Thinai Idli/ Foxtail Millet Steamed Cakes

Next in the steamed millet cake series is Thinai/Foxtail Millet. As 200th post of Dosaikal, I had shared two desserts with Foxtail Millet – Thinai Sarkkarai Pongal and Thinai Payasam.

As mentioned previously, all millets can be used in making several staples like idli, dosai, idiyappam, pongal etc. They taste awesome as desserts too.

Try the millet cakes as Podi Idli too. These are stir fried Thinai idlis in spicy gun powder and gingelly oil ….

Thinai Idli/ Foxtail Millet Steamed Cakes

Ingredients (makes approximately 25-30 idlis)

  • thinai/foxtail millet – 3 cups
  • ulundham paruppu/deskinned black gram – 1 cup
  • uppu/salt – as needed approx. 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and soak millet and black gram together in enough water for 6-8 hours
  2. Drain excess water and grind them into a smooth batter
  3. Once the batter is done in the blender, add salt and blend well
  4. Leave the batter to ferment for 8 hrs or overnight
  5. Millet batters do not need as much time as Rice Idli batter. They turn sour sooner
  6. 8 hrs in a warm place is enough; If the climate is too hot, check after 6 hours; In an air conditioned environment, I place it in the oven overnight with the oven light on
  7. Once fermented, mix the batter well
  8. Always keep the batter refrigerated for further use
  9. If left to ferment more than needed, the batter might turn too pungent to make idli or dosai
  10. Steam Idlis in the mould and serve them hot with chutney of choice.

Varagarisi Idli/ Kodo Millet Steamed Cakes

In the Millet Idli Series, next is Varagarisi/ Kodo Millet. It’s going to be simple from now on. The ratio of millet to black gram also being the same, all Millet Idlis have the same method of preparation of batter.

So, let’s move on to Varagu Idli.

Varagarisi Idli/ Kodo Millet Steamed Cakes

Ingredients (makes approximately 25-30 idlis) 

  • varagu/kodo millet – 3 cups
  • ulundham paruppu/deskinned black gram – 1 cup
  • uppu/salt – as needed approx. 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and soak millet and black gram together in enough water for 6-8 hours
  2. Drain excess water and grind them into a smooth batter
  3. Once the batter is done in the blender, add salt and blend well
  4. Leave the batter to ferment for 8 hrs or overnight
  5. Millet batters do not need as much time as Rice Idli batter. They turn sour sooner
  6. 8 hrs in a warm place is enough; If the climate is too hot, check after 6 hours; In an air conditioned environment, I place it in the oven overnight with the oven light on
  7. Once fermented, mix the batter well
  8. Always keep the batter refrigerated for further use
  9. If left to ferment more than needed, the batter might turn too pungent to make idli or dosai
  10. Steam Idlis in the mould and serve them hot with chutney of choice.

Samai Idli/ Little Millet Steamed Cakes

The health benefits of Millets in general, have been written about extensively in almost all posts in the Power Packed Pancakes Series. Hence, I haven’t rewritten those facts. Additionally, useful details of information are available in the internet in abundance. A blogger’s job, especially that of a food blogger is simplified to crisp menu cards and videos. That gives much more space and time for conveying several other like minded ideas isn’t it??

Millets, like rice, are versatile cereals. Cook them like Rice and have with curries; flavour them with lemon, tamarind, coconut or yoghurt; make desserts with jaggery; or enjoy as spicy Pongal on a rainy day. With pound millet flours available in stores, make Puttu (steamed cylinders) or Kozhukkattai (sweet and savoury dumplings) or Idiyappam (string hoppers) – all staples of Tamilnadu.

Since, this series comes after many years of posting Millet Dosais, there might be repetition of facts. I have tried to take care in avoiding that. Bear with me for any unknown recurrence of thoughts.

Among the variety of millets, Samai Idli can be an exact replica of White Rice Idlis due to its color. It is sometimes softer than Rice Idli and puffs up better.

Samai Idli/ Idli with Little Millet

Ingredients (makes approximately 25-30 idlis)

  • samai /little millet – 3 cups
  • ulundham paruppu/deskinned black gram – 1 cup
  • uppu/salt – as needed approx. 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and soak millet and black gram together in enough water for 6-8 hours
  2. Drain excess water and grind them into a smooth batter
  3. Once the batter is done in the blender, add salt and blend well
  4. Leave the batter to ferment for 8 hrs or overnight
  5. Millet batters do not need as much time as Rice Idli batter. They turn sour sooner
  6. 8 hrs in a warm place is enough; If the climate is too hot, check after 6 hours; In an air conditioned environment, I place it in the oven overnight with the oven light on
  7. Once fermented, mix the batter well
  8. Always keep the batter refrigerated for further use
  9. If left to ferment more than needed, the batter might turn too pungent to make idli or dosai
  10. Steam Idlis in the mould and serve them hot with chutney of choice.

Power Packed Idlis/ Steamed Millet Cakes – Series

Way back in April 2014, I had started a series on ‘Power Packed Pancakes’. The introduction post focussed on how having Dosai/Dosa batter at home can be a stress free affair, and the importance of including whole grains and millets for a Healthy Lifestyle.

How far the post was successful with regards to a stress free read …. not for me to decide.

From Power Packed Pancakes, now, its time to move on to Power Packed Idlis or Steamed Cakes. What the Tamils call Idli is generally described in English as Rice Cakes. Specifically, these are Steamed Rice Cakes. This time, the steamed cakes are with Millets and no Rice included. Hence, they are truly Power Packed and Healthy.

I don’t prefer to mix Rice in the Millet Idli batter, especially if the purpose is to cut down the Rice intake. A pack that reads ‘Whole Wheat Bread’ or ‘Brown Bread’ in the shelves of supermarkets, tricks the consumer to believe it is 100% original Whole Wheat bread. The soft and tasty bread is certainly a combination of White flour and Whole Wheat, or many a times 70-80% whiteflour with the inclusion of Wheat Bran.

Rice is a wonderful Grain, in comparison to the empty caloried White Flour. But, I’d like to keep my Millet Dosai or Idli, without the inclusion of Rice.

Hence, I use the best suited Millets for Idlis, as simple as that. Other Millets which don’t turn out soft and fluffy (that’s expected from a Steamed Cake), can be made as Dosai. The batter is rigidly the same, devoid of Rice.

Why are we talking about Rice here?

Well, there a two basic ways of making Idlis with millets. One – making the Idli batter with Millet and Black gram and NO Rice at all; the other is to substitute one portion of rice with millet. Certain Millets like Thinai (Foxtail Millet – one of the oldest millets of the Tamils), Samai (Little Millet), Varagu (Kodo Millet) or Kuthiraivali (Barnyard Millet) are best suited to make fluffy soft Idlis, with NO Rice at all. A few others like Kezhvaragu (Ragi/Finger Millet) or Kambu (Bajra/Pearl Millet) don’t create the best steamed cakes with millets alone, they need the addition of Rice.

But, Horse gram, which is a lentil and not a Millet, should be treated like the black gram in Rice Idlis. That’s why, Rice and Horse gram are blended to make Steamed Cakes.

This series aims at providing an alternative way to incorporate millets in our diet. Having included them in our daily life style for several years now, I strongly feel this has been one of the healthiest changes I’ve adapted. Also, one that makes me stay very close to a few of the countless traditional foods of my soil. Especially, when there is written literary document that proves these were consumed by my ancestors several thousands of years ago.

So, let’s get started.

My 200th Post – Thinai / Foxtail Millet – Payasam and Sarkkarai Pongal : Two to Celebrate !!

My 100th Post was Kootanchoru – Typical Home Town One Pot Meal, way back in 2014. Dosaikal, my blog entered into its 10th year in May 2020. In my 10th year, jotting down my 200th post feels ecstatic.

It has been a slow and steady journey for me and a patient journey for my readers. Thanks a ton, for travelling at my pace, encouraging me to do what I’ve been doing.

When I sit back and think, the commitment of not endorsing junk foods and not blogging on unhealthy stuff has never faded. That I wouldn’t post a recipe, which I feel is unhealthy for my family; and wouldn’t cook any junk, that I wouldn’t prescribe to my readers, has been a norm that I set for myself.

In my quest to explore various versions of traditional foods, I felt THINAI / Foxtail Millet would be an apt food to post for my 200th.

Why Thinai?

Thinai is among the oldest millets consumed by Tamils. Sangam Literature, which dates from 300 BCE to 300 ACE, mentions Thinai, alongwith a few other millets and rice varieties, used by the ancient community.

Bamboo rice, Red rice, Foxtail, Kodo, Finger Millets, Black gram, Horse gram are a few rice, millets and lentils mentioned in Tholkappiyam (the most ancient Grammar Text of Tamil Language) and Sangam Literature.

With my quest to cook more, and write more and more on the traditional foods of the Land I belong to, I chose to do a post on one of the ancient millets of Tamilnadu.

It is the outcome of an urge to cling on tightly to my roots (quite strong with at least 2500 year old heritage), and transferring the wealth and knowledge my ancestors passed on to me through generations, to my offspring and others.

Thinai – Two Ways for the Sweet Tooth

Including Millets in our everyday diet is one of the most recommended health formulas of the 21st century, and hence, the internet overflows with the health benefits of all. Name it and you get it. Benefits of Thinai/ Foxtail Millet can also be found very easily in the net.

Any happy occasion demands a dessert. Why not 2 sweets for 200? That’s why I thought of making a Payasam and Sarkkarai Pongal with Thinai.

The basic ingredients are almost the same – Thinai and Jaggery; Payasam has the inclusion of coconut milk and Pongal doesn’t have the milk to bring it to thinner consistency.

Thinai Payasam and Thinai Pongal

As mentioned above, the Ingredients for Payasam and Pongal are almost the same, with the addition of coconut milk in Payasam.

The basic steps in making Payasam and Pongal are again, almost the same. In simple terms, a thinner mixture and addition of coconut milk makes it Payasam; a thicker version with the glow of more clarified butter, makes it Pongal.

Hence, the procedure below might be repetitive. Yet, for better comprehension, I chose to make different recipe presentations.

THINAI PAYASAMIngredients (serves 3-4)

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • thinai/foxtail millet – 1/2 cup
  • vellam/jaggery – 3/4 cup
  • chukku podi/ dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tbsp
  • mundhiri paruppu/cashewnut – 10-12 pieces
  • thengai pal/coconut milk – if freshly squeezed -1/2 cup thin second milk and 1/2 cup thick first milk; if using canned coconut milk – 1 cup thick, add extra water accordingly

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash Thinai and Pressure cook with 1 1/2 cups water.

How I cook – After the first whistle, reduce flame to sim and switch off after 2 whistles

Meantime-

2. Boil jaggery with water to dissolve and remove impurities. Strain and keep aside

3. Squeeze milk from fresh coconut, separate thin second milk and thick first milk

4. Over sim flame, keep the cooked millet in a hard bottomed pan or in the same pressure cooker, in which it was cooked

5. Time to add strained jaggery water- Check if you would need the whole jaggery water. Add 3/4th of it and add more if needed

Extra jaggery water, if retained can be used for various other purposes

Stir well after addition of jaggery water

Add dry ginger and cardamom powders

Let the millet cook in jaggery water and the spices, and thicken

Fry cashew nuts in nei/clarified butter till golden; Add to the cooked thinai-jaggery pongal

When the jaggery is well incorporated in thinai, add coconut milk

Be careful not to boil the Payasam too much after adding coconut milk, as it might curdle

Hot Thinai Payasam is ready to be served.

THINAI SARKKARAI PONGAL – Ingredients (serves 3-4)

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • thinai/foxtail millet – 1/2 cup
  • vellam/jaggery – little less than 3/4 cup
  • chukku podi/ dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – 4 tbsp
  • mundhiri paruppu/cashewnut – 10-12 pieces

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash Thinai and Pressure cook with 1 1/2 cups water. How I cook – After the first whistle, reduce flame to sim and switch off after 2 whistles
  2. Boil jaggery with water to dissolve and remove impurities. Strain and keep aside
  3. Over sim flame, keep the cooked millet in a hard bottomed pan or in the same pressure cooker, in which it was cooked
  4. Add strained jaggery water- Check if you would need the whole jaggery water. Add 3/4th of it and add more if needed. Store extra syrup.
  5. Let the millet cook in jaggery water again and thicken well
  6. Add dry ginger and cardamom powders

7. Fry cashew nuts in nei/clarified butter till golden; Add to the cooked thinai-jaggery pongal

my favourite step –

Thinai Pongal is ready to be served.

Note:

  1. I have reduced the quantity of jaggery for Pongal, as coconut milk might balance the sweetness of jaggery in Payasam.
  2. I have added 2 more tbsps of nei/clarified butter to Pongal. This gives a beautiful glow and wonderful consistency to the dessert, not to mention the awesome taste.
  3. Feel free to omit, reduce or add more nei.
  4. Also, jaggery and coconut milk can be altered according to family preferences.

Almond flour and Whole Wheat Flour Bread

I’m still a learner, when it comes to baking Bread. My notion is not a gluten free bread, but something different from the usual ones.

I am at a stage, where I’d like to play with yeast, to find more interesting recipes. Hence, thought of including Almond Flour in the well practiced Bread recipe. Without the gluten (wheat), bread with plain almond flour might not be a successful one. We might need other binding agents like eggs or flax seeds. Even with flax seeds, eggs would be necessary for a Good result.

So, I chose to combine Wheat and Almond flours – in the ration 2:1. For 400 gms of wheat flour, I added 200 gms of almond flour. I also included warm buttermilk.

Buttermilk might kill the yeast. So, I had a careful eye to mix the dry ingredients first and then warm water and warm butter milk. And, immediately ran the kitchen machine. We could also proof the yeast before adding it to the flour.

Almond Flour and Whole Wheat Flour Bread

Ingredients

  • whole wheat – 400 gms
  • almond flour – 200 gas
  • honey – 4 tsp
  • salt – 1 1/2 tsp
  • yeast – 3 tsp
  • warm water – 1 1/2 to 2 cups approximately
  • warm buttermilk – 1 1/2 cups
  • oil (preferably olive oil) – 2 tsp = 1 tsp for greasing the bowl; 1 tsp for greasing the baking tin

Making the Bread

Process I

  1. In the Stand Mixer Bowl, add wheat flour, almond flour, yeast and salt and mix well with a spatula
  2. Pour warm buttermilk and honey; and switch on the mixer with the dough hook
  3. Add warm water little by little, till the dough has enough water to knead
  4. Note: Almond Flour doesn’t need water as much as plain whole wheat flour would need. That’s why, check the dough and then add water
  5. After the initial mixing up of all the ingredients in the mixer, let the dough be kneaded for 10 minutes. Add more water, if needed while kneading
  6. Alternatively, if you plan to knead by hand-
  7. In a big bowl, add ingredients as in step 1, 2 and 3
  8. Knead well until buttermilk and water gets incorporated and the dough is stretchy.
  9. Grease the same bowl, with 1 tsp oil, and place the bread dough
  10. Cover with a clean cloth, place the bowl in a warm place
  11. Let the dough rise for half an hour or until double

Process II

  1. Knock the dough, and give it a gentle knead
  2. Grease the baking tin with the other 1 tsp olive oil 
  3. Roll the dough into loaves and place in the tin
  4. Let the dough rise for another 1/2 hr to one hr – or until doubled

Process III

  1. Preheat the oven at 220 degree C
  2. Place the dough and let it bake for 30-35 minutes, more or less, depending upon the oven.

For a soft crust

Once the baking is done-

  • Switch off the oven
  • Brush the crust with butter
  • Open the oven and leave the bread inside. Let there be a little gap in the door, for air to pass through
  • Once the bread is warm, remove and let it cool completely
  • Let it cool, with a cloth covered
  • The crust of the baked bread is soft and easy to slice.

Kappa and Meen Curry (Kerala Cuisine)

Respect for one’s own cuisine, would also result in respect for cuisines around the world, and cuisines around you. Kerala is neighbourhood to Tamilnadu; and both the states share close linguistic, cultural and cuisinical ties. Specialities like Aappam, Avial, Payasam, Puttu, Appam, Coconut Milk Curries and many more, can be found in different versions in both the South Indian States of India.

When one of my neighbours from Kerala, my good friend ‘N’, sent me Kappa and Meen Curry – Tapioca and Fish Curry – I couldn’t stop licking the curry, full of flavour. The combined flavours of Coconut and Kudampuli and shine on the curry – from the coconut oil, stayed in my mind for a long time.

Kappa or Tapioca is called Maravalli Kizhangu in Tamil. In some parts of Tamilnadu, it is also called Kappa Kizhangu. ‘Kizhangu’ is a generic term for tubers.

Kudampuli is a tamarind variety, that belongs to the species of Garcinia. It is also called Malabar Tamarind.

So, got the authentic household recipe from ‘N’ and tried to make at home. The joy of making one of Kerala’s most popular dishes- (with Kappa (cooked tapioca)- that’s two of Kerala’s traditional dishes) – was truly overwhelming.

Thanks ‘N’ for the recipe. I have to confess, mine was not as good as hers.

Kappa and Meen Curry – Tapioca and Fish Curry

Ingredients (for approximately 1/2 a kilo of fish)

  • Fish – clean and cut to small or medium sized pieces – 1/2 kg

For the curry

  • grated coconut – 1/2 a coconut
  • turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • salt – to taste
  • ginger – 2 inch piece
  • kudampuli – 3 pieces washed and soaked in water
  • curry leaves – a handful

For seasoning

  • coconut oil – 3 tbsp
  • shallots – 8-10 -sliced
  • curry leaves – a handful
  • green chillies and garlic – optional

Preparing the Fish Curry

  1. I used Black Pomfret. Feel free to use any fish; with bones or fillet as preferred

2. In a mixie jar, grind coconut, powders- (turmeric, chilli, salt) and ginger into a smooth paste

3. According to the original recipe, ginger was smashed and added to the curry. To get the flavour and spice of ginger, I blended it with the paste.

4. In a Clay Curry Pot (Man Chatti in Tamil), add the paste with enough water to make a watery curry

5. Add the Kudampuli/Garcinia with the soaked water and curry leaves

6. Check salt – add more if needed. Let the curry simmer for a while

7. When the raw smell of spices change and the curry has boiled well, add the cleaned fish pieces

8. Let the fish cook in the boiling hot curry for at least 20 minutes, with stove in sim position

9. Little more than 20 minutes, the oil from the ground coconut would show up on the curry

10. Check the curry. If you prefer it to be thicker, boil in medium fire – till it reaches desired thickness

11. When the curry is ready, season it.

12. Heat coconut oil and add sliced shallots and curry leaves

13. When they are fried a bit, add to the fish curry

14. Half a tsp of red chilli powder fried in oil, can also be poured on top of the curry. This renders a beautiful red colour and extra flavour to the curry.

15. Serve hot with boiled Kappa – Tapioca.

16. The amounts of coconut and chilli powder can be altered as per family preference.

Boiled Tapioca

  1. Peel the Tapioca.
  2. Cut to small to medium pieces
  3. Wash well till the extra starch is removed and is clean
  4. In a pressure cooker, add water, salt and turmeric to the tapioca
  5. Cook till 3 full whistles. no need to simmer
  6. Season with coconut oil, mustard seeds, green chillies and curry leaves
  7. Sprinkle grated fresh coconut before serving (if preferred).
  8. Serve with Fish Curry

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Why I prefer the ‘100%’ tag is, due to the countless number of times I’ve been fooled in shops and the web – with the phrase ‘whole wheat’ bread, bun or whatever snack that claims to be whole wheat.

This whole wheat product, doesn’t include white flour at all.

After I changed my yeast and started kneading with a Stand Mixer, my home-baked whole wheat Bread has passed with flying colours.

So, without wasting much time…….

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients

  • wholewheat flour – 4 cups (one cup = 130mg x 4 = 520 gms)
  • yeast – 3 tsp – 11 gms
  • honey – 1/4 cup
  • salt – 1 1/2 tsp – 11 gms
  • warm water – enough to knead into stretchy and elastic dough
  • olive oil – 2 tsp app. (1 tsp for greasing the bowl; 1 tsp for greasing the baking tin)

Making the Bread

Process I

  1. In the Stand Mixer Bowl, add flour, yeast and salt and mix well with a spatula
  2. Pour warm water and honey; and switch on the mixer with the dough hook
  3. After the initial mixing up of all the ingredients in the mixer, let the dough be kneaded for 10 minutes. Add more water, if needed while kneading
  4. Alternatively, if you don’t have a mixer, not to worry
  5. In a big bowl, add ingredients as in step 1 and then step 2
  6. Knead well until water is incorporated well and the dough is stretchy.
  7. Grease the same bowl, with 1 tsp oil, and place the bread dough
  8. Cover with a clean cloth, place the bowl in a warm place
  9. Let the dough rise for half an hour or until double

Process II

  1. Knock the dough, and knead well again
  2. Grease the baking tin with the other 1 tsp olive oil
  3. Place the well rolled dough in the tin
  4. Let the dough rise for another 1/2 hr to one hr – or until doubled

Process III

  1. Preheat the oven at 220 degree C
  2. Place the dough and let it bake for 30-35 minutes, more or less, depending upon the oven

For a soft crust

Once the baking is done-

  • Switch off the oven
  • Brush the crust with butter
  • Open the oven and leave the bread inside. Let there be a little gap in the door, for air to pass through
  • Once the bread is warm, remove and let it cool completely
  • Let it cool, with a cloth covered
  • The crust of the baked bread is soft and easy to slice.

100% Whole Wheat, Eggless, Spicy Masala Buns – with Flax Seed- Sesame Seed – Mint

Baking might be an addictive affair. It is discouraging to see a flopped recipe. But, I feel, the aroma that the kitchen brings out, with baked goods, is one of the main reasons that make Baking, as addictive as it is. Why would one want to bake again and again, to make unsuccessful baking, successful, as though that is the only way to attain salvation??!!

After a change in the yeast brand, my bread/bun baking, has become better than before. I am working on making them more moist – as they turned out dry a few times. But, I assure, they taste excellent. My recent raisin bread too, turned out a bit dry. But, tasted awesome.

To tackle dryness, I have started incorporating buttermilk to buns. As such, while baking eggless goodies, I try to substitute with yoghurt. I prefer Dinner Rolls/Buns to be baked with butter. Though, quite recently, while I baked a butterless buns, (recipe from a cook-book I had), they came out really well. Shall bake it again, and confirm the recipe.

This time, I wanted to bake buns, with the excess mint leaves (I had dried indoors) and chillies and pepper…. something salt and spicy. These whole wheat buns, came out good. That’s why I couldn’t resist sharing them immediately.

100% Whole Wheat Eggless Spicy Soft Masala Buns – with Flax Seed- Sesame Seed

Ingredients

  • whole wheat flour – 300 gms (2 heaped up cups)
  • unsalted butter – 100 gms (melted and warm)
  • cane sugar – 12 gms (2 tsp)
  • powdered sea salt – 7-8 gms (1 tsp)
  • active dry yeast – 7-8 gms (2 tsp)
  • warm buttermilk – 1 cup
  • warm water – as needed to make a fine dough
  • Milk – 2 tbsp- for milk wash

For the Masala

  • flax seeds – 4 tsp
  • sesame seeds – 4 tsp (2 tsp for the powder and 2 tsp to sprinkle on top)
  • dried mint leaves – 1 1/2 cups approximately
  • dry ginger powder – 2 tsp
  • pepper corns – 2 tsp
  • red chillies – 4 no.s
  • oregano (optional) – 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

Making Spice/Masala Powder

  1. Dry roast flax seeds and sesame seeds. Roast 2 tsp of the sesame seeds and reserve the rest 2 tsp for the milk wash.

2. Dry roast, dried mint leaves – a bit of roasting helps in blending well

3. Dry roast pepper corns and red chillies (as I had some home made chilli flakes, I used it too.) 4 chillies would be needed for the recipe. Since I also used the left over chilli flakes, I took 2 red chillies

4. Dry roast oregano for a very short time – oregano is optional. I added, to boost the flavour. But, the mint and others are sufficient to punch in the flavours. I roasted it a bit, again to blend well. If you don’t have oregano, use carom seeds

5. Blend all the roasted ingredients, with dry ginger powder to a fine dry mixture.

6. The blended powder weighed approximately 42-45 gms

Making the dough

  1. In a wide bowl, add whole wheat flour, yeast, masala powder, sugar and salt
  2. As I had no doubts with my yeast, I directly added to wheat flour. Otherwise, proof yeast with warm water, to check whether it is still alive
  3. Add melted butter, which is still warm
  4. Warm the buttermilk and add to the flour mixture
  5. No cold liquids, as the yeast would become inactive
  6. Start kneading the dough, by kitchen machine or by hand
  7. Add enough warm water, if needed. My dough needed more water
  8. Knead for 10 minutes, to a soft dough

kneaded dough

9. Place in a greased bowl and close it. I don’t use cling wrap at home. So, just close with any lid, but keep it in a moist place. I always place my yeasted dough in the oven, with the light on. I also place a bowl of hot water below or beside. This helps create a warm environment, if you live in a cold place or air-conditioned environment

10. Keep the dough for 1 hour to rise or until double

doubled

11. Once doubled, knock the dough and knead for a couple of minutes

12. Grease a baking dish or tray, or place parchment paper on the baking tray

13. Make 8 equal portions and roll into fine balls

14. Place on baking tray, spaced apart

15. Keep these buns, to rise again for 30 minutes

ready to be baked

16. Preheat oven to 220°C

17. After they rise, brush the top of the buns with milk and spread sesame seeds

milk wash

18. Bake the buns in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until hard crust is formed

Remove from the oven and let them cool

buns done

Serve with the spread of choice. Tasted good with cream cheese spread and also with tangy coriander chutney.

Quarantine Cooking !!

What I’ve been cooking for the past three and a half months, seems like a whirlwind project. I am rest assured, it must be the case of almost everyone, handling a full house, during these testing times.

When I sat back and saw the clicks, my daughter wanted me to write continuous posts, under the title ‘Quarantine Diaries’. NO worries.. No diaries… this post consolidates the several dishes, those were rolled out of that sacred place in my house, called ‘Kitchen’. Later, let’s analyse a few recipes in the coming posts.

I started the month of March, with a Blueberry Jam – just two ingredients, berries and brown sugar, and of course, juice of lemon for longer shelf life.

blueberry jam

With a routine of including Millets in the diet, Millet Idlies always occupy a special place on the dining table. Samai (Little Millet) Idlis are true substitutes in colour, to the regular white rice Idlis. But these millet idlis are a healthier version, not to forget.

samai idli

Like the Samai Idli, Kollu (Horsegram) Idlies, are awesomely light, steamed cakes packed with the lentil flavour.

kollu idli

Don’t forget the different chutneys, that were made for the idlies. A few of those, I have highlighted in the end of this post.

A chocolate cake- with whole wheat, cane sugar, olive oil, dark chocolate and toasted pistachios. The urge to cut and eat, was more compelling than a good click to post.

chocolate cake

Next, came 50-50 Whole Wheat Buns, tried from an old book, I had. Though, the recipe demanded eggs, this is an eggless bun.

buns

Black Chick Pea Burger with the Buns

Next, for the benefit of online learners, to munch some traditional sweets, with longer shelf life…

Coconut Burfi with Cane Sugar

and Black Sesame Burfi with Jaggery

April, started with Whole Wheat Raisin Bread – wouldn’t term it the best, but full of flavour.

raisin bread

Time for a spicy powder for the health freak. Sesame and Flax seed chilly powder, to go with rice, idli or dosai.

flax seed podi

April, was also a month to try Pizza, the healthy way. Home-made whole wheat base, tomato spread from scratch and variety of toppings .. Pizza that was dreaded for the white flour, the meagre amount of veggies or meat to be searched for- in store bought frozen ones, or the branded /door delivered ones, used to be a half-yearly affair. Truly, we might have ordered pizzas twice a year.

The ill effect of making fresh pizzas at home, with loaded vegetables and with constraint on cheese, pizzas are almost a weekly bake now.

fish pizza

paneer pizza

chocolate pizza

Till date, I haven’t been quite successful with cookies. They used to be consumable, but not perfect. And I have always baked whole wheat cookies, never with white flour.

But, May started with this exception. A Good Whole Wheat Cookie!! Got the recipe from another blog, but as usual converted all purpose flour to whole wheat. It turned out to be so light and crispy.

whole wheat sesame cookies

When the need for a hot snack, with less work to fry, stir fry or sauté arose, tried baking these yummy potato wedges. Cut the potatoes, sprinkled some oil, baked for 30 mins or so. Took out from oven, sprinkled salt and spices of choice and, the baked wedges were ready.

Potato Wedges baked healthy

Who said Papdi Chaat needs Papdi or the crisps made of white flour. I chose to combine Papdi and Chole into a Chaat, but with a healthy twist. No matter you like it or not, its a whole meal. When I had my Methi (fenugreek leaves) Paratha dough in hand, I rolled a big pizza base out of it, and baked till crisp. That became my Papdi to go with the left over Chole curry. Add ons – home made green chutney, tamarind chutney and yoghurt.

Methi Paratha (Papdi) Chole Chaat

Time for a nice cake – Sticky Date and Walnut Cake – obviously with whole wheat flour and cane sugar, and eggless too. This time, I topped the cake with caramel whipped cream. With my home-made caramel, I could limit the sugar in the frosting.

Eggless Sticky Date and Walnut Cake

Next came in, Gooseberries. Lucky me, the super market had some new and fresh stock of gooseberries. The great berry, loaded with good nutrients, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, is highly popular for its anti-ageing properties. Let’s also do a gooseberry chutney series shortly. Great plans that arise as I write..

Gooseberry Coconut Green Chilly Chutney

Gooseberry Coconut Coriander Chutney

Gooseberry Coconut Mint Chutney

Gooseberry Coconut Red Chilly Chutney

Gooseberry Tomato Red Chilly Chutney

The long list of ingredients, written on the bottle of the world’s most favourite Chocolate spread, or a Peanut Butter Spread, creates a lot of stress and anxiety. But a good chocolate spread, to go with healthy whole wheat or millet pancakes, or home made bread or buns, can be a positive change in routine. So, tried this simple chocolate spread, with a combination of 80% and 72% dark chocolate with very little cane sugar and milk. Stores well in the refrigerator, for at least couple of weeks. Choose your dark chocolate, that has no margarine, but cocoa butter.

Home made Chocolate Spread

Those were a few different, yet healthy stuff that went into the tummy. I am satisfied, I could put in some thoughtful creativity, to indulge in the above stuff.