amaranth, baking, biscuits, butter-free, eggless, quinoa, savoury, Uncategorized

Playing with Soil…and Earthy flavours of the Baked Butter-free Kasoori Methi-Ajwain Matthi

I took my son to a place close to home, where the children were going to spend a couple of hours working on a patch of garden. I went with the idea of getting him to expend his energy since the summer vacations are on. As some of you might be aware, a restless 4 1/2 year old with unused energy is a different kind of person altogether !

For the first 15 minutes I simply looked on and prayed for him to remain engaged for the entire duration of 2 hours. I wondered if I had done the right thing – gardening and connecting with the soil, as well as nature are immensely therapeutic but will he want to do it again?

But as I kept watching him, my mind was whirling with thoughts….The world we live in – we have to teach our kids to play in mud, to wonder about the magical creatures living in the soil, to touch leaves without hesitation, to feel the wonder of planting a seed, to squeal with delight when a caterpillar crawls on their little hand.

And when you do that, the world we live in changes…A little each time, because we start removing the layers of indoor dust that’s settled into our own souls as well, to uncover the glistening beauty of outdoors.

That’s what nature does for us – puts us back right where we belong.

And by the end of those 2 hours, I think both of us had been put back where we belong – more me, than him. Because for a child, it is so much easier to sense that belonging. But for a jaded adult, it takes a while to revisit the deep recesses of the soul, scrape off the dirt and uncover the roots.

On that note, let me share something that is earthy in flavour and contains ancient grains.

Grow Fit has some excellent flour mixes and the first one “Ancient Grain Low Carb Atta” that I tried has yielded excellent results. I was very excited to try it in both, savoury and sweet bakes.

It is diabetic-friendly, PCOS-friendly, Low Carb and High Protein, containing Quinoa and Amaranth.

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What I baked with it ( also eggless, bp/bs free) –
1. Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)
2. Chocolate Almond Cookies

They turned out so crisp and crunchy in texture, that I am looking forward to baking many more things with this flour super soon.

Flour Link –
https://getgrowfit.com/…/produc…/ancient-grain-low-carb-atta

Baked Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)

1 cup of the Low-Carb Flour, Ancient Grain

Kasoori Methi and Ajwain as per your taste preference

2-3 tsp salt, 1-2 tsp red chilly powder, 1-2 tsp homemade garam masala

3-4 tbsp oil

Hot water for kneading

Mix all the dry ingredients well. Add the oil and mix with hand. Use hot water a bit at a time and then mix well. Knead it well and leave it side for 10 minutes. Shape it into rounds and bake at 180 degrees C, for 20 minutes or until crisp.

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And talking about the earth brings me to my recipe.

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baking, biscuits, cane sugar, chocolate, coconut sugar, cookies, eggless, gluten-free, healthy baking, liquid jaggery, vegan, vegan baking

The Sounds of the Night and Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi Amaranth Chocolate Biscuits ( Vegan version also)

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It’s 3 weeks since we welcomed our second baby into this world – our little girl.
As it is with newborns – the erratic pattern that sets in with their arrival , seems to be overwhelming at first. You start taking it a day at a time. Then you tell yourself that as a second time mom you are seasoned and will handle it with ease.  Much to your shock you realize that each baby is different ( yes, everyone might say it to you but it’s only when it happens that you realize it )  and while you might be able to handle it a bit better, you still tend to struggle with a lot of the basics.
Then you calm yourself down.  Your mind makes the effort to find the high points in seemingly crazy days that flow so rapidly and fluidly into each other, that you stop seeing the calendar.
I have found those moments of re-connecting with the positive elements around me, in the middle of the nights that I am spending awake. Since those times always seems to go by slowly  in order to bring some calmness to one’s tired soul I have rediscovered the sounds and sights of the night – the sky at 3 AM, the moth flitting under the dim night lamp , the rotating fan’s monotonous and comforting sound, the slight drizzle that falls on the road beyond the curtains, the occasional dog barking up a storm, the quiet breathing of my other child sleeping.  Nothing can break that rhythm of the night sounds – and that is the peace that every new mother clings to, as she remains awake with her newborn baby and manages a slight smile.
The darkness of the night always reminds me of one of the flours I discovered when I moved to Bangalore 5 years ago – Ragi. Apart from being highly nutritious, I realized that being a naturally gluten-free flour it lends itself to so many recipes. So I tried using it along with Amaranth seeds in a biscuit recipe. And these beautifully flavoursome bites emerged as a result of the experiment.
Gluten-Free Eggless Ragi Amaranth Chocolate Biscuits

1 cup organic ragi flour

½ cup amaranth seeds

½ cup organic cane or coconut sugar

100 gms unsalted butter ( for vegan version use peanut / apple butter or oil – texture will change)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp organic liquid jaggery

Add the dry ingredients together and whisk them well. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients and add the liquid jaggery. Mix well and keep in the fridge overnight after cling wrapping.

Shape them into cookies, place them onto a greased tray and bake at 170 degrees C for 20 minutes, in a preheated oven.

 

almond, baking, biscuits, cane sugar, cookies, healthy baking, jowar, Uncategorized

Christmas Baking Story 2 & Wholewheat Jowar Apricot & Almond Cookies

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What does a child want ? Nothing in the world will be a perfect answer to that question. You will think it will be the “bigger” things – love, security, appreciation, family, education. You will also think that it could be the “smaller” things – toys, chocolates, candies, shoes, clothes.

Well, I am not an expert on understanding children and their psychology, but I think often we overlook the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, a child wants things that are not categorized, things that cannot be slotted into any form of definition.

Could it be a fleeting moment of joy when they see their friends after a school break? Could it be the chance to savour a few minutes of having the slide at the park, just to themselves ? Could it be the thrill of hearing their voices fill up a festive song ? Could it be the anxious anticipation of few seconds from when the school gets over till when they actually see their mother/father across the gate to pick them up ?

Why is my post talking about this ? It is because when I visited Ashraya Initiative for Children( a picture from that visit is shared above), an NGO that works with 200 slum children, with the Pune bakers in December 2016 as part of the “Bake a Sunshine Cake” initiative, I found myself reflecting about what are the things that bring such a warm smile on the faces of children living in abject poverty and why we adults are not able to muster up a smile despite the comfort we live in…

The only answer that connected with me was – because they keep it simple. It is that easy to be happy ! And so simplicity is the approach that I always follow when it comes to my healthy bakes. Presenting one such simple bake here for you to put together easily – Wholewheat Jowar Apricot Almond Cookies.

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Ingredients – 

  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 cup jowar flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method –

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Mix together the flours, almonds and apricots.

Beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mix slowly and mix without over-beating.

Scoop the dough using a spoon and drop them onto the baking tray, 2 inches apart. Add a chopped almond and apricot on top, and bake them for 15 minutes.

Cool them off and store in air tight containers.

 

baking, biscuits, cane sugar, eggless, healthy baking, jowar, wholewheat

Christmas Baking Stories -1 :Spiced Wholewheat and Jowar Shortbread

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#BakeaSunshineCake, by the Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community is yet again making it a December to Remember, for the 2nd year in a row. Christmas is truly here early in many parts of Bangalore and the US 🙂  Here is a little story from one of those parts – a quiet and serene old age home in Whitefield Bangalore.
A deep sense of poignancy and dejavu hit me the moment we started walking through the gates of Cheshire Old Age Home. Because around the same time last December ( 2015), we had walked into it for the first time – hoping to spread a little bit of warmth and take back a lot of memories. This year was as special as the first – the young ( our children) and the old ( the ladies at the home) met each other and connected instantly, the Christmas carols reverberated through the walls of the home and for a few hours , life became magical for us, the volunteer bakers as it possibly did for the ladies at the old age home.
On my way back from the visit, my son decided to sleep off. And that left me alone with my thoughts – And these were the only ones that kept playing on my mind.
I was thankful…..
For still being able to cry when something moves me.
For not accepting everything that is sad around us as ‘reality of life’.
For being able to know when to move on and when to wait a while.
For still being able to smile instantly on hearing an old friend’s voice.
For being able to wake up with a mind full of ideas.
For being able to sleep with tired feet and plans for next day.
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Spiced Wholewheat and Jowar Shortbread

  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1  cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup jowar flour
  • 1/4 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Method – Cream the butter and sugars together till it is light and fluffy. Sift the flours together with the ginger and nutmeg. Add it slowly to the sugar-butter mix and mix well. Wrap it well in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Take it out and press it into a greased flat baking tray. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Place the tray in the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes and then take it out. Use a sharp knife to cut the rectangle shapes on the tray itself.Bake it again for 15 minutes after doing that and then remove them from the tray to cool off and store.

 

barley flour, biscuits, crackers, savoury, Uncategorized, wholewheat

Pea-Risotto inspired Barley biscuits and a family’s food aversion !

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The Gujrals (my mother’s side) and by extension the Oberoi family  through us, has a unique food issue – there are generations of individuals who do not like green peas. So you can identify a visit by this clan, by simply serving “Samosas” as a tea-party at your home – you will find empty plates with the green peas ( God forbid, if the potato filling contains those!) neatly lined at one corner. Continue reading “Pea-Risotto inspired Barley biscuits and a family’s food aversion !”

biscuits, buckwheat flour, cane sugar, cookies, eggless, gluten-free, jowar, liquid jaggery

Is Baking a science or an art?

Most people will tell you that baking is a science mainly because it is driven by proportions, measures, time specifications.

But a few will tell you that it is part-science, part-art. Science when it comes to proportions of ingredients, art when it is about what the ingredients should be ! Science when it comes to following a recipe, art when it comes to creating one from scratch. Continue reading “Is Baking a science or an art?”

biscuits, cane sugar, cookies, gluten-free, gramflour, nankhatai, rice flour

How Festivals become alive and Gluten-Free Besan Nan-Khatais

I don’t recall how many festive seasons I have spent away from home (I know it should be easy to say my parents’ home, but the child in me still yearns to call it home). Sometimes I was away because of work or travel associated with that, sometimes because I didn’t get leave and sometimes, in hindsight I can admit that I didn’t think much about festivals being a big deal for me, 10-12 years ago.
Continue reading “How Festivals become alive and Gluten-Free Besan Nan-Khatais”

baking, biscuits, chocolate, cookies

Keeping it Sweet and Simple…

I have looked at those wonderfully decorated cakes, gorgeous designs and yummy icing innumerable times and thought to myself – will I ever be able to turn out something that is so visually appealing…perhaps with a lot (and a lot! ) of practice (am sure that really is the way to go, for me at least!)..the shorter route is to go to the cake art / decorating classes but then it won’t remain an ovenderful experience any longer and hence considerably less fun! Continue reading “Keeping it Sweet and Simple…”