Sourdough Bread




Home baked bread is one of my weaknesses. Its not in the eating, but in the making of it. The waiting for the rise, or rather the 'dramatic wait' for the rising the dough and then the aroma of break baking in the oven. And then the aroma differs from whether you are baking a garlic and herb infused bread or a cinnamon roll or any other kind of bread, pizza or a naan. So while doing a lot of yeasted bread with success, partial success and no success.... I came across something called the Sourdough - what is it. Well I did a lot of research and came across many and I have now settled for a recipe of my own for the tropical weather of India, specifically Kochi in Kerala. Well yes, I have to be specific because the Sourdough goes through a long, slow process of rising and little bit variation in the temperature can upset the process and the result.

If you are still enthusiastic about the bread after seeing the picture and the write up above, okay, lets do it. This is my quick version of the recipe and rule of thumb is not to play around too much tweaking the recipe. Because the amount of water or rather the moisture in the dough is crucial.



For the starter 

Mix 100gm wheat flour with 100 ml water and leave it for 12 to 24 hours. The mix should have doubled in size. 

Once the starter is ready, add 400 gm wheat flour, 50 gm all purpose flour, 200 ml water, 1 table spoon sugar, 2 tablespoon oil and 3/4 tsp salt and give a mix with a spoon to make a wet dough. Leave it aside for about 1 hour. Now fold the dough about 10 to 20 times. If it is not soft and wet enough, you can sprinkle few drops of water. Repeat this one or two more times. Leave it to rise for about 7-8 hours or overnight. Make sure it does not over prove. 

Once it has doubled in size. Sprinkle some flour and give a gentle fold. The dough should be smooth but not wet now. Shape it into a smooth ball and leave it to rise once again. It would take about 2 to 4 hours. A sourdough bread is baked in a deep pan with a lid because the dough will further rise while baking. It commercial terms it is called baking in a Dutch Oven. Before baking the bread you have to score it with a blade or anything thin and sharp to cut through at least 1 cm deep. Preheat oven to 220C or 200 C in a convection and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. You can make stencil with flour as you see in the picture. Just put some flour through a paper stencil and it will stay there. I cut out these leaves and asked my  daughter to fill it with flour. Thats it.


Chocolate Chip Cookies - Homestyle recipe - No sophistication




Mix 200 gms flour with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Sieve it.

In a bowl, soften 100 gm butter and mix 80 gm powdered sugar. When done add 1 egg and mix well. Add 1 tsp Vanilla extract. To this add the flour mix and 100 to 150 gm home chopped chocolate bits or store bought chocolate chips. Mix well. It will be dry and tough. No problem. Take a tablespoon each and shape it into balls. Place in a greased baking tray or in a butter paper over tray.

Preheat oven at 180C for 5 minutes. Place the shaped cookies bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Please be patient enough to let the cookies cool and then eat....:)

I know this is a crude writing and recipe....very lazy to write.....ha ha....it would taste great though!

Focaccia


So its quarantine days around the world and its become a little difficult to find things to cook while maintaining the spirit of all at home. The best way is to prepare something interesting with available ingredients. So here we go....

250 gms of flour
200 ml water- a tea cup approximate
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/6 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/6 tsp chilly powder
2 cloves garlic,  grated
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive)
Mixed Italian herbs 1 tbsp - optional
Onion rings
Capsicum rings- optional

Heat the water till lukewarm. Add yeast and sugar. Leave it to rise - 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl,  mix the flour, salt, pepper, chilly powder, garlic and half of spices.

Add the yeast to the dry ingredients and mix well. The consistency should be between a dough and a  batter. Slightly runny. Set aside overnight or for 12 hours.

Grease a baking tray with oil and sprinkle with 1 tbsp flour. Pour the leavened mix and let it stand for 1 to 2 hours to rise again. Decorate with onion and capsicum and sprinkle remaining herbs. Bake at 180C for  20 to 25 minutes. Once done brush the bread with butter. Serve hot as such or with tomato sauce and a hot cuppa.



Boiled Beetroot and Onion Salad


This salad has been on my to-try list for a long time now. So tried it when I had the time for experimentation. This salad used to be a part of the first course of the Anglo Indian dishes alongside the many meat  served like pork vindaloo and beef  chops. Though I have not seen this in recent times. I ordered this to our caterer for my son's First Holy Communion,  the taste was there but they made it into serrated strips instead of the circles and the onion rings. Here the beets are round and the onions are not. But it tasted good.

I used 1 boiled beetroot (pressure cooked for 2 whistle), 3/4 of onion, 1 clove garlic grated, 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp vinegar,  salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the oil and vinegar for few minutes and then add the salt. Cut the Beetroot into thin round slices. In a mixing bowl or plate , place the Beetroot and  finely sliced onion,  grated garlic, oil-vinegar mix and mix well with a spoon or by hand. Sprinkle pepper powder. Refrigerate for half an hour and then serve.


Calamari & Macaroni Pasta



Ingredients

Calamari / Squid - 2 medium size
Macaroni - 2 tea cup
Onion - 2 large, thinly sliced
Garlic - 4 cloves, roughly chopped
Tomato - 1
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Milk - 1 cup
Grated Cheese - 2 tbsp (optional)

Method

Clean the squid and cut it into strips. Shallow fry them for about a minute and set aside.

Meanwhile boil adequate water with salt and then add the macaroni. Cook for about 6 minutes or as per directions for use. It should be just cooked, please do not overcook. Drain the water.

Heat a pan at medium flame. Add the onion and garlic. Saute till translucent, and then add tomato and the excess oil from the sauteed squid. Add pepper and then add the cooked macaroni.  Add milk and cheese. Stir well and check for salt. Add the shallow fried squid. Once the liquid is fully absorbed turn off heat. Garnish with basil or coriander or parsley leaves and serve.

Chettinad Prawn Masala


I like spicy dishes especially when it is raining and this Chettinad Prawn Masala definitely makes me happy. It is not just eating but the making process too because it is kind of meditative and involves a little bit of time in making the masala, leaving it marinated and the final preparation. So you need not think about anything else, but just think how the dish is going to turn out.....As in all Chettinad non-veg preparation, i have used small onions. The recipe also has a special Garam Masala using Stone Flower (Kalpasi) and Kapok buds (Marathi Moggu). These two ingredients are a refreshing change to the usual garam masala. It can be stored and used for other spicy dishes.



Njavara Rice Pal Payasam







Njavara is a medicinal rice consumed as a porridge by adding specific spices and eaten during their month of Karkkidagam / Aadi masam. ....If you don't like the porridge form. ....you can have sweet diet version .....


Step 1
Njavara Rice - 1 cup
Water - 4 cup
Milk - 1 cup

Step 2

Milk - 2 cup
Sugar - 5 to 6 tbsp
Cardamom - 6  (seed and skin)



Method

Cook the ingredients in step 1 in a pressure cooker for 5 whistle. When the pressure is gone, open the cooker and add milk and sugar and keep stirring until you get a consistency as seen in the second picture. Add powdered cardamom and serve hot, warm or cold. By the time i had finished taking the picture, the payasam was cold and jelly like and could be had in one go. Get back to me if you have any doubt.

For other payasam recipes the links are

Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam | Rice Pudding - Pressure Cooker Method

 

Parippu Payasam without Coconut Milk- Easy Sadya Recipe

 

Simple Flavourful Semiya Payasam (without condensed milk)

 

Saffron Sago Badami Kheer

 

Dates & Vermicelli Payasam

 

 

 

 




Gobi Musallam - easy everyday recipe




Gobi Musallam is Mughlai recipe with a rich gravy and an exotic taste. This could be served for special occasion or just on a very regular day...it would make your day brighter for sure. I have made a pot method instead of the baking method and can be done in just less than half an hour.

Ingredients

To blanch the cauliflower

1 cauliflower - around 700 gms
1 tbsp salt

For the gravy

Butter - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Green Cardamom - 3 whole
Black Cardamom - 1 whole (optional)
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Bay leaf - 2 medium
Onions, very finely chopped - 2 large
Tomato paste from 2 medium tomatoes

Ginger - 3/4 inch
Garlic - 6 cloves
Green chillies - 2 medium

Red chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
Kashmiri Chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Kasuri Methi - a large pinch (forget it if you dont have)

Thick curd - 150 ml
Cream or Milk - 150 ml

Coriander leaves chopped - 2 tbsp



Method

Boil water in a pan and add salt. Immerse the washed and cleaned cauliflower and let it blanch for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from water and place it in a plate.

Heat a heavy bottom wide pan or a wide pressure cooker. Add butter and ghee. When partially melted add cardamom, cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once the aroma comes out add the onion and saute till translucent. Make a paste using ginger,garlic and green chilies and add to the pan. Saute well and then add all the powders - red chilly to garam masala and then add salt (blanched cauliflower already has salt in it, so salt is required only for the gravy. Add the tomato paste and let everything cook well. Add few teaspoons of water if need be. Once the gravy is fully done, turn to high heat and add the curd and stir vigorously....this is to prevent the gravy from curdling. Once the gravy looks nice and smooth add the cream / milk. If you have kasuri methi add it to. Check salt. Now add the blanched cauliflower and pour gravy from sides over the cauliflower. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. The gravy will thicken as it sits. You can check whether the cauliflower is fully cooked by poking the flower in the middle using a knife. Serve hot with rice or roti or bread. You can serve by cutting into florets as in the second image.

It tasted really good....try it soon and let me know!!

Sourdough Bread

Home baked bread is one of my weaknesses. Its not in the eating, but in the making of it. The waiting for the rise, or rather the ...