Thursday, 3 June 2021

Recipe 128: Pizza Focaccia Bread


Do you love pizza? But cannot make it often because of the lack of proper ingredients?

Then try a bread loaf that is reminiscent of a pizza.

With minimal toppings and soft bready base, this Pizza Focaccia Bread will become your new favourite.

Serve it as breakfast loaf or take few slices in tiffin for lunch or picnic, this bread is quite versatile.

On the one hand, this recipe is a simple and pretty basic focaccia recipe, you can also prepare a proper deep-dish pizza with vegetables and meat toppings. And rather than a loaf pan, bake it in a round pizza pan.

The best part of this recipe is that since the dough is a wet one, you do not actually knead the dough for a long time to develop gluten. The yeast does its work on its own. Just spread the dough with oiled fingers (to avoid stickiness) to all corners of the baking pan and you are done!

Ingredients:

  1. 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 3/4 cup warm water
  3. 1/4 cup processed cheese
  4. 1/4 cup pizza/marinara sauce
  5. 1-2 tbsp. oil
  6. 1 tbsp. dried oregano or mixed pizza/pasta spices
  7. 1.5 tsp. sugar
  8. 1 tsp. dry yeast
  9. 1 tsp. salt
  10. 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic

Method:

In warm water dissolve sugar and yeast.
Allow the yeast to bloom and activate for atleast 10 minutes at room temperature.
After you see foamy bubbles, add flour, salt, oil to the yeast solution.
Knead the dough.
The dough will be wet and not stiff.
Add chopped garlic and dried oregano flakes and knead again.
Smear some oil all over the dough and cover it to prevent drying.
Place the dough in room temperature.
After half an hour, the dough must double in size. If it does not rise, then keep the dough rested in room temperature or someplace warmer for a longer time.
Now take the dough and spread it to all corners of a greased bread loaf pan.
Spread pizza or marinara sauce generously.
Add a layer of grated cheese on top.
Now cover the loaf pan with a clingfilm and keep it rested for another half an hour to rise.
After that, place pizza focaccia bread in a hot oven and bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
Take the hot pizza focaccia bread out and cut into slices and serve!
You can even store the leftover pizza focaccia bread and freeze it for later consumption.
Just reheat in microwave.



Saturday, 29 May 2021

Recipe 127: Lapsi (Dalia Halwa)

Dalia is coarsely broken whole wheat grain. And dalia can be eaten by making both sweet and savoury dishes.

Today, I am sharing an often repeated breakfast dish called Lapsi aka dalia halwa.

Lapsi is easy to prepare. Fills your stomach for hours. Is a nutritious dish. Loved by all ages. And fulfils your craving for something sweet and yummy.

To make the perfect fluffy halwa consistency,  water plays a key role. If you add too much water then halwa will be lumpy. So, the right amount is 2-2.5 cups of warm water for 1 cup unsoaked dalia. For this recipe, I neither soaked dalia in water before cooking nor washed it. If you fear dust particles in dalia or you purchased dalia from open containers, then surely wash the grain before cooking. But in that case add lesser amount of water.

You can also prepare the same recipe using milk. Milk enhances the taste but definitely makes the dish heavy. I would recommend using milk when preparing Lapsi for children. Also, add more milk and turn Lapsi into a kheer consistency.

The quantity of sugar is just right in my recipe. But for times when you want to serve Lapsi for special occasions or to guests, then increase the quantity of sugar, ghee and add more nuts and raisins. 

But for a basic recipe that is great for breakfast and tiffin, try this.

So, lets begin!

Ingredients:

  1. 2+1/4 cups warm water
  2. 1 cup dalia (unsoaked and unwashed)
  3. 1/2 cup sugar (you can also use same quantity jaggery)
  4. 2 tbsp. ghee
  5. 1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder
  6. 8-10 raisins
  7. 1-2 tej patta
  8. 3 elaichi

Method:

In a kadhai, heat some ghee and fry tej patta.
Add dalia and elaichi.
Fry well to brown the dalia.
Now add water and reduce the flame.
Cover and cook till dalia soaks up most of the water.
Add sugar, raisins and cinnamon powder.
Cook on low flame for 2-5 minutes.
After the sugar has complete dissolved and dalia is soft.
Turn off the heat and cover the vessel for atleast 10 minutes before serving. This will help dalia to become fluffy and not lumpy.
Serve warm.



Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Recipe 126: Eggless Mango Cake

Summer is the season for experimenting with flavours and fruits. Especially in baking, summer fruits offer so much variety.

One of my favourite is a mango cake. While, I do prepare mango cake the usual way, I also like to seek ways to make it eggless and perfect the texture of cake.

Here, I am sharing quite an impressive eggless whole wheat mango cake that resembles a lot like a pound cake.  

Ingredients:

  1. 1+1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup fresh mango pulp
  4. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  5. 1/2 cup milk
  6. 1 tsp. baking powder
  7. 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp. salt
  9. 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, mango pulp, milk and cardamom powder.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and whisk to prepare a smooth cake batter.
Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured cake pan.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35-40 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for 15 minutes atleast before unmoulding.
Serve.


Saturday, 15 May 2021

Recipe 117: Traditional Modak

Modak is essentially a Maharashtrian dish. 

It is sweet, soft and has two main star ingredients - rice flour and coconut.

Not much of an elaborate recipe, Modak is something you can make anytime of the year when you are craving a sweet dish that is not very calorific. 

In fact, when you get a hang of the shape of modak without cracks, you can actually fill savoury fillings and steam. I tried making mince chicken modaks and served them with chilly tomato sauce once, and it was a hit. Think of it like a momo but with a rice flour covering instead of Maida.

I am not a pro at making modaks especially handmade. But if you use specialized tools for shaping, I am sure modaks will turn out pretty looking.

Modaks are best eaten warm. Once it is cold in fridge, modaks harden. But re-steaming or microwaving for few seconds, again makes them soft. 

My recipe for traditional modak provides you with proper ingredients for a flavourful modak. Shape is for you to perfect.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rice flour
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 cup coconut powder (fresh or desiccated)
  4. 1/2 cup jaggery crushed 
  5. 1 tbsp. ghee
  6. 1 tsp. oil for greasing
  7. 1 tsp. salt
  8. 1 tsp. cardamom powder 

Method:

In a sauce pan bring water, salt and ghee to a boil.
Switch off the heat and add the rice flour.
With the help of a ladle, mix the rice flour and water. 
Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes and begin to knead the dough with fingers.
Cover the dough and allow it to rest.
Meanwhile, in a kadhai saute jaggery, coconut and cardamom powder till jaggery melts.
The coconut mixture must be semi-dry.
Now take a small portion of the rice dough and flatten it with hands. 
Add 1-2 tsp. of coconut mixture onto the center and try to seal all edges and form modak-shape.
Place all the modaks on a greased plate and steam it for 15 minutes.
Allow the modaks to cool for 5-10 minutes on the plate itself. 
Then take them out carefully on the serving platter.
Serve warm!

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Friday, 14 May 2021

Recipe 125: Perfect Idli and Dosa Batter


South Indian cuisine is quite popular in my family. Especially dosas, idli and uttapam. 

And in my quest to recreate the experience of restaurants, I bought several packets of either idli batter or dry powder mixes.

But recently, I tried making my batter from scratch. And my god! Not only the taste is fresh and good but I found the whole process also easy and very cost effective. I mean with one batter I can feed atleast 15 people.

Idli rice is  important because it has most amount of starch. I had used once normal everyday rice and the batter just did not ferment well and did not increase in volume. Secondly, urad dal is also a must. You cannot make without urad dal. Methi seeds are important for fermentation. 

After perfecting my batter I have now come to share with those who are struggling to make their own idli-dosa batter at home. With my recipe, you do not need to add cooked rice or soaked poha like some recipes suggest because the idlis will turn out very soft and delicious without the additives. 

This is a Plate Idli (aka Tatte Idli or THatte Idli) I made with the batter by steaming. I made a tempering of mustard seeds, chopped green chillies and curry leaves. And spread it on top of cooked idli. I cut it into diamond shapes and served with coconut -groundnut chutney. A fabulous dish it turned out.

So, lets start!

Ingredients: 

  1. 2 cup idli rice
  2. 1 cup urad dal
  3. 1/2 tsp. Methi seeds

Method:

Wash idli rice and urad dal together 2-3 times.
Ensure not to wash more or else you will be wasting the starch from rice.
Now in a large container with lid transfer the washed rice and dal.
Add methi seeds.
Pour atleast 1.5 litres of drinking water.
Cover and let the container rest for 6-10 hours at room temperature.
Now in a mixer grinder, grind the rice, dal and methi seeds to a smooth paste using the same water in which it was soaked.
Pour the paste back into the container.
Add some water if the mixture is too thick.
Now cover the container and let it rest in room temperature for 24 hours.
Once you begin to see that the batter has tripled in size and lot of tiny bubbles are forming with a foamy layer on top of the batter, understand that the idli dosa batter is ready for use.
Each time you wish to prepare idli, dosa or uttapam, just take some in a bowl and add salt to taste.
If you feel the batter is getting over-fermented, then place the container in fridge.
You can use this batter kept in fridge for 3-4 days without worry of it getting spoilt.

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Saturday, 24 April 2021

Recipe 124: Raisin Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent food for digestion and gut health. And a few raisins into yogurt just increases the nutritive value.

Yogurt is light, refreshing and can be consumed any time of the year or day.

I love yogurt and prefer to always make it at home.

Today's recipe is a rather simple one. Infact, it is not even a recipe, just an assembly of a 2-3 things.

My Raisin Yogurt is best eaten as a breakfast. But it can also be eaten as a snack post-lunch.

Since I prepare my raisin yogurt as a single serving (only for me!) I culture the yogurt into the cup I intend to eat in the morning. I pile up a handful of cornflakes over the chilled yogurt, sprinkle sesame seeds and honey on top.

Needless to say that if you wish to prepare for more people, then double or triple the recipe.

Ingredients for 1 :

  1. 1 cup warm milk
  2. 1 tbsp. unflavoured sour yogurt 
  3. 8-10 small raisins

Method:

In a non-metallic cup (I use ceramic) mix raisins and yogurt.
Pour warm milk and stir.
Cover the cup and allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for atleast 12 hours.
Uncover the cup and give it a gentle shake to check if yogurt is set or not.
If yogurt is set then place the cup in fridge for atleast 1 hour. This helps in further firming of the yogurt.
At the time of serving, take out the yogurt and drizzle some honey on top.
Enjoy!

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