Home Made Bagels

When I came to US I first got the taste of bagels. No shame to admit that bagel was totally new to me. I just loved it and literally eating everyday. And with the veggie cream cheese…Yum. I was eating so frequently until I learnt that one bagel has 67gms of carbohydrates and with cream cheese. Wow…too many calories. OMG!!! is it like four slices of bread in one go? This is too much, I need to stop. But the taste wouldn’t leave me. With many trial and error now I make wonderful, tasty and healthy bagels in my own kitchen. And the approval stamp came from my kids.They just love them.

Home Made Bagels
My recipe is as follows…

Ingredients:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup bread flour
1 Tblsp molasses/sugar( i use molasses)
1 Tblsp oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup water ( 80-85 degree F)

For boiling bagels:
6 cups water
2 Tblsp molasses/sugar
1 tsp baking soda

For sprinkles:
2-3 Tblsp mixed seeds( caraway, sesame, dill, black poppy)

Method:
I use stand mixer to knead. It saves lots of time.
In a separate beaker mix yeast, sugar/ molasses and lukewarm water.Let it stand for 10 mins to ferment.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl. After 10 mins pour the fermented water into the bowl and knead for 3-4 mins. Make sure every bit of the flour has been incorporated. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in a warm place for it to rise. After two hrs the dough will be double in amount. Pour the dough on floured surface. Start kneading it by turning into a ball from the edges. Do not put pressure. Just gently form into a ball. Divide the dough into 6-8 balls equally. Shape the balls and cover them with damp kitchen towel for another 20 mins for the second rise.
At the same time preheat the oven at 500 deg F for 25 mins. Place the baking sheet/ stone in the middle rack.
When you have about 10 mins left for the preheat, boil a pot of water for boiling bagels
When the water starts boiling turn the gas to medium heat. Add sugar and baking soda.
Punch 2 cm diameter holes in the middle of the bagels with your index finger stretching outwards. Drop bagels one at a time and cook one side for 1 minute and then flip the bagel and cook the other side for 30 secs. Repeat the same with the other bagels. Place all the cooked bagel on the floured parchment paper or towel. Sprinkle the seeds on the bagels.
When the oven is ready transfer the bagels to the baking stone or sheet with the help of the pizza peeler or wide mouth spatula. After 5 mins turn down the oven temperature to 480 degrees. Bake bagels for 20-25 mins till they are light golden brown.
Cool them for 15-20 mins before slicing. Serve with cream cheese/butter/jam.

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Minty Mint Chutney

We Indians love all kinds of chutneys. Chutneys can be made with different herbs (like coriander or mint) or vegetables. It is an integral part of our meal. Back in India my grandmother and my mother used to grind herbs and vegetables on a flat stone mortar with a rolling pestle. And with all the spices added in the paste.Yum..an impeccable taste it used to be. The taste still lingers. ūüôā Chutneys are so versatile, you can use them in any cuisine. Use it boldly and freely on salads, subs, marination, tortillas, sandwiches even on pizza and quesadilla, etc. My husband LOVES to eat it on pizza.

There are many ways to make Mint Chutney.You can also mix some coriander leaves. Some recipe also calls for yogurt, but the shelf  life is not good. But when serving it, you can add some yogurt. Yogurt makes chutney creamy and shiny. In my recipe I have added some roasted Bengal gram lentils (from Indian store) but it can easily be replace by roasted peanuts.

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Mint Chutney

Ingedients:
1 1/2 cup Mint leaves
2 Tblsp Roasted Bengal gram lentils OR Roasted peanuts
2-3 Small green chili(more or less)
1 tsp Sugar
1 inch Ginger
1 Tblsp lemon juice or more for more tanginess
2 tsp sunflower oil
1/4 cup cold water( more if needed to grind)
salt to taste

Method:

Mix all the ingredients and grind together to a fine paste. If needed adjust the seasoning with lemon, salt, or sugar.

I have used a mortar and pestle to grind it. It gives a coarse texture which I love a lot personally. It is great as a spread on sandwiches.

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Mint Chutney

You can also grind it in a blender for a smooth texture. Both taste good.
Store it in an air tight glass jar or in a ceramic jar in a refrigerator. Do not store it in any metal or plastic containers or else the chutney will spoil. It will stay good for a week . And if stored in a freezer it will stay good for a month.

Fresh Mint Lemonade

Summer is here. And we need to keep ourselves hydrated all the time. How about a twist on our good old lemonade? A very simple addition which is very refreshing and yummy too.

mint lemonade

Ingredients:

3 cups Water
1/4 warm water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey(can substitute with sugar)
1- 1 1/2 tsp Pink himalayan salt( accordingly your taste)
20-25 mint leaves
1/2 inch fresh ginger

Method:

In a pot add warm water and honey and stir till honey dissolves. Crush mint leaves and ginger in a mortar to a fine paste with pestle.
Then in a serving pitcher add all the ingredients and stir well to incorporate everything.

Serve with crushed ice.

Delectable Alcoholic-free Jelly Shots

One day my daughter came from school and announced, “Mom, starting¬†today I won’t be eating jello anymore because it comes¬†from animals.” I respected her decision. But soon,¬†days passed by I forgot all about it!¬†One day, I thought of surprising her with her favorite jello pudding. But, when I served it, she reminded me that she can’t have it. How forgetful I’d been! I was feeling so guilty- but¬†like all other Super Moms I thought of a quick fix. I searched my pantry and I found pectin. I had oranges too and I knew that pectin acts as a food thickener. Can I make a jello out of it? Absolutely!¬†The end result was different but very tasty. It was not jiggly like jello but more like¬†jelly in consistency. But hey, who cares? It was outstandingly¬†tasty and this simple dessert brought a million dollar smile on my baby’s¬†face. She hugged me so tight. The little things really do matter in our life.

Here is my recipe:

shot jello

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Fresh Orange juice
1 Tblsp Lemon juice
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup sugar ( add more for more sweet)
1 Tblsp Ball Low sugar pectin

Method:
Soak chia seeds in 1/2 cup water for 30 mins. Drain chia seeds after 30 mins.
Mix orange juice, chia seeds lemon juice and pectin and boil for 2 mins. Add sugar and boil to a rolling boil for another two minutes.
Pour into shot glasses. Refrigerate¬†until it’s firm. Serve with whipped cream.
It sets faster than jello.

*Vegans can serve with whipped coconut cream.

Aam Panna-Raw Mango Juice

 

Summer is here!

Aam Panna/ Raw Mango Juice is a very popular drink in India during summer. It is a great summer cooler to beat the scorching heat. It also has a beneficial remedy in dehydration and heat stroke. I remember when I was a¬†kid and used to come from school on a sunny afternoon, my mother used to¬†give me¬†this flavorful juice. This is¬†my mom’s recipe, but I made it in an easy way.

raw mango juice

Ingredients:

1 large Green Raw Mango

1/3 cup Sugar (you will need more sugar if the mango is too sour, it also depends how tangy you would like it)

salt to taste

2 cups Water

2 tsp lemon juice (if the mango is not sour)

Method:

Peel the mango. De-seed and cut it into pieces.

raw mango

raw mango
raw mango

In a pot, add water and mango pieces. Put it on the stove to boil.

raw mango

Boil it for 15-20 mins, it is done when it pierces easily. Switch off the gas. Let it cool down.

raw mango

Add sugar, salt, and the boiled mango pieces along with the water and blend.

raw mango

If the mixture is too thick you can add 1/4 cup water. It should not be too watery.

raw mango

Adjust the sugar and salt according to your taste. If it is not too tangy you can add lemon juice too. The juice should tastes sweet and tangy. ūüôā

Chill before serving. Enjoy.

raw mango juice

 

 

 

Nutritious Wheat Berries Pilaf

Washington D.C. will always remain a monumental city for me. I never get enough with each visit and always look forward to returning. Last time we traveled to D.C for my daughter’s college tours. On one of our free days, we went to see the National Gallery of Art. At the Gallery’s cafeteria, I tried a very delicious wheat berries salad. It reminded me of a similar berry dish my mother used to make, but it used to be sweet. Wheat berries are very adaptable grains and can be versatile to use in any cuisine. Wheat berries are also full of protein and fiber. They have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. I mostly get wheat berries from Indian stores but I recently have also seen them in organic and health stores.

erinkon

 

I always pre soak the berries overnight for easy digestion but it is not necessary. 

Ingredients:

1 cup Wheat berries/Einkorn

3 1/2 cup Water

1 Tbl sp Butter/oil/Ghee

1 small chopped red onion

1 or 2 chopped small green chili

1/2 inch crushed ginger

1/4 cup chopped carrot

1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper

salt to taste

2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup cilantro( optional)

Method:

To pre soak is optional.

Boil the water. When it is full boil, add the wheat berries and salt. Reduce the flame to medium low. Cover the lid and let it cook for 30-35 mins. Stir occasionally. After 30 mins check the grains, it should press when pressed with fingers. It should be chewy. If it is hard then let it cook for another 5-10 mins. If needed, add water too. After it is cooked drain the water. In another saute pan heat butter/oil/ghee. Add chopped onion, chili and ginger, then saute for 2 mins till the onion is loose. Add chopped vegetables and saute for another 2- 4 mins. When the vegetables are little tender add the cooked berries and salt and mix properly. Just before turning off the gas add lemon juice and cilantro. If needed adjust the seasoning. You can add black pepper too. Serve.

Cooked wheat berries can be refrigerated for 5-6 days.

Guilt Free Potato Chips

We all like to munch on chips whether it is potato or corn or rice or any kind. We munch when we watch movies, go on picnics and more often, when we are bored.

Writing this article brought back childhood memories from back when I was in India. Our school used to close May through June for summer holidays. For us it was just two months of play -No studies ūüôā During those summers my mother’s project was to make sun-dried potato chips, papad (lentil wafers), and wadis (dry lentil dumplings). Us kids, our jobs were in charge of drying them in the sun and shooing away all the crows and birds.

It used to be a grueling day long project. We (kids) used to peel the potatoes. My mom then sliced the potatoes, and boiled them in salted water. ¬†Then we take all these slices to our terrace and lay them on the sheet to sun dry. We had to keep our eyes on birds too so that they do not steal them. They were kept for at least 8-10 hours for drying. If they didn’t dry we had to dry them again the next day.

When it was time to eat, she would fry them and then sprinkles red chili powder and pink Himalayan salt. Yum! and with hot tea it was so delicious. Store bought chips were¬†nothing in front of these homemade chips. I love you Mother! Until last year she was sending these sun dried chips to me to USA. But due to her health, she stopped making them now. Once I thought of continuing these chips making tradition with my kids (quality mother-daughter time). But I do not have my mother’s patience and focus.
So I thought of making chips in microwave. It’s easy and quick and, more importantly,¬†healthy and guilt free. But nothing beats my mom’s potato chips.

Image

Ingredients:

2 medium size  potatoes
1 tsp olive/ sesame oil
1/4  tsp chili powder
salt to taste( i used pink Himalayan salt)
1/4  tsp Oregano

Method:
Wash the potatoes. Slice them with mandolin. The slices should not be very thin or very thick.
Sprinkle oil, chili powder, salt and oregano on the slices. Coat them properly.
I found this tray in a supermarket. It has multiple holes which helps air to flow equally.

Image
(You can also use parchment paper. But halfway through you have to flip the chips).
Lay the potatoes around the tray/parchment paper leaving some gaps between two slices.
Microwave for 4 mins on 80%power and then 2 mins on high power. The chips should be dry and crisp and edges curled up. If it is still not crispy, microwave for another 30 secs on High.(every oven has different temperature, time may vary).
Let the chips cool for a minute and serve.