Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Konkani Cuisine - Sanna Polo

There is an amazing group on facebook that shares Konkani cuisine.  This recipe is from the site. Perhaps the Sanna Polo can be described as a savoury pancake made with rice and lentils with chopped onions and cabbage.  Konkani cuisine without coconut is rare and this one is no exception.  Not the usual amount, but it is there nevertheless.  Though, it is a polo or a dosa, it is generally consumed as a side dish with rice and dalitoy ( konkani dal dish ).  Here chopped cabbage and onions have been added, but these can be substituted with greens, snake gourd seeds and what have you.  Arhar lentils can be replaced with another. Other spices may be added.  Experiment and enjoy the taste.

Ingredients:  Makes about 7-8 small polos

Rice - 1/2 cup
Tuvar Dal - ( split pigeon pea) - 1/2 cup
Grated coconut - a fistful
Roasted red chilies -few - spicier the better
Tamarind - 10 gms or half teaspoon of paste
Salt to taste.
Chopped cabbage - 1/4 cup
Chopped onion - 1/4 cup
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - for shallow frying

( Feel free to experiment with the above quantities and vary the ingredients)

Soak rice and dal for at least 3 hours
Grind with coconut, chilies, tamarind and salt to a thickish fine paste.  This is like an idli batter.

Add chopped onions, cabbage and a few shredded curry leaves.

Heat a flat pan.
Add the batter and spread with either a spoon or use your fingers to flatten it.
Pour oil along the polo/dosa
Allow it to brown on the underside.  Flip over and let the other side brown
Remove from pan.
Serve with hot rice and dalitoy.

While that may be a traditional way to eat the sanna polo, let me tell you it can be eaten at any time of the day.  Enjoy !

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Baby Potato - Bihari Style

This is a recipe that I watched on a TV show presented by Chef Ajay Chopra, who said this was a typical Bihari dish.  It looked interesting enough for me to try.  The ingredients like Kalonji, Fennel are not normally used in South Indian cuisine and it has a different taste altogether.  And sometimes different tastes are appreciated as this one was.  We had it with rotis, but I think it would be great with a bowl of hot rice and dal.

The dish is simple to make except for the peeling of the little potatoes.  Reminded me of my time comic character Sad Sack peeling potatoes in the army :-)

Baby Potato - 300 g

Methi (fenugreek seeds) - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Kalonji - 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds ( Somph) - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida (hing) - large pinch
Green chili - 1 large

Coriander powder  -1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Chili powder - to taste
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

Oil -3-4 tbsp

Peel the little potatoes.  Parboil. ( cook till just tender - I went a little beyond )
Drain and keep

In a wok, heat the oil.
Add methi, cumin, kalonji, fennel and asafoetida.
Sauté .  Add the parboiled potatoes

Allow to fry with a slit green chili on low heat till turning golden.

In a small bowl, take the powders - coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt.  Add a little water and make a solution.
Add to the potatoes.
And the garam masala.
Mix. Keep covered a little while, stirring carefully now and then.  If required a little more oil.

Remove from heat. Place in bowl
Garnish with coriander leaves.

I think a squeeze of lime would also add a zing to the dish.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The English Teacake

The teacake in England is more like a bun and less of a cake. It is a light yeast based bun with dry fruits.  Flat and circular.  And the recipe of Paul Hollywood has dry fruit, mixed peel and cinnamon powder giving it an amazing flavour.  Most times, the teacake is split, toasted and buttered generously. This was better than the store bought teacake.  Just out of the oven, it tasted great !  And they say it tastes even better the next day.

Ingredients: - I got 10 medium sized teacakes

All purpose flour - 350 g ( the recipe called for strong white bread flour)
Salt - 7 g
Caster sugar - 42 g
Cinnamon powder - 3/4 tsp
Instant yeast - 7 g
Unsalted butter, softened - 35 g
Water - 210 ml
Vegetable oil for kneading
Sultanas - 70 g
Mixed peel - 70 g ( I used a little less)
Egg - 1 beaten for glaze

Take a large mixing bowl, place the flour in it.
Add the salt, sugar and cinnamon to one side of the bowl and yeast to the other.
Add the butter and three quarters of the water.  Turn the mixture with your fingers
Continue to add all water ( if required a little more - I didn't need to ) - the dough should be soft but not soggy.
Use the  mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep gathering the mixture till it forms a rough dough.

Coat a work surface with little vegetable oil, tip the dough onto it and knead for 5-10 minutes till the dough forms a soft, smooth skin. Then put it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size for at least an hour or more.

Prepare two baking trays with parchment

Once the dough has doubled, tip the sultanas and mixed peel on top of the risen dough and work them into it.
After a minute, put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the fruit is thoroughly mixed in.

Divide the dough into equal pieces.  Shape each into a ball and use a rolling pin or fingers to flatten it to a round bun about a cm thick.  Space them apart on the prepared trays.  Put each tray into a clean plastic bag and leave to rise for about an hour or once again till they double in size.

Meanwhile heat the oven to 200C.
Bake the teacakes for 10-15 cms till risen and golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Carrot Cake

This recipe I have tried a number of times.  I feel James Martin recipes are fail-proof.  I have made the cake with the icing, and without.  With whole meal SRF and all purpose SRF.  With and without the nuts.  It is totally up to you. If you do put the icing, chill the cake, it tastes even better.

Ingredients -
Orange juice and zest  - 1 orange
Sultanas - 50 g
Sunflower oil + extra for greasing - 150 ml
Eggs - 2
Brown sugar - 140 g
Self raising flour - 170 g
Ground cinnamon powder - 2 tsp
Mixed spice powder - 2 tsp
Soda bi carb - 1 tsp
Carrots , coarsely grated - 140 g
Nuts ( optional - walnut) - 50 g

Icing -
Soft cheese - 200 g
Butter - 50 g
Icing sugar, sifted - 85 g
Cinnamon - pinch

This step - try doing it the night before - I never have - put the orange zest and juice in bowl with the sultanas.  Or stir in the zest, juice, sultana together and microwave for a minute and keep for a few minutes to soak.

Grease and line the base of a loaf tin ( 2lb tin)
Whisk the oil and eggs

Heat the oven to 180 C or 160C fan.

Mix the sugar, flour, mixed spice and cinnamon powder, soda bicarb in a large mixing bowl
Add the sultanas soaked in the juice and zest, grated carrot, nuts and oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients.
Thoroughly mix with wooden spoon.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or till skewer comes clean.
If you find the top of the cake beginning to brown too quickly, loosely cover with foil
Cool the cake in the tin.

Once cool, remove from tin.

Icing - with electric whisk, beat soft cheese, butter, icing sugar and cinnamon till smooth.  Spread over the top of the cake.  Decorate with walnut halves.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


These are absolutely delicious. Quite like the ones we had when young.  This particular recipe, however, calls for the use of black treacle.  Not very easily available in India and I am considering experimenting with jaggery molasses.  When I do I will add it to the notes.  The end dough may seem too soft and not easy to handle. If required take a couple of spoons and place on tray for baking :-) The biscuits can be chewy or if kept a little longer in the oven it will acquire a nice crunchy texture.  Either way they are delicious.  And ideal with a hot cup of tea.  Recipe sourced from here

Ingredients - Makes 36 

Butter - 165 g
Caster sugar - 200 g ( can reduce this a bit if you do not like them too sweet)
Egg -1
Black treacle - 85 g *
Plain flour - 250 g
Ground ginger - 1 tbsp ( increase if you like it more 'gingery' )
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp ( decrease a little, it can mask the flavour of the ginger)
Bicarbonate of soda - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Caster sugar - for rolling the dough

Preheat oven 180C ( reduceto 160 C if with fan)
In a bowl cream together butter and 200 g sugar till smooth.
Beat in the egg and treacle until blended
Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda bicarb, salt
Stir in the treacle mixture to form a dough
Roll dough into 2.5cm balls and roll in remaining sugar
Place onto ungreased trays

Bake for 8-10 minutes if you want chewy biscuits and longer for crunchy ones
Allow biscuits to cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely

Note -
Black treacle is sticky.  A tip - warm a spoon over a flame and put into the tin.  The treacle will slip off easily.

The final dough is quite soft and may require some help in making balls.  Use two spoons, pick and place on tray.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Gozleme - Turkish flat bread

when Spill the Spices posted a picture of the Gozleme on facebook I had to go over to her blog for the recipe.  While she used the traditional spinach and feta stuffing, I opted for a desi filling with Indian masala, more because I wanted to make the gozleme the same day and did not want to postpone it for lack of any ingredient.  And this is all about the bread and not the filling.  If you want the recipe for the spinach stuffing, hop over to her blog .   For step by step pictures of the procedure, do check out Ozlem's Turkish Table

I did think the gozleme was a cross between a bread and a kulcha.  The filling is of course upto you.  Only ensure that it is dry otherwise it can result in a soggy product. Best served hot.  This recipe uses yeast, but you can substitute with self raising flour or it has been even made without leavening agents, in which case the dough needs to be kept overnight before use.

Ingredients: ( yields 5-6 nos)

Plain flour - 3 cups
Yeast - dry, active - 7 g
Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Yoghurt - 2 tbsp
Salt - pinch
Water - 260 ml ( warm)

Use 150 ml of the water, warm, add the yeast to it and keep for about 10 minutes till the mixture is bubbly and frothy.

Sift flour into a bowl
Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture
Add the salt, yoghurt and olive oil
Form a dough by bringing it together.  Add the remaining warm water till it forms a soft dough.
Knead thoroughly
Divide into 5-6 portions.  Make them into round balls.  Keep on a floured surface, cover with damp towel and keep for 30 minutes or till doubled in size.

Meanwhile prepare the filling
I have made a filling of potato, carrot, spring onions and peas with Indian spices

when the dough has doubled in size take each round ball, place on a floured surface and roll out , dusting more flour if necessary, till you get a thin rectangular sheet.

Fold the left and right sides of the sheet lengthwise, till they meet in the middle.
Place the filling in the middle generously -2-21/2 tbsp
Fold the top and bottom layer over the filling
The filling should be covered and edges should be pressed together to seal well.
Repeat for the other balls

Brush one side with olive oil
Place the oiled side of a well heated griddle or non stick pan
Keep for 2-3 minutes till well browned
Meanwhile oil the top portion.  Flip over.  Keep for another 2 minutes till the side is browned.

Brush both sides of the cooked gozleme with oil.  This helps keep it moist.

Cut in halves or quarters.
It is generally consumed with tea.  
You can experiment with the accompaniment.  We had it with sauces.

Monday, February 15, 2016


A thick classic Italian soup - toss in whatever vegetable is in season or whatever is leftover in the refrigerator, add broken bits of pasta or rice, beans, tomatoes (if you wish since it is not really the part of the original recipe), water or stock.... whatever... and you can be sure you will land up with a delicious concoction that does not cost much, but makes a hearty meal.

Ingredients: ( recipe can be tweaked to suit individual tastes) - Serves 4

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion  -1
Carrots - 2 chop
Celery sticks - 3 chopped
Garlic cloves - 2 finely chopped
Tomato -1 large - chopped ( optional)
1 can of 400 g chopped tomatoes
Water/ stock of your choice ( I added vegetable) - 1.2 litres
Cannelini beans ( I added chickpea) - 400 g  - already cooked
Dried pasta - broken - sphaghetti/ macaroni - 100 g
Cabbage - shredded finely - a fistful
Salt and Pepper
Other herbs ( optional) - I added Italian herb seasonning
Basil leaves - few
Parmesan Cheese - garnish.

Take a deep saucepan with a lid
Heat the olive oil, add the onions, carrots, celery.  Season with little salt and pepper.  Cook a while , stirring till the vegetables soften a bit.
Add the garlic, fry a minute
Stir in tomato and cook for another 3-4 minutes
Add the chopped tomatoes and stock.  Cover with lid, bring to boil slowly
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
Add the pasta and beans and cook till pasta is al dente
Add cabbage , cook another two minutes.
If soup is too thick, add some hot water
Season with salt and pepper
Put in some torn basil leaves.  Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

Vegetables and Pasta should be al dente
Add whatever vegetables are available
Tomato is optional.  Some do not add it at all
Rice may be added instead of dried pasta
Broken pasta is generally added.
Potato can be added
Shredded spinach is another option
And non vegetarians can add shredded meat of their choice.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Orange Cake with Cream Cheese frosting

Another recipe from James Martin.  The chef uses a lot of local ingredients and the particular episode of Home Comfort that we were watching, he visits a neighbouring rapeseed farm and then proceeds to make the orange cake with the rapeseed oil.  A and I were watching the show and the minute he sliced through this dense,yummy moist cake, we felt we had to try it.  Sure enough the next day, all the ingredients were laid out on the kitchen table and I had no choice but to make it.  And I was glad I did.  The home made candied orange peel adds the finishing touch to the cake and it adds a great flavour.

I suppose one can substitute rapeseed oil with any other refined oil.

Butter - for greasing
Oranges - 5 nos ( large) - try ensuring that they are sweet
Rapeseed oil - 100 ml
Eggs - 4 nos
Caster sugar - 450 g
Self raising flour - 125 g
Almond flour - 125 g
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Cream cheese - 150 g
Crème fraîche - 150 g ( I used a bit of sour cream)
Icing sugar - 25 g

Topping - ( optional - I did not use)
Walnut halves and basil cress

Oven temperature - 170C or 150C fan

Lightly grease a 9" cake tin with butter
Zest three oranges into a large mixing bowl.  Keep aside
Remove the pith from the zested oranges. Roughly chop the flesh, discarding any seeds.  Place in a bowl and blend well with rapeseed oil till smooth and well combined.  Keep aside.

Into the bowl with the orange zest add the eggs and 250 g sugar.  Using an electric whisk, whisk the mixture till pale, thick and creamy and leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted from the mixture.
Sift the flour, almond flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Carefully fold in half of the puréed orange mixture into the egg mixture
Followed by the flour mixture.  And then the remaining puréed orange mixture

Pour in the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and risen. Check with skewer in the centre of the cake. It should come out clean. If not, cook a further 5 minutes and check again.

As the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.
Whisk the cream cheese, crème fraîche and icing sugar together till smooth and thick. Chill in the fridge till needed.
Peel the remaining two oranges with a vegetable peeler, then julienne the zest finely.
Pour 150 ml cold water into a saucepan, stir in remaining sugar.  Add the julienned orange peel, bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat till mixture is simmering.  Simmer for 8-10 mins to make a light syrup
Strain the syrup. You will only need the peel.  The syrup can be used for a orange drizzle cake or any cake, it will add a delightful orangey flavour 
Dredge the peel with caster sugar on a plate till coated.

Remove cake from oven when done, set aside to cool slightly in the tin and then on a rack till cooled completely
Now, spread the cream cheese frosting over the top and decorate with the candied orange zest and if you wish the nuts and cress. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bedmi Puri - With added split black lentils and spices

It is definitely more work than making the usual puri , but absolutely worth it.  It has spices that are freshly ground and that does add a great flavour to the puri.  The recipe has been sourced from Archana's Kitchen. Serve them hot with your favourite aloo curry.


Split black lentil or urad dal soaked for 5-6 hours - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 21/2 cup
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Ginger grated - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 2 1/2 tsp
Red chilies - 3 nos
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Amchoor powder - 1 tsp
Green chilies - crushed - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp + More for frying
Salt to taste

Dry roast red chilies, coriander and cumin seeds till they give out the lovely aroma. Do not burn.

Cool and grind to coarse powder.  Keep aside.

Drain soaked urad dal, and blend to a coarse paste without using water. Or very little water if absolutely necessary.

Transfer to a bowl
Add the ground powder, amchoor, oil, ginger and salt.

Now gradually add wheat flour and knead the dough, adding water as and when required to make a smooth but firm dough.
Cover and rest for half hour.

Knead once again.  Make small balls.  Roll into puris and fry in hot oil on a medium flame until golden brown.

Serve with aloo curry.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mini Panetonne

A panetonne is a sweet bread from Milan that is generally made for Christmas.  It has a long drawn proofing, contains lots of dry fruits and orange zest.  It has a cylindrical base and a well risen dome shaped top.  I would not have given a thought to making it considering the process involved and also I did not have the panettone tin. But I watched James Martin in Home Comforts at Christmas, making a mini version in a muffin tin and I thought, why not?  Well here are the results.... pretty good if I should say so.. and also taking into account that I did not have a bread mixer and worked at the dough manually.  Recipe adapted from BBC Food


Butter - 75 gms softened, plus extra for greasing
Candied peel - 50 gms
Dried fruits - 200 gms ( or raisins and sultanas)
Rum - 2 tbsp - you may substitute with orange juice
All spice - 1/2 tsp
Strong white bread flour- 425 gms and extra for dusting
Caster sugar - 60 gms *
Salt - 1 tsp
Fresh yeast - 18 gms ( I used 7 gms of active dry yeast)
Tepid water - 160 ml
Eggs - 2 nos and 1 for egg wash
Orange zest - 1 orange

* I would have liked a little more sugar - depending on the sweetness of the dried fruits - do consider adding another 20-30 gms more

Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter
In a bowl mix the candied peel, dried fruit with the rum.  Combine and keep aside.
To another bowl, add flour, sugar, salt.  Use food mixer if you have.  Makes the job so much easier.
Whisk the yeast with a little water in a separate bowl.  Then add it to the flour.
Add the remaining water and the whole egg and beat/knead till it comes together as a dough.

Beat in the butter a little at a time
Add the orange zest.  Continue to beat/knead for 4-5 minutes till the dough is smooth.
Keep it aside covered in a bowl to prove for about an hour or till it has doubled in size.

Knock back the dough.
Sprinkle over the rum-dried fruit mixture and knead the fruit into the dough either in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface.
The dough will be very sticky
Roll into a ball.  Cut 12 equal sized pieces/
Roll each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface and place one into a muffin hole.
Cover tin with cling film and keep aside for 45 minutes till risen.

Preheat oven to 190 C / 170 C fan
Brush top of risen panettone with the egg wash.  Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or till golden brown.
Remove from tin and cool on wire rack

Slice.  Enjoy with butter/cream or whatever.


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