other cylinders.

Shape2: Crimped Round:Source: JoePastry

This is another way of making knish.

Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. With a cookie cutter, cut out circles.
Place the filling on top of a circle and press it down with with another dough circle on top.
Press the edges lightly to let the air out.
Fold the edges and press to crimp. Then place the knish on the baking sheet with the crimped side down. So that we get a smooth top.
Continue with the rest of the dough circles

Shape 3: Rectangular:

Roll out the dough as thin as possible. Cut into rectangles. Place 2-3 tbsp of filling in the middle.
Fold the sides in first
and then the ends.
Place the folded side down on the bakingsheet.


Bake in a preheated oven at 175C/350F for about 20-25 minutes until the top turns golden.

Serve with your choice of dip.

A simple recipe which can be tweaked as per our convenience and availability of ingredients for fillings. Some authentic recipes contains eggs along with potatoes to make it more rich and moist but this vegan dough is also tasty. In case you are too tired to make your own dough, use any bread dough freezing in your refrigerator. Traditionally potatoes are part of dough or filling, but its upto you to choose otherwise and create yet another tasty pastry.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Broa de Milho - Portuguese Corn Bread | We Knead to Bake #36

Broa de Milho is a slightly sweet crusty Portuguese bread made from a mix of rye, wheat or corn. It is a dense bread which goes well with soups and stews. The method of cooking is slightly different with the corn or maize flour paste being made with hot water and then added to other ingredients.

I had tried out Aparna's version of broa adapted from KAF site last month itself for We Knead to Bake. I had used Makai ka aatta / Maize Flour available in India. But thanks to exams, couldn't post it till today. I am forcing myself to post it today when I took a break from exam and mommy duties else I will forget my blog itself.. As usual I have halved the recipe and baked a beautiful bread.

Maize Flour/ Makai ka aatta: 1/2 cup
Boiling hot water: 6 tbsp
Warm milk: 4-6 tbsp

Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
All Purpose Flour: 1.1/4 cup + more for dusting 
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Honey: 1 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil: 1 1/2 tsp

Put cornmeal in a bowl and add hot water to it.Mix together with a fork and then add 4 tbsp of milk. Mix everything to get a paste adding more milk if needed. Let it sit until it cools a bit.

To this add the remaining ingredients and knead together to form a smooth and slightly sticky dough. Mine was not sticky -- just very lightly sticky..

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning it once to coat well. Cover loosely and let it sit until it turns puffy and risen for abut 1-1.5 hrs.

Turn out the dough onto a dustled counter and shape it into a round ball after kneading it lightly for few times. 

Place the ball onto a lined/greased baking sheet and let it sit under a loose plastic wrap or kitchen towel for an hour or so until it becomes more puffy.

Just before baking, you can optionally make 3-4  slashes about 1/4" deep on the top of the dough. Spritz the top lightly with water and bake in a preheated oven at 230C/ 450F for about 10 minutes. After which reduce the temperature to 200C/400F and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Take out. Cool. slice and serve with soups preferably..

A healthy bread which is yellow in colour thanks to the corn flour /maize flour. You can replace half of the all purpose flour with wheat flour which will make it more denser or heavy.

Lets see how Aparna did her broa.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Goli Vada Pav | India's Vada Pav No. 1

Fast Food is something we associate with videshi or foreign cuisine, something not related to Indian cuisine. Generally we feel these are the best and a matter of prestige even though we have tough time accepting the taste of these unhealthy items despite their attempts at Indian variations.

But have we ever thought of an Indian snack or food being provided as  fast food? This concept has been brought to reality by Goli Vada Pav - Indias leading ethnic fast food brand.

Our quest for different tastes and flavours allow us to enjoy both road side chaats and upscale franchisee driven fast food.We enjoy both and try to be modern as well as traditional. We never think of combining the concept and try to have an ethnic food as a big chain with franchisees across the states and even in small towns. This was made true by Venkatesh Iyer and Shivdas Menon who had the crazy idea of making vada pav the talk of the nation.

A simple spiced potato fritter sandwiched between two pav bread slices and served with green chillies or spicy chutney is a popular street food of Mumbai. Now for this simple snack to become a talk of nation  or in filmy terms - a pimple faced , pig tail wearing spectacled just out of school girl to become the glamourous heroine was not so simple. Ofcourse this took little time since 2004 when the first Goli store came up in Mumbai. The makeover of a street side food to gourmet delight at the same time keeping an eye on the authenticity, hygiene and variety is definitely a story worth knowing. Giving tough competition to foreign brands in fast foods, Goli is one of the top ethnic food chains in India with its 350+ franchisees across India--. a true "Make in India" brand.

I have not tasted a Mumbaiya vada pav from chowpatty. But I have heard friends vouching for a Goli vada pav. I had my first taste of Goli when it opened in my apartment complex. I had my first taste of Goli vada pav when it opened in my apartment complex. Since then I visit it off and on. Though I am not a fan of the classic vada pav, I pretty much like everything else. Whenever they introduce new things I make sure I try it . Its also good to see the friendly and professional approach in customer handling and service.And a sizeable
variety of vada pavs to choose from. The menu boasts of original Mumbaiya or classic vada pav, Schezwan vada pav, makai palak etc along with cheese fingers, saabudana vadas, and varieties of kulfis and juices to choose from especially during summer. They have also introduced a lunch dabba for the office goers and also party combos for small to big parties.Topped with mayo or white butter and served with fried spicy green chillies, the meal is very satisfying. My favourite till date has been a spinach corn (makai palak) vada pav.  Till date ie.. till I tried the new Paneer Surprise.

Goli has come out with few new additions to the menu like Maharaja Vada Pav, Paneer Surprise etc each one better than the other.Maharaja vada pav as the name says is a bigger size veggie vada between pav along with dollops of mayo. Whereas the paneer surprise has square pavs stuffed with crumbed and fried paneer squares spiced to perfection.Yum.. its heaven.

Why am I telling you all this? The vada pav sells itself..

Goto a Goli store and check out.. try to find your own flavour. There a Goli store in every locality and a Goli vada pav for every one. The taste is standardised across all the franchisees as the vadas or patties are shipped frozen from a central manufacturing facility. These are freshly fried based on orders and have a shelf life of around 9 months.The company ships the patties every 2-3 days to all the franchise stores.

That I feel is good as the taste, hygiene and quality can be controlled. But from a customer point of view, its inconvenient. I have seen the Goli store in my complex closed from several days and even weeks as the patties had gotten over and several customers disappointedly turning back. I do hope it was just a teething trouble with every new store and that the management will look into this issue.

Do check out the Goli website and also read the Goli story.

Goli + Vada Pav + Chai = Awesomeness

Saturday, February 20, 2016

ANZAC Biscuits | Oats Goodness

After posting a War time cake I think its apt to post another war time goodness.. ANZAC cookies or Biscuits. The Australian New Zealand Army Corps were the First World War (1914-18) Army corps and formed in Egypt in 1915. They were used in the Battle of Gallipoli and were finally disbanded on 1916. Well coming to interesting stories, its said that the mothers or in general families of the soldiers used to mail  them cookies or biscuits which were sturdy and egg free and basically traveled and kept well. These cookies are known as ANZAC cookies or Biscuits.

ANZAC cookies are made with oats, flour, dessicated coconut, butter, sugar, golden syrup/dark corn syrup and boiling water.I selected the recipe from KingArthurFlour site. The recipe was quick and easy and out came  chewy-crispy,buttery coconutty cookies . I have followed the recipe to the 'T' and the only change I made was double the dark corn syrup/golden syrup.

Whole Grain Oats: 1 cup
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Granulated Sugar: 3/4 cup
Salt: 1/8 tsp
Shredded sweetened /unsweetened coconut flakes: 3/4 cup

Salted Butter: 1/2 cup (8 tbsp / 100gm)
Dark Corn Syrup /Golden Syrup: 4 tbsp

Boiling Water: 2 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1.5 tsp

In a big bowl mix together, oats, flour, sugar, salt and coconut flakes.

In a small bowl, melt butter and syrup together till it bubbles. Keep aside.

In another bowl, add baking soda to boiling water and then mix in the butter syrup.

Add  the mix to the dry mix and stir well until it all comes together. You will be getting a moist lightly sticky mass and not a concise dough.

Scoop tablespoonful of dough and with greased hands shape it into rounds and place it on a greased/lined working sheet. These cookies might spread and so keep these atleast an inch apart from each other.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/ 175C for 13-15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Take out and let these cool in the baking sheet itself on a wire rack. This hardens them and turns them crunchy.

Serve anytime.Chewy- crunchy and oaty and buttery and coconutty.A perfect tiffin box snack. Make more and share with friends or have all by yourself.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

1940's Chocolate Cake | Valentine Special

Today being Valentines Day and red roses and heart shapes everywhere, I thought I too would contribute a little with a chocolate cake I had bookmarked for the occasion. Now whats in a chocolate cake ? Its a 1940s Wartime Chocolate Cake when there were restrictions imposed on the use of milk, eggs, butter etc as most of the countries were involved in war and it was tough to procure items. 

But necessity being the mother of inventions, goodtimes were celebrated with a chocolate cake that was eggless and dairy free.. in other worlds perfectly Vegan. And also a one pot chocolate cake. I had adapted a healthier version from CanolaInfo made with canola oil and whole wheat flour which can be enjoyed guilt free with your loved ones..

Whole Wheat Flour: 3/4 cup
All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Granulated Sugar: 1 cup
Cocoa Powder: 1/3 cup (5 tbsp + 1 tsp) I went for heaped 3 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Canola Oil: 1/3 cup
Vanilla Extract: 1tsp

Cold Water: 1 cup (250ml)
Cider Vinegar: 1 tbsp


In a round baking pan, whisk together the flours, sugar,cocoa, soda and salt.

Make a well in the center and pour in oil and vanilla .

In a small measuring cup combine water and vinegar.

Pour this over the flour mix and stir well to blend all the ingredients.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for about 30-35 minutes, until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Take out and let it cool in the pan itself on a wirerack. Unmold and place it in a cake table or dessert plate after garnishing with confectioners sugar

Slice and Serve to your loved ones...

A simple one pot cake which is butter free, egg free and healthy with the addition of whole wheat flour and canola oil. Its a quick mix cake and one bowl too. By the time the oven is preheating, mix the ingredients and under 40 minutes yum... enjoy your slice of chocolate heaven.

Slighlty crumbly and moist and sweetened just right for your Valentine..

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Coconut Raisin Bread | Tea Time Snack

I am always looking for tea time snacks.If it involves baking  then I need to plan it beforehand . This planning bit actually puts me off a bit. These days the oven is getting a well needed rest and though my hands itch to use it something else comes up and baking takes the backseat again. Though ofcourse tea time snacks are a must. and usually deepfrying gets the priority during winters. I love fried items and come winter I use it as an excuse for deepfrying. But these days thanks to majority opinion at home fritters and other fried stuff were vetoed out and I was again on a lookout for tea time snacks.

I had bookmarked this recipe long time back and was under the impression that it will take time, but it was quicker than I thought though of course it was quickest to disappear from the table.I had adapted the recipe from GourmetTable. It was designed on the lines of sweet coconut Goan poi bread or a sweeter version of populist bread 'pav'.

All Purpose Flour: 225gms or 1.5 cups + 
Instant yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: 1.5-2 tbsp
Salted Butter: 2 tsp at room temperature
Dessicated/Fresh coconut: 1/2 cup 
Cardamom powdere: 1/2 tsp
Raisins: 1/4 cup
Milk: 1 cup lukewarm

Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl and pour in  the milk over it. stir it once and leave in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes until frothy.

I would suggest half the quantity of milk to be added to yeast keep the rest aside to add as and when needed. I went as per the recipe and had to add additional 3/4 - 1 cup of flour which reduced the sweetness slightly. 

Mix together butter and powdered cardamom and keep aside.

Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and knead until the dough comes together.Add more milk/flour if needed.

Turn out the dough onto a clean counter and knead in stretching motions pulling with one hand and pushing with the other for around 5 minutes until you get  soft dough.

Incorporate the butter cardamom mix and knead again. Work in all the butter into the ough and knead until you get a soft pliable dough. 

Shape into a ball and place in a bowl and let it sit until doubled in volume ,covered with a plastic wrap for about 20 minutes or more.
Punch the dough to release the air.Flatten  the dough on the counter and sprinkle coconut and raisins. 
Fold over a couple of times and knead the doungh lighlty until the coconut and raisins are well incorporated.

Shape into a ball and place in a lined /floured baking tray. Make shallow incisions on the dough using a sharp knife to allow air to escape. Sprinkle flour over the loaves and leave it to rest uncovered for another 20 minutes or more until doubled.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200F for about 20-30 minutes,unitl brown. Cool completely before slicing.

A bread similar to sandwich loaf. The coconut and raisins add to the flavour and make it definitely gourmet.Its perfect as a tea time treat and the taste increases the next day as per the author. But mine was over the same day itself.

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. 

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

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.


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

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

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

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


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.

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.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sweet Rice Pudding | Happy 2016/ Makar Sankranthi/ Pongal

Makar Sankranthi/ Pongal is being celebrated today in several states across India. Makar Sankranthi marks the start of the journey of the Sun  northwards or "Uttarayan" or when the sun enters the 10th house of Makar or Capricorn. Basically a harvest festival, it indicates the arrival of spring in India and falls usually with Jan 13-15. In South India it is celebrated as Pongal which almost a week long festival. 

Christmas came, New Year came and it started on a good or rather musical note. After travelling, after working after lazing around, I  thought atleast now I should start blogging for the year. Today  Makar Sankranthi/ Pongal being celebrated  in some parts of India I thought I should start with a simple healthy traditional and also different dish. 

Now Pongal is a festival celebrated worldwide by all Tamilians. Each region and sometimes each family have their own recipe with slight adjustments and adaptations. This time I thought I could try a slightly different Sri Lankan Tamil version adapted from here. Its easy, healthy and vegan too if you avoid the drizzling of ghee while serving

Raw rice/ white rice/sona masuri : around 1 cup
Moong Dal / Split yellow gram: 1/4 cup

Jaggery: grated around 2-3 cups made into a syrup(adjust as per taste)

Clove powder: 1/2 tsp

Coconut Milk: 1/4 -1/2 cup medium thick

Raisins/ dried prunes/currants: handful
Cashew nuts: handful 

Ghee (optional) : for roasting the nusts and raisins and also drizzling on top.

Dry roast the moong dal lightly in a pan until the raw smell goes and it starts browning. Add it to rice.

Cook together rice,roasted dal and clove powder in enough water until its done. I prefer my pongal slightly mushy or overcooked but its your choice.

Add jaggery syrup to this mixture and continue cooking, stirring in between so that it doesn't burn. Do the taste test and add more jaggery syrup incase you want it to be more sweet. 

Add in the coconut milk and continue cooking for few more minutes on low heat. Once it thickens or reaches your consistency then remove from heat.

Serve warm in bowls as a dessert garnished optionally with ghee roasted nuts and raisins.

The measurements are guesstimates and feel free to change as per your needs. Pongal is usually made with cow's milk  and cardamom powder and I just twisted it to make a defferent yet same Lankan one which is vegan if you close your eyes to the garnishes. 

Hope you'll enjoy the dish as much as you enjoy the festival.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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