Friday, September 27, 2013

Whole Grain "Spelt" Bread

Spelt is a grain,  sister of wheat.  It has a nutty taste and itz bread/buns turns out very soft and airy.   I read that spelt grain is much healthier than wheat.  Thanks to Rebecca wood for posting wonderful recipe.  I could find very few recipes online for spelt and this one was great.  I have been making this bread for quite some time now.   This bread can be easily made with hand too since it requires less kneading.

What you need?

1.5 active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1.5 Tbsp Molasses
1.5 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
3 cups whole spelt flour - 3 Tbsp
3 Tbsp vital wheat gluten

How to make?

Activate yeast in 1/4 cup warm water with 1 tsp of sugar and let it rest for 5 mins.  Proceed with the next step only if the yeast froths.

Add rest of the liquid into the same cup and mix it thoroughly.

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Now add the liquid and make a dough.  Make it as ball and just rub little oil around it and let it rest in a big bowl or container.  Keep it covered for about 45 mins or till it is double.

Prepare the bread pan (9 by 5 inch) by brushing oil first all around it and dusting flour on top of it so that the bread can come out once baked.

Once double, punch down, roll into a small cylinder (tightly) and keep it in the prepared pan.

Allow it to proof for 45 mins or till the bread raises above the pan ridge.

Bake for about 34-35 mins.  Remove the pan after first 15 mins and cover with aluminum foil so that the top does'nt brown.

Run a bread knife around the pan before taking out the bread from the pan and allow it rest on the wire rack for an hour before slicing.


1. If you are not using vital wheat gluten, you could add white spelt flour to any ratio (50-50).
2. If you are using bread machine, be sure to run the dough cycle only for 15 mins.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Birthday Cake - Color

I made this cake for my older one's bday during this summer.    I followed Maduram's eggless recipe for the cake.  I followed another recipe for the frosting.   I am blogging here for the colors that I used on the cake, they were my own creations.  I did not want to buy the colors and have been thinking for long about it.  I had made two colors but ended up using only one since the cake was small and My daughter wanted some simple design.

Purple Color:

I used frozen blueberries.  It whoozed out the juice automatically.    I boiled the juice to make it as concentrate.

I mixed the frosting with the concentrate.

Orange Color:

Make carrot juice and boil it to make concentrate.

I ended up using only purple.  I bought purple gel pen to write.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

I wanted to share my experiment on making the birthday cake.  I got the recipe from internet.  I pretty much followed the original recipe to make this one though I have also tried with different replacements before.  All the versions were pretty good.    My kids and hubby liked the cake very much.   I did not want to use fancy colors over the cake.  Infact, the strawberry flower design is given by the birthday girl.  I  kept the design to very basic.  I dont know much of it as well.  But it was well received by family and friends.   My hard work payed off.    My better half also helped me on this experimentation.

This is the original recipe.   I have mentioned what I replaced adjacently.  I made 2 batches and filled the buttercream frosting between the layers.


2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (1/3 cup cocoa powder)
1 1/4cups sifted organic whole wheat pastry flour (Cake flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt (cooking salt)
1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 cup natural brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs (2 Tbsp egg replacer + 6 Tbsp water)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream (Fat free Greek Yogurt)
1/2 cup boiling water

Preparation: (slightly modified)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9'' 13'' pan
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
Mix the cocoa into the flour
Mix the water with the egg replacer and let it rest for 5 mins.
Beat the butter and sugar for two minutes. Add the egg replacer and beat for an additional two minutes. Beat in the vanilla
Gradually stir in the sifted flour mixture in approximate thirds, alternating each time with 1/4 cup of the greek yogurt
Stir in the boiling water. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 23 minutes. Do not overbake this cake! Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

For the buttercream Frosting:

I followed versatilevegeteriankitchen blog's recipe.  Champa is my baking Guru.  She is amazing.   I had to add more milk to mine since it was becoming quite thick.


1 cup unsweetened butter at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup of solid vegetable shortening (crisco)
flavoring (I use quite a bit vary according to your taste) - 2 tsp of favorite extracts.
3 pounds of confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
Heavy whipping cream  - 6 to 8 TBSP based on the consistency desired.
Corn syrup to thin the icing if needed.

Beat butter, shortening together till creamy. Add salt and slowly add confectioner's sugar about a cup. Then add whipping cream in steps of 3 TBSP each and alternately add confectioner's sugar and corn starch till you have used up all the sugar.Beat for a minimum of 15 minutes and adjust the consistency using corn syrup.


1. I have also made this recipe with pastry flour and oil, it was pretty good too.   Flax egg has also worked out good.

2. Butter cream frosting hardened when refrigerated.  I realized that when I took out for the cake for final decor.   I kept the cake out for 2 hrs before cutting and it was pretty good.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Amaranth(Rajgiro) Puri

I am not an expert on deep frying obviously.  But recently I got a kudos on the pakoras and also on the puri's.   I have to tell a short story before I give the recipe.  I started making this as part of my kids ekadasi's menu.   I will blog about ekadasi fasting in my other blog  I started fasting on Ekadasis since last Nov and it is going good.  I do eat and drink (fruit, milk and nuts) but stay away from cooked food.   Kids also wanted to fast on ekadasi's.  I was fine but dad was reluctant.  I did not want to say "No" to it because when they want to do it with their will then it is well and good.  Instead of fasting, we came up with simple menu so that they learn to control their tongue and mind.   They eat fruits and nuts salad for brkfast and dinner.  Lunch will be made with the fasting cereals/fruits like amaranth/buckwheat or moraiyo.

Fasting is infact very good for your body, mind and soul.  It is good to keep away from all kinds of food at least once in a fortnight on Ekadasi.

Amaranth is a gluten free flour.  It has to be mixed with something to make it rollable for puris or chappathi. On normal days, I would mix with wheat flour but it was special for Ekadasi, I made like this one.

Food is cooked with no salt on these days.  Can you imagine, is it not a real challenge for your tongue and mind?

What you need?

Yam or sugarbeet - 2 medium sized
Amaranth flour-1 cup
ajwain seeds-a few

Prep work:

1.  Steam yam in a rice cooker.  I boil water and cook the yam in a steamer on top of it, it takes 20-30 mins.
Once cooked, peel and mash them.

How to make?

Mix amaranth flour with Mashed yams, add ajwain.

Roll them into small discs, use amaranth flour for dusting.

Heat oil in a kadai, deep fry them.

It was super soft.  Serve it with Mango pulp or potato stir fry.  We made it without salt too.  Noo,  we have not gone crazy, just a challenge.    Kids never complained.  Actually I served the potato stir fry in yogurt sauce but they preferred it just as the stir fry.

Mango Ginger Pickle - Remedy for internal inflammation

This recipe is good for anyone but it is quite beneficial for people suffering with any internal inflammation.

I was literally fighting with my sciatica for 4 months.  It was not easy.  I could'nt stand in the same spot for even 2 mins or walk 200 mtrs.  Pain would shoot from the lower back to the toe on my left leg.  I was literally crying inside thinking what pain is this.  It took a month for me to know that it was sciatica.  I told about this to my friend in office and She is the one who suggested this remedy.  I went for  physiotheraphy and took this Mango ginger pickle in sufficient qty every day and I got rid of this in 8-10 weeks.  Yes, it takes that loong.  I had taken high dosage of ibubrufen for 2 weeks in the 5-6th week of the pain.  Reach out to me if you want to know what else I did.  I cannot vouch that my remedy would work for you.  But you could definitely try since it does'nt have any side effect.

Turmeric is known to reduce cholesterol and promote health.

What you need?

Mango Ginger - 1 lb
Fresh Turmeric - 1 lb (optional)
Black salt - 2 Tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 cup (freshly squeezed)

Prep work:  

1. Soak mango ginger and fresh turmeric if using in enough water for couple of hrs.  It will make the skin little bit soft.

2. Just scrap off the thick skin around each mango ginger, (this is cumbersome but the formula is No Pain No Gain)

How to make it?

1. Grate the mango ginger followed by turmeric if using.

2. Use a glass or stainless steel container preferably since plastic will stain and also not good to store lemon juice based dishes.

3. Now add the black salt and lemon juice.  Lemon juice should be sufficient to soak almost.   Increase the salt if it very sour.

4. Leave it overnight.  

5.  Transfer it to multiple jars.  I put one in the refrigerator and rest in the freezer for future use.

Now how to take it?

Take a Tbsp 3 times a day (Brkfast/lunch and dinner) for few weeks.


I could not take the sour.   I added tadka with Mustard seeds, lots of green chillies and Asofoedita to make it a kind of pickle.  I took 2 Tbsp during lunch and 1 Tbsp during dinner.   

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lemon Grass Tea

I have been getting lemon grass in the farmers market for a while now and always get tempted to buy them. I dono why.  Somehow I love the spices.  I will first buy them and then see where I can use it.  These are literally sticks and cannot be cooked like veggies.  We just need its flavour.  Lot of thai food use lemon grass.  I have a Maharashtrian colleague and I asked her one day if she has any idea of where i can use lemon grass.  She gave this wonderful idea of using it in the tea.  Tadaaaa, it goes into my tea everyday since then whenever I have it my pantry.

Here you go!

Boil 1 cup of water, crush 1/2 inch of ginger.

Crush slightly 2 sticks of lemon grass which are about 2 inch long

Once it starts boiling, add the tea masala, tea powder and sugar, let it boil for few mins.

Add milk if using, give it a few mins, filter it and enjoy the lemon grass flavored tea in your garden! 

Lemon Barley

This is genuinely an idea rather than a recipe.  I post many such recipes which would give an healthy alternate to the traditional food.  Lemon rice is like staple food for many south indians.  It is super easy to make, cook rice and mix it with the tadka and lemon juice.

Usually, they say that lemon juice should not be heated,   I realized/learnt why they say that.  Lemon juice has lots of Vitamic C and it gets lost when heated.   You should not reheat any food with Vit C to not loose its nutrition

What you need?

Barley flakes - 1 cup
Usual Lemon rice ingredients
Carrot grated 1/2 cup

How to make it?

Optionally, you could dry fry the barley flakes in advance and keep it in a container.

1. Boil 2 cups of water in a kadai, let it boil well, add 1 Tbsp of oil, 2 tsp salt and barley flakes, let it stay till all the water is absorbed.

2.Transfer it to a wide dish and let it cool.  It has to be cooled well before you add the tadka, otherwise it will turn mushy.  It will be well separated if you leave it alone for a while.

3. Tadka - Oil 1 Tbsp = add mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal, green chillies as per taste, asofoedita and few curry leaves

4. In a bowl, add a pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, add the tadka over this.  You should pour the tadka while the oil is still hot.  Add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice once the mixture is cold.

5. Mix together with the dried barley with  1/4 cup of roasted peanuts.  I also added about 1/2 cup of grated carrots to give the yellow orange beautiful look.  It could be topped with green coriander or fresh pomegranetes.

Handy Kids Lunch - Stuffed dumpling

It is always handy to have few recipes which takes less time to make with few dishes but also nutritional.   I am somehow skeptical about buying lunch at school, one reason is that I don't trust that it is truly healthy and another reason is the concoctions like having milk with lunch and all those things.    I research and if it makes sense to me then I start practicing.  Once I am convinced with an idea then I do not wait to practice.
This is actually  my husband recipe .  We always try to use more veggies in any dish that we make.  I send dumpling for lunch once in few weeks.   I usually mix the idli batter with veggies and make it but this one is made differently.   You could use idli batter or any batter like even Vadai batter.  I have few ideas on the base mix which I will share sometime.

What you need?

Keep the batter ready
Cut veggies like carrot, beans, potato into small cubes
Fry them with oil with cumin, turmeric and masala powder, once cooked, keep aside.

You need a special dish to make this, it is called paniyaram or appe dish.  It has small deep holes with heavy bottom.

How to make it?

1. Heat the paniyaram dish and spray oil on it, keep it in medium heat

2. Pour 1 Tbsp batter in each hole, add a tbsp of veggie on top of the batter in each hole, again add a tbsp of batter to cover the veggie

3.Turn over the dumpling using the stick and a spoon, spray oil, let it cook for about 5 mins.

4. Transfer to a dish and let it cool.

It is ready to pack for lunch or eat as snack.    Kids can eat it quickly and run for their play time.  They love their recess during lunch.   I pack it with my kids favourite homemade tomato spread.