Buns!

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The first time I made bread, I was shocked when it actually looked and tasted like bread I would buy (but better!). Baking bread is almost magical — and eating a freshly baked slice with butter and jam even more so.

For these buns, I used this “pav” recipe from vegrecipesofindia: https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/bombay-pav-recipe-laadi-pav-recipe/

But instead of placing them close together, I put them farther apart so they would come out as separate buns instead of a chain.

The recipe gives a range for the yeast and flour measurement, but in the ingredients below I have put in what I used for the flour I had (King Arthur’s All Purpose):

Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
milk for brushing

Method
In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, yeast and sugar. Add the warm water and mix well until no lumps remain.
Cover the bowl, and leave this mixture for about 35 minutes (you should see a frothy layer on top, and that it has risen).
Add the butter, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Mix with a spoon, and then add 1 more cup of flour.
Now, knead the dough — if it appears sticky, add more flour until you can turn it into a smooth dough.
Spread butter all over the ball of dough, and cover and keep for 45 minutes to an hour, until it has risen and doubled in size.
mvimg_20180807_104610595Once the dough has risen, deflate and roll into a log. Slice the dough into 8 pieces (you can slice it into more if you want the buns to be smaller).
Roll each peach to in the palm of your hand to form a ball, and place on a greased baking tray, about 2 inches apart.
Rise again for 25 minutes (the small buns will again increase in size). Remember to preheat the oven to 395F 15 minutes into this rise time.
Now, brush with milk and place into the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Remove from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool.
Serve plain or toasted with butter and jam, or pan fried with butter as an accompaniment to curry!

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate Plum Walnut Cake

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Hello everyone, I’m back in Philly for the summer and have been baking and cooking again! My sister and I recently bought some sweet, sweet sugar plums from a nearby farmer’s market, and after gobbling up the whole basket, I had a strong urge to make some plum cake. While the cute little sugar plums were all gone, I bought some bigger ones (that you can see in the picture) and set out to find a recipe. I wanted plums in the cake, and my sister wanted walnuts, and so this recipe was perfect: http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2012/07/grandma-esthers-plum-and-walnut-cake.html

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I replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with cocoa powder, and voilà: this moist, chocolatey, sweet, tart and nutty plum cake was born!

Here is the recipe so you can enjoy it too!

Ingredients
1 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (small pieces, but far from even a coarse powder)
2 cups plums, pitted and cut into slices

Method
Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Beat the oil, eggs and sugar.
In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the walnuts and plums). Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, adding small amounts at a time.
Once combined, fold in the walnuts and plums.
Pour into a 9×9 greased baking pan, and bake for about an hour, or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

 

Mini Summer Tarts

My sister and I were going to our cousin’s house for dinner, and wanted to quickly whip up something for dessert. We had leftover pie crust in the fridge, and some ripe peaches, and voilà: mini tarts!
We wanted to use a spice to brighten the flavor, and we thought of cinnamon (as it is a go to in western desserts), but ended up using cardamom instead (the perfect choice, as we would later realize!). Cardamom is used to flavor many summer desserts in India, like aamras (made from mangoes) and kheer. It has cooling properties, making it perfect for hot summers, and is even used in ayurveda as an antidepressant!
These tarts are perfect with a glass of cold milk, and make for a light, fruity summer breakfast.

All you need for these easy mini tarts is:
1. Store bought pie crust
2. Peaches and blueberries
3. Sugar
4. Butter
5. Ground cardamom seeds

First, we cooked the peaches and blueberries in butter in a pan on medium heat and added sugar and cardamom. We cooked these until they were soft and most of the liquid had evaporated (so that the tarts wouldn’t have soggy bottoms!).
We greased a muffin tin with butter, lined it with circles of the dough (which had been rolled out a little more, to about 1/4″ thickness after we took it out from the packet), and put in the peach and blueberry filling.
We used 2 peaches and a fistful of blueberries for 5 tarts.
(Yes, quite an irregular number, but we were working with leftovers!)

 

Sautéed Vegetables with Mustard Seeds

Yesterday morning my sister and I were trying to think of what to take for lunch, something that would be light, green and filling.
So while my sister showered, I quickly satuéed broccoli, eggplant chunks and mushrooms with mustard seeds and garlic (adding the garlic after the mustard seeds have *popped* in the oil, and waiting until the garlic was a very light brown). I then squeezed some lemon on the veggies and packed them with leftover fried rice.
And I can say that it was a hit! 😉

 

My meal! (Navratan Korma with Naan)

I made this with my sister a few days ago… we were craving something spicy and creamy with loads of gravy and vegetables – and this definitely satisfied the craving.
We were in such a rush to eat that we forgot to take down how much of each ingredient we were using, so I won’t put up the recipe yet … but I promise to make it again and share it with all of you!
We ate the sabji (hindi for vegetable dish) with naan and a salad of cucumbers, tomato and onions.

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Baingan Bhaaja (Mustardy Pan-Fried Eggplant)

This is a dish that is very close to my heart, and a childhood and family favorite. This mustardy recipe from Bengal is a healthy, fun and delicious way to eat eggplant. Mustard oil is a must – it’s what gives the eggplant the taste that makes this dish what it is!
These can be served as a side to a meal, or as a yummy snack.

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All you need is:
Turmeric
Salt
Mustard Oil
1 Large Eggplant
Chaat Masala (optional)

Cut the eggplant into about 1/4 inch thick slices. Rub turmeric on both sides of each slice; the amount should be just enough to cover the whole slice in a very thin layer.
Heat mustard oil in a pan. When hot pan fry eggplant slices until brown on one side, then flip and brown other side.
Put the fried slices on a bed of paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Sprinkle both sides of each slice with salt, and chaat masala if you want that extra *zing*.
Serve!

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Comeback!

It’s been almost an year since I last posted something…. and also since I last cooked regularly. The first semester of college was hectic, to say the least, and though I often wanted to cook my own wholesome meals (unlike the food available on campus), I found myself not having the will power, or often the time, to cook in the perpetually dirty shared kitchen on my floor.
But now it’s summer… and I have a glorious amount of time, and most importantly, easy access to my own kitchen. Yay!

So in short, I’m going to be posting again! These might be mostly Indian recipes, because these were sorely missing for my life while I was on campus, but also because I enjoy them the most. There’s nothing more fulfilling than a meal of roti, dal, sabji and rice!

Hummingbird Cake!

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Hello!
A few days ago, I made a southern classic: the hummingbird cake. I used the southern living recipe, and the cake turned out to be absolutely delicious. The recipe is incredibly simple and the cake, though beautiful and delectable, does not take much effort to make at all!
Here’s a link to the recipe (the list of ingredients contains a link to the cream cheese frosting) :
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/hummingbird-cake-0
Note: I added a little extra syrup from the pineapple, so my cake was a bit more sticky. I also reduced the sugar in the frosting (I might have used about 4 or 5 ounces less than the original), but the cake and frosting together were still perfectly sweet. In fact, if I had used the original, I would have over-sweetened.

 

Chocolate Frosting Cookies – Almonds and Orange

Do you have leftover frosting you don’t know what to do with? Bake some delicious cookies! This is a very simple recipe that makes about 18 medium sized cookies.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/4 cup chocolate frosting (melted)
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Method:
Beat the eggs until fluffy. Sift flour and mix with the baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the frosting. Mix well. Now add the almonds and zest and mix again. Roll medium sized balls of the dough, flatten and place on parchment paper covered baking tray. You can place a few almonds as decoration on top of the cookies. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Dust with icing sugar as preferred.

 

 

My Meal

For lunch today I had a steaming hot bowl of khichdi (lentil rice) and aloo mattar tamatar (potatoes with peas in a tomato gravy). This is the ultimate comfort food, and my mom’s recipe is simply the best! I will put up a link to the recipe soon.

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