April 20, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

When we first moved to Singapore, I was dumbstruck by the variety of produce that I saw in the markets. The wet markets, the supermarkets, and the gourmet stores were all filled with every kind of fruit and vegetable. Yes, I'd read about most things, especially since I started blogging. But to see them for real was something else. I was literally the kid in a candy (err... fruit and vegetable) store. I mean, this was the real deal.

A wrong diagnosis during my pregnancy in India led to thinking that I may be developing gestational diabetes. Fortunately, there was no such thing and it was the result of a badly administered glucose tolerance test. But there was a time lag between the wrong diagnosis in India and the correct diagnosis in Singapore. I wanted to be extremely careful and stayed away from most things sweet. I relished the fruits as they were, but didn't dare to use them in baking. I could (and still can) do without the excess sugar and fat.

But now I have an oven. I have the produce. And I do make the time. I have been reading a lot of my cook books to see what I can make with what I get here. I found a packet of blueberries in the supermarket and they were a lot cheaper than they usually are. So, I came home with a packet. I found a great recipe in Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess", modified it a wee bit and made these beauties today.

1 1/3 cup Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
A pinch of Salt
6 tbsp Oil
1 Egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Buttermilk
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

Line a 12-muffin pan with muffin cases.

In a bowl, beat the egg. Add the oil, sugar and buttermilk and whisk together.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the centre of this mixture and pour in the liquid ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients into the liquid lightly until it all comes together. Fold in the blueberries and mix gently.

Scoop the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.

These are light, not cloyingly sweet and would be perfect for breakfast. With some butter and jam!

April 12, 2011

Pav Bhaji Buns

I have resumed baking and suddenly there's no stopping me. I was going through the recipes on this blog and decided to make some stuffed buns since Amma had been mentioning them for a while. I couldn't decide which kind of buns to make.

I remembered that S once ate Vada Pav at the Bombay airport and he told me the vada had been baked inside the pav. I thought that was a great idea. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that Pav Bhaji would be as good a candidate for something like this as Vada Pav was. The idea took shape in my head and soon the buns were taking shape in my hands.

We enjoyed this mess free "pav bhaji" for dinner tonight.

For the dough:
3 cups Bread Flour
3 tbsp Oil
3 tbsp Fresh Yeast/1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
3 tbsp Sugar
11/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Boiling water
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Coriander Leaves, chopped

For the filling:
1 large Potato, washed and chopped finely
1 Onion, finely chopped
1/2 Capsicum, finely chopped
1/4 cup Cauliflower, finely chopped
2 tbsp Carrot, finely chopped
2 tbsp Beans, finely chopped
2 tbsp Peas
1 tbsp Tomato paste
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Garlic Paste
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Cumin-Coriander Powder
1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala
Salt to taste

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 flour, coriander leaves, onion-garlic mixture 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 16 equal portions.

For the filling:

Pressure cook the peas along with the chopped carrots, beans, cauliflower and potato. Drain.

Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic paste. After a few minutes, add the capsicum and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato pasteand fry for a few minutes. Add the other vegetables, salt, chilli, turmeric and cumin-coriander powders. Add the pav bhaji masala and fry for 2-3 minutes. Cover and cook the mixture for 4-5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the mixture is dry.

To Proceed:
Preheat the oven to 400F.

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. Place on a greased baking sheet or tray. Repeat with the other portions.

Allow to rise for 50-60 minutes and then bake for 12-15 minutes.

Cut the buns in half and spread a little butter on them. Enjoy them hot.

This turned out to be the easiest way to eat "Pav Bhaji" sans the mess. I suppose one could mix chopped onions and coriander along with the bhaji and then stuff it into the dough for a more authentic street side experience.

April 6, 2011

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamuns. I think of them of little dumplings of goodness. While I can't stand the cloyingly sweet store bought ones, I love the ones that are made at home. I have to stop myself from eating too many of these whenever Amma makes them.

She made them today and we had them after lunch. All I needed was one bite and I was transported to kingdom happiness. I even remembered that this blog has been neglected for too long. Never before has this blog gone for 3 months without a single post. But this was not without reason.

S and I are blessed with a baby boy. Our own little dumpling of goodness entered our lives 8 weeks ago. Needless to say, life hasn't been the same since. Like Amma's gulab jamuns, I can't seem to get enough of him.

Here's a simple recipe that never fails to satisfy:

200g Khoa
A pinch of Salt
A pinch of Soda Bicarb
1/2 cup Flour

For the syrup:

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1/4 tsp Rose White Essence or Cardamom Powder

Oil for frying

Heat the oil.

Knead all the ingredients into a dough. Shape the dough into balls or oblongs and fry in the hot oil.

Make a syrup with sugar and water and bring to a boil. Do not make it very thick or attempt to bring it to any thread consistency. Add either the rose essence or the powdered cardamom.

Add the fried balls into the syrup. Allow them to soak a little and enjoy them.
I am glad to share news of the new arrival with all of you. Please have some gulab jamuns to celebrate the good news.