Bansi Rava Upma

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When the husband heard about this week’s theme and my first two dishes, he was pretty upset. He felt that by documenting those elaborate breakfasts alone, I was not being completely honest. Though I do make elaborate breakfasts for the weekend, it is not quite as often as he would like it to be. So, in the interest of transparency and honesty is this breakfast which also makes a regular appearance during weekend. I make this when we plan a lunch out. I make enough so that this doubles up as dinner too and I have that rare break from the kitchen.

The husband loves rava upma but I am not a huge fan because it is not so healthy. I came across this post on bansi rava upma and it fit with what we both wanted. So I modified it significantly to suit the husband’s taste and now we are all happy. Bansi rava is hugely popular in Karnataka and easily available across all stores. From what I understand, bansi rava is brown and coarser as compared to sooji which is white and very fine but it is not as coarse as semba rava / daliya. The nice part of making this upma is that we can roast the bansi rava along with the vegetables in the pan before adding hot water.

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Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Bansi Rava                                  1 cup

Onion, medium                         1

Green peas, shelled                  1/3 cup

Oil                                                2-3 tsp

Mustard seeds                           1 tsp

Curry leaves                              2 sprigs

Green chillies                            1-2

Chana dal                                   2 tsp

Urad dal                                      1 tsp

Ginger                                         1″

Grated coconut (optional)       2 tbsp

Water                                           3 cups

Salt

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds
  • Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the chana dal and urad dal
  • Once the dal starts browning, add the chopped curry leaves, green chillies and grated ginger
  • Then add the onions and fry till they turn translucent
  • In another vessel, boil the water
  • Then add the peas and fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the bansi rava and fry for 5-6 minutes
  • Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add it to the pan and mix it with the rava
  • Add salt and stir the mixture well
  • Simmer and close the pan for 1-2 minutes
  • Open it and stir it frequently till it absorbs all the water, for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the grated coconut and mix well
  • Serve hot with pickle or chutney of your choice
  • Enjoy!

I usually add coconut oil for this upma and it adds a lovely flavor.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Weekend Breakfast’.

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Rava Dosa – a nearly foolproof recipe

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In the second of my Weekend Breakfasts, I have the most delicious Rava Dosa with the classic partner, medhu vadai and accompanied by sambhar and two types of chutneys – coconut and coriander. All of this has to be washed down with a tumbler full of frothy, steaming filter coffee.

I have tried numerous recipes for the rava dosa and most of them have simply not worked. Either the dosa would come out in bits and pieces as if it has been toyed around by a toddler or it would stick strongly to the tava and simply refuse to budge. I kept experimenting with various types and quantities of rava and rice flour and finally I can tell you that I have a nearly foolproof recipe for the rava dosa. It is no longer something I can only have at a restaurant. I can have it whenever I feel like it, which is way more often than it should be. So I love this recipe and this dish so much that I am convinced this is my legacy. Whatever I do or don’t do henceforth, I am happy to report I can make a good Rava Dosa.

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The basic recipe has mainly three ingredients – rava / semolina, rice flour and curds. Simple thumb rules to go by are – The time needed to keep the rava soaked in curds is directly proportional to the proportion of rava in the recipe. The more rava you use in the recipe, the crispier is your dosa and the skill needed to make it is also more.

The usual proportion I use is 1/2 cup of rava to 1/2 cup of curds and 1 cup of rice flour. You can use as low as 1/4 cup of rava & curds each to 1 cup of rice flour. Even an equal amount of rava and rice works but I find that I prefer the taste and texture when the rava is half the quantity of the rice flour. Though you can use 1-2 tbsp of curds for 1/2 cup of rava and substitute the rest with water, I would recommend you not to do that. Using equal amount of rava and curds is one of the key reasons for success in making this dosa.

The rava and curds need to be mixed together and set aside before adding the rice flour. If you use only 1/4 cup then you need only 10 minutes of soaking for the rava. If you are using more, then you would need around 20 minutes. You can play around with this depending on the time available to you.

If the curds are sour the dosa tastes better but that does not mean you cannot make this with fresh curds. All I suggest is to have the curds at room temperature. If you do not have time to get the curds from the chill of the refrigerator to room temperature, then take the required curds in a separate bowl and add few spoons of boiling water to it. This will help increase the temperature of the curds. This can also be used before giving curds to kids if you don’t want them to have it cold.

The amount of water to be used depends on the quality of rava. The best test to check if you have sufficient water is to pour a small amount of batter on a very hot tava. If it does not immediately form a lace like pattern, then you may need to add more water. But add water in 1-2 spoons each time so that you do not end up with excessive water in the batter.

The tava needs to be very hot while pouring the batter. As soon as you pour the batter, reduce the flame slightly and once you turn over the dosa reduce it to low flame. This will ensure the tava is not overheated which can result in blackening the dosa.

Makes 10-12 medium sized dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Rava / Semolina                                         1/4 cup

Curds (Sour / fresh)                                   1/4 cup

Rice flour                                                     1/2 cup

Cumin seeds / Jeera                                   1 tsp

Whole black pepper                                  1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves (finely chopped)         2 tsp

Broken cashewnuts (optional)                1 tsp

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the rava and curds in a bowl and set aside for 20-25 minutes
  • The rava would have soaked a lot of curd and will appear to be a thicker mixture
  • Add the rice flour, cumin seeds, pepper, coriander leaves, cashew nuts and salt
  • Add around 1- 1 1/4 cups of water and mix all the ingredients to a runny batter.
  • Heat the tava till it is nicely hot
  • Pour a small amount of batter on the tava. If it immediately spreads into a lace like pattern then the consistency of the batter is fine. Else add few spoons of water
  • Pour a laddle full batter from the outside in i.e. pour the batter in a circular form as an outline and then fill it with the remaining batter. The shape of the dosa will not be an exact circle but slightly shapeless
  • Pour oil at the edges of the dosa and a couple of drops on the dosa
  • Reduce the flame to medium low and wait patiently till the edges start turning brown
  • Once the edges are brown, reduce the flame to low and turn the dosa to the other side using a spatula. This is the key step when one has to be very careful.
  • Use the spatula slowly and carefully to release the dosa from the tava. If you meet with too much resistance, give it few more seconds before you try again
  • Do not wait for more than 30 seconds for the upturned dosa else it will become hard
  • Take it off the tava and put the gas on full flame again before pouring the next ladle of batter
  • Continue the same procedure till you have as many dosas as you need
  • The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Before using the refrigerated batter, check if you need more water to be added to it
  • Enjoy the golden brown dosa hot with sambhar and chutney!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under ‘Weekend Breakfasts’.

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Sandwich Platter


Yes, I still exist and so does the blog. I took a break for a couple of months to take car elf some other stuff in my life. Not that I completed everything I wanted to do in these two months but I am significantly more in control than I started out. In these two months, the daughter started kindergarten and has to be woken up at 6 am every morning. Thank you for your sympathies. My mom is turning 60 and so we did a little pre-celebration for that with a trip to Coorg. By the time I coordinated with the entire family of only 6 people and planned the trip, the white hairs on my head quatrupled. Then my father-in-law turned 70 last month. You see where this story is going and why I didn’t blog.

This week’s theme is about my favourite meal – breakfast. One of the few things I enjoy since exchanging my money paying job for tantrums and yells paying job is a leisure breakfast. I pack off the husband and daughter and sit down to relish my breakfast while scrolling through the social media feeds or listening to some melodious tunes while watching the clouds darkening and hoping for a quick rain. This week’s theme is ‘Weekend Breakfast’ which is a class of its own. Before the daughter was born, our weekend breakfast was a routine trip to the nearby Udupi restaurant. We even ordered the same items every week. The husband would choose poori sabji while I would have set dosai and kurma which would be washed down with s strong dose of filter coffee.

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Since I love bread and therefore sandwiches, I make different types of sandwiches for breakfast on a weekend. This gives us a chance to experiment and also the daughter gets to taste new stuff regularly. The humble sandwich lets us experiment with everything from the type of bread to the spread and fillings. It can be a hearty nutritious meal or a tasty drooling treat.

The sandwich platter is accompanied by fruits and some saffron milk for the kid and some fresh lime juice for me. This platter has –

  • Grilled Potato sandwiches with a spicy coriander chutney
  • Hummus sandwich with tomatoes and cucumber
  • Grilled cheese and tomato sandwich
  • The classic – Bread butter jam

You have a choice to either grill or toast your bread or have it plain. The spread can be anything from coriander or mint chutney to hummus or cheese spread. The fillings can be the usual tomatoes and cucumber or potatoes or healthy like beetroot and carrots. These sandwiches can be had with mayonnaise or ketchup.

 There are hardly any recipes in these sandwiches, just a simple assembly of readymade / raw ingredients. The new thing I tried was grilled halloumi cheese with raw tomato slices inside lightly buttered toasted bread. One thing to keep in mind is that halloumi is a very salty cheese and you don’t need any extra salt for the sandwich.

For the hummus sandwich, I used plain bread to which I applied a generous dose of hummus. Then I placed tomato and cucumber slices to complete the sandwich.

I made the bread butter jam because I wanted backup for my daughter in case she didn’t like any of the others. Usually I get the unsalted butter to room temperature and then mix one part butter with one part jam of my choice to form a smooth mix. Then I apply it on the bread. This is usually the first bread I make and set it aside for 10-15 minutes which makes it so much more delicious. This time I used pink guava jam which was loved by us all.

The only thing I made was the spicy coriander chutney. I used it along with boiled and mashed potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I grilled the sandwich to a crisp treat.

 So here is the recipe for the chutney. I am not sure of the source of this recipe. I have been making it for a long while now. If I am not mistaken, it is from Sanjeev Kapoor’s website. This is a quick, no cook, no coconut chutney perfect for a spicy sandwich.

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                2

Green chillies                            1-2

Coriander leaves & stems        8-10

Salt

Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Tear the bread into 4-5 pieces and put it in a blender
  • Cut the green chillies and add it to the bread. If you do not want a very spicy chutney, you can add 1 chilly else go for 2.
  • Wash and tear the coriander and add it to the bread
  • Add salt and requisite water to blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste
  • Generously apply on bread slices and add the veggies of your choice to make a spicy sandwich
  • Enjoy!


This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Weekend Breakfast’.
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Carrot Salad

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This is another easy and simple salad. Carrots are a salad regular and I usually make it South Indian style. This recipe from the book, Diva Green, had a different flavour combination for the ubiquitous carrot. The mint, sesame seeds, honey and lemon juice make a beautiful team to enhance this simple salad to the next level.

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Serves 2-3

Recipe from Diva Green: a vegetarian cookbook by Ritu Dalmia

WHAT WE NEED

Carrots, medium                4

Sesame seeds                       1 tsp

Mint leaves                           8-10

Raisins                                   2 tbsp

Sesame oil                             4-5 tsp

Lemon juice                          2 tbsp

Honey                                     1 tsp

Salt & pepper
WHAT TO DO

  • Peel and cut the carrots into thin matchsticks
  • Cook it in boiling water for 4-5 minutes
  • Drain the water and set the carrots aside to cool
  • Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan till golden
  • In a bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper
  • Pour this dressing over the carrots
  • Add the mint leaves, raisins and half of the sesame seeds and mix well
  • Garnish with the remaining sesame seeds 
  • Enjoy!

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Pantzarosalata / Beetroot Yogurt Salad

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One of my recent endeavours is to try and eat more salads. As a rule, I hate salads and I am always trying to avoid them. But as a food blogger, if I can’t make tasty salads then what is the point? So I wanted one salad recipe from Greece. As always, I was looking for something easy and that can be made with ingredients easily available at home. I came across this easy and gorgeous beetroot salad and I am sure this is going to be a regular feature at home now on.

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Serves 2-3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Beetroot, medium                      3

Greek yogurt                               300 gms

Walnuts                                        10-12

Garlic cloves                                 3

Olive oil                                         2 tbsp

Vinegar                                          1 tsp

Salt & pepper
WHAT TO DO

  • Boil the betteroots for 30-40 minutes till they are cooked
  • Peel the beetroots and cut them into small pieces and set aside
  • In a blender / mixer take the garlic cloves, walnuts, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Add the yoghurt to the mixture and stir well to combine
  • Pour the dressing over the beetroot and mix well
  • Chill the salad in the refrigerator for a couple of hours
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. Ensure that you use only Greek yogurt else the salad will turn watery.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Greek dishes.

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Bobota / Simple Cornbread

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The second dish for the Greek theme is a simple cornbread. While I am not a huge fan of sweet breads, this one has the magic word in it – ‘orange juice’. Anything with orange juice works wonders for me and I immediately picked this dish. It is a quick bread and so the time taken for prep is minimal and the result is a wonderful cornbread with a subtle orange flavour.

The recipe was for a 9″ pie pan but I halved it and I didn’t have a smaller pie pan. So I baked them in mini tart tins which were waiting quite a while to be inaugurated. So I got really cute little cornbreads which were so delectable.

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Makes 7-8 mini cornbreads

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Cornmeal             1 cup

Baking powder   1/2 tsp heaped

Sugar                     2 tbsp

Orange juice        4 tbsp

Water                    4 tbsp

Olive oil                2 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Mix the cornmeal, sugar and baking powder in a bowl
  • Mix the water, orange juice and olive oil in another bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to form a batter
  • Pour into the mini tart tins till it is 3/4 full
  • Bake for 30 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Cool for 10 minutes
  • Serve warm or at room temperature 
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Greek dishes.

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Eliopsoma / Olive Breadsticks

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This week’s theme is Greek dishes and I have to make three dishes. But I was so spoilt for choice that picking only three was a tough job. But I couldn’t miss out on the breads and so I picked two breads and a salad for this week. The first is this delicious olive breadstick which is simple to bake and tastes absolutely amazing.

Ideally you would need to twist the dough a little before baking but I missed that because I was in a hurry to go somewhere and so the shapes are not ideal but it doesn’t have much of an impact on the taste or texture of the crumb. So mine tourned out more like a roll and less like breadsticks but all’s well that tastes well. Right?

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Makes 10 bread sticks

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                       200 gms

Whole wheat flour                       50 gms

Water                                            180 gms

Instant yeast                                     5 gms

Salt                                                      5 gms

Olive oil                                              1 tbsp

Black olives, pitted & chopped   120 gms

Dried thyme                                        1 tsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the flours, yeast and salt in a bowl
  • Add the water and olive oil
  • Knead for 5-7 minutes till it is a wet soft dough
  • Add the olives and thyme and mix well to incorporate them in the dough
  • Place them in a greased bowl till the dough triples in size. It should take around 1- 1 1/2 hours
  • Take out the dough and divide into 10 equal parts
  • Roll each part of the dough and twist to form a stick
  • Place on a greased baking tray, cover and set aside for 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven at 220C
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or till the top of the bread stick is nicely brown
  • Cool slightly on a wire rack
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Greek dishes.

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Warm, Caramelized Baby Potato & Onion Salad

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While I was baking all those delicious breads last month, I was also feeling very guilty about eating so many breads all at once. That is when I decided to eat salads to kind of compensate for all that wheat. This is one of the lovely salads that I had.

The recipe is from a book ‘Diva Green: a vegetarian cookbook’ by Ritu Dalmia. It is a fun book with recipes divided amongst potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, greens, fruits and such others. There are lovely salads, soups and few baked dishes I have marked to try. I will post a few of them as part of my Cooking from Cookbook Challenge this month. 

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Serves 2

WHAT WE NEED

Baby potatoes, halved        500 gms

Baby onions, peeled            250 gms

Walnuts, roughly chopped  1/2 cup

Butter                                        25 gms

Brown sugar                            1 tsp

Spring onions, chopped        2

Raisins                                      2 tbsp

Lemon, medium size             1

Salt & pepper
Coriander leaves to garnish 

Paneer, crumbled, to garnish
WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the raisins in some water for 10 minutes. Drain it and set aside
  • Boil the baby potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes and remove with slotted spoon
  • In the same water, boil the baby onions for 10 minutes and drain
  • In a pan, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes on medium heat and set aside
  • In the same pan, heat the butter and once it melts, add the brown sugar
  • When the mixture turns dark, add the potatoes and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes till they are nicely brown
  • In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, onions, spring onions, walnuts and raisins. 
  • Juice the lemon and mix well
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Garnish with crumbled paneer and coriander leaves
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Picnic Dishes’.

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Saffron Buns

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I have to confess. This is part this theme and part a desperate attempt to somehow make it fit into the theme because I couldn’t do it last month as part of the mega marathon. Aren’t they cute? These are Swedish saffron buns and they are so aromatic. As I was telling you yesterday, I have this major fear of forgetting ingredients and letting them go waste. Last year my parents visited Kashmir and my mom went slightly overboard in buying saffron. When I say slightly, I mean ‘I have to gift this to every person of my acquaintance so let me buy the entire supply from the valley’ level overboard. And to her credit she did gift it to almost every person of her acquaintance (you should be friends with my mom, it is so beneficial) but she did prepare for contingencies which left her with quite a few extra cute boxes of saffron. Naturally, I was part inheritor of those boxes and so now I have around 3 boxes of saffron sitting in my fridge and staring at me every time I open it. While I know saffron doesn’t spoil easily, I am still kinda sorta uncomfortable looking at them all the time. So for the past one years, the husband has been wondering as to why all the sweet dishes in the house are orange in colour and I am yet to get through box one. 

Hence you can imagine how insanely happy I was to spot a bread recipe with saffron. I intend making his a weekl dish at home and thankfully the daughter loved it. Yay! And I am sure the husband will like it once he has them. Yes, I had them for lunch, don’t judge me. Anyway this recipe is from Gayathri’s blog and so egg free. Yum is the word.

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Makes 6 pieces

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Saffron                        a pinch

Hot water                    1 tbsp

All purpose flour       1 1/2 cups

Sugar                            2 tbsp

Instant yeast               1 1/2 tsp

Oil                                  2 tbsp

Curds                             3 tbsp

Milk                                1/4 cup + for wash

Raisins                           12

WHAT TO DO

  • Add the saffron strands to the hot water and set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar and yeast in a large bowl
  • Add the milk, curds and oil to the bowl
  • Add the saffron water and mix well
  • Knead for 10-12 minutes till you get a soft pliant dough
  • Cover and set aside in a greased bowl till the dough doubles in volume
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 parts
  • Roll each part into a 12″ rope and twist the ends to form the ‘S’ shape
  • Transfer all the 6 portions of the dough to a greased baking tray
  • Keep a raisin at the two ends of the ‘S’ for each portion
  • Set aside for 20-25 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Brush the dough with milk just before baking
  • Bake for 20 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Let it cool for 10 minutes
  • Enjoy with some jam or butter or both!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme ‘Picnic Dishes’.

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Eggless Rose Petal Jam & Cardamom Muffins

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We had a fabulous BM meet in February when around a dozen of us met in Delhi and had an absolute blast. I met some of my fellow marathoners for the first time and we got along like a house on fire. During that trip, we visited a spice market and picked up some spices and condiments, one of which was dried rose petals. Now, when I have something on hand, I am always eager to finish it up because I am perennially worried about forgetting about stuff and remembering only when it is too late. Most of my nightmares are about discovering a long lost ingredient after it’s expiry. 

So I was looking for recipes using dried rose petals and I landed on this rose petal jam / gulkand muffin recipe. It was so simple that I wanted to make it immediately. It had oats flour, cardamom an pistachios which convinced me of its flavour and aroma. But the recipe had egg and I was out of eggs. So I replaced that with some curds and the result was a soft, aromatic and delicious muffin. The daughter and husband gobbled up quite a few which is the intended goal anyway. 

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Makes 12 medium sized muffins

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour             1/2 cup

Quick cooking oats          1/2 cup

Sugar                                  5-6 tbsp

Cardamom powder         1 tsp

Baking powder                1/2 tsp

Baking soda                      1/4 tsp heaped

Salt                                      1/4 tsp

Milk                                     1/2 cup

Canola oil                            2 tbsp

Curds                                   1/4 cup

Pistachios, chopped          3-4 tbsp

Rose petal jam / Gulkand 3 tbsp

Dried rose petals (optional)  to sprinkle               

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Line a muffin tray with muffin cup liners
  • Powder the oats finely in a blender 
  • Mix all the dry ingredients, all purpose flour, oats flour, sugar, cardamom powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl
  • Mix the milk, curds and oil in another bowl
  • Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients to form a batter
  • Add the chopped pistachios and rose petal jam and mix to combine
  • Pour into muffin cups up to 3/4 full
  • Sprinkle few dried rose petals on top
  • Bake for 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Allow it to cool for 15 minutes
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Picnic dishes’.

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