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.

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Nan E-Barbari

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This bread marks a milestone in my baking life. I bought the book ‘Hot Bread Kitchen’ just by looking at this bread on the cover almost a year ago. Ever since I would glance at it every once in a while and sweep my hands over the images trying to feel the texture of the bread through the pages. But I kept postponing the actual bake. I was very scared and somehow convinced I would make a mess of it. I read the recipe a few hundred times and would sigh every time as I slammed the book shut.

But I knew if I did not do it during this mega marathon, I would not get a better chance. I am baking breads almost every day for the past fortnight and felt a tad more confident, mostly due to very encouraging comments I got for my efforts so far. So I dived in and tried this phenomenal looking bread. Guess what, it turned out tasting simply divine.

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Nan-e-Barbari is a Persian flatbread and is known to be one of the thickest flatbreads. It is usually almost 3 feet in length and nearly one foot in breadth. It is served with cucumbers, olives and feta cheese though I totally recommend biting into its crispy crust as soon as it is baked. The crisp crust is on account of a glaze applied over the dough before baking which is called the ‘roomal’. The roomal or glaze is nothing but a mixture of flour, sugar, oil and water heated to form a thick paste and this glaze is what gives the nan its to-die-for crisp crust. The traditional barbari oven is specialized for baking barbari breads. The oven, always built within wall, is a masonry, brick-domed, wood-fired oven with a circular hearth and relatively flat dome. A typical barbari oven has an internal floor diameter of 300 centimeters (118 inches) and internal dome height of 60 centimeters (23.6 inches), which renders it a low-dome oven. If you are interested, you can read this very detailed account on this bread here.

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Country – Iran

Makes two 10″ breads

Recipe adapted from ‘The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook’

WHAT WE NEED

For the dough

All purpose flour                           2 cups

Lukewarm water                           1 cup

Instant yeast                                   1 tsp heaped

Salt                                                    1 tsp

Olive Oil for greasing

For the roomal

All purpose flour                           1 1/2 tsp

Sugar                                                1/4 tsp

Cool water                                       40 ml

Olive oil                                           4-5 drops

Toppings

Sesame seeds, caraway seeds and carom seeds to sprinkle

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the flour, lukewarm water, yeast and salt together and knead for 8-10 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic
  • Transfer it to a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap and set aside till the dough doubles in size, about an hour
  • Grease a baking tray or line it with parchment paper
  • Take out the dough and divide it into 2 equal portions
  • Take each dough portion and roll it into a rectangle approximately 10″ in length and 3 inches wide and place it on the baking tray
  • Loosely cover it with cling wrap and set aside for 30 minutes
  • In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients for the glaze – flour, water, oil and sugar.
  • Turn on the heat at medium and whisk the mixture using a fork till it becomes a paste, less than a minute
  • Set aside to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 235C
  • Lightly oil your fingers and make indents in the dough almost resembling 4-5 straight lines vertically
  • With a brush, spread the roomal / glaze generously on the dough
  • Sprinkle the sesame seeds, caraway seeds and carom seeds on top
  • Bake for 18 minutes by which time the top should have turned golden brown. Else wait for a minute or two more
  • Set it on a wirerack and let cool slightly
  • Serve with cucumbers, olives and feta cheese or have it as is
  • Enjoy!

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NOTES

  1. The recipe prescribed bread flour for the dough but I used all purpose flour.
  2. The toppings can be other seeds of your choice – nigella seeds, black sesame seeds, cumin seeds, etc.
  3. The bread stays good at room temperature if wrapped well in plastic upto a week. To store for longer time, freeze it

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This is my post for the mega marathon under the letter ‘N’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Montreal Bagel

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We have touched the half way mark today in this mega marathon with 13 bakes done and another 13 to go. It is turning out to be a crazy, chaotic, enthralling and breathtaking adventure. For a long time, I was sure of baking Massa Sovada, the sweet bread from Portugal for today. But, as I dwelt further into it, I realized two things – one, it seemed like a bread to be made on a large scale. Most recipes started with 10 cups of flour and 8-9 eggs. Since I am baking almost everyday to keep up with this mega marathon, I am in no condition to bake a single bread that large or even half of it. Secondly, it seemed to be too eggy. I am fine with an egg or two in a recipe but 8-9 eggs seemed to be on the higher side which would most certainly make the husband frown and the daughter whine. Finally I found a replacement in this yummy Montreal Bagels.

This is an awesome find because I was planning on baking the bagel for a long time and also, I would get to try the cooking the dough in boiling water which is almost unique to the bagel recipe. Montreal bagels are thinner, sweeter, denser, smaller with a larger hole as compared to a New York bagel. These are always baked in a wood fired oven. Since I don’t have access to that, I shall bake it in my regular oven. The most popular varieties are black seed(poppy seeds) and white seed (sesame seeds). I could not find black poppy seeds and so used the regular white one. I also omitted the eggs since I wanted an eggless version.

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Country – Canada

Makes 7-8 bagels

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Whole wheat flour               125 gms

All purpose flour                  125 gms

Honey                                      3 tbsp

Butter / Oil                              15 gms

Lukewarm water                  130 ml

Instant yeast                          1 1/2 tsp

Salt                                           1 1/2 tsp

Sugar                                       1 tbsp

Water for boiling                   3 litres

Honey / malt syrup                1/3 cup

Sesame seeds and poppy seeds to sprinkle

WHAT TO DO

  • Blend together the lukewarm water, yeast, sugar and salt
  • Add oil/ butter, honey and mix well
  • Add the flours and knead into a stiff dough, 8-9 minutes by hand
  • Place it in a greased bowl, cover and set aside for 20 minutes
  • Divide the dough into 7-8 pieces
  • To make the honey syrup, boil equal parts water and honey together till the honey melts into the water
  • Shape the dough into 7-8 bagels by rolling each piece of dough into a long rope and pinching the ends together to form a circle. Set aside for 15 minutes
  • You need to pinch the ends together properly else they will split when put in boiling water
  • Preheat the oven to 230C
  • Heat the 3 litres of water and add the honey syrup to it
  • Keep two dishes or cups with the sesame seeds in one and poppy seeds in the other
  • Grease a baking tray and keep aside
  • Once the water is boiling, slowly lower one bagel at a time and 2-3 in a batch
  • Once the bagel rises to the surface of the water, turn it on to the other side and let it cook for 20-30 seconds.
  • Take it off and transfer it to the bowl of either one of the seeds
  • Turn over and let the seeds stick to both sides
  • Transfer it to the baking tray. Repeat the process until all bagels are transferred to the baking tray
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or till golden brown
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the mega marathon for the letter ‘M’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Sesame seeds Chikki

   

It feels awesome to be back after a break, albeit a short one. Chikki is a delight in many ways – it’s very easy and quick to make, it’s very healthy and nutritious and to top it all it is simply awesome to eat. 

Having lived in Mumbai, I have had more than my fair share of chikki which is very popular in the nearby vacation spot, Lonavla. It was an unwritten rule that whoever visits Lonavla would return with chikkis for all and sundry in Mumbai. 

It’s made with peanuts, dry fruits or sesame seeds. While peanuts and dry fruit chikkis usually involve more time and effort because they need to be de skinned or cut, sesame seeds chikki is a breeze. Toast them, melt the jaggery and you are done! It’s a perfect quick fix for sudden sweet cravings, especially for someone attempting weight loss (ahem! ahem!).

So here goes –

Recipe source – Adapted from here.

Makes 25 pieces

WHAT WE NEED

Sesame Seeds                     1/2 cup

Jaggery                                  3/4 cup

Ghee / clarified butter      1 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Grease a baking sheet or the back of a plate and  rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a wooden or steel spatula.
  • Keep a glass of water near the gas to test the readiness of the jaggery
  • In a pan, dry roast the sesame seeds on low medium flame while continuously tossing till it is light brown (around 3 minutes)Keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat the ghee on low medium flame and add the jaggery.
  • Stir continuously to melt the jaggery and ensure it doesn’t get burned.
  • Pour a few drops in a glass of water. If the jaggery holds shape then it is done. It should be done in 3-4 minutes
  • Switch off the gas and add the sesame seeds and mix well.
  • Quickly pour the mixture on the greased baking sheet / plate.
  • Spread it with a rolling pin or spatula till it is about an inch in thickness.
  • Cut into pieces of desired size and let it cool. Else, you can leave it as is and break it into random shaped and siced pieces once cooled.
  • Once it is completely cooled, split the pieces of chikki and store in an air tight container.
  • Enjoy!

 
NOTES

  1. The proportion of jaggery and sesame seeds depends on the type and quality of jaggery. The usual measurement is around 3/4 cup sesame seeds to 1/2 cup jaggery. But when I tried that the resultant mixture was too dry and did not hold together. Hence I reversed the measurements and it turned out fine.
  2. If you are making it for the first time, then dry roast 3/4 cup of sesame seeds but pour only 1/2 cup into the hot jaggery. If it can take more, then add the balance sesame seeds. Else you will have sweet sesame seeds powder which will taste well but not hold shape.

   
 

This is my entry for the Blogging Marathon under Indian Sweets.

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

 

Molaga Podi | Idli Gunpowder

   

I made quite a few new year resolutions with regard to my cooking. So each day of this first week of Blogging Marathon, my dish will be a small little step towards one of my resolutions. I was deeply impressed by the book, ‘Cooked’ by Michael Pollan. Amongst the many arguments he made, one that struck a chord with me was about ‘cooking from scratch’. After reading that, I realized how many things I buy that can be made at home which would most likely be fresher, healthier and free from preservatives. 

I started making sambhar powder, rasam powder and ginger garlic paste at home and have continued to do so for almost six months now. Then, one day I was chatting with my mom and extolling the benefits of cooking from scratch to which she replied, “oh good, so you will start making molaga podi on your own now.” So I was caught and had no choice. I am highly allergic to frying red chillies. Despite tying a huge scarf around my face, I sneeze an entire day and a half if I have to fry even two red chillies. So I get molaga podi from mom in bulk. Now, I couldn’t. So I took up my scarf and set off on the mission.

This recipe is from my mother and modified to suit the ultra spicy requirements of the husband. 

WHAT WE NEED

 Dried red chillies                         30

Bengal gram dal                            1/2 cup

Split black dal/ urad dal              1/2 cup

White sesame seeds                     2 tbsp

Oil                                                       1 tsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Dry roast the sesame seeds till they start popping and set them aside to cool
  • Heat 1/2 tsp oil and add the red chillies and fry the, for 2-3 minutes.
  • To ensure that the chillies don’t turn black move them about regularly. Set aside to cool.
  • Heat the other 1/2 tsp oil and add both dals and fry till golden brown.
  • Set aside the dals to cool.
  • Once cooled, put all the ingredients into a blender, add salt and blend to a powder.
  • Enjoy with idlis, dosas and uttapams.

 

NOTES

  1. The ratio of chillies to lentils depends on your spice preference. If you aren’t sure then fry 3/4 cup each of Bengal gram dal and split black dal. Keep 1/2 cup of the mixed fried dal aside. Mix the one cup dal with the chillies. If you find it too spicy, grind the balance dal separately and mix with the red chillies mixture.
  2. To maintain the consistency of the recipe, it is essential to have the red chillies of same quality and spice level. It is ideal to buy them from the same shop which should usually work the same way every time. If not, add some paruppu podi to the red chilly mixture to reduce spicyness.

This is a part of the Blogging Marathon under ‘New Year Challenge’.

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

 

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

Rosemary and Sesame seeds Sunflower Bread

Now here is another bread…finally I am justifying the name of my blog! Yay!

As I said before, make the dough using the standard bread recipe.

After Step 8, divide the dough into 4 parts in increasing sizes. Take the largest piece of the dough and roll it into a round shape like a roti.

Cut it from the centre in four directions. Make further cuts between these four cuts near the end but not fully cut.

Step One

Once all 8 cuts are made, open the little dough flaps facing outside like petals.

Step 2

Take the second largest dough roll and press it within the first one so as it expands to the empty space within the first dough.

Step 3

Again make cuts in the dough without going all the way through. Just ensure that the cuts are between the ones made on the first roll of dough so that the petals don’t overlap.

Step 4

Open out all the petals.

Step 5

Do the same for the third largest dough as well.

Finally, take the smallest piece of dough and press it into the empty space within the dough. Sprinkle some rosemary and sesame seeds on the centre.

Leave it covered with a damp cloth for 30-45 minutes.

Step 6

Bake at 175C for 15-20 minutes till the top gets a nice brown colour.

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Enjoy it with butter or cheese or just like that.

Happy Baking!

Orange Sesame Seed Cake /Bread

I saw this recipe this morning and I just had to make it. A small issue I faced was I neither had lemons nor poppy seeds but the bread had to be baked.

So I replaced lemons with orange and poppy seeds with sesame seeds and I was ready! I did turn out quite good though it felt more like a cake than bread i.e. it was slightly dense and not airy & light like a bread. But it tasted well and so this is a good recipe by itself.

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Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 small egg

1/8 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)

1 cup cold milk

1 tbsp orange juice (I used 100% Tropicana)

1 tbsp zest (I added another 1/4 tsp since that was all I had left of my zest)

For the glaze

1/8 cup sugar

1 1/2 tbsp orange juice (again Tropicana 100%)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C

2. Grease a pan and put a parchment paper (optional) at the bottom

3. Mix all the dry ingredients (totally 8 of them)

4. Whisk the egg

5. Add oil, milk and juice to the egg

6. Mix the egg mixture with the dry ingredients with a spatula. Don’t over mix

7. The mixture will not be too watery or too stiff. Somewhere in between

8. Pour this batter in the pan and bake for 40 minutes.

9. As the baking is in progress, mix the sugar and orange juice for the glaze.

10. Slightly warm the mixture and mix till the sugar dissolves. It won’t take you more than 2-3 minutes.

11. Once the toothpick comes clear of the cake, remove it from the oven

12. Poke holes with a skewer one inch apart and pour the glaze on the cake immediately.

13. Wait for 20 minutes before cooling it on the wire rack.

Notes

1. You can use fresh orange juice as well.

2. Nutmeg powder can be replaced with cinnamon powder

3. You can replace milk with cold water as in the original recipe. I used milk because I had it and not cold water

4. Anytime you make a cake that requires a glaze, it is an essential part and cannot be done away with. If you do not want to add the glaze then you need to increase the sugar portion of the cake else it won’t taste as good.

5. I figured I may have over mixed and hence the dense nature.

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