Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Panchamrut Cake

I have a load of fruit from the Ganpati puja, some bananas ripened and freckled completely. Was talking to The cooker when she suggested freezing some fruit for smoothies and tempted me with this Sunshine cake, which I will try a little later there are still 2 birthdays coming up in the family and especially my bro Sumeet would love the light cake. 

Well this recipe had to be shared as it is one successful experiment from my kitchen. I have been making it often but this time its 100% whole wheat. It has to go out to you my reader immediately, isn't it. So this got baked in the afternoon and here I am posting it right away after my Dad swooning on a largish piece. I did taste it and loved it too but I am not going beyond the tasting even though I loved it, just have to stop myself from indulging.

I have been shaken up by a flash, a Biomedic professional, having 22 yrs of experience and witness to 3000 surgeries, we were talking about many things and he was telling me very inspiring and amazing stories of people he has seen fighting with disease and sorrow. When he said, "Death does not come easy, so you have no choice but to live happily!" He has inspired me to take control of my health. I have just let my health deteriorate over the years due to reasons that can range from depression to pure negligence and lack of focus on self. Not anymore. I promise this to myself, I will do everything to correct whatever has gone wrong. If anything I have been trying to better the quality of my life over last few years. This time, I am going on a month long health retreat starting next week. So this space will be quite till I return. But before I go here is the Panchamrut Cake for you my readers.

Well as you know Panchamrut is a offering we make for Pujas. It consists of 5 ingredients viz. sugar, milk, curd, ghee and honey. I added the banana too as it is not uncommon to include banana in panchamrut. This Panchamrut is used to bathe the Gods during rituals like a Abhishek and many times after a puja you end up with a good quantity of Panchamrut. I have been using this Panchamrut after every puja to bake a cake. This time however I used 100% whole wheat flour/atta as I did not have maida / all purpose flour on hand and I was blown away by how it turned out. So without further delay here you go...

1.5 cup atta / 100% whole wheat flour.
1 cup demerera sugar
1/4 cup ghee
1/2 cup curd
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas
1/4 teaspoon lime juice
2 handfuls caster sugar for topping

(Incase you are making the cake with Panchamrut from the puja measure out 2 cups of already mixed Panchamrut for the cake. This is equivalent to all the wet ingredients I have used here. You may need to adjust the sugar to taste and ghee for the fat content.)

This is a very easy peasy bake all you got to do is measure out the ingredients and the peeled ripe bananas dump them in mixing bowl of the stand mixer and whip up the batter till everything comes together, about 1 minute. 

Meanwhile preheat the oven for 10 mins at 200 degrees celcius in convection mode. If using OTG reduce temp by 20 degrees.

Grease the baking tin with oil and dust with wheat flour. I inaugurated my new springform pan with this recipe. Panchamrut cake is auspicious start right? Recently I bought a set of 3 springform tins, 9, 10 and 11 inches. This recipe uses the 9 inch tin.

Pour the batter in the tin. It levels out on its own. Sprinkle the castor sugar on top for a nice crunch. I recommend this as it gives a lovely golden flakiness to the cake which is quite moist.

Bake for 40 mins or till the skewer pricked in comes out clean.

Let it cool completely before you slice.

My house was smelling divine as it baked and induced happy smiles in the inhabitants. Large slice for the Ketchup kid with a light drizzle of honey.

This cake is also for you Kiran, your post made me rush to make it yet again and in a healthy atta version.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gajanan Sthavila Me Namila with Talele Modaks

Hi Friends!

Hope the Ganpati Festival is swinging for you. It has been good for me so far.

This year for the first day of Ganpati I made Talele Modak. Talele Modak is a rare thing in my Koli community. For us it is always Undre. I might have made these Talele Modak before may be a couple of times but since it was not posted on the blog, here I am sharing it. I really liked how they are much easier to shape than Undre as the cover is made with whole wheat flour which lends it self well for the shaping. 


For the filling
1 coconut grated
1/2 cup jaggery
1 tablespoon ghee
1/8 cup nuts and raisins
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom powder

For the cover
2 cups whole wheat flour / atta
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 spoon salt

First lets make the filling. Heat a deep pan add the ghee. Combine the grated coconut and jaggery and add to the pan. Keep mixing till you get a semi solid ball. Mix in the nuts and raisins and the cardamom powder. This filling is called Chauri in Koli. Our Kolis like their Chauri sweeter but this proportion is what we prefer at home. Divide into 21 equal portions. As this makes 21 modaks the auspicious number for naivedya. Keep aside.

Now knead the dough in a food processor. Add the atta or whole wheat flour and salt, run the FP adding the water slowly. The dough should be tight like for puri. It is slightly harder than we make for regular chapatis.
Now pinch off some dough and divide into 21 portions. Then make a ball and with your thumb press in the center and shape it like a basket. Fill a spoonful of Chauri in it. Next step, we need to pinch the edges to form petals around the stuffing. Make 11 petals. Then pull the pinched petal edges of the basket together to peak it.

In my home since this is Naivedya or offering for the Lord we chant this name "Ganpati Bappa Morya" as we do each petal for the modak. We always make 11 petals for each Modak and an offering of 21 Modaks as its is considered auspicious. 

Place all the Modaks on a greased pan. Wet a towel and wring it to remove excess water. Cover the modaks with moist towel to prevent drying up till you fry up all the modaks.

Once done heat oil in a wok. Turn down the heat to medium. Fry 5-6 modaks at a time in the wok so u have enough space to swish them around for a even golden color. 

Sometimes the coconut and jaggery syrup leaks out and starts charing the modaks at such a time just put off the heat and skim of the charred material with a tea sieve. Then restart frying this will save the Modaks from getting speckled with charred particles, which look very unappetizing.

Remove the fried modaks on a sieve, let the oil drain off then space them out in a plate to cool. Serve once cooled. Don't bite into the fried Modak, hot jaggery can scald the tongue. 

It's made for the Ganpati Bappa so offer the Naivedya to him first and then partake it as prasad. Share the prasad with friends.

Enjoy the celebrations till Ananth Chaturdashi while the Lord is still our guest!

Yes Ganpati Bappa or Gajanan be praised and worshiped that is what the title suggests.We do and this is our Ganpati @ my Thal home.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Focaccia and Koli Masala Love Story

Pithori Amavasya marks the end of Shravan Maas. It is a no moon day and celebrated as Matrudin or mother's day. It is celebrated as Matrudin as we worship all the Devis or Goddesses on this day.

The name Pithori is derived from the offering made with flour or pith to the Goddesses. Well to celebrate the end of Shravan and my event which began on a non-traditional note, after travelling thru memories of a more traditional Shravan, I post here an offering for my Mother, my Aai. 

I had made this Focaccia as an experiment to use my Koli masala in the most non traditional way. To create a fusion of flavors that will stand out as the mark of this city, Mumbai. What better time than to share it with you on this day when offerings are made to the ancestors, my Koli ancestors who were the first inhabitants of this city. The recipe adheres to the tradition of making something from Pith or flour. My Mom always offered ghaas or food offering to the departed on this day.

Going by how it turned out and that half eaten focaccia is proof enough to get you going into the kitchen to try it out immediately.


For the Koli masala spiced Caramelized onions
4 large onions, halved and slivered
1 teaspoon of Koli Masala ( Don't have it? Order it now!)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

In a hot wok add oil, quickly add the slivered onions. Fry until translucent. Add the koli masala and salt, give it a stir. In the end just before putting off the heat add the finely chopped cilantro and give it a mix. Keep aside to cool until dough is ready.

This is a basic recipe for the toppings but you could stretch your imagination to the limit to give it your own veg - non veg twists!

For the dough
500 gms of Maida/ all purpose flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup corn meal / makai atta
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes

In a bowl mix the water, sugar and yeast and let it bubble up for 10 mins.

Meanwhile soak the sundried tomatoes in 1/2 cup water.

Now combine the flour and bubbly yeast in a stand mixer using dough hooks. Run the mixer till you get smooth well combined dough. Now add salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the dough and run the mixer for another 5 mins. Cover with wet towel and leave it till the dough is doubled.

Remove the dough on to the counter. Knead for 5 mins. Incorporate the sun dried tomatoes in the dough at this point. Chop up the hydrated tomatoes into small bits. Discard any water remaining after soaking the sundried tomatoes.

Grease and dust the baking pans with oil followed by corn meal. Spread the dough in the pans with your hand like you do for bhakri. Create depressions with your finger in the dough. drizzle the remaining olive oil over it like seen here. Leave it to double up again.
Now after the second proofing. Spread the koli masala spiced caramelized onions on the two focaccias.  Preheat the oven at 180 deg celcius and bake till golden edges are seen. This takes about 40 mins. I baked both the focaccias at the same time in the oven. 
Remove from the baking pans on to the cooling rack. I ate that half as soon as it permitted me to take a bite. These focaccias are not very thick and are quite crisp. Every bite is fiery and a morsel of the sundried tomato delivers the perfect fusion of an Italian bread with a very local Koli masala.

If I say it was gorgeous! I will sound narcissistic, so be it.

Here is the ordering information for my Koli Masala.
Mail to :  annaparabrahma@gmail.com
Mail Subject: Koli masala
Payment can be made to paypal id : hrushikoli@gmail.com

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Vari Che Ghavane

Foxtail Millet Crepes

Yesterday was the last Shravani Shanivar. For all the Fasts till now We were eating Vari/ Samo seeds/ foxtail millet only as it is the healthier option. We avoided Sabudana or sago seeds as they are too starchy. I hope I have achieved some improvement in health and it would be indicated soon in my upcoming date with the Doc.

Well let me update here, to all the people who show concern about my health. I had my annual health check up done. Most parameters are normal except for the Vit D3. So a course of medicine has been started for correcting it. I am walking a lot more than May, June and July. Waiting for the stress test to get done in Sep so we'll know if the stents are working well. I have better health now since I cut out all the crap in life. Yes I am lucky that I have a cushy fall back system and I never take that for granted.

Coming back to Vari, a month of eating Foxtail millet only is definitely boring. I stuck to the jeera tadka and even avoided Potatoes. We would eat it with Danyachi aamti but I ensured that the aamti was watery to keep it light.

Yesterday I thought of trying something different and recollected that my Mum used to make these Crepes or ghavane with Vari. I soaked a cup of the samo seeds in curd and thinned it with a cup of water. This proportion makes only 3 dosa skillet size ghavane, which I wrongly estimated that would not be enough for 2 adults. I was wrong. These are really filling. I had therefore made Vari cha bhaat too, it was too much on the plate you see.


1 cup foxtail millet/ samo seeds/ Vari
1 cup sour curd
1 cup water
2 green chilies
salt and sugar to taste

Soak the foxtail millet in curd for 30 mins. Thin it with water and grind to paste. Let it soak further for 1 more hour.

Add salt and sugar to taste. Mix well before pouring the batter on the dosa tava. The batter should be thinner than dosa batter and it should be pourable.

Heat the skillet or dosa tava. On the hot tava pour out the batter with a ladle do not try to spread the batter like you do for dosa. Here the thin batter will give you a lovely lacy crepe and if you try to spread it, you will get clumps of dough. The pouring of batter is more like sprinkling the batter over the skillet so do it with a deft hand. Cover the entire area of the skillet for perfect shaped Crepes.

Drizzle some oil over it. Check if browned from under. The topside get dried out as foxtail millet is low gluten, but don't worry it gets cooked. Turn over and cook the other side. After five mins, fold over in to half and then again into quarter folds. Serve hot. 

I served it with a upvas peanut chutney that turned out so creamy tangy and excellent accompaniment for this dryish crepe. I am thinking a potato gravy would have been lovely too.

I am going to make this more often now on though I made this after years yesterday.

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