Home cooking

Stuffed Brinjals with green masala


The simple brinjal turned into an exotic dish with a fragrant green masala stuffing. From Mai’s Recipes!

Stuffed Brinjals

Aubergine, Eggplant, Bathinjan, Baigan

Ingredients

6 to 8 Brinjals, small round variety

2 tbsp.oil

1 large onion

Grind to a paste

1 Onion

4 green chillis

5 to 6 flakes garlic

1 bunch coriander leaves

½ tsp. black pepper

½ to 1 tsp. cumin seeds

¼ tsp. turmeric

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Salt to taste

1 tbsp. sugar or to taste (optional)

Method

Remove the stem and slit each brinjal into four taking care to leave the stem side intact.  Immerse in water till required. Chop the onion.  Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and fry till soft.  Add the ground paste and fry well till oil separates.  Stuff this masala paste, when cool, into each brinjal and arrange the brinjals in a pan in a single layer,  sprinkle some water and cook on medium low flame till water evaporates and brinjals are tender.

How to make thick creamy Yogurt in a Nutricook Smart Pot Instant Pot


Nothing like fresh home-made delicious and healthy yogurt. Simple and easy and foolproof using the Instant Pot.

Minimum quantity shoud be 1 Litre and Maximum 5 Litres. Store in the refrigerator and use for upto one week!!

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Taikulo ani Bikna Cassia Tora and Jackfruit Seeds Vegetable


Taikulo ani Bikna (Casia Tora & Jackfruit seeds Vegetable)

The early monsoon brings an array of wild foods that are super healthy and delicious. The rain makes wild vegetables grow in abundance alongside roads and in the hilly regions. Taikulo is one of these seasonal, local, monsoon vegetables, available for free, with all of its healthy goodness.  I, however, purchased this lot from the ladies at Mapusa market for Rs.30/-.  The vegetable looks a bit faded as I could not cook it the same day.

Taikulo also called Senna tora or Casia tora (Botanical name) is a wild leafy vegetable that grows along all the roadside and can be plucked straight from the plant and cooked into a simple and nutritious vegetable.  Only the tender leaves are used in cooking. Although the whole plant and roots and seeds are widely used in traditional Indian and South Asian medicine. It is said to have numerous health benefits. From an Ayurvedic stand-point the leaves and seeds of this plant are said to contain acrid, laxative, anthelmintic, ophthalmic, liver tonic, cardio tonic and expectorant properties. Adapted from : Vayuvision

Ingredients

4 to 6 cups Taikulo leaves

3 red chillies

6 flakes garlic

1 medium onion

½ tsp. Turmeric powder

½ cup coconut

10 to 12 jackfruit seeds (pre-boiled)

2 tbsp. oil

½ tsp. salt or to taste

Remove the tender leaves from the stems and discard the thick stems. Wash the taikulo leaves well, add some salt and soak in salted water for 15 minutes.  Drain and chop finely.  Slice the onion, crush the garlic and break the chillies into bits.  Heat the oil, add the red chillies, garlic and onion.  When onion is translucent, add 1/2 tsp. turmeric and mix.  Avoided excessive spices to get optimum benefit from the vegetable. Then add taikulo leaves, salt, some water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes till tender.  Add the boiled jackfruit seeds, cut in half and the coconut, mix and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve as an accompaniment with any main meal.

N.B.: When jackfruit is in season, collect the seeds and dry they for a day or two which makes the skin a bit loose and becomes easier to peel. Then, wash and boil jackfruit seeds, cool and store in zip lock bags in the freezer. 

Spiny Gourd Kantola


Spiny Gourd, Kantola

Spiny Gourd (Phagil) is a spiky green vegetable. It is also known as kantola, kakora, kakrol, spine gourd, teasle gourd etc. Available during the monsoon season this vegetable is not only super tasty but also provides a whole lot of health benefits. The appearance (and name) of the vegetable is quite misleading.  Looks spiny but when cooked is so tender, it rather took me by surprise.  Turned out to be delicious!

Seasonal vegetables are great if you are looking for regular intake of nutrition and still go easy on your pocket. The best part of including seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet is their inherent ability to fight seasonal illnesses and flu.

Ingredients

½ Kg. Spiny Gourd

1 tsp. chilli powder or to taste

½ tsp. turmeric

1 lemon, juice (optional)

1 tsp.salt or to taste

2 tbsp. oil

Wash the kantola and chop the ends and slice.  Hard seeds, if any may be removed or can be discarded while eating.  Sprinkle the chilli and turmeric powders and salt and lemon juice and mix well.  Set aside for 15 minutes.  Fry the slices and stir fry, till cooked.  The appearance (and name) of the vegetable is quite misleading.  Looks spiny but when cooked is so tender, it rather took me by surprise.  Turned out to be delicious!

Guacamole


Guacamole

Avocados may have a range of health benefits, including improving digestion, decreasing the risk of depression, and protecting against cancer.  Avocados provide a substantial amount of monounsaturated fatty acids and are rich in many vitamins and minerals. Incorporating them into a varied, healthy diet can provide a number of benefits.

Avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Avocados contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fuller between meals. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Risks: Avocado has a high fat content, so adding too many to the diet might lead to unintended weight gain.

Avocados also contain vitamin K, which can affect how blood thinners work.

It is important for people taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), to keep their vitamin K levels constant. For this reason, it is not a good idea to suddenly eat more or fewer foods containing vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting.  – Source : Medical News Today

Ingredients

1 large or 2 medium Ripe Avocados

1 small tomato, deseeded & chopped

1 lemon, juice or to taste

½ tsp. salt or to taste

½ of small onion

1 green chilli, deseeded or ½ jalapeno

1 clove garlic, minced, optional

1 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped

Cut the Avocado, remove the seed and scoop out the flesh and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the ingredients from tomato to garlic and mix well.  Garnish with chopped coriander.  Spread thickly on toasted Poee, Sour dough bread or with tortilla chips and serve immediately as stater or appetiser or as a snack!

How to cean and cook Terem Leaves Alun Leaves and Alsande curry


How to clean and cook Terem leaves

Also called Taro, Alu, Colocassia, Pathra leaves are high in nutrition and Iron rich.  Available in plenty in the monsoon, they grow abundantly in and around gardens and fields and along the roadside where there is plenty of greenery.  However it is only the leaves that have red/purple stems that are edible and those that have green stems cannot be consumed.

Terem/Taro/Alu leaves and Alssone Curry

Ingredients

15 Terem leaves and 3 to 4 stems

1 cup Alsande/Alsone beans (or 15 jackfruit seeds or 1 cup Black eyed beans)

1 cup fresh grated coconut

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1 tsp. turmeric powder

1” pc cinnamon stick

2 cloves

2 red chillies

5 flakes garlic

1 medium onion

2 medium tomatoes

8 Kokum petals

1 tsp. Salt or to taste

2 tbps. Coconut oil

Wash the leaves well and wash and peel the stems.  Chop finely.  Apply some oil on your hands or wear gloves to avoid the itchy feeling on your hands post cleaning.  Slice the onion and tomatoes and keep aside. Wash and boil the alsone beans till tender.  Add salt and then add the chopped terem leaves and stem and cook 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, dry roast the fresh coconut and grind with the cumin, mustard, chillies, garlic, turmeric cinnamon and cloves to a smooth paste.  Take another vessel and when hot, add the oil and fry the sliced onion till light brown.  Then add the tomatoes and when soft add the ground masala paste and sautee for 3 minutes.  Add the kokum petals. Then add the boiled alsone and terem leaves to the gravy alongwith water from the rinsed masala jar and additional water if thinner gravy is required.  Adjust seasoning and cook 15 minutes till oil surfaces.  Remove to a serving dish and serve hot with rice or poee or any bread for a sumptuous and healthy local and seasonal meal, protein and iron rich!!

How to effectively cook Dry Prawns and Lady Fingers in a Curry Mangalorean & Goan Style Curry


Dried shrimp are shrimp that have been sun-dried and shrunk to a thumbnail size. They are used in many East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisines, imparting a unique umami taste.] A handful of shrimp is generally used for dishes. The flavors of this ingredient are released when allowed to simmer. Source: Wikipedia

Dried Shrimp and Lady Finger Curry with Sola (Dried mango)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Dry Prawns (Before cleaning)
  • 20 to 25 Lady Fingers
  • 8 flakes dried mango (Sola)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil

Grind to a paste

  • 4 red Kashmiri chilies
  • 6 small round chilies (from Goa)
  • 3 tbsp. coconut powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper corns
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 4 flakes garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 to 5 flakes tamarind (small ball)

Roast prawns gently on medium low flame till aromatic and crisp. Becpmes easier to clean when crisp, the heads etc. fall off easily. Leave aside to cool. Prepare the masala ingredients and grind to a smooth paste using some water.

Wash the lady fingers and drain. Cut off the heads and tails and cut each slantwise into 2 to 3 pieces depending on the length of the lady finger. Cutting slantwise gives you a better view of the inside of the lady ifnger which can be sometimes infested with worms.

When the prawns are cool, clean them by removing the head, tail and legs and immerse in water for 10 minutes to soften. Soak the mango sola in water in a cup till required.

Slice the onion and fryin 2 tbsp. oil till light brown. Squeeze out the water (discard the waer) from the prawns and add to the onion. Remove the dried mango from the water (reserve the water) and add to the prawns and saute for 2 minutes. Add the masala paste, sufficient water for the curry, salt and bring to a boil. Then add the lady fingers, adjust the consisency of the curry and cook 10 minutes. Reduce flame when it starts boiling. After 10 minutes check if the vegetable is cooked, if not simmer further 5 minutes. Remove from eat when curry appears glossy and fat surfaces. Serve hot with rice for a delicious, nutritious and satisfying meal.

Galmbi Chutney Dry Prawn Chutney


Typical mangalorean dry prawn chutney, served as an accompaniment at any main meal. Delicious with simple dal rice or with pez!

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry prawns, cleaned with head, tail and legs removed
  • 2 cups fresh grated coconut
  • 4 green chillies
  • 4 flakes garlic (reduce to taste)
  • 1/2 ” pc. ginger
  • 4 tpo 5 sprigs coriander leaves
  • 1 small lemon sized ball tamarind
  • 1 small onion

Roast the dry prawns on a heated pan on medium low flame till aromatic and crisp. Leave aside to cool.

Grind the chutney ingredients to a coarse almost dry paste, I like to add 2 tbsp. of the prawns to the grinder alongwith the chutney ingredients. Otherwise prawns are not be be ground. Mix prawns with the chutney wiht your hands, squeezing and crushing the prawns somewhat. Serve as an accompaniment with any main meal. Excellent with a simple meal of dal rice or with pez!!

Drumstick Moringa Fruit Pods How to clean, cook and eat them in a simple yet delicious vegetable


Drumstick Vegetable, Sangho Tel Piyav

The healthy, nutritious drumstick (moringa) (sangho) fruit pods

Drumstick pods and leaves are a storehouse of essential nutrients, whereas the leaves are the most nutrient part of the plant and one of the finest sources of calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium.  Fresh pods and seeds are a great source of oleic acid, a healthy fatty acid which is known to promote heart health. Moringa leaves is unique among all the greens as it is heaped with a good amount of protein about 9.8 gram of protein per 100 grams. Dry powdered leaves are an amazing source of good quality essential amino acids.

The rich culinary tradition of our country has helped us to relish and taste several types of vegetables and fruits thereby derive out the umpteen health benefits. One such amazing vegetable that is greatly valued and earns our interest is drumstick or moringa oleifera.

Moringa obtains its name from the Tamil word, murungai, denotes twisted pod. This humble vegetable is used extensively in Indian culinary dishes for more than a hundred years. Be it delectable sambhar or avail, or any meat curry, soups, pickles etc., drumstick renders its unique flavour to the dishes.

Source: Netmeds.com

Ingredients

  • 6 Drumsticks
  • 5 flakes garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tbs. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp. fresh coconut

Method

Cut the head and tail of the drumstick and cut into 2 to 4” segments, removing the skin as far as possible keeping the segment intact ensue it does not disintegrate. Discard the head, tail and the skin.  Wash and drain the cleaned drumstick pieces.  Slice the onion and peel and crush the garlic. Heat a pan, add 2 tbsp. coconut oil, when hot add 1 tsp. mustard seed and allow to pop, then add crushed garlic flakes. Saute for a minute and add the sliced onion and fry thill soft and translucent.  Add the drumsticks and toss to cost with oil.  Add a cup of water, ½ tsp. salt or to taste and bring to a boil.  Mix, cover and cook 10 minutes.  Stir in between.  When done, add the coconut, mix well and simmer 5 minutes.  Take off flame and serve hot as a side with any main meal.  To eat, hold the drumstick piece firmly with your teeth and pull with your fingers while extracting and consuming the pulp and the seeds inside the pod.  Chew the skin, if you wish, and discard.  Simply delicious!  The skin should not be ingested, only the pulp and tender seeds inside the pod.

Moringa Leaves Drumstick Leaves Stir Fry Vegetable


The new superfood – Moringa leaves, healthy, nutritious, excellent for gut health and for diabetics.  My mother never had to buy these leaves, they were always available in the home garden or the neighbourhood.  Thankfully these are now available worldwide at Asian stores, albeit at a price!

Ingredients

  • 2 Bunches Drumstick Leaves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil

Roast and grind to a coarse paste

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 flakes garlic
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 4 dry red chilies
  • ½ cup fresh or dessicaed coconut
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. coconut oil

Method

Separate the leaves from the stems of the drumsticks and remove as much of the stems as possible although the small tender stems may be retained.  Soak in plenty of water for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly changing the water atleast twice so that any dust etc. can come off.  Drain and set aside.

Drumstick Leaves Moringa Leaves Stir Fry vegetable

The new superfood – Moringa leaves, healthy, nutritious, excellent for gut health and for diabetics.  My mother never had to buy these leaves, they were always available in the home garden or the neighbourhood.  Thankfully these are now available worldwide at Asian stores, albeit at a price!

Ingredients

2 Bunches Drumstick Leaves

1 medium onion

1 tsp. mustard seeds

2 tbsp. coconut oil

Roast and grind to a coarse paste

1 medium onion chopped

2 flakes garlic

¼ tsp. turmeric powder

4 dry red chilies

½ cup fresh or dessicaed coconut

Salt to taste

1 to 2 tbsp. coconut oil

Method

Separate the leaves from the stems of the drumsticks and remove as much of the stems as possible although the small tender stems may be retained.  Soak in plenty of water for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly changing the water atleast twice so that any dust etc. can come off.  Drain and set aside.

Heat a pan and add oil.  When hot add the red chilies, garlic and onion.  When light brown add the coconut, turmeric powder and salt and saute for 2 minutes till light brown and you get a nice roasted aroma.  Set aside to cool. Then grind to a coarse paste.

Slice the remaining onion.  Heat a pan and add oil, when hot add the mustard seeds, when they pop add the sliced onion and fry till translucent and soft.  Add the ground masala and saute 2 to 3 minutes adding the rinsed water from the jar. Add the drained drumstick leaves, mix and stir fry for 10 minutes.  Remove to a serving dish and serve hot.  The vegetable will have a slight crunch to it and a slight bitter taste so is very healthy and excellent for diabetics, is very nutritious and good for gut health due to it’s fibre content.  Some may want the leaves to be more tender, in this case add ¼ cup water and cook further 5 minutes.  Serve hot. 

Sorpotel and Sannas Combo Traditional Goan and Manglorean festive meal


Sarapatel or Sorpotel, is a dish of Portuguese origin now commonly cooked in the coastal konkan region of India, primarily Goa, Mangalore and East Indians of Mumbai Sarpatel. The former Estado da Índia Portuguesa colony. It is also prepared in northeastern Brazil. The word ‘sarapatel’ literally means confusion, referring to the mish-mash of ingredients which include Pork meat and offal (which includes heart, liver, tongue and even pork blood sometimes). However, in modern-day version, blood is rarely used as now getting the pure blood is slightly difficult. The meat is first parboiled, then diced and sauteed before being cooked in a spicy and vinegary sauce.

The flavourings and spices differ from region to region, for example, some use more vinegar. The size of the pieces also varies, as does cooking technique: some sautee the meat prior to cooking it in the sauce, while others add the diced parboiled meat directly to the sauce.

In Goa and Mangalore, Sorpotel is often accompanied by “sanna” – a spongy, white, and slightly sweet steamed rice and coconut bread. However, it can also be enjoyed with bread, on rice, or in a bun as a sandwich.

Made by African slaves in Brazil, the dish had the tail, ear, intestines, tongue and a hint of blood. It was a filling, rich ode to offal. The pork-loving Portuguese got it to India. What came to India was the version popular from Alentejo region of Portugal, to which the native Goan Christians and East Indians added their own tricks to make it even more interesting. It is this variety that is available today. Source – Wikipedia

Sorpotel

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Kg. Fatty Pork (Belly preferably). If using Pork Liver, use 1 Kg pork and ½ kg liver (I have not used liver as it’s not available here)
  • 2 Large onions, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt or to taste

Grind to a paste with vinegar

  • 1.5 cups vinegar
  • 25 Kashmiri Red chilies
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 8 to 10 pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
  • 1 to 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 24 flakes garlic
  • 4” pc. Ginger
  • 4” pc. Cinnamon
  • 8 cardamoms
  • 8 cloves

Clean and wash pork (and liver if using) and cut into large pieces.  Heat the pork on  pan and fry for 10 minutes to release the fat, turning the pieces.  Do not add any additional oil. Drain the pork and keep the fat aside. 

Add the pork pieces to a large pan, add salt and enough water to cover the meat and bring to a boil.  Reduce flame and cook 30 minutes till meat is almost done.  Remove from heat, drain and reserve the stock. 

When meat is cool enough to handle, chop into tiny pieces.  If using liver, chop and keep the pork and liver pieces separate.  Do not mix them at this stage. Heat the pan again and add the fat which was set aside.  Add the chopped pork and fry for 10 minutes till light brown.  Drain and remove. Then add the liver pieces and fry 2 to 3 minutes, drain and remove. 

To the same pan, add the minced onion and fry till light brown.  Then add the ground paste and fry 2 to 3 minutes,  add pork and liver pieces and continue frying for 5 minutes.  Add the reserved stock and more water for the gravy and bring to a boil, cover and simmer till meat is tender.  Check seasonings and add salt, vinegar, as required.  Add water to thin down the gravy. 

Enjoy with Sannas, steamed rice, bread, poee or Fugias. For those who don’t eat pork, try this recipe with lamb or chicken liver…… delicious.

Sannas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Idli Rice
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • Coconut water or Toddy as required to grind the batter
  • 1 tsp. salt  or to taste
  • ¾ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. luke warm water

Method

Wash and soak rice overnight.  Grind with the coconut using coconut water or toddy, in 2 batches to a smooth paste of pouring consistency (not too thick). 

Bloom the yeast by adding the yeast to a mug, then add the sugar and lukewarm water, stir well, cover and leave aside for 10 minutes.  Once it blooms add to the rice batter and mix and beat the batter well with your hand.  In warm weather the batter should ferment in 2 to 3 hours.  In cold weather will take longer. 

When batter is fermented, set the steamer on heat.  Grease the sanna molds and fill them half way with batter allowing room for the sanna to rise.  Steam for 20 to 25 minutes.  After 20 minutes pierce a thoothpick in the sanna and it should come out clean, if not steam for another 5 minutes and test. 

Transfer the sannas to a water bath to cool slightly.  Demould with a butter knife, back of a spoon or simply pull them away from the edges with your fingers.  Place in a casserole spread with a muslin cloth or a wooden bowl or tray to prevent the warm sannas from sticking to the base. 

Enjoy for breakfast with a dollop of ghee or butter or with Sorpotel, any Pork curry or chicken or mutton curry.

The video is full of tips and steps for the perfect Sorpotel texture and taste and soft and spongy sannas!!

If you don’t have a steamer, cook your Sannas in an Oven. Check out the video below.

Vaal Usal


Vaal Usal Valache Usal Dalimbi Usal

Sprouted Vaal, Butterbeans, Lima Beans, field beans

Lima beans provide more protein per serving than any other type of beans and are rich in vitamins & minerals.  Good source of fibre alongwith micronutrients like manganese, copper and  magnesium – source: healthline

Ingredients

  • 2 cup Sprouted and Peeled Vaal beans
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp. asafoetida
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. chilli powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. jaggery
  • 6 Kokum petals
  • ½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil

Soak the Vaal beans for 12 to 15 hours.  Drain the water, rinse and leave in the bowl to sprout for 24 hrs.

Sprinkle water or cover the beans and drain 2 or 3 times so that the beans stay moist to aid sprouting. In most markets in India, sprouted beans are readily available.

Once sprouted, peel and discard the skin.  Keep immersed in water whilst peeling which makes it easier for the peels to slip off.  Put the peeled beans in a bowl of water.  Soak the kokum in a little water.

Heat  a vessel, add oil.  When hot, add the cumin seed, asafoetida and curry leaves.  Stir and add ginger garlic paste, saute for a minute and add the chopped onions and fry till translucent.  Add the drained beans, salt and a cup of water.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes till tender.  Then add, chilli powder, turmeric, kokum with the water and cook futher 5 minutes.  Substitute with 1 tbsp.  tamarind pulp if kokum not available. Then add the jaggery and coriander leaves.  Cook 2 minutes, adjust seasoning and consistency of gravy and take off flame.  Serve hot with rice for lunch or dinner or any bread of your choice for breakfast!  Delicious, spicy, tangy with a hint of sweetness makes this Usual an all time favorite!

Banana Muluks Banana Semolina Jaggery Balls


Kele Mulik Recipe – Konkani Banana Modak Recipe – Ganesh Chaturthi Special Recipes – Kela Muluk (Banana Sweet Dish), Kela Fritters.

Known by several names, this quick recipe is easy, simple and delicious.  Don’t ever throw away leftover bananas, when you can use them to make these crunchy, crispy, scrumptious muluks!!

Makes 12 to 14 lemon sized Muluks

Ingredients

  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup coconut fresh or dessicated coconut
  • ½ cup jaggery
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cardamom powder
  • Rawa as much as required to make a smooth dough

Mash the bananas well, add the coconut and jaggery and mix well ensuring the jaggery is melted.  Add salt and cardamom powder and add rawa as much as required to make a smooth soft dough.  Set aside for 15 minutes.  Heat oil in a wok, when hot add spoonful of dough or form soft balls by hand and drop gently  into the pan.  Fry on medium low till golden brown and cooked through.  Remove and serve immediately.

Hot Cross Buns Soft & Fluffy


hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun usually made with fruit, marked with a cross on the top, and has been traditionally eaten on Good Friday. They are available all year round in some places.

Traditions:  English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow mouldy during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone ill is said to help them recover. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.

The cross: The traditional method for making the cross on top of the bun is to use shortcrust pastry, though some 21st century recipes recommended a paste of flour and water. – Source   Wikipedia

Hot Cross Buns –

Makes 12 buns approx. 65 gms each

Soft fluffy anyone and everyone can make anytime! 

Easiest Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  •  2 ½ tsp. active dry yeast (approx.. 9 gms.)
  • ½ cup caster sugar  
  • ½ tsp. ground all spice
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste  
  •  200 ml milk (luke warm) 
  •  3 tbsp.(42 gms) butter, softened 
  • 1/2 cup black raisins soaked in hot water for 15 mns., drain and pat dry
  • ½ cup Mixed fruit peel  
  • 1 tbsp. grated orange zest (if not using mixed peel)   zest of ½ orange
  • 1 egg whisk with milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 375 F for 10mns then reduce to 350 for 12 to 15mns
  • Glaze with sugar water or apricot jam + water

For the Cross

  • ½ cup Maida (all purpose flour)
  • 5 tbsp. water and more as required      

For glaze

  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 150 ml boiling hot water

Method

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients, add the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, all spice, ground cinnamon and mix.

Heat milk on stove top or microwave 30 to 40 seconds. Add the softened butter and egg and whisk.

Then add the wet ingredients, mix. If  kneading by hand, tip the ingredients onto a floured surface and knead. In a stand mixer knead 2 mns. On speed 1. Scrape down the bowl in between. Dough may be sticky but don’t be tempted to add anymore flour. Then 7 to 8 mns. On speed 2  till dough becomes smooth and comes together in a ball.

Grease a bowl, place the dough and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Keep in a warm place until double in volume 1 to 2 hours depending on the room temperature.  This is the first proving. Once double, punch to release the air.

Divide into 12 equal portions.  You may weigh each portion to make sure the buns are even in size about 62 to 65 gms each. Form each portion into a smooth ball.  Place all the shaped dough portions next to each other into a large baking tray 1 inch apart lined with parchment and cover with greased cling wrap. leave on the counter to prove until double in size. This is the second proving.

To Prepare the flour paste for the cross: Add water to the flour and whisk until smooth. Add water or flour to get the right consistency.  Pipe the cross on each bun using a piping bag or zip lock bag with the tip cut off.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for 20 to 25 minutes (depends on the oven) or until tops are golden brown.  Place tray in the middle of the oven. 

Remove the baked buns, glaze with the sugar water.  Allow to sit in the tray 10 mns to soak up the sugar water, then leave on wire rack to cool a bit.  Slice and apply butter while still warm. You can store in airtight container for 4 days and in the freezer for 4 months, then toast and enjoy!

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