bread, dosa, idli & savories

chapati

12th July 2016

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Chapati has become a regular event in our house. They are wonderful drizzled with ghee and served with a simple dal, or vegetable palya. I also love them alongside a bowl of guacamole or roasted red pepper spread.

There are different varieties of chapatis available; one made with no fat, one made with oil and one made with ghee. Chapati made with ghee will support the physical and mental health to the fullest extent. It is recommended to be consumed while warm, as it becomes harder when cool. A chapati made with oil is also tasty and healthy and keeps its softness when it has cooled. Chapati can be consumed at any meal time, in all seasons and supports all constitutions.

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early morning vegetable garden

chapati

Preparation 30 minutes

Makes 5 chapati

Recipe shared by our teacher, Ganapati Aarya.

Chapati is traditionally made with Atta, a granular flour milled from soft Indian wheat that yields very tender chapatis – which I buy from here.  If you are able to purchase this type of flour, it is recommended. Otherwise use a combination of cup wholewheat and cup white flour, resulting in a softer, less tough chapati.  Regular whole wheat flour (sifted to remove the larger bran particles) can also be used.  It may take a few attempts before finding the flours which suit best in your country of residence.  

Making chapati is great in getting the whole family involved in the kitchen. Each person rolling out chapati makes it fun and easy process.

ingredients 

1 cup/130g flour (or use ⅔ cup white & cup whole wheat)

¼ tsp salt

2 Tbsp/10g melted ghee

¼ cup/55g hot water (or enough for a kneadable dough)

to make the chapati dough 

1.  Into a bowl, place the flour and salt – whisk to combine. 

2.  Pour in the ghee and hot water and stir with a spoon, slowly bringing the dry ingredients into the wet, until mostly combined.

3.  Knead, adding water if needed (a teaspoon at a time), to create a tender dough. Knead until smooth, shining and does not stick to the hands – 5 minutes.  Set aside, covered for 5 minutes. 

4.  Divide the dough into 5 equal portions and shape each into a ball. Take one ball, flatten slightly into a disc and flour both sides, then roll into a thin almost transparent circle using a rolling pin. Makes sure each chapati is symmetrical so it puffs up well.  Set aside covered with a towel/individual sheets of baking paper, and repeat with the remaining balls.  

to cook

5.  Preheat a skillet or non-stick pan (tava) over medium heat.  Once hot (it is important that it is hot), cook the chapati until bubbles start to appear, about 1 minute.  Flip and cook until brown spots appear underneath, about 30 seconds.  It should start puffing like a balloon, which could be helped by pressing gently on the forming bubble with a cloth and thus expanding it over the entire surface of the chapati.  

6.  Flip twice more for 30 seconds on each side. Be careful not to overcook, otherwise, they will be dry and crunchy.  Stack and cover the chapatis as you continue to cook the remaining ones.  Serve immediately.

When made on a regular basis, becoming familiar with the process – chapatis become quick, easy and enjoyable to make.  Serve with a simple dal or Green Bean Palya. 

Goodness shared by Stacey

fermented mung bean pancakes – revisted

20th May 2015

soak

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grind

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ferment

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cook

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Mung beans (whole moong dal) are one of my favourites and are unique in the fact they are warm and nourishing in winter and cooling in summer.  Mung beans are easy to digest and in Ayurveda are considered medicinal, cleansing and one of the keys to a long, vibrant and healthy life. They are high in protein, rich source of fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals and when fermented they become abundant in live enzymes as well as bacteria which helps restore the intestinal flora, helping to assimilate nutrients in the digestion process.

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fermented mung bean pancakes

Makes 15  (4-inch pancakes)

This recipe came from a dear friend, Lulu and where she got it from I don’t know, but it has been a favourite of ours for many years now. You can change the spices to whatever appeals that day.  The mixture keeps happily in the fridge if you only want to make one or two – they are best freshly cooked, of course!

The temperature in your kitchen will affect the speed at which your mung beans ferment.  In winter it will take much longer and in summer much quicker.  In Winter, place the covered bowl next to a heater or place overnight in the oven at an even temperature of 40 Celsius.

ingredients 

1 cup/200g whole mung beans (whole moong dal)

2 cups/500ml water

½ tsp fine rock salt

voggarane

1 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp heaped cumin seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

a big handful coriander leaves, finely chopped

optional – finely sliced vegetables of choice – fennel rounds, carrot, green peas..etc

to serve

tomato gojju

spicy avocado puree 

preparation

1.  Pre-soak, the mung beans in water for at least 8 hours or overnight.

2.  Next morning, drain and refresh with 2 cups water – adding more when needed, then using a hand immersion blender/food processor, blend until thick and barely pourable.  You want the mixture quite thick.  

3.  To ferment, add ½ teaspoon salt and leave covered to sit for at least 8 – 12 hours, depending on where you live and which season. This gives the mixture a chance to ferment and develop lots of wholesome B vitamins. Once it has risen substantially, it is fermented and a little bubbly, it is ready to cook.

4.  Prepare the voggarane, in a small pan, heat ghee, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida, when the seeds have browned a little, remove from heat and add to the fermented mixture, along with the coriander and turmeric – mix well.

These can be cooked as they are or chop thin slices of fennel rounds and tiny carrot matchsticks to add on top when cooking.

5.  To cook, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Make sure the pan is hot. Drizzle with a little ghee and place ¼ cup batter onto the skillet, then flatten out slightly with the back of a spoon/ladle so the pancake is the size of a small tea saucer, layer on top a few carrot sticks, fennel rounds or green peas and push down slightly, drizzle the top with a little ghee/oil – cook for about 4 minutes on each side. My hand is quite generous with the ghee, as this gives crunchy edges!

They are delicious spread with guacamole, olive paste, hummus or used instead of a rotti with Indian food.  Wonderful with tomato gojju!

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Goodness shared by Stacey

baked vegetable samosas with mango chutney

29th March 2015

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I woke with a feeling of peace in my heart….

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all day I breathed softly, moved slowly

afraid it might disappear….

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baked vegetable samosas

Makes 13 half-moon samosa

I made these for a special dinner to have sitting around the fire outside.  I used a good quality ready-made puff pastry for my first attempt, but the second time I made my own pastry, which was a recipe tried and tested by Noa.  Both were great – it just depends on how much time you want to spend making them.  

I keep the filling mild, as the chutney adds the spark it needs, but if you like strong flavours, increase each spice by ¼ teaspoon.

for the dough

350g flour (200g white & 150g wholewheat)

½ tsp rock salt

1 tsp sugar

200g unsalted butter

100ml very cold water

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

for the filling

1 Tbsp oil

1 large bulb fennel/2 sticks celery (160g)

1½ cup/220g sweet potato/pumpkin, finely diced 

1 cup/190g potato, finely diced 

1 cup/90g cabbage, finely chopped 

1½ cups/180g cauliflower, finely chopped 

½ tsp brown mustard seeds

1  tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 Tbsp ginger, finely grated

½ tsp home-made garam masala powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ cup coconut milk/water

¾ cup/90g frozen peas

to make the dough 

1.  Place the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix, then cut the butter into hazel-nut size pieces and add to flour, making sure all the pieces of butter are well coated with flour – cover and place in the freezer for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.

2.  In a food processor with an S-blade attached, add the cold flour and butter, process for 20 seconds (the mixture should resemble fine meal), then stir the vinegar with the very cold water and pulse in short bursts. The dough will still look crumbly, but if you press it between your fingers, it should become smooth. If the dough is too dry and is not coming together, add ice water a tablespoon at a time.

3.  Turn dough out onto a clean work surface.  Gather and press the dough together to form a unified mass. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, each one weighing roughly 50 – 55 grams each.  Press each ball into a small round disc, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hour and up to 24 hours.

to make the filling 

4.  In a small pan dry-roast the cumin and coriander seeds, then place in a mortar and pestle and ground coarsely, then add turmeric and garam masala into the pestle.  Set aside.

5.  Remove the outer leaf of the fennel and finely chop into very small pieces, along with the remaining vegetables. Remove the thicker stems of the cauliflower and chop into thin shreds. Set aside.

6.  In a large skillet over moderate heat, add oil and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to turn grey and pop, add ginger, ground spices, garam masala and turmeric – fry for a few seconds, then add the fennel, cauliflower, potato and sweet potato, and cabbage, pour in the coconut milk/water and saute, covered for 5 -7 minutes.  

7.  Add the peas and turn off the heat, cover and allow to rest so that the vegetables continue to soften.  Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.

to assemble the samosas 

8.  Remove one of the discs of dough from the fridge.  If they are very firm, let sit for a few minutes at room temperature until the dough is pliable enough to roll.  The dough will soften and become easier as you work with it.

9.  Roll each disc between two pieces of cling film, into a circle of 5½-inches. Place two heaped tablespoons of the vegetable mixture into the middle of each circle.

10.  Brush the edges with milk/ghee, and flip the corner over the mixture to create a half-moon, then press the edges together with a fork and prick the top twice to allow the heat to escape.  Repeat with the remaining pastry. Place the pastries on a baking tray.

11.  Brush the top with melted ghee or milk and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

when ready to bake

12.  Place the tray into a preheated 210C/420F oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

If using ready-made puff pastry, they will take longer to bake – about 30  – 40 minutes or until golden brown.

spicy mango chutney (mango gojju)

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Inspired by South Indian yogic cookbook.

I make this quick and easy chutney when I see green mangoes in the stores.  Can be also made with barely ripe mangos as well.  The less ripe the fruit is, the sourer the taste will be. Balance the amount of sugar accordingly.  I use it as a replacement for pickle in dishes like this one.  It makes a great dipping sauce for these samosas and perfect as an accompaniment to any rice dish or Indian meal. 

Makes about 1½ cups

ingredients 

2 medium-large/765g green mangoes (half-ripe, green outside and light yellow inside)

½ tsp mustard seeds

2 small whole chillies

6 fresh curry leaves

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

3 heaped tsp rasam powder (moderately spiced)

½ tsp fine rock salt

4 heaped tsp jaggery/brown sugar

preparation 

1.  Peel the mango and cut into tiny cubes, then set aside.

2.  In a heavy-based saucepan, add oil and mustard seeds; when they start to turn grey and pop, add whole chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida powder – fry for 20 seconds, then add the turmeric and mango, saute until the mango becomes soft, adding ¼ cup water when it starts to stick – cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

3.  Turn off the heat, add salt, jaggery and rasam powder.  Taste, adding more jaggery or salt.

4.  Puree half the mixture with a hand- immersion blender.

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quick puff pastry version

I make this version on a regular basis.  I follow the recipe but instead of making my own pastry, I buy a good quality organic puff pastry.

1.  Brush the outer edge of the pastry with melted butter or milk.

2.  Take the vegetable filling and scoop inside the pastry leaving a space of 1-inch around the outer edge.  Flatten the top of the filling with a back of the spoon so that there is less of a mound.

3.  Take the other round pastry from the fridge and gently place over the filling, so that it sits evenly on top.

4.  Roll the edges over itself and press to seal with the edge of a fork.  Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up, then move the pastry back to your work surface.

5.  Brush the top with melted butter or milk, slash decoratively and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Prior to baking rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to prevent shrinkage during baking.

6.  Place the tray into a preheated 200C/400F oven and bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until deeply golden. Eat straight away with a very green tabouli salad and spicy mango chutney.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

idli – a fermented and steamed Indian rice cake

5th March 2012

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I just arrived back from India from our yearly retreat with our teacher.  It was a wonderful time. The teaching was a continuation from last year on ‘Ayurveda and Yogic Ideal Living’ and focused on the way we eat, what we eat and how this impacts our mind, body and emotions for our spiritual journey.

Food, because we take it directly into our bodies on such a consistent basis, is one of the most powerful ways to make a change in our physical and mental state.   A suitable approach to food will support our inner journey and will influence other people to bring much-needed love, service and peace through our own sense of joy and self-contentment.

We all have minor symptoms of ‘disease’.  Aches and pains, tension, upset stomach, skin rashes, mood swings occasional cold and flu.  Some of us have a constant stream of these, others just have them every now and then.  All these things just don’t happen to us; we have an active hand in creating them by the choices we make in our daily lives.  How we exercise, how we cope with stress, what we eat –  especially how we eat!  Snacking, for example, causes a lot of disturbances to our digestion by adding undigested food to partially digested food.  Due to this, food which enters into our bloodstream is the main source of our mind disturbances and body diseases.

So experiment and go a whole day of being conscious of eating only when you feel hungry and reflect on how you feel and how little food you actually need and notice how eating usually comes from a place of boredom and/or emotional needs!   It is a difficult one, I know!  Usually our body needs 3 – 4 hours to digest the previous food, however, we seem to be constantly putting in food, regardless of whether the previous food has been digested or not.  

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I find taking the time to prepare two meals a day which is based on whole grains, seasonal vegetables and fresh produce helps in making that step towards a healthier body/mind for practice. It keeps me satisfied long after eating and I am less inclined to snack.

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Idli

Makes about 40 idli, with two days preparation

ingredients 

1 cup brown rice (short-grain is good, but long grain will work)

1 cup white basmati rice or arborio rice

1 cup white lentils (urad dal)

½ Tbsp fenugreek seeds

filtered water

½ tsp rock salt

oil/ghee to grease the moulds

to serve

ginger coconut chutney

sambar

pre-soak 

1.  Wash well and soak the rice in one bowl with just enough water to cover – set aside.

2.  Wash well the dal with the fenugreek seeds, and soak in another bowl with just enough water to cover – allow to soak for 6-8 hours.

grind the batter

3.  Drain both separately and reserve the water.

4.  Grind the dal with the fenugreek, adding just enough water to be able to grind. Do not make it too watery.  This is very important for idlis.  Grind until soft and foamy, then pour into a large bowl.

5. Now, grind the rice with the reserved water, using only a little to allow it to grind.  Remember do not make it too watery, just enough to be able to grind.  Continue to grind the rice until smooth.

Grinding dal separately will make it fluffy, resulting in excellent fermentation.  It will also volumes the batter when fermenting.

6.  Combine both the batters, add the salt and mix well.  Mix the batter with your clean hands.  The body heat from your hands will help kickstart the fermentation.  Make sure there is enough room in the bowl for the fermentation to take place.  It should double in size.

ferment

7.  Cover the bowl loosely and place in the warmest spot in your home – allow it to ferment overnight.  Ideal idli batter fermentation is around 90F /32C.  In colder climates, the batter may take up to 18 hours to ferment.

The batter should have doubled in size.

to cook

8.  Grease mold with ghee, then pour three-quarters full into each mould (they will rise) and steam for 12 – 15 minutes.  Try not to overcook them.  Allow to rest for 2 minutes before scooping them out of their moulds.

For the true Indian traditional experience, serve them on a banana leaf with a spicy rasam fresh coconut chutney and finish with a sweet version of a drizzle of ghee and maple syrup.

Goodness shared by Stacey

dosa – a fermented rice & dal pancake

25th June 2009

We travel to India at least three times a year to spend time with our teacher in the South of India and because of this connection, I cook a lot of Indian dishes.  Through the years of studying yoga, I have learnt that to quieten the mind is to lead the correct lifestyle, and the type of food we eat plays a very important role in helping us on this yogic journey.

Like many other types of Dosa, it supports all constitutions, can be used at any season and can be easily digested. Dosa also strengthens the body and is especially recommended for morning time. One may consume it once a week. It is recommended to consume it with greater amounts of water for digestion and to avoid thirst, especially during the summertime.

Dosa batter is a wonderful, quick and nutritious meal.  It is a typical South Indian breakfast.  The rice and urad dal (a type of white lentil available from Indian stores) combine to make a perfectly balanced protein and because of the fermentation process, they are easy to digest.  The success of a good dosa is in perfecting the fermentation.

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dosa – a fermented rice & dal pancake

The traditional dosa recipe is made with just white rice, but I like to add a bit of wholesome goodness, by adding brown rice.  Whole or split moong dal can be used instead of the urad dal.

I start soaking in the morning and grind in the evening, and ferment through that night and ready for the first meal. (depending on the season).

Pre-preparation – 20 hours

Preparation – 5 minutes

Makes – 25 dosa

ingredients 

1 cup/200g urad dal/moong dal

2 cup/400g white basmati rice

1 cup/200g brown basmati rice

8-10 cups water (for the soaking)

1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp fine rock salt

pre-soak

1.  In a large bowl, rinse the dal, rice and fenugreek until the water runs clear, then refill with enough water to generously cover – about 2 inches and soak for a minimum 12 hours.

grind 

3.  Drain a little water out and put this water aside, as you may need it later.

4.  In a high-speed blender with the water they have been soaking in, grind until fine and smooth, adding if needed a little of the water that you had put aside, add salt.  Be careful, as you don’t want the batter too runny.  Aim for thick pancake batter consistency.

ferment 

5.  Pour the batter in a large bowl with plenty of room to expand, cover and leave to stand in a warm place for at least 8 hours, can take up to 24 hours in wintertime.  The batter will get slightly thicker, fizzy and rise.  Perfect!  This is the fermentation taking place.

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‘Fermented foods, because of their vital digestive enzymes, aid in the absorption of  B12 from other sources and stimulate B12 bacterial growth in the intestines.’

cook 

6.  Heat a heavy skillet or a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and drop a ladleful of batter into the pan. The batter should be of thick, pouring consistency.  Make sure the pan is very hot.

7.  Using the back of the ladle, very gently swirl the batter from the centre outwards to make a thin crepe-like dosa. Optional, drizzle ghee lightly over dosa.

8.  Cook over medium heat until the edges of the dosa start to lift – about 2 – 3 minutes. If you try to turn it over too soon before it has started to set, the dosa will break. Flip and cook until golden.

Serve with a palya or simple dal and slices of avocado.

We always finish our meal with a sweet dosa, drizzled with ghee and maple syrup or with home-made strawberry jam and tahini/almond butter.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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