Monday, May 23, 2011

Chili Biscuits and a Food Blogger's Day at HyperCITY

Fellow food-bloggers Madhuri (Cook-curry Nook), Suma (Cakes & More), Bridget White Kumar (Anglo-Indian Recipes) were asked to come to HyperCITY for a Food Blogger's Day. They had also asked that we come prepared to make / bake something at the store, so I carried with me a batch of chili biscuit dough. Once, there I realized I could have gathered ingredients from the store & put together my recipe!

Now, about HyperCITY. I've been to both their stores in B'lore - Whitefield & Bannerghatta Road. First impression - wow! so much space & so like walking into an US super market. I loved it. They have a wide variety / range / selection of groceries, provisions, utensils, appliances, home-wares and electronics. Here, I must honestly confess I was all agog about the wide variety of vegetables, diary & groceries that I just just quickly peeked at the other sections only. There prices compare very favorably to other stores for speciality products like mascarpone cheese (this is one item I remember, because I am always looking for it!). 

So, we walked through the vegetable & groceries sections and picked up what we wanted to make our stuff, and returned to the demo area. After a few hitches this was all set up. Bridget made some no-cook trifles, Madhuri made an eggless 5-min microwave chocolate cake, Suma made a 2-min microwave brownie & I made the khara (chili) biscuits. We interacted with the customers and amongst ourselves and had a fun time! Thank you HyperCITY for having us over. I'll surely be a regular shopper here!! 

Oh... you want the recipe for the biscuits? Do try it, this is a simple recipe even for novice bakers. Chili or Khara biscuits as they are known in the local bakeries is a hot favorite at home. P loves eating them straight out of the oven. This is my mom's recipe with a few additions thrown in by yours truly! Well, I did say I never follow a recipe, didn't I? 

Maida - 1 cup + 4a tbsps (see notes) + flour for dusting 
Butter - 3/4 cup 
Castor sugar - 2 tsp 
Salt - 1tsp 
Ginger pwdr - 3/4tsp 
B.pwdr - 1 tsp 
Yoghurt - 2 tbsp
Green chili - 4-6 

Mint - 10-12 leaves 
Curry Leaves - 10 leaves 
Onion - 1 med 

Sieve 1 cup maida, b.pwdr, salt, sugar, g.pwdr 
Chop onion finely 
Mince green chili, mint & curry leaves 
Cream butter till smooth 
Tip in yoghurt beat till blended 
Sprinkle 2 tbsps maida over the onions, mix well 
Toss dusted onion, curry leaves, mint, chilies & mix on low speed 
Add flour a little at a time & combine till all flour is added 
Transfer to a lightly floured surface & knead gently to bring together 
Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness 
Cut into biscuits
Bring the remaining dough together & repeat till all the dough is used up
Place on ungreased cookie sheet
Bake @ 200 deg cel for abt 10-12 mins or the sides turn golden brown 

Notes - 
Please note that depending on the oven, the bake time will vary. So, keep an eye on the cookies and pop them out of the oven when the sides turn golden brown. For every cup of onion you'll need 4 tbsps maida for dusting. 1 medium onion should be around 1/2 a cup. 

Mads, the pics are on the phone I shall post them in a couple of days! :) 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bisi Bele Bath Masala Powder

I promised myself that I'd blog at least once a week in 2011, actually that was a New Year resolution. Hmm like all resolutions, that too went out the window right at the start of the year!!!  Oh, I have reasons a-plenty  - in Jan I wasn't in the pink of health, in Feb / Mar I was traveling lots & in April - I wanted to blog, but there were some problems with my account and I wasn't able to.  Nice enough reasons, aren't they? That brings me to something else - for a while now I've been trying to scale up this page & haven't been very successful. So, after much goading from one of my favorite blogger friends, I've decided to shift to the another domain. Yes, I'll certianly give you all the details once I make the transition. 

Now, what was this post about? Oh, yes, Bisibele Bath! A nice one pot meal which is sumptuous by itself. Of course there's always someone like me for whom no meal is complete without thayir-chadham (curd-rice or yoghurt with plain rice) and pickle!!! This post however doesn't detail how to make Bisibele bath, but rather how to prepare the masala powder for it. 

My recipe is from various sources - friends, neighbors & family and with a few tweaks from me. My husband, who's never been a fan of this dish, now absolutely loves it - provided I make it with this masala powder & not something store-bought. I usually make the powder in this proportion & store it in an airtight container. I've been meaning to post this recipe here for a while now, and I just never got around to it. Why, you ask? Pls look above!!! I misplaced this little bit of paper on which I'd scribbled this recipe & though I searched high & low I couldn't find it! So, I made a small batch of powder one day, and made the dish & hubby says "Have you used some store-bought masala, this doesn't taste like it usually does!!". That day I decided that when I find that elusive paper, I'd post it immediately!!! So, here it is!!! I've been rambling on rather a bit, haven't I? Okie.. on to the recipe then!

When I say "cup" in this recipe I don't mean that you should use a measuring cup & measure out exactly. Use any cup, katori, tumbler, measure, just keep in mind the proportions and remember to use the same container to measure all the ingredients. 

Bengal gram (channa dal) - 1/2 cup
Urad dal - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 1/3 cup
Cumin - 1/3 cup
Cloves - 1 tbsp
Cardamom (bada elaichi) - 3 pieces
Cinnamon - 1-2 inch piece
Star anise - 2
Mace - 2
Marati-moggu -  2 tbsp
Red chili (Badige) - 3/4 cup
Red chili (Salem) - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Jaggery - 1 tbsp

Roast channa dal to golden-brown in a non-stick kadai, transfer to a wide plate
Roast urad dal till is turns brown, transfer to plate holding channa dal
Roast badige chilies, and then the salem chilies separately
Transfer to individual plates
Roast hing (asafoetida) till it puffs up
Roast jaggery to remove any moisture
Place coriander seeds in a microwave-safe bowl
Cook for a min, 30 secs at a time
Remove from microwave & transfer to a new plate
Repeat the previous 3 steps for the cumin seeds
Place all the other spices except red chilies and asafoetida in the same bowl
Cook for a min in the microwave, 30 secs at a time
Remove & transfer to a different plate
Allow all the ingredients to cool
Grind in a mixer to a fine powder

You might wonder why I've used two types of chilies in the recipe. The badige chili gives a very nice color & fragrance but is not very spicy, so to increase the spice level of the powder, I've added the salem chilies. Now, if you'd like your powder more or less spicy, then tweak the salem chilies to suit your requirement. Usually there is a good quantity of dry coconut added to this recipe. I've never liked bisi-bele bath with coconut. Ours is a less-to-no-coconut kind of household. So, that might be it. If you'd like to have your powder with dry coconut, add 1/2 cup to the ingredients, roast this individually & grind along with other ingredients.