Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Komaj (Persian Date Bread with turmeric and Cumin) ~ We Knead to Bake #18

For this month's We Knead to Bake project,  we made Komaj, a Persian bread spiced with turmeric and cumin, stuffed with buttery date filling.  For my filling, I used both dates and dried apricots. Aparna has adopted this recipe from Saraban - A Chef's Journey Through Persia by Greg and Lucy Malouf.

Active dry yeast - 1 tsp
Warm water - 1/8 cup
Bread flour - 3 3/4 cups
Cumin seeds - 2 1/2 tsp, toasted and lightly crushed
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1 (optional), I didn't use it.
Warm milk - 2/3 cup , since I skipped the egg, I added 2 to 3 tbsp extra milk
Olive oil -  1 1/2 tbsp

For the filling:
Dried and pitted dates - 8, chopped (15 if apricots are not used)
Dried apricots - 8, chopped (optional)
Unsalted butter - 2 tbsp, at room temperature
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp

Milk / cream for brushing the dough
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

  1. Dissolve the yeast in war water and keep aside for 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy
  2. Put the flour, 2 tsp of the crushed cumin seeds, sugar, turmeric powder and salt in the food processor and pulse it for couple of time to mix.
  3. Then add the yeast mixture and the egg if you are using.  Pulse until incorporated.
  4. Now add the milk (2/3 cup + 2 tbsp) and olive oil, and knead until it forms a smooth and pliable dough that is not sticky.  
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl.  Turn to coat the dough and cover loosely.  let it rise until it has doubled (about and hour or so).
  6. When the dough has risen, deflate it and then shape into a ball.  Put it back in the bowl for a second rise (about an hour).
  7. In the meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing together the chopped dates, apricots, soft butter and cardamom.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.
  9. Divide the dough in to 4 equal portions, and divide again to get 8 portions.  Working with one portion at a time, roll each one out into a rectangle that is about between 1/4" and 1/8" thick.
  10. Choose a cookie cutter that s about 8 cm wide.  Press it down lightly in one half of the rectangle to guide you to put the filling.
  11. Brush a little water over the entire surface to make sure the dough would stick well when folded. Then place about 1 tsp of the filling in the center of the cookie outline and then fold the other half of the rectangle over the filling.  Using the same cookie cutter cut out the bun, making sure the sides are neat and well sealed.
  12. Repeat with the remaining portions of the dough.  Then re roll the scraps and you should be able to make two more buns.  Place the buns on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Leave some space between the buns.  Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  13. Brush the buns with milk and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of crushed cumin on top and press it lightly.  Bake the Komaj at 400 degree F. for about 8 to 10 minutes..  
  14. Let them cool on a rack.  Dust with icing sugar.  Serve warm with tea or coffee.  These are best eaten the day they are made.  Leftovers can be reheated and eaten the net day.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chocolate Chocolate - Chip Muffins

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time; 20 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson with slight modification.

All-purpose flour - 1 3/4 cups
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Semisweet chocolate chips - 3/4 cup, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
Milk - 1 cup
Yogurt - 3 tbsp
Vegetable oil - 3 tbsp
Egg - 1 ( for egg-less version, mix 3 tbsp flax seed powder in 1 tbsp water, let it sit for 5 minutes)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

  1. Line muffin pan with liners.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl.
  4. Mix all the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  whisk to combine.
  5. Gently mix the wet and dry ingredients together.  Do not over mix the batter.  Lumpy batter makes the best muffins.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Aam Ka Panna / Spiced Raw Mango Juice

 Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Raw Green Mango - 1, medium sized, washed
Jaggery or Sugar- 3 to 4 tbsp, adjust accordingly (I used jaggery)
Roasted cumin seeds powder - 1 tsp
Black salt - 1 tsp
Chaat masala powder - 1 tsp
Water - 2 1/2 cups
Mint leaves - for garnishing
Few ice cubes

  1. Pressure cook the mango with 1 cup of water until mushy.   Alternatively, you can also cook the mango on stove top.
  2. Once cooled, scoop out all the pulp from the skin and pit.  
  3. Add all the spices,jaggery or sugar, mango pulp and 1 1/2 cups of water in a blender jar.  Blend until very smooth.
  4. Check for the consistency and add more water accordingly. 
  5. Place some ice cubes in a serving glass and pour the drink.  Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Watermelon Rind Kootu (Lentil Stew) with Sprouted Mung Beans

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2-4

Water melon rind - 1 cup, chopped (white part with skin removed)
Sprouted mung beans - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder -
Salt - to taste

To grind:
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Green chilies - 2, small
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece

For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Few Curry leaves

  1. Place all the ingredients in the to grind list in blender.  Add enough water and grind to a smooth paste.
  2. Pressure cook the  sprouted mung beans and water melon rind along with turmeric powder and 1/2 cup water until soft (about 3 to 4 whistles).
  3. Once done, add the ground paste and salt.  Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Heat oil in a small skillet, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.  Add urad dal and fry until golden brown.  Add the curry leaves and asafoetida.  
  5. Pour the tempering over the kootu and mix well.
  6. Serve hot with rice or roti.