Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MELON PAN ( Japanese bread rolls covered with crunchy cookie dough )

This is a Japanese bread made in the form of buns with a layer of cookie dough covered on top. The bread inside is soft and sweet where as the cookie crust on top is crispy and crunchy. In Japanese language "Pan" means "Bread".
Now we wonder why the bread is named melon pan when there is actually no melon added to it. There are a couple of suggestions to this. One is that the sugar cookie topping is in a crosshatch pattern similar to a Japanese melon wedge which is cut in this manner and bent backwards for serving ( like we sometimes serve mango ). The other suggestion is that the cracked surface of the cookie dough layer resembles a rock melon / cantaloupe .. hence the name.Some Japanese bakers add melon extract to get the melon fragrance in the buns. I have added lemon rind which also enhances the flavour specially when you re-heat them in the microwave for a few seconds before eating. You may also add any other flavouring of your choice in the cookie doughThe bread dough is usually left plain but sometimes people like to add chocolate chips, pastry cream / custard etc etc..
Both the doughs have egg in them which gives a better texture. If you are a vegetarian just substitute the eggs with a tablesppon of yogurt or milk.The bread is not really very difficult to make but I would suggest you see the video link given below to understand the process clearly.

Please see this video before you start making this bread.


For Bread Dough:

All purpose flour .. 1 & 3/4 cups ( little extra for dusting )
Milk powder ....... 2 tbsps
Instant yeast ........ 1 tsp
Salt ..................... 1/2 tsp
Cold water ......... 1/3 cup
Egg .................... 1 (beaten)
Sugar ............... 1 tbsp
Butter ............. 25 gms ( room temparature)

For Cookie Dough

All purpose flour ... 1 & 1/3 cup
Baking powder .... 3/4 tsp
Salt ...... a generous pinch
Butter ..... 60 gms ( room temperature)
Castor sugar ... 1/4 cup
Egg ..... 1
Vanilla extract ... 1/2  tsp
Lemon zest ..... 1 tsp
Granulated sugar needed  for dusting.


We start with the cookie dough.

1. In a large bowl whisk together butter and sugar until creamy.

2. Add the beaten egg and continue whisking to a smooth texture.

3. In a bowl sieve together the flour, salt and baking powder. Spoon this gradually into the bowl whisking with a spatula. Be careful not to over mix.

4. Remove the cookie dough on a plastic sheet shaping like a cylinder. Tie the edges and refrigerate it for one hour.

Now let us make the bread dough.

1. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and milk powder.
2. In a small bowl whisk the egg with cold water and gradually add it to the flour mixing with a whisk or a spatula.

3 Mix well and remove it on a kneading board or plain surface.
4.Knead it well.

5. Roll it and hit it on the board for a few minutes until it is no more sticky. ( you can sprinkle a little flour if needed )

6. Gather the dough with a cookie cutter and knead to a smooth texture.

7. Pat it like a flat bread (roti) and spread the butter on it.

8. Gather the edges and make a bundle and keep kneading until the butter is incorporated in the dough.

9. Make a neat bundle or bun. Place it in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap.

10. Let it sit in a warm place for 40 minutes or until it is risen to double.

11. Dip your index finger in the flour and make a hole in the dough to test it.If the hole disappears then it needs more fermentation.

12. Check the weight of the dough and roll it into a cylindrical shape. Divide it into 5 equal parts.

13. Check the weight of each one to make sure.they are divided equally.

14. Knead into a bun shape and place them on a tray , cover with a plastic wrap and  rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Make sure to leave enough space between them as they become double the size after resting.

In the meantime ...

1. Take the cookie dough out of the refrigerator and divide into 5 equal parts.

2. Check the weight of each part to make sure they weigh the same.

3. Take each piece of the cookie dough,roll it between your palms to get a smooth texture.

4. Place it in between the plastic sheets. Press with the cookie cutter to flatten it to 3 and 1/2 inches diameter round shapes.

5. Line them in a floured tray.Cover it with a plastic wrap and place the tray in the refrigerator to rest.This will make the cookie dough easier to handle.

6.Now take the rested bread rolls, roll them in between your palms and re-shape them into smooth buns.. Cover them with the cookie dough sheet and adjust the shape. Hold the dough upside down in your hands and seal the edges.. Holding the edges roll the pan in the granulated sugar.

7. Placing it in your palm, make diamond pattern on the surface. Place them on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet (butter paper) leaving enough gap in between them.. Leave them again for fermentation in a warm place for about 30 - 40 minutes. After the second rise the bread pans will be doubled in size. Bake these in the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F for 12 - 15 minutes. When it gets slightly brown colour remove from the oven and cool them down on a cooling rack.

Now your melon pan are ready to be served.They taste good when eaten fresh but you can store them in the refrigerator for a few days. Just microwave them for half a minute before eating.

This is the bread # 15 we made for the month of March in the bread baking group  We Knead To Bake started by - Aparna Balasubramanian. 

Recipe  adapted from - A Bread A Day   -

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Monday, March 24, 2014


These sausage rolls make a great snack for picnics and also kids breakfast menu. They can also be frozen and used as and when required. You can re-heat them in a microwave and serve.

Chicken sausages ..4-5 (or as needed)
Dry herbs .. 1 tbsp. ( oregano / basil )
Milk or egg white for brushing.

(For the dough)
White flour......... 2 cups
Fresh yeast ...... 1 tablet (15gms)
Salt .................... 1 tsp.
Sugar ................. 2 tsp.
Ghee /oil / butter .................. 2 tsp.
Luke warm water for kneading (you can also use water+milk)

1. Take the white flour, make a well in the middle.Put only sugar and break the yeast on top of the sugar.
2. Sprinkle the salt on the side (there should be no contact between salt and yeast)
3. Now take water and milk, (make sure the water is not HOT. just luke warm) pour it on the yeast, mix well and knead it, adding the ghee.
4.Knead the dough well for 3-4 minutes (preferably on the kitchen platform, using both hands)and keep it in a covered dish in a warm place till it is risen to double.
(about 15-20 minutes in summer ... in winter it takes a little longer)
5. Knead the dough again and divide it into small portions as needed to make the rolls.
6. Roll into thin long strips.
7. Wrap them around the sausages.
8. Place them in the greased baking tray leaving a little space between them.
9. Leave them for 10 minutes to rise again.
10. Brush them with milk or egg white and sprinkle the herbs on top.
11.Bake them in the pre-heated oven at 250 C until done.

Note: It usually takes about 20 - 25 minutes. But the baking time always varies a little depending on the size and type of oven you are using.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

KARIVEPAAKU PODI ( Spicy Curry Leaves Masala Powder )

There are various podis ( masala powders ) in South India that we relish with rice, idlis and dosas.. Curry leaf podi is one of my favourite. Not only it is flavourful but also these leaves have a lot of health benefits.
It is a very simple and easy procedure and this powder can be easily stored for a long time in an air tight container. In Brazil we don't find the curry leaves in the market unless someone has a plant at home. The first thing I did as soon as I got some fresh tender curry leaves from a friend was to make this podi. It can also be added to some curries for flavour.

Curry leaves ... 4 cups
Chana dal ... 2 tbsps
Urad dal ..... 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds .... 1 tbsp
Methi seeds .... 1 tsp
Dry red chillies .. 5-6 (or as per your liking)
Salt .. to taste
Oil ... 2 - 3  tbsps

1. Wash the curry leaves and drain the water well. Spread them on a kitchen towel placed in a tray and dry them in the sun.
2. Heat oil little by little in a pan and roast each of the ingredients separately reducing the flame, taking care not to make them dark brown.
3. The curry leaves also should be done on low flame until they become crisp. Let all the ingredients cool before grinding them.
4. Grind them together in a mixie to a little coarse texture. Mix salt while grinding as required.
Store the powder in an air tight container.

Podi with ghee and plain rice tastes so delicious..

See the less spicy version 

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


During my recent visit to India I found this new product in the market "Masala Oats" . just like Maggi which is always handy when you run out of ideas.It was really awesome. It is such a healthy option for a breakfast or brunch. I tried making it for the first time here in Brazil with normal oats and some boiled vegetables. You can use any vegetables available at home like beans, carrots, capsicums .. etc etc. For flavouring I always try out many variations. Today's dish is with sambar powder flavour. It tasted like bissibella bath.There is no end to variations. You can go ahead and add even boiled chicken / minced chicken, soya granules etc etc.. If you are making for the kids it is better not to make it very spicy.

Oats ...             5-6 tbsps
Boiled vegetables - 1 cup
Mustard seeds .. 1 tsp
Cumin seeds .... 1 tsp
Asafoetida ...... a pinch
Sambar powder .. 1 tsp
Turmeric powder .. 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder .. 1/4 tsp
Salt .............. to taste
Oil  or Ghee... 2 tbsps
Coriander leaves .. for garnishing.

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the asafoetida, mustard and cumin seeds.
2. When they crackle add the oats and saute for a minute on low flame until you get a nice aroma.
3. Now carefully add 2 cups of water stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
4. Bring to a boil and simmer. Add the salt and the mentioned spices and simmer.
5. When the oats are almost cooked, tip in the boiled vegetables and coriander leaves.
6. Simmer for a minute. The consistency depends on how thick or thin you like it. Add water accordingly.
Serve hot.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

AESYOON TOORYOON ( Sindhi Style Ridge Gourd / Tori / Turai ki Sabzi)

This is a traditional Sindhi recipe of Toori ( Ridge Gourd) cooked with cardamoms. It is very mild and no spices are added except a pinch of turmeric and salt. is prepared for breast feeding mothers with lot of ghee however you can use oil instead or both. Many people cook it with variations to suit their taste buds, adding tomatoes,green chillies, spices cumin seeds tempering etc etc..But this is the authentic recipe as I have seen my grandma and mom cooking this way.  Since tooris contain a lot of water you need a large quantity of the vegetable. (One kilo toori makes enough sabzi for 2-3 servings )
Here goes the recipe ....

Toori / ridge gourd ... 2 kgs
Green cardamoms ...... 12
Turmeric powder ..... 1/4 tsp
Salt .... to taste
Black pepper powder ... 1/4 tsp
Ghee / oil ...... 4-5 tbsps

1. Wash the tooris and peel them. Taste each toori while cutting because sometimes it is bitter and the whole sabzi will turn bitter.
2. Heat ghee or oil in a pan or a wok. Add slightly crushed cardamoms.
3. When they give out a nice aroma ( be careful not to make them black) add the tooris.
4. Allow them to cook on high flame and you will see a lot of water from the tooris.
5. When they are half done add salt and a little turmeric. Be careful in adding salt as this sabzi has a mild and sweetish taste. If there is excess salt you will not enjoy.
6. Continue cooking until the water is completely dried up stirring occasionally.
7. Sprinkle freshly crushed black pepper before serving.

This is usually served with rotis / puris

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