Monday, 31 July 2006

Jihvā for Ingredients - Flour

Flour is an ingredient used in many foods. It is a fine, powdery foodstuff obtained by grinding and sifting the meal of any of various edible grains or other starchy food sources. It can also be made from legumes and nuts, such as soy, peanuts, almonds, and other tree nuts. Flours are normally identified according to its grain source. A flour can range in texture from coarse to extremely soft and powdery, depending on the degree of bolting (sifting) it receives at the mill.

Flour is always based on the presence of starches, which are complex carbohydrates. Different types of flour are needed for different products. Wheat flour is the main ingredient in most food throughout the world. Rice flour and tapioca starch are more widely used in South East Asian delicacies. Gram flour used mainly used in Indian cooking.

In line with the theme FLOUR, I made a South East Asian delicacy using three different types of flours as its main ingredients. Different flavours and textures of the different flours give a unique taste and texture. I have added alkaline or lye water to give a bouncy or spring back texture to this kuih.

Kuih Kosui

What do we need:

1/2 cup grated palm sugar or brown sugar
1 cup water

2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup coconut milk from 1/4 coconut
1 tsp alkaline or lye water

1 cup grated coconut
1/4 tsp salt

How do we do it:

Cook the water and palm sugar until the sugar dissolve. Strain and set aside to cool.

Add the cooled palm sugar syrup to the flours and alkaline water. Mix thoroughly. Strain the batter.

Pour the batter into a greased mould or greased little moulds. Steam on high for 15 minutes. Let the kuih cool.

Meanwhile, mix the grated coconut and salt together. When the kuih has cooled completely, cut into desired shapes and dredge the kuih into the salted coconut.

Kuih Kosui makes a great breakfast or evening tea snack.

Sunday, 30 July 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 22

I go bananas with anything made of bananas. Containing three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. Energy is not the only way a banana can help us keep fit.

It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet. Banana gets rid of depression, PMS, anemia, lowers blood pressure, constipation, hangover, heartburn, morning sickness, prevents mosquito bites, help calm the nervous system and many more.

Banana Butter Cake

What do we need:

1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup mashed very ripe banana
1 egg

How do we do it:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Stir in the mashed banana. Fold in the sifted flour mixture.

Pour batter into a greased and lined loaf pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

The Meat Substitute

Soya is one of the most versatile wonder foods we have as it can mimic the flavours and textures of most of our popular foods. Soya protein that comes in the shape of chunks, granules or flakes are made from processed soya beans. They are called Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP, which is defatted soya flour that has been processed and dried to give a substance with a sponge-like texture which may be flavoured to resemble meat.

As well as being a good source of fibre and high quality protein, it is fortified with vitamin-B12. Soya is a rich source of plant compounds called phytoestrogens. This reduces the risk of breast cancer and prostrate cancer and raise good cholesterol levels. It contains 48% soya protein without any fat. it helps to control blood sugar for diabetics and people who suffer from hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).

Soya protein is very bland in taste. Extra flavours have to be incorporated to enhance it. Being my comfort food, I have substituted soya chunks to my favourite mutton dish.

Soya Chunks Varuval

What do we need:

2 cups soya chunks
2 medium potatoes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp meat curry powder
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

How do we do it:

Soak the soya chunks in hot water for about half an hour, then discard water. Squeeze out the excess water. Then wash them in clean water. Squeeze again. Set aside.

Dice the potatoes. Mix with salt and turmeric powder. Deep fry until golden in colour. Set aside.

Heat oil and fry fennel seeds, star anise and cinnamon stick until aromatic. Add in ginger garlic paste and the sliced onion. Sauté until the rawness gets over. Pour the water, add curry powder, soya sauce and the soya chunks. Let the gravy simmer. Add the fried potatoes cubes and season with salt and sugar. Keep stirring gently until it becomes dry.

Soya Chunks Varuval with Plain Rice, Lemony Spinach and Sambar

Serve Soya Chunks Varuval with hot rice or roti.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 21

I started doing something but ended up with something else. It was so tasty that I wish to share the recipe with everyone thru our Weekend Baking Session.

Cheesy Orange Marmalade Rolls

What do we need:

2 cups bread or high protein flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup water
1 egg
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt

1 cup orange marmalade
1 cup grated cheese

How do we do it:

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water.

Combine egg, butter, salt, sugar and the yeast mixture. Add flour alternately with the remaining 1/4 cup of warm water. Mix until well combined. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Roll dough out into a rectangle. Cover generously with orange marmale. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Starting from the long side, begin rolling the dough down to the bottom edge, swiss roll style. Cut the rolled dough into 1 inch slices and place on a lightly greased pan 1 inch apart. Let the rolls rise again in a warm place until nearly double in size, approximately 45 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 200° C for 12-15 minutes.

Friday, 21 July 2006

My Bakery's Latest Addition

I found some silicon baking utencils on sale in Carrefour. Without much thinking, I quickly grabbed them.

Heart shaped ice tray cum jelly mould, mini cupcakes tray and 2 little teddy bear moulds

Cannot wait to use them but time, the culprit is being the obstacle. Now that Mahisha has been going to the day care centre the past 2 weeks, she needs more and more attention for me. The blog has been been very slow since then. :(

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 20

Last week we were invited to our babysitter's place for her son, Harry's birthday party. Along with a gift, I also brought a cake. The next day, Priya called me up and said that she and her other guests liked the cake very much and requested me to post the recipe in the blog.

As I promised, here I am. This week´s Weekend Baking session, is a tribute to Priya for all that she had done for me.

Mocha Chiffon Cake

What do we need:

2 tbsp cocoa powder + cake flour or plain flour to make 1 cup
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp instant coffee powder or granules

3 egg whites
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

How do we do it:

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Dissolve the coffee powder or granules in the milk. To this, add the egg yolks, sugar, oil and the flour mixture. Mix until well blended.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar little by little and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg white into the pandan mixture to lighten it. Then, pour the lightened coffee mixture into the remaining beaten egg white. Fold gently but quickly and thoroughly to combine both mixtures.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 8" round cake pan. With a flat knife, quickly cut through the batter a few times to get rid of any very large air bubbles. Bake in a preheated oven at 175° C for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and immediately invert the cake pan and let it cool.

When the cake is completely cool, run a knife or a thin spatula around the sides of pan to loosen the cake from the pan.

Fill and frost the cake with your favourite frosting. Decorate as per desired.

Thank You Very Much Priya!!!

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Healthy Sodhi

Found ridge gourd at the local Indian grocery shop. It has been such a long time since I have eaten it. Felt like eating at once. Therefore, I bought one.

I like ridge gourd added in a watery dish. Struck my mind was sodhi. Sodhi is a broth like dish cooked with coconut milk and tamarind. I wanted to using avoid them both. As substitute, I decided to use milk and tomatoes, which are far healthier.

Ridge Gourd Sodhi

What do we need:
1 ridge gourd
1 large tomato
1 large onion
1 green chilli
1 tbsp dried shrimps
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

How do we do it:

Remove skin and slice the ridge gourd into 1/2 inch rings. Slice the tomatoe and onion. Half the chilli lengthwise. Wash and drain the dried shrimps.

Heat oil, add the onion, chilli and shrimps. Sautè until aromatic. Add the ridge gourd. Pour in the water and add turmeric powder. Cook covered until the ridge gourd is cooked.

Add milk and sliced tomatoes. Season with salt. Remove from heat when milk starts to boil.

Serve Ridge Gourd Sodhi with hot piping rice or idiappam.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 19

Plums are member of the stone fruits family that arrives in the summer. Plums grow in clusters, are plump, have very smooth and shiny skin and a centre pit. Plums can range in shape from oval to round and in size from 1 to 3 inches in diameter with a depression at the top where the stem attached. Their colour can be yellow, white, green, red, purple, indigo blue and almost anything in between with equally varying skin colour. The pale silvery-gray, filmy-looking coating on a plum's skin is natural. Some plums are much firmer-fleshed than others. Plums contain vitamin A and potassium.


Plums are sweet, juicy and edible. There are many varieties, some sweet, some acidic, and some best suited for drying into prunes. They are often enjoyed fresh for out-of-hand eating, but they work well in cobblers, compotes, tarts, jam and chutneys. They are also available as canned plums, packed in either water or sugar syrup. Plum juice can be fermented into plum wine. When distilled, this produces a brandy known in Eastern Europe as Slivovitz.

Yoghurt Plum Pie

What do we need:

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cold butter
1/4 cup ice cold water
1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup yoghurt
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
500 g ripe plums

How do we do it:

In a food processor, place the flour, salt and cold butter. At a low speed, mix the ingredients until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Gradually, add the ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time just until the dough binds together. Make sure not to over work the dough. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.

On a floured board, roll out the dough into a disk, 2 or 3 inches larger than the pie pan. Transfer the pastry onto the pan. Fit the pastry very well on the bottom and side of the pan. Cut excess pastry. Line with a sheet of aluminium foil and place dried beans or rice as weights. The purpose is to prevent the pastry from bulging out when baking. This method of baking is called blind baking. Bake in a preheated oven at 230°C for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Then, lift the aluminium foil together with the weight. Now return the pastry shell to the oven and bake for another 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Half the plums and remove the stone. Arrange in a circular form inside the pie shell.

Combine yoghurt, sugar and the eggs. Beat well. Pour the mixture onto the plums.

Bake at 150° C for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Jihvā for Ingredients - Dal

Lentils or dal are a member of the legume family. They grow in pods that contain either one or two seeds that are round, oval or lens-shaped disks. With the highest level of protein other than soybeans, it is a very important part of the diet for vegetarians. Apart from that, dal also contains dietary fibre, vitamin B1, and minerals. The important thing is that it is low in fat.

Masoor Dal

Dal has the advantage of cooking quickly. It easily absorbs flavours from other foods and seasonings. It has a mild and a distinctive earthy flavour. Dal is renown for causing flatulence, which often countered by adding asafoetida to the dish.

As the entry for Jihva for ingredients, I have thought of cooking an unusual combo; Indian and Italian.

Dal Farfalle

What do we need:

2 cups farfalle or any pasta
1/2 cup masoor dal
1 bay leaf
1 onion
2 pips garlic
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sambar powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup milk

How do we do it:

Boil dal with the bay leave until soft. Discard the bay leave and purée the cooked dal until smooth. Set aside.

Boil a pot full of water with a generous amount of salt. Cook the farfalle in the boiling water to al dente or until the time specified on the pasta package. When cooked, drain and set aside.

Chop the onion and garlic finely. Heat oil and sauté the onion, garlic, cumin seeds and the dried basil leaves until aromatic. Add the dal purée, sambar powder and milk. Cook until the mixture thickens. Add lemon juice and season with salt. Add the cooked farfalle and stir gently but thoroughly to ensure that it is fully covered.

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