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December 31, 2018

Baked Bread Pakora - Vegan too ! Low fat Bread Baked Bread Pakora


Its been a great Bakeathon so far and umpteen bakes bookmarked too. As the last bake of the #Bakeathon2018 series, I have a simple yet yummy bake that can be put together in less than 30 mins if you have all the ingredients on hand (and these are simple, everyday essentials too) - Baked Bread Pakoda. 

Given that we are having a slight nip in the weather since a few days, its apt that we dig into something warm and cozy especially as a 4pm after-school snack. I was not keen to deep fry Bread Pakoda so baked it was to be - and turned out yummilicious.



Let’s get to the recipe now :-)
Prep time - 15 mins, Bake time - 12-15 mins / batch , serves - 4
Course : Snack , Vegan and Nut-free too.

Ingredients:
  • Bread slices (Use homemade or store bought bread - preferably without any seeds / toppings) - 16 slices
  • Oil - 3 TBSP (incl used to baste) - can use butter too for a richer taste…

Filling: (you can use any leftover dry saute or make your own combo of filling)
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Boiled potato -  3 nos (large)
  • Boiled corn - 1/2 cup
  • Boiled fresh peas - 1/4 cup (can also use frozen)
  • Onion - 1 medium (can skip for satvik version)
  • Minced green chillies - 2 (adjust taste)
  • Carrots and beans - finely chopped-  1/2 cup
  • Bell peppers - finely minced (opt.)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Spice powders (adjust to taste) : turmeric, Amchur (dry mango powder), Garam Masala powder,  Pav Bhaji Masala, Coriander powder, Bhuna Jeera (roasted cumin) powder.

How to:
  1. Trim the bread slices, cover and keep aside.
  2. In a pan, heat 2 TBSP Oil, splutter cumin, sautè onions, peppers, green chillies  till translucent. Add salt, carrot and beans and sautè for 3-4 mins till soft yet crunchy. 
  3. Now add boiled and mashed potato and other veggies, spice powders and mix well. Adjust spice / salt and let this mixture cool completely. 
  4. Preheat oven to 170C, line a baking sheet with foil / silpat/ parchment. Grease the tray well.
  5. With a rolling pin, flatten out the bread slices. place a tsp or two of the filling and gently moisten the inside of the bread on all sides and fold it over in half Place the folded, stuffed bread on the greased baking tray. Repeat for all slices (or till the tray is full with 1/2 inch gap between two pakoras). Keep the bread slices (both stuffed and unstuffed) covered at all times.  
  6. If you are deep frying at this stage, dip the stuffed bread in a besan (gram flour) Pakora batter and deep fry. 
  7. Else, liberally brush oil on all pakoras on the baking tray. Bake on each side for 7-8 mins, turning them over mid way after 8 mins (or before they turn too crusty!!) - you want them crispy and crunchy but not too hard and dry and crusty. 
  8. Watch the oven once you flip.
  9. Serve them immediately with Tomato Ketchup or Green chutney.


Notes:
  1. Use large bread slices and trim them to get a handy portion else the bread might tear.
  2. While smoothening the bread slices, apply adequate but not too much pressure else the slice would tear
  3. Do not have any residual moisture apart from the vegetable natural state in the filling else they will turn soggy.
  4. If re-using any dry saute / leftovers, make sure to dry them completely in a pan with some oil before adding the spices.  
Bakeathon Check out the other bloggers doing this Bake-a-thon    
   

December 28, 2018

Sweet and Salty DIgestive Biscuits

Adapted from here, this is one of the few recipes that I have baked with butter. I needed a cookie / biscuit recipe in this Bakeathon series, and although butter is not really my enemy in the kitchen, I find recipes where the butter can be favourably substituted with low fat ingrdients (think Avocado in place of butter - yeah, thats me  :p).

But this recipe HAD to use butter (I mean, what's a Biscuit without butter). So I let myself some leeway and quartered the recipe and got 8-10 thinnish digestive biscuits that we enjoyed with a cup of tea. I added some sweet and salty flavours to this, and it was a welcome treat in the midst of a chilly evening tea.

Prep time - 15 mins, bake time - 15~17 mins / batch, makes : 8~10 biscuits.

What you need:
All purpose flour - 2/3 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Sea salt - 1/4 tsp
Icing Sugar - 30g
Unsalted Cold Butter - 40g (I used Amul)
Cold Milk - 20 ml + 1 tsp (use may vary)

Method:
Line a baking tray with parchment and grease lightly.
In a bowl, sieve all the dry ingredients, rub butter into the mixture with a fork or using a fingertips till it resembles bread crumbs.
Now add cold milk, and knead LIGHTLY into a dough. Cling wrap and let it rest for 15 mins refrigerated.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Roll out the dough and cut into discs of desired thickness. Prick holes all over with a fork.
Place the discs gently on the baking tray, and bake for 15-17 mins until golden hued (time would vary from oven to oven).
Place them on a wire rack for them to crisp up.
Serve immediately with any hot beverage or store in an airtight container and use as desired.


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December 26, 2018

Zucchini and Bell Pepper Focaccia | Wholewheat and Vegan

Hope you all had a great Xmas ! Xmas greetings to you and your loved ones !

While we are on a mood of holiday baking, let's move to a family favourite today. 

As a family we never tire of Focaccia. After Pizza, this is the most sought after bread baked at home (and actually its a take on pizza, right). Soft , pillowy focaccia with a bowl of soup makes for a weekend dinner at home, mostly on holidays. Which is why it explains we have the following varieties already on the blog : 

Fingermillet Rosemary Focaccia
Sundried Tomato and Onion Focaccia (my fav!!)
Roasted Garlic Focaccia (the oft repeated version)
Tomato Focaccia
Onion and Olive Focaccia topped with Sea Salt

And then, I saw some fresh zucchini and coloured peppers, which only brought me to baking this on a Diwali afternoon, and they were gone before tea time. So, although it can be had as a snack, you can team it up with any earthy soup (think Baked Chickpea-potato Soup or Curried Cauliflower - lentil Soup or Matar ka Shorba) for a complete meal. 

So, go ahead and make it and devour it. Let me know how your family liked it :)



Prep time - 10 mins, Resting & Rise time - 90 mins, 
Bake time - 20 mins, Serves - 4 (single serving)

Ingredients:
Strong Bread Flour - 2 1/4 cups + 4 TBSP
Yeast - 1 packet (I used Instant Rise Marks&Spencer brand)
Salt - 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
Sugar - 1 tsp
Warm water - 2/3 cup (or as needed)
Olive Oil - 3 T (divided use)

Toppings : Sliced Zucchini, coloured peppers, red chilli flakes (opt.) - all to taste

How to :
Make a dough with the dough ingredients., You can follow my original base recipe and half of the Olive oil to make the dough. Let it rise till doubled. Punch it lightly and preheat oven to 180/190C. 
Gather the dough and spread it in a greased, lined pan and make small indentations in the dough, and drizzle the rest of the olive oil. 
Now place the sliced (and patted dry) veggies and sprinkle red chilli flakes if using. A few fresh herbs  like rosemary or thyme would be great too. 
Bake for 22-25 mins or till the bread is done. Broil for 1 min more if you needed a golden top (the kids were too impatient to let it broil or cool down, which explains the unruly slices :p). 
Cool on a wire rack and slice / serve as required 

Bakeathon Check out the other bloggers doing this Bake-a-thon    
   

December 24, 2018

Vegan Millet Xmas cake | Easy Xmas Treats


The family loves tea cakes and my mom in particular loves Xmas cakes. It takes us all to the Annual Nilgiris cake fest held at Bangalore where various huge themed cakes made their annual appearance much before they became trendy in the baking world ! 

With the holiday season upon us, it was natural to bake an xmas fruit cake which was not boozy , sugar heavy or with any fancy fittings- something that my family would enjoy. 

My husband believes that food can be as healthy as you want it to be , and this cake is a success in that direction. With no added sugar, and made from various millets, this is surely not your typical Xmas cake, but as a family we loved it a lot. 

Wishing all you readers a very happy X-Mas and a joyous year ahead.. ! 

Adapted from Various recipes, this is a no-sugar added bake. Seizing the opportunity of the ongoing #bakeathon2018 on my blog and #cookingwithdryfruits theme of #foodiemondaybloghop week #176 (theme suggested by @priyaIyer) , this cake made its way to our tummies as an early Xmas treat!  




Other Xmas treats that you could try :


Let’s get to see how to make this recipe :

Vegan millet based xmas cake 

Prep time - 25 Mins, bake time -40 mins ; Makes - 8~10 medium slices 

Dry ingredients 
Finger millet(ragi) flour - 1/2 cup
Little millet flour - 1/4 cup
Foxtail millet flour - 1/4 cup
Wholewheat flour - 1 1/3 cup
Cornflour - 2/3 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Nutmeg powder - 1/2 tsp
Clove powder - 1/4 tsp


Wet ingredients - 
Mixed nuts chopped  - 2/3 cup (I used cashew, almonds, black raisins and pistachio)
Dates - 10-15 (I used Mejdool de-seeded dates)
Fresh orange juice - 1cup
Olive oil / any neutral oil - 1/2 cup
Hot water - 1/2 cup
Tutti fruiti - 1/4 cup (candied papaya) - optional.
Orange zest - 1 TBSP 

How to:


  1. In a pan, bring the hot water to a rolling boil , add chopped dates and let it boil for 4-5 mins till dates are soft but not mushy. Cool slightly and Add the baking soda to this mixture and mix, it will froth a bit, but that’s ok. Let it settle down 
  2. Meanwhile, In another bowl, soak the finely chopped dry fruits in room temperatures orange juice for 20 mins.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients twice over in a large bowl. 
  4. Preheat oven to 170C and grease a baking dish (I used a Bundt pan)
  5. In another large bowl, add all the soaked dates, oil, soaked dry fruits, Orange Zest + juice well. Add this wet mixture to the dry mix and slowly fold till no dry streaks appear. Add a little more hot water 1/2 tsp at a time or pure orange juice if the mixture appears too dry. Add in the tutti frutti if using . 
  6. Pour the cake batter to the prepared cake pan, bake for 30-35 mins or till a skewer comes clean.Tent the pan if you feel it’s browning too quickly. 
  7. Cool on a wire rack and de-mould gently. Let it cool to room temperature and slice as required. 

















December 21, 2018

Bangalore Iyengar Bakery Style Honey Cake, and some nostalgia


Long post alert ! There are a zillion memories of eating this at the various Bangalore Bakeries that dot the city, however there were only a few bakeries which made the cut with its freshness and bang-on light sweety-syrupy cake that was relished till the last bite. 

I remember one birthday, both my parents were busy with my dad being hospitalised, and I was rather bitter-sad that I couldn’t have the home party with close friends as usual. I was 8 something, and even refused to visit my dad at the hospital as something inside kept pulling me back. 

At around 8pm after I came back playing with my friends, my grand parents (whom I lived with for a long time, and cherished every moment) brought me a single slice of this honey Cake with a small candle and asked me to blow the cake. And to note, both of them didn’t eat anything from the bakery due to their religious / dietary restrictions. I don’t know if my sis is reading this post and /or remembers that episode , but its clearly etched in my memory.

That year, I learnt something - that love transcends every single emotion in this world, including any heart breaks :-) Of course, I loved the cake and kept licking the box too that it was brought in {Don’t remember if I even shared it with my sis , lol !!}

There’s something about honey cake that evokes true and unconditional love, and that’s what food is all about, right ? 

Lets make some memories again, and get to this recipe.

Adapted from here . 
Prep time - 20 mins, 
Bake time - 24~26 mins (varies from oven to oven) ; 
Makes - 6~8 slices

Ingredients:
Maida / All purpose flour - 1.25 cups + 1 Tbsp
Milk - 3/4 cup (adjust this to thickness)**
Neutral Oil - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Orange Juice - 1/2 cup + 2TBSP
Powdered Sugar - 2/3 Cup (adjust this to taste)\
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Orange Zest - 1/2 T
Vanilla Essence - 1/2 tsp

** Original recipe uses Condensed milk and lesser sugar, I didn't want to use Condensed milk as my kid is allergic to it, so swapped with plain milk and added extra sugar. 

Syrup:
Water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 TBSP
Honey - 2 TBSP

Topping:
Mixed Fruit Jam - 3TBSP
Dessicated Coconut - 3 tsp (or as required)



How to:

Stage 1:

Grease and line a 8.5x4.5 inch loaf pan. Pre-heat oven to 170 C.
In a bowl, sieve the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
In another bowl, mix together the oil, milk ,essence, powdered sugar and orange juice with a whisk. 
Slowly add the flour (dry mix) to the wet ingredients. Gently fold into a pouring consistency without any dry streaks of flour. Pour into lined baking pan. Bake for 25-30 mins or till the skewer comes clean. Cool completely and then gently unmould onto a flat plate. 

Stage 2:
Make sugar syrup boiling sugar and water together. Switch off and add honey. Make thin incisions in the cooled cake with a thin tooth pick and pour syrup all over it. Let the cake soak the syrup thoroughly. chill if required for 30 mins (preferred step)

Stage 3:
Microwave the jam for a few seconds till slightly melted and runny. Spoon it all over the soaked cake and drizzle the dessicated coconut. Wait no longer, slice and enjoy the nostalgia :-)


Bakeathon Check out the other bloggers doing this Bake-a-thon    
   

December 19, 2018

Baked Vazhakkai Varuval | Baked Raw Plantain Crisps | Gluten Free + Vegan


Continuing with flourless bakes as a major Sub Theme this #Bakeathon, we have baked Vazhakkai Varuval (baked raw plantain crisps). Perfect for munching as is or as a side for sambhar Sadam / Bisi Bele bhath or any other flavoured rice. 

The original deep fried version along with karnai Fry (yam fry) are both husband’s favourites. In fact, left to him he would have raw plantains as a side dish in different forms every day.

Today’s crisp is easily doable and can be doubled / tripled / quadrupled and all you need is 20-22 mins of undisturbed time. (Based on quantity). 

The crisps can go from raw to under to burnt in a matter of seconds so keep a watch. Also the baking time mentioned on various recipes may not suit your oven (as it did with me), as these are flourless bakes and the time varies greatly.  So do bake a couple of batches and see what works for you. These could easily be your next IPL / super bowl favourite.

So presenting Baked Vazhakkai crisps - plant based , vegan, and GF plantain crisps. 

Other dishes with Raw Plantain on this blog:


Prep time - 5 Mins , Bake time - 18 to 22 mins ; 
Makes: Approx. 75-100 grams of crisps

Ingredients:
Raw banana (medium) - 2
Oil - 1 tbsp (I used sesame oil, you can go with anything you have unless it’s too overpowering)
Salt - 1/2 tsp or to taste 
Paprika / chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Crushed black pepper - to taste 


How to:
Preheat oven to 180C.
Prepare baking trays with parchment / silpat / foil. Grease them with your finger tips lightly.
Peel the raw bananas and slice them
Into thin crisps directly into a bowl using a mandolin. 
Add oil, salt and spices. Gently toss the sliced bananas with the salt and spices to coat evenly. 
Arrange on the baking trays without overlapping each other . 
Bake for 18-22 mins (watching it after 70% of the time) or until they crisp up.
Adjust salt / seasonings and serve immediately or store in an airtight container and watch it disappear in a jiffy ! 




Bakeathon Check out the other bloggers doing this Bake-a-thon    
   

December 17, 2018

Vegan Saffron-Infused Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls | Vegan Bakes

Whew! That title is a mouthful isn't it ? I was always smitten with the idea of using Sweet potato in breads and was very curious to see how they added to the moisture and texture of the breads, and surely we weren't disappointed. 

Taking inspiration from here and Samira Damirova from Masterchef (she's been my newest and greatest role model for baking breads) in that she turns them out so effortlessly and confidently- using both native ingredients and her own culinary influence from Azerbaijaan, where she originally hails from - with a quiet confidence that's rare to see in a reality show like MasterChef Australia. 

And for some strange (and wonderful reason) , I infused saffron to these dinner rolls and they were just (as Gary from Masterchef Australia would say,) "Rock and Roll". These were the softest, yummiest and most delicious bread rolls I have ever baked so far, and as a baker I constantly critique my baking so I am personally very happy with the dish. 

A big shout to Elena, whose recipe I EXACTLY halved (without using the egg wash though), and I was a very happy baker and it was received very well by the entire family. I have baked 8 rolls with this for lunch (with Matar ka Shorba - Vegan Peas soup), but I still have a half of the dough freezing to be used again. 

This could easily be the easiest and yummiest bread roll for your Xmas party or New years' . Do try it and let me know how you liked them.  

Sending this to week175 of #FoodieMondayBloghop ("Christmas Special" theme suggested by members) and #Bakeathon2018.

So far on Bakeathon, following 6 bakes were dished out - do take a look if you missed any in this series:

Day 1 - Baked Upma 
Day 2 - Baked Veg Cheesy Eggless Casserole 
Day 3 - Flourless Choco Chip Mini Brownies (GF and Vegan too)
Day 4 - Tandoori Malai Broccoli 
Day 5 - Wholewheat Eggless Almond Chocolate Muffins
Day 6 - Wholewheat Kitkat Gems Chocolate Cake




Let's get to the recipe:

Vegan Saffron-Infused Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls
Cuisine - American / World ,Course : Snack / Dinner / Lunch

Prep time - 20 mins, rise + bake time : 2 hours+, makes : 16 small medium sized rolls

(1 cup = 240 ml)



You would need:
  • Maida / All Purpose flour - 1 cup 
  • Wholewheat flour (stone ground wheat flour) - 1 3/4 cup + 2 TBSP
  • Boiled and peeled Sweet potatoes - 1 medium (about 120/130 grams) {{ IMP: these must be lukewarm when adding to the dough, not cold or hot , else it would kill the yeast }}
  • Warm water - 60 ml + 4 TBSP
  • Instant Yeast - 3/4 + 1/3 tsp
  • Maple Syrup - 1 tsp
  • Oil - 1 T + more for greasing
  • Salt - 5 grams
  • Saffron - a generous pinch

topping:
  • Poppy seeds - as needed
  • Water water + 1/2 tsp maple syrup



How to:
  1. In a bowl, add the warm water (60 ml), saffron strands and maple syrup. Whisk well. 
  2. Mix in the yeast , cover and let it bloom (takes 5-10 mins). 
  3. In the bowl of the stand mixer or large plate / bowl, add the flour and mix well. Once yeast froths, add that mixture and the mashed sweet potato. Mix well 
  4. Now add the salt , oil and mix well.  Knead till really smooth. You may need to add more water depending on the wholewheat. Keep the kneaded dough in the same bowl of the stand mixer or any other oiled container and let it rise in size.
  5. After 60-90 minutes, punch the dough once and knead for 1-2 mins. 
  6. Pinch out 16 equal portions and roll to smooth dinner rolls and place in a greased baking pan (I used a Wilton 9X5 pan and placed only 8 rolls , you could use a flat baking tray and place all 16 rolls at one go , about 1 inch apart from each other. 
  7. Cover / cling wrap till it rises again. Towards the end of the second rise, pre heat oven to 175C / 250F. Gently brush the risen rolls with a mixture of sugar / maple syrup and warm water, and top with any seeds (pumpkin / poppy - I used the latter).
  8. Bake for 20-22 mins or till tops are golden brown, I broiled for just 1 minute after they were baked. 
  9. Serve warm as is or with any soup

Bakeathon
   
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