June 29, 2009

Vegan Brown Rice Tortilla Sweet balls (Laddu)


Got very excited at the sight of brown rice tortillas. Rolls, wraps and a whole range of possibilities came rushing to my mind when I picked up a bag of these tortillas for the first time at my local health food store. They almost have a Indian chapathi look to it, with those little brown spots and beamed at me with a nice hearty look.
I cut them in half and then pieces to toast them in the oven, hence the half-moon look in the picture below.


Got home, opened the bag, tasted a little bit of the raw tortilla. Hmm, was not that impressed, I thought, maybe it would be better if I heated it a little. I was planning on making a egg salad wrap for breakfast this morning and lo and behold, there it was on block letters on the bag... that the product was gluten free and hence rolling them into anything would be quite a task. What it meant was that the thing broke at the slightest bend. Not a good start!
How disappointed I was :( But still I went ahead and toasted the tortilla on a griddle and served my egg salad on top. It really was not edible for me, ended up licking the egg salad clean, and the poor tortilla remained.

By that very afternoon, determined not to throw them away (I mean the rest of the tortillas, not the one I served the egg salad on!), came up with a sweet dish that could neutralize the slightly raw taste of these tortillas.
That was how these were conceptualized. They turned out beautifully just like I thought it would.
I surely go back for another bag of brown rice tortillas the next time. Just to make these sweet balls.
I think I will pass on making wraps with these unless I know really what to do with them.

I have been a tad busy with "stuff" and hence have not been able to visit other blogs regularly. But will be back after my long weekend holiday to see what you have been cooking. I hope you all have a fun Independence day long weekend, and enjoy the time with friends and family. See you soon with another recipe.


Vegan Brown Rice Tortilla Sweet balls (Laddu)


Vegan butter/Regular butter (for a non-vegan option) - 3 tbsp
Brown Rice Tortillas - 5
Oat Bran - 1/2 cup
Powdered Jaggery (Indian brown sugar) - 3 tbsp (or add more according to taste)
Broken Cashewnuts - 2 tbsp
Raisins - 2 tbsp
Cardamom - 1/2 tsp
Rice milk/Regular milk - 2 tbsp (adjust accordingly)


Break tortillas into pieces and toast them in a preheated 400F oven for about 20 min till crispy.

Powder it using a food processor/blender and set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add cashews and raisins and heat it for about a minute or till nuts are golden.

To this, add the powdered tortilla, oat bran, jaggery, cardamom and mix well.

Microwave again for a minute.

Take it out, add milk one tsp at a time and mix. You should be able to form balls by pressing together in the palm of your hands. Press tightly.
Store at room temperature for a day or two. Or refrigerate for up to a week.

Yields - 16 small laddus


June 17, 2009

Home-made Garlic Hummus with Ricotta cheese


Bollywood in "So you think you can dance"! How cool is that?
There apparently was a Bollywood routine last season as well (which I seemed to have missed), but the fever this season is just at a whole another level because of the "Slumdog Millionaire" and the famous "Jai Ho" craze.
The dancers, Caitlin and Jason who performed to the Jai Ho song were pretty awesome. Some pretty great hand and foot work. I am no authority on dancing, but I have grown with enough Indian movies to know what an entertaining number would be. Our movies have an average of 5-7 songs a movie with actors twisting and turning their body parts in some graceful and some not so graceful moves.
Anyway, I just hope there is more Bollywood and more good dancing this season.
That said, my favorite was the samba performed by Max and Kayla. They just fired the stage up!
This dance oriented reality show (competition) airs on "Fox" on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Check your local guide for timings.

On to the recipe...
Today, we have a creamy hummus spread on a crunchy whole wheat pita bread.
I added part skim ricotta cheese to give it that light airy feel. You may omit it if you'd rather not have any dairy.
I toasted the pita bread using a bread toaster, came out really crispy and beats the pan heated pita any day. I did not have tahini on hand which is traditionally used while making hummus, so I used sesame seeds and ground it up into a paste. Tasted just as good.


Home-made Garlic Hummus with Ricotta cheese


Boiled chickpeas/garbanzo - 2 cups (canned will also work)
Toasted sesame seeds - 3 tbsp (or use sesame paste)
Red chilly flakes - 1 tbsp
Pepper - A pinch
Salt - To taste
Garlic - 2 cloves (use roasted for a more nuttier flavor)
Part skim Ricotta cheese - 1/4 cup
Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Cilantro - For garnish
Lime/Lemon juice - 2 tsp


Using a food processor or blender, make a paste out of toasted sesame seeds, red chilly flakes, pepper, salt, garlic with a little bit of water.
When you get a smooth paste, add chick peas and blend again into a smooth consistency.
Finally add the ricotta and drizzle olive oil. Give it a whirl just until combined.
Sprinkle the lime juice on top and mix with a spoon.

Spread over toasted whole wheat pita bread and top with chopped cilantro.

For pita bread, you may:

1. Heat it on a hot pan till lightly brown.
2. Cut into wedges and heat it in a preheated oven at 400F-425F for 10-15 min.
3. Cut a pita into 4 triangles and toast in a bread toaster for 3-4 min.(I followed this method)


June 10, 2009

Fresh Blueberry Oat "Cakes on a Pan"


I think whoever discovered pancakes was a dessert fanatic like me and decided to have some indulgence with something sweet first thing in the morning. Seriously that is what my take on cakes on a pan, well pancakes are. I actually like to think that it might have been me in my previous birth, if there existed one. :)

For this recipe, use fresh blueberries if possible, I got mine specifically for this. The reason for using fresh berries is this... when the heat hits the berries on the pan, those little rounds burst open oozing out a beautiful purple juice on the pancake. And my, oh my, seeing that first thing in the morning is a sight to behold.
So, I got a "huge" box from Costco, I used like a cup of berries for this recipe, and the rest is happily stored away. If you are aware of any healthy and easy recipes for blueberries, I would love to know. I need some help using the rest of the box...
I will have to come up with some new wacky recipe that will for sure look good on my picture, which might trick you readers into commenting the ever so famous "Lovely picture, Nice recipe" comment. *wink*

Each and every stuff that went into making my pancakes are exactly what you want to kick off a day, protein from the eggs, whole grains from the whole wheat flour and oats, dairy from the milk, nutritious blueberries, a tad bit of sugar and butter for that feel good factor, and some grease to get you going through the day. All in one long sentence and pancake.

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Fresh Blueberry Oat Cakes on a Pan


Fresh blueberries - 1 cup

Whole wheat pastry flour - 1 cup
Old fashioned Oats - 1/3 cup
Milk - 1-2 cups
Eggs - 2 large
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 3 tbsp (or more depending on your sweetness level)


Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and using a hand blender whip the mixture till light and creamy.

Add 1 cup milk, vanilla, baking powder and whisk again.

Add flour and oats and whisk well to combine. Do not over mix. The batter should not be runny or too thick. Add more milk at this point if need be. It should be thick, yet in pouring consistency.

Mix the blueberries.

On a hot griddle smeared with some oil, pour the batter in small circles. Do not spread. The batter should flow by itself.
When bubbles start to form on the top surface, flip the pancake over and cook on the other side.

Some berries will break open and give a beautiful purple juice onto the pancake itself. Enjoy it hot from the griddle with some agave, fruit preserves or syrup.

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These pancakes are off to Jugalbandi's Click June 2009 - Stacks and Jeanne's WTSIM Berried Treasure

June 2, 2009

Parsley and Curry Leaf Buns


Last week has been kind of busy and I really, really wanted to post this today for fear of giving an impression that I was on another break!
I have been putting this off just because I wanted to get something else done, and ended up doing neither this nor that. Sounds familiar? :)
I have been doing some cooking and baking meanwhile, never let the stomach starve of yummy foods.

I am kind of getting a hang of how to make bread and buns without a standard recipe.
The permutation and combination of different types of flours, ingredients and techniques just make the experience of baking much more pleasurable.
By no means, I claim to be an expert in baking bread, but haven't really made one that was inedible :) At least. so far...

I made these buns as a fond remembrance to the savory bread I am used to back home.
I used vital gluten since I did not use bread flour which is specifically made for baking bread and buns. The gluten gives it a nice rise and that is not easily attained by using dense flours like whole wheat varieties.
You may substitute different herbs of your choice and customize this to your liking.
Toast these buns and drizzle some olive oil for a heavenly warm bite.
I used them as burger buns and they were amazing.


Parsley and Curry Leaf Buns


White whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Whole wheat pastry flour - 2 cups
Vital Gluten - 2 tbsp
Salt - To taste
Baker's yeast - 2 1/2 tsp
Warm water - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Yogurt - 1 tbsp
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 tbsp chopped
Parsley - 2 tbsp chopped
Pepper - 1/2 tbsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp


Soak yeast in warm water along with sugar and let it sit for 15 minutes to foam and activate.

Meanwhile in another bowl, mix the dry ingredients - flour, vital gluten, salt and pepper.

Mix the dry ingredients with the activated yeast mixture, add oil and yogurt. Add the herbs and knead on a floured surface. Knead for 13-15 minutes by hand, or use a kneader attachment on the mixer. The dough should be soft and smooth.

before rise

Cover and let it sit in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or till it doubles in size.

after rise

After that, take the dough, fold it over 3 or 4 times, releasing the air bubbles. Pinch into smaller balls, roll them neatly and firmly. Place it on a baking tray with enough room to expand while baking.

before proof

Cover with a cloth and place in a warm place again to rise. This method is called proofing.

after proof

Preheat oven to 375 F.

After an hour, brush them with oil or an egg wash on top. Sprinkle sesame seeds and bake till the buns are golden brown on top.

Let it cool and slather with a spread/butter of your choice and devour.


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