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 :
Mail Subject: Koli masala
Payment can be made to paypal id :


  1. How did I miss this post. I loved the use of Koli masala in Foccacia, I can totally see this being a nice appetizer.

    Thanks for sharing.


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