Simple Meal – Thepla

July 30, 2008

Have you had one of those lazy days when you just want to sleep on the couch and do nothing? Well, that was today for me. Not that I could sleep on the couch..I had to go to work.  :-( But even at work I just didn’t have any energy. I so wanted the day to get over so I can go home, lie down on my comfortable couch, get my blanky and watch “So You Think You Can Dance” (OMG..I love that show!) :-D

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J and I coincidentally work in the same building (I know how lucky is that!) so I kept bugging him the entire day by calls and even met up with him twice to chit chat. Every time we talked we discussed what we would have for dinner. We tossed quite a few ideas, but seeing how really energetic I was (uh huh!) we decided to just do either pizza or Chinese delivery. And to tell you the truth, I couldn’t have been more excited! But once home, I felt guilty about eating unhealthy food once again (we had pizza hut pizza yesterday! :-? ). So I rolled up my sleeves (metaphorically speaking..with sleeveless t-shirt it didn’t work ;) ) and decided to have some thepla. My mom recently had sent some home made gujju pickles (murabo, chundo, godkeri, methi, etc.) all the way from India (Thank you thank you mom!!!). And what better to go with thepla…..chundo (sweet, tangy, spicy mango pickle) and MASALA TEA! Yes, tea..this is one of my comfort meals. I know tea probably sounds weird for dinner, but I love the whole combination. In fact, J who never had thepla before, loved them as well. He chowed them down with murabo (sweet, cardamom, saffron mango pickle) and tea. :-)

Ta

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Recipe: Thepla
(Makes 12 medium sized)

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups atta (wheat flour) + some for rolling theplas
3 Tbsp oil + oil for cooking
1 tsp turmeric
1-1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
salt per taste
water for kneading dough


Method

Mix flour, oil, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, and salt. Knead a little bit with the oil that was added to the flour so all the spices and salt gets mixed. Now add water and knead the dough. The dough should not be too tough or too soggy. It should have a medium consistency. Cover the dough and let it sit for 15 mins or so. (Time to get the tea ready ;-) ) Break the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each ball of dough into a thin disc (Not too thin as roti). I usually roll out each of the 12 dics and then start cooking them as I do not have speed nor can I multi task. Once you have rolled the theplas, heat a pan on medium-high heat (you don’t want to cook on too low heat, as it will result in rubbery thepla). Place one of the theplas on the pan. Cook on one side till you see bubbles forming on the underside. Turn the thepla over and smear the cooked side with oil. Turn it over again and smear the other side with oil. Cook both sides till they are done (brown spots start to appear). Continue till you have cooked all 12 theplas and enjoy with some masala tea!


Meeta’s Chocoholics’ Cake and Manhattan

July 29, 2008

I was very excited when Zlamushka of Spicy Kitchen chose Meeta’s What’s For Lunch, Honey? blog for the Tried and Tasted Blog event.

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Meeta’s blog is one of my favorite blogs. Her blog is full of delicious recipes, amazing photos, mouth watering desserts (some of them I had never heard of :-) ). Her passion and love for cooking is an inspiration to me. Though I am a regular visitor to her site, I had never made an attempt to cook any of her recipes. Her recipes looked so good and beautiful that I really don’t know why I didn’t try her recipes earlier.

I had J look at Meeta’s blog and select something that is vegetarian and something he would like to eat. And guess what he picked! His first choice was the Manhattan drink and then the Chocoholics’ Cake. J loved his Manhattan. In fact, I had to make a second one for him. I tried it too, but it was a little too strong for me. Both of us had never had bitters in a drink, and I do have to say it did bring a nice flavor to the drink. However, it took me a while to convert Meeta’s metric measures..but the end product was worth every bit of time :)

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The Chocoholics’ Cake was also out of this world. The addition of the blackberry spread to the cake is genius. It kept the cake moist and gave rich color to the cake. I followed Meeta’s recipe for cake exactly. However, I did double the recipe of the chocolate frosting..it was too good to not make a little bit more :-)

Ta

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Chocoholics’ Cake Recipe
(Adapted from Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey?)

Ingredients

For Cake:

1-1/2 cups of All purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
1 cup milk at room temperature
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup seedless blackberry fruit
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

For Chocolate Frosting

1 Ghirardelli Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate Bar (113 gm) – Chopped
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp butter
6 tsp heavy whipping cream


Method

In a bowl, add both the granulated and confectioner’s sugar with butter and mix with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes creamy. Break an egg, mix for a min. and then add another egg. Mix for another min. Add vanilla essence and blackberry seedless fruit and mix well. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and milk and mix till you obtain a smooth batter. Preheat the oven at 350 degree F. Butter an 8 inch x 8 inch pan. Pour the cake batter into the pan. Bake the cake in the oven for 45 mins.

For Chocolate frosting, heat the chopped chocolate, butter, whipping cream and sugar in a pot over gentle heat till you get a smooth mixture.

Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Once the cake has cooled down, apply the chocolate frosting evenly over the top of the cake. Let it set for 15-20 mins and then cut a piece and enjoy!


Soft Orange Scented Brioches

July 27, 2008

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Of late I think I have caught the baking bug. I never thought baking would be fun and oh my gosh, I totally love it! I first started by baking the Focaccia Bread, which turned out pretty good than what I had imagine it would be. I had some blackberries and raspberries left over from the Baked French Toast I had made for Sia’s WBB-Breakfast Blog Event. So I tried to bake some raspberry and blackberry muffins. The recipe called for 2 tsp of baking soda. Now to confess to everyone, I did not know what the difference between baking powder and baking soda was. I know that is terrible, but I had never baked before. All I had at home was baking soda and thought about substituting baking soda for powder. I researched online about the difference between the two and realized that I could not substitute baking soda for baking powder. But I had already mixed the dough and the other ingredients and didn’t feel like going to the store to buy baking powder. So I used 1 tsp of baking soda instead and boy o boy, was that a big mistake! The muffins just didn’t taste right..there seemed to be something missing in the muffins. And I learned from my mistake to never take baking lightly and NEVER substitute baking soda with baking powder or vice verse.

After the muffin disaster, I couldn’t keep my mind off baking and decided to make Nicky of Delicious Days’ Orange Scented Brioches. I had vowed to myself not to screw this one up. So the night before we were supposed to leave for our family vacation to Arkansas, I got my bowls, ingredients and my Kitchenaid mixer ready and set out baking. In the beginning, Nicky’s recipe calls for adding flour, milk, sugar and yeast and to stir it once or twice and let it sit for 15 mins. And for me to not make a mistake was not at all possible. For some reason I thought the recipe called out for 1/3 cup of milk and while I was mixing I thought something was wrong because the dough seemed dry. So I check the recipe again and find out that I had messed up my metric to US (cup) conversion. It was supposed to be 1 cup of milk. I added the remaining amount of milk and mixed it again. By then I had mixed the flour far more times than the recipe called for. And after 15 mins of letting the covered dough rise, I did not see any bubbles on the surface as the recipe says it should. That scared me and I was not sure how the brioches would taste. But you have got to trust Nicky’s recipes..they are AWESOME! My screw up did not make that big of a difference in taste (at least that’s what I like to think ;)) When I took the brioches out of the oven, the kitchen was filled with orange scent and though it was 10 pm I could not resist having one with some strawberry preserves.

The only thing I can say about them is that you have to try some in order to explain the rich, sweet texture of the brioche. We took the brioches to Arkansas the next day and the whole family had them for breakfast. They all loved them. My nieces thought I had added some orange juice to them, LOL!

Ta

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Orange Scented Brioches (Adapted from: Delicious Days)

Ingredients:

1 cup warm milk
1 packet of dry yeast
2-1/2 cups All purpose flour (I had to add more flour than the original recipe calls for)
1 tsp of sugar for initial dough
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter + extra to brush the brioches once done
zest of one orange


Method

Mix flour, 1 tsp sugar, milk and yeast in a bowl and stir a couple of times. Cover the bowl and let it sit a warm spot for 15 mins. Add remaining sugar, egg, orange zest, salt, melted butter to the bowl and knead the dough. I used mixer to knead the dough but you can knead it with your hands as well. If the dough seems sticky (dough should be able to come off of the sides of the bowl easily), add more flour. Cover the bowl again and let it sit for 45 mins in a warm place (I placed it in the turned off oven). Place the dough on a floured board and knead one more time. Preheat the oven at 390 F. Divide the dough into 12 equal dough balls. Prepare the muffin tray by placing paper muffin cups in the tray (or you can butter the tray). Place the dough balls in each muffin holder on the tray. Place the muffin tray in the oven and bake the brioches for 17 mins. Remove the brioches from the oven and brush them with the remaining melted butter. After the last step, DO NOT just pop one in your mouth, though the taste will be fantastic, I do not guarantee that your mouth will not be burnt. ;)

This bread would be perfect for Bread Baking Day #12 blog event hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. Hope you all enjoy it! :-)

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