Ragi Idli

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The name of this dish is simply Ragi Idli but in my opinion it should be renamed to ‘Life saver’. The other day, I woke up later than usual and had to get the breakfast ready for the husband while simultaneously managing the daughter and our domestic help so that he could catch his office bus which is the only mode of transport to his office situated in the middle of nowhere. (That is a story for another day.) I had this recipe on hand since I had to make another dish for this month’s BM and it totally saved me. It does not take too long and is nutritious cum filling which are the exact criteria needed to get into my regular recipe roll. So here goes –

Makes 12-14 medium sized idlis

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

Ragi flour                             1 cup

Rava / Sooji                          1 cup

Curds / Yogurt                    1 cup

Oil                                           5 tsp

Mustard seeds                    1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                        1 sprig

Ginger, grated                    1″

Eno fruit salt                       1 tsp

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the ragi flour, rava and curds in a bowl
  • Add salt and around 1/2 cup water to make a thick idli batter
  • Let it rest for 10-12 minutes
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a small pan and once it is hot, add mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • Add these to the idli batter and mix well
  • Add some more water if the batter is too thick. The batter should fall smoothly and not in blobs
  • Add the balance 3 tsp oil, ginger and eno fruit salt and mix well. The Eno fruit salt can be replaced with 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pour the batter in the idli moulds and steam for 12 minutes
  • Let it rest for around 5 minutes before opening.
  • Dip the tail end of a spoon in some water and use it to unmould the idli from the mould
  • Serve hot with chutney or sambhar or molaga podi (gunpowder / chilly powder)
  • Enjoy!

 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Ingredient by Mail.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

Ragi Muffins

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This is my second recipe with ragi as the main ingredient per our theme of ‘Ingredient through mail’ where a pair of bloggers exchanged ingredients and had to cook with it. Padma of Plantain Leaf gave me ragi as the ingredient with which this is my second recipe after the chewy Ragi Bread I posted yesterday.

I found some interesting facts about Ragi from this new book that has me totally fascinated – A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food by K T Acharya.

  • Ragi, also called finger millets, derives from Uganda in East Africa.
  • Ragi grains have been found in western and southern India since 2000 BC and it is called ‘nrtta-kondaka’ in Sanskrit which means the dancing grain.
  • That could also be why it is called ‘nachni’ in Maharashtra, also a reference to dancing.
  • In the days gone by, kings used to honour poets with food made with ragi, milk and honey.

Isn’t that interesting?

To make these muffins, I modified the recipe of Banana Honey Muffins which I made in December to include ragi. The results were good enough for the daughter to agree to eat them as a snack.Mission accomplished!

Makes 12 mini muffins

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                        3/4 cup

Ragi flour                                      1/4 cup

Brown sugar                                 1/4 cup

Salt                                                  1/4 tsp

Egg                                                   1

Milk                                                 3/4 cup

Banana, medium overripe        1

Honey                                              3 tbsp

Oil                                                     3 tbsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C
  • Mix the flours, sugar and salt in a bowl
  • Mix the egg, milk, honey and oil in another bowl
  • Mash the banana well and add to the egg mixture
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine
  • Line a muffin tray with muffin cups or grease the muffin tray well
  • Pour the batter in the muffin cups to little over 3/4 full
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or the toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool for 5 minutes
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

Top the muffin with a smear of Nutella or other chocolate spread to tempt your little one to finish it in one go!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Ingredient by Mail.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

Ragi Bread

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We have a very interesting theme for this month’s marathon. Valli, our boss lady, grouped us into teams of 2 and we had to exchange ingredients and cook three dishes on the basis of that. I am paired with Padma whose blog you should totally check out for some amazing Andhra recipes. She gave me Ragi flour as the ingredient and I was ecstatic because I kept planning to include ragi in our meals more often but never got around to doing it. This proved to be my perfect opportunity. So we will have three recipes using Ragi flour as the main ingredient.

Anyone who has read my blog more than once knows how much I love bread. So my first ragi recipe is Ragi Bread.The loaf turned out really well and I could actually slice it and make some sandwiches with it. And I have to say, nothing is better than sliced bread!

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So here goes –

Makes a 8″ loaf

Recipe adapted from here.

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                     1 cup

Ragi flour                                   1/4 cup

Wheat flour                               1/4 cup

Salt                                               1 tsp

Instant dry yeast                      1 1/8 tsp

Honey                                         1 tbsp

Olive oil                                     1 tbsp + for greasing

Warm water                             1/2 cup

WHAT TO DO

  • Whisk together the flours and salt in a large bowl
  • In another bowl add olive oil, honey, warm water and yeast
  • Stir and let it rest for 10-15 minutes
  • Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and knead for 3-4 minutes (if using a hand mixer) or 6-7 minutes by hand. Add additional water if needed
  • Let the dough sit for 2 minutes and knead by hand till soft and supple. It should take you around 5 minutes
  • Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl and cover it. Let it rest till it doubles in volume. It should take 60-90 minutes.
  • Grease an 8 *4 loaf pan
  • Remove the dough and punch it. Knead it for 2-3 minutes on a floured counter top
  • Shape it into a loaf and transfer it to the loaf pan
  • Cover and let the dough reach the rim of the pan which should take around 60 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes. It is done when it sounds hollow when tapped from the bottom
  • Remove the loaf from the pan after 5 minutes and slice when it has completely cooled down
  • Enjoy it with butter or jam or in a sandwich.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Ingredient by mail.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

It’s 2017 already?

This, as you can see, is the last post of this year which breezed past me like…well, a breeze. It was quite an eventful year. The daughter started school and was a lot more adjusted than I thought she would be. She switched schools mid year but yet managed to be reasonably comfortable in her new surroundings.

We moved back to India for which I have mixed feelings. There are some stuff I loved about Malaysia and others that I disliked. But I would have liked to stay a wee bit longer to visit more countries around it and enjoy the beach. On the plus side, it is awesome to be back to faster broadband and larger data limits.

I am looking forward to quite a few things in 2017. The husband and I successfully complete ten years of being married to each other. Both of us were sure we wouldn’t last this long and thought one would drive the other crazy. Well, we are both crazy and yet together. So yay to that. My mom turns 60 this year and I am sincerely hoping at least now people stop asking me if she is my sister. That’s an old joke. Stop it already even if she does look like my sister. 

On the resolution front, I have only one major resolution which I think is kind of all encompassing – ‘Don’t bite more than you can chew’.

2016 has been quite sad on keeping up the commitments front. I remember a year of running around like a headless chicken with no memory of what I was running around for. Mostly the reason was my initial enthusiasm to do stuff but as I would later discover, I was not fully prepared for. So hopefully I would get back to meeting targets and under promising and over delivering.

Also, the resolution applies to me literally because as every year, this year too I have to lose weight. So I will have to bite into lesser fries, sweets and chew more veggies and fruits. Easy, huh?

On the blog front, I am not entirely happy with this year’s performance. The biggest highlight of this year was my first run on the mega marathon where I made 26 different soups in September and had an absolute ball.

 I did blog regularly but because of last minute preps, I couldn’t really get myself going creatively. I was using recipes almost exactly the way it was written which is usually not the way I cook. I try and change something, experiment a little and though I won’t always succeed, I do learn a lot and have quite a bit of fun. So hopefully I will get those creative cells going in 2017.

My personal opinion is that my photography has improved, not drastically but much better than before. I took a one day photography course and benefitted quite a bit from it. I bought a DSLR before leaving from Malaysia and finally learnt how to use it like a DSLR and not a point and shoot. Though I didn’t manage to get any of my photos up on FoodGawker or Tastespottin, I would like to believe I am getting there soon.

What I really want to change in 2017 is to get out of the rut when it comes to daily cooking, I end up repeating certain veggies and certain recipes over and over. So the plan is to make new recipes with the same veggies and use 2 or more veggies in combination to increase options. Another thing I really want to do this year is bake my own bread. I had planned to do that last year too but that didn’t happen. Hopefully I do it this time round.

Another major plan for this year is to consciously use the social media more to communicate about the blog to everyone else. That has been on the anvil for long now and needs to be executed well.

I am all excited about next year and hope you are too. It is going to be fun and exhilarating with lots of food, drink and merriment.

 Happy New Year! 
  

Rosemary Cornbread

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When people move between countries, they take the best of what is available in the country of origin that would not be available in the country of destination. eg people who move from Malaysia to India would ideally buy furniture or electronics because the former is seen to be of better quality and the latter available at a lower price. But there are still others, like me, who stuff their suitcases with cornmeal, spelt flour and rye flour because they are not available in India.

My original plan was to use these and make some fabulous breads this month. But so many things got out of hand that I couldn’t manage any of that.I thought I should make at least one such loaf and thankfully I managed it for the last post of this year.

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I made some cornbread last year and absolutely loved it. This is my second cornbread and it is of the sweeter variety but with the amazing fragrance of rosemary to go with it. Do try.

Recipe from here

Makes one 9″ loaf

WHAT WE NEED

Yellow cornmeal                                   1 cup

All purpose flour                                   1 cup

Baking powder                                       1 tsp

Baking soda                                             1/2 tsp

Salt                                                             1/2 tsp

Dried rosemary                                       2 tbsp

Eggs, large                                                2

Sugar                                                          5 tbsp

Buttermilk                                                2/3 cup

Extra virgin olive oil                              2/3 cup

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Grease the loaf pan and line with parchment paper
  • Take cornmeal in a large bowl
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl
  • Add rosemary and mix all of them together
  • Take eggs, sugar, buttermilk and oil in another bowl
  • Mix them with a hand blender on medium speed until combined
  • Then lower the speed and add the flour in 2 batches
  • Mix the first batch well before adding the second one and mix until just combined
  • Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or till the tester comes out clean
  • Cool it in the mould on a wire rack till it cools completely
  • Serve with honey and butter or salsa
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Sweet Potato Bread

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Sweet potato bread has been on my to-do list for over a year now. We got amazing sweet potatoes in abundance in Malaysia which made me try and include it more in our diet. I tried quite a few recipes with it and the daughter was too pleased with most results. But somehow I missed making the bread even though I read a lot about it. We used to get a different variety of sweet potatoes in Malaysia which was dark pink outside and a pretty orange colour inside which is different from a much lighter shade of those we get here in Bangalore.

So finally I ticked off this item and made the sweet potato bread and can now understand why so many people rave so much about it. It is definitely a must try and since it is sweet potato, it is a total guilt free indulgence not to mention its popularity with kids. Don’t know why I waited this long. So here goes –

Recipe from here

Makes one 7″ loaf

WHAT WE NEED

Sweet potato purée                   1/2 cup

Canola / sunflower oil              1/4 cup

Light brown sugar                      1/4 cup

Water                                              3 tbsp

Egg                                                   1

Vanilla essence                             1/2 tsp

All purpose flour                          1 cup plus 2 tbsp

Granulated sugar                          6 tbsp

Baking powder                               1 tsp

Salt                                                     1/4 tsp

Walnuts, chopped                         15-18

Ground cinnamon                         1/2 tsp
WHAT TO DO                           

  • To make sweet potato purée, steam a medium sized sweet potato for 15 minutes till it is of mashable consistency. Peel it and mash with a fork and mix it with 1 tbsp water in a blender for a smooth purée.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • In a large bowl, mix together the purée, oil, light brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla
  • In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt
  • Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients
  • Coat the walnuts with a little flour and stir it into the mixture
  • Grease the loaf pan and line it with parchment paper
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or till the tester comes out clean
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes
  • Unmould it and let it cool completely on a wire rack
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Bread Au Gratin

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Shakespeare asked ‘what’s in a name?’ I am sure he would change his mind if he saw today’s world. The name makes so much of a difference. Even regular simple things are enhanced by a fancy name. Our curiosity is piqued, our temptations increase and we get that impulse to buy the fancy stuff just to see what the fuss is all about. Similarly when I heard the name of this dish on Venkatesh Baht’s show, I conjured up very droolworthy images in my head and wanted to try it immediately. Fortunately for me, the recipe is simple and I could rustle it up quickly.

On the show, he went on to make white sauce and sauté veggies and mix them and stuff them in the bread. I was lucky that I had some leftover pasta that I made for my daughter the previous day. I used that as the stuffing and finished the entire dish in a flash. So here goes –

Serves 2-3

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                      6

Leftover pasta                                 1/2- 3/4 cup

Cheddar cheese, grated               5 tbsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Cut off the edges of all the bread slices
  • Use a cookie cutter or small cup and cut a round shape at the centre of 3 of the bread slices such that it has a hole in the middle
  • Place one such slice on top of a regular bread slice and make 3 such pairs of bread slices
  • Fill each pair with the pasta till the hole in the top slice of the bread is full
  • Top generously with grated cheese
  • Bake for 6-7 minutes and broil for 3-4 minutes till the cheese starts to turn golden brown
  • Slice them into two and serve warm with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Bread Pockets

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I have been terribly late in posting for this year’s Bake-a-thon as you can see multiple posts on the same day as against the schedule of thrice a week. I have been baking 3-4 dishes on the days I have time which has resulted in a flurry of activity, piling of dishes on the sink and me running helter skelter around the house with my bemused daughter in tow. As is always the case, when under pressure you fall back to your comfort zone, which in my case are the recipes from Venkatesh Bhat’s show – Samayal Samayal.

I had a loaf of bread and no ideas when Mr.Bhat came to my rescue with two simple dishes which fit the bill perfectly. One is this delightful and flavoursome bread pockets which involves packing every slice of bread with your choice of filling and baking it to golden brown. Yumm. I have used a paneer filling but you can replace that with any other filling like potatoes, leftover vegetables, noodles, pasta, etc.

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                5

Paneer                                          50 gms

Spring onion                               6-8

Olives, pitted and chopped    6

Coriander leaves                         from 10-12 stalks

Red chilly  powder                     1 tsp

Ginger, grated                             1″

Butter, at room temp                1-2 tbsp

Water

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Place each bread slice in a plate of water and then press it between your hands gently to squeeze out the water
  • Use a rolling pin to gently roll the bread slice and take out any excess water
  • Be careful to ensure the bread slices do not tear
  • Mix all the other ingredients, except butter, thoroughly in a bowl
  • Divide the paneer mixture into 5 portions and fill each portion in one slice of bread
  • Roll the bread slice to cover the mixture and seal on all sides by gently pressing the two ends of the bread slice together
  • Brush the bread slices with butter on both sides
  • Bake for 7-8 minutes and broil for 3-4 minutes till both sides are golden brown
  • Serve warm with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Lemon Tea Cake

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Some recipes you bookmark to try later and others tempt you so much that you rush to your kitchen, make it at the earliest and rest only after you have sunk your teeth in a slice. This dish is one of the latter. It was made by Valli earlier in this Bake-a-thon and I saw it and have been salivating ever since.

To add to it, my mother-in-law was due for a visit last weekend and I needed an eggless recipe to bake for her. So I picked this recipe immediately and she was also pleased that this one was a whole wheat flour cake. Needless to say, I scored some major brownie points with my mother-in-law in addition to stuffing my face with all the cake. What more to ask for?

Recipe from here.

Makes one 7″ loaf

WHAT WE NEED

Sugar                              3/4 cup

Curds                              3/4 cup

Oil                                    1/4 cup

Lemon juice                  2 tsp

Zest from one large lemon

Baking powder             3/4 tsp

Baking soda                   1/2 tsp

Whole wheat flour       1 cup

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 185C
  • Powder the sugar finely in a blender
  • Squeeze the juice from the lemon and grate the required lemon zest
  • In a medium bowl, add the sugar, curds, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder and baking soda and mix well
  • Set aside for 5 minutes and the mixture will froth a little
  • Grease the loaf pan and line it with parchment paper
  • Add the flour gradually to the mixture and combine well
  • Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-27 minutes or till the tester comes out clean
  • Cool completely before slicing
  • Enjoy it with some tea!

 

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Mint & Olive Bread

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Like I said in my previous post, only when you have an ingredient in excess with a limited shelf life, you realize there are so many dishes that can be made with it. My next discovery with mint was the mint flavoured bread with olives in it. It is surely a must try for all bread aficionados. I couldn’t finish my mint leaf bunch even then and so I went back to my mint mainstay and made a soup of the rest. Phew!

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Baking your own bread is a luxury and a blessing. You can have any flavour you choose, you can have it fresh from the oven and you can not only enjoy the taste but also the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread which lasts for a couple of hours enlivening everything and putting a smile on your face and drool on your lips. Pick your favorite book and a slice of this bread and have a luxurious day set for you.

Recipe adapted from here

Makes one 7″ loaf

WHAT WE NEED

Pitted and chopped olives                         1/2 cup + 2 tbsp

All purpose flour                                           1 1/4 cup

Baking powder                                               1 1/2 tbsp

Sugar                                                                  1 tbsp

Salt                                                                      1 tsp

Fresh mint leaves, chopped                        1/4 cup

Egg                                                                       1

Olive oil                                                               4 tsp

Grated onion                                                     1/4 cup

Milk                                                                      1/3 cup

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt
  • Add the olives and mint and toss together
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add the oil, onion and milk to it and mix well
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix well till the ingredients are just combined
  • Transfer the dough to the loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or till the tester comes out clean
  • Take the loaf out of the oven and transfer it to a wire rack to cool
  • Serve with a bowl of soup
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


 

 

 

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – One ingredient three dishes.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.