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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Dutch Hagelslag & Bread

Here is a quick breakfast / treat from Netherlands with hagelslag aka a 'hailstorm' of Dutch sprinkles on buttered bread. I have been making these sprinkles n' bread for my daughter ever since I came across the Australian version, fairy bread. While fairy bread is considered a kids' treat, this bread with hagelsag is commonly eaten in Netherlands by all ages and is a popular one. Dutch hagelsag (sprinkles) were invented in 1936 by a Dutch company named Venz which became popular because of it. They created the first machine to produce the tiny cylindrical shaped treats and named them after their resemblance to a local weather phenomenon of hail. All sprinkles seem to not qualify for being called hagelsag. Only those sprinkles with cacao percentage of more 32% can bear the name chocolade hagelslag. Nowadays hagelslag comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. 
A good quality chocolate sprinkles should do for those who don't have access to the original deal. All one needs to make this treat are some bread slices, good quality butter and sprinkles. One can use the white bread or the brown one. (They can be toasted if preferred.) Slather the bread slices with softened butter generously and sprinkle on hagelslag. 

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This goes to blogging marathon #94 with the theme of "Global Cuisine". Check out the page here to read what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Sooji - Poha Cheela / Savory Semolina - Flattened Rice Pancakes

All devices with internet access in my home are usually filled with bookmarks, loads of them. Thanks to my craziness for collecting recipes and reading books, as my family points out. I usually bookmark recipes with an honest intent to attempt them sometime in the near future but it seldom happens. This recipe for instance has been on my 'to try' list for quite sometime now (maybe years) that I couldn't trace it back to the original blog from which I jotted this recipe down. 

I made some changes to the recipe when I tried them for our lunch yesterday with least expectations. I thought it was going to be another dosa variety but to my surprise, my husband was all praises for it and wanted to see these cheelas being made frequently. My husband exactly doesn't fall in the spinach loving category and I had second thoughts after adding it to the batter. I had earlier left out cabbage from the recipe keeping him in mind and started to wonder if I should have left spinach as well. It turns out that one cannot taste it if these pancakes are cooked really well on both sides. Finely chopped onions and green chillies would be a nice addition if preferring spicier version.The original author of this recipe have meant these cheelas as a kid friendly snack and so, she seems to have left them out. 

I found fine variety semolina is well suited here though it is optional. One can go with regular semolina/rava. Either thick or thin variety poha can be used. The thick variety poha available in south India needs more soaking than the one I get in USA. The batter can be used immediately to make cheela or can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. Skip yogurt and use water instead if looking for a vegan version. Serve these cheelas or chillas with spicy accompaniments like chutney and sambhar to make it a wholesome and tasty meal.

Ingredients: (Yield 12)
1/2 cup flattened rice flakes / poha
3/4 cup semolina (Preferably fine variety.)
1/2 cup yogurt 
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh spinach / chopped frozen spinach
Salt to taste
Oil / Ghee to make cheela

Directions:
* Rinse poha once with water and drain. Soak it in yogurt for about 5 minutes or until it softens. (I was busy with something else and by the time I took care of it, the poha had absorbed all the yogurt and was dry.)
* Add poha-yogurt mixture, semolina, salt and enough water to a blender and grind until the poha is ground fine. The batter should be of pouring consistency like pancakes and not too thinner. 
I had to add about 2 cups of water since my poha had absorbed all the yogurt. Buttermilk can be substituted for water.
(Or poha and yogurt can be ground smoothly first and then semolina, salt and water can be added to the blender and pulsed enough just to mix.)
* Add spinach and carrot to the batter and mix well. If using frozen spinach, thaw it before using.
* Heat a non stick tawa / flat pan / griddle and when it is hot enough, pour a ladle / 1/4 cup of batter at the center and spread it as much as possible. No need to make it thinner. Pour a few drops of oil around the edges, Cook until the bottom side browns and flip it. Cook until the bottom side is cooked. Transfer the cooked cheela onto a plate and repeat the steps of making cheela.
* Serve hot with chutney and sambhar.

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This goes to blogging marathon #93 with the theme of "Bookmarked Recipes". Check out the page here to read what other marathoners are cooking.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Malabar Aval Milkshake

This post has been in my drafts for the past two years. I tried this milkshake as soon as I saw it on PJ's blog and again the day after for my son and many more times later. A proof of how much I liked it. This is an unusual milkshake made with aval (poha aka flattened rice) and is supposedly a popular drink in the Malabar region of Kerala, a south Indian state. I can guess why. It was like a banana milkshake taken to another level by topping it with crisp toasted flattened rice flakes and peanuts. 

The crunchy rice flakes and peanuts add an interesting and contrasting texture to the otherwise smooth shake. While the texture of this drink was what made it appealing to me,  surprisingly it had an opposite reaction on my son who is otherwise an ardent lover of milkshakes. And so, I suppose it is not everyone's cup of shake. 😊

Ingredients:
1 tsp. ghee
2 tbsp. poha / flattened rice 
1 small banana
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup chilled milk
1 tbsp. toasted and skinned peanut halves

Directions:
* Heat ghee in a pan and add peanuts. Toast them until they turn golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer onto a plate.
* Now add the flattened rice to the same pan and toast on low flame until the flakes turn crisp. Take care not to burn them.
* Chop the banana into discs and roughly mash the pieces with the back of a spoon. (We don't need banana puree here and so don't go grabbing the blender.) Add sugar to the banana and mix well.
* Take a tall serving glass and add the mashed banana to it. Sprinkle half of the fried flattened rice and half the peanuts over the banana. Pour the chilled milk over it.
* Garnish it with the remaining flattened rice and peanuts. Serve immediately.

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This goes to blogging marathon #93 with the theme of "Bookmarked Recipes". Check out the page here to read what other marathoners are cooking.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Bars

I had this recipe bookmarked a couple of days ago because of it's simplicity and I got to try it yesterday evening as I had all the needed ingredients in my pantry. I also wanted to see if there was even a slight possibility of my girl approving these nutritious and yummy bars. My teenager loves to snack on mostly dry fruits and nuts after school but combining them together in some other snack form other than a trail mix usually won't do. She is not a cereal person and she would not touch store bought granola bars with a barge pole. I figured probably she would like these if she sees with her own eyes what went in there and therefore involved her in making these bars. 
She decided not to mind the grain factor considering that all the other remaining ingredients are her favorites and decided to give them a try without a nudge from me. She in fact loved them since it tasted like chocolate to her. Don't ask me how but I didn't want to argue with her when she was eating without complaining and the bars are filled with all the goodies. 

These granola bars can be set by placing them in the refrigerator / freezer for about an hour or overnight. Wrap them individually in parchment paper or plastic or foil wraps for easy transportation. Store the individually wrapped bars in a freezer-safe bag and freeze them if they are not going to be consumed immediately. The quantity of raisins used here provide sufficient sweetness to the bars but at the same time contribute to their soft texture. I think even decreasing their quantity by a small amount wouldn't effect the recipe.

Recipe Source: Here
Ingredients: (Makes 16 bars)
2 and 1/2 cup raisins
1 and 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup shredded / desiccated coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (I used honey roasted sunflower kernels.)

Directions:
* Line a 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper.
* Add everything except sunflower seeds to a food processor and pulse just until the mixture starts to clump together.
* Add sunflower seeds finally and just mix together.
* Transfer the mixture into the pan and press firmly. Refrigerate / freeze the mixture until it firms up, about an hour or overnight.
* Remove from the pan and slice into bars using a sharp knife.

Note:
1. The mixture can be shaped into balls instead of bars.
2. Other dry fruits, nuts and seeds can be substituted instead of the ones used here for a variation.

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This goes to blogging marathon #93 with the theme of "Bookmarked Recipes". Check out the page here to read what other marathoners are cooking.

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