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.

 

baking, butter-free, healthy baking, savoury

Second pregnancy & Zero-Fat No-Flour Baked Chicken Cutlet

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How does your second pregnancy feel different emotionally from your first one? I have never asked that question to anyone, but I did ask myself.

And the responses from within were mixed, confusing, unclear –

Because as you get ready to welcome your second baby, you also look at your first one, with a lot of pride and that twinge of regret about them having grown up so fast.

Because as you wonder about managing two children, you yet again look at your first one, and feel yourself slipping in and out of the role of a mother, and a confidante ( I don’t know if this will be the case in some years, but at 4 1/2 years of age, they still feel comfortable confiding in you 🙂 

Because you know ( for sure this time !) that life has changed irrevocably and will never ever be the same, and then you look at your first one, to realize with even more incredulity about how you held onto your belief that life will have some semblance to what it was in your pre-baby days !

Because you longingly pat your tummy as you wait for the second one’s arrival, with the same longing in your soul to turn your first one back into a baby in your lap…

Because you speak those words of love to your second baby, to welcome them into your family, and the same love spills out of your eyes when you watch your first one pretending to be fearless and yet look out for your hand before crossing the road…

On that special note, I wanted to share one of the bakes that my first baby loves and I make many versions of.

Zero-Fat No-Flour Baked Chicken Cutlet – With White Pepper, Coriander, Garlic

Ingredients –
250 gms chicken mince
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 small sprigs of fresh coriander
Salt as per your taste
2-3 tsp of freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp paprika powder
A handful of boiled peas
A slice of wholewheat bread if needed to absorb excess moisture in the mixture
Some sooji / semolina for coating

Method –
Some people prefer to use the mince as is. But I like to partially cook it in cinnamon for added flavour and then use. So just half-cook the mince with 1 small stick of cinnamon.

Then remove the stick, add the mince plus garlic cloves and onion in a food processor to grind it ( I don’t prefer a very smooth paste, so I leave it a little chunky).

Add the green peas, coriander, white pepper, paprika powder and salt one at a time to the mix and mix well.

If the mixture feels like it has too much moisture you can add some crumbs of wholewheat bread, else leave it as it into the fridge for an hour or so.

Take it out of the fridge, shape it into cutlets, coat it lightly with very fine sooji / semolina and place it on a greased baking tray. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes each side, at 180 degrees C and they are ready!

 

My tip – use freshly ground white pepper. The flavour is amazing.

I have done the same version with soya before for a friend whose vegetarian. Also used sooji for the coating.

 

For a vegetarian version, use soya ( granules or nuggets) cooked the same way. It gives a similar texture to the cutlet. If you don’t want to use sooji since it might make the cutlet seem dry, you can use wholewheat bread crumbs.

 

 

butter-free, dairy-free, eggless, healthy baking, rice flour, savoury, vegan, wholewheat

Shifting Lives and Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

Zero-Fat Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives2.JPG

How would you sum up 11 months of stay in a place – moved in, settled in, moved out ? That’s pretty much the way I would have thought probably a decade ago. But today it seems like even in those short 11 months, one can fit in so much into one’s life in a place.

It starts with being unfamiliar and you yearn for your earlier comfort zone.

It goes into a resigned kind of acceptance of what you have currently and even if its different, you can live with it.

It changes to looking at the goodness that is present in parts of it, and which you probably overlooked before.

It moves to liking the place, forming a few relationships and getting involved with the community.

It escalates into enjoying your stay there, waiting to see the neighbourhood dog who wags her tail, the same children cycling around each day, the same help who cleans the apartment, the same person in the flat above who you havent had a chance to know by name yet but who smiles at you each time.

And then you pack and move on.

Such is life. That fragile. That ever-changing. That is how it shifts, it moves and changes shape each day for us. We wait for it to “settle” into a routine. But of course, it has its own plans.

So here is a quick, simple and versatile recipe which is simple to life in all those qualities-

Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

1 cup wholewheat

1 tbsp of rice flour

1 cup boiled and pureed spinach ( I added ½ a green chilly, 2-3 cloves of garlic and a little chopped coriander to it while pureeing)

3-4 tbsp chopped chives

2-3 tbsp black sesame

1 tbsp white pepper

Salt as per requirement ( I used rock salt)

Add some warm water to make the dough pliable.

 

Mix all the above dry ingredients well. Then add the spinach puree and the warm water ( if needed). Cling wrap it and store it in the fridge for about an hour.

Take it out, roll it into a rectangle, use a sharp knife to cut long strips/sticks. Place them onto a baking tray which is lightly greased. Sprinkle some chives and black sesame. Bake in a pre-heated oven ( preheat for 10 minutes) at 175 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. You need to turn the sticks around mid way. Allow it to cool entirely for it to become crisp.

Zero-Fat Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

 

baking, healthy baking, savoury, vegan, vegan baking

Dusting away hesitation & Baking Zero-Fat Vegan Soya and Chana Dal Cutlets

 

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Last night as I was getting my 4 year old son to sleep, as usual he had some questions that he needed answers before he decided that it was time to sleep off 🙂

We were speaking about how he loves to swimming and that there was a pool close to our home that he wanted to go to. The first question he asked me was “Will I go in the big pool or the small one when I go there?” My response was what it usually is “Whichever one you want to go to first and then to the other one as well” .

While I was responding to his queries my mind was a little preoccupied with some things I wanted to undertake and an internal confusion prevailed over whether I would be able to manage those or not.

His next question shook me out of my thoughts in ways I had not imagined – “So Mamma, anything is possible for me-any pool ?” As a parent there are so many times when you are deeply uncertain about yourself or what you want to pursue and the what-ifs around that. But when your child asks you that question and you look into his soul through his eyes you will always, always smile back and say “Anything is possible for you, any pool, little one”.

And when I said those words to him, I really felt I was talking to myself – telling myself yet again, that its time to wipe off the dust that comes from one’s hesitation and raise the bar of one’s self-belief.

On that note, sharing a recipe that is close to my heart and I find comforting in such perplexing times- because it is pretty much like I am as a person : No-frills, put together with different textures but in the least amount of time and yet an improvisation of the ingredients at hand, so that they do not get wasted. Its also special because it contains the Biryani Masala ( spicemix) that my Nani , maternal grandmother makes. She makes it with a lot of care and love, and I thoroughly enjoy using it in different dishes.

Zero-Fat Baked Soya and Chana Dal Cutlets 

Recipe

1 cup boiled soya ( I used nuggets)
½ cup chana dal, partially boiled
1 tsp freshly grated ginger and garlic paste
Salt as per your preference
1 tbsp biryani masala
Chopped coriander

Grind all the above together into a rough paste ( not too smooth). If you find it has too much moisture, add a tbsp of sooji/semolina.

Make small discs, place them on a lightly greased baking tray and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Midway you need to flip all the cutlets to the other side.

Biryani masala –

On a tawa lightly roast till the aroma starts coming off the tawa- 2 tbsp saunf/fennel seeds, 1 tbsp jeera seeds, 1 tbsp dhaniya seeds, ½ tbsp black peppercorns, 2-3 big elaichi, 2-3 small elaichi, 3-4 cloves, a small piece of cinnamon. Dry grind in a grinder all the above once it is cooled off after dry roasting. This powder can be made and kept in a bottle.

 

almond, baking, healthy baking, jaggery, oats

Why Ovenderful is, where it is today.

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Many of you have seen the kind of note 2017 has started on , for Ovenderful. Receiving such a lot of recognition and appreciation is incredible, but also overwhelming. It also leads to a whole lot of soul – searching , at least for me it did. People will probably say that one should savour the moment – which I did. But when you realize the power of what you created it can be humbling.

The Ovenderful you see today seems to be lit up in all the success – But with all the adulation that has come, each time I have looked inwards to remind myself that this is not a story of Glory , it is a story of Grit.

I don’t say this for any reason except to simply share this experience with more people – many of who are struggling with a small / home based venture. So that they remember to stand tall each time the venture receives a setback and they understand that the sun rises and sets. Today it shines on one and tomorrow on the other – so don’t lose heart.

I baked only to raise funds or for social impact for the initial years – not because I wanted to have a story to tell. But because ,simply put, I believed in them and they in me.

I sold baked goods at prices that were laughable, so much so that those who ordered them told me to rework my prices – upwards. Not because I couldn’t price better but because the idea of completely monetizing what I had realized was a passion, seemed to reduce its value, to me.

So Ovenderful is where it is, only and only because of two things – the unchanging philosophy that it will always stand for social impact alongside being a venture and that it will dare to go where few will ( healthy baking ) even if the orders are few and far between.

And since Ovenderful has been like a baby to me, which I have spent love and time on, to nurture, it is only fitting that I share a recipe that is close to my heart – that of Lactation biscuits, which many new moms have found useful when they are feeding their babies.

Published first on : http://fitmoms.in/lactation-biscuits-recipe/

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup chopped Almonds
  • 1 tbsp Flax seeds
  • ½ cup organic Jaggery
  • ½ tbsp Fennel/Saunf Seeds
  • ¼ cup Ghee/Butter

Preparation method

  1. Grease a baking tray and keep it ready. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  2. Dry roast the oats and then grind them coarsely. Add the chopped almonds, flax seeds, fennel seeds to it and mix well.
  3. Add the organic jaggery – either as a powder or in grated form to the above dry mix. Mix it thoroughly to ensure that the jaggery has been spread uniformly. Then slowly add the ghee or butter ( at room temperature and soft). As the dough comes together, do not knead it. Just bring it together and then cling wrap the dough.
  4. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Take them out and shape them into whatever shape you prefer and place them on the baking tray. Then bake them at 180 degrees , for 15- 20 minutes.
  5. Allow them to cool off well and then remove them from the tray. Store them 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.

 

baking, healthy baking, savoury, Uncategorized, vegan baking, wholewheat

Wholewheat Vegan Zero-Fat No-yeast Lavash topped with Kadale bele (chana dal) chutney and roasted peanuts

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For as long as I remember I haven’t been fond of Chana Dal and I love anything that is crisp ! I have made excuses so that I don’t have to eat that particular dal despite a whole lot of effort from my mother.

But as I grew older and I tried many versions of it – a few that did seem better and something that I could probably get used to. But the one version I discovered when I moved to Bangalore and absolutely loved was the Kadale Bele Chutney / Chana Dal Chutney and I was finally a convert – I could eat a whole bowl of it, not just with Dosa or Idli but also with a chapati !

So for a while I was thinking of where I can fuse it into my baking since it is such a traditional Indian recipe. But then healthy baking for me has been largely about being able to incorporate as much of the local elements as I possibly can. What I also discovered while trying to dip a cracker ( yes, my love for the crisp) into the chutney and eat it was that there was a way to combine these.

That is when I decided to bring together this bake for the OpenOut event that I hosted at home.

For the Wholewheat Zero-Fat flatbread/Lavash

INGREDIENTS:

– Whole wheat flour: 2 cups

– Red chilly powder: 2 tsp

– Salt: 2 tsp

– Jeera powder : 1 tsp

– Warm water: 1 cup

– Black sesame seeds : 3 tsp

Add flour, salt, chilly, jeera powder and mix.

Add the black sesame seeds and mix through the dry mixture well so that it is uniformly present.

Add 1 cup of warm water and knead into a smooth soft dough. Cover with a damp muslin cloth and let the dough rest for 30 mins.

– Make small balls of the dough of uniform size.

– Dust them one at a time and roll it out into a round or square shape. Make sure to roll it out as thin as possible.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Brush the baking tray lightly with oil.

Place the round / square on top of the tray and cut it into squares with a pizza cutter ( you can choose to make any other shape with cookie cutters too).

Bake for 10 to 12 mins or until light brown and crisp. Turn them around mid way to allow even browning on either side.

Take it out and cool completely.

For the Kadale Bele chutney ( I used this one as per our taste buds, if you have your own traditional recipe, feel free to use that).

Roast about 1/2 cup kadle bele or chana dal , 4 dry red chilies, 4-5 fenugreek/methi seeds, 3-4 curry leaves and 1 pinch of hing/asfoetida in 1 tsp oil. When this is roasted ( be careful not to burn it), cool it off well. Then dry grind it with 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut and 1 tsp of salt ( you can adjust this to your taste preference). Keep this aside.

To assemble – 

Once the flat bread pieces are baked through , with a spoon or knife spread the chutney on top of them and top it off with dry roasted peanuts. If you want to retain crispness, after the assembling place it into a preheated oven for 2 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius, before serving.

organic, Uncategorized, vegan

Where can you buy Organic and Vegan Products in India? ( Published in Pyjama People)

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Sikkim was declared a 100% organic farming state in January this year, making it a benchmark for the world. Yet, the growth and availability of organic products — particularly those that are certified and credible — remains a challenge in India. It’s the irony we live with in today’s world.

In the same vein, vegan products should also have been readily available in vegetarian-majority India. But because vegan excludes dairy, white sugar and honey as well, options are pretty much limited.

India, in fact, is the highest producer of cows and buffalo milk, which results in it being part of most diets or food products.

As limited as they may be, there are a few options where you can get organic and vegan products online. Here are some options you can go through to get a better understanding of what they have to offer:

Sharan Group

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsharan.india%2Fposts%2F1782798265069460&width=500

Go Organic India

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D1447356878614019%26id%3D144274758922244%26substory_index%3D0&width=500

24Mantra

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F24MantraOrganic%2Fposts%2F1196997777053438%3A0&width=500

Conscious Food

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FConsciousFood%2Fposts%2F1422202994461798%3A0&width=500

Vegalyfe

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FVegaLyfe%2Fposts%2F596872680519917&width=500

Staeta

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FLifeHealthFoods%2Fposts%2F557894351062751%3A0&width=500

Apart from these, you will find several vegan and organic products on platforms like Amazon, Towness, Giskaa, FabIndia , Godrej Nature’s Basket and iHerb.

And finally, you can check out this list of some popular consumer products that are vegan.

Original Article Link –

http://pyjamapeople.in/index.php/2016/10/26/we-know-its-a-struggle/

 

 

 

 

almond, apple, baking, cake, coconut, coconut sugar, healthy baking, wholewheat

Healthy Baking exists and a delicious Wholewheat Apple – Coconut cake(with coconut sugar)

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I had started this post on another note. But then something prompted me to rewrite it in another way, to share a perspective – about different kinds of opinions,  about breaking internal barriers, about evolving times and then some more.

It’s interesting to hear many schools of thought from various bakers – how healthy baking is a fad or what we consume through our traditional bakes is not harmful or even better, there is nothing called healthy baking.

Has happened to me as well – healthy bakes are an acquired taste, they come to you over a period of time. Have you given it that time ? As I think back to my own approach, I know I can say this with absolute conviction – even the best of us can sometimes get trapped in the confines of our own minds, get tricked by our own taste buds, get slowed down by our own lack of courage.

But what if, just what if we opened the window of our mind a wee bit – If we simply make a small change? Instead of beginning with the mindset that they can’t be yum, let’s just re-align our minds to understand that they will be different. That’s it. You have taken the most important step.

 

Because you know what – closed minds will always lead to redundancies – no matter what area of work or passion you follow. Because the world is evolving and if we keep following rule-based baking and do not experiment with healthier ingredients, guess who loses – our family and friends, because they deserve healthier options and as the bakers it is our responsibility to make that change. Yes rules are good, but work with rules in a way that you put your wellness first and rules second. Not the other way round:)

So what’s YOUR next step ?

Blame it on your present lifestyle? You may have done that already.
Change food habits to suit present lifestyle – Have you done this yet?

Assure yourself of how we have grown up with these ingredients? You may have done that already.

Tell yourself that what you eat as you ‘grow older’ should change too –– Have you done this yet?

Oh but you eat all that stuff only of special occasions –You may have done that already.

Oh but you love your tea biscuits daily, so should you change that-– Have you done this yet?

So here’s a recipe to ease you into Healthy Baking (it does exist!)

Wholewheat Apple-Coconut Cake

1 1/2 cups of wholewheat flour

1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

1 large apple, peeled and grated

1/2 cup of grated fresh coconut

1/2 cup of coconut sugar

2-3 tbsp of honey

3 eggs

100 grams butter

1 tsp of cinnamon ( freshly grated)

Almonds ( chopped)

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Method – 

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C.

Sift wholewheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and keep aside. Grease and dust a 7×7 square pan.

Mix the butter, honey and coconut sugar with a whisk first then beat them well so that it becomes creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.

Add the sifted flour-bp-cinnamon mix into the tin. Lastly fold the grated apple, coconut and almonds into the batter gently. No need to beat at this stage.

Transfer it into the tin, bake at 170 C for 45 minutes, until it becomes golden brown. Cool it well before de-moulding it.