Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Whole Wheat Bread

From the time I ventured into making bread at home I have not looked back. This time I bring for you a healthy Whole Wheat Loaf for guilt free breakfast.

Two most important things in bread making are: Milk should be just warm, approx. 48 to 54 degrees Celsius .
Second is kneading. You have to knead it for 10. -12 minutes for the gluten to develop, which helps the bread to rise.

Use only organic whole wheat flour for best results. 

Read the entire recipe carefully , including notes before you start.

Ingredients :
Whole wheat Flour.                         2 1/2 cups
All Purpose Flour ( maida)                1 cup
Gluten.                                           2 tbsp
Flaxseed meal.                                1 tbsp
Milk (warm)                                    1 1/2 cup
Instant Yeast                                   1 3/4 tsp
 Sugar                                            1 tsp.
Salt                                               1 tsp.
Oil ( EVOO or any vegetable  oil)     2 tbsp
Milk Powder                                  1/4  cup
Flax seeds.                                    1 tbsp      ( optional)
Water                                           2-3 tbsp
for brushing                                   Extra oil and milk


  1. Mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour,  gluten, yeast,  milk powder, flaxseed meal and sugar in a large  bowl.
  2. Make a well. Pour in milk. Mix well.
  3. Now sprinkle salt and mix well.
  4. Turn the contents on a floured surface and start kneading .
  5. As you knead ,  after a couple of minutes you might find the dough to be slightly tough.
  6. Add a tbsp of water at a time and continue kneading. I had to use 3 tbsp of water.
  7. When you feel the dough is sticking to your hand, add a little oil. So this way slowly incorporate 2 tbsp of oil in the dough.
  8. Knead for good 10-12 minutes. By now the dough will become soft and smooth.
  9. Keep the dough in a well greased pan, turn it around so that it is coated with oil on all sides.
  10. Cling wrap it and keep it in a warm draft free place till it doubles in size , say for an hour and half to two depending on the weather conditions.
  11. Grease and flour 9 by 5 inch tin.
  12. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it again for 3-4 minutes to expel out all the air.
  13. Sprinkle half the flax seeds on the counter top and press the dough on it.
  14. Now sprinkle the other half and press the other side of the dough.
  15. Now knead the dough so that flaxseeds are properly distributed throughout the dough.
  16. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Say 12 by 14".
  17. From the end farthest to you fold the dough by an inch and half and pinch it to seal it.
  18. Repeat till you get a  roll, pinch to seal.
  19. Check the length of the roll against your pan and accordingly fold and seal the ends.
  20. Now carefully lift the ready roll and place it in the prepared pan with the seam side down.
  21. Brush it lightly with oil. Cover with a cling film and let it sit undisturbed in a warm place.
  22. It is ready to be baked when the loaf rises about an inch above the pan. This will take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour.
  23. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  24. Brush the loaf with milk for a nice colour.
  25. Place it carefully in the oven.
  26. On the bottom tray of the oven  quickly throw a  few ice cubes . I throw in a full ice tray.
  27. The steam from the ice cubes will help in oven spring and also prevent from developing cracks on the surface of the loaf.
  28. Bake for 40-45 minutes, till the top gets a nice brown colour.
  29. The bread is ready when it sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.
  30. Once the bread is done turn it on a wire rack.
  31. Brush the top with oil if you want a soft crust. Let it cool completely on wire rack before you slice it.
Note :
if you are using active dry yeast then in warm milk  mix sugar. Now sprinkle yeast and mix it lightly.
Keep it in a warm place  for 10 minutes. You will see yeast would have ballooned by  now.
Now pour yeast milk  mixture  in the well and proceed.
In this case you don't sprinkle sugar in the well.

Pineapple Rasam

The winter season beckons you to try old and new soups. They become our soul food . Rasam has traditionally been an integral part of South Indian cuisine , whatever the season.

I had a small piece of pineapple languishing in my fridge. Actually I love pineapple but if I eat too much of it my throat hurts, so most of the time  I grill pineapple slices for dinner . After having grilled pineapple for two nights in a row I didn't want to have it again. I wanted to try something keeping the season in mind and this is what I made  ,  Pineapple Rasam.

It is mildly flavoured with pineapple, mint and lemon. Not very spicy , just a wonderful amalgamation of sour, spicy and sweet.

Use only fresh pineapple . If your pineapple is sour then add 1/2 a tsp of sugar otherwise omit it. If the moong dal is not very thick use 3 tbsp.

Ingredients :  serves 3
Pineapple                   150 gms
Moong dal                   2 tbsp cooked ( thick)
Ginger paste               1 tsp
Rasam pd                    1 tsp
Cumin pd                    1/2 tsp
Pepper                       1/4 tsp
Tomato                       1/2 med chopped finely
Lemon juice                2 tsp
Mint leaves                  12-14
Water                          2 cups + 100 ml
Sugar                           1/2 tsp ( optional)

Tempering :

Ghee/ clarified butter  1 tsp
Mustar seeds                1/2 tsp
Curry leaves                10

Method :

  1. Blend pineapple with 50 ml of water.
  2. Use the remaining 50 ml of water to wash the blender.
  3. Mix this with pulped pineapple .
  4. Pass it through a fine sieve twice, so that you get clear juice.
  5. In the same blender churn the dal with 1/2 a cup of water.
  6. Take a deep pan, pour dal liquid in it .
  7. Wash the blender with remaining 1 1/2 cup of water and pour it in the pan.
  8. Now tip in rasam pd, cumin pd, tomato pieces, pepper pd, and salt.
  9. Bring it to a boil.
  10. Cover and simmer till tomato pieces are cooked.
  11. Crush the tomato pieces with the back of the ladle.
  12. Now tip in pineapple juice.
  13. Bring it to a boil and turn off the gas.
  14. Taste and add lemon juice and sugar.
  15. Throw in the mint leaves.
  16. Cover it. Leave it for at least 10 minutes for flavours to seep in.

To serve :

  1. Heat the rasam
  2. Heat ghee/ clarified butter in a small pan.
  3. Crackle mustard seeds.
  4. Add curry leaves. When they turn crisp pour this tempering over the hot rasam.
  5. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dulche De Leche Oatmeal cookies ( eggless)

These cookies were a trial which ended in a brilliant result. I had some leftover Dulche De Leche  so instead of just licking it away I thought of trying out cookies with it. These cookies have a nice toffee taste to it. I have used walnuts but you can use choco-chips also or may be a combination of both.

These are not very sweet so if you like sweet cookies you can increase the qty of Dulche De Leche. After mixing in everything, taste the batter and adjust sweetness accordingly .
To make oatmeal grind quick oats in mixer and sieve it to get fine flour.

Ingredients : yields 18 small cookies.
Oatmeal                       1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour        2/3 cup
Dulche De Leche           120 gm
Olive oil                       2 tbsp
Milk                              2 tbsp
Salt                              1/4 tsp 
Baking soda                   1/2 tsp
Walnuts                         1/2 cup

Method :

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius .
  2. Sieve all the dry ingredients and keep aside.
  3. Whisk dulche de leche and oil so that they mix well.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add milk as much as you need. A tbsp at a time. I used 2 tbsp.
  7. Tip in walnuts. Mix well.
  8. On a baking tray lined with parchment paper drop small portions depending on what size cookies you want. Flatten them a little with your fingers.
  9. They don't spread much.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on the size of your cookies and of course your oven.
  11. Let them cool for five minutes on the tray and then transfer them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Store in an airtight container.

Plum Cake

With Christmas round the corner it is only fair that I share my tried and tested recipe of Plum Cake with you all.

For the fruits you should soak them in rum at least a week before baking. What I do is I soak them somewhere in  August/ September and let them be in the fridge. I always have soaked fruits in the fridge. 

I soak equal quantities of sultanas, raisins, candied ginger peel, candied orange peel, walnuts, cashew nuts, dried apricots, tuti fruity and almonds. The fruits should be completely immersed in rum.  For a first time you can start with 50 gms of each.

To  make the cake more boozy , you can prick the hot cake with a satay stick and pour some rum over it ( according to your taste) . I  personally prefer not to.

All Purpose Flour                 1 1/2 cups

Oil                                     1/2 cup
Brown Sugar                       3/4 cup tightly pressed
Eggs                                   3
Baking pd                           1 tsp
Baking soda                        1/2 tsp
Mixed spice pd                   1 tsp
Cinnamon pd                      1/2 tsp
Mixed fruits soaked in rum   1 1/2 cup

For caramel
Sugar                                3 tbsp
Water                               1tbsp + 1 tbsp rum

Method :
  1. Grease and flour an 8" round pan. Line the bottom and sides with baking paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius . Once you put the cake cake batter in , reduce the temp . To 160 degrees Celsius.
  3. Measure the fruits and keep them in a sieve placed over a bowl so that all the excess rum can drain out. Use a tbsp of this rum for making caramel and the remaining pour back into soaked fruits.
  4. Sieve APF , baking pd, baking soda , cinnamon pd and mixed spice pd and keep it aside.
  5. In a large bowl beat sugar and oil using a hand blender for a 2 minutes.
  6. Add eggs one by one and beat well after each addition.
  7. Add the caramel. Beat well.
  8. Mix the fruits with the dry ingredients.
  9. Gradually add the fruits and dry ingredients mix to the wet ingredients, beating slowly till everything is incorporated properly.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 50-60 minutes.
  11. Check after 50 minutes.
  12. Each oven takes different time.
  13. Let it be in the pan for 10 minutes.
  14. Cool it completely on a wire rack before slicing it.
To make the caramel :
  1. Heat sugar in a deep pan on low heat.
  2. Slowly the sugar will melt and start turning golden on the edges.
  3. Now keep a hawk's eye on the sugar. Don't stir.
  4. When it turns dark golden. Remove from fire and care fully add water and rum. Mix well so that you get smooth and uniform caramel. Keep it aside

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Macroni in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Over the years Pasta has gained  tremendous popularity in India.  Kids & adults both love it. Here is my version of the most versatile dish.

Ingredients : for the sauce

Tomatoes                        1/2 kg        
Olive oil                         1 tbsp.          
Onion ( finely chopped)   1/2 cup.      
Garlic crushed                 1 tbsp.           
Dry basil                         1 tbsp.           
Chilli flakes                    1 tsp.               
 Peppercorns ( crushed)   1/4 tsp.      
Salt                                1 tsp .              
ketchup                          2 tbsp.          
Worcestershire  sauce.    1 tbsp.             

For macroni:

Macroni (1.5cup)              150 gms      
Extra virgin Olive oil        2 tbsp          
Onion ( sliced)                 1 large            
garlic ( crushed)              1 tbsp.            
Red bell pepper cubed     1/2                
Yellow bell pepper cubed 1/2.               
Carrot                           1 thinly sliced                      
Cheddar cheese ( grated) 1/2 cup.    
Method For Sauce:
  1. Blanch the tomatoes . 
  2. Peel their skin and chop them coarsely.
  3. Purée half of them .
  4. Heat oil in a deep heavy bottom pan . 
  5. Add garlic and onion . 
  6. Sauté onion on low heat till golden pink . 
  7. Tip in chopped tomatoes ,tomato purée , basil , salt and Worcestershire sauce
  8. Cook uncovered on low for ten minutes .
  9. Add tomato ketchup , mix well and cook for another 7-10  minutes . 
  10. Remove from fire . 

For Macroni:
  1. Heat oil in a large pan.
  2. Add onion and garlic . Sauté for a  minute.
  3. Tip in carrot and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  4. Now add bell peppers and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  5. Simultaneously boil Macroni in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente.
  6. Keep a cup of water aside and drain off excess water. 
  7. Add the Macroni to the sautéed veggies.
  8. Give it a good mix.
  9. Now pour the sauce , sprinkle the cheese.
  10. Give it a good mix. If it looks dry add some of the reserved pasta  water.
  11. Taste the seasoning .
  12. Serve immediately with a bread of your choice.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

How about celebrating my 100th post with a cake and here is the perfect recipe. Who would have thought I would reach this milestone. An year back  when I started the blog  I thought  I will leave my recipes as legacy for my son. Never knew I would get so involved .. to post 100 recipes.
My endeavor has been to post recipes that are quick to make, easy to follow so that even new comers to the world of cooking can whip up a storm.
You will notice that my recipes generally are low on oil , using fresh ingredients most of the time. That's so coz I post what I love to eat. These recipes, I cook them all the time for my family.

Here is a  delightful dessert (Cake). So soft and light. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I , personally prefer to serve it just like that so it's freshness is not camouflaged.

I used a 10" round pan but after baking it I felt 9 " would be ideal as the cake would be slightly taller than what it is now.

Ingredients :
unsalted butter,                                2 tablespoons cut in small pieces 
brown sugar                                     
1/4 cup 
Pineapple                                         8 slices
Cherries Fresh or 

Cake Batter:

all purpose flour                                1 1/2 cups (195 grams) 
baking powder                                  
1 1/2 teaspoons 
1/4 teaspoon 
unsalted butter,                                 
1/2 cup (113 grams) at room temperature
granulated white sugar                       1 cup (200 grams)
pure vanilla extract                            
1 teaspoon 
2 large 
1/2 cup (120 ml)   


  1. All ingredients should be at room temperature.
  2. Grease and flour a 9" or 10" round tin. I used a 10".
  3. For topping : in a pan melt butter and sugar . Continue heating it , without stirring till bubbles start appearing on the sides.
  4. Remove from heat on pour it over the prepared tin.
  5. Now arrange pineapple slices and cherries.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius .
  7. Mix All Purpose Flour, baking powder and salt  .
  8. In a large bowl beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy .
  9. Scrape down the sides , add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.
  10. Beat in vanilla extract.
  11.   Add the flour mixture (in three additions), alternately with the milk (in two additions), ending with the dry ingredients.
  12. Pour the batter over the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes.
  13. Mine was done in 40 minutes. It depends on your oven.
  14. Do the skewer test to check the doneness of the cake.
  15. Remove from the oven on a wire rack.
  16. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  17. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake.
  18. Carefully invert the cake on a serving platter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kair Sangri

A delicacy of Rajasthan. Kair  ( Capparis decidua)  is a small berry while Sangri (   Prosopis cineraria) is   a bean. When in season these are dried to be used later. There are couple of more dried ingredients that can be added to this dish or you can use just Kair Sangri . The other two ingredients are Kumatia   (  Acacia Senegal)  a dried pod and  Goonda   (  Cordia myxa) , also a berry also known as Gum Berry.
I have used all four . Kair and Sangri in equal proportion and a tbsp of Kumatia and Goonda each.
You can buy Kair Sangri from small time grocery shops that sell Rajasthani stuff.

If you don't have pickle masala add one tbsp of mango pickle  but in that case reduce the quantity of raw mango pd.

Ingredients :  serves 2
Kair Sangri                  1/2 cup
Thick Yogurt               2 + 1 tbsp
Mustard oil                  1 tbsp
Asafoetida                  a pinch
Cumin seeds               1/2 tsp
Red Chilly pd              1/2 tsp
Coriander pd.             1 tsp
Turmeric paste           1/4 tsp
Pickle masala              1 tsp
Raw mango pd            1/2 tsp
Salt to taste


  1. Wash Kair Sangri in a mesh strainer under running water till all the dust is washed off.
  2. Soak overnight.
  3. In the morning wash it again.
  4. Now soak it in sufficient water and 2 tbsp yogurt for 2-3 hrs.
  5. Strain it .
  6. Bring 1 1/2 cup water to boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt to it.
  7. Now add Kair Sangri and boil it till Kair is done. Stain it and keep it in a strainer.
  8. Heat oil in a pan.
  9. Add asafoetida .
  10. Crackle  cumin.
  11. Stir in all the spices .
  12. Now add 1 tbsp of yogurt and mix well.
  13. Add the kair Sangri  and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  14. Remove from fire.
  15. Taste and adjust salt.
  16. Serve hot with roti.
Serving suggestions : Pairs well with Kadhi or potato gravy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gulabo : The Rose Phirni

Phirni is the quintessential dessert of North India. Tastes best when served chilled. It's rich and creamy texture is so delightful. There are several variations of Phirni. What I have tried today is : flavored it with fresh rose petal paste.
Phirni is traditionally served in individual earthen bowls. Since the festive season is round the corner I have served it in silver bowls. You can use earthen bowls also.

Ingredients:  serves 3
Milk                  300 ml.
Sugar                2 tbsp
Basmati Rice      2 tbsp
Rose petals        4 tbsp
Peppercorns       5
Almonds.           10


  1. Soak almonds overnight. Peel them .
  2. Wash rose petals properly and grind them in a mortar and pestle .
  3. Soak rice and peppercorns for half an hour.
  4. Grind rice , almonds and peppercorns finely. Add 2-3 tbsp water as required.
  5. Dissolve the rice paste in some milk and make it thin.
  6. Take milk in heavy bottomed pan, bring it to a boil.
  7. Stir in the rice paste, continue cooking on medium heat.
  8. Stir continuously till it attains creamy consistency and the rice is cooked.
  9. Add sugar . Taste and add more if required. Stir , Simmer till fully dissolved. Remove from fire.
  10. Mix in the rose petal paste. Keep aside 1 tsp.
  11. Pour into individual bowls. Now stir in the remaining rose petal paste in each bowl.
  12. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for  at least 6 hours.
  13. Serve chilled.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Crumb Balls and Grilled Paneer Salad

I was inspired to create this unique dish after watching an episode of Masterchef Australia. Chef Gary Mehigan demonstrated a "Warm salad of roast chicken, crisp pancetta, soft-boiled egg and bitter leaves and crumb balls" . What intrigued me was the crumb balls. That's when I decided to make a vegetarian salad using the crumb balls.
I have  completely  used my imagination as far as the ingredients are concerned .
The spices used are also in keeping with the Indian palette .

The dish turned out to be a complete winner to say the least. This is a salad that can stand in as a complete meal too.  The crumb balls can by themselves be served as snacks or in breakfast.

I  used just Mint and Coriander but you can use shredded lettuce and rocket leaves as-well.

If you find the crumb mixture too dry to shape into balls , add a teaspoon or 2 of oil to bind it. Don't be tempted to add too much. Or if you eat egg you can add one egg instead of oil. I didn't have to add either of the two.

To make fresh bread crumbs simply pulse stale bread slices in a food processor.
I have used my  
flavored salt , you can use regular table salt too.

Ingredients serves 2

Extra virgin Olive Oil               for sautéing

For Crumb Balls
Fresh Bread Crumbs                 1 1/2 cups
Oil                                         2 tsp
Cumin                                    1/2 tsp
Garlic crushed                        1 1/2 tsp
Green chilly                           1/2 finely chopped
Bell pepper                            1/4 cup finely chopped
Onion                                    1/3 cup finely chopped
Boiled Potato                         1/2 cup ( grated )
Chilly flakes                           2 tsp
Sun dried Tomato paste           2 tsp
Coriander chopped                 2 tbsp
Mint chopped                         1 tbsp
Cheese grated                        2 tbsp
Flavoured Salt                        1 tsp

For Grilled Paneer
Paneer                                   100 gms ( cut into 1 1/2 " batons)
Garlic paste                            1/2 tsp
Ginger paste                           1/2 tsp
Lemon juice                            1 1/2 tsp
Oil                                         1 tsp
Red Chilly pd                          1/4 tsp
Turmeric pd                            1/8 tsp
Roasted Jeera pd                    1/2 tsp

For Veggies
Bell Pepper & Zucchini            2 cups ( cubed)
Garlic                                    1 tsp (crushed)

Apple                                    1/2 sliced ( 8 slice)

Mustard Sauce                        1 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil              2 tbsp
Vinegar                                  1/2 tbsp
Flavoured Salt                        1/2 tsp or to taste
Walnuts                                  2 tbsp toasted
Pumpkin Seeds                        2 tbsp toasted
Coriander leaves                     2 tbsp
Mint leaves                             2 tbsp

Method :

  1. Mix all the spices mentioned under paneer to make the marinade.
  2. Coat paneer batons in the marinade and leave them in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes.
For crumb balls :
  1. Heat oil in a pan . Crackle cumin.
  2. Stir in green chill and garlic. Sauté for 30 second.
  3. Stir in onions .
  4. Once onions start turning limp add bell pepper.
  5.  Sauté till onions turn soft and pink.
  6. Remove the pan from fire. Let it cool a little.
  7. Add this to bread crumbs.
  8. Also mix in boiled potato, chilly flakes, sundried tomato paste, salt , cheese, coriander and mint leaves.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning .
  11. Divide into 8 portions.
  12. Shape each portion into a ball.
  13. Keep them covered in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For dressing
  1. Mix all ingredients and whisk well .
  2. Keep it referigerated.
  1. Now heat a non stick pan.
  2. Fry the Crumb balls till light golden in 2 tsp of oil
  3. In the same pan add 1 tsp of oil and fry marinated paneer batons till brown and crisp.
  4. In the same pan add 2 tsp oil and sauté veggies and garlic till they just start turning soft.
  5. In the same pan now roast the apple slices till they turn slightly soft.
To assemble :
  1. Arrange half the veggies on a platter. Keep half the Crumb Balls and Paneer batons on the platter. On the side keep 4 roasted apple slices.
  2. Sprinkle walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Garnish with greens.
  4. Drizzle the dressing.
  5. Serve immediately.