Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mexican Conchas / Sweet Bread for Eggless Baker's Group

Conchas are actually shells, but these Conchas are a Mexican pastry that is famous for its shell-like shape. The pastry contains a sugar shell pattern on the top. This is one of the most famous Mexican pastries and widely recognized in the United States. It is also referred to as "pan de huevo".Well I was first introduced to this by Gayathri , Yes this was our May challenge for Eggless Baking Group. I have been out of this group since a few months due to various reasons and Gayathri has been very sweet . She has not struck my name off !!Thanks dear. 

When I first read about the challenge I knew it would be tough and forgot about it, though it was always on the back of mind.Then on 29th I called up PJ to ask about the difficulty level.She was sweet and instantly mailed me her version.Can't thank her enough. The recipe was with me and I made these on 30th itself but due to erratic network could not post yesterday.Thanks Gayathri and PJ. I guess I needed a push , we loved these Conchas, but later realised I could have done a better job where the design part was concerned. We were very happy with the taste of this sweet bread. Please refer to PJ's post for step by step pics.

Eggless Conchas

For the starter 
1 cup all purpose flour 
2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup warm milk

For the dough 
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp egg replacer mixed in 3 tbsp of water
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar, powdered
2 tsp vanilla essence

For the cookie topping
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar, powdered
1/2 cup soft butter
Pinch salt

Cocoa powder and other food colors as needed.
I used cocoa powder and crushed black berries. 

For the starter 
Combine milk and yeast in a bowl and add the flour.
Mix well .Cover and set aside till frothy/ bubbly/ double in volume.

Meanwhile prepare the topping
In a bowl take the flour, sugar and butter and make a dough out of it.
If it is too crumbly add a few drops[yes, drops] of milk.
Divide into small portions and mix in the food color and cocoa to each portion and refrigerate for half and hour so that it is easy to work with later.
Once the starter is ready, add all the other ingredients for the dough. 
Knead to a smooth but a little sticky dough.
Start with 2 1/4 cups of flour and then if it is too sticky add another 1/4 cup,spoon by spoon and not at one go. 
Keep in an oiled vessel,covered till it doubles in volumes approx 1 1/2 hours. 
Once the dough has doubled, take it out from the bowl and punch it down to remove the air.
Make golf sized balls.
Also take out the topping from the fridge and divide them into equal portions as the dough.
Roll out the cookie dough into a circle and lift it carefully off the board[see notes below] and place it on top of the dough..Press it gently and cover the sides to seal it.
Using a sharp knife score lines / patterns on the cookie topping but not too deep.
Place the balls on a greased / a tray lined with parchment sheet for 30 minutes. 
The cookie topping will crack/ break in some places. But don't worry. The conchas will still look pretty.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes or till the top hardens a bit and the dough part turns a little brown.
Cool on a wire rack and serve.

While rolling out the cookie dough topping, dust the work surface with flour and then roll out. 
Use a spatula to remove the rolled out dough .Some of mine cracked when I tried to peel it off the surface.But a quick motion with a spatula did the job! 
In the final stage, keep the dough balls covered while the rest are being covered with the cookie dough.Else the dough will become dry. 
Don't use too much flour in the beginning to knead the dough.Too much flour will not give the right texture to the buns. 

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Grape and Orange Cooler

BM # 40
Week 4   Day 3

I have yet another cooler for the 3rd day . This is one of my personal favorites. The main ingredient any cooler is imagination...I keep trying and testing various combinations and if like something jot it done.These coolers can look exotic and have a high visual appeal.For making a good appealing cooler one should use liquids of different densities, so that they don't easily mingle.

One must make sure to chill everything that is required to make a drink.
First the glass that you have to serve in, then your juice, crush and the drinking soda. Everything should be really chilled.You could prepare your garnishes in advance and chill them too. 

For this particular drink I used ...
Orange Crush
Fresh black grape juice
Drinking soda

A black grape threaded in a satay stick.

Pour orange crush in the glass.
Pour the grape juice, but be gentle.
Next top it up with drinking soda .
Garnish and serve immediately.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kiwi Kooler

BM # 40
Week 4    Day 2

On the second day of this week, it is a Kiwi Kooler. Coolers are normally a fusion of juices and garnishes.I used fresh kiwi crush to which I added some basic syrup and topped it with sprite. If you do not want to make the basic syrup, you could use sugar also!

While making mock tails one of the basic ingredient is syrup, if we have the basic syrup, we can add any flavoring and the taste varies instantly.

To make the basic syrup one need to boil sugar and water.

500 gms sugar
2 cups water
Boil the sugar with water, make sure you stir continuously till the sugar is dissolved..Reduce the flame and let cook till you reach a thicker consistency.Cool, Strain and store.

Coming to the recipe
2 cups crushed ice
4 tsp sugar syrup
2 kiwis, 
Drinking soda

Save two slices from kiwi., peel and chop the rest.
Put it in a mixie adding the sugar syrup.
Crush and pour it into two tall glasses.
Add crushed ice and top with drinking soda.
Garnish with a slice of kiwi.

Indulge and Enjoy

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Beetroot Shots

BM # 40
Week 4   Day 1

Mocktails are similar to cocktails, just that they do not contain alcohol.These are a blend of juices, syrups, crushes,fruits, crushed ice and topped with either water or aerated water or soda, the choices are unlimited.These could be frozen drinks, muddled drinks,stir drinks and of course health drinks.For today I have chosen a health drink.

Beet root shots!

Tarla Dalal always said that good things always come in small packages.The shots are the most exotic among mocktails.These are served in small glasses , about 60 ml and finished in one gulp.The drink normally has a distinct flavor.

The beet root shots are prepared with boiled beet root, a tinge of chilly and tanginess of lemon and mint.Here is how I prepared the drink...

2 beetroots, boiled, peeled and chopped
1 green chilly
1/2 carrot
1tsp lemon juice
Black salt to taste
Mint leaves for garnish
Combine all ingredients.
Add a cup of water and blend in a mixie.
Add crushed ice to shot glasses and pour the juice over it.
Garnish with mint and serve immediately.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Uppu Seddai - Tamil Nadu Special for ICC

It is perhaps the first time that I am working on a post on the D day.Something that I hate , but somehow I was not sure about this recipe, I read the word tricky , which put me off and some how I was not willing to take a challenge. with some discussion with Valli and PJ, I built up my courage..I am now laughing at myself!!

The Uppu Seddai are cute little rice balls which can be made savory as well as sweet..Though the sweet version is called Vella Seddai.I would have tried the sweet version, but sweets are kind of banned in the house of now.

A little about Uppu Seddai..Well for me this is a totally new dish, unheard of. What I learnt from Valli is that this is made for a Krishna Jayanthi Festival in Tamil Nadu. I made a very very small batch as everyone is off fried stuff, but yet I did not want to miss the challenge , so here I am with these little munchies which surely would please everyone.

it is always better to make your own rice flour, but I used ready flour, and roasted it for a few minutes.

1 cup rice flour
1 tbsp urad dal
Salt to taste
2 tsp butter
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup channa dal
2 tsp grated coconut
Mix in all ingredients and use just enough water bind the dough.
Pinch out marble sized balls and roll them lightly.
Leave them to dry for about 30 minutes.
Deep fry till golden.

These are some of the points that are a must to get the perfect muchies..I have just copied and pasted these!

Points to remember

Measure the rice flour after roasting. When you draw a line with the roasted rice flour, you should be able to make a straight line.

Drying the balls for at least 20 mins, makes sure your seedais don't break.

Soak the Chana dal in water for 30 mins, Drain and add to the flour when you are making.

Dry roast the rice flour till it turns colour. Keep it aside.

Dry roast the urad dal till it turns colour. Cool and powder to fine. Sieve to make sure you have fine powder.

Dry roast the sesame seeds, toss it around and keep it aside.

The way to do for crushing is, once the seeds are cooled down, simply crumble them in your hand, so that it crumbles down.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Daal Dhokla

BM # 40   Week 2     Day 3

Dhoklas are ever so popular in Gujarat.These are steamed and made with rice and different lentils.The batter is normally fermented and then steamed.They are served for breakfast or evening snacks, they can also be served as a snack with a lunch thali. The most common dhoklas are khaman dhokla which is easily available in the market at sweet shops. These are super soft and spongy.The next is the Peela Dhokla or vatale daal na dhokla.Here they grind the daals and rice and then steam.They are a few more varieties which are sold in the market, but for today I have made moong daal dhoklas. I added just a teaspoon of semolina and did not ferment at all.Somehow fermented food causes acidity and we avoid it.These are light on the stomach and one can enjoy them with or without the chutney.

Coming to the recipe...
1 cup yellow moong daal, soaked for 2 hours.
1 tsp semolina
1 tsp green chilly paste
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
pinch turmeric
1/2 sachet eno fruit salt

Grated carrot
Coriander, finely chopped

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch asafetida

Grind the soaked moong daal.
Add all the ingredients except the Eno fruit salt.
Mix well.
Place a steamer and let the water boil in it.
Add the fruit salt to the batter and pour it in a greased thali or tray.
Sprinkle the carrots, Methia Masala and coriander .
Cover and steam for about 10 minutes.
Insert a knife to check. If it comes out clean it is done.
Remove the tray from the steamer. wait for a minute or two and temper with mustard seeds and asafetida,  finally cut  into  pieces.
Finely chopped spinach can be added to make it more healthy.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Potato Roll

BM # 40   Week 2   Day 2

Potatoes are an all time favorite with most of us, any time of the day and any age group no one refuses them.The next favorite ingredient is cottage cheese.This potato roll is a mix of these two favorite ingredients.This is a recipe which I read more than 20 years back, I used to make for the kids when they came back from school, but over a period of time , somehow never thought of making it. The girls got married and the family perpetually on a low fat diet this dish somehow never came on the table.While going through my recipe scraps I was reminded..any way here is a wonderful recipe, which can be served either with a toast or as it is.

Potato Roll
500 gms potatoes, boiled mashed
1 tb sp butter
3 tb sp milk
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese

1 tb sp oil
1 onion, big, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 capsicum, finely chopped
1-2 green chilly, finely chopped
1 sprig spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cottage cheese, minced
Salt to taste

Heat oil, sauté onions.
Add rest of the ingredients and sauté for a few minutes.
Let cool.

In a long dish place a damp cloth napkin.
Spread the potato dough.
Place the stuffing in the centre and fold it into a roll by lifting the roll with the napkin.
Remove the napkin and place the roll on the dish.
Butter the top and bake it for 15 - 20 minutes .
Cut into slices and serve.
I poured some cheese sauce  and sprinkled some herbs ..

I was not very happy about the pics and I hope I will re do this again, and whenever I do that I will try to capture step wise pics also so it is easy to understand.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chutney Paneer Tikka

BM # 40   Week 2   Day 1

During summers green chutney with onions ,coriander and mint is a must in the house.I make quite a few versions of this chutney put prefer to add onions during summer.The Chutney Paneer Tikka is a recipe which my daughter in law suggested, in fact she was the one to make it too. For once I was watching some one cooking and me standing right next. My hands itched to take over , but I I did not inter veal, this was her recipe! 

The recipe...
250 gms cottage cheese, cubed
1 small bowl green chutney
Salt to taste

2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp corn flour
Pinch salt
Make a batter adding a little water.

Cube the cottage cheese and sprinkle salt.
Dip the cubes into the flour batter and deep fry the cubes.
Make sure they are very light in color.
Place them on a kitchen towel to remove excess oil.
Heat a pan.
Add a tsp of oil.
Add the bowl of chutney and cottage cheese.
Mix well and cook till the chutney coats the cottage cheese.
Sprinkle chaat masala and serve with onions.

Since the chutney was spicy , there was no need to add any other spices, the chaat masala is added to give that zing to the tikkas. The tikkas are fried but then one does not need much oil to cook them.These were relished by all of us and in fact some of us made wraps with these , making it a delicious complete meal.This was one of the first few dishes that our dil made and I must admit it was a total treat!

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Friday, May 2, 2014

A Re -cap of The Indian Food Odyssey......A Journey of 30 Indian States

India is known for its love for food and spices. Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the local produce and cultural diversity of the country. The diversity of Indian cuisine is characterized by use of many spices and herbs, a wide assortment of recipes and cooking techniques. Though a significant portion of Indian food is vegetarian, many traditional Indian dishes also include chicken, goat, lamb, fish, and other meats, but on this blog you will find all vegetarian recipes. We a group of bloggers have cooked from  various states and here I present you a re cap of this food journey.

You could travel deep into these states with the help of my fellow bloggers and our team leader Srivalli.

Andhra Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh








Himachal Pradesh

Jammu Kashmir




Madhya Pradesh











Tamil Nadu


Uttar Pradesh


West Bengal

Hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I did!!

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