Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Modern Indian Cooking~ Cookbook Review and Recipe

Modern Indian Cooking

You know how it is with some cookbooks. You hold it in your hands, browse through a page or two and immediately know that you are going to enjoy preparing from it. I felt that way with “Modern Indian Cooking“, written by talented chefs Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna.

The difference between my cooking methods and my mother and grandmother generation lies in the globalization of taste. Traditional roots, but always on the lookout for some adventure that’s appropriate to the evolving palate. Chef Hari Nayak speaks such language in Modern Indian Cooking. He uses ingredients you might not normally see together, and they work. Wonton Chat, Paneer Picatta, Grilled Chicken with Kokum Compote, Konkan Chilli Prawns, Mint Puris, Semolina Crepes, Cardamom Brownies, Pink Peppercorn Chocolate Truffles - the book is filled with clean and contemporary combinations that are grounded in commonsense.

Being into the food photography and neat designs, I want to add some comments about the quality of the book. The design and layout are pleasing to the eye. Beautiful images of classic looking food against chic background fit with the theme that these are modern versions of classics. Some of the recipes have a series of small photographs that show the ingredients and the process of cooking the food. The recipe instructions are also laid out in a clear and concise manner without overcrowding the page. All and all, Modern Indian Cooking is a pleasant cookbook to have in the kitchen, and this is the first Hari Nayak’s cookbook I have added to my collection, but it won’t be the last.


The following is a recipe from Modern Indian Cooking. Baked samosas with spinach and mung bean using phyllo pastry sheets. I’ve prepared them with sprouted mung beans for a friends get-together last weekend and they were very well received.

Samosa with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans
(from MIC, page 25. Makes 2-dozen samosas)

1 cup, sprouted mung beans
4 cups, finely chopped fresh spinach
½ cup, finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon cumin-red chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1-teaspoon oil or ghee

Puff or Phyllo pastry sheets
(mine was from Trader Joe’s-artisan brand.)

Filling: Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add onion and sauté to pale red. Add sprouted mung beans and spinach. Cover the skillet and steam-cook. Spinach supplies moisture, and it would take about 10-15 minutes for the sprouted mung bean to become tender-soft. At this stage, sprinkle turmeric, salt and masala powder. Mix and continue cooking for another five minutes or so. Turn off the heat, and wait for the curry to reach room temperature (cool).

Samosa Wrap: Meanwhile takeout the puff pastry sheet from the freezer. Wait until they reach from stiff, cardboard like to firm but pliable condition. Place the sheet on a lightly floured work surface and evenly roll out to thin. With a sharp knife, cut the sheet to equal looking 2 x 2 inch squares. Place a teaspoon of spinach curry in each square. Quickly fold the right corner over the filling to the left side and press the edges to make a triangle. Repeat until all are done.

Bake: Place the samosas on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 F. After about 10 minutes of baking time, turn to opposite side. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until crisp and golden. Serve warm with tamarind-date chutney or ketchup.

Baked Samosas
Baked Samosas with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans

Notes:
Available for purchase at Amazon, Powell’s
Book Cover is taken from Harinayak.com for review purpose.
Recommend this book to your local library.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Moong Dal (whole), All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Spinach, Reviews: Cookbooks, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday May 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Prune-Pecan Fruit Bread

Prunes
Sweet and Tart, Plump Prunes

Like many folks these days, I have gotten away from baking bread often, but when I do, I would go for a dense, deep flavored bread full of fruit and nuts. Prune-pecan bread is one such bread. The recipe is inspired by the one I have read at war-time recipe booklet, circa 1910-20. You can see how conservative the recipe methods were at that time. No dumping of butter and eggs for everything, like they are nothing. People were rational during those days, it seems. Also, if you read the bread bibles of present day, you would think that ‘yeast is west’. It doesn’t have to be yeast all the time, and also bread-baking without yeast matches our chapati/roti cookery style.

The original recipe has 4 teaspoons of baking powder, and it sounded too much to me, so I reduced the amount to one teaspoon, and mixed the dough with buttermilk. I purchased prunes, and I already have pecans and maple syrup at home. So I decided to include those ingredients along with prunes in my recipe. The bread may not look much, but it baked up great. The juicy, moist prunes, pecans and sweet maple syrup - it’s a good kind of bread.

Prune Pecan Bread
Bread Dough Ready for Baking

Recipe:

1 ½ cups barley flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup prunes, finely chopped
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup maple syrup, more if you like a sweet bread
¼ cup ghee, melted
1 cup buttermilk, at room temp. (mine was from homemade yogurt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Warm water to mix, about half cup to one cup

Take the barley and all-purpose flour in a big vessel. Add baking powder. Mix. Then add the prunes, pecans, maple syrup and ghee. Gradually adding buttermilk and warm water, whisk the ingredients to combine well. Pour the batter into bread pans. Cover the pans, and keep them in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Remove and cool it for about ten minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake and invert onto a plate. Let it cool completely. Slice and serve with your favorite jam.

Prune Pecan Bread
Prune-Pecan Bread

Prune Bread recipe from My Little Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Whole Wheat Flour, Maple Syrup, Pecans (Tuesday December 11, 2007 at 8:39 pm- permalink)
Comments (24)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Pecan Persimmon Cake for Thanksgiving

Persimmon

“Do you dream in chocolate?”

The television ad voice for Lindt chocolate asks us.

I don’t dream in chocolate, but I do dream in recipes. The following combination is what I dreamt last weekend:

Persimmon coated with maple syrup
Pecans
Ghee and
Wheat-barley pancake flour

The pecan-persimmon cake turned out to be a vision in real life as well. A delectable, one of a kind dessert that taste buds never forget.

Pecans and Persimmon
Pecans and Persimmons

Recipe:

Pancake flour - 2 cups
Persimmon, 2 ripe fruits, peel the skin and finely cube - 1 cup
Pecans, finely chopped - ½ cup
Maple syrup - ½ cup
Ghee, melted and at room temperature - ¼ cup
Baking powder and crushed cardamom - ¼ teaspoon each

8 mini cake pans

Take the flour in a vessel. Add the persimmon, pecans, maple syrup and ghee. Sprinkle baking powder and cardamom. Stir in about half to one cup of warm water. Combine thoroughly. Divide the batter between the cake pans and spread evenly.

Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Place and bake the cakes to warm sunset hue, for about 20 to 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and invert to serve.

Pecan Persimmon Mini Cakes
Just Out of the Oven ~ Pecan Persimmon Cakes in a Warm Sunset Hue

Pecan Persimmon Cake
Pleasures of Persimmons ~ Pecan Persimmon Cake


Recipe Source: My own creation
For this recipe, I used Maple Grove Farms brand buttermilk-honey pancake mix, which has both wheat and barley flours in it. The flour-mix worked beautifully and offered a great remedy to my egg-fruit combo cake phobia. I purchased this pancake mix from Fred Meyer’s grocery.
This is a egg-free cake, but it came out crumbly and flaky due to buttermilk in pancake mix. The acidity of buttermilk, warm water and maple syrup combo created cake crumbs full of flavor.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Maple Syrup, Pecans, Persimmon (Monday November 19, 2007 at 1:57 pm- permalink)
Comments (38)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Banana Biscuits (Mangalore Buns)

These habit-forming sweet banana biscuits are easy to like. I surely can say that judging from the speed at which they get gobbled up every time I make them.

The recipe is based on traditional Mangalore buns. Honeyed fragrance and creamy sweetness of banana could be felt and tasted, but it would not over-power the taste buds. A good and fun snack.


Banana Biscuit Dough Rolled and Cut to Squares

Recipe:
(for 20 to 25 small biscuits)

1 cup maida (or all-purpose flour)
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted ghee
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
Peanut oil to deep-fry

Blend or mash banana and sugar to smooth consistency. Add to flour.
Stir in cardamom and ghee. Mix to prepare tight dough. Rest for an hour.
Divide the dough to lemon sized rounds and roll out each round to a thin circle.
Cut to squares like shown in the image and deep-fry to gold.

Regular chapati style pressing yields soft and chewy biscuits. For crispy and crunchy biscuits, press out the dough to thin.

If you’d like to take it up a notch, dip the fried biscuits in sugar syrup like we do in jilebi or roll them in sugar like beignets.


Banana Biscuits ~ for JFI:Bananas, Hosted by Mandira of Ahaar

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Bananas, Indian Sweets 101, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday October 1, 2007 at 7:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Jackfruit~Banana Cake

Finely Chopped Jackfruit Pieces
Jackfruit ~ Finely Chopped

Jackfruit and bananas may seem an unlikely combination, but the soothing sweetness of banana is the perfect antidote to the tingly-ness effect of jackfruit. Also, baking a coffee cake is a good way to use the surfeit of super-yield fresh jackfruit or leftover canned fruit. This is an easy as well as delicious dessert that tastes much naughtier than it really looks.

Recipe:

1. In a bowl, take 2 cups of all-purpose flour, add a cup each - finely chopped jackfruit, cashews and golden raisins. Stir in a teaspoon of baking soda, baking powder and cardamom powder. Also half cup of sugar. Mix.

2. Mash two ripe bananas to smooth paste and add to the flour mixture.

3. Add about quarter cup of melted ghee (or oil) and one to two cups of warm milk or water to the flour mixture.

4. Stir the ingredients to combine them thoroughly. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan. Level evenly.

5. Bake the cake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Cut and serve.

This cake is like something you see at an organic aisle of bread/cake section in a grocery shop. Dense, full of fruit and nut, moist but not at all crumbly.

Cake Batter Ready for Baking
Cake Batter Ready for Baking


Hot Cake Fresh Out of Oven

Cake Reversed onto a Plate and a Piece sliced
A Piece of Jackfruit~Banana Cake for JFI:Jackfruit at Jugalbandi


Recipe Source: My Own Creation
You can find jackfruit - fresh, frozen and canned at Asian grocery shops.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Cashews, Bananas, Sugar, Jihva For Ingredients, Jackfruit (Panasa) (Thursday May 31, 2007 at 9:37 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Honey~Date~Walnut Cake (Kharjuram Cake)

Honey-Date-Walnut Cake
Honey-Date-Walnut Cake ~ Fresh Out of the Oven

The classic combination of honey, dates and walnuts is used for this light, moist cake. This is my first ever cake of this type that I baked. Delicious and nutritious, Honey-date-walnut cake is one of my favorite cakes.

Recipe:

1 cup dates
½ cup honey
1 cup walnuts
2 eggs - at room temperature
¼ cup each - milk and butter at room temperature
2 cups - all-purpose flour (maida pindi)
½ cup brown sugar or white cane sugar
½ tsp each - baking powder, baking soda and cardamom powder


Honey, Walnuts and Dates

Dates and Honey: Finely chop dates into thin rings. Take them in a cup and add honey. Keep the dates soaked in honey for about 30 minutes. This is done to soften and further sweeten the dates. The dates that I used in this recipe are Deglet Noor, mildly sweet Tunisian variety. Extremely sweet and soft Medjool type does not need the honey/soaking part.

Walnuts: Finely chop walnuts to small pieces

Eggs: Break eggs into a cup and beat with a spoon. (I removed yellows, my preference.) Sometimes I skip the eggs totally and would add a mashed, ripe banana in its place. This works too.

Sift and add flour to a big vessel. Stir in sugar, baking powder, soda and cardamom powder. Mix.

Add butter, milk and eggs. Also walnuts and dates along with the honey they are soaked in. Combine all thoroughly. If the batter is too tight, adjust the consistency by adding little bit more milk. Pour the mixture into a cake pan. level it evenly.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the cake pan in the bottom rack for the first 15 minutes, and then move the pan to the top rack. Bake for about a total 30 minutes, until the top of the cake turns to light honey color and when a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from oven. Let cool. Slice and enjoy!

Cake and Care Package to Our Friends
Cake and Care Package to Our Friends

Vijay’s classmate and friend became a proud parent of a cutest baby boy, couple of days ago. They came home from hospital yesterday and this is the care package we sent today for them. Chapatis, aloo chole, idly, peanut chutney and honey-date-walnut cake.
Congratulations Dimpy and RP!

Notes:
Honey tends to thicken during winter time. Microwaving for couple of seconds usually lightens the honey.
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Dates (kharjuram), Honey (Friday March 9, 2007 at 8:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (32)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Jaggery~Coconut Puffs


Jaggery-Coconut Puffs

Many thanks to lovely Kay for hosting this month’s Jihva. Being a first time mother of two month old baby girl, she could have easily said “no” to very demanding and time consuming work of event hosting, which she booked 7 months ago. I asked her to see if she’d take a break, but she insisted to do it. I restect people who keep their word without missing a beat. I also commend Kay for her dedication towards Jihva and also all the participants for their enthusiastic support with interesting entries. To make this event hosting as smooth as possible for Kay, I would greatly appreciate if you could send your entries with the details she requested (blog name, entry URL and images etc), so that she could do the recap of the event in short time. Thank you.

Kay also requested for new jaggery recipes. So here is one - Jaggery-Coconut puffs. Homemade puff pastry and sweet jaggery coconut filling. I borrowed the recipe idea from Fethiye of Yogurt land. I have changed the recipe little bit. Instead of egg in dough, I have added mashed ripe banana as I was preparing the puffs for naivedyam (puja offering) and also used ghee. Preparation was easy, and the end result was smooth silky puffs with sweet filling. We liked them a lot and they are definitely going to join my cherished recipe list. Thanks Fethiye for a great recipe idea, thanks Kay for inspiring me to experiment.


Dough, melted ghee, jaggery-coconut filling and jaggery-chana dal purnam filling

Recipe:
for 12 to 14 sweet puffs

For filling:

I’ve prepared two different fillings.
1: jaggery-coconut lauju: Follow coconut burfi recipe. Replace sugar with jaggery and stop cooking before the sweet reaches burfi stage. I have also added sesame seeds to the lauju.
2: jaggery-chana dal purnam : like we do for Bhakshalu (bobbatlu, puran poli, holige). Recipe is here. Small quantity, just half cup each is enough and can be done in 30 minutes with some preplanning.

For dough:

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of warm milk
1 ripe banana - mashed smoothly
¼ cup of oil
1 teaspoon each - sugar, salt and cardamom powder
1 teaspoon of active dry yeast, stirred in 1 T of warm water

Take them all in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Prepare the dough like we do for chapatis, sprinkling warm water if necessary. Without giving any rest period, divide the dough into 8 rounds. Roll out small salad plate shaped rounds.

Apply general coating of ghee or melted butter to each one, on one side and layer them. (See the photo below).

Roll again these 8 rounds into one big dinner plate shaped circle of about 10 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. The size is really big, and I had to roll out on my kitchen countertop. Divide and cut this circle into 12 to 14 triangles of equal size.

Top the wide edge of each portion with 1 tablespoon of filling. Start rolling from the wide edge down to the tip. Curve in tips to close the gap on the sides. Now the rolling part is over, give the dough a break and allow to rest for about 15 minutes so that yeast can work its magic.

Arrange them nearly in rows on a greased baking sheet, leaving a little space between pieces. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm.


Rolling out the rounds and arranging one over another after applying ghee


Placing the jaggery-coconut filling and rolling the wedges to croissant shape


After a 15 minute rest period, the puffs are ready for baking


Hot Jaggery-Coconut Puffs for Birthday Girl Kay and my entry to JFI-Jaggery.


Recipe adapted from Yogurt Land
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Chana Dal, Jaggery, Coconut (Fresh) (Friday December 1, 2006 at 7:25 pm- permalink)
Comments (33)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Peach Pie

I am not an American still I like pies! Apple, peach pies and from my Houston days the pecan pie of Texas, are my favorites. One of the new recipes that I tried for my friends visit last weekend was baking a lattice topped peach pie. Lattice topped pies are the prettiest pies of all I think. They look so delicate and so delectable, you just want to rip off the lattice top and devour.

Though the traditional American pie is made with enough butter that a ordinary Indian would eat in a year, I designed my pie keeping health in mind - reduced the butter quantity in pie shell drastically, still it came out great. The base was like thin crust pizza pie base, and the peach fruit topping - I read that peaches are the kind of fruits that would come alive with touch of heat. I picked peach filling mainly for that reason and I agree, they tasted great after baking. And the lattice top - it was fun to weave the top.

Both Vijay and I, we are the offspring of silk and cotton weavers, so it didn’t take long for us to figure out how to weave the dough strips, and also Barbara’s post helped me a lot. Thanks Barbara. All and all, even with shortcuts, the pie came out good, I imagine just like a traditional rural pie would; firm-flaky crust that tasted little more than browned butter and flour and a peach filling that was naturally sweet and juicy. A blue ribbon winner for sure.:) If you are interested to try this recipe, please keep in mind that peach pie is little bit acquired taste, also depends entirely on the quality/ripeness of peaches.

Recipe:
(for 9-inch pie pan)

Prepare the dough:
2 cups of all-purpose flour (sifted),
Quarter cup of cold, solid butter finely chopped and
1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt -
Take them in a vessel. Mix (rub) the flour with butter pieces and adding few drops of cold water inbetween - prepare a tight dough. Cover the dough and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the fruit filling.

Fruit filling:
6 to 8 ripe peaches - peel, cut and remove the seed. Slice the fruit into thin pieces lengthwise
Quarter cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch (added to absorb the fruit juices and to prevent saggy base)
1 teaspoon of limejuice
Take sliced peaches in a vessel; add sugar, cornstarch and limejuice, toss to mix. (Because this fruit mix could ooze lot of juice with time, mixing with sugar etc., do it just after you roll out the pie shell.)

Rolling out the dough:
Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. Divide it into two portions, ¾ and ¼ part, the big one for pie shell and the small part for lattice top. Roll the big portion of dough into a big round that would fit the pie pan. Lift and place neatly into the pie pan.
With the remaining small portion of dough - roll it into another big round. Cut the dough into thin strips lengthwise with a sharp knife. Make a lattice weave following the instructions here. (Do you remember how folks back home weave cotton rope layers for sleeping cot? Same thing here, quite easy.) I did it on the back of wax paper covered steel plate; it was easy to place the lattice top on the pie.

Assembling and baking:
Fill the pie shell with fruit slices neatly in a level, to the top. Carefully place the lattice weaved dough strips onto the fruit pie. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle some sugar on top.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the pie pan on a flat big baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 20 minutes and then at 350F, for about 30 minutes, until the top turns to golden brown and fruit inside becomes soft and juicy. Do not underbake.
Remove and cool. Slice and serve.


Lattice Topped Peach Pie - Ready For Baking


Baked Pie Removed to a Plate to Cool


Peach Pie


Traditional American apple pie - Recipe in images.
How to weave lattice top for pies - Barbara’s post here.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Fruits, Sugar, Peaches (Wednesday July 12, 2006 at 1:39 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Punjabi Naan


Naan with walnut-raisin toppings

Hot and fresh from tandoori oven, light and chewy, Naans epitomize everything that is good about wheat flour. But preparing naans at home means inviting disappointment most of the times. Recreating the tandoori magic in a home style-baking oven is impossible and invariable comparison to the Indian restaurant tandoori baked ones will lead to frustration.

But sometimes, mainly because we don’t have an Indian restaurant in this town, I’d prepare them at home following a traditional Punjabi recipe. (This recipe is again from our kind neighbor, an old acquaintance Deviji.) The dough is prepared with milk or yogurt. I usually go with fresh homemade yogurt, for naans with little bit of sour note.

I can’t say the end result is excellent; of course the culprit is the baking method, not at all the recipe fault. What I can say and recommend is they are worth the effort, good in taste department, and come close to the original in texture and softness. So give it a try. But please don’t expect the tandoori magic.

Naans all ready to go into oven
Naans all ready for baking

Recipe:
(For 8 to 10 naans)

4 cups of fresh all-purpose flour
1 to 2 cups of yogurt
(I usually use home made yogurt. Fresh yogurt gives a unique taste to naan. If you are not sure of quality of yogurt, go with milk)
2 tablespoon of melted ghee at room temperature
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
Yeast mixture:
In a small cup, take 2 tablespoons of warm water add pinch of sugar
Stir in 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Mix and wait for it to rise.
To top:
I went with walnuts and raisins this time.
(Cumin, Sesame seeds, Minced onion, garlic, they all work too.)

Baked Naans
Oven Baked Naans

1. In a large bowl, sift flour, stir in salt, sugar and ghee. Add the yeast water. Mix by gradually adding the yogurt. Add and mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl and comes together in solid lump.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands and knead it for 5 minutes. Keep it covered overnight or for at least two hours. (I usually leave the dough covered for overnight.)

3. When you are ready to bake, take the dough out, knead for another 5 minutes. Divide the dough into lemon sized rounds. On a board or countertop, dust a little bit of flour, and roll out each ball into a big round with 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

4. Prepare all the rounds like this and neatly place them on a greased or parchment paper lined baking tray for baking. Brush them all lightly with melted ghee. Sprinkle and press toppings (walnuts).

5. Preheat the oven to 425 F. When oven is ready, place and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes. White dough changes in color from light cream to pale pinkish red like baby’s cheeks. Keep an eye on oven and take care not to brown/over bake. Remove and serve hot with a curry.

Naan and Turnip Kurma
Naan and Masala Turnips (Shalgam)

Flour choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
History of Naan : Link
More Naan Recipes: Sugar and Spice, Gattina, Egullet

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida) (Tuesday June 6, 2006 at 3:05 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Strawberry~Mango Scones

Strawberries

Strawberry mango scones are crisp outside and crumbly and soft inside. What makes them stand out is the flavor combination of sweet and tart in the same bite. This dessert is delicious, attractive and easy to prepare. Don’t fear the fancy title, scones are nothing but freeform style baked cakes.

Recipe:

All purpose flour : 2 cups
Sugar : 4 tablespoons
Salt : ½ teaspoon
Baking powder : 2 teaspoons
Baking soda : ¼ teaspoon
Cold and solid butter : 3 tablespoons, finely chopped
Wet Ingredients
Firm and fresh Strawberries : 1 cup, chopped
Dried mango : ¼ cup finely sliced
Yogurt : ½ to 1 cup of fresh yogurt
Lemon glaze
Lime juice - ¼ cup and sugar- 2 tablespoons. Bring them to a boil in a small saucepan and let the juice thicken a bit - lemon glaze is ready. (Prepare this while baking the scones.)

In a mixing bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder and soda. Stir in sugar and salt. Add and mix the finely chopped butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

To this flour mixture, add strawberries and dried mango pieces. Add the yogurt gradually and mix to form tight, sticky dough. Gently knead the dough for 2 minutes, take care not to break and bleed the strawberries.

Turn the dough out onto a floured or parchment covered baking sheet and press out into a big round with a thickness of half to one inch. (This is the messy and sticky part. Apply oil or ghee to the rolling pin or use flour to prevent dough from sticking. )

Preheat the oven to 425?F. When the oven is ready, place the baking sheet and bake. The dough will puff up and increase in volume. Bake until golden brown, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and drizzle the lemon glaze on top. Let it cool a bit, and slice into 6 to 8 triangle slices. Serve warm and enjoy.

Ready for baking - Strawberry Mango Scones
Dough ready for baking

Strawberry and Mango Scones with Lemon Glaze
Golden and Glazed

Strawberry- Mango Scone with Lemon Glaze
Berry Good Treat ~ Strawberry Mango Scones
For JFI-Strawberries Event, Hosted by Pastry Chef and Baker, the lovely Baking Fairy

Recipe Adapted from Foodblog - “Delicious!Delicious!”
Dried mango Source: Indian grocery shops.
Flour Choice: King Arthur brand All Purpose Flour

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Mango, Strawberries (Thursday June 1, 2006 at 2:03 pm- permalink)
Comments (35)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Pancake Ponganalu with Mango Sauce (Ebleskivers, Danish Pancakes)

Ponganala Pancakes (Ebleskivers)

Pancake ponganalu or Ebleskivers is one of the recipes that I prepared last weekend for JFI-Mango event. By the way, event hosting is a very time consuming thing one can do, I can tell you that. I have more respect for the bloggers who host this type of events month after month. They must really love doing this.

How did you do it Indira? Enquired few future hosts of JFI. The way I did it was gathering all entries in one place, arranging them in neat piles and then did the write-up. Adobe photoshop/picasa(free) helped a lot with image resizing. Instead of following the traditional roundup style filled with adjectives and superlatives, I chose a different, practical approach for my recap. Also in a proper Indian way, I returned the courtesy by thanking all my participants individually. If you ever plan to host or have already committed to host this kind of event, expect to dedicate one full day to do the roundup. Of course, it all depends on the number of responses the event generates; still it takes minimum one day. So, plan ahead my peeps. :)

Few weeks ago, when I posted ponganalu- a unique south Indian breakfast preparation, the post generated interesting comments with links to almost similar type of Danish breakfast preparation called danish pancakes or Ebleskivers. In Danish version, they mix the pancake flour with eggs and milk and prepare the rounds and serve them with fruit jam or sauce. I am a big fan of fluffy pancakes so thought to try this version; also I already have the well-seasoned special type of iron skillet that’s needed to prepare them.

Recipe is simple to follow. Mix pancake flour with milk and I went with mashed ripe banana instead of eggs. Prepare the Danish pancakes, ponganalu style and serve them with homemade or storebought type of mango sauce. Delicious! They were like fluffy round pillows; delicate crust outside and insides are like biting into a warm cloud. You want to float forever in these clouds. I loved and had them dunked in Nirav mango pulp/sauce whereas Vijay went with the classic, the maple syrup. Anyway you prefer they are worth a try.

Pancake Ponganalu (Danish Pancakes) With Mango Sauce
Pancake Ponganalu (Ebleskivers, Danish Pancakes) With Mango Sauce

Recipe:
1 cup of pancake flour (I used Aunt Jemima brand mix)
Peeled and smoothly mashed, half banana
1 to 1½ cups of milk
Ponganala Skillet and
Mango Sauce
Take the flour, milk and mashed banana in a vessel, whisk them thoroughly without any lumps. Consistency of batter must be like condensed milk (store bought), little bit tighter than the batter for regular pancakes. Heat a ‘ponganala‘ skillet and follow the photo-steps outlined here in my previous post about “ponganalu. Serve them hot with mango sauce.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Bananas, Mango, Milk (Thursday May 4, 2006 at 12:23 pm- permalink)
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Cornmeal-Cabbage Muffins

Williams-Sonoma, the kitchenware shop that sells quality kitchen stuff, has a series of cook books - Like their shop, the cookbooks are very clean, organized, not a lot of recipes, but have an excellent presentation and gorgeous photos. The book size is not too big, not too small; they are like short notebooks with color photo on every page. Each book focuses on one topic. So far, Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Breads and Risotto - these are the cookbooks, I borrowed from my local library and flicked through. More than anything, they are eye candy.

Williams-Sonoma

Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness, my blog friend is blogging recipes from ‘Muffins‘ cookbook. When she mentioned last week that she was going to try cornmeal-jalapeno muffin recipe, I wanted to join in and made a baking date with her. After two renewals and before returning the book to the library, I wanted to try at least one recipe. FInally last weekend, I baked cornmeal muffins from the book.

I followed the recipe mostly and also added some extras, because I was preparing these muffins for our supper. In addition to corn meal, all purpose flour, butter milk and baking powder etc, I have also added cabbage, shallot, chickpeas sauté to the cornmeal dough, so that the muffins baked would be more dinner worthy. They turned out, I can’t say excellent, but acceptable, even after all these extras. I can’t imagine the taste if I tried them bland with only just cornmeal and chillies.

cornmeal-cabbage dough in muffin pan - all ready for baking

Recipe:
(For 11 muffins)

1½ cups of yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
1½ cups of buttermilk
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon of each - salt, sugar and baking powder
Some cheese gratings to top the muffins
Veggies I added
3 cups of finely chopped cabbage (I used red cabbage)
3 shallots and 6 green chillies- finely chopped
½ cup of chickpeas (soaked overnight)

First I sautéed the veggies together for few minutes, until they are cooked. In the meantime, I mixed all other ingredients together thoroughly without any lumps. I stirred in the sautéed veggie mixture to the dough. Greased the muffin pan with little bit of oil, leaving one muffin cup empty and filling it with water to prevent warping (following the book suggestion). Filled the muffin cups with cornmeal-cabbage dough. I also sprinkled cheese on top of some. Baked them in a preheated oven at 400 F (200C) for about 25 minutes, until they are golden.

They tasted like baked versions of cabbage bajjis (you know the kind, bajjis/pakoras - veggies mixed in a gram flour-jowar flour-rice flour dough, then deep fried — almost like that).

Cornmeal Cabbage Muffins - One with cheese sprinkled on top and the other with no cheese topping
Cornmeal-Cabbage Muffins

Recipe Source: Adapted from ‘Williams Sonoma-Muffins’, page 46
Things I skipped adding (from the book’s recipe) are 2 eggs, another 1 ½ tsp of baking powder and more oil - reason for my flat muffin tops.

On a blogging break. See you all in a few days.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Cabbage, Chickpeas, Corn Meal, Shallots (Tuesday February 28, 2006 at 2:07 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chestnut-Almond Cookies

For Indian recipes, I can’t and won’t break the tradition and I will always follow the elder’s footsteps in preparing food. I believe the ingredients they use for a particular recipe have been chosen for a reason, and the steps they followed to make a recipe work are methodic, implicitly giving a perfect taste and nutritional boost.

But when it comes to western food, since I ‘m not used to making these traditionally, I feel very free to experiment. Also I believe most of ‘traditional’ recipes that I see in magazines and TV shows are the stuff that they makeup as they go, to promote some food ingredients or products following the corporate orders. When food ingredients have their own associations and mega budgets to promote and influence peoples opinion in their favor with advertisement blitzes, I am not sure how traditional most of these recipes are, though they proclaim otherwise.

Chestnut cookies first posted by Mine of Teatime then submitted to cookie swap event by Ulrike of Kuchenlatein, captivated me mainly because they sounded real authentic, traditional and old world. When I saw the beautiful photographs, I so wanted to try these cookies. I changed few things here and there, going all the way to make them rustic pure. Use of molasses in place of powdered sugar, turned the cookies golden brown instead of creamy white. I tried decorating cookies differently, but it didn’t come out as I expected. Except for that one gaffe, the cookies turned out to be mouthfuls of wholesome goodness. Thanks Mine and Ulrike for sharing this wonderful, traditional recipe.

Molasses, All purpose flour, Almonds, Roasted Chestnuts, Clove, Cardamom, Cinnamon

Recipe:

2 cups of almonds, soaked in water overnight, then skins removed
15 chestnuts, roasted, then shells removed
1 cup of all purpose flour
11/2 cups of molasses
(Molasses is an acquired taste, difficult to like. Sugar/honey works fine too)
2 egg whites
1 inch cinnamon, 1 clove, and seeds from 1 cardamom pod - finely powdered together

Powdering Almonds and Chestnuts in a Food Processor Almond-Chestnut cookies all ready to go into oven
Powdering Almonds and Chestnuts in a Food Processor…Almond-Chestnut cookie dough, ready to be baked

Preparation:

Powder the almonds and roasted chestnuts in a food processor to a smooth powder. Make it easy on the motor and do it in batches. In a vessel, take egg whites and beat them until they turn to foamy white. To these egg whites, add molasses and cardamom-cinnamon-clove powder. Mix and stir in all purpose flour and almond-chestnut powder. Mix them thoroughly. Shape the dough into a log, wrap it in a wax paper and store it in the freezer, until the cookie dough firms up. I had to keep it overnight in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Remove the hardened cookie dough from the freezer, cut it into 1 to 2 inch rounds crosswise. Place them neatly in rows on a greased or parchment paper lined baking tray. I egg washed the tops and sprinkled some brown sugar on top of each cookie, my idea of decoration, not so successful, I have to say.:) Place the baking tray in preheated oven and bake them at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

Believe it or not, they tasted like, do you know the South Indian sweet “Ariselu“, exactly like that. Roasted chestnuts and molasses gave a special and characteristic taste to these cookies, a first for us and we liked them very much.

chestnut cookies
Chestnut-Almond Cookies

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Almonds, Molasses, Chestnuts (Marrons) (Tuesday December 13, 2005 at 7:16 pm- permalink)
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Ma’amoul (Dates & Pistachios Filled Cookies)

Chanit of My Mom’s Recipes and More left a comment on my blog last month. To return the compliments I visited her blog, and what I found was a very detailed recipe for mamoul (dates filled cookies) with photos. I knew I had to try it. What attracted me to this recipe more than anything is the use of semolina for dough. I did some googling on these famous Middle Eastern cookies to know more about them and how they are made. Next, I went and bought the ingredients: fine Tunisian pitted dates, pistachios and wooden ma’amoul mold from the only ethnic grocery store in our small town, Ghossians Mid East Bakery.

I did experiment with the recipe. First, I used ghee instead of butter because ghee is not only more flavorful and unlike butter has no unnecessary baggage. I reduced the ratio of all-purpose flour to semolina. I also complimented the dates filling by adding pistachios. Finally I skipped the eggs. One more thing is I prepped the mamoul mold with ghee so that when cookie dough pressed into the mold and reversed, it can come out easily without sticking to the mold.

The final result of my experimentation was exquisite, one of a kind sweet cookies, the one I am going to make many more times from now on. A delicious paradox, they have a mildly sweet, crisp and grainy outside because of semolina and insides are moistly sweet and tender. Thanks Chanit! It is little bit of time consuming to make these using the ma’amoul mold but I had time and so happy with the beautiful outcome.

Ma'amoul mould, Pistachios, Dates, Rose water, Semolina, All Pupose Flour (Maida)

Recipe:

Dough:
2 cups - semolina
½ cup - all purpose flour (maida)
½ cup - melted ghee
½ cup - powdered sugar ( or more if you like sweet cookie covering)
1 tablespoon - rose water
1 teaspoon - active dried yeast melted in 1 tablespoon of luke warm water
Pinch of salt

Melt the ghee and cool it to room temperature. Sift the all purpose flour(maida) and mix it with semolina and ghee. Add the yeast water, rose water, powdered sugar and salt. Mix and make a dough by adding little bit of water. Set aside for about 3 hours, covered, to rest.

Cookie Dough after 3 hours of rest and Dates-Pistachios Filling Making of Ma'amouls - Pressing the cookies dough into ma'amoul mold

Dates- Pistachios Filling:
2 cups - fresh soft-pitted dates
½ cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup - powdered cane sugar
1 teaspoon - rose water
and Ma’amoul mould to press and shape the cookies

In a food processor, take pistachios and powder to fine. Then add the dates, sugar and rose water. Blend them together into fine paste. Remove to a cup.

Ma'amouls (Dates-Nut filled Cookies) Ready for Oven Ma'amouls After 20 minutes in the Oven

Preparation:

After 3 hours of rest, knead and divide the dough into lime sized balls. Flatten each ball using your hand and lift the sides up to form a hollow. It is now ready for the filling. Place one tablespoon of dates-pistachios filling into the hollowed dough. Close the dough over the dates mixture. Press the edges to seal well. Press it into the ma’amoul mold to give it a decorated appearance. Reverse the mold; gently shake to loosen it from the mold. Prepare each one in this way and place them neatly in rows, on a greased/parchment paper lined baking tray.

Place the tray in a preheated oven at 350° F and bake for about 20 minutes. I reversed the cookies to the opposite side after 10 minutes in the oven for even baking. After 20 minutes or when they turn lightly golden, remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Ma'amouls (Dates-Pistachios Filled Cookies)

Ma’amoul (Dates-Pistachios Filled Cookies) ~ Delicate, rose flavored and naturally sweet. Our Thanksgiving treat and contribution to this month’s SHF-IMBB Cookie-Swap event.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Pistachios, Dates (kharjuram), Sugar, Jaggery and Honey, Molasses, Suji/Semolina, Ghee (Friday November 25, 2005 at 8:46 pm- permalink)
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Steelers Pizza

Steelers Logo from www.seatseek.comI consider Pittsburgh as my hometown in US because it was where we arrived in US from India. We spent three wonderful years full of firsts; first snow fall, first snow storm, first time assembling the furniture for our house from Ikea, first of lot of things.
And Pittsburgh is a sports town, Steelers is THE team, they all route for. Naturally we couldn’t escape the enthusiasm of locals and now we are also turned into full-fledged, The Terrible Towel waving, Steelers flag in front of the house kind of fans.

Last year was particularly exciting for us Steelers fans. The rookie quarterback brought the team almost to the finals. I could have prepared ‘Roethlis-berger’ in his honor for last years wonderful play, alas I am not a meat eater.

So instead I prepared our favorite game party food - Pizza, for this month’s sport theme party hosted by lovely Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness. Not any pizza but a pizza resembling the Steelers logo and wishing for a season of Steelers super bowl.

Steelers Pizza with Mozzarella and goat cheese with yellow, red bell peppers and olives as toppings

Steelers Pizza:

This Pizza is made with a basic white dough base, flavored with tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella and goat cheese and also roasted yellow and red bell peppers and olives.

Our lunch today:)-

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Goduma (Wheat), Bell Pepper, Cheese (Thursday October 20, 2005 at 3:01 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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