Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Eggless Baking : Sundried Tomatoes & Cheddar Cheese Breadsticks

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” 
- James Beard

It's been long time since I posted any bread recipe here but that doesn't mean I'm not making one. Buying a bread is a rare occasion in my home now, which is actually limited to occasional bagel purchase. I feel it's more easy to bake at home then try to figure out the ingredient list of store bought bread & making sense out of that list. Talking of ingredients, came across this link regarding subway bread few days back thought of sharing it, do check it & then wonder why in the world they have to put chemicals in the bread which are used in the making of yoga mats and shoe soles.

Coming back to today's recipe, needed something for after school snack so decided to make bread sticks. When it comes to any kinda bread I always want to try something new, so instead of using my regular recipe for the bread sticks, I googled & quickly decided to use this recipe as a base, from food network. It's a very easy and basic kind of recipe, I did twisted it a little bit, replacing some of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour is normal here in my bread baking. The addition of cheddar & sun dried tomatoes really worked very well here and we all loved it except the kindergartner. Here's my version of these Almost Famous Breadsticks.

What I used :
  • 1 & 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. of  luke warm water
  • 2 &1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cup whole white wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter(at room temp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
Add-ins :
  • 1 & 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. of chilli flakes(dry red chilli seeds)
  • 1 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (I first soaked them in hot water for 10 minutes & then chop) 
For the Topping :
  • 4 Tablespoon unsalted melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
What I did :
  1. Place 1/2 cup of warm water in the bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast & sugar on top of it. Let it stand for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Mix salt, whole wheat flour and all purpose flour nicely with fork/whisk in a separate bowl.
  3. Yeast will start becoming foamy. Add flour and salt mixture, rest of the water, butter and oil to the yeast mixture.
  4. On the medium speed knead the dough till it becomes smooth & soft, around 7-9 minutes.
  5. Once the dough is smooth and soft add the cheese in 3-4 turns to the dough & mix it on slow speed.
  6. Now, at this point I divided the dough into two parts. As I was not sure if kids will like the addition of sun dried tomatoes or not, so half of the dough was oiled & kept in a oiled bowl covered with the kitchen towel/plastic wrap for rise.
  7. For second half of the dough slowly add(around 2 Tbsp. at a time) chopped sun dried tomatoes and red chilli flakes & let it mix at slow speed. Once the whole thing is mixed, oil this batch of the dough also and keep it in oiled bowl covered with kitchen towel/plastic wrap for rise.
  8. It will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes until the dough gets double.
  9. Prepare the baking sheet by lining them with parchment paper,
  10. Once the dough is doubled slightly punch it, sprinkle some flour on the workspace. Take first batch/ball of dough & cut it into 16 equal pieces. I usually make a log cut into half & further cut the two logs into half & so on.
  11. Now roll each piece of dough to 6-7 inches of log with around 3/4 inch thickness. Arrange them on the baking sheet around 2" apart. Finish rolling all the dough into bread sticks just like that.
  12. Cover these rolled breadsticks with oiled plastic wrap & let them rise for another 30-45 minutes.
  13. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  14. Melt the butter, brush it on the breadsticks & sprinkle them with 1/2 tsp. sea salt. There will be at least half of the butter left.  In the remaining butter add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, garlic powder & oregano, keep it aside.
  15. Bake until light golden color. Mine were done in 12-13 minutes.
  16. Take them out, now brush rest of the melted butter(mixed with sea salt, oregano + garlic powder) on the baked bread sticks & bake for another 1 minute.
  17. Cool them on wire rack. Serve with soup, pasta or simply marinara sauce.

Notes :
  1. It's a big batch of dough and makes a lot of bread sticks. I made average size not too big kind and I got 32 bread sticks.
  2. I reduced the qty. of salt in the dough as we were going to top the bread sticks also with the salt. And these were perfectly salted as per over taste. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Meet Indian Cousin of Falafel

Yes! you read it right, Indian Cousin of Falafel. Both are Legume based snacks, made with grinding soaked legumes, mixed with spices & herbs and deep fried. I know I got you when I say deep fried, who doesn't like deep fried food. One is world famous, made with garbanzo beans or you can say our very own white chana/chite chole or in plain English chickpeas. Where as other one is not very famous outside India, I'm talking about dal ke pakode(Lentil fritters) here. Famous or not famous these are perfect for any time, specially for this cold weather we are getting here in north east, snow storm after snow storm.

snow measurement by kiddos while the white stuff was still falling

Different parts of India have different versions of these made with different lentils but the one I'm going to talk about today is moong & chana dal pakode. In Dilli you can find moong dal ke ladoo(they are not called pakoras) from street vendors and that is totally different version, right now i'm saving them for some other day. But in Rajasthan very similar dal ke Pakode is very famous street food. I still remember after few weeks of my marriage when I went to Rajasthan we had these & they were the & hot....means garma garam & very spicy...loved it.

You can certainly make it with combination of different lentils(moong dhuli/yallow moong, masoor dhuli/Orange lentils & chana dal/Bengal Gram are my fav. for these pakoras) or with one only but the recipe today here is for the one made with moong & chana dal/lentil mixed together. It's very simple recipe more of a guideline. You can follow the recipe or add your own flavors to it & enjoy them garama garam with chai or roll them in a roti with some salad to keep it on the line of Pita & falafel sandwich or as we call it roti wrap.

What I Used :
  1. 1/2 cup moong dhuli (yellow moong lentils) Soaked5-6 hrs.
  2. 1/2 cup chana dal (Split & skinned Bengal Gram) Soaked 5-6 hrs.
  3. half cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
  4. 1 & 1/2 TBSP. of finely chopped ginger
  5. 3-4 green chillies finely chopped
  6. 3 TBSP. finely chopped onion (Optional)
  7. 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  8. 3/4 tsp. ground cilantro
  9. 3/4 tsp. garam masala
  10. 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
  11. 1/4 tsp. Turmeric powder /Haldi
  12. salt as per taste  ( I use mix of table salt & kala namak/black salt)
  13. Oil for deep frying
Tip : If not sure about the spice & salt level, you can always taste a tiny bit of batter(a drop size) to check the salt as it doesn't contain any ingredients like raw meat or egg which can make you sick. I always do it while making any kinda fritters/pakoras.
What I did :
1. Wash and soak both the lentils for 5-6 hrs.
2. Drain water and grind them to paste using no or very little water(depending upon the power of your blender). I like to keep the texture bit coarse like wet semolina/suji.....take a little mixture between your thumb & finger & feel the consistency. You can have it smooth too.
3. Next add cilantro, ginger, green chillies, onions and all the dry spices. Mix them altogether.

4. Heat oil for frying preferably in a kadai, because that way u have to put less oil as compared to regular pot/pan.
5. Keeping the gas on medium drop the small size balls of the batter into the ball. Fry them till golden brown.

6. Drain on paper towel. Serve them while they are still hot/garma garam with some hot/spicy green chutney.

No Ketchup Please only kids are allowed to take regular ketchup :) .