Sunday, April 28, 2013

Edamame Guacamole

Frozen shelled Edamame - 1/2 cup
Avocado - 1, pitted
Jalapeno or Serrano peppers - 2 or to taste
White or yellow onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Plum tomato - 1, scoop the pulp out and finely chopped
Cilantro - 1/2 cup
Garlic clove - 1 or 2 
Lemon juice from 1 lemon or to taste
Salt - to taste

  1. Blanch frozen edamame in hot water for 5 minutes.  Remove and place it in cold water with ice to stop the cooking process.  Strain the water.
  2. In a food processor, add edamame, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and salt.  Pulse until all chopped and smooth.
  3. Add avocado and pulse until well combined.
  4. Transfer guacamole into a bowl and add the chopped onion and tomato.
  5. Mix well.  Check for seasoning. Add more salt and lemon juice, if needed.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.  This can be used as a spread for sandwiches and wraps.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Torcettini - Twisted Italian Sugar Cookies (We Knead to Bake #4)

This not so sweet, but crunchy, delicious Italian treat,  is our baking challenge for this months We Knead to Bake group, created by Aparna.

Recipe copied from Aparna,  adapted from A Baker's Tour By Nick Malgieri.


Warm water - 1/2 cup
Active dry Yeast - 1 1/4 tsp
All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Lime / Lemon Zest - 1 tsp
Cold Unsalted Butter - 2 1/2 TBSP, cut into small cubes
Sugar - 1/3 cup, for rolling the cookies


Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.
Put the flour and the salt in the food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.
Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead. Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit. This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.
When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it. Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized bits of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.

Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.
Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2" between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. They will not “puff up” much, like bread, but the “puff” will be visible.
Bake them at 160C (325F) for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown. Cool the cookies completely, on a rack. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature. Although, I found them best the day they were baked. This recipe makes 24 cookies.

Some tips that might make a difference to your Torcettini –
1.       For a variation on these biscuits, you can make them chocolate flavoured.  If making chocolate Torcettini, remove 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and add 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.  Also add 2 tbsp powdered sugar and replace the lemon zest with orange zest while making the dough.

2.      Once your Torcettini have been shaped, don’t let them rise for longer than 20 minutes. If you do, your Torcettini will more bread-like on the inside due to the extra “rise”.

3.      To make sure the Torcettini dough does not rise for more than 20 minutes, it’s a good idea to work on shaping the 2nd batch while the first batch is in the oven.

4.       If you do not want to use parchment paper, you can grease you cookie sheets and place the shaped Torcettini dough on them directly. Just remember to take them off the sheets while they’re still hot. You will need a spatula to the dislodge them, and do so carefully so they don’t break. Once they’re cool, the caramelised sugar on the Torcettini make them stick to cookie sheets and they become difficult to dislodge without breaking them!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Usal Misal - Taste of Maharashtra

Ingredients: Usal
Sprouted Mixed Lentils - 2 cups
Pav or Hamburger buns - as needed

I used moth(matki) beans, whole moong dal, black eyed peas and dried white peas.  Mix all the beans, wash and soak over night.  Next day drain the water and sprout.

Sprouted Mixed Lentils 

For the sauce:

Onion - 2, large
Tomato - 2, chopped
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
White Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
          Boiled lentils (usal), spicy sauce, onion, cilantro,
                              grated mango and farsan
Fennel seeds - 1 tbsp
Red chilies - 5 or to taste
Black pepper corns - 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch piece
Cloves - 5
Garlic - 2
Grated Coconut - 3 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Asafetida - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 4 TBSP

For the topping: Misal
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Fresh coriander / cilantro - 1/2 bunch, finely chopped
Grated raw green mango (optional)
Farsan, spicy mixture or fine sev - as needed
Lemon wedges - as needed


  1. Boil the sprouted lentils with enough water and salt in the pressure cooker.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet.  Add cumin seeds and let it splutter.
  3. Add cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, black peeper and red chilies.
  4. Fry for 2 minutes or until it gives nice aroma.
  5. Add the grated coconut and fry until golden brown.  Transfer the mixture into a bowl.
  6. In the same skillet, heat 1 tsp of oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft.  Let it cool.
  7. Grind the spice mixture, onion and garlic along with chopped tomatoes to a fine, thick paste.  Add water as needed while grinding.
  8. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large skillet.  
  9. Add the ground paste and mix well.  Add asafetida, turmeric powder and salt.
  10. Cover and cook the paste until oil separates.  
  11. Add some water to the sauce and bring it to a boil.  The sauce should look like a thin soup.
  12. Cover and cook the sauce for 15 minutes.
  13. Assembling:
  14. Place some boiled lentils in a bowl.  Pour the sauce over it.  Top it with chopped onions, grated mango, chopped cilantro and farsan.  Garnish with lemon wedge.
  15. Serve with pav or hamburger buns.