Tuesday, May 24, 2016


This was the bread of the month chosen in our baking group "We Knead to Bake" by Niv Mani. It is a simple savoury bread made with pizza dough and topping rolled inside with some cheese and herbs for flavouring. You can enjoy it for breakfast or as a snack.
Here goes the recipe...

For the Dough:
All purpose flour / maida .... 2 cups
Instant dry yeast ................. 1 tsp ( or one cube of freash yeast)
Sugar .................................. 1 and 1/2  tsp
Salt ..................................... 1 tsp
Olive oil ............................ 2 tbsps
Dry pizza herbs .............. 1 tsp (optional)

1. Take the flour in a flat vessel . Make a well in the middle and sprinkle the yeast. Add sugar. The salt and 1 spoon of olive oil should be added on the sides. Add some pizza herbs if you like. (The salt should not come in contact with the yeast ).
 2.Take luke-warm water and knead the dough starting from the middle portion and gradually mix everything.
 3. Using a little more olive oil knead the dough well for 2-3 minutes.
 4. Oil a dish and place the dough in it well covered in a warm place to rise. It takes about one hour. In winters it may take longer.

For the Sauce:
Tomatoes ... 4-5
Garlic ......... 1 tbsp
Chilli sauce .. 1 tbsp
Tomato ketchup .. 1 tsp
Oregano / basil ... 1 tsp
Salt ........... to taste
 Olive oil .... 2 tbsps
Grated cheese for the topping ( I have used mozarella and parmesan in equal quantities)

1. Heat oil in a pan and saute the garlic.
 2. Add the blanched and chopped tomatoes and simmer to cook.
3.Add the sauces and tempering. Set aside to cool.

Now proceed to make the Pizza Swirl Bread:

1. Remove the risen dough on the working table or platform. Knead lightly and roll it out.

2. Spread out the pizza sauce leaving the edges..

3. Sprinkle the herbs and grated cheese

4. Roll it carefully into a long roll.

5. Taking the two ends twist the roll.

6. Place it in a greased loaf tin.

7. Leave it covered for about 30 - 45 mins or until it is double in size. Brush a little olive oil on the surface.

8. Bake it in the pre-heated oven at 180 C (350 F) for about 35 - 40 minutes or until done. The time may vary a little depending on the type and size of the oven used for baking.

9. Allow the bread to cool before slicing it.

Recipe Credits - Niv Mani @ Food 52

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Here is a watermelon summer cooler... nice and refreshing. Serve chilled.

Watermelon pieces ... 4 cups
Water ......................... 2 cups
Sugar ...................... 1 tbsp.
Salt ....................... 1/4 tsp.
Ginger ................ 1/2 inch piece
Mint leaves ....... 4-5 (optional)
Roasted cumin powder .. 1.4 tsp.
Black pepper powder .... a pinch
Lemon juice ......... 1 tsp.

1. Peel and cut the watermelon into pieces. Remove the seeds.
2. Peel and cut the ginger into pieces.
3. Blend all the above ingredients in a mixer adding water and strain the juice.
4. Add the lime juice and serve chilled.
This juice is very refreshing in summer.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


This month in our baking group we’re baking Chinese Cocktail/ Coconut Bunsor Gao Mei Bao. This bun has its origins in Hong Kong and is a sweet bun that is filled with a buttery, milky sweet coconut paste. This bun was supposedly created some time in the 1950s in Hong Kong, when the proprietors when the owners of a local bakery were left with quite a few unsold but perfectly good buns.

 The enterprising owners ground them up with sugar to make a filling which was put into freshly baked buns the next day. While the original buns were made with filling made only from left over buns and sugar, more creative bakers eventually added more flavour to the new buns by adding coconut, butter and milk to the filling. This has now become the accepted filling for these Chinese Cocktail/ Coconut Buns.

The “Cocktail” in the name is thought to be a comparison of the rather ‘interesting’ mixture of unusual filling ingredients in the buns to a bartender’s mixture of exotic ingredients that go into creating a cocktail!!

These Buns are typically topped with two stripes and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. ( I had some extra piping mixture so made three stripes) While they’re quite easy to make, you need to make sure the filling is sealed well inside the dough. Otherwise, the seams will open up when the buns rise and the butter in the filling will leak out during baking.

Some recipes call for these buns to be brushed with a sugar or honey glaze as soon as they come out of the oven, but I skipped it as the buns are already sweet and I did not want to make them any more sweeter. If you want to use the glaze, mix together about half a tablespoon each of caster sugar and hot water for the sugar glaze or a tablespoon of honey and half a tablespoon of water for the honey glaze.


For the Bread Dough:
All purpose flour ..  2 cups
Warm milk ............ 2/3 cup or little more as needed
Eggs ..................... 1
Sugar .................... 1/4 cup
Corn starch .......... 1 and 1/2 tbsps
Instant yeast ....... 1 tsp
Salt ..................... 3/4 tsp

For The Filling:
Butter ....... 50 gms (soft at room temperature)
Castor sugar ... 1 and 1/2 tbsp
All purpose flour ... 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Milk Powder ......... 1/8 cup
Fresh grated coconut ... 1/3 cup

For the Topping:
All purpose flour ... 2 tbsps
Butter .................... 25 gms (soft at room temperature)
Castor sugar ......... 2 tsps

For Brushing:
Milk or egg wash

For Sprinkling:
Sesame seeds .... 1 tbsp


Mix all the ingredients mentioned in the first list for making the bread dough in a large bowl.

Knead them into a soft dough. You can use the machine if you have it.

Remove the dough on a floured surface and knead it little more if it is sticky adding a little flour.

 Knead well for a couple of minutes to make it smooth.

Make a round ball and place it in a greased bowl covered with cling film.

Allow it to rise until double. This takes about an hour and half. (maybe little more in winter)

Meanwhile make the fillings and topping. Mix the ingredients mentioned in the second list to make the filling.

For the topping whisk together the ingredients mentioned in the third list. Set aside.

Now remove the risen dough on the working table or platform and deflate it kneading it lightly a couple of times..

Roll it into cylindrical shape and cut into 6 equal portions.

Take each portion and roll it into an oval shape about 4" by 3" long. Divide the filling into 6 equal portions. Spoon a portion on the rolled dough as shown in the picture.

Pinch together the longer sides of the oval dough together and seal the edges. Make sure you pinch it well to avoid the mixture from oozing out while baking.

Make all the buns and place them on a greased or lined baking tray with the pinched side down.

Allow the buns to rise for about 45 minutes.

Now brush them with the egg wash or milk. Pipe out 2 or 3  lines on the buns with the prepared topping.. If you don't have a piping bag you can just put the mix into a plastic bag making a conical shape, cut the tip off and use it. Sprinkle some sesame seeds.

Bake the buns in a pre-heated oven at 180 C ( 350 F) for about 20 - 25 minutes or until done. Remember that the temperature may vary a bit depending on the type / size of the oven. So keep checking.
(if you are using a glaze brush it as soon as they are out of the oven)
Serve warm or at room temperature.

We Knead to Bake - Bread # 38 @ My Diverse Kitchen hosted by Aparna Balasubramanian

(Adapted from http://thewoksoflife.com/2015/07/coconut-buns-cocktail-buns/)

Thursday, May 5, 2016


I had made some dry curry leaf chutney recently to serve as an accompaniment with meals. Apart from serving it as a side dish this chutney powder can also be used to flavour some sabzis, make curry leaf rice using the left overs. Today I tried fried brinjals with this chutney powder and they tasted so good.

Baby brinjals ....  1/4 kg ( you can use the slices of large ones too)
Curry leaf chutney powder ..... 2 tbsps  (recipe given below)
Tamarind juice or lime juice .... 2 tbsps
Salt ............. as needed
Oil ........ to deep fry

How to make Curry Leaf Chutney Powder:

Curry leaves .... 2 cups
Dry red chillies .. 8-10 (as per your preference)
Chana dal ..........  2 tbsps
Urad dal ........... 2 tbsps
Sesame seeds ... 1 tbsp
Tamarind ......... lemon size ball
Jaggery ........... 1 tsp
Salt .............. to taste
Asafoetida ... 1/4 tsp
Oil .............. 2 tbsps

1. Wash the curry leaves after removing them from the stems. Dry them on a kitchen towel to remove the moisture.
2. In a pan dry roast the dals until light brown. Remove in a plate.
3. Also dry roast the sesame seeds. Remove from the pan.
4. Heat the tamarind in the same pan to soften it. Remove.
5. Dry roast the red chillies taking care not to make them black. Remove them.
6. Now heat 2 tbsps oil and reduce the flame. Add asafoetida and curry leaves. Fry them until crisp on low flame retaining the green colour.
7. Now dry grind all the ingredients together adding salt and jaggery to a little coarser texture.
Store it in a sterilized jar.

To Make the Fried Brinjals with this Chutney Powder:
1. Slit the baby brinjals into two leaving the stems intact. You can use the slices of a large brinjal if you don't find the small variety.
2. Make zig zag cuts on the surface and immerse them in salt water for half an hour or until you are ready to fry them.
3.Deep fry the brinjals until done. Remove them and set aside.
4. Lightly grease a shallow pan and place the fried brinjals. Sprinkle the chutney powder on them and squeeze a little lime juice or spoon tamarind juice.
5. Cover with a lid and simmer for few minutes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


This month in our baking group ( We Knead to Bake ) Aparna has chosen a lovely bread which looks so attractive though it requires little effort in making but the result is so satisfying and worth it. It is Leopard patch / spot bread. The patch effect is created using cocoa powder. For the darker portion you can either use more cocoa powder or a drop of edible black colour. Unsweetened cocoa powder gives a slightly bitter taste but you can add more sugar as I have done in my recipe. You can also add a little vanilla flavour to the white portion of the dough if you like. Using the same technique you can also make giraffe striped bread skipping the dark version of the dough,  I am sure kids are going to be super excited to see this bread.

Recipe Inspiration from here -  http://www.cocoebaunilha.com/2015/12/pao-de-leite-leopardo.html

All purpose flour .... 2 and 1/2 to 3 cups
Warm milk ..... 2/3 cup
Warm water .... 1/2 cup
Butter ............. 50 gms (soft at room temperature)
Sugar .............. 3 - 4 tbsps (as per your preference)
Salt ................ 1 tsp
Instant yeast ... 2 tsps
Little more flour for dusting
Little milk or egg white for brushing.

For the lighter coloured dough:
Dark unsweetened cocoa powder ... 2 tsps
Milk ................................ 1/2 tbsp

For the darker brown coloured dough:
Dark unsweetened cocoa powder ........ 2 tbsps
Black food colour ....................... 1 drop
Milk .......................................... 1/2 tbsp


Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast. Mix everything with a spoon.

Knead the flour adding the warm milk and water. Add as much required to make a sticky dough.

Remove the dough on a floured surface and knead it well until smooth.

Flatten it with your palm or a rolling pin. Spread the soft butter on it.

 Knead well until the butter is incorporated well into the doug knocking it for a couple of times.

Shape into a smooth round ball.

Divide it into two equal parts. 

Set aside one part and divide the other half into two equal parts again.

Take the first smaller portion and knead with cocoa powder and milk until the cocoa is mixed smoothly into the dough without any lumps.

Repeat the process with the second smaller portion adding a drop of black colour along with the cocoa powder and milk and knead well. If you have a machine for kneading the dough you can use it as it makes your task easier.

Shape all the three into smooth round balls.

Place all these in 3 different greased bowls and set them aside until risen to double.

Remove each dough and deflate it lightly. Roll and divide each coloured dough into six equal portions using a dough cutter or knife.

Roll them into ropes of about 8 and 1/2 inches long and set aside.

Now take the dark brown rope and flatten it with a rolling pin about 2 and 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Place the lighter coloured rope in this and seal the edges well and roll it uniformly.

Now flatten the white dough similarly. Place the previously rolled rope into this and seal the edges rolling it to a smooth texture. 
Repeat the process with all the colored dough (ropes).

Now take each rope and roll it again making a thin rope of 17 inches long ( double the size). Cut all the 6 thin ropes into half making 12 thin ropes of 8 and 1/2 inches long.

Grease a bread loaf of 8 and  1/2 " by 4 and 1/4 " and arrange the ropes unevenly in layers and allow them to rise for about one hour until double in size.

Brush the top with milk or egg white and bake at 180 C ( 350 F) for about 30 to 35 minutes until done.

Allow the bread to cool before slicing it. 

 Note - Store it in a bread box or plastic bag. It stays good for 4-5 days without refrigeration. You may refrigerate it and take it out an hour before consuming to get the soft texture because of the butter content. This recipe makes one loaf.

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