Home-made Whole wheat Pizza

When your kids can have pizza for all meals (yeah, I mean it!) and you don’t want them eating store bought Maida/all purpose flour all the time, what do you do?
You make this whole wheat Aata pizza at home, from scratch! Loaded with vegetables of different colours (read more nutrition) and a bare smattering of cheese, these home-made pizzas are healthy and delicious.
Wholegrain Pizza.JPG
My children no longer order from Domino’s and Pizza Hut now. And I feel no guilt whatsoever as I know all they are eating is a good, healthy and hearty meal. I have adapted Peter Reinhart’s Country Pizza recipe to make it wholegrain and follow his method of baking to the T. I do not own a Pizza stone, so I bake on my cast iron skillet and it works beautifully. The pizza puffs up nicely making the base light and fluffy. You can use any heavy cast iron dish or even the dosa tawa!

For the Pizza Sauce
I keep it simple with 1 kilo of blanched tomatoes chopped fine and cooked in a tbsp of oil. I season it with salt, pepper,sugar and dry pizza spice mix and throw in some fresh basil leaves towards the end.

For the Pizza Dough
(This recipe makes 5-6 regular sized pizzas)
650 grams aata/ flour (about 5 cups)  Use all whole wheat or 4 ½ cups aata/ whole wheat and ½ cup maida/all purpose
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast (Active dry won’t do unless you proof and add it)
2 tbsp sugar or honey
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
482 grams water

Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and stir well to mix.
Now add all the wet ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon till the mixture is well hydrated. You may need more water depending on the type of flour you are using, but add very slowly- spoon by spoon. Knead for just a couple of minutes till the dough comes together.
Cover and let rest for ten minutes.
Spread out a silicon mat or oil the surface. Move the dough to the mat and flatten out. Fold the dough on to itself three times. Then shape into a ball and let rest for five minutes. This is called the ‘Stretch and Fold’ method.
Perform 3 more Stretches and Folds after every five minutes and move the dough to a large, slightly oiled bowl, cover it and put it in the refrigerator.
Let rest overnight and your pizza dough is ready to bake with anytime!
The dough keeps well for up to five days in the fridge.

(Click on individual pictures to get a larger view )

To bake the pizza pre-heat the oven at 250C for 20 minutes with the slightly oiled skillet inside it (use a pizza stone, if you own one)
I don’t have a pizza peel so I use my wooden chopping board to slide the pizza in. Flour it well so that the pizza does not stick to the chopping board.
Take a handful of dough and flatten it out with your hands or the rolling pin.
Move it to the floured chopping board. Spread the sauce. Top with some fresh basil leaves or dry pizza spice mix.  Layer the vegetables of choice. I used mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn and yellow peppers. Season with salt, pepper and some pizza spice mix.
Top lightly with little grated mozzarella cheese. I like to break chunks of the cheese and drop them randomly over the pizza.
Bake for 15-20 minutes till the base is done and cheese has melted.
Serve hot and hear them singing praises 😛

Wholewheat Aata Pizza.JPG

Shakshuka- An Israeli breakfast recipe

Want to make a meal out of eggs? Try Shakshuka/Shakshouka(What fun saying it na!! Shaak-shookaa! 😛 ) This Israeli (Egyptian/Tunisian) dish of eggs poached over a hearty tomato sauce is excellent with some naan,roti or bread. This will appeal to the Indian palate because of its proximity to our cuisine. It uses coriander and cumin spices in the garlicky tomato base. I served it with a caramelized onion and spring onion flatbread.
Recipe adapted from NY Times

You need
2 tbsp  vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 large red chilli pepper, chopped fine
6 large tomatoes, blanched and chopped fine ( you could puree and strain them alternatively for a quick fix)
4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
¾  tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 cup of assorted chopped vegetables may be added  (mushrooms, broccoli,peas,capsicum)
¼ tsp coriander podwer
½ tsp cumin powder ( I always keep some roasted cumin powder at hand for raitas and used the same)
Some chilli flakes (optional)
4 eggs
Some cheese, if desired
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
Some salt and pepper to season the eggs

Heat oil in a pan and add onions. Fry them till translucent and add the red pepper, assorted and garlic. Cook till the pepper is done and them add the tomatoes, assorted vegetables salt, coriander powder, cumin powder and chilli flakes. Cook covered till the tomatoes are done.
Preheat the oven to 200C for ten minutes while the sauce cooks.
Stir in the cheese chunks (if using)
Transfer the sauce to a skillet or baking dish and gently break the eggs on the sauce. Season the eggs with salt and black pepper.
Bake for 7-10 minutes till the eggs are set.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with bread. I used my Caramelised onion and green onion bread recipe to bake flatbread and served alongside to swipe the sauce with!

Enjoy a Shakshuka brunch this weekend.



Cashew Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

More cookies!! Yes 😀 Coz it’s the season to be merry! I am going to be posting a lot of cookies before I leave for a longish vacation next weekend. I plan to take boxes of them as gifts! Hence, the cookie overload.  Please bear with me.I played around with my chocolate chip cookies recipe and baked these.
Cashew Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies.jpg
These cashew and cherry studded,bejewelled beauties make for a pretty gift. They are eggless (can be made with egg too) and super easy to put together. I haven’t tried a whole wheat version yet, but I added some oatmeal to kinda add a healthy touch. The oats did good things to the texture!
Cashew Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies2.jpg

1 cup /130 grams plain flour/Maida
½ cup/50 grams oatmeal (grind the regular oats in a mixer-grinder)
½ cup /110 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature ( Skip salt if using salted butter like Amul)
1 cup brown sugar/200 grams, closely packed ( May use white sugar if brown is not available)
½ cup thick curd  at room temperature (or an egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
½  tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt (skip if using salted butter)
½ cup chocolate chips (dark/milk/milk chocolate or a mixture of all three)
½ cup cashwes
½ cup glace/candied cherries, chopped into halves

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat butter till creamy. Add the sugar and beat till soft and fluffy.
Add the yogurt (or egg, if using) and vanilla and beat till all is homogenous.
Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients and fold in gently.
Add the chocolate chips and mix till they are evenly distributed into the dough.
Cover the dough with cling film or slightly greased aluminium foil and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line or grease a baking tray.
Taking 1 tbsp of dough at a time (you may use an ice cream scoop) make small balls and flatten them to discs. Stick cashews and cherries on the cookies.
Lay them on the baking tray 2 inches apart.
Bake for  11-14 minutes till the chocolate melts.  Watch for the bottoms of the cookies changing colour. As soon as the bottoms just begin to brown, remove and cool on the tray for 5 minutes. Gently move them to a wire rack and let cool completely. They stay good for a week in an airtight box.

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Quick and no fuss Coffee flavoured Cookies

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Quick,no-fuss and coffee flavoured; what’s not to like! I sometimes bake a batch of these biscuits with our morning tea. Yeah, they are that simple, not to mention crisp and the refreshing espresso flavour. They come together in fifteen minutes (plus the baking time)

Here is what you need to get 25 gorgeous coffee cookies:
(Recipe sourced from Treat N Treat)

130 grams/1 cup Maida/All purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water (I used Nescafe)
85 grams/ 6 Tbsp butter, softened (I use Amul)
60 grams/ eaped ¼ cup of powdered sugar ( I weigh white granulated sugar and then powder it in the mixer-grinder)
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160C.
Mix coffee powder in hot water and leave to cool.
Sift together flour and baking powder.
Cream butter and sugar, add coffee and vanilla extract.
Add flour and bring together to get a soft dough.
Make 25 small balls, flatten them and press down a little with a fork. Lay them an inch apart on the baking sheet.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
*To bake chocolate biscuits,omit the coffee and add a tbsp of cocoa
** To bake vanilla biscuits- Omit the coffee and increase the vanilla extract to a tsp



Coffee Cookies

Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo and Bedmi Poori

Mathura waale Aloo and Bedmi Poori.jpg
Bombay finally feels the whiff of winter and it is the ideal time to brunch on this cracker of a meal from the Brij region; Mathura ke Dubki Waale Aloo, Bedmi Poori and halwa. Potatoes are cooked in a spicy, aromatic curry and served with crisp, kacori-style poori, and just a smidgeon of halwa. I first had it in Agra many many years back and the memory is as fresh as the visit to the Taj, well almost 😛
Mathura Ke Dubki Waale Aloo.jpg
Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo
5-6 medium potatoes, hard boiled
½ tsp heeng/asafoetida
½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds
¾  tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp kala namak/black salt/rock salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp haldi/turmeric powder
¾ tsp dhaniya/coriander powder
1 green chilli chopped fine
1 tsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp oil
2 glasses of water
½ tsp aamchoor/mango powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder ( I use home-made)
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped fine

Whole spices
(can add whole or grind into a powder and add)
1 tejpat/ bay leaf
1 inch piece of dalcheeni/cinnamon
2 badi ilaichi/black cardamom
3 choti ilaichi/green cardamom
3-4 laung/cloves
5-6 sabut kali mirch/ peppercorns

Peel and cube the hard boiled potatoes.
Heat oil in a kadhai/heavy bottomed pan and add heeng and jeera. Once the jeera crackles, lower the heat and add the whole spices (add the powder, if using that)
Stir for a few seconds and then add chopped green chilli and grated ginger. Stir for 30 seconds and add red chilli powder, dhaniya powder and haldi powder stirring continuously.Keep the heat LOW all along!
Add the potatoes and stir so that that they are coated with the masala mixture. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, checking in between.
Add a glass full of water and increase the heat till the curry reaches a rolling boil.
Lower the heat and let the potatoes simmer in the gravy till they are cooked through. Keep adding water as required to get the consistency of your choice. Take off the heat and stir in the aamchoor powder and garam masala powder.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with Bedmi Poori or plain poori.

 Bedmi/Bedvi Poori
2 ½  cups of aata/whole wheat flour
1 cup of moong dal , soaked for an hour
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp red chilli powder ( or less as per taste)
½ tsp Heeng/asafetida
½ tsp Saunf/fennel , ground coarse
½ tsp Sabut Dhaniya/ coriander seeds, ground coarse
2 green chillies, chopped fine
2 tbsp oil
Oil- to fry the bedmi pooris

Coarsely, grind the dal in the mixer. Mix it along with all the listed ingredients and knead into a firm dough adding water only as required.
Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Make lemon size balls, roll out and fry in hot oil.

Serve with Dubki waale aloo and halwa!
Enjoy the meal over a winter weekend and a relaxed siesta thereafter.There is no other way really 😀

Bedmi Poori and Aloo.jpg


Fresh Strawberry Jammy Tea Cakes

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Think of a soft buttery vanilla cupcake. Now think of fresh strawberry jam that cooks on top of  the little cake as it bakes! Tempted yet?
The crunchy top and moist crumb of this cake is a scrumptious contrast in textures! And the jam oozing…..mmmmmm
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The first time I ate it, I wished  there was way more surface area on this cake to enjoy the strawberry jam flavoured crunch of the top. So the next time around, I made it as a round cake 😛

This cake celebrates the perfect marriage of strawberry and vanilla. Make it as a 9 inch cake or 12 muffins, it is delicious either ways! And it is such a simple recipe too!

You need
(Recipe adapted from Once Upon a Chef)

190 grams/ 1 ½ cup Maida/APF
1 ½ tsp baking powder
85 grams/ 6 Tbsp salted butter, softened (I use Amul)
220 grams/ 1 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated white sugar, weighed and powdered
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
120 ml/ ½ cup milk, at room temperature
2 Tbsp yogurt/curd
About 300 grams strawberries, hulled, washed and cut into halves ( the sweeter the strawberries, the better it is)

Grease and line a 9 inch round cake pan or a 12 cavity muffin pan. Do remember to line the bottom as well as the sides of the pan, as the jam oozes and may cause the cake to stick to the pan.
Pre-heat the oven at 170C.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.
Save two tablespoons of powdered sugar and beat the rest with butter till creamy and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour alternating with milk in three lots. Whisk in the yogurt. The batter will be a thick dropping consistency.
Transfer to the muffin pan and stick one or two  strawberry halves on the top. If baking in a 9 inch cake pan, dot the entire surface closely with the halves.

Dust with sugar ( and top with some strawberry choc chips, if feeling indulgent as I did with some 😛 )

Bake for 25-30 minutes for cupcakes and 45-60 minutes for a cake. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick in the centre of the cakes/cake. It should come out clean.
Enjoy biting into the jammy yumness!


Wholewheat Multigrain Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Strawberries

Each time I saw an ‘upside-down’ cake, I was tempted to bake one, mainly because it is such a pretty cake! And when I saw this Pineapple Upside down Cake, I was smitten ❤ Have-to-bake-kind smitten. ( Will do this fully loaded version soon! )Multigrain Pineapple Upside Down Strawberry Cake.jpg
Now, since I am baking so much off late (and because my family needs dessert after dinner every Single night! ) I have made whole-wheat aata my new best friend.
I baked this Multigrain wholegrain pineapple upside down cake last night. Had no cherries, so used up the box of strawberries I had in the fridge. The cake is mildly sweet, with strawberries thrown into the batter for nice texture and flavour. I served it dusted with sugar and a drizzle of low fat cream. The boys cleaned their plates and went for seconds ( and thirds. Sigh…so much for healthy 😛 )

I baked it in a 8 ½ x 4 ½ loaf tin and took almost 40 minutes to bake. The next time around I am baking this is a 9 inch round tin. Although delicious, I felt the cake layer under the pineapples should be thinner.

Preparing the pan and the topping
Line a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment and brush spread 2 Tbsp melted butter all over the base.
Sprinkle 2 Tbsp brown sugar over the butter.
Arrange pineapple slices over the sugar and stick a strawberry (or a cherry) in the middle of each pineapple ring, Set the pan aside and prepare the batter.

The cake
4 Tbsp butter
50 grams brown sugar
50 grams white granulated sugar (powdered)
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla or pineapple extract
1 cup plus 2 tsp multigrain flour/aata
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
½ cup chopped strawberries
3-4 pineapple slices ( I used canned pineapple)

Preheat the oven at 180C.
Whisk one cup of flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugars and butter till creamy.
Add the egg and vanilla (or pineapple) extract and incorporate them into the mixture.
Add the flour in two batches alternating it with the milk and mix, Do not over-mix.
Toss the chopped strawberries in 2 tsp of flour and gently fold them into the mixture.
Pour the batter in the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert in a plate with sides, to catch the caramel drizzle on the top of the cake.
Gently peel off the parchment.
Serve warm dusted with a touch of powdered sugar and a drizzle of cream on the side




Multigrain Mini Loaves with Caramelised Onion and Spring Onions

Caramelised onion bread

I saw this enticing video on my Facebook feed a couple of days back and then watched it again, and again! The loaf looked so pretty and inviting! I knew it won’t be long before I bake it. And I did last night. Two mini loaves in cute little loaf tins I bought recently. I swapped the bread flour in the recipe with a mix of maida and multigrain flour and it came out beautiful and moist.  The caramelised onions and the spring onions infused the loaves with a gorgeous flavour!

Without much ado, here is step-by-step the recipe:
Makes one  8 ½  x 4 ½  inch loaf or two 6×3 inch mini loaves

1 ¼ cup Maida/APF
1 ¼ cup Aata/Multigrain or whole-wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 medium sized onion
2 Tbsp rice bran oil/any other vegetable oil
5 spring onions
1 cup warm water ( to be added while kneading as required)
Chop the onion and the white part of the spring onion fine. Heat the oil an fry the onions till well browned (caramelised)
Chop the green part of the spring onions fine.
Warm the ¼ cup of water, mix sugar and yeast and leave covered for 10 -12 minutes till it is frothy and bubbly.
Meanwhile, in a large kneading bowl, add the flours, salt, greens of the onion and the caramelised onion with all the oil in the pan.
Add the bloomed yeast and mix well.
Knead into a soft and supple dough adding warm water as needed.
In a lightly oiled bowl, leave the dough covered till it doubles in volume. It took me an hour. It may take more or less time depending on the heat and humidity.

Grease a regular loaf tin or two mini loaf tins
Flatten the dough gently and pat down to form a rectangular shape. Roll the dough into a loaf shape wide enough to fit into your loaf tin and transfer the shaped loaf/loaves to the baking tin/s.
Cover and let rise till the loaves have risen an inch above the pan.

Pre heat the oven at 250C for 15 minutes while the loaves are rising and bake for 10 minutes at 250C. Then lower the temperature to 230C and bake for another 15 -20 minutes till the tops are browned and the bottoms of the loaves sound hollow when tapped.
Onion bread Prep 7.jpg
Remove to the cooling rack and slice upon cooling. We couldn’t wait that long so ended up slicing these fellas while they were very warm, They were dunked into  tomato basil pasta soup and devoured with much relish. It was a good dinner last night  😀
Enjoy with soups and curries or just as a snack with a smear of butter. They are delicious!
Caramelized Onion Bread and Toamto Basil Soup .jpg

Home-made Orange Marmalade

Make Orange Marmalade at home .JPG
Sunshiny, happy and sweet smelling, orange marmalade perks up my morning cuppa. I have loved marmalade for as long as I can remember, specially the candied peel in it that adds interesting texture to the hot, crisp toast. As I type, I am enjoying one 😀

It has been on my mind to make this beauty at home ever since I saw my friend Megha Vikaram Singh’s beautiful Kinnow marmalade, I knew I had an expert’s recipe to make it too.

I made some changes as I had very soft and sweet oranges and also the kids aren’t too keen on the bitter touch in marmalade. Here is my take on Meg’s Marmalade.

A step by step recipe of this three ingredient wonder.

1 kilo Oranges, ripe and sweet ones with orange peels
500 grams sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Cut the oranges and the lemon into halves and juice them. Strain the juice through a thick sieve.
Marmalade Ingredients
Do not throw the seeds and the peels.
Scoop out the membranes, pips and pith (the white part inside the peel) from inside the orange halves as much as you can. I used the melon baller to do it. Tile all of this along with the seeds in a muslin cloth to make a small bag or potli.
Scooping the pith .JPG
Take 5-6 orange halves and cut them into thin strips using scissors or a very sharp knife.
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Bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil and add the peels. Boil for a minute and strain. Repeat this once. Drain the water and reserve the peel.
Boiling the peel .JPG
In a heavy bottomed pan add the juice and the small cloth bag/potli and bring to a boil. Keep boiling for 15 minutes. Remove the cloth bag.
Boling the juice with the pith and seeds.JPG
Ad the sugar and the peel and boil for another 15-20 minutes till the marmalade starts to thicken.
cooking the marmalade.JPG
Keep a steel plate in the freezer before you begin cooking. To check doneness, put a tbsp of the marmalade on the chilled plate and run a finger in the middle. If the two halves stay apart, it is done.
Checking doneness.JPG
If it is too runny, cook for some more time. Be careful not to overcook as it thickens on cooling.
Marmalade done'.JPG
Keep 2-3 small bottles sterilized and ready. When the marmalade cools down a little (but is still warm) spoon it into clean jam bottles and seal. I store it in the refrigerator.

*The potli/cloth bag contains the pectin. The various recipes I looked at, say it stays well on the shelf for 5-6 months if the jars are sterilised well and completely dry. But considering the Mumbai weather and the fact that we add no preservative, I always pack my jams and spreads in small bottles and store them in the fridge always and they stay good for months.

Look at that!!

Home made Orange Marmalade

Cheers and Happy Jamming!



Soft and Moist Multigrain Orange Cakelettes and muffins with Jaggery and Honey

Aata Honey and Jaggery Orange Muffins.jpg

I am told I bake a lot! Guilty as charged 😛
How do I manage to do it so regularly, I am asked. I don’t buy bread, biscuits and cookies from the store at all, I say. This way I know, I am giving my family good food where I can control the sugar and use fresh ingredients and have them enjoy preservative-free goodies!  And of course baking is such a pleasure (read addiction!)
Aata Honey Cakelettes.JPG

Off late I have been increasingly using  aata (whole wheat flour) in my breads and maida (all purpose flour) breads are a rare treat. I had been itching to bake an aata cake, but was sceptical of the outcome. What if it is too dense or heavy and is rejected by the boys totally…..Then I saw these gorgeous mini-cakes on Deeba’s beautiful blog Passionate about Baking and my fears vanished! In fact, I could not NOT bake them. I just had to 😀

I traded the whole wheat flour for multi-grain flour, (a blend I use for making chapatis at home) and added lots of orange juice along with the zest and some yogurt. The little cakelttes were polished with gusto. I am going to be baking a lot more with aata and multi-grain flour now. Thanks Deeba! The honey and jaggery (gud) along with the hint of spices lend  a warm, homey flavour to the cakes. They makes for a perfect snack with a glass of cold or hot milk; or with chai or coffee or with a dollop of ice cream. They are pretty darned good even by themselves!

Alright then! Here is how I made it-

This makes 12 cupcakes or 6 cakelettes

200 grams multi-grain flour/ whole wheat flour (I used a blend of wheat,jowar,bajra and ragi)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
115 grams butter,melted ( I used home-made white butter)
160 grams jaggery (gud)
3 tbsp water
100 grams honey or brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbsp yogurt/curd/dahi
2 Tbsp orange zest
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp ginger powder
1 pinch of pepper or garam masala powder

Break the jaggery into small chunks and put it in a microwave proof bowl along with 3 Tbsp water. Heat for a minute, stir and heat again. The jaggery will melt completely and you get a golden liquid. Let cool.
Line a 12 cavity cupcake pan and pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Add the baking powder and baking soda to the flour and mix well. Put aside.
In a large bowl, add the melted jaggery syrup, butter, honey, cinnamon, ginger powder and pepper and mix well with a whisk.
Add the eggs one at a time whisking after each addition.
Whisk in the vanilla, orange juice, orange zest and curd.
Add the flour and mix till the dry traces of the flour disappear. Do not over-mix.

Scoop the batter into the muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
If desires, brush with some orange juice and sugar syrup while warm.
Watch the cakelettes/muffins vanish in a jiffy 😀

Happy Baking
Wholewheat Honey and Jaggery Orange Cakelettes.jpg