August 6, 2007

Masala Buns

I have always maintained that food blogging makes you do things you probably wouldn't have otherwise. I usually reserve Saturdays for posting my week's recipes. Last Saturday, for a change, I browsed and browsed and then browsed some more. I didn't really cook during the day. I made myself a nice salad and had it with some soup. And then got back to browsing. My mouth was watering as I saw the pictures on Sharmi’s blog and I kept digging deeper until I came to her Tangy Cilantro Spirals. At that point I had to turn away because the temptation was a little too much. I wanted to grab a bite then and there. It was pouring cats and dogs and I really wanted to have some tea and eat a spiral or two. The perfect weather for that!

Since I knew I couldn't, I moved away. Away from her blog. And went to Anita’s blog. I went into her archives. I was fairly pleased with my baking efforts of the previous day and went into her bread section and landed on her post about bagels. There I was... drooling all over the pictures. Then it was too much for me. How much can a poor girl take? I just sat there thinking about how cruel the world can be, especially these two wicked ladies. Creating delicious stuff that I can't pick up and put in my mouth.

I'd brought back 2 packets of yeast from Madras and have been wanting to make Amma's handmade pizza for ages. I ended up making the French Bread Pizza, for which I didn't have to touch yeast. Now, why do I fear yeast? Because I tried making fruit buns when I was in Class 4. And they were a complete disaster. So, while I've watched Amma make the perfect pizza for years now, I never got around to even as much as trying.

That afternoon, after a really sugar high friday (cake and trifle pudding, more cheesecake at the restaurant), I wanted something savoury, something chatpata (tangy). Off I went to my bookshelf and pulled out the Ann Pillsbury Baking Book. I found a recipe for dinner rolls. I was too scared to modify it, but I had to.

  1. I didn't know how much "1 cake" of compressed yeast was.

  2. I didn't have much flour left.

  3. I didn't want dinner rolls. I wanted chatpata stuff.

So, I combined whole wheat flour along with my flour and used as much yeast as I thought I needed to. When the buns were baking, we invited our friends for dinner and so all of use enjoyed the buns with drinks and dinner.


For the dough:

1 cup Flour

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 tbsp Oil
1 1/2 tbsp Yeast
1 1/2 tbsp Sugar

3/4 tsp Salt

1/4 cup Boiling water

1/4 cup Milk

For the filling:

1 large Potato, washed and chopped finely

2 Onions, finely chopped

2 tbsp Capsicum, finely chopped

1 tbsp Carrot, finely chopped

1 tbsp Beans, finely chopped
1 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Cumin-Coriander Powder
Salt to taste

For the Topping:

2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp Chilli flakes

1 tsp Sesame Seeds

For the dough:

Take a huge mixing bowl and place the oil, salt and sugar in it. Add boiling water and mix until the sugar dissolves. Add the milk now to bring the mixture to room temperature. Add the yeast and mix well. Add the flours and knead into a dough. Place the dough in a greased vessel and cover it with a damp muslin cloth. Allow to rise until double in size (roughly 45-50 minutes).

Knead the dough for a minute and then divide into 10 equal portions.

For the filling:

Heat the oil, add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. When the cumin crackles, add the chopped onions and fry for a minute before adding the other vegetables, salt, chilli, turmeric and cumin-coriander powders. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Mix all the ingredients for the topping together.

To Proceed:

Take a portion of the dough and spread it on to your palm. Place some stuffing in the centre and bring the edges and seal. Roll in the topping mixture and place on a greased baking sheet or tray. Repeat with the other protions.

Allow to rise for 50-60 minutes and then bake in an oven at 400 F for 12-15 minutes.

Enjoy these buns fresh out of the oven.

Since these buns are a meal in themselves, and they are non messy, they are very good companions for the lunchbox and definitely make for good company while on a picnic. So, I am sending taking these on my picnic with Anupama for our share of fun in the sun.

Sharmi and Anita: you've been great inspirations for this experiment and more. A big thank you.


Sharmi said...

I was already in your blog when you sent me the link :) those buns look so cute. very innovative and nice. now I think I will be trying your version:)

Asha said...

HeHe!! Good reading that little story.Buns looks great.I remember in B;lore Iyengar bakeries,they make somewhat like these and they are so yum.Good job Raaga!:))

Nupur said...

Now that's my idea of a baked treat: with a spicy filling inside :) They look awesome, Raaga!
I hope you have now finally gotten over the 4th std. traumatic baking episode ;)

evolvingtastes said...

Hi Raaga, my first comment on your blog - these look superb! Definitely want to try out this recipe - they remind me of the masala stuffed croissants but healthier.

Anupama said...

Thanx Raaga for this fab entry. I know what you mean by getting a craving on reading recipes from blogs and recipe books. Whenever I have a something very ordinary to eat for lunch I read a recipe book while I am eating and imagine that I am eating the food I am reading about and that feels good

SeeC said...

Looks awesome Raaga.
Enjoyed your weekend story :)

Cynthia said...

Ah the things we do in the name of food blogging :)

Anita said...

I want to see a 'cut-up' masala bun with the stuffing! So, you're not afraid of tiny yeast now?!

The Germans do have a recipe for similar stuffed buns; my sister would stuff regular cabbage and peas subzi into them and they were perfect for 'tiffin' lunch when we were grad students...

Coffee said...

AHH! Loved the filled buns!

Vcuisine said...

Lovely write up raaga. The buns are perfect. Hope it tasted good too. Very nice. Viji

Raaga said...

@Sharmi: I will try your spirals soon. Thanks

Raaga said...

@Asha: Our guests were saying these were like the potato buns you get in Bangalore. Maybe next time :-)

Raaga said...

@Nupur: Yeah. Finally gotten over it... and how!! These baked treats are so much better than deep fried ones!

Raaga said...

@Evolving Tastes: I have always wanted to try making croissants. Maybe someday soon.

Raaga said...

@Anupama: That's a great idea. I must try that sometime :-)

@SeeC: Thanks :-)

@Cynthia: Yeah :-) and I'm not complaining yet :-)

Raaga said...

@Anita: I'll take a picture of the cut up buns next time I try. This time I served them to guests and didn't want to cut and take pictures :-)

I bought the 500g yeast packet from INA on Sunday. So I'm baking a lot now!!

Raaga said...

@Coffee: Thanks :-)

@Viji: Yes, they tasted great!

Rajitha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rajitha said...

wow! i can nearly taste them, i am sure they were yummy!

Raaga said...

@Rajitha: They were yummy indeed. Thanks and welcome to The Singing Chef.

Laavanya said...

Hi Raaga, I tried making these and we really liked it. Thank you.

Raaga said...

@Laavanya: that is great news. Nothing could have made me happier. Thanks a million and I am very very happy.

Latha Narasimhan said...

Raaga,Your recipe for masala bun is great! I came here straight from laavanyas blog seeing the pictures of these buns1 Strange but true, I feel lazy to bake buns and bread!

Raaga said...

@Latha: I used to think this would be a lot of work, but it isn't true. Once you make the dough, you just have to leave it to rise :-)

Latha said...

hi Raaga,

well i don't have any known battles with yeast (yet!). I have went ahead and bravely bought a cube of fresh yeast. now to the chef: how much of the cube do I use for this recipe? thanks!

Shimmering said...

Hi Raaga,
An awesome recipe. I was looking for an indian version for hot pockets and voila. I did use a different bread recipe, becoz I had dry yeast at home so couldn't understand your proportions. But I did make the filling. And it came out awesome. The only thing is mine had too much bread, I guess next time I ll roll the dough thinner.
And we had them at the beach. Yum very filling and satisfying.