Breads…my one true love…i just love eating them. It could be made from any kind of flour, all purpose or whole wheat or rye…with oats or seeds or just plain..i love them all. Its no wonder that whenever we travel abroad..i just stare at the various boulangeries and order all the breads one by one and..well eat them. The aroma is just so heavenly and inviting isnt it?? This is what i look to create in my small kitchen. I keep experimenting with different type of breads / rolls and try and make them with different stuffings..today i write about a flavourful stuffing with cottage cheese and sweet corn. Here is my Cottage cheese stuffed dinner rolls with sweet corn.
If you ask any of my friends or if you have been following my instagram journey..it would come as no surprise that i bake breads loafs or buns or rolls quite often. My heart just longs for baking savoury kinds of breads ( i have even dreamt about them :D). I tend to ramble when i start talking about breads 😉
My Trip to Boulangerie
Recently when we traveled to Paris, we stayed in Bastille. Bastille is an amazing area to stay, full of restaurants, pubs and supermarkets. We used an airbnb kind of place to stay in Bastille. Most days we cooked breakfast at the place of stay..but on the other days it was always a short walk to the boulangerie or Bagelstein. Oh my… the variety of sandwiches or breakfast breads that they had to offer was simply amazing. The baguette with fresh mozarella, basil and tomatoes was my favourite to eat all day long. They were so simple…just 3 things on a bread and yet so much flavour.
Bagelstein also offered a variety of bagels and converted them into mouthwatering sandwiches..Being vegetarians we could only have one kind of sandwich filling – Cream cheese, salad leaves and roasted vegetables…but wow..how does it matter..simple and tasty..that’s how it was. The boulangerie also sold different variety of sourdough breads which we picked up and had for lunch and dinner..yup we are like that !!!
Why cottage cheese stuffed dinner rolls??
Coming back to reality…with a toddler at home, i am always looking at healthy options which are homemade to give her as a snack. These cottage cheese stuffed dinner rolls with sweet corn is an excellent way to get some protein and vegetables into my daughter.
My go to recipe for bread loaf or rolls is this one : Rosemary Rolls . Most of my bread recipes are a variation of this one…in this post i have mentioned the ingredients of the bread dough and have followed the recipe to shape them. You can also have a look at this Video for shaping the rolls.
Homemade dinner rolls stuffed with cottage cheese and sweet corn
Lotus root! I have seen it, eaten it as chips but I haven’t really cooked with it. Actually, I didn’t know how to cook with it. So when Priya asked me to use Lotus root and curd / yogurt in a vegetarian dish, what did i do? I googled – lotus root and yogurt-oh my, the land of Kashmiri recipes came up with a variety of Kashmiri Nadru Yakhni. Continue reading “Kashmiri Nadru Yakhni | Lotus root in yogurt sauce”
Sambar Powder | A Homemade sambar podi is the quintessential ingredient found in every south indian household – each having their own mix forming the homemade sambar podi recipe.
The Samabar does not require any introduction, it is what we south indian families eat almost every day. It is present during breakfast, lunch and sometimes even during dinners. Today i would like to share a little story and how to make Sambar Powder at home. This homemade Sambar Powder recipe is very easy to make and gives the sambar a fragrance that is unbelievable.
It was the year 2003, i was a new bride and had some knowledge in the kitchen area. Having helped my mother in the kitchen, i was not a total failure but the one thing i wanted was to learn making Sambar Powder at home. My Sudha chithi (aunt) is an amazing cook and i love her sambar. That colour, that bright orange Sambar powder used by her to make Sambar….there have been so many instances in those early days that i would call her up and check with her whenever i had a confusion with regards to a recipe or ingredients to use in a specific dish.
During one of those days, i asked for her recipe of sambar powder and that homemade sambar podi recipe is something i still use and follow. This recipe never fails…its simple and easy to make and best of all it has got passed on to me from my chithi (aunt)
Here it is from my kitchen to yours, a vibrant and lovely orange homemade sambar powder recipe !!!
In this recipe, we have used two varieties of dried chilli – salem and byadegi. The salem variety are spicy and the skin of these chilli’s are smooth to touch. The Byadegi variety are less spicy and have a very wrinkled texture to touch. Both these chilli’s together bring to this Sambar Powder the vibrant colour and spice.
The mixture (recipe shared below) can be powdered in small quantities at home…if one has larger quantities, then a mill is the way to go. I have one near my house and is my go to place to get Sambar Powder ready…
Homemade Kashayam recipe is very simple to make and can be made with ingredients available at home or in ones’s neighborhood.
One can’t help but fall in love with Bangalore’s weather. One rain / shower and the temperature goes down, the city becomes so cool and pleasant. With the rains and the beautiful weather also comes the season of cold and cough for kids and adults. Small children and kids are more prone to cold and cough since they have low immunity. I remember as kids whenever any one of us would fall sick or get cold and cough, amma would always make homemade kashayam (Homemade remedy) and ensure that we drink it regularly.
The main ingredients that i use to make a this Homemade Kashayam Recipe are Tulsi leaves, Ajwain leaves, whole black pepper, cloves and Cumin (jeera) seeds.
Tulsi Tulsi is a medicinal herb, which is very commonly available all over India. There are lots of households in India where it is very common to worship the Tulsi plant twice a day by lighting a lamp near it. Boiling a couple of leaves of tulsi is known to cure various ailments such as cold, cough, running nose or even congestion.
Ajwain or caraway seeds are very commonly used in Indian cooking as it aids in digestion. The green Ajwain leaves which are thick in nature in comparison to other leaves are often used to help cure kids from common cold related ailments and ailments related to ear and tooth ache.
Black Pepper or Black Peppercorn – One of the most common spice found in every household of India is black pepper. It is a vine and is widely grown in the state of Kerala. The green fruit from pepper vine are collected and dried to form black pepper. Also known as the king of spices, this condiment while providing a nice flavour to a recipe is also know to relieve common ailments such as cold, and asthama symptoms. Black pepper also helps in improving digestion and helps in weight loss.
Jeera or cumin seeds, a common spice found in the indian kitchen. Jeera is used in many recipes in its powdered form or as whole seeds. The flavour of jeera is unique and the aroma when it is added to a jhonk or tempering cannot be written in words…the entire house smells of jeera. It is also known to help in curing common cold, digestive issues and respiratory ailments.
Cloves are aromatic and have a very unique flavour. Other than using cloves in recipes of Pilaf / Pulao and biryanis, they are also used in different potions for their medicinal properties. They are very commonly used to cure toothache. Cloves improve / help in increasing immunity, improve digestion and also relive respiratory infections.
Baking…Baking…a science or is it art or is it just a love to create baked goodies with different texture / colour??? Whichever the case might it be…here are some Simple and easy things to remember while baking. When I started baking some years back, i did not know anything about baking other than the fact that baking leads to delicious cakes 🙂 But after baking a lot of goodies, i have learnt that there are some simple things which will help us to get a fluffier cake or a softer bread or a chewy cookie !!! I am not a self taught baker, I studied and then taught for a while at The Institute of Baking and Cake Art, Bangalore. The time that i spent at the institute was just amazing…so much to learn and so much to teach… we all learn by teaching don’t we??
So here goes..here are some simple and easy things to remember while baking…Happy baking !!!
Measure all the ingredients that are required for the recipe and keep it ready before you start on the recipe
Each recipe for a baked goody can be different and there could be various ingredients that go in a recipe..plus the number of steps for each recipe could also vary. Measuring out the ingredients before starting out the recipe ensures that, you can concentrate and enjoy baking rather than running in between to get ingredients and leaving a messy kitchen. It also helps you to see whether you have all the ingredients…if not a quick run to the nearest shop and voila …all ingredients ready…..lets Bake !!!
Measure all ingredients at room temperature
Always have the ingredients such as butter / eggs etc are at room temperature. This ensures that the ingredients mix really well or in very complicated terms – emulsify well. At room temperature when you are mixing butter with sugar…ohh look how well it mixes….no curdling or melting..just one cohesive mixture…which results in fluffier, lighter cakes!!!
About cake tins, pans and loaf tins
Different types of batter or dough call for different types of cake tins or pans. Get to know a little more about the recipe and buy a good quality tin. Always read through the recipe and have pans /pots and equipment required for making the baked goody.
Measure your ingredients using the measuring cups or the weighing machines not both at the same time
Its just a mater of weight Vs volume…the weighing scale well gives you the weight of each ingredient and the measuring cups give you volume of each ingredient.I believe that baking is a science and correct measurements are a basic but mandatory requirement… weighing assures precision and accurate measurements of each ingredient. Imagine this..recipe says a cup of flour – do you take a cup of flour flattened on top or should it be bulged ?? both the way you get a cup of flour, but when you measure them on a weighing scale, the weight would be different..a baking is like a little chemistry experiment going on…a difference in in the amount of ingredient would alter the final batter or dough consistency. Another example of this- 1 cup of flour is 125 gms, but 1 cup of liquid like milk would be 250 ml/gms… entirely different weight isnt it??
Always…always pre heat your oven before baking
Every recipe calls for baking at a particular temperature.. a bread bakes at 200 deg C, cake at 180 degree C or Pizzas at 240 degree C. This means that when you are going to place your prepared cake batter or proofed dough, the oven should be ready at the required temperature. For example – I bake many cakes at 180 degree C – if I place my prepared batter in cake tin at a much lower temperature then the batter would take a longer time to rise / cook and the end result would be pale in colour rather than a golden colour on top. Alternatively if you place it at a higher temperature then the batter would rise much faster, top would get golden faster and the batter could remain under-cooked.
Baking powder and baking soda are not the same
Baking soda is also known as Sodium Bi carbonate and it reacts with acidic ingredients such as curd or vinegar, this produces carbon dioxide ( the bubbles that we see in the cake batter)..this helps in rising of the batter etc. There are times when you would want the batter to rise for a longer period of time and that’s when Baking powder comes in handy. Baking powder contains, sodium bi carbonate and two types of acids….when it is added to liquids – both the acids react with sodium bi carbonate at different temperatures ( room temperature and hot inside the oven)….this helps in rising of batter for an extended period of time…lots of bubbles resulting in fluffier cakes or muffins 🙂
Now for some smaller things
Moist layered cakes = use some light sugar syrup to moisten the layers of cake before filling buttercream or whipped cream
Refrigerate the cookie dough for atleast a couple of hours before baking = better cookie with better flavour
Once the batter is poured inside a cake tin, tap it a couple of times to remove excess bubbles = this will give a flatter top rather than one with a dome
Completely cool the cake once it is baked before removing from the cake pan = The cake would collapse and break since it is warm
Loaf of bread is baked = a bread is ready when you hit the top of the baked loaf with fingers you should get a hollow sound
Once the bread is baked in a loaf pan, remove it as soon as possible = this will reduce the chances of a soggy bread
Cutting a loaf of bread to slices = reverse the bread so that the dome faces down and cut on the base of the bread loaf – easy to cut 🙂
Piping bags and nozzles are a good buy to create beautiful frosting designs on cakes and cupcakes
Last but not the least – mistakes can happen..that okay….just continue with baking..it will be alright !!! 😀
Today i will be writing about a friend and a new Kuzhi paniyaram batter recipe…this recipe is quite different from what i use at home. Every Southindian household in India has their own version of Kuzhi Paniyaram batter. Some might make it sweet and then some would make it savoury…which ever the case might be…each one of them would be tasty and crispy and yummy.
A little story on the side
Some people enter your life and …some people you never get to know them and then there are others who enter your life as a neighbour and then become friends forever. Deepa is one such person….a neighbour, energetic person, talkative and loud friend of mine. We talk to each other across balconies !!! When she first shifted to India from USA, the first thing i came to know about her..apart from all that i have already mentioned is that she doesn’t cook. Her mom on the other hand is an amazing cook and it is from these two amazing ladies that i came to know about a new recipe for making Kuzhi Paniyaram. Pssttt…..This family has its roots in TamilNadu, Mangalore and Goa!!!!
Usually the paniyaram in my moms house was something which would get made when my mom is almost done with the dosai batter. Different things such as rava (sooji / semolina), onions, various vegetables etc would be added to the dosai batter and voila a new snack would be made. But in Deepa’s home..the batter itself was different….so here goes….Kuzhi Paniyaram batter Deepa Style !!! using raw rice instead of par boiled rice..the result is Paniyarams crispy on the outside and uber soft on the inside
This Spicy and Sour green tomatoes chutney is made from using firm and unripe green tomatoes. These sour green tomatoes are loaded with nutrients such as Vitamin C and anti oxidants.
Every day we hear that the vegetables that we consume are either loaded with harmful pesticides or toxic colours. The look of the vegetables and the rich colours seem to have a better sale value than the health of the population. I guess that’s why slowly lots of people from the cities are looking at growing their own vegetables organically. One such person that i know is my neighbour Karthik. Karthik is very passionate about organic farming and because of his efforts i got to buy really good quality green tomaotes, raddish (mooli), Palak ( greens), amarnath greens etc.
While growing up, green tomatoes was easily available in the market and amma always used to make a kootu variety with it. This time around my help at home Nanjamma, told me about a chutney recipe that they make in their hometown near Kadur. A chutney which is spicy and sour and a little sweet too because of the sauteed onions.
And in the middle of this blog…my daughter also wanted her kitty to be featured in the blog…so here she is 🙂
For this round of cooking as part of Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, i was paired with Avin S Kohli. Avin gave me Dudhi / bottle gourd and ginger as my secret ingredients. The only thing that came to my mind was my favourite savoury recipe from the land of Gujarat: Traditional Gujarati Dudhi Handvo – A savoury cake with bottle gourd. The handvo can either be made in a traditional handvo vessel or can be made in a pan…one can also bake it. For this recipe i am using a traditional handvo vessel.
The handvo vessel is made up of two parts, the bigger vessel in which the batter is poured and the smaller portion in which the sand is added. The hole through middle of the vessel lets the heat from the gas to the batter and lets the batter cook and the sand indirectly heats the batter.
Gujarati Doodhi Handvo - A savoury cake with bottle gourd