Sunday, January 27, 2013

Herbed Cheese Pull Apart Bread

This is my first blog entry on bread baking .I’ve never baked bread before and I am a novice at baking. With blogging I intend , if not to master the art-"the art of baking", to at least elevate myself from the status of a novice to the “I know something about it “stage. I saw pictures of pull apart bread and really loved the stacked, what I call the rustic look of the bread. But I had no intentions of making it in the near future -lily-livered, nurtured by the thought of baking a stack of neatly burned bread at the behest of my beginner status regarding baking.
So when Aparna announced her We Knead To Bake  , I quote her “A bread baking series of baking a bread a month, together, as a group of food bloggers” I was happy and jittery at the same time. So I followed the recipe meticulously and I was surprised My Bread came out well! I was overjoyed ….My first bread baking attempt brought fruitful results and a spark to bake more…You can see my pull apart bread here-:

The recipe is easy and you can play around with the filling. You can innovate, mix and create your own filling. Besides that you don’t have to bother about the shape as the bread should look truly rustic.

It’s eggless and hey it can come apart in slices without having to use a knife in cutting it.You can bake the sweet or savoury version. If you would like to go with a sweet filling, just omit the garlic in the baking and add 1/4 cup sugar to the dough while kneading. It’s fine if you don’t have a loaf tin. You can use a Bundt pan or cake tin instead. I baked a savoury version. Here goes the recipe-:

Warm Milk-1/2 cup
Sugar-1 tsp.
Active dry yeast-2 tsp (I used Instant Yeast)
All purpose flour-23/4-3 cups
Salt-1 tsp
Milk-3/4 cup and couple of tbsp. to brush bread
Butter-25 gms or 2 tbsp soft at room temperature
Garlic-2 cloves crushed or 3/4-1/2 tsp garlic paste
For filling
Melted butter-15 -20gms
Mixed herbs-2 tsp
Processed cheese-1/2 cup
Crushed pepper and chilli flakes-enough to sprinkle
In a small bowl dissolve sugar and yeast in ½ cup of warm milk. Keep aside for 5 minutes till yeast mixture bubbles up.
Mix the flour,salt,softened butter and garlic paste.
Then add the yeast mixture and ¾ cup of milk. Knead till dough becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough is sticky add a little more dough but only little or as much as necessary.
Make into a ball. Place into a well oiled bowl turning the dough around to coat it completely with oil
Cover and let to rise for 1-1/2 hrs or till double in volume
Dust your work surface lightly with flour.
 Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”.
Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the herbs, pepper/ chilli flakes and then the grated cheese. 
Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.

Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect.
 Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips.
You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).
Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 4” (or 5”) loaf tin.Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin.
Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf.
Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown. This recipe bakes one 9” by 5” loaf.

Refer video for assembling :

         This recipe is YeastSpotted.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Baked Vegetable Pie

This was during last November when we  were in London.My mother’s sister was in the US at the same time with her daughter Nivedita. We skyped often ,laughed, cracked jokes ,pulled each other’s legs  and exchanged recipes  just like we did way back at home ,In Kerala. Thanks to The Internet. To Skype too . …Like I said people in two different parts of the world brought together, talking with each other as if they were sitting  across a table … How science has changed our lives and has brought with it innumerable oppurtunities…to the extend that my cousin would be grinding something in her mixer  and she would ask me to mute my microphones lest A happily sleeping Aniket(my sonny) would wake up in his home in London…We even got to give each other running commentary while cooking …The”No no don’t fry that too much or hey that looks yummy “happened over Skype.My Aunt makes amazing palada. Watching her making palada on skype did 2 things to me-
It made my mouth water.
I learned how to make it
But that’s another post.Will try to recreate that amazing palada some other time…..

So it was during one such skype session I watched the making of The baked Vegetable Pie .Hmmm it looked yummy in her baking dish she showed us through skype that day.I promptly asked my cousin to mail me the recipe. That was it . Over. As always I bookmarked the recipe but didn’t get to making it. The recipe had travelled all the way from her paternal Aunt in  Chennai all the way to The US, then to  Us in UK  through skype only to  stay put in my  1 Mile long cooking wishlist…..Grrrr….
Then suddenly yesterday while I was putting Aniket to sleep The Veg pie popped up in my mind. A nice baked dish full of stringy cheese and vegitables coated with the white sauce and I couldn’t resist the temptation to make it….here goes the recipe-:

Carrot-1 cup chopped into cubes
Cauliflower-1/2 cup shredded
Corn kernels -1/2 cup
Potatoes-1 medium sized or 1 cup
Butter-1/4 cup (to dot the  vegetables)

Bread crumbs-1/4th cup or more(enough to sprinkle over vegetables)
Macaroni-3 cups                                                                  
Pepper powder-1 tsp
Cheese-Mozzarella, processed cheese or cheddar

All purpose flour-4-5 tbsp. or more
Butter-3-4 tbsp or more
Milk-1/2 cup or more (enough to make the sauce creamy)
Garlic crushed-1-2 cloves(small)
Pepper powder-1-1 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Pressure cook potatoes, cauliflower and carrot (2-3 whistles).You can pressure cook carrots and cauliflower together but potatoes separately. Mash the potatoes and add little salt to it.
Add corn to boiling water. You may add little salt to it if you require (a pinch) and let it bubble. Once water bubbles simmer and heat corn with closed lid for 3 minutes
Boil water .Add macaroni and boil with little salt and 1/2 tsp. of oil till cooked.
Mix macaroni, carrot and cauliflower.
In a non-stick pan add butter, and fry Maida.
Add salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Mix.
Switch the gas off. Add milk till the mixture becomes creamy.
Coat vegetables and macaroni with sauce.
In a baking dish spread butter.
Layer mashed potato at bottom.
Then spread the coated vegetables and macaroni.
Dot the layer with dollops of butter.
Sprinkle bread crumbs.
Spred one more layer of coated vegetable and macaroni and sprinkle bread crumbs again on top of it.
Sprinkle grated cheese.
Preheat oven to 180 C .Reduce to 150 C and bake for 15 minutes or till cheese is melted.
Turn the knob to grill and grill for 2-3 minutes.
Serve it with tomato sauce.
You may also add peas, mushrooms and capsicum to the dish.
You can also omit the grill option if you prefer so.
You can mix butter to mashed potatoes for richer taste.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sweetened Rice balls….Ariunda

Made Ariundas (Rice balls) today. I was really excited to make it. Since I started blogging recently this was going to be my very first entry into blogger events and of course because ari unda as we call it in kerala always brought back fond fond memories of childhood.

Whenever I visited my maternal home –Karukaputhur (A small village in Kerala) my grandmother would be ready with a jar full of these Ariundas .We were a big band wagon of cousins from different parts of the country, all geared up to make the most of our 2 months of summer holidays, ready to feast on the Ela Adas(a sweet made with  rice powder, jaggery and coconut steamed in plantain leaves) and ariundas my grandmother would diligently make every summer, on our home coming.

I remember my mother and her sisters would sit around talking, simultaneously making ariundas on large scale. Did’nt they have to feed the band wagon a good tea time snack? That too with hot tea made from fresh cow’s milk. When tea was served we wouldn’t waste a minute to pounce on a neatly arranged set of firm, round ariundas happily sitting on the table.

Back home in Cochin, my mother would religiously follow my grandmom’s recipe and make me some more ariundas at my fervent request. Even before the rounds were made I would start feeding myself some spoonfuls of the mixture till my mother warned me and send me out of the kitchen. So when Gayatri posted the blogger’s event, I had no second thoughts. Ariunda It had to be. Quoting her-this was about   cooking a dish which  brought memories of childhood that you took for granted when your mom prepared, and the event is called A walk through memory lane.

I asked my mom for her recipe.. and made the ariundas too. The actual recipe included cardamoms in it but my mother dislikes the taste of cardamom in her rice balls. So I made mine without them .Here goes my recipe:-
Rice-4 cups (Matta rice/ Red Kuthari /Par Boiled Rice)
Jaggery-21/2-3 1/2cups depending upon how sweet you want it to be
Grated coconut-21/2 cups

Wash the rice and strain.
In a thick bottomed vessel roast the rice in small portions at a time, in medium flame till the rice pops up and turns white. It should crack easily and be brittle.
When done cool the rice and grind it to a fine powder.
Grind the grated coconut first. Then add jaggery and grind for about 2 minutes.
Add the roasted rice powder in small portions to above mix and grind till all the ingredients are mixed well.
Make into balls and serve.
You may add cardamom to above if you prefer so.


Sending this off to Gayathri's  Walk through memory lane

Friday, January 18, 2013

Carrot Mousse

Balumama(Uncle) and Bindu ammayi(aunt) came home today. So I wanted to make something special for lunch. What should I make for Lunch today? I had recently seen a recipe for Carrot Mousse  and I had been wanting to try it out for some time. The Carrot Mousse in the recipe corner of  the magazine looked  so very enticing…orange creamy Mousse dressed around a juicy rasgulla….I decided I would try it out soon…may  be tomorrow itself or this weekend for sure….But tomorrow became day after tomorrow and  so on…somehow I never got to making it….So when Balumama came I decided to make him some Carrot Mousse for dessert .I was making the Mousse for the first time….so I hesitated …After lot of pondering I decided to go ahead with the recipe.

Made with carrots that give it its wonderful orange colour speckled with the white of rasgullas it edible to eyeballs and hence a good excuse to make children eat some Vitamin C’s and Vitamin A’s without the story telling and coaxing….

I diligently followed the recipe  and as soon as the pudding was done I transferred it to small glass bowls each with a rasgulla inside. I had initially decided to try making the rasgullas too. But I fell short of time and had to rely on a small tin of store brought Haldiram’s  rasgulla’s.

Carrot Puree- 1Cup
Orange Juice-1 cup
Sugar-1 cup
Whipped cream-1 cup
Gelatin powder-20gms
Rose water-1/2 tsp

Mix gelatin in orange juice and keep aside to bloom.
Whip cream to soft peaks. Add sugar and whip more
In a saucepan add ¼ th of the carrot puree and mix the gelatin to it. Heat it.
Add the remaining carrot puree .Mix and keep aside to cool.
Fold whipped cream into the above batter. Add the rosewater. Mix
Put one rasgulla each into every glass bowl. Pour mousse batter over it and place in the freezer for half an hour. Serve upturned on a glass plate.

My uncle as always had a good word for me after tasting my newly made carrot Mousse.  The rasgullas were a bit too big for my glass bowls…but when I ate a spoonful of the Mousse dipped rasgulla , I was happy I decided to make it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Vegetable Kurma

I’m making the post a week late. Like I mentioned in my previous post this recipe was part of our New Year get- together. But last week was hectic…I had lot of small errands to do and that kept me outside the house the whole day. So my post suffered. I would come back home tired only to drop dead on the bed….snore snore.. I was already asleep.

Coming back to my mix vegetable kurma , it came out well .My mom had taken my son Aniket to the park. By the time they came back home the dish was ready. The flavours of cardamom and cinnamon and other ingredients wafted into the air and filled the house. Just then my mom entered the house and she exclaimed….mmmmmmmm nice……Aniket had a small twinkle in his eye. Hey what was his momma cooking?
It made a good combo paired with the ghee rice .We all love it. My mother’s friend even took down the recipe because she had made it in a different way earlier but loved my recipe too. I wanted my vegetable kurma to taste like the one in Vrindavan- an eatery near my house. I had tasted em with some pooris once ….So I browsed and browsed the net for the perfect recipe , combined a few till I thought I would be able to make its poor cousin. But to my surprise it tasted just the same…Vrindavan style……

Vegetable kurma is a lovely side dish- It is a stew which can be made with yogurt cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk and  has its roots traced to  Mughalai cuisine…Can be served with chapathis, naan, palappams or even mixed rice. Since it contains a mixture of many vegetables it is healthy too. No wonder it is a quick refuge many housewifes turn to. Why wouldn’t they? Isn’t it healthy, tasty and even easy to make.


Onions-11/2 medium
Green chilli-3-4
Ginger garlic paste- ½ tsp
Mixed vegetables-1-11/2 cup(carrots,beans,cauliflower,potatoes and peas)
Milk-1/4 cup
Yogurt-2 tbsp
Coriander powder-11/2-2 tsp
Cumin seeds-1/2-14 tsp
Fennel-1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Bay leaf-1
Black stone flower-1
Curry leaves- few
Oil-3 tsp
Ghee-1 tsp
Redchilli powder-1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder-a pinch

To Grind
Cloves – 2 nos
Cinnamon stick – 2 (small)
Cardamom – 1 no
Cashew – 2 nos or more
Poppy seeds – 2tsp
Roasted Channa dhal – 2 tsp
Green chili – 1 no
Coconut – 5 tbsp (grated )
Cumin seeds-a pinch  
Fennel seeds-a pinch
Cook the vegetables.
Grind the ingredients listed under the heading grind.
In a pan, heat the oil and ghee together. When hot, add bay leaf, curry leaves, stone flower, and cumin and fennel seeds.
Add chopped onions and green chilli. Saute till onions become golden brown.
Add ginger garlic paste.Fry till raw smell leaves.
Add coriander powder, red chilli and turmeric powder. Fry.
Add vegetables. Pour water and let it bubble.
Add yogurt, ground paste and salt. Simmer and boil for 3 min.
Add milk and bring to boil. Give a good stir.
Garnish with coriander leaves.

You can add ½ tsp cumin and ¼ tsp fennel seeds to the items to be ground instead of frying it and then add it after the vegetables
Instead of cooking the vegetables separately, you can add it with a cup of water directly, simmer and boil it for some time with closed lid and then proceed with the rest of the process.
Usually we donot not add red chilli powder and turmeric to vegetable kurma .You can omit it if you prefer so.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Coconut Pudding

Yesterday my mother’s friend came home…I call her S being new year’s eve, she and some  other friends wanted to have a small get together  .We decided we would each get a dish or two and meet up at my mother’s friend ‘s place. Quick Phone calls and the menu was decided. I decided to make Ghee rice, Vegetable Kurma and Coconut Pudding.
It was a hectic day. For starters I realised that my pantry was under stocked. I did not have all the vegetables required to make the kurma and my stock of basmati rice was depleting….So I put Aniket to sleep and hopped over to a nearby supermarket. When I came back home Aniket had got up. He got inquisitive the moment he saw me with all the bags. Did it have any goodies for him or not?Good question.He decided to find out for himself .He pulled out the bags kept on top of the table found a packet of biscuits and asked me to open it for him.

 Finally I started  to cook. First I made the pudding, then the ghee rice and the kurma came last .Of course I took intermittent intervals to stop Aniket from unpacking the bags I got ,pulling this and that and generally messing up my already messed up kitchen. His loves playing around with kitchen vessels and plastic containers .So he just put this fascination to good use, brought down all the vessels pretending to cook with me.
All the dishes came out well….but the pudding took the limelight…I caramelised the nuts but couldn’t find our little kitchen pestle so I had to break it with the back of a spoon…and they didn’t look crumbly like praline.

I got nice juicy coconuts today…I scraped out only the white part without the brown flakes because that makes tastier Coconut pudding. You can see the recipe below-:
Milk-500 ml(boiled)
Coconut-1 grated
Sugar-8-10tbsp or more
Condensed milk-1 tin
Vanilla essence-1 drop
 Grind the coconut in a blender to strain out thick coconut milk. Keep it aside. Grind it again with little water and strain thin coconut milk. Mix thin coconut milk, 1 tin condensed milk and milk .Heat it. Add required sugar. Then add thick coconut milk. Boil. Add sugar if required again. Add water to gelatin just enough to soak it. Then double boil it or add hot water to it to dilute . Add gelatin to milk mixture. Stir for some time. Add the essence. Give a good stir. Allow to cool. Refrigerate( at least for 5 hours). Serve with praline.
Make sure you use only white part of coconut without the brown flakes
Sugar can be increased accordingly.
Verdict: My mom’s friends loved it….Even my mother who dislikes condensed milk lovd it…She asked me to make more…. and  surely I will….