1 cup jowar flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup jowar flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
Some weeks ago we were standing outside a shop in a market at Chandigarh. A lady (who I suppose believes in the power of small talk) came over with her grand daughter and asked me if the baby in my lap was my son or daughter. I replied that it was my daughter. Her response – Koi Gal Nai ( loosely translates into Never mind). I lifted my eyebrows and debated about giving her a earful about how angry her thoughts made me feel. And how awful I felt about her little grand daughter who has to live with such archaic, biased thinking. But I walked away. Why ? Because answers for such people and such thoughts will not lie in our words. They will lie in our actions. To counter every such a person who feels that it’s a pity that someone has a daughter and not a son – we need to raise sons who will themselves be the answers that shatter such narrow and petty ideas.
Sons who will run up to their mothers after laying out the cutlery on a table so beautifully and feel a sense of pride in their work. Sons who will nag their mothers to teach them how to bake and cook. Sons who will come and boast to everyone about how nicely they had learnt to wash their own clothes. My answer to that woman is my 5 year old son
On that note here is the recipe that my son and I worked on, to bake for my parents as we headed out to visit them for our summer vacations.
Recipe – Gluten-free Seed Cookies !
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 /2 cup quinoa ( dry roasted and roughly ground)
1/2 cup jaggery powder
1/4 cup Ghee
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
melon seeds and flax seeds, as per your requirement
Mix the first 3 ingredient well. Then add the nutmeg and seeds. Finally rub the ghee into it until you get a soft dough. Roll it and wrap it with cling film. Then keep it in the fridge for 2 hours. Then remove it, shape it into round cookies. Keep them on the baking tray in a spaced out manner, since they will spread a bit. Bake at 170 degrees C for 20 minutes, in a preheated oven.
Sometimes there are places that bring tears to your eyes when they are being spoken about – tears of joy, of memories, of belonging, of streets known, of hidden bylanes unknown. Do you have such a place that means that to you?
For me it is the place where there once sat a vendor selling “puchka” – those little fried balls that are filled with spicy yum coriander water and some potato-black chana mix. And no – golgappa/panipuri / any other name does not even begin to describe what that is ! And that is Calcutta 🙂
And sometimes when we felt like, it was a ‘deconstructed’ version of the puchka called the ‘”choormoor” that was eaten.
I have lived so long, and so longingly, with the lingering taste of that quintessential street food of Calcutta, that I wondering how might I replicate it in some form. Here it is – the spiced potato-black chana mix was recreated as a baked cutlet, with the baked sweet potato shreds adding to the crispiness.
In flavour it tasted very similar, though a healthier and slightly drier version of it.
Until I go back to Calcutta again, this is going to have to be my go-to food, for memory trips to that place that brings tears.
1 cup boiled black chana mashed well
2 small boiled potatoes mashed well
Chopped Dhaniya and Pudina ( Coriander and Mint)
Amchoor – 1 tbsp or more. You can use tamarind water instead.
Salt, Red Chilly Powder, Jeera Powder as per preference.
Mix these well. Make round flat cutlet. Keep them in the fridge for 20 minutes. Grease the baking tray with some oil. Lightly brush the top with oil too.
Put the cutlets onto it. Bake until crisp and brown. You can turn it around mid way.
Baked at 170 degrees C for 20 minutes.
I took my son to a place close to home, where the children were going to spend a couple of hours working on a patch of garden. I went with the idea of getting him to expend his energy since the summer vacations are on. As some of you might be aware, a restless 4 1/2 year old with unused energy is a different kind of person altogether !
For the first 15 minutes I simply looked on and prayed for him to remain engaged for the entire duration of 2 hours. I wondered if I had done the right thing – gardening and connecting with the soil, as well as nature are immensely therapeutic but will he want to do it again?
But as I kept watching him, my mind was whirling with thoughts….The world we live in – we have to teach our kids to play in mud, to wonder about the magical creatures living in the soil, to touch leaves without hesitation, to feel the wonder of planting a seed, to squeal with delight when a caterpillar crawls on their little hand.
And when you do that, the world we live in changes…A little each time, because we start removing the layers of indoor dust that’s settled into our own souls as well, to uncover the glistening beauty of outdoors.
That’s what nature does for us – puts us back right where we belong.
And by the end of those 2 hours, I think both of us had been put back where we belong – more me, than him. Because for a child, it is so much easier to sense that belonging. But for a jaded adult, it takes a while to revisit the deep recesses of the soul, scrape off the dirt and uncover the roots.
On that note, let me share something that is earthy in flavour and contains ancient grains.
Grow Fit has some excellent flour mixes and the first one “Ancient Grain Low Carb Atta” that I tried has yielded excellent results. I was very excited to try it in both, savoury and sweet bakes.
It is diabetic-friendly, PCOS-friendly, Low Carb and High Protein, containing Quinoa and Amaranth.
What I baked with it ( also eggless, bp/bs free) –
1. Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)
2. Chocolate Almond Cookies
They turned out so crisp and crunchy in texture, that I am looking forward to baking many more things with this flour super soon.
Baked Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)
1 cup of the Low-Carb Flour, Ancient Grain
Kasoori Methi and Ajwain as per your taste preference
2-3 tsp salt, 1-2 tsp red chilly powder, 1-2 tsp homemade garam masala
3-4 tbsp oil
Hot water for kneading
Mix all the dry ingredients well. Add the oil and mix with hand. Use hot water a bit at a time and then mix well. Knead it well and leave it side for 10 minutes. Shape it into rounds and bake at 180 degrees C, for 20 minutes or until crisp.
And talking about the earth brings me to my recipe.
As a mother, let me share with you that it has been a very crazy yet happy half-year: filled with many worried nights, many days of undiluted joy, lots of second guessing myself as a mother and frustrations, of trying to weigh mother’s instinct against experience and expertise, of trying to wonder how does one need to behave when one becomes a mother..but most definitely a half-year with not a single dull moment in it.
But you know what – Thank you for being patient and waiting for me to grow into my role as your Mom…sometimes
I look at you and it seems to me that you understand what I say, you understand when I say I have two other babies –Gunna Masi and Elsu, and smile back. You understand when I say I won’t pamper you silly, but that doesn’t make me love you any less.
Most importantly you understand that seeing how you do on well-defined milestones is not for your mother, for they seem like a checklist to tick on….it is the uncharted adventures that are for me…
Like our first flight together alone means more than when you first rolled over, or our first road trip, our first visit to the children’s home, how you and Elsa started growing comfortable with each other’s presence or even our daily debates about why sleeping in the night takes precedence over playing away!
So here’s not to more milestones…but to more ADVENTURES, my son ! The adventurous journey that started when I became a mother..”
Sharing a recipe that marks the first break that I am taking from baking on order, as the Chief Baker of Ovenderful, ever since it started in November 2013.
Wholewheat Butter-free Egg-Free Chocolate Almond Cake
1 cup wholewheat flour
3/4 cup cane sugar
½ cup curd
½ cup milk
½ cup boiling water
¼ cup any flavourless oil that is safe for baking
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( use great quality cocoa powder, it makes a world of difference)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped almonds and some additional for topping the cake with
Grease and dust an 7/8 inch round cake tin. I used a springform one, but it is not necessary to use only that one. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Sift together the wholewheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder .
Beat the curd, cane sugar, oil and milk. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ones and mix well.
Slowly add boiling water and mix well ( just use a whisk, no need to beat it) to get a smooth batter. Add the chopped almonds and dark chocolate chunks, fold them into the batter gently. Pour in the baking tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Let it cool off entirely before you remove it from the tin.
Cologne / Koln, November 2008: the only thing I knew about it was that this was the first European city I was going to visit, it sounded exotic and I was going to be attending a conference by Chemicals organizations there. That was it.
Strange as it may sound, my excitement was centered around meeting my colleagues from the US, South America and Europe. Not around the city. It is not that I was under-estimating the loveliness of the city. It was just that at that time in my life, I thought work should be an all-consuming part of one’s life.
I am one of those people whose senses are more heightened after a sleepless night!
And so driving into Cologne immediately after landing at Frankfurt, was probably what made me absorb the gorgeous beauty of the city – there were streets that were actually cobbled and people strolling in a leisurely manner with little dogs on the side-walks in the middle of a busy week-day ! At the heart of the city towering above all else was the Cologne Cathedral – not only is it a resplendent architectural wonder, since it stands next to the river the entire picture is a sight to watch, almost like a painting.
I walked through the city since that is what the hotel staff suggested and I would recommend that to everyone – it is the only way to absorb the sights and sounds. But seeing the quaint ( and quite modern too!) trams go past, was enough to tempt me to climb into one of them for a short ride. It seems to be a common form of transport through the city and it took me back to the time I used to take tram rides in Calcutta.
In a short 2 day work visit, this was all I could manage, but the city’s charm is irresistible-it lies somewhere between being a small city to a large town, steeped in German tradition and yet somewhat welcoming towards those like me who wandered through it before moving onto other places.
So for a city as multi-layered as Cologne, the German Apple Pie, a comforting bake with complex flavours is what comes to mind 🙂
I tried it on one of my walks and this is my healthier version of it in a buttery Barley-Oats crust with a delicious apple-cinnamon filling, topped with caramel sauce and baked. It is entirely free of refined white flour/all purpose flour and the sauce uses coconut sugar.
If the above three elements are ready, the method is just about assembling them and baking. So layer the baked crust with sliced stewed apples.
Pour the sauce uniformly and then place the pie into the oven to bake for 30 minutes, at 180 degrees C.
Serve warm as is or with ice cream !
Leftovers – As mothers we know all about leftovers, whether it is food or memories. For both these, we have an inherent quality – of how to innovate and create magic by meshing things that might be so different that putting them together seems impossible 🙂 Not only that, they also know how to cherish it, how not to not waste – whether it is food or memories.
Different elements of leftover food come together in our kitchens regularly just as we weave a pattern from diverse memories to create something to hold dear in our twilight years. So hold onto those leftovers – whether it is food or memories, conserve and recreate them. Because both form the foundation of what we call “living” .
Why am I talking about leftovers today ? Because what I baked is not even a proper well-defined dish, but just a one-pot healthy bake that came about because I had some portions leftover from other things that I had made.
Baked Sprouted Moong Dal in Coconut Milk ( Oil / Butter free )
1 cup sprouted green moong dal
1 1/2 cups coconut milk, homemade
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tomato, 1/4 onion, 2 garlic cloves, small piece of ginger – chop and grind well into a paste.
1 small piece of cinnamon
Salt as per your preference
2 tbsp Malvani masala , homemade
1 tbsp Grated coconut ( optional)
Put the coconut milk, sprouted green moong/gram dal and warm water into an oven-safe dish. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, at 170-180 degrees Celsius. Take it out. Add the paste made with tomato, onion, garlic and ginger to it and mix well. Add the cinnamon, malvani masala and salt, and the grated coconut.
Put it back into the oven. Bake for another 40 minutes at the same temperature.
Take it out and serve hot.
How would you sum up 11 months of stay in a place – moved in, settled in, moved out ? That’s pretty much the way I would have thought probably a decade ago. But today it seems like even in those short 11 months, one can fit in so much into one’s life in a place.
It starts with being unfamiliar and you yearn for your earlier comfort zone.
It goes into a resigned kind of acceptance of what you have currently and even if its different, you can live with it.
It changes to looking at the goodness that is present in parts of it, and which you probably overlooked before.
It moves to liking the place, forming a few relationships and getting involved with the community.
It escalates into enjoying your stay there, waiting to see the neighbourhood dog who wags her tail, the same children cycling around each day, the same help who cleans the apartment, the same person in the flat above who you havent had a chance to know by name yet but who smiles at you each time.
And then you pack and move on.
Such is life. That fragile. That ever-changing. That is how it shifts, it moves and changes shape each day for us. We wait for it to “settle” into a routine. But of course, it has its own plans.
So here is a quick, simple and versatile recipe which is simple to life in all those qualities-
Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives
1 cup wholewheat
1 tbsp of rice flour
1 cup boiled and pureed spinach ( I added ½ a green chilly, 2-3 cloves of garlic and a little chopped coriander to it while pureeing)
3-4 tbsp chopped chives
2-3 tbsp black sesame
1 tbsp white pepper
Salt as per requirement ( I used rock salt)
Add some warm water to make the dough pliable.
Mix all the above dry ingredients well. Then add the spinach puree and the warm water ( if needed). Cling wrap it and store it in the fridge for about an hour.
Take it out, roll it into a rectangle, use a sharp knife to cut long strips/sticks. Place them onto a baking tray which is lightly greased. Sprinkle some chives and black sesame. Bake in a pre-heated oven ( preheat for 10 minutes) at 175 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. You need to turn the sticks around mid way. Allow it to cool entirely for it to become crisp.
I am not really a night person ( or not any longer!) in most cases – The only thing that I love doing before sleeping off is reading. And that was the case for a long time. Even now, given the fact that I have to get up very early I try to plan a lot of my work in terms of baking or writing in the those wee hours.
However, there are rare occasions particularly on the weekend, when even after a long day in the kitchen, I love to unwind with some baking. And usually it happens to be experimental in nature – not because I want to brood over a disaster, incase that it is the result. But more so because, I want to know and therefore plan for what I want to do the next day to rectify or re-try an experiment if the one done the night before fails !
Thankfully for me though, this recipe of Wholewheat-Oats Buttermilk Bread (adapted from a blog, which had in turned been inspired by a book on Jewish baking) has turned out superbly in its second trial. The first one was not too bad, but the second one has turned out beautifully and I can’t wait to bake it again.
The texture and flavour is delicious and while you can smear it with butter, my personal preference to have it with Gooseberry/Amla Jam – the combined flavours of the bread, chilly flakes and Amla are brilliant.
Whole Wheat –Oats Buttermilk Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons honey
2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
Oil for greasing the tin
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup warm water
Sprinkling of red chilly flakes
Mix the whole wheat flour and oats with salt.
Mix the honey with warm water. Dissolve yeast and keep it aside for 10 minutes.
Add the honey-water and the yeast to buttermilk. If you do not have it at home, you can use regular milk in which 1/2 tbsp of white vinegar is added.
Add the liquid mix to the flour mix and mix well. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Start kneading after 15 minutes, and knead well for 5-6 minutes. Grease a bowl and let the dough rest in it, until it doubles(it took about 1 hour mine to double).
Grease your loaf tin and place the dough in the form of of an oval shaped loaf into the tin. Leave it to rest and rise for another hour.
Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees C. Brush the top of the loaf lightly and sprinkle chilly flakes and then bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Cool and slice.
*** Recipe for Gooseberry Jam/Amla
1/2 kg of Amla / Gooseberry washed and dried and boiled well so that the exterior is soft. Drain out the water ( you can use that for anything else ) . De seed the boiled amla, run it through the grinder.
Put it into a non stick kadai / pan. Keep it on low heat and stir. Add 3/4 cups cane sugar, 2-3 tbsp honey, 2 tsp ginger and 1 tsp or more if you prefer of cinnamon powder.
Keep stirring till it acquires the sticky jam like consistency. Cool off and store in air tight glass container.
Many of you have seen the kind of note 2017 has started on , for Ovenderful. Receiving such a lot of recognition and appreciation is incredible, but also overwhelming. It also leads to a whole lot of soul – searching , at least for me it did. People will probably say that one should savour the moment – which I did. But when you realize the power of what you created it can be humbling.
The Ovenderful you see today seems to be lit up in all the success – But with all the adulation that has come, each time I have looked inwards to remind myself that this is not a story of Glory , it is a story of Grit.
I don’t say this for any reason except to simply share this experience with more people – many of who are struggling with a small / home based venture. So that they remember to stand tall each time the venture receives a setback and they understand that the sun rises and sets. Today it shines on one and tomorrow on the other – so don’t lose heart.
I baked only to raise funds or for social impact for the initial years – not because I wanted to have a story to tell. But because ,simply put, I believed in them and they in me.
I sold baked goods at prices that were laughable, so much so that those who ordered them told me to rework my prices – upwards. Not because I couldn’t price better but because the idea of completely monetizing what I had realized was a passion, seemed to reduce its value, to me.
So Ovenderful is where it is, only and only because of two things – the unchanging philosophy that it will always stand for social impact alongside being a venture and that it will dare to go where few will ( healthy baking ) even if the orders are few and far between.
And since Ovenderful has been like a baby to me, which I have spent love and time on, to nurture, it is only fitting that I share a recipe that is close to my heart – that of Lactation biscuits, which many new moms have found useful when they are feeding their babies.
Published first on : http://fitmoms.in/lactation-biscuits-recipe/
Method – Cream the butter and sugars together till it is light and fluffy. Sift the flours together with the ginger and nutmeg. Add it slowly to the sugar-butter mix and mix well. Wrap it well in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.
Take it out and press it into a greased flat baking tray. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Place the tray in the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes and then take it out. Use a sharp knife to cut the rectangle shapes on the tray itself.Bake it again for 15 minutes after doing that and then remove them from the tray to cool off and store.
You might be wondering why it has been so quiet at my end. Well, it has been a very busy month in many ways. The reason for the same is that I have been involved with 4 events all of which are unique and special.
I loved being a part of each of these experiences and from all the invitations that I receive, why I choose to be a part of these is entirely because of their uniqueness and the depth they added to my own journey as a healthy baker and blogger. They opened up a new and wider perspective for me as an individual and Ovenderful as a social enterprise.
Here’s a quick look at 2 of those 4 events ( the remaining 2 will be covered –
See more pictures here: https://www.facebook.com/mumsandstories/posts/682771135219738)
Audio Link : https://soundcloud.com/radioactivecr90-4mhz/active-bangalore-mums-and-stories-a-panel-discussion-on-how-moms-can-create-successful-blogs
Over 35 bakers came together to bake for 3000 children in 27 government schools in rural Bangalore, to make Children’s Day a special one for them. When Aruna, who is the Founder of Kritagyata Trust got in touch I knew there had to be a way to make this work.
So here is what we did ! I think Children’s Day had a new and special meaning for me this year simply because I believe at some level we were able to touch lives, unknown to us so far and yet find a connect that is so heart-warming.
As a tribute to these two events both of which helped me reach back within my soul to rediscover what I truly love – writing ( and hence blogging ) and baking for community impact, here is an earthy, close-to-the-roots kind of recipe :
Gluten Free and Egg Free Dark Chocolate Ragi Tarts filled with Coconut cream and grated dark chocolate ( Baked for an event that I will share in my next post)
(Picture Credit – https://www.facebook.com/IndiaPhotoArtist?fref=ts)
For the tart –
1 cup ragi flour
1/4 cup jowar flour
60 grams cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup Coconut sugar
1/4 cup Dark chocolate ( grated )
2 tbsp cocoa powder
The mixing process is exactly like it is for the pastry crust of tarts – Mix the flours, coconut sugar, dark chocolate and cocoa. Then slowly rub cold butter into this mix till it looks like bread crumbs or comes together. Keep some milk in the freezer to use incase you need to bring the dough together. Cling wrap this and keep it for 2-3 hours in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes prior to baking. When the dough is ready to be baked, take it out and press it into muffin trays to give it the shape. Bake them for 20 minutes till it becomes crisp.
For the filling – Mix together some fresh coconut cream, liquid jaggery, grated coconut and grated dark chocolate. The proportions will depend on how sweet you want it, how ‘coconuty’ and how liquid in texture !
You can use any other filling of your choice too 🙂