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Monday, November 24, 2014

Sheermal

Sheermal or Shirmal is a saffron-flavored slightly sweet traditional leavened flatbread that is found in various countries on the Asian sub-continent including Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.

Sheermal is a Naan-like milk bread, apparently of Persian origins, and it is suggested that the name comes from the Persian word for milk which is “sheer”. In India, this “milk” bread is predominantly found in Muslim neighbourhoods (another reason to suppose it came to India with the Mughals) of Kashmir, Lucknow and Hyderabad.

My friend here in Sharjah had introduced me to "Sheermal", which we get from the bakeries.  Almost every other buiding in Sharjah has a bakery shop.  We get all the type of Rotis, like Pakistani Roti, Aghani Roti, Roghani Kulcha, Lachcha Paratha, Sheermal and many more. And out of these I buy only Sheermal from them.  I liked the mild sweetness in them.  So whenever I am craving for some mild sweet, I go down get a Sheermal.

We from the "We Knead to Bake" Group are baking Sheermal this month.  And today is the last day for the post so hurrying up.  I enjoy the "We Knead to Bake" Group.  Under the expert guidance of Aparna, I almost come near to what is expected. Made Sheermal at home for the first time and it came out very excellent the frist time itself. The home Sheermal tastes much much better than the bakery bought ones.

I followed the recipe given by Aparna exactly, except that I have increased the amount of sugar used. Otherwise the recipe remains same.



Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp active dried yeast
3 tb.sp sugar (But I think maybe about 2 to 3 more tb.sp of sugar would equal the store bought ones)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ghee
1/2 cup milk (or more, as required for kneading)
 1 tsp kewra water (screw pine essence) or rose water
A few strands saffron soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
Melted butter, for brushing





Method:


1)  Mix the yeast and sugar in luke warm water and allow it to froth for 5 to 10 minutes.  Keep it closed in a warm place.  Check it, if it doesn't froth up then repeat the step again with another t.sp of yeast.

2) Take the flour in a bowl, add salt, the yeast mixture, the remaining sugar, milk and the beaten agg. Mix together.  Add ghee in two lots and mix, till it forms a crumble.

3)  Now add the milk and kewra water and knead it into a soft and slightly sticky dough.  Transfer this to an oiled bowl, cover with a cling film and let it rest in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours, till the volume is doubled.

4)  Remove the cling and push down the dough.  Knead again.




5)  Pre heat the oven at 180°C.

6)  Divide it into equal balls and lightly coat all over with a little ghee.  Cover and let it rest for about 10 to 15 min.

7) Now using your fingers and palms shape each ball to a roti shape.  Keep it little bit thick in size.  You can also use a rolling pin.

8) Place the rounds on a greased parchment baking tray and prick the rounds using a fork, almost through out the whole surface.  So that the air trapped in the dough is released and it will not rise much when it bakes.




9) Brush generously with saffron-milk.  Bake in the middle rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, keep checking in between.  Once they turn to a lovely golden brown, remove them out.

10) Taken them out of the oven and immediately brush them with melted butter or ghee.  Serve warm.



Thanks 
Lakshmi Venkatesh

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake

Kerala Christmas Cake is a very famous cake which has fruits soaked in rum and is flavored with spice.  It has a dark brown colour and is loaded with loads of fruits.  My dad and my son are very big fans of this cake. My dad often buys it from shops. But somehow, I didn't much like the shop brought ones. Used to taste too much of spice and was dry and only had raisins and very few nuts. So I decided to bake the cake at home.  The home made ones are soft, loaded with lots of fruits and nuts and has a balance of the spices.  I make it a point to soak them one month before I bake the cake.  I have been making them since last 3 to 4 years. And they have been always a hit.  When I decided to bake the cake I googled for the recipe. Read many of them, but what clicked me was Mariasmenu Cake. But she is using Rum to soak the fruits and nuts. Since I didn't want to use rum, I have use orange juice for the soaking.







So here comes the recipe for the Kerala Christmas Cake.


Ingredients

For soaking 
Mixed Dry Fruits -  3 cups (Normally I use apricots, dates, raisins, sultanas, cranberries) Mixed Nuts - 1 cup (cashews, almonds)
Orange Juice - 2.5 cups

Soak the dry fruits and nuts in orange juice about a month before you want to bake the cake.  Keep it refrigerated. Give it a stir once in 10 days. Remove it out just on the day of baking and bring it to room temperature before baking.  





For Caramel
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 tb.sp
Warm Water - 1/4 cup 

Combine the sugar and water in a nonstick pan and heat it.  Let the sugar melt.  It will slowly start turning brown in colour.  When it is reached a caramel colour remove the pan from heat and pour warm water in it. Becareful since the pan and caramel both are very hot, it may splash as soon as you add water.  Put it back on stove and boil for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove and cool.  After it cools down, transfer it to a bottle and refrigerate.  This step can be done in advance itself.  




For Spice Mix
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - a small piece
Nutmeg - little

Grind it all together in a mixer to form a very fine powder. You can use a little of sugar if it is not grinding to a very fine powder.







For Cake :
All Purpose Flour - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 1 1/4 t.sp
Baking Soda - 1/2 t.sp
Castor Sugar - 1 cup
Unsalted Butter - 250 gms
Eggs - 4
Vanilla Essence - 2 tsp
Jam - 1 tb.sp



Method


1)  All the ingredients used should be at room temperature.  Eggs, Butter, Caramel, Soaked Fruits all should be at room temperature. Pre heat the oven about 30 minutes before u want to bake the cake.

2) Drain the soaked fruits and retain the drained juice.  

3) Sift the flour with Baking powder and Baking Soda. 

4) Seperate the yolks and white of the eggs.

5) Beat egg whites till soft peaks form.  Keep aside.  For beating egg whites make sure the bowl is clean, free from oil and is dry.  Otherwise the eggs won't beat.

6) Nowbeat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks and beat.  After it gets fully incorporated add the vanilla essence, cooled caramel and spice powder and beat again.  

7) Now add the sifted flour in batches and mix it using the cut and fold style. Add the jam and mix again.

8) Fold in the beaten egg white in two batches till all the white has mixed up well.

9) Rub the soaked fruits in about 2 tb.sp all purpose flour. This will keep the fruits from soaking down while baking.

10) Fold in the soaked fruits and 4 tb.sp of the retained juice.

11) Pour the batter in a greased baking dish,lined with a parchment paper.

12) Bake it at 180°C for about 20 to 25 min and then bring down the temperature of the oven to 150°C and bake for another 25 to 30 mins or until the skewer comes out clean. 

13) Make a light sugar syrup and mix with the remaining juice.

14) Transfer and the cake to a cooling rack. Make some holes with the skewers here and there and pour little of the sugar syrup. This is to keep the cake moist.

15) You can store the cake in a box and leave it outside.  It tastes great 1 or 2 days after the cake is baked.  Pour the sugar syrup once or twice inbetween to avoid it from getting dried.






Try it out in your kitchen and let me know how it turned out in your kitchen. 


Lakshmi Venkatesh

Monday, November 10, 2014

Doughnuts / Donuts

I was introduced to doughnuts when I was in Germany.  Me and my children used to like the Aldi's Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts very much.  We used to buy it very often. Then I used to often wonder how do they make these soft fluffy doughnuts.  So, from then, I had always wanted to try making it at home.  But never got the guts and time, to even search for the recipe.  Recently in a TV program, I saw Chef Sanjeev Kapoor making these small round delicacies.  It seemed easy and required very less ingredients.  So then I thought of giving it a try at home.  And the result was very fantastic, much better than the store bought ones.  Since it was the first time i was trying to make Doughnuts at home, I made them using eggs and yeast.  Though when I googled for the recipe of Doughnuts there are many versions of eggless, yeastless and also baked Doughnuts.  






Ingredients

All Purpose Flour (Maida)  - 3 1/4 cup
Butter - 110 gm
Egg - 2
Active Dry Yeast - 15 gms
Milk - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 t.sp
Oil - For frying




Method 

1) All the above ingredients should be at room temperature.


2) Sieve the flour for about two times.

3) Add sugar and yeast to luke warm milk, and give it a stir.  Let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes till it becomes frothy.

4) Till then beat butter till soft.  

5) Add the eggs one by one to the butter and beat.  

6) Now add the flour, frothed yeast and salt.  And mix.

7) Knead a little with you hands for some time.

8) Keep the dough in a oiled bowl and cover it.  Let the dough rest for about half an hour or till the dough has doubled in volume.

9) Once the dough has proofed, punch it down and knead again.  

10) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thick sheet (about 8 to 10 mm).  

11) Cut with a doughnut cutter or if you don't have a doughnut cutter, then use a big cup for the outer ring and a small bottle cap for the inner ring.

12) Place the cut doughnuts in a tray, leaving enough space in between for the doughnuts to expand.

13) Cover it and let it expand in volume.  At this stage, if you are short of time, then you may also keep it covered and leave it in the fridge, till further use.

14) If you have kept it in the fridge remove it and keep it in a warm place for about 2 to 3 hours till it has visibly doubled in volume.

15) Heat oil in a pan. To check the heat of the oil drop a small pinch of the batter in the oil,it should go down, stay there for about a few seconds and then come up and float.  This is the right temperature.

16) Put in the doughnuts and fry till golden brown on both sides. Keep flipping in between.

17) They will increase in size while frying.

18) Remove it and keep it in a tissue paper.









For the glaze

Melt the dessert chocolate using a double boiler.

Dip the doughnuts in the hot chocolate and place it in a sheet.

Let it cool down.

Store it in a air tight box and enjoy the soft 




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta)

 This month in We Knead To Bake group Aparna had decided to bake Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta).  In the We knead to Bake group, we are all experimenting with baking using yeast, under the expert guidance of Aparna.  Loved making these cute small biscuits this time.  Below is the information about Torcettiini, in Aparna's own words.  It was very interesting to read the origin of these biscuits.



Torcettini are smaller versions of the Italian Torcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/ teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butter which are shaped and then rolled in sugar before being baked. 

The origin of these biscuits is believed to be from Grissini (breadsticks) which were made from the leftover scraps of bread dough. According to one story, a Grissini baker had some leftover butter which he needed to use up. Inspiration struck and he decided to add the butter to the last batch of his Grissini dough for the day. To be able to differentiate this lot of “breadsticks”, he rolled them in sugar and shaped them into loops, and the Torcetti was born. Torcetti/ Torchettini taste even better when they’re flavoured with lime/ lemon zest or anise.
  
These biscuits are crunchy, not very sweet and pair very well with cold milk, hot chocolate, tea/ coffee or wine. They are delicious served warm and equally good cold, and keep very well if stored in airtight containers. 



Torcettini di Saint Vincent
(Adpated from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri)

Ingredients:
 1/2 cup warm water, about 110F
 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lime/ lemon zest (replace with orange zest for the chocolate version)
 40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
 about 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies



Preparation:

1)   Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.

2)   Put the flour and the salt in the food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.

3)   Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead.

4)   Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit.

5)   This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.

6)  When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it. 

7)   Cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical.

8)  Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.

9)  Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2" between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. They will not “puff up” much.

10)Bake them at 160C (325F) for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown. Remove them immediately from the parchment and cool them on a cooling rack.  Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Know Your Dairy Series : Ghee

Its going to rain Ghee here in Kitchen Chronicles this month. Know why?

Because this month I am hosting "Know Your Dairy Series : Ghee" here at Kitchen Chronicles.  Know Your Dairy Series was started by Jagruti of Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey.  



Rules to be followed :

1. Post any vegetarian /non-vegetarian recipe prepared using Ghee as an important ingredient between 1st March and 31th March 2013.


2. Link to my event page and Jagruti's event announcement page. Logo is appreciated.


3. Multiple recipes are welcomed .Archieved recipes are accepted only with their reposts with event links and logo.

4. Link in your entries to the linky tool given below.

5. Non - bloggers are also welcome and Send your entries to kitchenchronicles1(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject line as "Know Your Dairy Series : Ghee" furnished with the following details:


Name :
Recipe Name :
Recipe :
Picture of your recipe : 


Also friends do not forget to send in your entries to the "Tried and Tasted : Chettinad Cuisine". Here is the link for it http://elvisalakshi.blogspot.com/2013/02/tried-and-tasted-event-chettinad-recipes.html  The event is from Feb’15th to March’15th.

Also I need guest hosts for the future "Tried and Tasted Event".  If you are Interested in guest hosting the event please mail me at kitchenchronicles1(at)gmail(dot)com or leave me a message in the comment section below.  You can here more details about the event.

I will be adding the linky tool soon.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Matar Kachori with Dum Aloo

Matar Kachori is maida puri stuffed with Green Peas masala.  And Dum Aloo is a cooked using small baby potatoes which is simmered in a gravy of Curd and Tomato.  Dum Aloo is serves a best combo for all sort of rotis, parathas and puris.



This month Sonali of Sonali's Kitchen from the Northern Team had challenged the Southern Team with Matar Kachori and Dum Aloo. For more about the SNC challenge visit Divya Pramil's space You Too Can Cook - Indian Food.









Matar Kachori

Ingredients

For the Filling
Matar / Green Peas - 4 cups  (I used frozen peas)
Green Chillies - 6 to 7
Ginger - 1" piece (peeled and washed)
Roasted Jeera (Cumin) Powder - 1 t.sp
Salt - as required
Oil / Ghee - 1 tb.sp
Sugar - 1/2 t.sp
Besan (Bengal Gram Flour) - 1 - 11/2 tb.sp


For the dough
Maida / All purpose flour - 3 cups
Salt
Oil - 2 to 3 tb.sp and more for frying the Kachoris.







Method

1)  Clean and drain the Green Peas.

2)  In a mixer grind together the ginger, green peas, green chillies.  Add little water only if required.

3) Heat oil / ghee in a Kadai.  Add the roasted jeera powder.  Do not allow it to burn.  Immediately add the grinded paste.

4)Add the salt and sugar and mix well.

5) Stir till you feel the raw smell of the peas has gone.  Add the besan and mix well.  This will help in binding.

6) Transfer it to plate let it cool.

7) In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the dough.  Knead using warm water.  Knead till you get a soft pliable dough.

8) Make into small balls and keep closed.

9) Make the Green Peas masala also into small balls and keep covered.

10) Heat oil in a Kadai, for frying the puris.

11) Dust the working surface with some flour and place the dough on it and flat it a little with the help of a rolling pin.

12) Stuff with the green peas rounds and close. Now roll into thin puris as much as possible, taking care not to tear the puris.

13) Fry it in the oil.  Cook on both sides till golden colour and drain and remove the Kachoris. Place it on a tissue paper so as to take away the extra oil.

14) Fry all the Kachoris in the same manner.








Dum Aloo Recipe

Use small baby potatoes as far as possible for this recipe.  I couldn't get the small baby potatoes and hence brought small potatoes, peeled them and cut them into half.

Baby potatoes - 1/2 Kg
Cumin Seeds - 1 t.sp
Fennel Seeds - 1 t.sp
Asafoetida / Hing - a pinch
Green peas - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 t.sp
Tomato - 3 to 4 medium
Cumin Powder - 1/2 t.sp
Coriander Powdr - 1 t.sp
Kashmiri Mirchi Powder / Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1 tb.sp
Sugar - 1/2 t.sp
Garam Masala - 1/2 t.sp (optional)
Curd / Yougurt - 3/4 cup
Ginger - 1" piece
Fresh Cream - 1/4 cup
Clove - 1 to 2
Green Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon Stick - 1" piece
Oil - 4 -5 tb.sp





Method

1) Peel the skin of the potatoes. Prick it with a fork here and there, all around.  Soak the potatoes in salt water for about 2 to 3 hours.  Remove and drain them on an absorbent paper.  Let them dry for about 15 to 20 min. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and fry the potatoes till golden in colour. Remove and drain.

In a mixer, grind together the tomatoes, ginger, cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon stick. Grind to a very fine paste.

2) In a bowl mix together beaten curd, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and sugar.

3) Heat oil in a kadai.  Add the Cumin Seeds and Fennel Seeds.

4) Add the green peas. Saute for a minute.  Add the curd mixture and the potatoes.

5) Cook till the mixture starts just to boil. Simmer and close the kadai.

6) Let it cook till you start seeing some signs of oil on the top. Keep stirring in between.

7) Add cream, mix well. Cover and cook, till it leaves out the oil.

Serve with hot Matar Kachoris.









Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Utterly Butterly Flaky Croissants

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen had chosen to bake "Croissants" this month for the "We Knead to Bake" group. And so it was Croissants and Macaroons all over blogosphere this month.




My children and I have always enjoyed croissants.  Many a times I have used the readymade sheets available for Croissants and baked it at home.  So it has always been in my trial list.  But because of loss of a perfect recipe and directions I never attempted to do it.  But this month Aparna gave a very detailed instruction and a good recipe.  So it all worked out fine, without any problem.



The process of baking croissants in this recipe is for three days.  We do a little work on it all the three days.  You can find the detailed recipe at Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen.  Please give me sometime to put the detailed recipe here.  The original recipe was from Jeffrey Hammelman's at Fine Cooking.