Tag: whole wheat

Cooking with the Books: KAF’s 100% Whole-Wheat Bread

I seriously don’t enjoy eating Ethoxylate Mono and Diglycerides, Calcium Peroxide, Datem (or uncommonly known as Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Ester of Mono- and Diglycerides), Ammonium Sulfate or even Azodicarbonmide? Like, seriously don’t like it.

You might be wondering why am I listing all these unpronounceable words.

Well, if you are eating store bought breads, and enjoying them then most probably you do enjoy eating all those long sounding ingredients I just mentioned.

And not that I want to scare you or anything (really, I don’t) but calcium peroxide (something common in lots of bread brands out there especially the white flour kinds) is a chemical that can also be used as a fertilizer. Tasty, right?

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The “I-Am-Not-Pregnant” Bread

Ok.

I am depressed.

and

Mad.

and

hurt.

and

so not pregnant!

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Atte ka Halwa

Yesterday was Janmashtami, a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, an avatar of the god Vishnu.

Sri Krishna taught us Karma Yoga. He strongly dictated in Gita that a man is bound to get the fruits of his actions. If he has done good actions/deeds throughout his life, he will get good results. Karma yoga is action (karma) performed without expectations or thought of reward. This selfless service of karma yoga is the path by which the mind is most quickly purified and its limits transcended.

Growing up as a Sikh, Janmashtami was just another holiday for me. But for V, a Hindu, its always been an important festival. His parents keep a fast the whole day on Janamasthami, only breaking it after offering prayers to Lord Krishna around midnight.

Though I did not keep a fast, I did not eat anything till I took a bath and first offered some food to the idol of Lord Krishna (I know that’s no feat but I thought I’ll mention it nonetheless 🙂 ). Sweets and desserts are the most preferred dishes for Janamashtami offerings, because Lord Krishna was known for his sweet tooth and generally some kind of kheer or Halwa is offered to him.

So, I took upon myself to make Halwa (pronounced hull-wa).

Halwa is a popular Indian dessert made from various kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains and lentils. If using fruits in Halwa, they are grated finely and fried in ghee and sugar. Nuts and milk may also be added. Halwas have the consistency of a very thick pudding.

My trials with halwa making haven’t been too great. In the past I have tried making Sooji Halwa (made from semolina), one of V’s favorite desserts. The first time was a disaster and the timing of it couldn’t have been more perfect (read about that disaster here). Of course now I have a failproof recipe for Sooji ka halwa.

This time I thought I would make halwa from whole wheat flour- atte ka halwa (atta/atte is the hindi word for whole wheat flour). Personally, I prefer the whole wheat one to the semolina one, probably because that was generally what my mom made and carries with it a lot of memories.

After my 10th standard exams, my dad got posted to Delhi. Now 10th and 12th are crucial years for Indian students- the Board exam years. So when my dad got posted to Jaisalmer, (Rajasthan) during my 12th standard, in the middle of the school year, my mom decided to stay back with me in Delhi, and join him after I was done with my exams.

Now, like me, my mom used to get lazy to cook elaborate meals with my dad not there. Plus, I was fine with eating easier to cook one dish meals like parantha, and rajma chawal. And for dessert, almost everyday, both she and I would have atte ka halwa. She would just make enough for the two of us, with each serving consisting of 5-6 bites. But she would make sure it was made properly, with no skimping on the amount of ghee. It was a thing my mom and I shared and I will always treasure those afternoons for the fun we used to have eating and enjoying the halwa she made.

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Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

It’s that time of the month again- the Secret recipe Club time. Amanda from Amanda’s Cookin’ started this fun club as a way to try other recipes and help introduce bloggers to each others’ blogs. Every month, each member is assigned another member’s blog and he/she has to try and post about a recipe from that person’s blog. My assigned blog for this month was Heather’s Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks.

Heather has a great blog with a lovely collection of recipes. She is a special education teacher and loves reading and of course, cooking. Occasionally she also posts reviews of the books she reads as part of her book club. Though she likes cooking, but baking is where her heart lies, much like me. So it had to be a baking recipe of hers that I decided to give a try.

I haven’t made bread for the longest time ever- been too lazy- not too lazy to make bread but extremely lazy to clean up after the baking is done. I hate that part of doing anything in the kitchen. I do not mind the cooking or baking but hate the utensils that pile up after I cook or bake, and that makes me lazy to make anything. And, being careless as I am, I make a whole lot of mess in the kitchen while I am at it, so the clean up just puts me off before even starting. But Heather’s Jalapeno Cheddar bread caught my eye and I knew this was what I wanted to make. So out with the lazy bones.

The only change I made to Heather’s recipe is that I substituted a part of the bread flour with whole wheat and reduced the cheese used to 1 cup instead of 1 1/2 cups (I love cheese but sadly, my waist and hips don’t)

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MINI CHOCOLATE BURGERS

It was a dreadful car ride. I had that feeling- the kind where you know there is doom at the end of the journey. But it had to be done. If not now, it would be too late.

So there I was standing outside the place. I stepped inside- my feet almost ready to run away. But, like I said, it had to be done. So I was there, waiting…waiting with knots in my stomach.

He called me in. He was dressed in white like an angel- but I knew he had the tools of the devil hidden away. He made me lie down. Asked me my name. Did a litle small talk – yeah! like that would ease my nerves!

Then it started. That blinding, in-your-face light. That dreadful noise- the noise that send shivers down your spine. Oh! how I hate that drill and oh! how I hate these dentist visits!

***Update***
Voting at Kitchen Corners is now open! Please go vote for these if you like the recipe!

Well I have not blogged for a while. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. On the contrary, I have been cooking a lot. But, because of the much hated dentist visits (the very long sittings there and the trauma that goes with them), and cooking for the party my parents had at their house, I have been too busy to blog.

Now, for the above mentioned party I had made “chocolate fondant cake”. It was a disaster. It was nothing like what Raymond Blanc described them to be- and I ended up with mini chocolate cakelets, which I paired with a chocolate sauce and a scoop of ice cream topped with nuts- and thankfully everybody loved it- phew! Saved!

I had some chocolate sauce left from the “chocolate fondant” episode. I was going through my daily serving of tastespotting and saw a burger and the idea of chocolate burger came in my mind. (This is inspite of my dentist repeatedly telling me to stay away from chocolate- I can’t help it, dear dentist, I try but chocolate and I share a bond that just can’t end like that).

I thought for a while and thought cookie would be a perfect idea to sandwich a chocolate ganache to look like a burger.

I thought of entering this for KC April Cook off- the theme – crazy chocolate creations. To make the cookie “bun” completely chocolatey, I used white chocolate- not as chips or chunks but completely melted in the cookie dough batter. So, for the “bun”, I decided to use wheat flour and replaced the oil, milk and sugar (that generally goes in a cookie dough batter) with white chocolate- well isn’t that what white chocolate is made of ! (White chocolate is primarily cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla) Of course I was a little worried about the ratio of the three ingredients in the chocolate compared to what  generally comprises a cookie dough batter and it might change the result of the desired cookie. But they turned out great. I used cinnamon but feel fennel seeds powder or cardamom powder would go better with the white chocolate.

For the “burger” I used the chocolate sauce, that had been kept in the fridge (it solidified a bit in the fridge and was more like a refrigerated ganache). And on top, to replicate sesame seeds, I used some finely chopped cashew.

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WHOLE WHEAT NANKHATAI

Yesterday, I met my B-school gang, most of whom, I was seeing after almost two years, but somehow it just did not feel that long a time. I have been in touch with most of them- on and off, and even though a lot were missing from our circle of friends, it was still like old times. One of my friends just recently got married and he had brought his wife along. The others who had attended his wedding were excitedly narrating the food tales they had at his wedding. Now he is a Jain and in Jain weddings- food is the prime attraction (food heaven it is!). Jaini weddings our known for the rich food served and Jains are known for their hospitality. The food though is completely vegetarian (much to the misfortune of one of my friends who is a chickenaholic!), but nonetheless, the food is delicious.

It was fun catching up on what everyone has been up to. I had a great time- lot of leg pulling, college gossip, laughter, food from the dhaba outside our college- brought back a lot of good memories. 🙂

I know I haven’t been quite regular with blogging- posting after a gap of almost two weeks, is it? Well, I have been travelling. And, to be honest, I haven’t been cooking too much either. There’s the maid here who cooks the food and I am enjoying the break from cooking while it lasts. But, I miss baking. I miss my oven- I really do!

For a while I was thinking of something to make for my in-laws. They are not big fans of baked goods, though they don’t mind the occasional baked treat. Last week I had gone to Dehradun/Haridwar where V’s aunt stays. The last time I was in Haridwar, on a trip with my B-school friends, we went to Rishikesh and I remember having these freshly made Nankhatai (an eggless, delicate and crumbly biscuit, quite popular in India), that a roadside vendor was selling. Strange, I don’t remember an oven there, but I am pretty sure they were freshly made.

Anyways, when I went to Dehradun, I realised Nankhatai would be a perfect thing to make that my in-laws would actually enjoy eating. It was a perfect day to bake something too. Its been raining since morning and it’s the kind of weather where you want to be in a blanket, all cuddled up, sipping hot tea and having warm cookies!

I found a recipe here.

Now, my mom-in-law doesn’t do too much baking, even though she is an excellent cook. Her biryanis are awesome! But she doesn’t bake- so they don’t have an oven in the house. But, their microwave has the option of convection. I haven’t baked anything in a microwave. So was hesitant at first- but thought of giving it a try. The first batch came out too flat and though I did nothing different for the second batch (it was the same dough but since I could only put one dish at a time in the microwave I had to bake in two lots), they still resembled the traditional nankhatai a little, though not as perfectly shaped as the ones you get in shops. Well, that just means more trials in the kitchen.

I served the nankhatai to my in-laws and they loved them. The best part – they are whole wheat! Yes, there is ghee, but well you can’t have it your way all the time, can you? Half of them have already vanished between the two of them! (I am on a strict “I have to lose weight” diet – so these things are not coming near me!). Perfect to have with a cup of hot tea and the rainy day just adds to the charm. 🙂

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REALLY,REALLY HEARTY SUNDRIED TOMATO BREAD

Two days prior to my India journey, I am down with a cough! Great! I took precautions- covered myself- head to toe- but the Denver cold got to me. Its the walk we took near the Cherry Creek Mall that’s the culprit. Well, it’s not that bad yet. That’s the key word- yet! The last time I got down with a bad cold- it started out as not being that bad- just a sore throat- nothing big. The starting symptoms are the same this time, but hopefully it won’t get any worse- there’s a slight fever but I’m hoping some rest will take care of it!

The first day in Denver, we had amazing bread at the hotel restaurant, The Lift, while waiting for our main course. It was a white bread with a hint of garlic and presumably, a lot of parmesan cheese. But one bite into it and you could taste the cheese and all its goodness. I love white bread and even though whole-wheat is supposedly more healthy, etc etc I still miss an all white bread at times.

But, the other day, back at home I made this really hearty and flavorful sundried tomato bread. I cooked up this recipe or would it be baked up (?!). Thought of adding herbs but decided against it, since I did not want too many flavors playing in the bread. I also restrained myself from adding cheese- though instead its better to grill it with cheese instead. I did add dill for some added flavor.

By the way, this bread is full of goodies for your body! The Wheat germ is rich in nutrients, Vitamin E (good for anti-aging and your reproductive organs) and fiber. Fiber helps in digestive cleansing, cleaning your system off toxins and bacteria. Another benefit of having fiber-enriched food is that you feel full sooner- that ways you don’t overeat. (and thus, helps you in keeping your waist slim!)

Flaxseeds too are rich in fiber, besides they are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for lowering cholesterol and heart related diseases. They are rich in antioxidants too.

Besides the seeds, the flours used also have their health benefits. Everyone knows the benefits of whole-wheat flour.  Soy Flour is a great source of high quality soy protein, dietary fiber and important bio-active components which provide a good source of iron, B vitamins and potassium.

I wanted to add 1/2 cup rolled oats, and make it even more healthy, but I had the quick one minutes ones (never buying them again after reading they have the hulls removed), and wasn’st sure how they will work and also did not know how healthy they would be after the hull is removed. (Any info would be appreciated for the uninitiated me!) If you do decide to add oats reduce the bread flour quantity by the same amount and you might need to add/reduce water.

I did add a tablespoon more of water even though it did not look dry, but I know that soy absorbs a lot of water so the dough might need that extra tbsp- when making bread, its always better to err on more water and have a sticky dough than to have a dry dough. But, I ended up adding more flour, so guess the earlier proportions might have been perfect. (Have mentioned the initial proportions in the ingredients list- but if more water is required, add a tablespoon at a time).

Hope you enjoy this bread and its benefits as much as we did!

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