September 30, 2019

Easy Cheesy Pizza Pull Apart Bread , with a no-knead Option | Fun Party Food :)

Pizza - kids and adults favourite. My kids order in from a pizzeria once in a while, but prefer homemade pizza any day. I love that 'coz I know exactly what goes into baking it, and I can control that and the portion size too. I usually have a batch of wholwheat pizza dough freezing, but this time I used my trusted @KingArthurFlour Bread flour (which has an amazing 12% protein content, and no this is NOT a sponsored post from @KAF but a tribute to flour that never fails me!! ). 

If one doesn't have access to Bread Flour, you can add 1 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten to every cup of flour. Of course, baking for me over the years has been more trial and error, more errors than trials ... but the joy of baking is something so therapeutic that it can mask all your worries as you knead, fold, bake :-)


Preeti - our host for the week has asked us to go on a #pizzaMania trip this week at FoodieMonday. I already have the following pizza varieties on the blog, so wanted to do a take on Pizzas, and this Pull Apart bread was gone in minutes when the kids came back from school. I cut back on cheese consumption quite a bit at home too, so the kids were really excited that the bread had, in my little one's words "Amma, so much Cheese!!!". the glee was totally worth it ! 

This would be a hit at any kid's birthday party as its fun to "pull-apart" the bread one by one. I had make a similar Garlicky Monkey Pull apart bread and that was delicious too. Let's get baking. If you or ur kid is crazy about Pizzas, here are some varieties you can make right at home ! 

Wholewheat Thin Crust Pizza from Scratch

Grilled Methi Bhakri Pizza Bites | No yeast Fusion Pizza with Bajra (Black Millet)

Turkish Pide (Turkish Pizza)

Dominos-style Garlic Pizza sticks

The following Step by step collage should also help baking amateurs. 

Prep time - 15 mins, Fermentation time - 2 hours + overnight , makes - 2 loaves

What you need:
King Arthur Bread Flour - 3.5 cups
Warm water - 1 cup + 3 tbsp (can vary with the flour quality)
Yeast - 1 packet (7 g)
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1 TBSP
Italian herbs - 1 tsp ( I used dried thyme and oregano)
Olive Oil - 3 TBSP + 1 TBSP for greasing

Red chilli flakes - 1 tsp (for topping)
Shredded Pizza Cheese - I used Brittania Mozzarella Cheese - 2/3 cup

How to :
In a bowl, Mix the sugar with the warm water well. Add yeast and let it proof (takes 10 mins). Mix the flour, salt, herbs well, Add the proofed yeast and half of the oil and knead well to a smooth, elastic dough (takes 20 mins by hand). Grease a ceramic bowl, Cover with cling wrap as shown in the following picture.

Once the dough doubles (takes about 60-90 mins on a humid day), punch it down a bit and  cover it again and place in the refrigerator overnight (for the no-knead option, one can just mix the shaggy dough with hand till it forms a gooey kind of mixture, cover and refrigerate prior to first rise for at least 18-24 hours)

Baking Day:
1. Bring the dough to room temperature 2 hours before you wish to bake. 
2. Divide the dough based on the side of your pan, Take one portion, Knead the dough well for 2-4 mins. Divide the portion into equal sized roundels. roast garlic and add to the roundels, add homemade pizza sauce ( I used my thickened Pasta sauce), herbs, 2 tsp of olive oil and mix well. At this stage, you can add half of the cheese too, but I prefer to add it only for topping.  
3. Grease the baking , I used a Large bundt pan, but you could use any dish you need. 
4. Place the sauce-coated bread in the greased pan in a circular fashion / one over the other in a monkey-bread kind of pattern. Cover for 20-30 mins while it proves again. 
5. Meanwhile heat the oven to 190C. 
6. Sprinkle grated cheese generously and the chilli flakes over the 2nd proofed bread and bake at 190 for 15 mins till cheese is melted and bubbly.
7. Rest for 4-5 mins and then dig in !! 

Arichuvitta Mullangi Sambar | How to make aromatic radish sambhar | Vegan, GF Side dish

Arichuvitta sambhar (loosely translated as spiced paste - lentil sambhar / stew- but not really capturing the essence of an authentic dish) is the centrepiece of a tambrahm meal - be it everyday menu or on festival / special occasion. Altho sambhar (the tamilnadu tiffin sambhar or the Karnataka darshini / udupi sambhar ) is used with Idli / tiffin / breakfast items, a different version is made for lunch or dinner to be had with rice .  

Either homemade sambhar powder for an instant mixed-veg sambhar is used or a special combo of spices come together in an aromatic paste for the latter. So this special ground masala works great with most veggies like shallots (chinna vengayam), bell-pepper  (kodamilagai) and radish (mullangi) or even brinjal / aubergine 🍆(katrikkai)

Paired with Jayshree for this month’s edition of sshhh secret cooking challenge, she gave me red chillies and toor dal as the secret ingredients .  At our house, we usually avoid using mullangi (radish), onion and garlic on Ekadasi, amavasya (new moon day) and any festival days. But the rest of the month, we make this mulling sambar or chinna vengayam (pearl onion / shallots) for our Sunday brunch. Jayashree made Idli Milagai podi with the ingredients I gave her - Urad dal and Chillies

Radish is undoubtedly a diabetic -friendly veggie but many people don’t like to eat it we love this sambhar as well as the raw mullangi salad (aka kosambari) or even raita made with fresh radish. I also love the Mullangi Palya (radish stir fry) that we make during winters with fresh, juicy radish. 

Let’s see how to make this aromatic sambhar. I made it twice this month, first time I served it with Kothavarangai curry and the second time with some Chow chow poriyal + some bombay mixture. 

Prep time - 20 Mins, cook time - 15 Mins, serves -4 ~5 adults

What you need:
Toor dal / pigeon pea - 1/2 cup (1 cup -250 ml)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp 
Oil - 2 tsp (divided use)
Fresh radish - 1/4 kg or 2 medium radishes


For spices masala paste:
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Methi seeds- 1/2 tsp
Channa dal / Bengal gram - 1 tbsp 
Tamarind - small gooseberry size
Raw rice - 1 tsp 
Red chillies - 4 -6 (adjust spice)
Freshly grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Asafoetida -  generous pinch (skip for GF)
Mustard seeds, curry leaves, 1/2 tsp oil

How to:
Pressure Cook toor dal with turmeric till mushy and keep aside. In the same cooker but in a separate container , cook radish (lightly peeled and cut into thick roundels).
While the veggies and toor dal are cooking, make the masala paste - in a pan, add 1 tsp of oil and roast all the ingredients for the paste in the order mentioned till aromatic (on a low flames only) 
Once the red chillies are fried a bit, switch off the flame and add the  coconut and asafoetida. Let this mixture cool. Add 1/3 cup of water and make a thickish well ground paste.
In the same kadai / large pan, add rest of the oil and sauté the paste for 2-4 mins till oil starts separating, now Add salt to taste, cooked toor dal and adjust more water to a pouring sambhar consistency. Now add the cooked radish and let it simmer for 3-4 mins more. 
Make the tempering with oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves and pour on top.

Serve sambhar hot with rice / ragi sankati / brown rice + veggies for a soulful meal   

September 23, 2019

Carrot Moongdal Rasam | Rasam Varieties | Can be GF and Vegan

Rasam (aka South Indian light broth) is our go-to dish after heavy meals, a long travel / trips, festival binge eating or even as a quick dish to make when hungry. Some rasam like the garlic pepper Rasam shots or tamatar Shorba are also served as appetisers / soup. As opposed to sambhar , rasams are generally devoid of lentils and are light broths. Fusion rasams like today's Carrot Moong dal Rasam or Tomato Onion Rasam also are welcome at home. 

In traditional Tambrahm households, Rasam as a nomenclature is forbidden to be used. Sattamudhu (coming actually from Saatru Amudhu - meaning nectar of food. Rasam is meant to be a flavourful, spice-heavy light broth which has digestive powers, and in a traditional sit-down meal or every day lunches, Rasam always follows a heavy-lentil kootu / sambhar.

Earlier, when I read paruppu rasam on some blogs (no offence meant to anyone here), I was actually amused as in our house rasam is made with paruppu (cooked lentils- mostly for dal) only. My grandmom and mom both made different rasams, mostly with toor or moong dal. 

My grandmom used to insist that the adi-rasam (the thick lentil portion of the rasam) contains more amino acids especially for growing children than just offering us to sip on the telu- rasam (the top portion of the rasam which is more broth like!)

It was only after a few years I learnt that tamarind water , some spices and salt could also constitute rasam. 

Anyways, the husband is not a huge fan of rasam, preferring his vettakuzhambu or sambhar anyday. My FIL and kids however love rasam for every meal. 

Why am I talking rasam so much ? Our friend priya has given us #rasamraga as the theme for foodiemonday blog hop and we are all off to making traditional / fusion rasams this week !

More Rasam varieties on the blog:

Today’s an interesting fusion kind of rasam with carrots and moong dal (of course I didn’t tell the kids there was carrots in it). The kids loved it, altho I felt it needed more tamarind , but overall the meal was a hit with rasam, brown rice and a avarekai Poritha kootu (flat beans in a lentil based spicy gravy).

Let’s get cracking :
Prep time - 15 Mins, cook time - 10 Mins ; Serves - 3~4

What you need:
Moong dal / split green gram - 2 handfuls 
Tomato - 1 large 
Tamarind extract - 1/2 cup 
Carrots - 1/2 medium (finely chopped)
Rasam powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste 

Tempering :
Ghee - 1/2 tsp (replace with oil for a vegan version)
Mustard seeds, cumin seeds  - 1/2 tsp each
Hing / asafoetida - a generous pinch (skip for GF)
Coriander leaves - garnish 


How to:
Pressure cook moong dal with carrot and tomato 🍅 with a pinch of turmeric for 3 whistles. Once the pressure is released, Add 1 cup of water more and blend to a smooth paste with a whisk or blender. 
In a pan add the puréed lentil mix, tamarind extract, salt, rasam powder and bring to a gentle boil. 
Once the rasam starts frothing on top, switch off (don’t over boil any rasam - it loses its fragrance) 

Prepare the tempering with ghee, splutter mustard and cumin seeds with hing, add to the rasam. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.  

September 16, 2019

Baked Broccoli Casserole | GF | Fall Recipes

Think Casseroles, think Fall ! 

India technically doesn’t have a “Fall” or Autumn season, but the veggies of Fall are abundantly available where I live through the year, barring a few. My personal favourite veggie bake would be this Low-Cal Veg Au Gratin. I also love using Pumpkin (a Fall favourite) in my Low Cal Pav Bhaji completely eliminating the potatoes thereby making it Fibre Rich and nutritious. 

Also, when looking for new recipes, I also tend to go savoury 99.99% of the time compared to a sweet dish, and this time was no different. If it’s a baked dish, then I doubly rejoice for it makes a new entrant on my kids’ Sunday lunch like this dish did. 

Traditionally, I make a red sauce GF pasta for the kids almost every Sunday  - a welcome change for them from the grind of Raam-rice or Roti-Dal through the week. It also gives me an opportunity to sneak in a few more veggies than I usually do. Today is a Broccoli-pasta bake that was very well received by the kids (the younger one L-O-V-E-S broccoli). 

The weather although rainy here, has been ultra pleasant last few days, and this warm bake was totally loved. I had bookmarked a few more bakes with apples and pumpkins (Homemade Pumpkin puree being a great egg replacer as well, I have a few pumpkin based breads here , here, here and here for you to check out !!) 

 So, let’s get baking!

I have used my ever-dependable homemade Arrabiata pasta sauce, and used GF pasta. You could use any variety of pasta and sauce as you wish. You could also use the Broccoli in White pasta sauce recipe if you prefer. 

Prep time - 20 mins, Bake time - 15 mins, Serves - 2~3 kids

What you need:
2 portions Red sauce Pasta ( I used GF Fussili instead of wholewheat Penne) made with homemade Arrabiata pasta
Blanched Broccoli - 1 cup
Grated Cheese - 1/2 cup (I used a mix of parmesan and Cheddar)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated garlic - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly flakes - 1/2 tsp OR crushed pepper - 1/4 tsp
Olive oil - 2 tsp + 1 TBSP to grease the baking dish


How to make:
Pre-heat oven to 180C/ 375F. 
In a pan, add olive oil. Saute the grated garlic, add the blanched broccoli and saute it well for 2 mins. Switch off. Add half the cheese and all of the prepared pasta with the sauce, mix well. Keep aside. Make sure the sauce isnt too runny pr watery.   
Grease a baking dish throughly. Transfer the pasta+broccoli mix to the dish. Top with the remaining cheese, salt, pepper, red chilly flakes / pepper and mix well. Bake for 12 mins and  turn to broil for next 3 min till you see the cheese bubbling on the top (baking temp may vary from oven to oven)
Let it cool a bit once baked. Serve warm as is or with some bread. The kids had this as a main course without any sides and it tastes delicious when warm.
More Fall recipes you may like......

Almost Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

Sugarfree Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins with Oats Streusel

Browned Butter Semolina Pumpkin Bread

Oven Roasted Vegetable Soup

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coconut Chocochip bread

Low-Cal Veg Au Gratin

 #FallRecipes was suggested by #poonam this week @FoodieMondaybloghop. Do check out her blog for some awesome wholewheat, low sugar bakes ! 

September 15, 2019

Round up of MLLA#130

Hosting MLLA is always a delight, and I love the simple, uncomplicated way it has grown to its 130th edition - which I hosted. 

Thank you Lisa, for another opportunity to do this. We have entries from 8 wonderful bloggers who have pitched in with their wonderful recipes.

Thank you , friends for your support and entries and sorry for the delayed round up ! 

Seema’s rustic and delicious Horsegram thick broth (saaru). Takes me back to my bangalore days - a little saaru, hot rice and the warmth on a chilly bangalore day .. bliss!

Lisa’s super healthy Hummus Bowls (and I LOVE HUMMUS and falafel, anytime, really :p)

Veg Hog’s filling Bean Flautas that could double up as a whole meal by itself

Archana’s Moringa Chutney Powder - to liven up all your meals as well as add a generous sprinkling of superfood !

Priya Iyer’s Kadhi Chutney - an awesome dip I found during this event. I think it would pair with everything :-)

My cousin Priya Vijay has sent me a wonderful Jain Matar Paneer , and Priya  posts real delicious meals from her onion-garlic free kitchen

Poonam who’s celebrating Shravan (the Hindu season of rains) with Besan Dhirde - makes for a light lunch as well.

And finally, from my own kitchen - Kollu Chutney (a vegan GF, Vegan dip with horsegram) to go with Idli / Dosa / veg crudités or even as a spread on toasted bread  

September 10, 2019

Whole wheat Poppy seed Dinner rolls for #breadbakers

Baking after a really long hiatus has its challenges. Somehow, the idea of baking kept postponing due to various reasons - Family member who’s been unwell for a long time, travel, personal commitments  and much more.

With these poppy seed dinner rolls, I hope to make bread (and in general) baking to be more often now. These rolls are soft and melt in the mouth, i took a short video too to show how soft these were , but it got unfortunately deleted before I could take a backup...  

Nevertheless, these can accompany your pasta or soup (which is how we ate them). 

These need just 60-75 mins resting time, and they can also be made with all purpose flour. I used stone ground whole wheat flour (a.k.a Chakki ka aata in local lingo) and they were fluffy and gorgeous. 

Prep time - 15 Mins , resting - 75 mins and baking time - 15/18 min per batch 
Makes - 6 -8 dinner rolls 

What you need:
Whole wheat flour - 2 3/4 cup (here I used a 200 ml cup) 
Salt to taste 
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 2/3 cup + 2 tsp more 
Yeast - 1 packet 
Italian Herbs - 1 tsp (used a mix of dried oregano and basil)
Onion powder - 1/2 tsp (unsalted)
Poppy seeds - 1.5 tsp 

How to:
In a stand mixer, add all the ingredients except poppy seeds and make a smooth , elastic dough. If Kneading by hand, make sure it passes the window pane test. You may require more or less water depending on the quality of the flour. 
Covered and keep aside for 60-75 mins or till doubled. Grease a baking tray or silpat sheet lightly.
Punch the dough gently and make 6-8 equal portions of the dough. Roll them in the base of your palm like buns / dinner rolls. Keep covered for 15 mins, when your oven is preheating to 180C/ 375F.

Once the rolls are risen, brush them slightly with warm milk or oil(I used this), and sprinkle poppy seeds on them. Bake for 15-18 mins or till slightly golden brown. Serve warm  

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month, the theme Baking with Seeds is being hosted by Stacy

Let's see what the other #breadbakers have dished out...

September 9, 2019

Lettuce Chickpea Salad | Easy Salad | GF and Vegan

Truth be told, I am a soup person while the husband is a salad person. Whenever we order out/in or cook at home, I prefer the soup and hubby always manages to rustle up a salad. 

So, the idea of a warm salad came from our early days of our marriage when he used to warm up few veggies (partially roast it actually) and with a drizzle of the vinaigrette, and trust me, it was a great meal to dig into especially after a long work day.

Today's salad is a warm salad too, and I love it a lot. I had shared some pics on my Instagram feed earlier too on another warm salad. This takes under 15 mins, entirely Gluten Free and Vegan. So, a great dish to dig into on any day : warm or cold.

Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 5 mins, Serves - 1

What you need:
Cooked Black chickpeas - 1/4 cup ( I used small kala channa, but you can use any chickpea/ cooked protein u have on hand)
Shredded lettuce - 3 handfuls
Shredded spinach  - 1 handful
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup (diced)
Red Onions -1 tsp
dressing : Salt, pepper - to taste, Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp, Balsamic vinegar 1/4 tsp, paprika 1/4 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tsp

How to:
In a pan, heat oil. Cool. Add the chickpeas and saute for 1 min, remove and add the shredded spinach and lettuce. In a bowl, add all ingredients. 
Whisk the dressing and add to the salad and serve immediately 

Salads in an Indian context are mostly Kachumber,  Kosambari - Kosumalli (lentils+cucumber/carrot t and then tempered). 

I have a few salads that the kids and me like:

Sweet potato and Chickpea Warm salad (most repeated salad at home :p)

Colombian Quinoa Salad with Avocado

Russian Olivier salad (without mayonnaise)

Lebanese Chickpea Salad with Zataar

Chinese style Smashed Cucumber Salad

Watermelon Feta Salad (and the husband's fav too!)

Bolivian Purple Cabbage and Broccoli Salad

Cuban Pineapple Strawberry Salad

Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Lime and Chilli Vinaigrette (my fav!)

This week at Foodie Monday Bloghop, Narmadha has given us #SaladStories to spin and weave our own salads. 

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