Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Savoury Kugelhopf ~ We Knead to Bake #7

Savorury Kugelhop,  is this months challenge for We Knead to Bake group, started by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.  I made some changes to the filling from Aparna's version.  I made it with some indian spices sans the cheese.  

A Kugelhopf (also spelt as Kugelhupf, Gugelhupf or Kugelhoph) is a yeasted sweet cake well known in the Alsace region of France, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and variations of this are also found in some countries of Eastern Europe. The most common story about the Kugelhopf is that Marie Antoinette (the same lady of the “let them eat cake” fame!) brought it from her home country Austria, to France upon her marriage to King Louis XVI.

The Kugelhopf is typically baked in a special pan that is round with a hole in the centre, somewhat like a bundt pan but heavier. Since it is a yeasted cake, the Kugelhopf has a dense bread-like texture and is made from a somewhat enriched dough like brioche but is not as rich. It is considered similar to a coffee cake that might be eaten for or with breakfast, or could be part of an afternoon snack with coffee.

This savoury version is also good for breakfast, as a snack or with a simple soup.
A lesser known version of the Kugelhopf is its savoury Alsatian version called the Kugelhopf aux Lardons. “Lardons” is the French word for bacon, and this version is typically made with onions, ham/ bacon, walnuts and herbs.

This bread/ cake contains eggs because they are a characteristic part of this bake, but feel free to substitute powdered flax seed for the eggs if you don’t eat them. You may also use sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts instead of the tomatoes/ bell pepper and walnuts. I used Cheddar because that’s what I had, but use a cheese of your choice if you prefer. A sharper cheese will taste better.

This Kugelhopf bakes in an 8” Kugelhopf pan, but you should also be able to bake it in an 8” Bundt pan, a regular loaf tin (or 2 small ones), smaller Brioche tins or even muffin tins. If you’re baking this in muffin tins you might want to use half the recipe, though I understand that this bread freezes well>

Recipe copied and modified from Aparna.

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp instant yeast 
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
75gm or 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten lightly or mix 2 TBSP ground flax seed powder in 6 TBSP of cold water and set it aside for 10 minutes.
1 tsp oil
1/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup deseeded, pulp-free and chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped Italian pepper
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 jalepeno, finely chopped
1/2 cup black currants
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp red crushed pepper
1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek)
1 tsp garam masala
Salt, to taste

  • Once again I used the processor. This can be done by hand but it will be a bit sticky to handle. Put 3 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of the processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix. The add the butter, a little at a time, and process till incorporated. 
  • Add the warm milk and process till mixed. Now add the eggs or flax mixture and process till mixed. You will now have a soft and sticky dough. Knead some more, adding more flour, a little at a time and just enough till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not be tempted to add more flour than absolutely necessary.
  • Your dough will be very soft, elastic and just short of sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until double in volume. This can take from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours!
  • In the meanwhile, heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped green bell pepper, the tomato and a pinch of salt, kasoori methi, chili powder and garam masala powder.  Stir-fry till the raw smell disappears but the vegetables are still crisp/ crunchy.  Add the currants.  Remove and keep aside. To the same pan, add the remaining 1/2 tsp oil and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt till they turn golden brown. Remove and add to the bell peppers and keep aside.
  • Grease an 8” kugelhopf mould or bundt pan well especially around the centre (or whatever pan/ tin you plan to use). Place some pumpkin seeds in the bottom of the mould. If you’re using a loaf tin or brioche moulds, then don’t do this. Instead press in the pumpkin seeds on top of the dough after the second rise, just before baking. 
  • Once the dough has risen, deflate it. Then work the  stir-fried onions, bell pepper and tomato mixture into the dough. The best way to do this is to flatten the dough out and spread all this over the surface, fold the dough over and then knead it. This will ensure a more uniform incorporation of the “filling”. The dough will be a bit sticky, so use a scraper to help you with the kneading. Do not add more flour!
  • Roll the dough into a longish log, long enough to fit into the mould comfortably. Lift the “log” of dough and place it in the mould in a circular fashion and pinch the two ends together to close the “circle” of dough. Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour or so, until it reaches the edge/ rim of the mould. 
  • Bake the Kugelhopf at 200C (400F) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when it is tapped. 
  • Unmould the Kugelhopf and let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve. This Kugelhopf should serve about 10.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Suraikkai / Bottle Gourd Paruppu with Kuzhambu Vadam

Suraikkai / Bottle gourd / Lauki - 1 big or  2 small
Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Moong dal - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 4, slit
Ginger - 1 tsp, chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

For tempering:
Oil - 2 tsp and enough for deep frying vadam
Kuzhambu vadam - 10 to 15
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 3
Curry leaves
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

  1. Peel the suraikkai and chop into cubes.
  2. Wash both toor and moong dal throughly.  
  3. Pressure cook the dal with enough water along with suraikkai, slit green chillies, chopped ginger and turmeric powder.  Cook for 4 to 5 whistles or for about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the pressure goes down, remove the lid and add salt.
  5. Heat oil in a small skillet and fry the vadam until dark brown.
  6. Add it to the dal and mix well.
  7. Take out some of the oil and keep 2 tsp oil for tempering.
  8. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  9. Add urad dal, cumin seeds, broken red chillies and asafoetida.  Fry until golden brown.
  10. Remove from heat and add the curry leaves.  
  11. Add the tempering into the dal and mix thoroughly.
  12. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  13. Serve with rice or roti.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kuzhambu Vadam

Urad dal - 1 cup
Black eye peas - 1/2 cup
White pumpkin / Winter melon / Poosani kai  - 1 cup, skin peeled and shredded
Red chilies - 10 or to taste
Asafoetida - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste

  1. Wash and soak urad dal and black eye peas separately with enough water, over night.
  2. Next day morning, drain the water from both the dals.
  3. Squeeze the water out of the shredded pumpkin and keep it aside.
  4. In a food processor add red chilies, asafoetida, both urad dal and black eye peas.
  5. Process by adding little water (or use the juice from the pumpkin) at a time until it forms a coarse and thick paste.  Add the shredded pumpkin and pulse couple of times to mix.
  6. Transfer the ground dough into a bowl.  Add salt to taste and mix well.

Sun drying:
  1. Spread a clean white cloth, plastic sheet or aluminum foil on a clean surface where you get a full sunshine.
  2. With a small spoon or by hand drop a quarter size dough on the sheet.  Continue with rest of the dough.
  3. Let it dry in the hot sun for couple of days or until both side are completely dried. Make sure to flip after one side is dried.
  4. Store it in a air tight container with some dried red chillies.  The red chillies will keep the bugs out.
  5. Can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer too.

Deep fry the vadam until dark brown and drop it in vatral kuzhambu, dal or kootu for extra flavor.  You can also make sambar with just this fried vadams.