Easy Homemade Milk Bread – Hokkaido | Tangzhong way

I see the dough has risen beautifully and I call out to Yuvi to show him. He waits for me to finish gushing. He politely peers in when I show him the bowl. He then says ‘Yes, yes. Nice’ and runs off to where he left off with his hot wheels race. He has been there, seen that – well risen dough gives me a high, perfectly separate perfectly cooked grains of rice makes me smile all day, flaky pastry makes me sing, well balanced curry soothes me, burnt vegetables make me swear, dinner parties leave me sleepless and anxious until they’re over, dry cake makes me yell and failed biryani breaks my soul. He gets me, my son. He plays it well. I recently switched over to instant dry yeast and it has cut down my insanity by 50%, almost. Before instant dry yeast, I used the little pellet type dry yeast that I had to first proof and it rarely ever did. I’d stir in more sugar, peer real close, swear, peek in again, yell at anyone around, search frantically for another packet, ask Jagan to run to the Nilgiris for some “bloody working yeast” and generally act like an ass. Not anymore. Thanks instant dry yeast! When I spotted the instant dry yeast pack on Amma Naana’s shelves for the first time, a happy peppy montage of beautiful golden crusted bread, pillowy soft bakery style buns, pizza crusts, rolls and baguettes ran through my mind like the dream sequence in movies. I wanted to try an easy, foolproof basic bread recipe because of said insanity. So I looked to my blogging marathon friends who are baking up a storm the whole of this month. I was spoilt for choice but I finally chose this Hokkaido milk bread from Priya’s blog – “I camp in my kitchen”. I have to tell you, it really is a foolproof recipe and really simple to make. The bread turned out great with a gorgeous soft crumb and lovely golden crust. I’ll be making this bread many more times. I might add more sugar the next time as we like our milk bread a little on the sweeter side. I wouldn’t change anything else. This is a great first bread recipe to try for madcaps and for normal people too. Give it a go.   Prep Time: 20 minsBaking Time: 1 hourRising...

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

There is almost never a dearth of blackening bananas on our dining table. Just like there’s never good news when it’s appraisal time. Ok that’s the worst analogy ever but couldn’t contain my “Outsourced under-paid Indian employee” anguish. It’s that time of the year when you hear the words “Ownership”, ”Visibility”, ”Initiative” bouncing around your office corridors and you know that soon you’ll get what is widely called a “hike” which you won’t notice unless you look really hard and with which you can’t even settle your tea-kadai account. This time he might just give me a ten rupee note from his pocket as my hike. You can never say. I am not looking forward to it. I’ll take a slightly lesser paid samayal-kari (cook) job if there is one. Let me know if you know one (but not on linkedIn, I may not even get the 10 rupee). Back to the bananas. There are at-least a couple of them in various stages of over-ripeness and nobody at home even bothers to toss them into the bin, usually. But remember I am notoriously unlucky with things like these. The one day that I look up a banana recipe, mentally check all the ingredients and come home dreaming of baking some banana goodness, I find that somebody has suddenly become over-responsible and has thrown away my precious over-ripe bananas. I cannot go to the potti-kadai and ask for over-ripe bananas. Already word is out that I am a crazy nut who asks for funny sounding ingredients (try asking for Badam Pisin with a straight face; I can’t). The point behind all this is you need really ripe bananas to make good banana bread. The rest is trivial. This whole wheat banana looks more like a plum cake because of the dark brown sugar in it. It smells heavenly when it bakes and is remarkably soft and light for a whole wheat bread. I was hasty and did not let it cool fully before shoving it in the fridge. The resultant condensation I think makes it look a bit denser that it originally was. The original recipe in Maida Heatter’s book also had walnuts in it. I skipped it as my kids don’t dig nuts. But if you have walnuts, chop them and fold them in at the last moment before popping the pan into the oven. Bananas and walnuts are classic...

Mini Pizza – Paneer Mushroom & cherry tomato topped

This was my second attempt at pizza after my spectacularly screwed up butter paper encrusted first pizza. The most important thing about pizza that nobody ever tells you which I guess is quite obvious to majority of the world but not to me is to never bake pizza on butter paper. I learnt it the hard way. If you place pizza on butter paper, even greased butter paper, you’ll end up with butter paper bottomed pizza. As Jagan put it “All over the world, People top pizza in several ways. But the first person to bottom a pizza is you”. So the second time I placed the dough on a greased aluminium foil and placed it on a really hot preheated baking tray. I used aluminium foil because I had no other easy way of transferring the pizza to the hot tray. This time the pizza was perfect.  If you have pre-made pizza dough or readymade pizza base and the pizza sauce, making these pizzas is easy and quick. These pizzas tasted really good and with lot extra topping than restaurant pizzas. I am sending these mini pizzas to the Blogging Marathon – Mini Servings theme and to the Kid’s delight event hosted by Nisha of The Magic Saucepan. Prep time: 20 mins (with premade pizza base) Cooking time: 20 mins Makes: 20-25 mini tart size pizzas Ingredients – Pizza Dough Maida – 3 cups Olive oil – 2 tbsp Yeast – 2 tsp Salt – 1 tsp Water – as necessary Ingredients – Pizza Sauce Tomatoes – 5  Salt to taste  Black  Pepper powder – ½ tsp Dried Oregano – ½ tsp Garlic – 2 cloves Ingredients – Pizza Topping Paneer – 100 gm cubed Mushroom – 100 gm chopped Cherry tomatoes – 10 halved lengthwise Dried Basil – 1 tsp Dried Oregano – 1 tsp Mozzarela cheese – 100 gm grated Method 1. For the pizza base, combine flour, yeast, salt, olive oil and water to a soft, smooth dough. If using instant yeast, add directly. Else add yeast to a cup containing 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water and ½ tsp of sugar. Set aside to proof. Let the yeast froth. Then add to flour. Keep aside the kneaded dough in a warm place to rise for about 3 hours. Then divide and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day and up to 3-4 days. 2. Before...

Aloo Paratha with Cauliflower and Meal-maker (Soya chunk) curry

I am not a huge fan of meal maker (soya chunks) but that may be because I’ve rarely ever tried it earlier. My family is however quite fond of meal-maker. Surprisingly this time, I liked the curry too. The cauliflower added texture and added a nice twist to a plain meal-maker curry. I served this curry alongside onion raita and crispy fried bitter gourd fritters with Aloo paratha. The meal-maker curry was a huge hit and so was the meal combo.  Aloo paratha was such a delicacy in hostel. Mondays use to be Aloo Paratha if I am not wrong. Our mess served terrible food (except a few select items, breakfast was usually tolerable) was also terribly strict about the timings, you wouldn’t get anything after 9:30 am. Even if we didn’t have a class in the morning, we’d be up Monday mornings in time for the Aloo Parathas. There barely was any Aloo in the Aloo paratha (should have been called Al paratha), but we were such a starved lot, we’d hog these size zero Al parathas as well. At home I always over-indulge, my parathas are not neat, they’re usually bursting with Aloo with some of the aloo oozing out at places. I like it that way. Hearty and calorie-packed! I butter my toasts the same way, I slather a ½ inch layer of butter on my toasts. I know you are trying to imagine how fat I must be.  I am not very fat. Just slightly. Preparation time: 20 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 5 Ingredients – Aloo Paratha Potatoes – 3 large boiled, peeled and mashedGreen chillies – 4-5 chopped fineCumin/Whole Jeera – 2 tspTurmeric powder – 1/2 tspSalt to tasteChapathi dough – kneaded and kept covered (I used around 3 cups flour) Ingredients – Meal maker curry Meal maker/Soya chunks – 3 cupsCauliflower – 1 small, blanched whole and then chopped into bite sized piecesOnion – 2 large chopped fineTomatoes – 2 large chopped fineGinger-garlic – 2 tbsp (1 inch ginger, 6-8 garlic cloves)Red chilli powder – 2 tbspBlack Pepper powder – 1-1/2 tspTurmeric powder – 1/2 tspSalt to tasteOil – 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp Method 1.      For the paratha filling, combine together, mashed potatoes, turmeric powder, chopped green chillies, cumin, turmeric powder and salt and mix well. 2.      To make the parathas, take a ball of chappathi dough and roll out into a disc....

Banana Bread

I like bananas a lot and so does my son but we still end up with a lot of over-ripe bananas. This banana bread is a lovely way to use over-ripe bananas. In fact the recipe requires bananas to be as ripe as possible. I used the yellow variety of bananas and they were quite ripe. I removed the black seeds in the centre as I wanted a clearer crumb. You could include the seeds as well if you don’t mind a darker, more spotted looking crumb. I used the recipe from two peas and a pod. Some fruits are so delicious on their own that no dish does justice to it. This is definitely true about mangoes. Mangoes are so luscious, so supremely tasty on their own that I really wouldn’t ever prefer mango mousse or Slice to it.  But there are some recipes that bring out the best of the fruit in a beautiful new avatar. Banana bread is one such recipe, which takes the bananas and transforms it into a wonderfully banana-scented, moist, crumbly bread that tastes like, well bananas. I am calling it a bread but it really is so soft and moist, it should be called a banana loaf cake. This banana bread needs no adornment whatsoever. Just slice and serve. If you’d like to glamorize it for a dinner party, just serve topped by a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Super-easy dessert! This banana bread keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator. I packed it for my daughter’s snack box. My kids loved it and so did the rest of my family.     Prep time: 15 minsCooking time: 1 hourServes: 6-7 Ingredients Butter – 1/2 cup, softenedGranulated sugar – 1 cupEggs – 2 largeMashed bananas (I used 5 small yellow ones) – 1 cupButtermilk – 4 tbsp Vanilla extract – 1/2 tspAll-purpose flour – 1 – 3/4 cupsBaking powder – 1 tspSalt – 1/4 tspBaking soda – 1/8 tsp Method 1.      Grease and flour 1 large loaf pan 2.      Sieve together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda twice. Set aside. 3.      In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together, for about 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, beat well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla and mix well. 4.      Add the flour and mix well until you see no traces of flour. The batter would be quite thick. Spoon the...

Chicken Kati roll

I love Kati rolls. I especially am a huge fan of the Frankies that they sell in little kiosks in Chennai. They’re great on-the-go food – fun and tasty. I make these for my husband’s lunch box some days. It’s quite simple really. Make rotis, make a thick, not-too-sloppy filling (you could use paneer, mixed veggies, potatoes, minced meat or chicken like in this recipe) and roll. That’s it. You can jazz these rolls up in several ways- layer beaten eggs for more punch, top with grated cheese (and let melt on tawa while cooking), season with spice powders, garnish with onions/green chillies, add fresh veggies and sauces (subway style). The options are endless. These are great lunch box food for kids. You could make bigger rolls, slice them in an oblong fashion like spring rolls and serve as party snacks also. I made a chicken filling, you can substitute paneer in its place and reduce cooking time. I am afraid majority of my recipes are now chicken based. My family is to blame. They’re chicken crazy. I am a vegetarian majorly, would you believe? I am an occasional non-vegetarian, my husband is a compulsive non-vegetarian. To him, if it’s not chicken, it’s not food. Prep time: 10 minsCooking time: 20 minsServes: 2-3 Ingredients Filling Chicken – 1/4 kilo boneless, cleaned and cut into bite size piecesOnion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 large chopped fineGinger-garlic paste – 1 tspGreen chilli – 1 chopped fineRed chilli powder – 1 tbspTurmeric powder – 1/2 tspSalt to taste Oil – 2 tbspButter – 1 tspEggs – 2 beaten with salt and black pepper powder Roll Wheat flour – 2 cupsSalt – ½ tspWater for kneading Method 1.      Prepare the dough for the rotis by adding water little at a time to the wheat flour and kneading well. Knead till you get a smooth, soft, non-sticky dough. Cover and set aside. 2.      Break 2 eggs into a bowl, add salt and black pepper powder and beat well. Set aside. 3.      In a pan, heat oil, when hot add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute. Then drop in the chopped onions. Save a handful of the chopped onions for garnishing later on. When the onions turn translucent, drop in the chopped tomatoes and fry for 1-2 minutes. 4.      Add the chicken pieces, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix...

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