Friday, May 27, 2016

MANGO YOGURT WALNUT PARFAIT


Since it is mango season now I am enjoying the king of fruits. I really missed these Indian mangoes until last year as we were living in Brazil. We did have a variety of mangoes there but nothing to beat the Indian ones like Alphonso, Kesari, Langda, Bainganapalli to name a few. I have made the parfait using the Alphonso pulp along with some crushed walnuts, roasted flax seeds and of course fresh yogurt. You can whisk the fresh yogurt with a little sugar or honey and little vanilla essence for flavouring or if you get the ready vanilla flavoured yogurt in the market you can use it. Parfait is so easy to make and can be taken at breakfast time or even enjoyed as a dessert. Mango can be replaced with any other fruits like strawberries, cherries, chikoo, banana etc etc.... and you can add granola/cornflakes/raisins .. the options are endless.


Ingredients:
Fresh yogurt ... 2 cups or as needed
Mango pulp .. 3/4 th cup
Mango pieces .. for garnishing
Sugar or honey.. 1 tbsp
Walnuts ........... handful (crushed) about 2 tbsps
Roasted and crushed flax seeds .. 1 tbsp
Vanilla essence .... 1 drop (optional)

Method:
1. Whisk the yogurt adding sugar or honey and the essence.
2. Blend the mango pulp to make smooth puree.
3. Crush the walnuts lightly.
4. Take 2 serving glasses or bowls.
5. Spoon the yogurt and pulp one on top of the other.
6. Sprinkle some walnuts and flax seeds. Repeat this again.
7. Garnish with mango pieces and crushed walnuts. Sprinkle flax seeds on top.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

PIZZA SWIRL BREAD


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

WATERMELON GINGER JUICE


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

Ingredients:
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.

Method:
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

GAI MEI BAO / CHINESE COCKTAIL BUNS / CHINESE COCONUT BUNS


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.


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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

FRIED BRINJALS WITH DRY CURRY LEAF CHUTNEY POWDER


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.

Ingredients:
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:


Ingredients:
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

Method:
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.